Flash Review: 20th Century Boy And Girl

If you’ve read my recent posts, you’d probably know that of late, I’ve been bucking the trend in terms of not loving shows that everyone else seems to love. I was really kinda bummed that even though J-drama Rich Man, Poor Woman and C-drama Shan Shan Comes To Eat are crowd favorites, they just never became one of my favorites.

Well whaddya know. I’m bucking the trend again, with this show. But this time, it’s a happier event for me (woot!), coz while lots of folks seemed to be pretty underwhelmed by 20th Century Boy and Girl, I actually really liked this one, you guys. And I mean, in a solid, I’m-sorry-to-say-goodbye kinda way, too.

Maybe with the right lens, you might also end up liking this one. You never know?

20th Century Boy And Girl OST – 아주 멀지 않은 날에


It seems like many viewers didn’t like this show because it felt slow and boring, like nothing very exciting ever happened in this drama world. Which is a fair point. If you’re looking for an exciting drama, this is definitely not one that would fit the bill.

When I look at the flip side of that same coin, though, that angst-lite quality can be a very appealing thing indeed, given the right context. For example, if you’re going through a lot of drama in your own life, and just want to escape into a different world where stuff is less rocky, people are generally warm and welcoming, and obstacles are overcome without too much difficulty, this would be perfect.

Or, if you’re looking for a sweet lil drama to lull you into dreamland, this would be perfect too. I personally watched this show as a drama nightcap, and it hit that just-so balance between being engaging enough to make me want to keep watching, and gentle enough that it didn’t keep me awake at night. Overall, there was enough to enjoy in this one, that I legit felt sorry to see it end, y’all.


1. The long-time friendship between the 3 gal pals

Right off the bat – and through the rest of the show – I loved the friendship between our 3 girls. Their friendship really pops for me.

On paper, they are so different from one another. Jin Jin (Han Ye Seul) is a big Hallyu star and is sweet and smiley; Ah Reum (Ryu Hyun Kyung) is senior cabin crew and is pretty outspoken and brash; Young Shim (Lee Sang Hee) is a lawyer and is reserved and a little awkward with people in general. Yet, these 3 get along like a house on fire. I feel like they literally come alive to another level, when they are around one another.

I love that they’ve maintained their friendship all these years. I love that even though they’ve each grown into different careers after leaving school, that they’re still super tight and hang out together and squee together. There are no airs among these three. They see all of each person’s flaws, and choose to accept and love one another anyway. Their friendship feels candid, familiar and cozy, and I loves it.

[SPOILER] A great everyday example of how these girls make their friendship work, is in episode 14. Young Shim’s had a particularly difficult day, and tries calling Jin Jin and Ah Reum in turn, but both friends are busy with their own problems and unable to entertain her call. Young Shim swallows her disappointment and soldiers on. That night, though, Jin Jin and Ah Reum wait together at the bus stop for her, with smiles on their faces and an umbrella in hand, big enough to shelter all 3 of them from the rain. Seeing her 2 besties waiting for her, Young Shim breaks into the biggest smile – and so do I. I love that even in the midst of their own problems, Jin Jin and Ah Reum sense that Young Shim needs her friends, and make it a point to be there for her. Aw. [END SPOILER]

I loved watching these 3 friends sticking together through thick and thin, and found it all super endearing. I honestly wouldn’t have minded a show purely showcasing their friendship, with no romance involved. Except that of course we must have romance in this case, coz there’s Kim Ji Suk after all. Melt. (More on that in a bit.)

2. Ji Won & Jin Jin

Jin Jin

I’ve generally felt ambivalent about Han Ye Seul as an actress, so it makes me happy to say that I liked Jin Jin right away.

I like that she’s down-to-earth despite being a big star. She’s punctual, patient, gracious, and professional. Even better than that, she genuinely cares about the people around her, and demonstrates loyalty and care in both the big and little things. Even better than that, is how she doesn’t actually care about her image, once she’s around her friends. She has no qualms taking goofy pictures and making dorky faces, and it’s just hard not to like her.

[SPOILER] There’s a great little scene in episode 6 where Jin Jin’s imagination goes into overdrive, that quite succinctly sums up her conflicting desires. Her imagining that Ji Won comes to her door and asks her to run away with him, says a lot about what she wants. The other imagined scene, of Ji Won’s wife confronting her, and the entire thing coming out in the news, also says a lot about the decorum she feels she needs to keep. With this one scene, I felt like I understood Jin Jin’s inner struggle pretty well. [END SPOILER]

Ji Won

I love Kim Ji Suk, and am so pleased that he’s our romantic leading man. Squee! Yes, the material isn’t the most exciting, attention-grabbing stuff out there, but he does so well, with what he’s given. He makes Ji Won so likable, accessible and lovely, that I found myself wanting to reach into my screen to hug Ji Won, more than a few times.

There’s something extremely warm, gentle and inviting about the vibe that he gives off as Ji Won. He makes Ji Won a very assuring presence. On top of that, I love that despite Ji Won’s big-shot corporate image, he isn’t a proud jerk. There’s still a very down-to-earth vibe about him. He feels approachable, and I love that.


I tried to pick just one thing to highlight about Ji Won, but I like so many things about him that I decided I couldn’t settle for just one. So here’re 3 Ji Won highlights.

1. The airport scene

I love the scene at the airport in episodes 1-2. In the few seconds when he first lays eyes on Jin Jin, I could already feel the wistfulness in him, and I could see that this was a man who had a lot of feelings for this woman, and that things were kinda complicated. So much depth, in so little time.

And then, even better, he goes and takes her hand, in the middle of what must’ve felt like a hurricane. That is so sweet. No wrist-grabbing, just a gentle, reassuring hand-hold. In this moment, I’m pretty sure I loved him already. <3

2. So much consideration

There’s something so affectionate and caring, yet restrained in the way he is towards Jin Jin. And it’s clearly out of consideration for her than out of being less than confident.

In the early episodes, he pretended not to recognize her when she dressed up as the chicken delivery guy, so that she wouldn’t feel embarrassed in front of him. That’s really sweet. He saves her several times, &/or stands up for her, and mostly he does it anonymously. He never brags that he knows the superstar. And the look in his eyes when they finally face each other in the lift, is just so affectionate and welcoming. There’s no judgment in his gaze, only warmth. If I were in Jin Jin’s shoes, I’d fall for him right there. Just so, so melty, in the most understated way. <3

3. The kisses

Kim Ji Suk kisses like he means it, and I really, really dig it. Considering that this is a drama on a Big Three Network than on, say, tvN, I think it’s a Pretty Big Deal.

Ji Won consistently goes all in, and makes sure to kiss his Jin Jin properly. Swoon.


Jin Jin & Ji Won together

One of the big grumbles about this loveline, is that it felt really slow. I personally didn’t mind the slow pace, because it felt organic to me – at least for the most part.

I enjoyed this OTP very well, in part because their connection felt believably developed, and because Kim Ji Suk and Han Ye Seul share a solid chemistry. When Ji Won and Jin Jin are being chummy, the air between them is relaxed and easy, and I can believe that these two have known each other for a long time. When they’re hyperaware of each other, the air between them feels crackly electric, and I can believe that each feels the other’s presence, down to their pores.

I personally really enjoyed the way Ji Won comes across with Jin Jin, during those early-episode moments when the romantic tension peeks through the surface. He’s a mixture of gentle affection and sweet amusement, and there’s a languid, relaxed sheen about how he seems to feel about the whole thing. It feels like he’s not nervous about her feelings for him, neither is he in a rush to move things along; like he’s content to enjoy the journey, while they take their time reconnecting. I found that very appealing.


Here’re 3 things that I enjoy about this couple.

1. They are genuinely friends

I love the fact that beyond the romantic feelings, these two people are truly close friends who enjoy each other’s company, and who can be honest with each other.

In episode 12, when Ji Won gets accidentally locked into Jin Jin’s room, I actually liked that instead of turning it into a more typical tension-charged hyper-awareness sort of moment, Show let these two just relax and have fun and enjoy each other’s company. The ease and comfort they feel around each other is really clear, and I like that.

In episode 13, the topic of Jin Jin’s sister, which everyone else avoids studiously, is tackled matter-of-factly and honestly. Jin Jin spills all the details without holding back; all Ji Won had to do, was ask. And Ji Won doesn’t hold back either. He tells her about being dumped before his wedding – again, something that he doesn’t seem to tell others about. I like that a lot; it shows how much these two trust each other, and how comfortable they are, with each other.

2. They’re like teenagers

Because these two dated for all of 3 days when they were teenagers, they kind of still feel like teenagers now, when they pick up where they left off. In episode 10, both of them primping separately before breakfast is super cute. It’s like watching two teenagers crushing on each other and trying to leave a good impression on each other.

3. Their relationship is so healthy

I really like how healthy their relationship demonstrates itself to be, by the later episodes.

In particular, I like the way that Ji Won’s closure with Bella was handled in episode 30. First of all, Jin Jin doesn’t hide the fact that she saw Bella’s text. She tells Ji Won she saw it, and apologizes, and they have a conversation about it. She even encourages him to meet Bella, if only to get closure – even though she regrets it later, in a small fit of jealousy.

There was no emotional meeting, nor any dramatic conversations; just a simple phone call, of him declining to meet, and simply explaining what the shoes meant to him. It feels like he’s reached a place of acceptance, and is fully ready to move on. I like it.

The fact that he then goes right to Jin Jin to propose with the cutest cake, is just bonus. <3


3. Ah Reum & Woo Sung

Ah Reum

I found Ah Reum funny and a little brash, and soon discovered that beneath the funny and the brash, she’s also caring and thoughtful.

[SPOILER] I found her uber endearing when she burst into tears in episode 4, blaming herself for what Jin Jin had to go through with the media after her hospital visit. And I couldn’t help melting a little, when, in episode 7, she demands that Jin Jin buy her a bag, just so that she can ask for one for Young Shim too – because she’d noticed Young Shim’s worn-out work bag. It’s so backwards, but it’s also so thoughtful and sweet – just like Ah Reum herself. [END SPOILER]

Woo Sung

With his “face reversal” and his comical reaction expressions, I’d pegged Woo Sung as simply the Funny Guy at first. But then, he started caring about Ah Reum, [SPOILER] like in episode 10, where he literally brings his date to the Han River looking for a drunk Ah Reum, out of worry for her – only to end up piggybacking a deliriously violent Ah Reum, and losing his date in the process. Ha. And, aw. [END SPOILER] After that, I couldn’t help but have a bit of a soft spot for him.

[SPOILER] I think my favorite Woo Sung moment in the show, is in episode 20, when he comes to Ah Reum’s rescue. He looks terrified himself, but he bravely gets rid of the creepy cab driver for Ah Reum, even if it’s by throwing his own shoes, heh. How adorkable is he? And how sweet, that he then goes to Ah Reum’s apartment to hug her and assure her it’s ok – without even picking up his shoes first. Aw. [END SPOILER]

Ah Reum & Woo Sung together

With Jin Jin and Ji Won, things are more awkward when they are just trying to be friends. Once they become a couple, their ease with each other just completely blossoms. With Ah Reum and Woo Sung, it’s kind of the opposite. Things are much more comfortable with these two, when they are just friends. Once they start dating, things become a lot more awkward, which is pretty funny to watch.

That doesn’t mean that these two don’t work well together, though. Once they decide to just be comfortable the way they used to be, before they started dating, they become a very cute couple that I very much enjoyed having on my screen.

[SPOILER] One of my favorite moments with this couple is when Ah Reum realizes that she’s attracted to Woo Sung. It’s cute, yes, but what’s awesome about it, is how she pretty much just ups and kisses him the second she realizes it’s true that she likes him. And he simply kisses her right back. Woot! [END SPOILER]

4. Young Shim & Keong Seok

Young Shim

I have a special soft spot for Young Shim, because Lee Sang Hee who portrays her, is just amazing. Despite Young Shim being a reserved and reticent character a lot of the time, Lee Sang Hee gives her depth and dimension that not only makes Young Shim feel completely 3D, but grabs my heart as well.

[MINOR SPOILER] In particular, I love Lee Sang Hee’s delivery around Young Shim’s strained-but-slowly-healing relationship with her father. Major kudos to Lee Sang Hee; she is so beautifully expressive, even when Young Shim is required to be so reticent and withdrawn. After all the silent wincing, and pained looks in her eyes, which totally made my heart go out to her, it’s just so great to see Young Shim break into a big smile, because she can feel that things are getting a little bit better between her and her dad. Talk about taking your viewer on a journey. Love. [END SPOILER]

Kyeong Seok

Sunbae Kyeong Seok (Oh Sang Jin) is almost as reserved as Young Shim, so it took a while for him to grow on me. But as I saw his gaze softening towards Young Shim, and the affection growing in his eyes, I couldn’t help but start to appreciate his dorky charm.

[SPOILER] Perhaps the most adorkable thing about Kyung Seok, is how weird he is, when he’s drunk. That, and how little it actually takes for him to get dead drunk. It ridiculous, and it’s cute. Especially since he only seems to ever actually drink around Young Shim. [END SPOILER]

Young Shim & Kyeong Seok together

The trajectory for this couple is a slow one, but one I appreciate for feeling extra organic. Theirs is an understanding and affection born out of spending many hours in the office together, and so, little milestones like starting to eat lunch together, are squee-worthy nuggets that I lapped up eagerly.

[SPOILER] The couple moments that we do get to see with these two, are much fewer, purely for the fact that they’re starting from a different place than the other couples in this show. One key moment that felt particularly significant, is the time in episode 30 when Young Shim’s mom goes to their office for a consultation on her divorce. Young Shim’s shock at the reality of what it means for Mom to divorce Dad is understandable; even though she’s supported the idea in concept for a long time, she likely never imagined what the reality was like, and what that would entail. And now that that reality is here, she needs some time to reel from it.

Kyung Seok stepping up to help Young Shim in that moment, is thoughtful and sweet. And the way he later offered to hold her hand, so comforting and kind. Aw. Melt. <3 [END SPOILER]

5. General levels of honesty

As a general rule, I found that the levels of honesty in this show are refreshingly better than the average kdrama. We see many of the characters having honest conversations, and giving truthful answers to hard questions. Sure, there are lashings of noble silence, and the occasional misunderstanding. Overall, though, I found the candid tone of our characters’ interactions very welcome indeed.

Special shout-out: the bromance between Anthony & Ji Won [SPOILERS]

The more we are shown Ji Won’s family history through flashbacks, the more I understood the sad wistfulness he gets in his eyes. He’s been through a lot, losing his dad at a young age, and then suddenly gaining a new family when his mother remarried. He strives to be as good of a son as he can bring himself to be, without betraying the memory of his father. And part of that, is demonstrated in his sincere care and regard for Anthony as his step-brother.

I appreciate that both Ji Won and Anthony have suffered the loss of a parent, and that both of them had to face the struggle of accepting and fitting into a new family. It moved me, that these two, in the way that they truly care about each other, are brothers not primarily by circumstance, but by choice.

Jin Jin’s Mom

I love Mom (Kim Mi Kyung) for how she loves her kids – and I love that her motherly embrace is far-reaching and generous.

[SPOILER] I love how Mom started fussing over Ji Won right away, the moment she realized he was living nearby. The way she keeps bringing him food, and nagging him to eat, is so natural and so wonderfully motherly. I just love the relationship between her and Ji Won; these two are basically a surrogate mom and a surrogate son.

At the same time, I love the way Mom loves her own kids as well. I found the scene in episode 28, when Mom recognizes Ho Sung (Kim Jung Hwa) at the hospital, without needing to see her face, thoroughly moving.

Essentially, the more I saw how Mom loves her kids, the more I loved her. <3 [END SPOILER]


Despite the many things I enjoyed in this show, there are definitely flaws that I could’ve done without too. Without being too nitpicky (I hope!), here’s them:

1. What it’s like to be a Hallyu star

There’s a weird thing that happens in this drama world: basically, Jin Jin’s status as a superstar affords her varying levels of personal freedom, depending on what the story requires.

A lot of the time, we see her going about her day like a regular person, with no face mask or other disguise, and with no manager, and nobody seems to recognize her or bother her. BUT, when Show feels that it’s relevant to the story, Jin Jin gets mobbed and photographed, and it all gets in the news.

I found this inconsistency distracting and quite jarring.

2. The love triangle stretch

It’s no surprise that Show sets up Anthony as Jin Jin’s other potential love interest, but this never felt necessary or organic, to be honest. Jin Jin’s feelings for Ji Won are clear from the get-go, so whatever affection she feels for Anthony pales in comparison. Honestly, Anthony never stood a chance.

[SPOILER] I was particularly displeased with this plotline when Show used it as a channel for noble idiocy between the brothers. I was especially miffed when Ji Won was shown repeatedly trying to remove himself from the picture, while pushing his brother at Jin Jin. I mean, isn’t it more important to figure out who Jin Jin herself prefers to be with, than which brother is more willing to make a sacrifice? [END SPOILER]

A WGM tangent

On a related tangent, I just wanted to say that while I’ve enjoyed various couples on We Got Married before, it wasn’t until episode 11 of this show, that WGM actually felt creepy-weird to me. The fact that Jin Jin and Anthony were role-playing a wedding when they’d literally just met, and everyone was egging them on to kiss during the ceremony, was just really weird. It feels really wrong, when I can see all the workings of the set-up, and I don’t know if I will ever be able to enjoy WGM again. Hrm.

3. Sometimes believability takes a beating

There are a number of times when I found believability a problem, during my watch.


Here’s a quick spotlight on that:

E19. The hotel room mix-up that resulted in Ji Won and Jin Jin finding themselves accidentally in bed with each other, is completely unbelievable. I mean, as if the hotel wouldn’t inform Jin Jin’s assistant that they got the wrong room, when she went to check why the key didn’t work, right? Surely in the hotel system they wouldn’t have actually assigned the same room to both Ji Won and Jin Jin.

But, the emotional gaze that Ji Won wears, as he looks at Jin Jin lying across from him, is beautiful, and so full, that I almost can forgive the terribly ungainly writing.

E19. Pretty much every person with an allergy would have antihistamines on them as an emergency fall-back at all times, because it is life-threatening, literally. So to have Jin Jin not have antihistamines on her despite having a shrimp allergy, is not very believable at all.

E27. Ji Won and Jin Jin taking that long to clue in that maybe, just maybe, the Lee Soo Hyun that everyone is talking about, might be Ho Sung, is hard to believe. I mean, if she’s purposely hidden herself from her family for so long, it would make sense that she uses a fake name. Why did they take so long to even consider the possibility? And why didn’t they take a photo with them, when looking for her? That would’ve made a lot more sense.

E27. Ji Won getting up early to go to the village is sweet, but it doesn’t make sense to me that he’d be able to buy shoes and lightbulbs and get the car fixed, all before the sun’s properly risen? I just don’t think a remote little village would have that many 24-hour services, to be honest.


Show stays true to its sweet vanilla character, and doesn’t serve up any rude surprises in its final hour. We see everyone get a happy ever after, or at least, get on the path towards a happy ever after, and it’s contented smiles all around.

I wasn’t surprised to see Ah Reum change her mind about breaking up with Woo Sung, coz it was obvious that she and Woo Sung are perfect together. I loved that the very moment she realized she’d made a mistake, she literally ran right over to the hospital to tell him how she felt. More than that, I love that he didn’t seem at all surprised. It’s like he knew her so well that he was confident of this turn of events, even before it happened. Cutest of all, is how these two promptly dived into adjusting to each other’s opposite habits, with Woo Sung even learning to eat jokpal off the bone, heh.

For Young Shim’s sake, I was glad that her mom didn’t file for divorce right away, but instead started putting Dad in his place by not allowing him to walk all over her. Personally, I feel like it would’ve still been a happy ending if she divorced him right away – provided Young Shim’s ties with both parents were preserved.

On a brighter note, Young Shim’s budding romance with Kyung Seok is kinda-sorta sealed with them wearing couple sneakers (cute!), and Kyung Seok picking Young Shim up for work. I can imagine these two being adorkably cute together for a long, long time.

Ho Sung’s back in contact with her family, and even while rebuilding bonds feels a touch awkward at times, it looks like lots of family earnestness and warmth will ease the way nicely.

Even Anthony gets a chance at happy ever after, with a blossoming romance with Director Kim (strategically placed cameo by Kim So Yeon, Lee Sang Woo’s recently wedded real-life wife). I thought it was a cute touch, to make Director Kim a closet Super Fangirl of Anthony’s.

And of course, Ji Won and Jin Jin get their happy ever too, with Jin Jin finally accepting Ji Won’s proposal over a shared plate of tteokbokki. It’s casual, cozy and nothing fancy, which suits this couple’s style to a T.

Last but not least, we get the 4 Bongos together again, on a road trip in a yellow Bongo van, amid happy squeals and excited chatter. They realize they don’t have a plan, and don’t know where they’re headed, but they figure that they’ll find a way – and that it’s going to be fun. I like that for these 4 friends, that this is not only true of road trips but true of life, too.

As the camera pans away from the 4 Bongos and their yellow van, I feel rather wistful at saying goodbye to such endearing characters, but I’m also left feeling confident that they will continue to figure out life, and ride all of the ups and downs together, firmly held together by friendship and love.

Aw. I’m gonna miss these 4 Bongos. <3


Mild, charming and inoffensive. Perfect for a cozy drama nightcap, when you just want a relaxing prelude to sweet dreams.




52 thoughts on “Flash Review: 20th Century Boy And Girl

  1. Pingback: Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about slice-of-life dramas and why we like them? | The Fangirl Verdict

  2. xi

    I also find this series slow but I cannot say that I am bored is just that, I am not finding super exciting to be reveal in this drama but then as you go along this slowness and angst-lite plot also becomes its charm. And surprisingly, I kinda feel sad when this series ends.

    Found to love Jin jin character, there is something in her that made you feel connected to her and root for her happiness. Also enjoy her being naughty and teasing Ji won when they are infront of her family. Love the scene in the elevator when her mother was infront of them and Jin jin was attempting to hold Ji won hands and the scene in the last episode when they were having breakfast and Jin jin was touching Ji won legs that makes Ji won uneasy and Jin jin was laughing silently.

    Love Ji won and Jin jin chemistry, they are 35 but feels like teenager when they were together.

    I don’t like the arc of Anthony and Jin jin. It is kinda obvious where she stands, that she was into Ji won since from the start and her feelings for Anthony was just a feeling of an avid fan. I really don’t get it why Ji won was backing off.

    I feel the pain of Jin jin when Ji won doesn’t call and visited her when she got hospitalized. But I love that Jin jin doesn’t torture herself for a long time and express her disappointment and pain to Ji won in the elevator scene. And her confession to him in Jeju Island that she was waiting for him for 17 years and she will try to get over him.

    Love the friendship of our 3 girls. You kinda feel the sincerity, support and the love they have at each other. Also love the bag scene when Ah Reum requested a new bag from Jin jin, you kinda know that it is not actually for her but for Young shim. And the umbrella scene when when the 2 girls were waiting for Young shim at the bus stop.

    I suprisingly enjoy Ah reum love story as well. I feel that it is also develop in a believable manner.

    It is not a super exciting and perfect series but I found it worth watching.

  3. Pingback: Dear kfangurl: Who are your favorite supporting actors – and will they ever get to play lead?? | The Fangirl Verdict

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  5. LM

    I’m traveling through reviews of shows I’ve particularly liked, and again, I think this is spot on with everything I liked about this show. It wasn’t epic, nowhere near perfect, but it was warm and welcoming.

    Also I think Ji Won has gone right near the top of my fantasy Kdrama boyfriend list… Almost Joon Hyung levels of swoon here. (And Kim Ji Seok is older than me so I don’t feel like such a thirsty ahjumma 😂)

    1. mg

      I have a shellfish allergy and never carry antihistamines. It’s not life threatening to all people, just itchy and uncomfortable. And damn seafood it worth it! So don’t let that scene ruin your enjoyment of the episode!
      I agree the early morning buying stuff for the old people was out of place. It would have suited Ji Won better that have helped with choees, not flaunt his wealth.
      Ji Won is one of my favorite male leads ever and I didn’t previously like the actor.

  6. Pingback: Dear kfangurl: What are some romance dramas featuring regular guys? | The Fangirl Verdict

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  9. Mich

    I loved this show!!!! Totally agree with your points. This is my first time commenting because I really wanted to say THANK YOU for seeing the awesomeness in this drama despite the fact many others overlooked it. Teehee

    1. kfangurl

      Aw, YAY that you loved this sone too, Mich! I agree, I wish more folks liked this one. It’s so low-key and charming, in spite of its flaws. <3 Also, thanks for coming out and leaving a comment! Hopefully it won't be the last time either? 😀

  10. FreeTheKimchi

    Just found your wonderful blog! Husband and I are just finishing this drama, and love it. He was saying how he couldn’t understand why it didn’t do better in terms of ratings and all around sentiment. I can see how there really was no angst, suspense, action, etc. to pull viewers through. Some people like emotional roller coasters, and this show is not that. It’s more like a lovely merry-go-round, holding hands with your first love. You write amazingly well by the way. Question: are there other romantic dramas of similar tone and un-angsty-ness you would recommend?

    1. kfangurl

      Hi there, welcome to the blog! I’m glad you found me! I’m super pleased that you and your hubs enjoyed this charming lil show – I wish it would receive a little more love. You said it right, it really does feel like a lovely little merry-go-round with your first love. 🙂 In terms of other angst-lite dramas that you and your hubs could try, I recommend Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, 1% of Anything (the 2016 version), and She Was Pretty. She Was Pretty isn’t fluffy-light, but it’s light enough rom-com, and it’s got a lovely uplifting theme of self-love which I enjoyed. I’m thinking you and your hubs might also enjoy family dramas, because the right ones are very heartwarming and lovely. You might want to check out Life Is Beautiful, Ojakgyo Brothers, and Father Is Strange.

      If you’re ok to branch out beyond Korean dramas, I also recommend J-drama We Married As A Job, and C-drama A Love So Beautiful 🙂 I hope that helps!

      1. FreeTheKimchi

        So we did watch WLKBJ but didn’t enjoy it as much as this one. I think it was the actress—her facial expressions were just a little over the top for me. I saw your review of the cdrama A Beautiful Love Story and that sounds promising too. Thanks for answering!

        1. kfangurl

          Ah, I see! Yes, Lee Sung Kyung’s expressions were rather OTT, and took some getting used to for me as well. Once I got past it though, everything else was very cute and sweet. A Love So Beautiful is cute, light, and very charming, so I hope you’ll enjoy that one! 🙂

            1. kfangurl

              That’s great, Ally! (And what a bonus, that I now know your name, after checking out your post!) Yay that you’re spreading the love, and that because of your write-up, more folks are willing to give this show a chance. I so agree that this one would be worth it for Kim Ji Suk alone 😍😉

                1. kfangurl

                  Aw that is the cutest thing! 😀 If I’d had the same thought when choosing my online handle, my pen-name now would be Cookie, lol. 😆

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  12. Lekha K

    I recently completed watching this drama. I am afraid this didn’t go as well as I thought it would with me. I guess like you, I should have seen this drama while having more dramatic circumstances than I am having right now. I can say I would have definitely enjoyed it more then. Though I wasn’t bored, I didn’t feel any extreme emotions while watching it either. I will tell you my feelings about this.

    Stuff that bothered me:
    Adding to Jin Jin living like a normal person, roaming on the streets and all, there were a lot of circumstances I couldn’t make myself to believe. One being why didn’t Young Shim have a job? I mean considering how good she was at studying, her becoming a lawyer for the first time when she was as old as 35 was too unbelievable.
    Second, the way they were showing the story in the starting episodes made me feel like the characters jumped directly into their 35s after their teenage years. Like Ah Rheum asking Young Shim about why Jin Jin liked Anthony so much in the phone (Did she really have that doubt after being together for almost 30 years?). There were many circumstances like this. I know that was for us to know about them, but they should have shown it in a better way. This made it harder for me to get into the story. I couldn’t imagine them as real people.
    And the last, Ji Won’s younger self and his older self literally felt like two totally different persons. I know he matured a lot but there should have been at least be some similarities. They had completely different aura. This somewhat holds good for Jin Jin too. It felt like watching two different couples.

    Stuff that worked for me:
    One major thing – the relationships. Every single relationship you could think of was adorable. They cared for each other in their own special way. For instance the bond between Jin Jin and her manager after working years together, even with her stylist, with her friends, relationship between two brothers, two sisters.. actually all types of sibling relationships you can think of and even the love of a loyal fangirl 😀 and I can think of so many more. There wasn’t any bad blood between the characters, it was how things get messed up as it always happens in life. There isn’t always a bad person or villian to blame, isn’t it? It felt fresh and pleasing to watch their dearest for each other.
    Which actually got me to complete watching the drama. 🙂
    Oh and eonni, if you are replying to this please tell me if you are watching any drama currently or going to write any blog. I’ll wait for it then 😊

    1. kfangurl

      Hi there Lekha, sorry this show didn’t land as well for you as it did for me. I clearly had less trouble with accepting the characters and their drama world, but, I’m glad you still enjoyed the relationships and friendships enough to find the show a pleasing watch overall. 🙂

      As for the dramas I’m currently watching, I’m watching Money Flower and I’m Not A Robot. For a much more detailed rundown, you can check out my recent year-in-review post here. I hope that helps! 🙂

  13. Kat

    I am going to jump into this one soon. I’ve heard a lot of mixed things, but I want to support the actor, and I like the actress more than you. ( I even stuck with Madame Antoine ) So, during the crazy of the Christmas season, this might be a good low key antidote.

    1. kfangurl

      That’s a great idea! This one is low-key, sweet and charming, and I think it’d be a lovely way to unwind during the hectic festive season 🙂 I hope you enjoy your watch like I did! 🙂

      1. Kat

        I ended up really liking this drama for its down-to-earth main love story, the guy is a nice guy, the female friendships, the lack of makjang, and the bromance between step-brothers. It is kind of a ‘no drama k-drama’ which doesn’t work for everyone, but if one is in the right mood it’s an enjoyable watch.

        I would have given it an A at the half point but the shift into the brother showing interest in the leading lady just never worked. The writing on the love triangle was the weakest point in the drama imo and just seemed like lazy writing. I think this is sad because these brothers were so great together and the drama could have explored that more. I do think the actress did a great job drawing the line between the brother she loved and the brother she had an idol crush on but never wanted or expected anything more from. I think that could have been explored more and also the reality of what happens to idols when their heyday is gone. One of my favorite scenes from the drama is when she sees the guy at the grocery store and she calls all the fans from back in the day to come see him.

        So it went into B territory over that and a rather weird estrangement with the sister that seemed thrown together, but overall I found this an enjoyable watch.

        1. kfangurl

          Aw, I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Kat. I really liked it, for what it was, and I wish more folks would give this one a chance. ❤ I couldn’t give this one an A for all the same reasons you stated; the love triangle didn’t work for me either, and the estrangement with the sister was rather haphazardly handled too. But I still have a soft spot for this show, for being sweet and feel-good and simple. And for giving us Kim Ji Suk as such an appealing leading man. 😍

  14. Pingback: Flash Review: Because This Is My First Life | The Fangirl Verdict

  15. 천재

    I’m glad that I’m one of the loyal viewers of this drama, faithfully watching it to the end. You have written everything beautifully, and I found myself keep nodding to the points you said about the show: the wonderful ones and vice versa. I particularly agree with you that some parts of this drama needs immense suspension of disbelief, especially the one in Ep27, where Ji Won went out of his way to do all the things you’ve mentioned, and still came back in time so that Jin Jin can wake up with him next to her. I mean, we already get the point : Ji Won is super nice, super sweet, super considerate, super gentle etc. So the scene is a bit of a stretch in my opinion.

    On the other hand, the character development and their interactions are beautiful, and as you said, organic. They stay true to themselves and doesn’t change much (except for the occasional appearance of Drunk Kyung-Seok, which both baffles and amuses me). I like their endings; individually or as a whole. To put it in your word: the show is engaging and gentle.

    Thank you for your review 🙂

    1. kfangurl

      Thanks for your kind words, 천재! I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this review! 😀 And, I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this charming lil show too. It deserves all the love it gets, and then some <3

      Heh. Yes, that whole sequence of events in E27 was SO unbelievable, I couldn't help rolling my eyes! 😂 I couldn't help wondering where Ji Won managed to buy the stuff, and how he got the car fixed. Like, are we supposed to believe that he knocked on the doors to wake up the shopkeepers? 😆 Also, hi5, I also felt a little baffled by drunk Kyung Seok – he was really quite weird! 😂 But, he was sweet too, when he wasn't drunk, so I didn't find it hard to look past his weird drunk habits. 😉

  16. My2Girls

    Once again while reading your review I have to remind myself that I did not write it. You nailed it yet again. Your likes were my likes your gripes were mine. I have had a tough viewing year and I find there are less sweet, non-angsty shows out there to turn to. Life is hard and I have enough stress IRL that I don’t need it in my dramas – unless that is my viewing mood.

    It is so nice to see an actor that you have watched for over a decade finally get his leading role. I remember first noticing Kim Ji-Suk in the Vineyard Man and I adored him as the slimy ex-boyfriend in Personal Taste. He has definitely put in his dues. I found him relaxed, charming, and perfect in this drama.

    I have always felt protective of Han Ye-Seul because we grew up in the same city. So I feel like her unnie. I am happy that after all the bumps in her career she seems to be in a nice stride.

    I loved the friendships in this drama first and foremost. Shades of The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry (the worst titled drama in history) with its wonderful female friendships.

    The problem is now I am watching NOTHING and what is worse I am excited to start watching NOTHING. Like I said it is a rough year but your wonderful blog and thoughtful reviews make it easier to take.

    Thank you. Amy

    1. kfangurl

      Aw, I’m sorry this has been a rough year for you, Amy. HUGS. <3 You're right, when life's dramatic, you just never want more drama in your dramas. I’m so glad you found this show a nice little diversion. 🙂

      I so agree that Kim Ji Suk was just so lovely and perfect in this drama. 😍😍 I felt like he was close to being the perfect boyfriend, and wanted one of him for myself, more than a few times, heh. 😉 I would LOVE for Kim Ji Suk to play romantic lead more often. I mean, he’s great in all the supporting roles that he’s taken, but I’d like him to stretch those leading man muscles a little more. <3

      I haven't watched much of Han Ye Seul in anything, but I do remember her image taking a beating coz of what happened on Spy Myung Wol. It's great that she seems to have bounced back. I liked her nicely in this. Also, YES, the friendships among the girls was truly a highlight for me in this show. (And yes, The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry just might be the worst titled drama in history! We won't tempt dramaland to top that, heh.)

      I find myself being a little picky with the shows that I add to my list right now. I'm looking forward to Yoo Seung Ho's I'm Not A Robot, which looks potentially cute and maybe even a little poignant. For something else that's light and pleasant, you might want to consider The Package, if you haven't seen it already. I haven't seen it myself, but Timescout just wrote this lovely spoiler-free post on it, and it sounds like it might be in a similar angst-lite vein as 20th Century Boy and Girl. Like, these shows might not be siblings, but maybe cousins? I’m planning to try it as a drama nightcap soon. Maybe give it a try? A little virtual holidaying in France might be a nice way to take a break from RL. 🙂

    1. kfangurl

      Lol. Drama nightcap! I vote that you try this as a drama nightcap! Just half an hour each night, as you’re easing into dreamland. I think you’d like it 😉

  17. Yas

    Thank God for someone like you for coming and put down all the great reviews and comments. While many people are not very keen to watch the drama moreover to love it, I was falling head over heels for every single scenes. Unlike many other drama, it is very simple yet entertaining to me and still making me waiting for the next episode each week.. Haha.. Never mind about the low rating.. Still I was hoping that they won’t cut a few episode shorter when I read the article but overall, they managed to ended it nicely. I just love it..so thanks to you that I found someone like me who watched the drama and like the story.. Glad that you enjoyed it as much as I do..

    1. kfangurl

      Yay for more love for this show, glad you enjoyed this one too, Yas 🙂 It’s true that most drama fans either skipped or dropped this one, but thankfully, the series wasn’t cut down from 32 episodes. It was rumored that it would be sliced down to 28 episodes, and given the poor ratings, it wouldn’t have been an unusual move. But, they let Show be, and that’s a relief. Most shows that get cut down suddenly end very weirdly. 😛

      1. Yas

        Oh, so it wasn’t cut down actually? No wonder.. I actually lost count on the episode number, hahaa..but glad it’s beautifully ended.

        1. kfangurl

          Yeah, I don’t think it was cut down. It’s possible that some entertainment sites might’ve mistakenly listed this show as having 40 episodes, though. MBC stated that the show was always intended to be 32 episodes. Big phew there, coz I did like this one 😉

  18. Dorotka

    Spot on, as usual 🙂
    I loved this drama and watched it just before sleep to fill me with its warmth… just as you say 😁

    PS I would perhaps still add Jinjin’s poking of Jiwon to the list of favourite scenes 😂

    PPS And Mom was also great in Go Back Couple, she and Jang Nara have one of the most emotional scenes there. Highly recommend that drama as well.

    1. kfangurl

      Hi5 Dorotka!! 😀 How cool, that you watched this as a drama nightcap too! 😀 We certainly do think alike!

      I was so secondhand embarrassed at Jin Jin poking Ji Won though, ack. I mean, it was funny, but I felt like I had to look away. 😝 Yay for more Go Back Couple love, I’m halfway through that show as I type this, and enjoying it quite well. I do agree, Mom is great there too. <3

  19. jooniepan

    I love how you describe this drama:))

    For me, who doesn’t really like the more dramatic dramas, 20th Century Boy and Girl is a great one. I literally can just watch it in between my classes at school. Sadly, all of my drama-watching friends dropped it, though.

    If you want a shorter, sweet drama, I’d recommend you to check out Go Back Couple. It’s a 12 episodes drama. I watch it out of boredom and got so emotinally invested by the end, I swear.

    Thanks for the lovely review!!

      1. kfangurl

        Ah! Yay that you liked Go Back Couple too, Timescout! It doesn’t quite sound like your usual thing, so that gives me greater confidence in how Show fares in its second half – since that’s where most shows tend to falter. 🙂

          1. kfangurl

            Good to know!! I’m halfway through at the moment, and still not quite rooting yet, for the divorced couple to reconcile. But if you say Show wrapped things up well, I trust ya! 🙂

    1. kfangurl

      Aw, thanks jooniepan! I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this review! 😘

      I’m so glad you gave this sweet lil show a chance, despite your other drama-watching friends not liking it. It really is charming in its own way. <3 Thanks for the recommendation on Go Back Couple.. I'm about halfway through my watch, and liking it quite well. 🙂 Nam Gil is adorkably swoony, heh. 😍

  20. Timescout

    What a lovely review. You always seem to find the right words to say. 🙂

    I didn’t finished this one, though I liked many things about it. The reason I eventually dropped it wasn’t because I thought it was slow or even particularly boring. I just lost interest and after several episodes went by I realised I was trying to force myself to watch. So, I stopped. Pure romantic dramas hardly ever manage to keep me interested enough get to the end. There has to be something else, some other ingredient, perhaps a quirk of sorts, to draw me fully in. The Package managed that, I was quite surprised with how much I ended up liking that one. 😉

    1. kfangurl

      Awww! Thanks for enjoying the review, Timescout!! 😘😘 As a well-versed sunbae, your encouragement is extra precious! <3

      It's too bad that you ended up dropping this one. I can see how folks who watched this while it was airing, would be more likely to drop this one. There's not a lot that happens in the grand scheme of things, so to sustain enough interest while a week goes by before new episodes air, is particularly hard for a show like this. I watched about an episode a day, maybe two, with few exceptions except at the very tail end when I actually got caught up and ran out of episodes to watch. By then, though, this drama had earned a soft spot with me, and I looked forward to it as a nightcap.

      I'm decidedly curious about The Package because you liked it a lot – I was gonna give it a pass, thinking it would be mostly PPL and not much else. I guess I'm gonna hafta change plans now 😉

      1. Timescout

        Yes, I think it’d probably be better if you watch this one in bigger chunks at a time. The weekly wait did make it harder to keep the interest going. Especially as I wasn’t so keen on it to begin with.

        Re. The Package – I just put up a quickie post about it. 🙂

        1. kfangurl

          Yep. Even I might’ve dropped out, if I’d tried to watch it as it aired. It’s so easy to lose interest during the weekly wait for new eps, and I’ve dropped shows before, because of it. 😛 Which is why I mostly don’t dive in so soon nowadays. Give the shows a chance to wow me, and also, give me a chance to avoid shows that tank in the second half. 😅

          Yay for your post on The Package – ’twas a lovely read, and I am definitely gonna start on The Package soon! 🙂

  21. Lady G.

    Yes, yes, yes to most of this!! I’m not crazy about the actresses playing Han Ye Seul’s friends, particularly “Ah Reum” – I’ve seen the actresses in other dramas and she tends to look like she swallowed a bitter pill with a brash attitude. The moment that I decided I liked Ah Reum was ep. 4 when she cried on air about the hospital visit. I was so mad at her in ep. 3. I thought she was a terribly selfish friend. And I even said aloud that the show better make her realize what she did jeopardized Jin Jin’s career.

    And the Show heard me!

    Ah Reum & Woo Sung’s relationship was great though. I felt bad at all the “ugly” jokes about him, but late into the drama Ah Reum is describing him as so cute, like a little rabbit, and she’s getting all flustered and I found myself agreeing with her. I love when she kissed him for the first time and he morphed into the gorgeous teen she remembered. From that point she never viewed him as ugly, he was always the same to her. He was heavy on the OCD, but when it came to her, they learned to compromise.

    I honestly didn’t ship Young Shim & Kyeong Seok. But since show insisted on one, they had their moments. The couple shoes were so cute, as well as his immediate drunkenness. And the part where he took over for her mom’s divorce consultation was a winner. It seemed like he was a space cadet in his own world, but he’d payed very close attention and knew every move she made.

    Yet, I felt that Show having all these romances was too pat. I figured Young Shim’s issues stemmed from her inability to work in the field she tried hard to break into.(Aside from the family problems.) And when she finally gets hired, she consistently makes mistakes and is always late. That irked me a lot, because I was the same way in my younger years. Not 30’s. Thank goodness she had an understanding boss.

    So I thought her character arc should’ve been more focused on her becoming exceptional in her field, not the romance. She wasn’t desperate for it like Ah Reum or wistful about it like Jin Jin. We didn’t even get to see her on her first trial. Though a lot of time was spent on her preparing for it. She learned more empathy after the first case with the janitor’s grandson.

    But it’s nice you really enjoyed her character and the actress. She gave a very nuanced performance and those moments where she put on a smile were sweet.

    This drama made me smile every episode. I love when a drama does that to me.

    Well, at least they didn’t dive right into a romance. As you said, it was extra organic. They steadily worked themselves up from colleagues.

    I can’t say enough about Ji Won, because you said it all!! I need him in my life! I never found HYS to be a particularly good drama kisser, she’s of the flat fish lip, wide-eyed variety. But Kim Ji Suk dragged it out of her. LOL I really feel they had amazing chemistry.

    And dear Anthony with his lost puffin bird eyes. I always wanted to hug him. I knew the ship would never work and the forced noble idiocy on Ji Won’s part was silly. Jin Jin clearly only liked Anthony from a fan’s point of view.

    It actually made viewers question whether Anthony was the man his fiancee cheated with. I saw tons of comments about that. I never believed that. It wasn’t in tune with warmth and ease of the show. It kind of felt like a Red Herring when Ji Won was drunk in the bar and Anthony miraculously shows up in Hong Kong. But I knew that was to show how much he loved and supported his brother. It was why Ji Won was determined to help him through the sickness.

    Sometimes the brothers’ conversations bordered on awkward. Like the whole ox-bone soup dialogue. But I chalked it up to “Anthony the introvert” just talking in metaphors again. I loved the Kim So Yeon cameo, and was glad that Anthony found love – and with a fan as crazy about him as Jin Jin. lol

    The Pink haired brother was a cutie, i kind of wish he had more to do. And the plot with the missing sister – It was nice to see beautiful Kim Jung-hwa again. It was a little aggravating for all the reasons you mentioned. Nobody really talked to her about anything. We were only clued in that her husband died because of the older photo of them and he’s wearing a head bandage while in a wheelchair. It was so convenient how they found her through the flower art but that’s drama for you. I wanted more about why she left, who the husband was, etc.

    But I think their mom cleared that up because it seemed like Mr. Sa was very possessive over his daughters. To the point that he’d potentially drive them away. I rolled my eyes the way he attacked Ji Woo after finding out they were dating. Come on, really? You let him live in that house, eat every meal, go out of your way to dote on him like a son-in-law, and then beat him when he’s actually dating your daughter? Didn’t quite sit well with me and I felt it was thrown in for comedic effect. I guess because he didn’t want to imagine what his daughter *could* be doing every time Ji Won went up there. I completely understand, but she’s 35 years old. LOL

    Sorry for the long winded comment…you might’ve known THIS ONE was coming!! LOL

    1. kfangurl

      Haha, yes, I kind of guessed you’d have a lot to say about this drama, m’dear! I’m just so pleased that you found a drama to love, and one that’s so out of your usual wheelhouse, to boot! 😀

      Yes, I felt bad too, for all the “ugly” jokes made at Woo Sung’s expense.. That’s something that I wish kdramas would do less of. But yes, I thought it was uber sweet that Ah Reum kept seeing Woo Sung as his good-looking teenage self. I was all, D’aw.. it’s true.. love does that to ya. I kind of expected the loveline between Young Shim and Sunbae, in the sense that just the two of them in the office, for hours and hours everyday, was like drama shorthand screaming, THIS LOVELINE IS GONNA HAPPEN, heh. I do agree that it would’ve been nice to have seen more of her improving as a lawyer. And, I would’ve liked to have seen that first trial that she prepared so hard for. I guess Show wanted to focus its attention on the relationships, and assumed that we would paint in the missing pieces on our own?

      And YES, Kim Ji Suk is so wonderful in this! 😍😍😍 More than a few times, I wanted a Ji Won all for myself, lol. And OMG yes, those code conversations that Anthony had with Ji Won, where he basically equated Jin Jin to soup, was so awkward and ungainly!! 😆😆😆 I think I saw a comment remarking that the metaphor was poetic, but I was like, NO WAY. SOUP?? 😆

      I would’ve liked more detail on why Ho Sung ran away and everything as well. Again, it’s implied but not actually spelled out. In this case, I wanted it spelled out. I could only assume that she wanted to be with a terminally ill man, and her parents objected, and so she ran away. And yes, that whole Dad thing, of suddenly getting super possessive over Jin Jin, was oddly handled. Sometimes writers put in weird things for comedy, I guess? Overall, a very sweet show though, in spite of its flaws. I don’t discount reaching for this one again sometime – when I need a drama nightcap, or a generous helping of sweet, melty Kim Ji Suk. <3 <3

    2. Aqua

      The pink-haired brother is Shin of Cross Gene! I too wish he had a bigger role, been in the game for a while now, so I hope to see a main role for him soon.


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