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[Review] ‘Hello, Me!’: Three Reasons Why We Tear Up Behind the Playful Laughters

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Credit: KBS

The time-slip genre, including time travel, is a popular topic in movies and dramas. Mainly, it’s because the story of the hero changing his fate by boing back in time presents us with a strange vicarious satisfaction. On the same note, the recently-started drama Hello, Me! is also receiving positive responses from viewers. 

Hello, Me! starts as 37-years-old Ban Ha Ni, who is quite servile and timid, meets her 17-year-old self, and various episodes in their encounter presents us with small fun. Usually, the main characters travel back in time to change their fates, but it’s the opposite in Hello, Me! and that change gives us a big laugh, all the while leaves us with a bitter feeling.  Let’s look at three reasons for what makes the viewer “funny and sad.”

 

Hello? It’s Choi Kang Hee.

Credit: KBS

Only four episodes have aired so far, but Choi Kang Hee, who plays Ban Ha Ni, already stands out. In the drama, Ban Ha Ni gets in trouble with a customer while working as a part-timer in a supermarket, and to make matters worse, her life gets even more complicated when she meets her 17-year-old self. Choi naturally portrays Ban Ha Ni’s disconcerted situation, adding sympathy to the character and strengthening the solidity of the plot.

In particular, how she takes care of 17-year-old Ban Ha Ni like an older sister or a mother is responsible for the warmth of the drama by giving laughter and joy at the same time, and the moment she finds out that her mistake is responsible for dragging herself from 20 years ago to the present time, she fills the screen with her heart-rending performance, evoking pity from the viewers. Because of the basic storytelling of Ban Ha Ni, who had to endure many storms of life for the past 20 years, Choi Kang Hee showed somewhat dirted visuals, but at the same time, she brings life to the character who “gave up in this life” with her frank acting, showing off her ability as the “go-to” actress.

 

Nice to meet you, comedy!

Credit: KBS

Choi Kang Hee in a squid costume and Kim Young Kwan as a trenchcoat man (Korean version of flasher); these two unusual characters first encounter at a police station, and at that moment, the drama’s hilarity begins. From that point on, various happenings the two face are illustrated comically, and in the process, the fact that there is a special relationship between the two is hinted, making us look forward to the future developments. And of course, the so-called 2000 retro chemistry of Choi Kang Hee and Lee Re, who play the two Ban Ha Nis in different ages, will continue to delight us.

Kim Young Kwang and Eum Moon Suk, who have slowly entered the center part of the story, are also showing a rather solid batting average in comedy. Kim Young Kwang appears as Han Yoo Hyun, the immature heir of a conglomerate, and captures both laughter and loveliness with his deft and jolly appearance. Eum Moon Suk, who is well-known for his comical acting, shows off his veteran skills. He transforms into Anthony, who has been branded an “unlikable” celebrity, and adds spice to the play with his cheeky and sloppy performance. These two will form a love triangle with Ban Ha Ni in the middle. 

 

I’m sorry… me in the past. 

Credit: KBS

Hello, Me! sketches out the pleasant disturbance that happens when Ban Ha Ni meets her younger self, and despite its overall pleasing tone, our eyes often get watery. After meeting her resplendent 17-year-old self, Ban Ha Ni, who barely lives with no dreams, goals, or hopes, realizes that it was indeed herself who has hurt her the most. And with this magical encounter, Ban Ha Ni chooses to break out of her shell and raise her voice.

High school student Ban Ha Ni cannot accept her future self. Putting the fact that she was once known as the school’s queen in the shade, the current Ban Ha Ni kneels down and grovels to overbearing customers and eats salt with her sister. The 17-year-old Ban Ha Ni expresses her frustration at her 37-year-old self, yelling, “How the hell can you live your life like that!” and this sentence pricks our conscience. Perhaps it is because we, who watch these two Ban Ha Nis, know that we were crestfallen in the face of many options and hurt by how far we have drifted away from our dreams. For those who are well aware of such joys and sorrows, Ban Ha Ni’s story will come as more of a touching tale than a comedy.

 

As there are still 12 episodes left, the wave of life that the main characters will have to face will be high, but we expected to see Ban Ha Ni break away from her usual spiritless life and take a great leap forward. And  of course, she will go beyond sending 17-year-old Ban Ha Ni back to her time and deliver a message of comfort and hope to the drama fans, saying, “Life is not over yet.”

 

Verdict: From the laughter that comes from the absurdity of meeting myself from the past to the unexpected tears as I look back on my life (7/10)

Editor Hwang Hong Sun: A Korean movie buff who wishes that the warm messages in good works will warm up this world at least by one degree Fahrenheit

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