Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
Amid the waves of works overflowing with provocative materials and scenes, a rom-com that provides comfort and healing has appeared. tvN weekend series Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha is directed by Oh My Ghost director Yoo Je Won and penned by The Crowned Clown writer Shin Ha Eun. It’s a drama remake of the movie Mr. Hong, and the story begins as dentist Yoon Hye Jin opens her clinic in Gongjin, a sea village.
The attractive feature of this work is the leading actors – Shin Min Ah and Kim Seon Ho. As soon as the news of their casting had hit the wire, expectations went through the roof. And from the premiere episode, the dashing looks and chemistry of Yoon Hye Jin (Shin Min Ah) and Hong Doo Sik (Kim Seon Ho) came under the spotlight. Shin, who chose the project because she wanted to do a rom-com again, unleashes her lovely charm as she does exactly what she wanted to do. Hye Jin, an individualist who values personal space the most and has to say what’s on her mind, becomes a stranger in Gongjin, a village full of kindness. She shows the so-called “a city slicker” side of her to the villagers from the start. However, the character that could seem cheeky turned into a character you can’t help but love with Shin’s acting. The process of Hye Jin, who kept the people from Gongjin at arm’s length, opening her heart after meeting Doo Sik is also quite attractive.
Kim, who spared a second-lead syndrome in his previous work Start-Up, is once again impressing us with his charms. Doo Sik, dubbed “Chief Hong,” only receives minimum hourly wages while working part-time and travels all over the village to assist whatever random tasks his neighbors need help with. You may feel somewhat disconcerted as he speaks impolitely to Hye Jin upon their first meeting. But contrary to the way he talks, this “reluctance” disappears with his considerate actions. Doo Sik knows every bit of the village and all the people thanks to his nosy tendency to share good deeds, giving off a vibe of Gongjin village’s fairy and unicorn. On top of everything, Doo Sik slowly taps on Hye Jin’s heart and adds charm by acting as a stepping stone for Hye Jin’s growth as a person.
Another attractive feature of the drama is the flow of narrative that consists of healing-first-then-romance steps. The main characters’ romance is important, but the people Hye Jin meets in Gongjin also play a crucial role in the plot. For Hye Jin, who is from the city, Gongjin residents’ communal life and easygoing lifestyle are unbearable. And because of her personality of telling exactly how she feels, Hye Jin ends up hurting many people. Doo Sik allows Hye Jin a chance to look back on herself. With his help, she slowly brings down the wall she had built and starts communicating with the people, settling down as Gongjin’s dentist. Seeing that, the viewers feel small yet definite happiness. In addition, various episodes of Gongjin people, such as Kim Gam Ri, who raised Doo Sik like her grandson, cafe owner Choon Jae, and her daughter Oh Joo Ri that reached puberty, adds to the viewers’ satisfaction.
Overall, the series unfolds Doo Sik and Hye Jin’s romance while untangling the various stories of the villagers. As the end of each episode is nearing, their heart-fluttering romance of the two floods out. In particular, in episode 4, Doo Sik covers Hye Jin’s blushed face with his hands, then in episode 5, their kiss follows the scene above, allowing great excitement. Moreover, the epilogues fill the holes in the narrative and the characters’ emotions, naturally making us wait for the coming episodes.
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha charmingly depicts the cute and romantic chemistry of Hye Jin and Doo Sik, who have opposite personalities. As the two slowly fall for each other, the romance between them begins to blossom. And as Ji Sung Hyun, a person who will strengthen their romance, newly joined the picture, the romance in the sea village Gongjin is expected to heat up even more. Besides the romance, the drama still has lots of stories to tell, such as Hye Jin and Doo Sik’s past. I just hope that it continues to unravel them as attractively as it is now.
Verdict: Three spoons of sweet rom-com in a drama that tells healing daily stories in a pretty sea village (7/10)
Edited by Kim Won Hee: I am a person who needs more than 24 hours in a day because there are so many things I love. I am amassing various genres in the jewelry box in my heart.
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.