Side note: A NEW BLOG ENTRY! YAAASSSSSS. This entry on Twenty Again has spoilers, so be warned!
I have a confession: Twenty Again was the first Korean drama that I watched from start until finish. For some strange reason, I never got around to watching Korean dramas. Earlier this year, I tried watching Descendants of the Sun, but never got to finish it. Who knew that a random visit to Choi Ji-woo’s Wikipedia page would change things? Blabber aside, allow me to share my thoughts about Twenty Again, and why it’s an endearing show to watch.
Twenty Again is the story of Ha No-ra (played by Choi Ji-woo), a 38-year old woman who enters college for the first time in almost 20 years. During those twenty years, she devoted her life to becoming a wife to her condescending, douchebag of a husband Kim Woo-chul and a mother to their son Kim Min-soo. As their son Min-soo is about to enter university, Woo-chul and No-ra decided to get a divorce. While going through divorce proceedings, No-ra secretly applies for university. As she finalizes her plan to go to university, she gets misdiagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer with a timeframe of 6 months to live. She uses the misdiagnosis as a wake-up call to experience life as a young adult while enrolled in college.
In the beginning, No-ra’s journey to experience life as a young adult in her late thirties was met with several challenges. Some of those challenges include keeping her student life a secret from Woo-chul and Min-soo, her actual student life, and dealing with the consequences of the decisions that will affect her impending divorce with Woo-chul. She also tries to reconcile with her past, in which she aims to find closure after her grandmother’s death. Over the course of the series, No-ra gradually overcomes these challenges and becomes a confident, independent, and capable woman who is living her life on her own terms. She gets to pursue her childhood dream once more, try new things, and gain new skills.
Although Ha No-ra’s personal journey is the central plot of the drama, there are several story lines that keep Twenty Again interesting, such as the love story between N0-ra and her theater arts professor Cha Hyeon-seok. Hyeon-seok and No-ra were classmates back in high school, and they developed a very deep friendship during that time. Hyeon-seok had a crush on No-ra, and regarded her as his first love. When No-ra first encounters Hyeon-seok in his class, he treats No-ra like a stranger and acts petty and immature around her. When Hyeon-seok learns about No-ra’s initial cancer diagnosis, he gradually changes his ways and starts acting as her protector and cheerleader. He also helps her fulfill the items on her college bucket list, and helps her become more assertive in dealing with her husband Woo-chul and her son Min-soo. In spite of all of his good deeds, his pettiness and temper still shines through, especially when dealing with No-ra. I guess this is me being accustomed to Korean dramas, but why are the male protagonists in K-dramas (especially the romantic comedy ones) act petty and childish? I also saw these traits in Ham Bok-geo and Ma Seok-woo in Woman With A Suitcase (a separate review on this drama soon!). In all fairness, I really ‘shipped No-ra and Hyeon-seok throughout the series, and I was super glad that they got their happy ending.
Now on to my actual thoughts about Twenty Again. The main thing that kept me hooked to this drama was Ha No-ra’s journey towards self-empowerment and growth. Her character development was really inspiring. It compelled me to actively pursue self-improvement and gradually wean off self-doubt in my system. No-ra was initially presented in the series as a meek, gullible, woman who was looked down upon by her husband and son. Over the course of the show, she transforms into this strong and assertive woman who’s determined to make a better life for herself (and her son). I think it’s beautiful for any human being to take control of their own destiny and stand up for themselves when needed. Ha No-ra’s growth eventually paid off, because it helped mend her relationships with other people and find closure from her past. The “growth” arc throughout the show is definitely present in other characters, since each character experienced an awakening in one way or another at a certain point in the series.
YAAAAAS No-ra, yes!
Aside from Ha No-ra’s character development, another thing that I loved about this drama was Choi Ji-woo and Lee Sang-yoon’s chemistry! They look so good together, and they really pull off that childish banter between No-ra and Hyeon-seok really well. When it came time with the more serious and romantic scenes, I immediately felt the kilig between them. Maybe it’s because of the history between their characters, but it felt like it was the most natural thing to root for their happy ending.
Last but not the least, the thing that made me really love Twenty Again was Ha No-ra’s sense of style! It’s very down-to-earth, but still very polished and clean. Ha No-ra’s wardrobe was made up of button-downs, skinny jeans, striped shirts, and knitwear, all of which are pieces that I gravitate towards on a daily basis. Choi Ji-woo’s elegant stature definitely shines through no matter what character she inhabits in, such as Ha No-ra!
I don’t really have anything negative to say about Twenty Again. All I can say is that it’s a charming romantic comedy series with an empowering message. At the same time, it will make you feel all the feelings and get giddy about love and second chances in life. Not to mention, the fashion is worth checking out too.