Hi everybody, and welcome to a new Something Different Sunday, on which I talk about… well something different from books.
Today I’m talking about the amazingly feel-good and healing kdrama called Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (available on Netflix). It’s such a warm kdrama that I’d highly recommend to anyone who loves small-town romances and shows like Gilmore Girls or Hart of Dixie.
What it’s about:
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha is the story of a successful dentist called Hye-Jin, who lives and works in Seoul. However, when Hye-Jin righteously quits her job in protest of her greedy boss and then drunkenly posts her story on the internet, that boss makes sure she can’t get hired in Seoul again. In an attempt to soul-search, she visits a little seaside village called Gongjin and on a whim decides to open up her own dentist practice there. Naturally she has some issues adjusting to small-town life and regularly buts heads with the town handyman called Hong Du-Sik, a man who’s always helping out the townspeople and held in high esteem by them all. They cross paths regularly and though they seem opposites in every way, they soon form a connection.
Why I loved it :
The ‘city girl moves to small town’ trope
Hye-Jin is a big city girl, loving her life in Seoul, her shopping hauls and the overall fast pace of the city. So when she suddenly decides to pack up everything and move to a small seaside village, it naturally comes with some adjustments and hurdles. At first, she clashes with the townspeople: the village grandmas disapprove of the leggings she wears for running (“she’s wearing her underwear”), she insults the little town shop when she doesn’t want to shop there because they don’t have her shampoo and is caught bad-mouthing the town coffee shop owner in a moment of frustration. Basically, all the typical, yet highly entertaining shenanigans you’d expect to come with this particular trope. But though Hye-Jin comes across as strict and standoff-ish at first, she slowly grows to love the little town as they do her. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the help of Du-Sik, so that leads me to…
The healthy, adorable romance
This is one of the most fun, adorable, and most of all, healthy and mature relationships I’ve seen in a kdrama. Though Hye-Jin and Du-Sik seem like opposites in every way and clash quite a bit at first, it’s so nice to see them both grow as people and as a couple throughout it all. Though it’s clear that Du-Sik is hiding something about his past that troubles him, him and Hye-Jin always share such an open, honest communication with each other that was beautiful to watch. Also, they’re both just so adorable together. It’s not for nothing they are known as the ‘dimple-couple’!
It wouldn’t be a kdrama without some major secondary lead syndrome, now would it? This comes in the form of Ji Seong-Hyeon, a former classmate of Hye-Jin and current tv show director who chooses Gongjin as location for his new reality show and in the process reconnects with Hye-Jin. Seong-Hyeon has harbored a crush on Hye-Jin for a long time and is loving the chance to reconnect with her and maybe finally open up about his feelings. He’s also super adorably awkward, humble, sweet and professionally super succesful. So while we all love Du-Sik, be prepared for major secondary lead syndrome!
But what makes this even better is that Seong-Hyeon builds up a beautiful friendship with Du-Sik as well. They share this great friendship and bromance and, aside from a few little dips, handle their romantic jealousy in a mature and honest way. Which of course, only made me love them even more.
And can we talk a little bit about Hye-Jin and Pyo Mi-Seon? Mi-Seon is Hye-Jin’s best friend from Seoul and she’s the absolute best. Not only does she follow Hye-JIn to Gongjin, moves in with her and helps her out at her dental office, she’s also always there for Hye-Jin in every way. Whether she’s being the best wingwoman and conveniently remembering other appointments so Hye-Jin can spend some alone time with Du-Sik, holding Hye-Jin through the sad times or simply cheering her on, Mi-Seon is the best and the world would be a better place if all of us had a friend like her.
The amazing cast of loveable townspeople
This wouldn’t be a small-town romance without a loveable cast of quirky townspeople, now would it? Though the main focus on the drama is of course on Hye-Jin and Du-Sik, the rest of the townspeople get quite a bit of screentime as well. From the town grandmas to the most adorable little kids (and their pet hedgehog!), from the divorced couple to the newly pregnant couple and from the town gossip-queen to the single dad coffeeshop owner, all of these characters get their own storylines and moments to shine. Literally, because one episode even features a town talent show and it is just as awesome as it sounds. Just like Stars Hollow, Gongjin will be one of those places that you wish you could move to and live yourself.
The warm visuals
And of course, a lot of the warm, healing and comforting vibe of this show has to do with the absolutely gorgeous cinematography. From the town shots to the fashion, everything just visually fits together so well and brings across the warm and summery feeling in such an appealing way.
I absolutely adored this show and would recommend to anyone who loves a good small-town romance, adorable and mature romances and a lovely cast of secondary characters. If you loved shows like Gilmore Girls or Hart of Dixie, I’d highly recommend giving this warm little show a chance. It’s one of the highest rated kdrama shows of 2021 and I can only say that the hype is real! And it’s even available on Netflix, so don’t miss out and visit Gongjin today!