This month’s drama quickly rose to the top of my favorites list when it originally aired. The cast was fantastic, the story was touching and it brought about a lot of self-reflection on my part, which is not something a lot of dramas inspire me to do. When the drama came to an end I was sad to see it go because I felt as if I was being forced to say goodbye to a good friend. Leaving me with so many good vibes, I felt it only fitting to recommend Twenty Again (두번째 스무살) as a this month’s featured drama.
Originally airing on tvN from late August through mid-October, Twenty Again (두번째 스무살) is the story of Ha No Ra (Choi Ji Woo, 최지우), a woman in her late 30s who, on the brink of a divorce, decides to attend college as a means of better matching herself with her university professor husband, Kim Woo Chul (Choi Won Young, 최원영). Things get interesting when No Ra and her 20 year-old son, Kim Min Soo (Kim Min Jae, 김민재) are both accepted to the same university and even more interesting when Kim Woo Chul accepts a post at the exact same school.
With the entire Kim family at odds with each other, there’s a lot of tension both at home and at school and No Ra finds herself in a very difficult position. Things for No Ra get infinitely worse when she’s told she only has a few months left to live. Determined to live as much of her life as she can, in the little bit of time she has left, No Ra does her best to experience all of the things she had to give up on in her youth. Helped along by her old high school friend turned college professor, Cha Hyun Suk (Lee Sang Yoon, 이상윤), No Ra sets off on a path towards self-discovery that takes her places she never could have imagined.
Like I’ve already said, this drama made me do a lot of reflecting on my own life and I loved it for that. I loved that No Ra was such a relate-able character and that her situation and circumstance weren’t so far off from what so many of us have experienced in our own lives. That’s not to say we’ve all had babies at 19, or married ridiculously young, or missed out on college and all the experiences that come with it or whatnot, but there are aspects of No Ra’s life that I’m sure all of us who are a bit older, can relate to in one way or another. Even if it’s just the fact that she takes the time to step back and look at her life and see that there are things she’d like to change and then have the courage to change them, that’s enough to make her an inspiring character and one of my Dramaland favorites.
I could honestly sing the praises of No Ra forever but she’s not the only character in this story that I love. Hyun Suk starts out as a punk (and the other men in No Ra’s life are infinitely worse) but as the story progresses his role morphs from one of antagonist to one of inspiration and motivation and I really liked that about him. Hyun Suk becomes the biggest supporter of No Ra as she sets out on this quest to find herself and I love him for that, mostly because No Ra has never been truly loved or supported in her entire life.
Yes, Hyun Suk does play a romantic role in No Ra’s story but that’s not the main reason he’s there. His real role in the story is to open No Ra’s eyes and help her see that she’s so much more valuable as a person than she’s been lead to believe. After spending 20 years bowing to the needs and wishes of her husband and son, No Ra has lost herself and has no sense of her self-worth, which is why Hyun Suk becomes such an important character. Being her high school friend, he has very vivid memories of what she was like as a teenager and it’s when she begins to see herself through his eyes that No Ra remembers that she used to be so much more than this empty shell she’s become.
I think one of the reasons why I love this drama as much as I do is because as awful as some of the characters are in the beginning, they all find themselves at a better place in the end. Each of the characters learns some pretty valuable lessons as the story progresses and though things don’t end up the way any one of these characters really plans, they’re all left in a much better place than when this story started. I’m a huge fan of watching characters learn and grow and basically become better people so in that respect I give this drama a hearty two-thumbs up.
I will admit that it’s a bit difficult to get through the first few episodes, not because they’re exceptionally bad but because the characters in them are absolutely awful. Woo Chul and Min Soo are two of the most awful people on the face of the planet and they treat No Ra like crap. They are the worst father and son duo and I spent an awful lot of time wishing I could smack both of them upside the head. Even Hyun Suk starts off as a petty punk and he too deserves a good dose of smacking but things do get better and there are some pretty adorable side characters that come along and make things better. No Soon Nam (No Young Hak, 노영학) was definitely one of them. Ugh! Hearing him call No Ra noona always made my heart melt. He was such a cutie!
If you’re looking for a drama with a fair amount of cute, a healthy but not overdone dose of frustration, a touch of heartbreak and a refreshingly realistic take on life, I’d recommend you give Twenty Again (두번째 스무살) a try. I was more than satisfied with the way the story progressed, happy with the realistic portrayal of the characters and more than pleased with the way things worked out in the end. I looked forward to each episode as it aired and mourned the loss of my friend when it wrapped up. All in all, it’s a pretty great drama and one I’d definitely recommend. (Obviously.) Of course you know I always love hearing your thoughts on things so be sure to let me know what you thought of this drama by leaving me a comment below!