You know, when I sat down to watch the first couple of episodes of Twenty Again this past weekend, I had no intention of reviewing it. Really I only started watching it because I’d just finished watching Oh My Ghost and I needed something to fill the new drama gap in my life so I figured why not give this one a go. Well, I did and now here I sit, writing this review… Go figure!
I think it’s the premise of the story that first drew me in; I mean the story of a soon-to-be divorced housewife in her early 40s who decides to attend university after she’s told she only has six months to live isn’t your average drama plot. Yes, the whole fatal medical diagnosis thing is highly overdone but with so much other, more unique, plot devices in play, I’m willing to overlook it. Especially since we all know she *SPOILER ALERT* doesn’t actually have cancer.
The fact that this drama is centered around an “old lady” who chooses to spend the last months of her life trying to better herself through education is certainly unique on its own and I’m thoroughly intrigued by Ha No Ra’s (Choi Ji Woo) character. I want to know more about her. How she grew up. What happened to her family. Why did her life take the turn it did. How is she going to make her life better now? In short, I want to know what makes this woman tick. I also want to know if she’s going to become a woman I want to cheer for or write off as a lost cause. At the moment, I want to cheer for her. Like, a lot. I want her to succeed in everything she sets her mind to and I want her to come out the other side a totally transformed woman. I want her to be confident in herself, I want her to have the courage to find her dream and live it. I want her to write off all the men in her life and believe that she’s better off alone than when these awful men that currently surround her. (But more on that later.) I know that sounds like a lot to ask of a woman who doesn’t even have the confidence to look her 20 year younger classmates in the eye but I think she’ll get there. She just needs to stop believing the crap everyone around her keeps feeding her and start believing in herself instead.
The fact Ha No Ra is on the brink of divorce makes her character even more unique, mostly because it’s not a topic that’s readily addressed in dramas. Most of the time in Dramaland, a divorced couple ends up separating but not permanently. There always seems to be some lame reason for the husband and wife to end up reconciling when both parties would really be better off going their separate ways. (The divorce debacle in The Greatest Marriage comes painfully to mind. Ugh!) If this is where this drama eventually leads, I’m going to be so upset! But I’m getting ahead of myself again. At the moment it seems Ha No Ra and her husband, Kim Woo Chul (Choi Won Young), are destined for divorce and to that I say, “GOOD RIDDANCE!” Kim Woo Chul is the lowest of the low. A lying, cheating (with one of No Ra’s professors, no less), jerk of a man who has absolutely no respect for his wife and who has raised their son, Kim Min Soo (Kim Min Jae), to be just as bad. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea how No Ra has been able to put up with these two for so long; they’re absolutely awful and if Min Soo were my kid, I’d have smacked some respect into him a long time ago. (In the most loving and non-violent way possible. Of course.)
As if having two of the world’s most awful men in her life wasn’t enough, No Ra ends up attending the university where her old high school crush, Cha Hyun Suk (Lee Sang Yoon), teaches. While this sounds like the perfect opportunity to rekindle an old flame, the problem lies in the fact Hyun Suk never bothered to confess his feelings for No Ra when they were in high school so when she ended up pregnant and married at 19, he was left with some pretty strong and stubbornly lingering feelings of resentment. Of course carrying a 20 year grudge would make a man a bit rough around the edges but Hyun Suk goes so far beyond that it’s not even funny. He’s petty and mean and vindictive and just as awful to No Ra as her husband which makes me wonder… Why should I root for Hyun Suk to win the girl when I don’t like him any more than I like Woo Chul? I guess this is why I’ll be coming back for more of this show… to see if either one of these men deserves to be with No Ra in the end. Well, that’s part of the reason why anyway.
Before I wrap this up, I just have to ask: Is is really so outlandish for a 40-year-old woman to want to go back to school? Everyone in this drama makes is seem like the most ridiculous thing for No Ra to want to do and once she gets to school, everyone, faculty, staff, students, treat her like some sort of leper. What’s the big deal about someone wanting to go to school? I went to school with students twice my age and I treated them no different from the way I treated anyone else. Heck, some of my best friends in school were quite a bit older than me and did any of us care? Nope! Shoot, even now that the tables have turned on me and I’m the older one befriending the younger, age still isn’t an issue. So why is everyone making it such a big deal in this drama? Is there some cultural thing going on here that I’m just not getting? Is it really taboo to meet, interact and make friends with people who are younger/older than you? Am I just weird? And speaking of cultural things… I also need to ask why everyone at the university is being so mean to No Ra. I thought respect for elders was a big deal in Korean culture, so why are these kids being such punks? I get that things have to be rough for No Ra for no other reason than she’s a drama heroine and that’s just how things are but really? I kinda get the feeling this drama is trying to make some sort of statement on the moral decline of young people and their general lack of respect or something. But maybe I’m reading way too much into things.
Whatever the case, I’m thoroughly hooked on this story and I can’t wait to stop this rambling so I can go watch the next two episodes. Of course before I go, I have to ask what you think of this drama so far. Are you as interested in No Ra’s character as I am? Do you have any idea why this poor woman has ended up surrounded by horrible people and awful men? Will things ever get easier for her or is she doomed to suffer forever? You know I always love hearing from you so be sure to let me know what you’re thinking by leaving me a comment below!