Review – Twenty Again
What a gem of a show! Such a simple premise… a young, energetic dancer has a one night stand with a stranger that ends in an unexpected pregnancy – she ends up hastily getting married and follows her new husband to Germany, where he has his first professor appointment. There, isolated and alone, she sort of looses her spark and falls into obscurity, her house and home becoming her entire world as all her dreams are lost. Motherhood becomes her only solace. Her husband pushes her further and further away, until finally he asks for a divorce when their son is a teenager. They postpone the divorce until their kid goes off to college… and in a mad dash attempt to save her marriage by becoming the intellectual equal of her husband, our leading lady secretly enrolls in college. There she runs into one of her best friends from high school, who secretly had a crush on her, and the show takes off!
So much happens. There are all sorts of twists and turns in the relationships. Affairs. Terminal illnesses. Miscommunication on an epic scale. And adorable banter and humor between the adult leads, as well as all the students, faculty and staff. So much cuteness. And a really great story, too, of growing up even when you’re already a grown up. I loved it.
Overall Rating: 8/10. There’s No Planned Parenthood in K-World.
More discussion and spoilers and musing…
Let’s start with our housewife. She was so perfect. Once a spunky young teenager, she is now a demure, but still quite quirky middle aged woman attempting something outside her comfort zone. To be fair, almost everything has moved outside her comfort zone, so you can’t help but be proud of her as she fights her way through all these obstacles and uncomfortable situations, both at home and at school.
Perfect casting, too. What a mom!
To balance her out, we had her childhood friend – who was once awkward and shy and had grown up to become hot and successful. They were sooooo freakin’ adorable together. I loved how they reverted to grade school behavior the second they got together. Their petty outbursts, their playful giggles, their jokes and comfort together – even when they were fighting, there was that ease of years between them that you only have with people that you were close to in those formative years.
Both of them were masters of secret keeping – and withholding. My god, this show might have been over in five episodes if they’d just been honest about their life situations and their feelings. But nope. Adults are repressed. Even more so than teenagers, who keep secrets because of insecurities. Adults are insecure AND repressed. It’s a sad combination, but very real.
One of my favorite scenes was when the old gang got back together on April Fool’s Day and ran around in their high school uniforms and went back to their old school. There was a nice use of having the teenage characters haunt the adult characters – and they would follow their former selves around while reminiscing.
We only get a small taste of the backstories to the other two besties. The other dude apparently was an unsuccessful actor, then lost his money in a pyramid scheme before taking over a small roadside restaurant. The girl bestie is still close with the mom, runs a successful dance company… and that’s about it. I guess she’s happily single. She was definitely one of my favorite characters – I love this actress – she always plays these fun, boisterous blunt characters.
And then of course, there’s the actual young people in the show. The mom’s son has just started college. It’s a miracle he’s not a total basketcase, all thing considered, but instead he’s just a studying machine who rarely enjoys life… until he meets and falls in love with a spunky young thing who is determined to make a human out of him. How cute was their love story??? They were so enjoyable to watch. She was the perfect balance to his nature – and they really brought out the best aspects of one another.
The other college kids were also fun – with cute little side stories and personalities. The dance group. The study groups. The “fake dates.” Speaking of… let’s just pause and consider how totally baffling and bizarre and yet downright interesting that “relationships” class was. Learning about gender and dating and how to balance out the sexes for college credit? Awesome. The breeders have it made in Korea!
The husband was fascinating. He’s a psychology professor – and I stick firm to my belief that NO ONE goes into the field of psychology who isn’t a mental case in the first place. It’s the damnedest thing, but so far in my experience… I have yet to find evidence that contradicts my theory. Shrinks are all nutters. Well armed nutters, with an arsenal of manipulation and cool psycho babble always ready. He would get sooooo close to having a genuine moment of self revelation – and it was like he had his fingers on it… but he just couldn’t keep hold of it for more than five seconds. Snaps to the writers for keeping his character true to his nature, complicated and self defeating (and yet he’s the type who will always escape whatever mess he makes… and once he’s clear of the mud, look back and say, “Oh my god, look at what a disaster that was! I am so glad I got out of that and had nothing to do with its creation.”)
His mistress was equally awesome and complicated. The daughter of wealth and power, she was self aware to a hilarious extent. Some of her inner monologue, which she always tended to say out loud, had me in stitches. “Why do I feel like I just left the bathroom without wiping my butt?” I thought I would die!
Successful, fashionable, relatively powerful… and horribly shallow, she was a perfect partner to our narcissistic psychology professor.
They make you wait FOREVER for the main couple to get together. It really should have been a 12 episode show and not a 16 episode show, though I did enjoy every episode regardless. It had a very classic K-Drama feeling to it – with lots of episodes featuring the lead male being a total jerk to our mom for no real reason, then secretly regretting it. And our lead female putting up with this behavior, getting a little angry but always coming back. But there was also a lot of self exploration and personal growth and explorations of life and the events that shape us. Very much a solid K-Drama classic…
I recommend it.