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Casting lineup complete for youth drama Twenty-Five, Twenty-One


Kim Tae-ri, Nam Joo-hyuk

After months of speculation, Kim Tae-ri (Mr. Sunshine) and Nam Joo-hyuk (Start-Up) have been confirmed as the leads in a new coming-of-age drama called Twenty-Five, Twenty-One.

The story is centered around the romance between two youths who met when they were respectively eighteen and twenty-two. Nineteen is the age of adulthood in Korea, so they met when she was a high school student and he was a college student. When they’re both adults at ages twenty-one and twenty-five, their relationship changes into something more.

In addition to our two leads, Bona (Homemade Love Story), Choi Hyun-wook (Racket Boys), and Lee Joo-myung (Now, We Are Breaking Up) are rounding out the cast.

Kim Tae-ri’s character is Na Hee-do, a passionate high school student whose fencing club is dissolved due to the lack of funding after the IMF crisis. Somehow, despite the struggles, she continues to pursue her dream of becoming a national fencing champion.

Similarly, Nam Joo-hyuk’s character Baek Yi-jin was also impacted by the IMF crisis. His family went bankrupt, and as the first son, he worked relentlessly through the years as a paper boy and bookseller before becoming a reporter.

Bona plays Go Yoo-rim, Na Hee-do’s rival, and the youngest national gold medalist in fencing. Go Yoo-rim is fierce in her fencing garb, but once she takes it off, she’s all cutesy and lovable.

Choi Hyun-wook’s character is Moon Ji-woong. He claims he’s a school bully, but he doesn’t actually harass others — he just wants to become a famous influencer on Cyworld (Korea’s equivalent of Facebook at the time). He’s stylish and edgy in his own clumsy way.

Last but not least, Lee Joo-myung plays Ji Seung-wan, the number one ranked student at school. Despite her outward appearance as a model student, she has a rebellious heart. She heads the broadcasting club where she makes incendiary statements about society, school, and the current state of the times as a DJ on her radio show.

Written by Kwon Do-eun (Search Query: WWW) and directed by Jung Ji-hyun (You Are My Spring), Twenty-Five, Twenty-One is expected to air in early 2022, as filming has already begun.


Bona, Choi Hyun-wook, Lee Joo-myung

Via Sports Chosun

 
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I hope everyone is as pedantic about this setup as they were about the 15 minutes of Backstreet Rookie. It will make me feel better at least. :D

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not following Backstreet rookie. What happened before?

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Backstreet Rookie was rightly criticised for its racism and the age gap issue. As should this if this turns out to be a problem.

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I see. Gracias!

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I deleted my other comment cause maybe I misread yours:

For the racism, yes for sure. For the age gap, no. My main point is with the characters. People whined that the romance started when the FL was a minor (about 18) and mainly blaming the guy, when in reality it wasn't the guy being a predator at all and it was more of a silly run in. While in this show, it's part of the entire premise. If you meant the age of the actors, that's a longer argument than I intended and would not be relevant to this particular post since these actors don't have a large age gap in real life.

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Well according to the synopsis I have read in few other places they 'Meet at 18'. They don't specify anything else. That's why I said 'if' it turns out to be a problem.

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As is written here too.

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This age gap is more Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol than Backstreet Rookie.

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Anyway like Dodo, I am not sure I would be watching until other people have watched a few episodes, to see where this would be going.

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Another BSR apologist trying to justify the age gap. 18-27 vs 18-20 will never be the same thing. Wether or not they flirt or romance each other at that age it still can't be compared to the actual romance of 22-30 they tried to pass off in BSR. That drama rightfully deserved to be hated and cancelled. It should never have existed

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Another person who probably didn't even watch the show trying to tell a 22 year old what roles she can take. Your comparison is incorrect however. As said before, the *characters* were 18 and 23-24 for *15 minutes* then 20 and 25-27 for the rest. Admittedly, they weren't super clear but JCW was definitely playing younger than his age. It's sad that people take age more seriously than actual respect and courtesy. While there were other issues with BSR, the ML was actually one of the most supportive and respectful ones that year.
Legally, 20 and 27 are the same thing. Both are still dating a minor and why in all technicalities, this show should have the same issue.

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Even legally 20 and 27 are not the same in most countries. Laws don't look at everyone above 20 the same especially conservative countries like South Korea. Yes a 22 year old that has only lived ina bubble her whole life does need to be told what roles are right and wrong because as Hollywood has proven all child actors grow up emotionally stunted. Especially the ones that start at 3. Being a decent pedophile doesn't make anyone a less of a pedophile. A fully grown adult close to the age of 30 showing interest a girl in her early 30s is gross it doesn't mattee if it's fiction or reality. It wasn't ok when LMH did it to Suzy nor is it okay in the drama. The drama was rightfully bashed for everything it stood for.

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early 20s

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But, we aren't talking about most countries but specifically Korea. In the US, the character would be legal so problem solved there by that logic.
He literally was not a pedofile though. At no point did he ever pursue her or give her any other impression that the audience or the FL could say he liked her. The definition of a pedophile isn't a 30 year old standing by an 18 year old. There has to be actual sexual actions or feelings to be a pedophile *on the part of the older party*.

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i agree with you so i'm just adding:

you're discounting the context, production, decisionmaking, storyline, etc a work comes together in all its forms so just the face value youre understating it along with source material but also a 7 year age difference is a big one. 7 is indeed bigger than 4 and it will get you sideyes. that's the way the world works but we more often than not excuse it so like who cares about the complaints? it's gross and the casting was gross and the comic was gross. these are not the same situations and that's allowing us to admit that there ARE some issues that could arise with this but a big one is that KTR is actually :O OLDER by like 2 yrs and not like 13

also like we observe the patterns of this shit it would be fine if it wasnt a literal goal of people and a pattern and thats for ppl of any gender and sexuality as well. frankly you do have to go out of your way to want to exist in someone's much younger arena and yea we can find it weird. people get away with this shit bc that IS the norm so it's so annoying when ppl complain about the complaints

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@amara Thank you for wording it better. Men that hover around young girls are predators and pedophiles. Just because a drama whitewashes the image doesn't mean it isn't problematic. A grown man should be nowhere near a young girl unless it's a family member and even then there is risk of predator behavior. Men grooming young girls is a image media loves to sell as romance and it doesn't make it okay just because she has a one sided crush on him. None of it is okay. The drama should never have existed and I do blame the actors and everyone involved for thinking it was okay to make a drama like that.

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theyre the same age and the source material isn't sexist garbage and oh apparently it is racist? lol oh yea i forgot. so on top of the antiblackness. nice.

18 and 22 is also not a huge age difference esp with the same age of the actors. this is a strawman argument. both actors are the true millenials (IE the typical age range for us to be solidly in that camp) and have been establishing their careers. the thing about age gaps is that there's a premise that rests on it and it's the salaciousness. they aren't going to "entice" the viewer with that age gap either visibly with the actors or within the story and 18 and 22 in a college setting though, yes, 4 yrs is a difference it is age appropriate. the casting to the writing in backstreet rookie was a failure. they both start off as young adults tho i do not agree with the 'turning 18 it's ok' but there's a huge difference when that is not a huge part of the allure and their energies match (see: why goblin fails.) and 18 is not "minor age" according to korean age due to the new year and reachign "of age" as well so the 18 is a signifier that they are entering into adult life—if it wasnt they would stick with 17 and that would be an even bigger problem. i agree that they should have a set up without the age difference as there is a power dynamic there but it's also inherently set up within the language and our society so it is what it is. from top to bottom BR was messy, stupid, and overdone as this is a CONSISTENT theme either in the acting age gaps or character age gaps and it just so happens the age diff in BR of the actors is gigantic on top of the, again, extremely inflammatory and disgusting nature (and there should be something to say about labor laws and having young people work with significantly older people not at their own experience and volition muddling the line between their work life and real life with 0 input)

also the webcoming is disgusting anyway so. not comparable or it's way more nuanced than uve suggested

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wait on top of that they dont "start" anything but it's very possible that she is entering into her adulthood (the article does clarify about 19 yrs of age) but the script has to contend with the fact that though feeligns may arise it is absolutely inappropriate to have that clash and exploit it and skew it in a positive way. we will have to see but them having a developed relationship means a lot and, from the perspective of the high schooler, it makes sense that she MAY feel something but that's also assuming all people that meet that are attracted to [x] gender are automatically trying to fuck each other when it is possible they are not friends.

regardless how they handle this will be up to them but i think ur comparison is more apt for itaewon class which sucked at what it presented in every way with the age gap and the charcter AND the maturity. we'll see here what happens tho it deservese to be criticized if they can't write it in a way that makes sense to the story and does justice to the world we live in and the one in which we create. so maybe people will complain. but there is a clear instance of them being the same age IRL AND feeling "more" when they are now much closer in maturity levels (and 4 yrs to me is a lot like the idea of dating a 25 yr odl to me sounds zzzz but hey whatever)

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According to the synopsis on Mydramalist this part...
'In 1998, in a world that seems on the brink of disaster, two people aged 22 and 18 meet for the first time, but end up hurting each other at age 23 and 19. At 24 and 20, they learn to trust each other, and at age 25 and 21, they start to fall in love'

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Hmm weird synopsis indeed. But it seems the romantic aspect of their relationship will start at the second-half of the drama.

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Uhhh, there better not be any romance or flirting when the female lead is still in high school. She might be an adult by international standards, but I can’t see it as romantic since in this cultural context, it would be an adult man pursuing a minor girl.

The casting’s fine otherwise, I guess. Even though I’m pretty sure Kim Tae-ri will completely outperform Nam Joo-hyuk. The actor I’m most excited for is Choi Hyun-wook. A racket boy back onscreen!

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have you seen school nurse files? i thought he woudl drag it down with jung yumi who has acting style i really like and i'm a huge fan of the work and the director behind it so i was so reticent and it was just shocking how my expectations were turned

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I liked him a lot in School Nurse Files as well. He was unexpectedly good in that role. Hopefully, that’s the performance he channels, not most of his other roles.

That said, Kim Tae-ri is still inarguably the better actor, in my opinion. Unless Nam Joo-hyuk has improved immensely in a short period of time, she’ll have the better performance.

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oh yea i get what you mean and IA. i think yumi is years ahead on her own but with what we know from SNF and his work they can bring it out of each other. so just because one would be arguably better there's many ways to embody thigns and what's important is that she doesn't outshine him and i think he has shown the ability to hold his own with a very powerful partner and partners and an extremely artistic and picky intelligent director (like she would not make the show not on her terms — yes i love lee kyung mi) and i think that means it should succeed. what fails is when there's the imbalance and it's obvious and it suffers. it's okay if they're better what we need is to not be so aware of that to discern it. teamwork aspect is huge. there will always be someone better and that's okay it's how we get the work to where it needs to be and also he has shown that he can do it and with better writing and direction which again i belive SNF is almost impeccable and so cinematic then yea anyways that's my take. i'm no longer afraid that someone and the material and the messaging will eclipse him is what i mean

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also there's different types of acting styles and his style is forming so we may prefer one to the other. obviously we know who is better etc but i'm trying to think of it in a way of how we enjoy it and, on top of that, acknowledging that not everyone needs to strive for that. we're so unique as people and so many factors go into literal acting so people don't have to reach another one's level they have to try and understand the art and try their best and we understand when it pays off. there's no limit to improvement (i hope this makes sense; if i hadnt seen SNF i would have groaned at this and been sad it's another drama i cant watch bc of him lol)

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i don't understand people's obsession with downplaying njh, which often times involve straight up disrespecting him, at every turn. he was like a completely different person in each of his most recent works: the light in your eyes, snf, start-up. there were variations in his body language, speech patterns, facial tics; he really embodied each of those characters and brought them to life with such nuance. and he worked on these back to back without rest! boy has come so far, and it's just disheartening to see people making comparisons like this. like of course, kim taeri is objectively a better actor. that would be true for a good chunk of male lead actors in korea today, but i doubt someone like ahn hyoseop or park hyungsik would be inciting similar comparisons. it's like people are stuck at the school 2015/bride of habaek era, and refuse to acknowledge his more recent work. that bias is really something.

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I don’t dislike Nam Joo-hyuk. I really didn’t mean to show any disrespect towards him and yes, I do think he’s improved drastically over the last few years. I wouldn’t consider him a completely terrible actor even back when he gave his weaker performances. He just tends to be surrounded by much stronger actors who end up stealing the show. But it is great to see him try out different roles. I’m not gonna lie and say I’m still not traumatized from Bride of Habaek (who isn’t??), but I don’t hold that against him anymore. No actor on earth could’ve worked with that script.

But yeah, I’m just trying to say that I’m not deliberately being biased against Nam Joo-hyuk. He definitely has his strengths as an actor. Tbh, as a fan of Kim Tae-ri, I think I’ll always hype her up more than any of her co-leads lol. She’s a powerhouse.

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oh hey @ladynightshade i didn't mean to imply that. i was honestly just discussing. id on't mind and i like hearing what people think. he'll be ok and i'm not here to pretend like you dont have a right to feel that way i was just explaining my thought processes. im sorry i invited that in

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also @ladynightshade i LITERALLY could not fucking stand him so ur nicer than me i thought he was horrendous pre-SNF like it really pissed me off lol so.

and tae-ri is a powerhouse for sure. cool ass bitch

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@dogemama

i get what you mean but it's also like people have a reason to, you know? it's okay sometimes people won't like them and/or respect them and they don't have to. i don't really care about that because like you listed for you you have evidence of his evolution.

i personally avoided him so SNF was a huge shock to me but i couldn't not watch given the circumstances of the show. and there's times when we can change our mind. i genuinely also hated ahn hyoseop but he's much less terrible (? lmao) than i thought.

it's also not their fault he keeps working. tahat's what he wants to do but also you know it's required mostly and he can't get rest. that's not necessarily merit tbh and it kinda sucks.

you're right about M-actors and that's also shitty. if the bias is there, it's there and the things he has chosen can't compare to the other two. anyway it's alright lol we also have diff tastes like there's some actors i know are "good" but i'm like nah i'm good not for me. vera farmiga is a perfect example i understand her acting style but it doesn't resonate with me.

the more critique the better tbh! so we can think and understand it. i personally have faith in him now and will watch and i think a good acting partner really elevates it. plus the roles he chooses now are super cool and i'd love to see him do more things that are off the cuff more and more transformative like snf.

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Is this Korean age? Isn't twenty the age of adulthood in Korea? https://youtu.be/wMgM63jueFg

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Socially/symbolically, it's usually expressed as 20 but this is in Korean age. So, anyone born in 2002 this year. Legally, it's 19 but this follows actual age. So, it would only be those born in 2002 whose birthday has already passed.

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Hmmmm, hopefully it is a chance meeting at 18. I like Search Query, so maybe this will be handled well too.

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Hoping this a part Nam Joo-hyuk can do well in. He either shines or he doesn't.

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idk how he was in start up and im not gonna watch it but SNF is so amazing and the acting partner is impeccable so maybe it's about that as well. he's certainly improved it's crazy

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I thought he did really well in Start-Up, too! The role was nothing groundbreaking but he made me feel a lot of sympathy for his very flawed character (even with some drama fans being oddly malicious towards his character lol).

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lmaooo i heard ALLLL about that smh what a mess. i woudl like him too even with that messy storyline and show. and i love how he picks the characters. he has shown that he has the absolute ability to do so which many other idol/model actors cant but also a lot of actors in gen. i'm glad u liked his char with the flaws i would have too and i think he does a good job of portraying a "diff type" !!!!

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it's going to be a year in a couple of months but to this day, i remain BAFFLED about the amount of hate nam dosan received 😂

there is a saying in my native language that represents a large number of the second male lead fans of this show: people will find lice on someone else's back, but remain completely blind to the buffalo on their own.

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LMAO i like the saying!

i'm kinda shocked given what i know about the show now. i feel like with SML a lot of people are living in an alternate reality when by nature they're pretty frickin' annoying.

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he was really good in start-up! in spite of the maelstrom of hate start-up was embroiled in, i really enjoyed the show and feel like it has great rewatch value. if you ever see it, just don't look at any of the reddit episode threads... or majority of the discussions anywhere online tbh. consuming the show by itself is a very pleasant experience.

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i don't really get affected by those comments haha cos if i'm gonna do it i'm gonna do it. for start up nothing from the story to the female lead to anything else was worth it so i wouldn't give it my time. i know i wouldn't enjoy it lol but i have to say to know what the hell people thought of this character in a sea of flawed characters and what seems, to me, not great writing that NJH/nam do san engendered so much hate JUST because of who the audience wanted her to be with like she's an object. it's bonkers and there's where my problem lies. part of being in the spotlight is dealing with the stuff that comes your way but it's so possessive, patriarchal, strange, and unappreciative of complexity to pretend like the other option makes even frickin close to sense for the story and what the literal human being in the middle wants. and then to put the distaste of the character on the actor when he is exhibiting some level of skill is insane to me.

kinda reminds me of how rabid people were over r94 but it was impossible to say jungwoo wasn't good (and he outshone his acting partner but not in a distracting way for me) and i didnt like YYS in it even though i think he's decent now bc his character was not likeable and he was nothing to me literally nothing he had nothing to work with and perhaps he was still not great at his job. which is the opposite for NJH / nam do san. what we can say with certainty is that there is evidence of his evolution and that at least means respecting the craft, willingness to get better, and a love of it not just money. so many people never even get better so when people put in the work and do all these projects to improve and know that they can constantly improve it's exciting. the only thing you can do to grow in art is keep going and pushing yourself. he's not afraid to fall

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NJH was good in Start-up. Granted I didn't love Nam Dosan (or anyone in that show tbh) but I rooted for his growth and success. He absolutely doesn't deserve the level of unpleasantry thrown at him by some fans IMHO

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he's proving to ppl more and more like seriously i can say out of ALL the model/idol actors i have zero faith in them but for him he has the capacity and will to improve and challenge himself at the very least the production team ccan push him to the farthest if that is the case (can u tell i love snf? bc i do.)

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I have a soft spot for that actor; I might give this a shot just for him even though the premise doesn't hook me at all.

The roles he picks are often a bit weird to me, but even when his character wouldn't exactly work for me, romantically, I can usually see why he's the right guy for the heroine in that story.

In StartUp, I, the viewer in her thirties, am obviously going to be more attracted to older second lead, but I'm not the heroine. And for her, it makes sense to pick the half-formed bundle of anxities - she's got her insecurities as well, they get over them together, they have all these formative experiences side by side, they're at the same stage in their development, and they learn and grow together at roughly the same pace - the timing is on their side. (The appeal is pretty much the opposite of what this current project apparently is going for).

In Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-oo I couldn't stand his character's sense of humour, all that horseplay and roughhousing and allegedly affectionate teasing. I had a hard time with the first couple of episodes because I found him so obnoxious. But it clearly does something for the heroine and again it's easy to see why - they're both jocks, it's a form of physicality that works for them, it's their language of affection.

I even like him as Habeak in Bride of the Water God, where the plots requires him to carry the idiot-ball for large stretches of the narrative. The performance requires a precarious mix of ego-baby-tantrums and occasional flashes of ancient wisdom, which he displays in homeopathic quantities exactly when the plot demands, but you know what, I can buy it. I picture the Water God's mind as a vast ocean, all that knowledge accumulated over the ages still there, but mostly sunken to unfathomable depths, with only bits and pieces bubbling up to the surface at unpredictable intervals. I mean, realistically it's probably just lazy writing, but Nam Joo-hyuk kinda sells it for me.

(But I don't want to dunk on the writing too much either. Supernatural romance is usually a power fantasy, and this Habeak is for the most part so amazingly passive and useless, I find it downright subversive. He has a couple of knight-in-shining armour moments earlier, which are immediately undercut by his ulterior motives and then rarely uses his powers again. He has the ability to acquire any skill he wants in no time without effort, and when he tries to think of something nice to do for his financially struggling girlfriend, his grand idea to earn money is posing as a model for cheap knick knacks from street vendors, and then he uses this money to buy her a mug. I can't stress how much I love this character beat. He's a shit knight in shining armour, because ultimately, that's not at all what the story, what the heroine needs. Her great wound is that she always felt neglected by her super altruistic orphan collecting saint of a dad; she doesn't need to be rescued,...

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..she needs someone to focus on her. The show tries to hook you with the promise of divine powers, but the appeal ends up being entirely mundane. There were many complaints about the show delivering not on the promise of the premise, and they are clearly right, but I sometimes like a bait-and-switch).

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have u seen school nurse files? because if u havent u should! it's a bold move with a bold message and a audacious and cool as fuck director and story.

i mean lbr the two leds in bride of haebak just were not...it wasn't his time and the other girl doesn't have the range (i love that actress though sincerely she's a really kind soul) idk if ur a late millenial or just turned 30 but at 29 i think all of that is age appropriate (we're all in the same age range from 26 - 30) because at this time in your life everything is changing so dramatically. it's crazy like i still feel like a kid who doesn't know wtf she's doing but other times it's like. oh woah. life.

like you said the best choice for her and also what SHE wanted. even if i hated his character like jesus this was the writing, the agreement, and she does not like the other man. so why are people trying to fight over the men and who deserves what like are u her? smdh

i read the rest but i haven't seen it and can't say much. for WLFK i. hated. him. i hated that show. i hated the acting, the story, the acting, the acting then the acting then the story. literally oh my god. but yea they're both immature and the second lead...lmao opgishaouiyhuojpkoa

i like that u can see the silver lining in it and i hope ur happy w his improvement.

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addressed the age thing above and they should handle it correctly. the only reason they need that is to have a conflict and i take issue with the fact that they do these things intentionally with age when it's a conflict we can avoid especially due to them /being the same age irl/ (or around, whatever all millenials after 28 are the same age) but whatever that's on another story instance.

i hope that this will be interesting. tbh the premise doesn't thrill me because i sort of hate the expansive timeline stories, something about it makes me antsy and irritated, but it COULD be extremely fulfilling to watch and at least we know for the both of them they purposefully choose projects that they want to do. let's see if NJH can hold up his end of the bargain that he has clearly worked on and gained from just the absolute surprise he was in SNF but that was heavy work on the directors part as well (she was a filmmaker too and i think that counts for directing) but yea. i mean i'd enjoy to see it i like them both, i fucking love her but i can't watch any of her dramas lol, and i'd like to see him act more. let's get some stories and actors with some integrity and work that is good please!!!!

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I have been waiting for search www writer's comeback forever so yay.
A show that involves fencing. Interesting.
They meet when she's eighteen. Eeeeek! Please don't go the way of Goblin.
I really want to have faith in this writer.

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Not sure if I like this premise, though the fencing part sounds interesting.

And the pairing is odd. I don't know why though. In terms of acting, Nam Joo-hyuk improved a lot!!!! I liked him in Start-up and The Light in Your Eyes (I have not seen Nurse Files yet). Mostly those who can't act well, hardly improve over the years (Suzy, Jin Se Yeon), but Nam Joo-hyuk is an exception. He is doing his best.

Not sure if I'll watch this, but I'll check the promos and teasers.

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Yaaay! Rooting for NJH cause I've seen him improve from School 2015 to Start Up. I don't get the hate he receives but he's getting better.

Four years gap isn't much but the timing of the romance should be played well. I hope this show handles it better than some shows.

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