Our Beloved Summer: Episodes 1-2 Open Thread
The premiere week of Our Beloved Summer somehow managed to do two things at once: feel like a familiar story we’ve heard echoes of before, and feel fresh and unique. I’ll give most of the credit to the cast for that, but the storyline also deserves some credit.
EPISODES 1-2 WEECAP
It’s not often that the first week of a drama doesn’t feel like all set-up, but Our Beloved Summer had one of those premiere weeks. It felt more like we were already in Chapter 1 from the get-go, and even though the first week sets up the drama to come, I didn’t feel like I was waiting to reach that point to get to our actual story. So, yay.
What is the story, you ask? Two people who’ve known each other since high school, and have had this emotionally-tangled love-hate relationship since then. Our leads are CHOI WOONG (Choi Woo-shik) and KOOK YEON-SU (Kim Da-mi).
Woong is a sweet dopey guy who doesn’t have high ambitions and just wants to live a peaceful life (to the point of appearing like a slacker). Yeon-su, in comparison, is the Type A go-getter who’s at the top of her class, and wants success more than anything.
Back in high school, these two got convinced to star in a little online documentary that goes viral when it aired. We see snippets of it from both angles — our leads bickering during the shooting, and our leads bickering in the final product that airs. The bottom line is that they get on like oil and vinegar. It’s half the fun of watching, of course, whether it’s the docu-within-the-drama, or the drama itself.
Where the drama really excels is in how it contrasts who these two were in high school, and who they became. Yeon-su might have boasted as a bratty teenager that “No matter what I’m doing I’ll be successful,” but when we meet her in the present day, she’s a struggling team leader of a marketing/PR company. In contrast, Woong looks like a free-loader, but he’s actually become the beloved (and super successful) illustrator “Ko-oh” whose identity is a tightly kept secret.
The drama has fun playing with this reversal of expectations, but there’s another layer, of course, and that’s the romance. By switching back and forth between past and present timelines, we learn that even though they fought like cats and dogs in high school, they dated for a number of years. We see them super cute together in flashback, see Woong’s single-hearted devotion to her, and also see Yeon-su fishing around for something she wasn’t getting from the relationship.
A lot of their relationship is kept as a mystery (and will likely be shown to us in bits and pieces as the drama progresses), but we learn that they broke up five years ago. Woong is still nursing a broken heart, and he’s resentful of Yeon-su to an almost comedic extent: for instance, we learn he’s spent the last five years rehearsing what he would do if she ever had the nerve to show her face again (which is spray water at a her, and toss salt lol).
Despite them both dreading to meet each other again, it happens. Yeon-su is running a PR campaign that would include artist Ko-oh doing a live drawing event. She doesn’t know Ko-oh is actually Woong… and then she shows up on his doorstep. And, she gets the welcome he’s long been anticiapting.
Her proposal to him, and finding out how successful he’s become, is what starts their worlds colliding again. And just like that, the inertia starts, mutual friends become mutual again, and they start running into each other — the stuff that dramas are made of.
The other element that pulls everything together and brings some extra pizazz to our present-day storyline is that the company that created the docu about these two in high school wants to do a reunion shoot. That means filming the pair again, and hoping for the same hit they had so many years ago. You can imagine how that goes over with both of them, with not only their added history, and all that water under the bridge, but the reversal of expectations when it comes to their “success” as adults.
All in all, it was quite a fun and well-constructed premiere week. And the only thing I liked more than the actual structure of the drama was the cast — they feel really fresh and unexpected here — and I’m almost surprised to see them carrying this drama themselves, without any other big names around (except in supporting roles, because ack, Seo Jung-yeon, Park Won-sang, and even Lee Joon-hyuk are here).
We’ve also got some tried-and-true second lead characters all ready to go: KIM JI-WOONG (Kim Sung-chul) who’s known both leads since high school (and seems to be nursing a secret crush), and the idol NJ (Noh Jung-eui) who’s pursuing the clueless Woong.
A drama like this really relies on us liking the characters and following the story just to see what happens to them and their relationship — it’s a little early to say, but it’s a strong start that does pull me right into these characters and their world. Particularly, I like Woong and his secret identity, and how he went from dork with a mega set up colored pencils in high school, to a successful artist being courted for his work. I’ll definitely be sticking around just for the fun combo of his artistry, pettiness, and humor.
PS: It’s rare that I enjoy a drama OST enough to search it out, but V from BTS leads one of the drama’s songs (not yet released). It’s the record that plays while Woong is working in his studio, and it’s really all you need to get a sense of the drama’s tone. Enjoy~