“Twenty Five, Twenty One” has premiered a couple of days ago and I am here to talk about the drama.
I had somewhat positive feelings going into “Twenty Five, Twenty One,” I wasn’t overly enthusiastic but I wasn’t scared either. I knew it was going to be a slice of life kdrama and sometimes, this is exactly what we need.
Note: this will be a spoiler review of the said episodes in the title. This is a subjective review.
The setting and writing
I’d say 2021 was a very dark year in terms of what type of dramas managed to garner attention, most of the highest rated of 2021 featured heavy topics and tackled deep societal issues, very few lighthearted or ‘simple’ kdramas made it to the top.
With 2022 just starting we have what could be something that breaks this cycle, welcome “Twenty-Five, Twenty-One,” a drama set in the year 1998 during the height of the aftermath of the IMF crisis in South Korea, it follows kids as they transition into adulthood and the issues they face.
I was so pleasantly surprised by the premiere of “Twenty-Five, Twenty-One,” but I do have a bit of reservations going in, let me explain.
First things first, I must say, I like the fact that they began with a setting in the present day. Showing the contrast between the past and present and how it shapes young people’s perception of reality and the harsh conditions each generation had/has to endure was a nice touch. I wish for it to carry on in the next episodes.
Next, overall, I like the script thus far. The drama’s approach isn’t new or in any way shape or form ‘different,’ but what it does, it does well and that is what matters in the end, telling a good story.
I really connected with the characters in the premiere week, we were given enough glimpse of the characters to make us at least curious about them. I thought it was a great premiere, depending on how this year shapes out to be, this might be one of my favorite premiere episodes of a 2022 kdrama, but its too early to say that as of now.
The age gap
However, there is a lingering annoying thought in the back of my brain, something that I am a bit conflicted about.
In the plot summary of “Twenty-Five, Twenty-One,” it says ‘it tells the story of when they first meet when they are 22 and 18 years old and fall in love when they meet again at age 25 and 21.’ Okay, good.
First question, is the age written in Korean age or international age? Because it makes a difference of one to two years, if you don’t know, Korean age is different from international age as they add a year to your age. So is Hee Do 16, 17 or 18 in international age? I am seriously asking, if you guys know the answer, I’d appreciate a response.
Setting the debate around the age aside… the thing is… the fact that we have a man who is 4 years older than a high schooler and if he’s hanging out around her… is… it is creepy.
So far, that wasn’t the case, it features only innocent interactions as just two people who live in the same neighborhood, but I am sensing their relationship will quickly progress judging by next week’s preview, will it progress when they’re at this age or a couple of years later?
Personally speaking, it feels a bit odd for me to root for a high-schooler to date a full grown ass adult 4 years older than her, if I had seen a 22 year old man around our neighborhood interacting with a high-schooler, I’d have questions. Its not a nice look, its morally wrong and in some places, if she’s a minor, he’d be in trouble with the law. I don’t know what the laws are in South Korea during that period but I am a bit on the fence about it.
What made me slightly breathe a sigh of relief was when Nam Joo Hyuk’s character said ‘the adults should date adults and the high-schoolers should date high-schoolers.’
What worries me is if he’ll say yes to hanging out with her considering their age gap in the story, I am not saying it did happen but I am worried it might. I hope they stay true to what his character said in the premiere week.
The casting choice
Moving onto the casting. First of all, how is it possible to be 32 years old and still pull off the role of an 18 year old? Kim Tae Ri is truly marvelous. She was cast perfectly for the role. I think its a combination of the makeup, styling and her energy that makes her look 18. She’s truly talented, seriously, her talent isn’t discussed as often as it should be.
I also like how they cast Nam Joo Hyuk, he’s doing so well. I am liking his approach to acting and the type of roles he’s taking on.
The rest of the cast includes Lee Joo Myoung, whom I have noticed in past dramas, I am glad she’s getting more spotlight this time. An idol named Bona is part of the cast, it is said that she is a part of a kpop girl group called ‘WJSN,’ I’ve never personally heard of them, but she’s good. She’s better than I would expect from an idol-actor, you have to be talented to be able to stand on the same wavelength as Tae Ri who is absolutely phenomenal. I am enjoying her performance.
Lastly, a rookie actor named Choi Hyun-Wook rounds up the cast, and he’s the weakest link in the cast. I didn’t know he had been such a rookie actor prior to watching the premiere but even with his few scenes, I sense hesitation and a lack of experience in his line delivery. I wonder why they picked him if the rest of the cast is on another level. Even Bona, when searching up her name, she has been doing dramas since 2017. Its odd that he’s placed with a leading role among an otherwise experienced cast. I certainly hope he gets better because starting next week, I think his role in the drama will only become bigger as he begins to make moves towards Bona’s character.
Why “Twenty-Five, Twenty-One” could become a hit
To those who don’t know, “Twenty-Five, Twenty-One” has been doing very well in ratings, the drama has done so well in its premiere week and it already surpassed its predecessor’s highest rating.
8% for its 2nd episode is such great news especially since its a cable drama, and it means we could have our next big hit.
“Twenty-Five, Twenty-One” gives off a homey-like feeling, a mix of nostalgia and youth, this means those in their 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s can all collectively enjoy the drama from all different angles. This gives it an edge as it caters towards a larger demographic, naturally.
“Twenty-Five, Twenty-One” is what we need right now, I really enjoyed my time watching the premiere episodes and I can’t wait to see the rest.
What did you guys think of “Twenty-Five, Twenty-One”? Did you like it or not? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!