Whether you are at the very beginning of your twenties, stuck in the middle (like myself) or on the verge of entering your thirties, you will be able to relate to almost every moment of hilarity and reality of the Korean drama Hello, My Twenties!
Also going by another English name, Age of Youth, 청춘시대 starts of as your typical slice of life drama following five female college students living in a share house called the Belle Epoque. The house is owned by an older lady who I can’t decide if she is funny or just plain weird. Each young woman has their own trials and troubles that we watch them go through during both seasons of the show.
Yoon Jin Myung, the oldest of the group, is almost never around as she works several jobs to support herself financially or she is studying at all hours of the night. So when a handsome young man notices her and pays her some attention, she continues to avoid his advances because she doesn’t think she has time for romance. In the second season, we see she has grown to let more people in and really consider the feelings of others around her. This does become a little bit of an issue in her new job at an entertainment company when she befriends an idol member whose group is about to be dropped. I definitely resonated with Jin Myung the most out of all the girls as her work ethic and the way she did things is similar to myself.
Jung Ye Eun at the beginning is completely obsessed with the fantasy of the perfect romance, which she believes she has found it in her boyfriend. Her character progression is so insane only because it is so real and can happen to any young woman. Her boyfriend turns out to be the worst kind of man you could imagine, and the first season ends in a terrifying kidnapping situation. This impacts how Ye Eun interacts with people for a really long time afterwards. Instead of the pink, short dresses and obsession with love, she covers every part of her skin in black, baggy shirts and long skirts, making herself as invisible as possible. She does eventually return back to her normal self, but it was very interesting commentary on the impacts an abusive relationship can have afterwards. Not something I’m used to seeing being addressed in a Korean drama, especially not one that started so fluffy, but I was really impressed with how the story was written out.
Then we have Song Ji Won, the carefree, happy go lucky roommate who loves to cause a scene, drink, make up stories and speak pretty vulgarly. This is actually super refreshing and makes for some amazing comedic moments. While we didn’t see her change too much in the first season, we do start to get a better understanding why her personality is the way it is when an elementary school friend of hers dies in the second season. Ji Won begins to remember a traumatic memory that she has repressed about this old friend and feels responsible for everything that happened to them. Again, it sheds a massive light on sexual and child abuse that I simply didn’t expect from this show. They did it delicately as possible, but there was not a big resolution to the event which I guess is pretty similar to cases in the real world.
Kang Yi Na is known as the Belle Beauty of the household and there’s no question as to why because she is stunning. She uses her good lucks and charms to work as what I think can be accurately described as an escort. Yi Na receives a lot of guidance from everyone around her to get out of this line of work and follow her passions. She only makes a few brief appearances in the second season as she moved out of Belle Epoque to pursue a career in fashion.
Taking her room and place is Jo Eun, who is the complete opposite of Yi Na in terms of appearance. She is often mistaken as a man due to her short hair and style of dress. She doesn’t share much at first and seems to be at the house for sinister reasons, but over time we see that she is dealing with an upsetting family drama. Helping her through this is Seo Jang Hoon, who is a relative of Belle Epoque’s owner. Their interactions can only be described as adorable and no can convince me otherwise.
And lastly, we have the timid and shy Yoo Eun Jae, who is experiencing everything for the first time. She is also coming from a very traumatic family life, but her central story seems to focus on her incredibly strange taste in men. She eventually falls for someone, experiencing her first love and then her first heartbreak across the two seasons. At first I really resonated with Eun Jae because she reminded me of how I was when I first left my home to go to university and experience new things. But come the second season, I didn’t really get too much growth from her. Maybe it was because her character had been recast or the others had more emotional stories to follow, but I didn’t see her as the lead that she was in the first season.
From what I had seen in the trailers before watching this show, I had expected just a fluffy drama with not much substance that I could kill some time with. What I got was raw, emotional, hilarious, eye-opening and just so realistic that it kind of shocked me. This portrayed almost exactly what your twenties are like, no matter if you are living in Korea or anywhere else in the world. The different people and personalities you come across is sometimes a little much when you are not used to it, but the growth you have during this period of your life is pretty significant. I look back on what I did during my early twenties and my life has changed so much since then. I can say with confidence that it will probably change again over the next 5 years and even more as I continue to get older.
I would love for there to be a third season of this show, just so I could see more growth from Ji Won. Also, I’m dying to know if her and Im Sung Min will actually become an item or not. But, I did think the way they ended the series was a nice wrap up of all of their stories and didn’t leave too many unanswered questions.
If you’re feeling the strains of entering adulthood is getting you down, I would definitely recommend watching this series. In fact, you can binge both seasons on Netflix right now!