Showing posts with label Once Upon a Small Town (Kdrama) 4.3 || 4. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Once Upon a Small Town (Kdrama) 4.3 || 4. Show all posts

01 December 2022

K Drama Review: Once Upon a Small Town (2022) 4.3 || 4

Oppa and I were drawn to this show because of the animals, haha. A veterinarian as a made lead seemed like an interesting concept. Although the story ended up quite similar to other countryside dramas, we still managed to enjoy this one, thanks to the short episodes that made them ideal to watch during late nights. 


Once Upon a Small Town tells the story of a city-raised veterinarian, Han Ji Yul (Choo Young Woo), who had to abruptly pack his bags to take over his grandpa's vet clinic in the countryside when his grandpa decided to go on a trip with his wife. Ji Yul was of course annoyed. It didn't help that the people in the town were nosy, including Police Officer Ahn Ja Young (Park Soo Young/Joy). Unknown to Ji Yul, Ja Young was actually a childhood friend who helped him overcome his parents' death when he temporarily stayed with his grandparents several years back. The show takes us through how Ji Yul ends up loving the town he initially hated and how he and Ja Young rekindled their childhood relationship.

Choo Young Woo as Han Ji Yul

Choo Young Woo was okay as an actor. Ji Yul, on the other hand, was not a very lovable character. Yes, I get it that he's annoyed that his grandpa tricked him into going to the countryside. But he didn't have to be a total prick about it. He should have exerted more effort in being respectful and polite from the beginning because he should know that things outside the city would be different. Yes, the people were nosy but he could have asked them to bug off in a kinder way. I also found it problematic that a veterinarian would choose not to treat an animal simply because the owner said something bad about Ja Young. He did improve later on and I guess that character development matters. 

Joy as Ahn Ja Young

Joy is so easy on the eyes. Her nice smile and sparkling eyes make her credible as Ja Young, the darling of their little town. She was perfect as a countryside lass who was often shy and timid, but can also be feisty when needed. She definitely grows on you. 

And like Ji Yul's character development, I also loved how Ja Young evolved from someone who needed to help others to affirm her worth to someone who learned that she is deserving of love without needing to do anything to get that love. 

Ji Yul and Ja Young

Although this couple looked good together visually, I just found the consistency in their chemistry lacking. They had okay scenes together (yes, the predictable staples like catching when the other one's falling could've been removed but I found that they were still within acceptable levels). But there were scenes that didn't really help. Like how Ji Yul would act all jealous when another guy shows interest in Ja Young but when it's just the two of them together, he'd express his feelings by being extra mean to her like when he berated her for fixing his bike when he could have just thanked her. 

Their chemistry was great when Ji Yul realized that Ja Young was part of his past. That scene was really nicely done. And they became more exciting to watch together after that. Especially Ji Yul's sweet confession about loving the present-day Ja Young and not the one from the past. 

But the chemistry sort of fizzled again when they got together officially. It didn't help that the love triangles felt more like stretches in the show. How Ji Yul didn't say right away that the girl was already his ex (Ha Yul Ri) or Ja Young not denying that Sang Hyeon (Baek Seong Cheol) was just her friend. 


Let's first go to the things I didn't really like. First, I really found it inconsiderate of Ji Yul's grandpa to trick his grandson into leaving the city to take over his clinic. He should have known that his grandson was not experienced in dealing with large animals yet he left him all on his own. 

I was not fond of the love triangles too. Although I was proud of how Sang Hyeon accepted Ja Young's rejection and his fate. And how he promised to still be there for her and how he even pushed her to admit his feelings for Ji Yul. I didn't like it either when Ji Yul's ex kept on imposing on everyone that Ji Yul will forget about Ja Young once he goes back to Seoul. But I liked how Ji Yul dealt with his ex. 

I found it too convenient for the show to use the kids to move the story forward. They even used the kids' fight to resolve Ji Yul and Ja Young's issues, which was irresponsible seeing how the little boy ran away from home. Surely, there would be a more creative way of doing it. And that should be one that does not involve an exaggerated amount of Kopiko product placements. 

But I enjoyed how the show juxtaposed living in the city versus in the countryside. Yes, small towns tend to bring nosy neighbors who invade your personal space. But they also give you people you can rely on, which is often better than having indifferent and cold neighbors. 

And how both oldies and young ones can actually co-exist and learn from each other. It's not always about the old ones knowing better. 

And we loved the animals! They were so cute. I liked how the show reminded us that animals have feelings too and how our relationships with them can resemble human relationships too. I loved that scene where a bull had to be euthanized and you can really feel the grandpa owner's pain over losing his most trusted companion. 

Although short-term memory loss/amnesia may seem like an overused theme in K dramas, I found that part here plausible. Trauma from his parents' death could have likely blocked off Ji Yul's memory of Ja Young. Although I didn't understand why they didn't share their names with each other, given how Ja Young was described as a talkative girl back then. 

The ending was okay. It was hilarious how Ja Young announced their relationship over the loudspeaker, only to find out that everyone knew about it anyway. 

I just found the long distance relationship thing quite contrived. How it was predictable that with how they were trying so hard to be considerate, they would actually end up hurting each other. It was also absurd that they would not communicate with each other when they're visiting such that Ja Young found herself in Seoul while Ji Yul went to see her. 

I also found it quite predictable that Ji Yul would move back and inherit grandpa's clinic. And due to the inconsistency in the couple's chemistry, I didn't really feel the proposal that much. 

Yes, the show's feel good with small town feels. The music helped in fostering that vibe too. It's just unfortunate the show couldn't sustain that nice feeling all the way. 

Oppa says...4.3.

Noona says...4.