Showing posts with label Twinkling Watermelon (Kdrama) 5 || 4.7. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Twinkling Watermelon (Kdrama) 5 || 4.7. Show all posts

06 June 2024

K Drama Review: Twinkling Watermelon (2023) 5 || 4.7

Oppa has been clamoring for Twinkling Watermelon for some time now. He finally got his wish when we cleared up our backlog. And our hangover from IU's concert made us miss Korean content so much that we breezed through watching the remaining episodes of this show. Hopefully, that hangover will help us find time and energy to consume more K content in the coming days and months! 


Twinkling Watermelon tells the story of 18-year old Ha Eun Gyeol (Ryeoun), a child of deaf adults (CODA) and younger brother to Eun Ho (Bong Jae Hyun) who is also deaf. Eun Gyeol loves music and goes busking secretly (with a mask to hide his identity). He eventually joins a band as a guitarist but he gets into an argument with his dad (Choi Won Young of Youth of May and SKY Castle) who wants him to focus on his studies instead. Eun Gyeol now wants to give up music and is in the process of selling a guitar he inherited from Mr. Viva (Chun Ho Jin of The Snow Queen), a music shop owner who became his mentor when he was a child. 

By some silly twist of fate, however, Eun Gyeol finds himself in a music shop owned by a mysterious guy who goes by the name Master (Jung Sang Hoon of The Last Princess). After selling his guitar to Master, Eun Gyeol is transported back to 1995 where he meets the younger version of his dad (Choi Hyun Wook of Twenty-Five, Twenty-One, Jirisan, and D.P. 2), who to his surprise could still speak and hear. 

Eun Gyeol is sucked into his dad's 1995 life where he vows to prevent his dad's accident from happening so he can keep hearing and speaking. Eun Gyeol shadows his dad by joining the latter's band, acts as Cupid to his parents, and makes sure no one gets in the way of their relationship, especially his dad's crush, Choi Se Kyung (Seol In Ah of Record of Youth, Strong Girl Bong Soon, and The Producers). 

The story takes us through how Eun Gyeol navigates life in 1995 - feeling fully responsible for his parents' future while at the same time enjoying life as his parents lived it in their youth - and his quest to return to his family in the present. 

Ryeoun as Ha Eun Gyeol

It's our first time ever to watch Ryeoun and the first thing we noticed was how he resembled Park Bo Gum. But I got over that right away because Ryeoun impressed me with how fluidly he transitioned between his loving brother and son role to his rocker persona. I really felt the burden Eun Gyeol carried, choosing between protecting his family and pursuing his dreams. I'm excited to see more of Ryeoun and I'm hoping that his performance in this show would open bigger opportunities for him. 

The young Eun Gyeol (Jung Hyeon Jun of Parasite, See You in My 19th Life, Vagabond, and At Eighteen) was so cute too. And he acted really well, capturing how the older Eun Gyeol would grow up to be very loving and compassionate with a strong desire to pursue music. 

Choi Hyun Wook as Ha Yi Chan

This was another fun show and character for Choi Hyun Wook. I admit though that this seemed like a continuation of his Twenty-Five Twenty-One character and he might be typecasted into this kind of role. 

Young Yi Chan was so much fun to watch because he was so full of life. He was playful and naughty but it was evident that he was a good person. Way before he fell for his future wife Cheong Ah (Shin Eun Soo of Summer Strike and Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol), he was already gentle and sweet with her. And overprotective too! It was such a treat to see him fall in love with Cheong Ah slowly and steadily. 

His grandma (Go Doo Shim of Exit, Our Blues, My Mister, High Society, You are the Best, and The Snow Queen) described Yi Chan perfectly. He's someone who would only hurt another person for justice or to save a life. Grandma was so secure in Yi Chan's integrity that she was willing to lie and fabricate evidence to back him up. 

I wish to see Choi Hyun Wook play a different character, something with a more dramatic side probably. I've seen him do well as a badass guy in D.P. 2 and it would be nice to explore his acting range furthermore. 

Seol In Ah as Choi Se Kyung/On Eun Yoo

Apart from Ryeoun, Seol In Ah was probably one of the actors who impressed us the most in this show. She was perfect as the pretty and everybody's crush both as young Choi Se Kyung and present-day On Eun Yoo. 

While Eun Gyeol had to transition between his daytime (obedient son) and nighttime (rocker/musician) personas, Seol In Ah had to actually play two different roles who were total opposites of each other. And it was so impressive because she made us believe that we were seeing two different people - reserved, stiff, and serious Se Kyung and the carefree Eun Yoo. 

I also liked how Eun Yoo's character slightly touched on the topic of anxiety that kids often face when pressured by their parents, school, and the society to excel at something. It was heartbreaking to see Eun Yoo traumatized over her friend's suicide yet mom was using it to psyche her up into performing better. 

It's nice to see Seol In Ah get bigger roles that she deserves. We should probably revisit Business Proposal to watch her more. 

Shin Eun Soo as Yoon Cheong Ah

Shin Eun Soo's role was probably the most challenging among the main leads. Playing a deaf character meant she didn't get as much screen time as the others. And when she did, she had no speaking lines. But this is where Shin Eun Soo shined. Her little smiles, smirks, giddiness from Yi Chan's gestures, frowns, anger, fear, and tears especially after thinking that Se Kyung would choose Yi Chan - they all showed how much effort Shin Eun Soo put into playing Cheong Ah. I felt her despite the lack of speaking lines. It was great to see her connect to her viewers despite the limitations of her role. 

We're happy to witness Shin Eun Soo's slow and steady rise in her career. And we're sure she's meant for much bigger things. 

The Bandmates

Though I cannot feature all of them individually, special mention is needed for both Eun Gyeol's band (Spine9) and Yi Chan's (Watermelon Sugar). All the actors exuded that rocker/artist vibe and they all helped make the show more interesting and fun to watch, especially the Watermelon Sugar guys who spent a lot of episodes with us. 

It was nice to see how their seemingly odd friendships blossomed into something sincere, more mature, and definitely for keeps. I loved that hospital scene after Yi Chan was beaten up where they all hesitantly admitted that they actually helped look for Eun Gyeol. 


We were immediately drawn to the show's chill and cool vibe. We thought things were going to be light the entire time. But the pilot episode proved us wrong. It actually went from chill to super heavy when we were presented with the misfortunes Eun Gyeol's family had to face since he was young. There were a lot of near-death incidents. And his family experienced a lot of discrimination too because of his parents' and brother's disability. 

After the pilot, we were not sure about the direction the show was going to take. But we were pleasantly surprised that, while the show was not all about being cool, it had depth and it was able to do so without being too serious or dramatic. It was oftentimes hilarious actually. 

Music was one of the things we really enjoyed in this drama. It was a huge part of the show and we loved how it showcased a lot of different genres from classical to ballad to rock to pop. Busking was so cool to watch too. Different instruments were also featured here like the guitar, piano, cello, drums, etc. 

It was also nice that one of the main support characters for both Eun Gyeol and Eun Yoo was the musician, Mr. Viva to Eun Gyeol, grandpa to Eun Yoo, and master to both of them. Mr. Viva's death in episode 1 broke my heart because I wanted him to see Eun Gyeol grow. It was painful to hear his touching description of Eun Gyeol in his will saying that he was someone who communicated well with his guitar. That's why I was so glad to see Eun Gyeol have additional moments with him. 

The show's effort in including deaf mute characters into the story was commendable. I'm sure it was something very challenging for both the actors and the production staff. 

I liked how this drama showed us the struggles not just of the persons with disabilities but their support groups as well. It's difficult to rely on other people to communicate. And it's even harder to find someone they can trust who will advocate and look out for them. And let's not even talk about the abuses and discrimination they face. 

On the other hand, Eun Gyeol showed us that there is also immense pressure in being his family's voice. And how he has to give up a lot of things in order to fulfill that role. Like how he had to give up music because he was traumatized by that fire accident that happened when he left his brother alone at home while he took music lessons from Mr. Viva. And how that love for music had to be suppressed/hidden to avoid hurting his family's feelings. 

My only criticism would probably be how some of the characters like Yi Chan picked up sign language right away. I don't think one book or a short period of time would suffice. 

Family was a prominent theme in this drama. I loved Eun Gyeol's caring and loving family. But my favorite would be time traveler Eun Gyeol's interactions with 1995 Yi Chan. It was funny to see how overprotective Eun Gyeol was of his dad. Their funny bromance which turned into a rivalry in Eun Gyeol's desire to separate dad from Se Kyung. And that emotional scene where Yi Chan saved Eun Gyeol who jumped off a cliff, the way he would save him years later when he almost drowned as a kid. And while it must have felt weird for Yi Chan, it was nice to hear Eun Gyeol reassure him over and over again that he will be a good parent with a loving wife and respectful kids. 

And there's Yi Chan's grandma whose only dream is to see her grandson finish school. And how she welcomed Cheong Ah when she ran away from home.

And of course, Eun Gyeol rescuing mom from her abusive stepmother, teaching her sign language, and getting her dad to free her from the abuses she experienced at home. 

I was totally unprepared for the time travel storyline. And while we're not huge fans of supernatural and time travel stuff, this one worked for us. Because we were interested to see how things would pan out and how their stories will merge and progress. Personally, I was excited at the prospect of Eun Gyeol meeting Mr. Viva again. 

Note, however, that since the time travel takes place early on in the show, you need to be prepared to memorize names right away. Otherwise, you might be confused and get everyone mixed up in the beginning. It took some time before Oppa and I realized that we were watching two different time periods. We couldn't understand at first how Choi Hyun Wook's Yi Chan was relevant to Eun Gyeol's story. But once we figured things out, we were able to follow the story without issues. 

Yes, it's absurd how the Master had to throw Eun Yoo and Eun Gyeol to the past but I realized that sometimes, extreme measures are needed to teach us lessons. Like how we need to put ourselves in other people's shoes so that we can fully understand where they're coming from - his dad for Eun Gyeol and her mom for Eun Yoo. And realizing that their parents had painful experiences as teens too just like them (their struggles might even pale in comparison to what their parents went through). 

And that added priceless treat for Eun Gyeol to be Cupid to his parents and see them fall in love with each other. And Eun Yoo's eureka moment when she realized that her dad was her mom's first love all along. 

I liked how in the midst of all that crazy time travel, the Master had the time to make Eun Gyeol and Eun Yoo fall for each other. Grandpa/Mr. Viva must have loved them so much that he created a parallel world for them to find each other. 

I was intrigued by that dilemma that Master presented to Eun Yoo and Eun Gyeol when their time in 1995 was almost up. They only had one chance to go back. Should they leave their happy 1995 life to reunite with their families or should they stay to continue protecting their loved ones but risk erasing their 2023 lives? 

I would have wanted Eun Gyeol and Eun Yoo to stay a little bit longer but I realized that their missions were accomplished. And everything went on as planned. 

Eun Gyeol teamed up with his maternal grandpa to save Cheong Ah from the evil stepmother. Yi Chan bravely faced Cheong Ah's dad too. And Cheong Ah's dad seeing his daughter smile was truly priceless.

Eun Gyeol was able to spend time with his paternal grandma. I loved how he and Yi Chan playfully fought over grandma. 

Eun Yoo was able to get some sort of closure from her grandpa, which she can share with mom and hopefully help the latter's healing process. It was also nice to see Eun Yoo giving advice to 1995 mom and telling her to stop hiding and pretending and be who she truly wants to be. 

But of course, the painful realization that this show gave us is that there are some things that we absolutely cannot change in life, no matter what we do and no matter how hard we hide from those bad moments. Things that are meant to happen, will happen just like Yi Chan's accident. 

It was painful to see Yi Chan's prophetic recording where he said he will be Eun Gyeol's dad in his next life. And how he acknowledged all the help Eun Gyeol has given him that made him a better person. 

It was heartbreaking to see grandma weep after Yi Chan's accident. She only wanted the best for him. That alternate ending showing us the what ifs had Yi Chan not met that accident was really sad. 

But then again, as Eun Yoo said, all's not lost. Their travel back in time was not worthless at all because it helped them understand their parents. Eun Gyeol saved his mom. And he was finally able to say goodbye to Mr. Viva. And Mr. Viva still got to give him the recording of the song composed by Yi Chan. And he still got to reassure Yi Chan that all will be well despite that unfortunate incident. 

It felt heavy to watch the montage of the happy 1995 scenes that Eun Gyeol was recalling before he went back to the present. Fortunately, a happier ending awaited us. Eun Gyeol's family was better off, inheriting the Jinsung family business. Yi Chan did not wallow in self-pity. Instead, he kept in touch with his old bandmates and remained friends with them. And Eun Gyeol was in a popular band and he still had Eun Yoo. 

I think it can't be helped that when you watch dramas with supernatural/time travel angles, there will be loopholes here and there. It's difficult to perfect things all the time. So yes, you need to let some things slide while watching this one. And that's what we did. We focused on the things that entertained us and we found ourselves enjoying the show. For Oppa's purpose, I'm sure it satisfied his criteria for high school love stories. For me, it was a good reminder that all will be well no matter how difficult the road to the end may be. 

Oppa says...5.

Noona says...4.7.