Have you ever seen a thousand layer cake? There’s a few versions around the world, in Europe and Indonesia most notably. Sometimes made of crepes, sometimes made of a simple egg/milk/flour plain cake, the appeal of the thousand layer cake is how it comes together — a rich combination of filling and baked good, drizzled in something fabulous.
Looks delicious, right? And now you’re asking yourself, “Was there a thousand layer cake in Age of Youth and I missed it?” There wasn’t. I’m just making a connection, because that’s what I do. Age of Youth was deceptively simple on the surface — the DramaFever description is “Five college girls with varying personalities share a house and all their problems.” That’s like saying a thousand layer cake is just a pile of crepes and chocolate hazelnut spread!
So, first we have the characters. On the surface they can be sorted into five stereotypes: Yoon Ji Myung, the older overworked overachiever; Song Ji Won, the crass journalist; Kang Yi Na, the “escort” with the heart of gold; Jung Ye Eun, the cute girl; and Yoo Eun Jae, the shy country bumpkin. The easiest premise would be to see what happens when you throw these stereotypes into a blender and see what comes out. Instead, we have a mystery — what happens when three of the girls have a dark secret in the past and another one says she can see ghosts?
Park Hye Soo, who plays Eun Jae, was fantastic earlier this year in My Shy Boss as a vivacious office intern who works hard to draw out her severely introverted boss. When she initially appeared on-screen, I expected the same vivacity. Instead, she did a fantastic job portraying Eun Jae as believably shy and constantly misunderstanding her loud, abrupt roommates and classmates. I’m sad to see that she won’t be in the sequel. The story didn’t center around her, but I was delighted to see that even in just 12 episodes, she had phenomenal, believable character growth.
In fact, most of the girls experienced very interesting growth and change, some positive, some not. The best part of the series, for me, was getting to know the girls through the rotating focus of the storyline, unraveling the mysteries of their past, and then seeing the payoff as they bonded. My favorite part was when the girls were on edge because a strange man was hanging around the house they shared. One of the girls was outside, alone, at night, and screamed. The other four immediately flew out of the house and attacked the man with her, taking him right out with a clothesline and not one, but TWO flying kicks to the chest from the TOP OF THE STAIRS. That was so awesome! I won’t say anything more, because spoilers, but I may have rewound and watched that part a few times. Loved it.
The romances in this story were developed in believable ways. I really appreciated that they showed all the different aspects of love, and not just the positive ones. My favorite was probably Eun Jae’s sweet romance, followed by Jin Myung’s complicated love. (Another My Shy Boss connection — Yoon Park, who plays sous chef Jae Wan, was Kang Woo Il. Such a difference between those two characters too!)
I wouldn’t say the plot was unpredictable or twisty to any extent, but I was definitely enthralled. This was one of those dramas that looks light and fluffy on top, but has so much more to it. Layers upon layers upon layers, even. And the ending, while not necessarily complete, was satisfactory. I might even give the sequel a spin, if I can get over Park Hye Soo’s replacement.
Thanks for having me give this drama a chance, drama fans. I’m really glad I did. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the next poll!
Until next time,
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi