Sometimes you go into a drama with a clean slate. You have heard the basic synopsis but other than that you don’t really have an opinion on the actors or anything beyond. Will you be surprised? Will you be disappointed? It just so happened that Still 17 (Thirty but Seventeen) is just such a drama and blew all The Fangirls away. Come join us as we give you the five reasons you should check this show out ASAP.
General Plot Ep 1-4
Due to a traumatic bus accident 13 years earlier our heroine Seo Ri spends her late teens and twenties in a coma. She awakes and discovers that she is now an ahjumma but still feels like she is a teenager.
Our leading man Woo Jin had a one-sided crush on Seo Ri (although, he thought she had a different name–a fact, I am sure, will come up in future episodes) and through his suggestion, she had remained on the ill-fated bus. He blames himself for her supposed death and grows up as a socially awkward set designer.
It just so happens that Woo Jin’s family bought her house after the accident from Seo Ri’s Aunt and Uncle. When she awakes Seo Ri goes to the house searching for her family, and comedy ensues as our fated lovers meet again.
#5 – Sincere comedy & heartfelt characters
Kmuse: To be honest I was expecting this drama to be a lot more slapstick than it is. I was pleasantly surprised that the humor is very down to earth and has a really sweet vibe to it. For example, our leading lady Seo Ri at one time ends up with her face painted up to look like a cat. But rather than it being a mean joke played upon her, it was really an older lady with dementia bonding with her at the hospital. It was very very sweet and cute. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy slapstick, but when a show can make this kind of humor work, it is like a breath of fresh air.
Drama Geek: I agree with Kmuse. I do enjoy the humor, but what caught my attention was that they didn’t shy away from the pain that waking up after 13 years would cause. Yes, the scenes where she kept freaking out at her own image in the mirror were played for laughs, but not at the expense of how devastated a 17 year old would be to suddenly have a 30 year old face.
Karie the Maknae: I was a little concerned at first, since the younger version of our leading lady was a little absent-minded. But her absent-mindedness was played well–it was sweet instead of being an obstacle. I think that’s indicative of how the writing is going to unfold–sweet and gentle instead of frustrating. *crosses fingers*
Clkytta: What can I say? This show is charming! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m really enjoying this one. All the quirky characters just work for me.
Kdrama Jen: I was also swept into the drama by the sincerity of the characters and the humor. There is a scene where two of the characters are frightened and they grab onto one another. It is hilarious because you can see what they think they are seeing, but as audience members we know what they are really seeing.
#4 -Well-done realism in a drama is appreciated
Drama Geek: What? You’d have to go through months of painful physical therapy after being in bed for 13 years? They walked us through Seo Ri’s recovery and how hard it would be both physically and emotionally. Especially doing it alone.
Karie the Maknae: Even after she escapes/runs away from the rehab facility, Seo Ri still isn’t up to full capacity, and they’re careful to show that. There’s also the fact that she truly is homeless–she sleeps in a park playground–and it was heart-wrenching and REAL. However, there is hope. I love hope in a drama.
Kmuse: I love how they consistently reminded us that she is freaked out about the aging. She is always shocked to see her face and even when random people call her ahjumma, she is quick to assert that she is 17. Poor thing is going through a lot of mental trauma as well as physical.
Clkytta: They have done a great job of showing how hard rehab is and how fragile she is. She’s so alone and afraid and that’s to be expected. I’m glad her character still comes across as 17–even her mannerisms are of a child.
Kdrama Jen: I cannot imagine what it would be like to wake up as an adult with nobody for support. The way Seo Ri reacts is how I imagine anyone might react. It would be so scary. I also appreciate that she did not go directly from coma to conga line dancing like some drama heroines. She had to put in some work with a physical therapist. Also, I appreciate that she does not have amnesia.
#3 – Jennifer
Drama Geek: This actress always catches my attention and it’s no different in this drama. One of my favorite scenes so far is when she says, “Call me Jennifer.” The look they gave her cracked me up. I just love how Woo Jin and his nephew kind of roll with her quirkiness. Maybe they’re both used to Woo Jin’s odd behavior so she isn’t that weird to them. I also love the way they’ve styled her.
Karie the Maknae: The only other time I’ve seen this actress was as the frazzled mom/office worker in Introverted Boss, so it took me a minute to recognize her. And I absolutely adore her character already.
Clkytta: I loved her in Another Oh Hae Young. I really think she’s going to be so much fun to watch. She’s an odd duck who I think will be the glue for our little band of misfits.
Kdrama Jen: I LOVE her. She is always quoting and offering her insights even when nobody asked for her opinion. She manages to do it while appearing completely stoic. It cracks me up!
Kmuse: She is a real life daily inspiration quote machine. I wish I had a Jennifer in my life to get me through the day.
#2 – Fate is showing up everywhere
Drama Geek: I’ve learned to accept fate and all the ways it will connect a couple. In this case, it was almost a divine intervention for our leading lady. She really had no one, and nowhere to go, when she showed up at her old house. And seeing her reunited with her little puppy was actually pretty touching. He was literally the only living thing she’d come in contact from her old life.
Kmuse: I 100% teared up anytime she and the puppy interacted. What a great shape for fate to take. I think what I find the most interesting is the unique things that connect them. It isn’t just a one sided crush and a horrible accident.
Karie the Maknae: I find the house connection to be fascinating, and it works much better here than it did in Jugglers. There isn’t trauma involved, just nostalgia.
Clkytta: The dog! I love that the dog is a link to her past and that he loves the dog so much.
Kdrama Jen: Of all the houses in such a big town, you happened to be living in mine with my long-lost doggy and you never discovered my secret Harry Potter cupboard where all my secrets are hidden? Oh! What a coincidence! So, for me, this requires a bit of suspension of disbelief. Still, I like the idea of another link to the past, so I will keep that disbelief suspended in mid-air and just enjoy.
#1 – Woo Seo Ri is leading lady perfection
Drama Geek: 2018 may go down as the rise of the second lead female. First Seo Yi Ji did an amazing job in both Save Me and Lawless Lawyer, and then Jin Ki Joo came into her own in Come and Hug Me. Well, I think it’s safe to say that Shin Hye Sun is following in their footsteps. I’ve liked her in past roles, but didn’t realize she was this good at comedy. She is part of what makes the comic moments have weight because she’s bringing a sweet vulnerability to Seo Ri. It’s her interactions with the rest of the characters that has me wanting to watch next week.
Karie the Maknae: I agree with Drama Geek. Shin Hye Sun has a gentleness to her that keeps what could be screechy or uncomfortable moments sincere and watchable. Can you imagine what a trainwreck this would be if Hwang Jung Eum were playing the lead?
Clkytta: I’m so glad that it’s not HJE, I can’t watch her. I really like Shin Hyne Sun, she’s well-rounded and I’m really enjoying watching her.
Kdrama Jen: I still remember her in her acting debut in School 2013. I am glad to see she is continuing to make her way into leading roles. I know she filmed something with Lee Jong Suk recently, so I want to check that out too!
Kmuse: She is just so darn cute. Love her.
Drama Geek: I was pleasantly surprised by the touching moments and how much the drama made me laugh. I had to look the writer up, and realized they’d done High School King of Savvy, which made me even more excited about this show. We are guaranteed lots of humor along with some pretty memorable moments. Just what I needed after Secretary Kim wrapped up.
Karie the Maknae: Can I just agree with everything Drama Geek said and be done? I’m excited for this drama for all the same reasons–something I wouldn’t have expected after reading the plot synopsis. I’m all in.
Clkytta: I agree with my Kimchi Sisters. I have high hopes that this will be a good replacement for Secretary Kim too.
Kdrama Jen: I am looking forward to what happens next. There is a second lead who has carried an unrequited love for many years, so I think things will heat up! Overall, I am happy to have a surprisingly sweet show with interesting premise to add to my watch list.
Kmuse: I was expecting slapstick and instead got very carefully plotted sweet comedy. It was a nice surprise and I am totally invested in this show. Can’t wait for next week.
There you have it, the five reasons we think you should start Still 17. I hope that we discover many more reasons in the weeks to come.
Til our next drama adventure,
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi