Kim Seon Ho captured a LOT of hearts in his last drama, and it looks like Netflix is trying to capture that magic once more. Come see if the new Kim Seon Ho drama Hometown Cha Cha Cha is hitting all the right notes for us!
Getting the Story Started
So many people got caught up in Start Up’s love triangle last year, with many fans rooting vigorously for Team Good Boy, aka Team Kim Seon Ho. Was it his adorable dimples that drew people in? His touching backstory with Seo Dal Mi’s grandmother? The fact that Nam Da Reum played his younger self? We may never know…..
But we do know that Hometown Cha Cha Cha starts out with a ruggedly-styled Kim Seon Ho standing at the prow of a ship, looking epically into the distance as the ship pulls a 360 up to the dock. Who is this mysterious flannel-clad Captain Jack and what is he up to?
We cut to Seoul, where a pretty dentist by the name of Yoon Hye Jin is introduced. She wants to do what’s best for her patients, but is blocked by her greedy boss directing her to recommend the most expensive procedures. After a drunken post gets our dentist blacklisted from all the dental practices in the city, Yoon Hye Jin finally faces the fact that she’ll have to move to the country to get a fresh start.
Drama Geek: He’s no Captain Jack. He’s SOOOOO much better. His setup in this show is pretty great. Hottie wears a wetsuit in the morning while loping on his surfboard. Then in the afternoon, he does every job in the town under the sun. His problem-solving skills made me think he was the mayor or town chief, that’s at least how everyone treats him. There are entire Twitter threads trying to figure this character out. I just love that he has an easy-going personality and a quick smile. We root for her character from the start because of how much she wanted to help her patient in Seoul, but she makes lots of mistakes in the small town and comes off very prickly.
Clkytta: Kim Seon Ho is the man of the hour for the whole area. He’s the jack of all trades and has a card to prove it! He’s that guy who knows a guy and he makes sure stuff gets done. You can’t help but love him. Our prickly pear dentist is a secret softie. These are just regular people trying to make a living and that’s so appealing to me.
Karie the Maknae: So the story setup threw me off a bit at first, because it felt like a generic Hallmark movie plot: “Big city girl is forced to move to the country, where she meets a down-to-earth boy who teaches her the true meaning of love.” That’s what the first couple of episodes felt like, strongly, and I wasn’t immediately drawn in. HOWEVER, the road trip at the beginning of episode 3 sold me, and reminded me that I should trust the writer, Shin Ha Eun, whose previous work was the nuanced and layered Crowned Clown.
The Dimple Couple
Kim Seon Ho is doing a fabulous job as the seemingly carefree Chief Hong, a man who has grown up in and been raised by the village of Gongjin. He’s certified in nearly everything, works when he wants, and protects his free time fiercely. He knows everyone, everyone knows him, and he seems to have special insight into Yoon Hye Jin’s soul.
Shin Min Ah is the other half of our Dimple Couple, and her sunny personality and winsome ways will eventually win over the village, once she sheds the hard shell that Seoul made her grow. She’s resourceful and confident and also manages to insult the village in one fell swoop, but with Chief Hong’s guidance, she’s making amends and establishing true relationships.
Drama Geek: I adore their dynamic. They are fun to watch and just so easy to fall in love with. He’s sunny on the outside with a mysterious past, and she’s a gooey mess on the inside with walls up for protection. You can see how much he wants to get to know her and how easily he gets under her skin to the softer side of her. These two are my happy place right now.
Clkytta: I love when seasoned actors and actresses team up for a project. These two are giving their roles their all. Shin Min Ah is an actress who knows how to show the hardness and softness of a character. I love that she’s not afraid to be physical. She throws her whole body into her acting. I like her as a character because she is so HUMAN. Combined with the easy-going character of Kim Seon Ho, it really is a lovely opposites attract story.
Karie the Maknae: Not only are our leads experienced and adorable, but they have SECRETS and LAYERS and I’m having a lot of fun watching them slowly reveal themselves.
The Rest of the Group
Hometown Cha Cha Cha wouldn’t be complete without a look at the crew of villagers that make up the rest of the ensemble cast. There are the squid-gutting halmeonis who have fed Chief Hong more meals than anyone can count. There’s our dentist’s landlord, a divorced restaurant owner who is as necessary to the running of the village as our everyman male lead, and a devoted mother to boot. There’s the former musician who now owns a cafe and can’t make a good cup of coffee to save his life, his snarky teenage daughter, and many, many more. That’s a lot of noses to stick into Yoon Hye Jin’s business, but they do it well.
Our secondary OTP comes in the form of Yoon Hye Jin’s best friend, hygienist Min Seo, and the adorable young cop Eun Cheol. Watching them stutter and dance around each other is a special sort of delight.
Drama Geek: As with most small-town dramas, it takes me a bit to fall for some of the nosy neighbors. In real life, I cherish my privacy at home. I love the halmeonis though and died laughing at the car ride to Seoul. They all have their own story, and I’m already interested in what makes this town tick. Plus, the scenery in their little village is BREATHTAKING!
Clkytta: I love a good side character and this drama is chock full of them! From the dock to the community planning board, we have people with real problems. The slice of life aspect to the side stories is so charming and lovely.
Karie the Maknae: One of the best parts of these side characters is that they do not immediately fall into tired storylines. The divorced couple don’t hate each other. The grandma who brings marinated crabs on the Seoul roadtrip doesn’t end up making a mess in the car. The nosy neighbors aren’t trying to be matchmakers. They’re fleshed out characters with their own stories, instead of just existing to serve our OTP’s story.
Would We Recommend?
Drama Geek: Absolutely. It may be slow for some, but it has a very comforting feel to all of it. Not a lot of angst or drama and it makes me so happy.
Clkytta: Oh yeah! This is a drama that makes you want to settle down and get to know the story. I’m totally in on this one.
Karie the Maknae: I’m finally in, and so glad that I am. The little epilogue scenes are a delight, and I love that we’re getting to see the stories from multiple perspectives instead of just one. Between that and the gorgeous scenery the Fangirls have already mentioned, I’m in a happy place.
Until the next village gathering, we remain —
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi