This week’s pick is “Age of Youth“, a drama that aired in July until the end of August on JTBC, one of the best pay-per-view channels, imo. What makes this drama so interesting is the variety of characters and themes. You could say this is a slice of life drama, trying to depict social life and the interactions among humans and people’s feelings in a certain moment of their life. The life crisis, the loss of a family member or of a life goal, or face your past and let it go.
The story of this drama is quite simple and develops in 12 episodes that mostly tie all the plotlines together by the ending (although I have the feeling they could make a season 2 of this show). Yoo Eun Jae (Park Hye Soo) travels from the countryside to the city to attend University and she moves in the “Belle Epoque“, a two-story building where the landlady and other four girls live. She is an introvert, and things get a bit irky with the other roommates at first, but then all resolves well and the focal point is the interaction between the five girls. Besides Eun Jae, who is reserved and silent, there is Yoon Jin Myeong (Han Hye Ri) her roomie, who is a 28-year-old working a lot of part-time jobs to pay her living expenses and tuition at Uni. She still hasn’t graduated yet and saves up a lot. Song Ji Won (Park Eun Bin) is completely the opposite of these two. She loves reading, talks a lot, and is the life of the party. She doesn’t pass unnoticed but not for the things she’d like, in fact she isn’t able to find a boyfriend because of her not so diplomatic personality. Kang Yi Na (Ryu Hwa Young) is the snobbish of them all (she also is Park Shin Hye’s doppelganger, yes?). She is always elegant and wears designer clothes and shoes, and she is also very lucky with men of all ages. She is an open-minded woman with an easy life and this is way she often clashes with Jeong Ye Eun (Han Seung Hyeon), who is obsessed with diets and would like to live a glamorous life like her roomie.
If you see the personalities of the girls, I am sure any of you could fit into one or more of them. This is a show that is not only aimed to women, guys could like it too, because there are also male protagonists who interact with the girls. The good thing about this drama is that it’s not static. It does follow the girl’s storylines so we have Ye Eun and her abusive dating life, Eun Jae and her fear to speak up to others, Yi Na and her need of a paternal figure, Jin Myeong and her hardwork and harrassment at work, Ji Won and the need to lie to become an interesting person because she doesn’t believe she has good qualities. These are just some themes, of course. There’s even more and are featured more openly compared to other K-Dramas. I felt the writer also wanted to “teach” a lesson every episode. It was fun that at the ending you saw a small interview with each major and minor characters speaking up about what they did in the episode. It was more real and you could relate a lot to how the characters felt or behaved. It had more of an “american” feel, so to speak, and I think the story could have continued for more and more episodes. I really hope it could have a continue for real, since the last message on the blackboard of Belle Epoque seemed to hint that there may be a season 2 in the works.
The music was also very good.