by Mridu, October 9, 2021

As most of us seem to know, the MDL feed has been flooded, and the waves from the fictional seaside village of Gongjin are to be blamed. 

Hometown Cha Cha Cha has been one of the most anticipated dramas of this year, and even before the premier got aired, it was already the talk of the town (pun intended). Since it welcomes back some of the well-known faces of dramaland like Shin Min Ah, Kim Seon Ho and Lee Sang Yi to our screens backed by a plethora of veteran actors, the buzz around it doesn't seem all that surprising.

If you're still busy contemplating why you should give this (probably?) overhyped drama a single minute of your watch time, or if you're someone already obsessed with it and therefore, don't mind going through a recap for a refresher, then, either way, you've come to the right place. Because let us just admit it, there's no in-between when it comes to this dimple fest.

Name: Hometown Cha Cha Cha

Number of Episodes: 16

Airing Date: Aug 28, 2021-Oct 17, 20121

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Life

Distributor: TvN, Netflix (International)
Synopsis: The drama revolves around a dentist named Hye Jin from Seoul who finds herself in a rough spot because of her high morale and retires to Gongjin, a seaside village, as her last resort. There she encounters a multi-tasking yet unemployed local Hong Du Shik who seems to do everything around town, from helping those in need to being part of everyone's life. Eventually, they get intrigued by each other despite their differences. 

Aren't you guys already watching this if you claim to be a Kim Seon Ho fan? Do you even need more reasons now that the guy's finally a lead here? So trot on without any complaints of Second Lead Syndrome this time.

1. Shin Mina and her Relatable Wacky Character

This drama marks the comeback of the Queen of Rom-Coms herself. The actress has already been a part of ample of fine works in dramaland, so you know there's something that clicked right for her in terms of plotline to jump on in this one after two years of hiatus.

There's also the fact that she has a special preference for portraying female characters that are bold, badass, fairly independent, and a feminist through and through, which one might come to relate with because the character will make her share of mistakes but will also be willing enough to mend her ways cause that's just how we as humans work after all.

So when you see her character, Yoon Hye Jin being all bitchy and whiny while adjusting to the culture shock of the complete transfer from her posh city life to being forced to become part of a close-knit community in a town, you won't be able to label her as a devil-wearing-Prada instantly (however you might want to) but instead look forward and hope to see how she eventually feels the warmth, loves the villagers and what a particular handyman has to offer. 

Everyone has to agree that character developments bring out a certain flair to slice of life dramas like these, and trust me when I say that our female protagonist is going through a whole-ass self reprimand journey in literally every episode!

2. Script is the Star

Currently confused as to how to put this drama into words. Whether it's a romance to make hearts flutter, an episodic guide on how to butter up grandmas/parents/friends/feisty fangirls/divorced partners/next-door neighbours, basically your entire social community by subtle gestures, a watch to make you laugh out loud when feeling low or simply declare it as an Agatha Christie-like mystery where viewers will be forced to come up with theories about the hidden past of the male lead and if he's a murderer on a redemption refuge or not. 

Clearly, the writers are wearing an extra-large creative hat and putting in all their effort so as to keep things interesting and diverse for the masses.

You won't find an actual defined plot in here, rather themes and characters getting fleshed out. In between, you might also witness some witty banters, people breaking out into abrupt dance sessions, some social issues being raised and corrected, princess and superhero syndromes; it's a mixed bag, you see.

3. POV of a Simple Small Town

Unlike most Korean dramas out there, which often sensationalise life in the big city, making us long for that buzzing, always-on-the-go lifestyle, this is one of the things that makes Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha so charming: it centres on the perks and quirks of living in smaller, quieter towns. If you've been considering moving out of the metro, the series just might convince you to make it happen!

4. Cinematography

Somebody give the cinematographer of this drama an award already! From the very beginning, the eye-catching factor (besides those obvious pairs of dimples) has been the 360-degree panoramic shots of the sea, sunsets and suburbs. And nothing less is to be expected from a show where both the male leads claim to be photography enthusiasts. So a bonus for the Home-Cha audience: they can stop browsing for their screen wallpapers; the screenshots from this drama will do the work just the same.

5. Side Characters

The thing about small towns is that everyone knows everyone — which means that we get to see a whole lot of the same people as the show progresses. From the first episode alone, we meet some of the people who make the charming town what it is: an adorable group of grandmas who dote on Chief Hong; a generous restaurant owner who also happens to be Hye Jin's landlady; and a former musician who now runs a cafe; two cute adorable little kids and all of them in on the town gossips and combined spying on our leads.

The best part, though, is that these "side characters" aren't just for comic relief or bare face value but also contribute by bringing their own stories, traumas, past, and needs onto the table, which somehow makes this drama a little more relatable and investing.

6. Kim Seon Ho's Chemistry with the Entire Cast

To those who think KSH might just only be a pretty face, well, he's that for sure, but to give him some extra pointers, the guy can even romance with a wooden log, and you won't bat an eyelash. His character Du Shik puts the multi into talented not just because we see him do all kinds of jobs in the coastal town but also because he's got the chemistry going with multiple characters on the show. You know things have gone out of hand when you start hoping for more grandma piggyback rides, sexy times with both female and second male lead, looking forward to watching him being a self-appointed godfather to the kiddos, a helping hand for the others and the best part? Making it all seem so believable.

7. The Romance

One might expect the romance to bloom from the very second the leads meet because, with the kind of palpable interest Du Shik and Hye Jin appear to have in each other, they could really have gotten married by the second episode but perhaps, just like Du Shik's perfect brewed cup of coffee these two want the viewers to slowly yet steadily work for that love with their knack of outright bickering, criticism and mutual growth floating over the attraction that has deliciously settled between them. 

8. Emotional Rollercoaster

In a span of an hour and a half, every episode will make sure you smile, swoon, laugh, cry, hide from second-hand embarrassment and maybe swoon some more. So when I say you're in for a ride, I really do mean that as a heavy emotional up and down.

9. The OSTs

The OSTs are definitely cherry on top because what's watching our lead duo getting romantic on Sunday evenings without Romantic Sunday playing in the background? Also, the songs are totally loop-worthy, so you could vibe on them whenever waiting for the new episodes gets a little too tough.

1. The Entire First Episode

As far as pilots go, Home-Cha fell short on this note and gave an underwhelming experience for an overwhelmingly awaited drama like this one. So if you plan to give it a try (because, like, duh, I gave you enough reasons already!), make sure you delve in with a patient mind because all good things take their good time.

2. Recycled Clichés and Tropes

The amount of go-to romantic clichés and coincidences might make your eyeballs roll in here-we-go-again.

3. The Problematic Duration

The duration of each episode is a little lengthy for a slice of life genre, and until now, it hasn't been a problem as such, but the wariness for upcoming episodes and how problematic it could turn out is something to look out for, I guess.

Hence, like every series out there, nothing comes off as flawless; there's always some part that rubs you off the wrong way, and this one is no different, but since the drama has still got more than halfway to go and yet got me completely obsessed and impressed with (the reason why I wrote this piece in the first place). I can't wait to see how these loose ends get tied up or, in the least, presented in a better light.

Edited by: YW (1st editor), devitto (2nd editor)

currently watching kim seon ho lee sang yi hometown cha cha cha shin mina