K-Drama ‘Our Beloved Summer’ Satisfies Our Obsession For That Kilig But Angsty Exes-to-Lovers Trope
Dec 20, 2021   •   Kyzia Maramara
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Dec 20, 2021   •   Kyzia Maramara
Four episodes in and we’re hooked. Here is a K-drama that brings to life our weakness for that exes-to-enemies-to-lovers trope. Studio N’s first original drama Our Beloved Summer started airing last December 6 but it’s already climbing trend charts every week of release. It reunites South Korean actors Choi Woo Shik (Parasite) and Kim Da Mi (Itaewon Class) who both starred in the 2018 mystery action film The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion. The coming-of-age drama is beautifully written by Lee Na Eun and directed by Kim Yoon Jin. It jumps from past to present, giving viewers just enough background story to explain the character’s actions and yet not a lot of info to keep us wanting more. Our Beloved Summer came just in time for us to obsess over a new drama for the holiday break.
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Kook Yeon Su (Kim Da Mi) and Choi Woong (Choi Woo Shik) are forced to reunite as adults after the documentary they starred in high school went viral once again. But there’s just one problem — they’re exes with a lot of heavy history between them. What happens when you force an ex-couple to reminisce about the good old days in front of cameras?
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In high school, Woong was a student who had zero interest in academics. He mostly spent his time reading and doing elaborate drawings in class. Fast forward to 10 years later, Woong is a successful artist under the pseudonym Ko-o known for immortalizing buildings and architecture in detailed hand-drawn drawings. No one has actually seen Ko-o’s face — and that’s how Woong prefers it until Yeon Su comes and asks him to participate in a live drawing event.
Woong grew up in a family that showed their affection through actions, seldom with words. His parents might seem harsh but they’re the first ones to send him food when he’s sick and even look after him through his heartbreak. It makes sense that Woong isn’t the best at articulating his feelings, something that eventually caused him to lose Yeon Su. And when they cross paths once again, this flaw makes it difficult for him to distinguish if he’s still angry at her or if he still wants her back even after all this time.
Yeon Su is the type of person to bottle her feelings and hide them under a poker face mask. She’s always focused on being the best whether it was getting good grades in high school or closing clients as a professional. But to the people closest to her, her stoic attitude is just a facade. Her grandmother knows how affectionate she can be and when she used to date Woong, he saw the softer, caring side of her character.
For Yeon Su, actions aren’t enough if it isn’t backed with words. That’s why she always teases her grandmother to tell her she’s pretty or that she loves her. Maybe it’s the fact that she grew up without the warmth of a parent’s love that made her who she is. The affection she was looking for was clear from Woong’s actions but apparently not enough since it wasn’t ever vocalized.
After the painful breakup we saw in glimpses, the ex-couple slowly healed their wounds separately. Stoic Yeon Su threw herself at work and taking care of her grandmother. On the other hand, Woong nursed his heartbreak in the most emotional way possible — screaming drunk in the streets, purposefully doing things Yeon Su hated to “celebrate” the breakup, and even locking himself in his room for days on end. But wounds that aren’t properly healed tend to open right back up with just a single mistake.
When at last they cross paths, they’re reduced to a pair of bickering exes who clearly have a lot to talk about. Woong more than Yeon Su since, true to his character, he wears his heart out on his sleeve without the actual words to match it. And here we’re blessed with a jealous, petty Woong who never knew how to handle his overwhelming emotions around Yeon Su.
It was frustrating, to say the least, that viewers know exactly how to patch things up between Woong and Yeon Su. If he only expressed his obvious affection for her with actual words, she would’ve felt secure in his love. She gave him so many chances too! But on the other hand, if she only gave him the same energy and effort in their relationship as he did, he would’ve been confident that he loved her. Lesson learned, boys and girls, always verbally tell your significant other that you love them.
From what we’ve seen, Woong is obviously a one-woman man. It’s as if he fell in love with Yeon Su and he has never considered any other person even if they’ve broken up for 5 years now. It was obvious in the way he practiced his salt-and-water-spray revenge in case they cross paths. As for Yeon Su, she can act high and mighty all she wants but at the end of the day she knows deep down she misses what she had with Woong.
When it comes to K-dramas, there’s always a second lead added to the mix to make things
painful interesting. But although we know the story won’t favor them no matter how much we want them to win (*cough* Han Ji Pyeong in Start Up), it’s still interesting to see which sides of the main characters they bring out.
In Our Beloved Summer, there’s the childhood best friend Kim Ji Woong (Kim Sung-Cheol, Sweet Home) a filmmaker tasked to bring the bickering exes together again. TBH, we don’t know who Ji Woong is pining for just yet but his sad eyes seem to linger most on Woong. We’re suspecting he’s carrying the burden of unrequited love but maybe we’re just seeing things. It’s a curveball that won’t be surprising since Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha pulled the same stunt on us when it revealed that Yu Cho-Hui was actually in love with Yeo Hwa-Jeong and not her husband Chang Yeong-Guk.
There’s also K-pop idol NJ (Roh Jeong-Eui, 18 Again) who has developed a liking for Woong. She’s persistent, she won’t stop until she gets what she wants. But what she doesn’t know is that Woong never got his heart back from Yeon Su. We’re in for a dramatic heartbreak, folks.
If you can’t get enough of the K-drama, you’ll be glad to know you can consume Our Beloved Summer in webtoon form too. Woo Shik encouraged fans of the series to simultaneously read its webtoon adaptation since there are additional scenes exclusively found in both mediums. But it only has 8 chapters at the moment with uploads every Friday so you’ll have to be patient with this one too. The webtoon will focus more on the prequel — the couple’s high school documentary filming days — and give us more details on how they started dating. Read it on the Naver Webtoon website.
Two new episodes of Our Beloved Summer are uploaded every week on Netflix. You can catch it at 11 PM every Monday and Tuesday.
Kyzia spends most of her time capturing the world around her through photos, paragraphs, and playlists. She is constantly on the hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and a great paperback thriller to pair with it.
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