Finding love at the movies in MBC’s 20th Century Boy and Girl
Thirtysomethings acting like teenagers in love? Done right, I find it to be the cutest thing ever, and I have a niggling feeling that 20th Century Boy and Girl will show us how immaturity can be an endearing quality in the context of romance. This show, about childhood sweethearts who reunite as adults, is populated by a cast of likable, charismatic actors led by Han Ye-seul (Madame Antoine) and Kim Ji-suk (Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People), and I’m happy to see that the recently released posters, stills, and teaser suggest an easy, comfortable rapport between the entire cast.
I look forward to what looks like a cute, breezy watch, especially because there are so many catnips to love in this show’s premise, from first loves that started out as childhood friends to reunited lovers. If the first teaser gave us a nostalgic, almost melancholic take on the childhood sweethearts who become separated, this newest teaser focuses more on their adult lives. Han Ye-seul’s character is a much-loved actress and former idol, and the teaser is narrated throughout by what sounds like an interview with her character.
The teaser starts with Han Ye-seul shyly saying that she thinks that love begins by going to watch a movie together, because you’re hyper-aware of your date’s presence and that’s when you discover that you might come to like that person. We see the high school versions of the leads on just such a date, followed by some adorable couple-y teasing, and younger Kim Ji-suk going in for a kiss. Present-day Kim Ji-suk is just as smooth, nonchalantly handing over some roses and joking that he found them on the ground.
Our hero might have some competition in the form of Lee Sang-woo (All’s Well With a Happy Home), who will play a fellow idol-turned-actor, though his career path has pretty much gone the opposite way of the heroine. Han Ye-seul was and is still a die-hard fan, though, as shown by her shielding him from the rain with an umbrella, completely oblivious to the fact that she’s getting drenched. There’s something so painfully relatable about that, regardless of age; she tells herself that there’s no bigger star than her “oppa.”
Inevitably though, the interactions between Kim Ji-suk and Han Ye-seul outshine her fangirling, and it’s pretty adorable how both of them light up when Kim Ji-suk corrects her about his relationship status: “I’m not married. Don’t go around spreading fake rumors.” Han Ye-seul continues with her interview, saying that living as a thirtysomething single woman in Korea hasn’t changed much, although it’s accepted that marriage isn’t the happy ending anymore: “But I don’t want to blame myself. And I hope those of you listening do the same.” I love the ending shots of the main couple with Han Ye-seul’s girlfriends, played by Ryu Hyun-kyung (Empress Ki) and Lee Sang-hee (Our Love Story), both as children and then as adults.
The recent strikes at MBC and KBS have delayed the premiere of 20th Century Boy and Girl, which was originally set to start its run next week, but will now premiere October 2. This date is still subject to change, tentatively, but let’s hope the producers make good use of the extra week. In the meantime, MBC will air a rerun of Romance Full of Life next Monday and Tuesday, which is the web and TV drama hybrid the station aired earlier this year, starring Yoon Shi-yoon and Jo Soo-hyang.