Kdrama endings have well deserved reputations for being trainwrecks. Often the only arguing point is how awful the trainwreck is, and how much time it will take until the DramaGods are forgiven, and how much mental healing will be required before watching another show. Anything short of a trainwreck is considered a “good” ending!
The writers of “Twenty Again” must have read my memo (along with the comments from other viewers) that I was sick and tired of HS acting petty and immature, because he certainly upped his game in the last 4 episodes! The trainwreck ending I feared (No Ra returning to the King of the Narcissists Woo Chul) never materialized, but I was still slightly disappointed at some of the ways the issues brought up in “Twenty Again” were dealt with at the end of the show.
One of the disappointments was that after working her backside off to attend University again, NR ended up leaving school. I have a hard time buying that it was only because she no longer needed to match her husband’s education level or that the money was gonna be a problem. I personally thought NR learned a lot at the University–especially the definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder! She upped her comfort level with technology, she interacted with a lot of different people from all age groups, she would have had to write and research for homework….all these things made her a more intelligent and well-rounded person. She regained loads of self confidence, and became more assertive and less of a doormat. Taking over the Rice Cake shop her Granny used to run was nice, but how about a business degree first? Would that have hurt anything? Maybe I’m biased because I’d be fine with ditching my job (like tomorrow) and going back FT to college–assuming I would have some way to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table here at Shamrockmom’s House.
I am certain HS would have been 100% supportive of her getting her degree, even if it meant helping her emotionally or financially in a big way. How cool would it have been to see a time jump, with NR in her graduation gown, diploma in hand, and HS (and his dimples) smiling beside her? Min Soo could have been there too, with his diploma as well. Or maybe we could have seen NR participate in other dance competitions or join BFF Yoon Young as a teacher at the dance studio? How about starting a dance studio with that adorable and intelligent Soo Nam? I could go for a full series spin-off on that premise!
Side note: I did not see enough of LSY’s dimples in this show. Dear Writer and PD-nim: If you are going to cast LSY in a drama, make sure it’s one where viewers get to see him smile a lot. I would specifically request multiple scenes where LSY is smiling after dishing out hawt kisses, which were also missing in this show. Shower scenes with
or without smiles are also acceptable!
Equally disappointing–but completely understandable–was NR’s son Min Soo leaving school to go work at a farm (?) and ‘find himself’. I can empathize with his dropping out of school because he has been hitting the books his whole life, and hasn’t experienced anything else. It’s a crying shame that he’s never had a more well rounded life until now, and I blame his dad WC for the overemphasis on studying. Being on a farm may give this immature (but improving) young man some perspective on life, and he can return to school with some goal other than “a cubicle and a Camry”. That’s a phrase we use here at Shamrockmom’s House to denote a person with goals that are underwhelming; no creativity, thought or effort needed to achieve it. I can’t understand people whose sole objective in life is to become a corporate drone. It’s too bad MS can’t balance school with a job or some other interest to ‘find himself’ while still keeping one foot in academics, or take a few classes outside his major to see what else interests him.
The wrap-up of WC and his snotty paramour Yi Jin was just about perfect. I always felt they deserved each other. Two shallow and self-obsessed people, sharing a boring, pretentious lifestyle together. Perfect. How pathetic that they finally figured out how dysfunctionally they communicated and still seemed to want to have a relationshi(t)–even after YJ orchestrated WC’s acceptance–and exit–from the University. No surprises here. You two go have fun together–and stay far away from HS and NR!
I was not surprised that with WC out of the way, NR could get together with HS but she was in no rush to do so. That had to set him back on his heels. After he’s been waiting 20 years for her, and now she pushes him away? I get that NR feels the need to be independent, and to prove to herself (and everyone else) that she can stand on her own two feet. However, what I don’t think NR is taking into consideration is that a path like that starts out pretty good, and can give a person a lot of pride in accomplishing things without outside help. The long term problem is that if you don’t have someone you love close by, then….what’s the point? It’s empty and lonely, and there’s nobody to share the happiness with.
I am so guilty of this sin, I am surprised the keyboard doesn’t spontaneously burst into flames right now. For years, I told everyone I knew: “I’ll never get married or be in a relationship again! Why would I do that? So I can have someone to argue with, who will nag me to do this and that for him, who will hassle me when I buy myself something or want to go someplace….” You get the picture. But then one day, a friend said, “That’s what your ex-husband did. What about a guy who really cares about you? Who puts you first in his life…who makes your life easier, and better–not more difficult or burdensome? Wouldn’t you want to be with someone like that?” I remember staring open-mouthed at her, unable to comprehend that a marriage could/should not be a burden. Slowly over the years, I began to find myself in situations where I would wish I had someone to share the good times with, like when I would be at my kids graduations or award ceremonies. Or I wished I had someone to lean on emotionally, like after my Mom’s suicide. It’s still a somewhat abstract concept for me, but it has become clearer as the years pass, sort of like a fog dissipating in my heart.
That’s the reason I loved the final scene with NR and HS in the park so much, and I can forgive a lot of the previously mentioned faults. HS is protective of NR, but doesn’t smother her. He can be with her without monopolizing her entire life. After the disastrous marriage to WC, I can see where NR doesn’t want to rush into another relationship. I hope she doesn’t fall into the trap of thinking “I’ll never get married again” like I did. The right person aka HS won’t be a problem for her, won’t hassle or disrespect her, and won’t make her life more difficult. Instead, he will make her life better, and more joyful and fun. I also saw the part where HS shooed away the little boy as a metaphor. I can guess that as much as HS wants to eventually marry her, he could pass on the fatherhood part of life, and that would be just fine with both of them. He may not want to share her, and I am at peace with that concept. In fact, the whole ending scene left me with a warm and pleasant feeling, unlike so many other shows I’ve seen over the last couple of years.
I would like to bring your attention to some extremely well written commentary on “Twenty Again” from the ladies who run the Problematic of the Unproblematic Blog. These are the most thought-provoking posts about this show I’ve seen to date. I wish I could be this articulate. But since I am not, I will send you over there to read them. This show must have really hit a nerve, because the commentary at that blog is usually quite lighthearted and funny. I can’t recommend these essays enough:
The comments by the readers at the conclusion of each of these blog posts are also enlightening. It will take some time to read through, but I think you will find it worth it.
Even with it’s faults and frustrations, Twenty Again is a show that I would definitely recommend watching. The messages of hope this show sends out for all age groups is uplifting and powerful. If just one person watches this show and says,”I’m going to make one small change today toward getting out of this bad situation I’ve let myself slide into”, then it’s mission has been accomplished.