Record of Youth: the La La Land Story in South Korea, the Guide for Becoming a Star and What You Can Do to Lose Your GF


(Caution: this post is literally made with spoil alerts. )

For those who love K drama, do you all remember Reply 1988 (2015)? Remember our handsome chess master from next door, Choi Taek? So the actor who played Choi Taek, Bo-Gum Park, had a new show released on Netflix a couple of months ago called Record of Youth (2020). I don't know what I was waiting for, but I just finished the show thirty minutes ago and loooooved it! If you love Choi Taek Oppa, you have to watch it.

The opening was quite exciting. Celebrity bodyguard, Sa Hye Jun (Bo-Gum Park), upset his boss and got punched in the face. I know it sounds like nothing, but seeing a hot guy like Bo-Gum Park dressed in a suit and gets hurt somehow does it for me. My friends and I were screaming: Korean writers, you did it again! But soon, we started to get bored. Spoil alert. The first episode was about a cute guy in his mid-20s, Sa Hye Jun (Bo-Gum Park), hustles to make ends meet despite his family's opposition. At the end of the episode, he meets the female lead, Ahn Jeong Ha (So-Dam Park), a makeup artist. After finishing the first episode, I was thinking to myself, wait, is this the Korean version of a love story between two Hollywood dreamers? I decided to give it a second chance. 

And yes, it was a show about the romance between two dreamers. However, even though this sweet, sweet romantic drama is just a fairytale, it still reflects many dreamers' realities, their relationships, and their lives.  

Although Hye Jun made it in the end, spoil alert, he did face all they struggle young dreamers are facing in their twenties. Unlike our Choi Taek Oppa from Reply 1988 (2015), half of Sa Hye Jun's family does not want him to pursue a career in acting. Sound familiar, doesn't it? 

Even though Hye Jun's poor family does not support him, his friends are there for him. Won Hae Hyo, his best friend since elementary school, is also an actor like Hye Jun. But, Won Hae Hyo is the first son of a super-wealthy family while his egoist mother is his agent and does all she could to help her son.

Dude, that was like my friends and me in film school! Not going to say whom, but I did went to school with famous people's kids and I know that feeling. The show does dab on the issue of class and wealth gap in an honest way. It not only focused on the self-esteem of the two friends and their mothers, but also the hardship Hye Jun had to go through financially and mentally because of his family's social class. But how does Hye Jun become more successful than his wealthy best friend Hae Hyo? Just keep on dreaming, and, most importantly, be good at everything. (How is that possible? But it's Bo-Gum Park Oppa, so I'm gonna let it slide.)

The romance between Hye Jun and his girlfriend Ahn Jeong Ha is also worth discussing. Hye Jun is Ahn Jeong Ha's idol for years, and they fell in love in the most natural way: dating. It sounds like another Mary Sue story, but Jeong Ha and Hye Jun are both poor and take buses everywhere when they first met. In the end, Hye Jun's fame is threatening Jeong Ha's ordinary life, so she decided to end the relationship to get her life back on track. Doesn't it sounds very mature and a little bit too reasonable? Remember how K dramas are always so dramatic that at least one of the lead characters is from another word or his life is in danger? Or both? Yeah, this show is nothing like that.

Record of Youth really explores what a young couple's relationship looks like when both of them make their career their top priority instead of wanting to be with the other person for the rest of their lives. Although it is very bland and a little too realistic, Hye Jun and Jeong Ha's love is quite refreshing for the K drama world since most of them are just trying to make you cry your eyes out. It really is trying to tell the audiences that romantic love is not always the most essential thing in young people's life. 

I enjoyed watching this show, even though it is just another La La Land that sets in South Korea. It talks about some social issues, like classism, and it also shows what it is like to be in love as a dreamer in this era. To conclude, I do recommend Record of Youth (2020). It's light-hearted, it has Bo-Gum Park in it, and you won't cry when you watch it. Well, if you do cry, then it is definitely because of Bo-Gum Park's hotness, and here is another picture of his beautiful face. The end.

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Oh hi, all I have here are useless personal thoughts and comments on local and international news and whatnot.

Los Angeles, CA

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