Hands down, this is my favorite drama of the year. You will definitely see me talking about this in my year-end review unless something else comes out in the next month or two (but those might be counted as a 2022 drama if they don’t end before December 31). Hometown Cha Cha Cha is a rom-com between a city girl, Hye Jin (Shin Min Ah), who moved to the seaside town called Gongjin, and Chief Hong (Kim Sun Ho), the guy who does everything and anything in Gongjin.
In terms of plot, the main plot is the romance, filled with a bunch of side stories that help build the romance and help us understand our characters – main and side characters included. My favorite side story is the one about Nam Suk and why the whole village lets her off when she gossips and spreads rumors. I’ve always thought Nam Suk’s character was hilarious being the nosy character she is, but she became one of my favorites when I finally understood her backstory.
It teaches us that you can’t really judge people when you first meet them – similar to how Hye Jin did when she first moved here. Everyone has a backstory and they might be hurting on the inside even though they look fine on the outside. One thing that really kept the plot going was the exploration of Gongjin’s 3 main mysteries – why HwaJeong and YeongGuk had a divorce, what Chief Hong did for 5 years before he returned to Gongjin, and the mysterious person who won the lottery. I liked that it was so subtle-y mentioned in one episode and when you thought the writers forgot about it a couple of episodes later, we get our answers.
I thoroughly enjoyed all our characters. There was no antagonist in this drama, which is great. At first, I had bad feelings when they added Director Ji to the storyline because I thought the drama was trying to add an antagonist or we’d have a whole love triangle that runs in circles – or I guess, triangles, until the end. Luckily, Director Ji ends it with “I’m not good at trigonometry and I don’t want to be part of the love triangle”. Not to mention, Hye Jin is a pretty decisive person, so we don’t have a dragging love triangle story either. She snips it in the bud, just like she does with all her love quarrels with Chief Hong. I also enjoyed Hye Jin’s character development. She was a very prickly and judging person when she first moved to Gongjin and I almost didn’t like her. She has said so many hurtful things to the residents and Chief Hong in the beginning that it’s a miracle they still forgave her and overcame that. Throughout the drama, we see her opening up and caring more about the residents as she learns more about them. She’s still judgmental and prickly to certain people, but she definitely has a soft spot for the residents of Gongjin.
As for the love line – this is one of the first dramas that really made my heart skip a beat this year. It was cute and at times way too cute. But one of the most important things I would like to highlight is how Hye Jin and Chief Hong communicate well. When they get in arguments, they talk it out instead of holding it in like normal people should. And they apologize to each other if they did something wrong! There are so many dramas out there where I get so frustrated because people never apologize and their relationships are so toxic. This drama is an example of romance done correctly (across all couples!).
5/5 – If you’re down for something light, fuzzy, cute, and makes sense in the drama books, I highly recommend this one.