There are many ways a K-Drama addict finds their next series. Sometimes they are recommendations from fellow addicts, other times we search for K-Dramas that are in the same category, genre, or similar to the K-Drama we just finished watching. However, I think the most special way to find a drama to binge on is when we randomly stumble across it, and it turns out to be a jewel.
This was the case with Adolescence Medley (A.K.A Puberty Medley). I was simply looking for an OST song (nothing out of the ordinary) and I saw the series on KBS’s YouTube channel. I’m working on a few series so I wasn’t looking to start a new K-Drama but I was compelled to click on it, anyway. I went from working on an important essay to finishing up the whole mini-series in only a few hours! By the time it ended, I didn’t know what to do with myself anymore. I just completed a wonderful little slice of Dramaland, how could I go back to writing about gerontology?
Choi Jong Woo is a high school freshman that is used to transferring schools often because of his dad’s work. This is why he likes to keep to himself and avoids making friends or enemies. In his new school, he is doing exactly what he is used to doing – avoiding getting close to anyone. Just barely starting the school term, his parents announce that they will be moving again, this time to Seoul, by the end of the week. In school, he manages to challenge the school’s best fighter, ask out the class president, and volunteer for the town’s singing competition. He figures he’ll be gone in a few days. The problem is, his parents have changed their minds and now Jong Woo is stuck with all the trouble he has created.
My Impression of Adolescence Medley:
Adorable, simply adorable. Similar to the Reply series, Adolescence Medley gave me a nostalgic feeling, as the main character reminisces about his high school experiences where the main plot takes place. Despite being a mini-series with only 4 episodes, it was not lacking or felt too rushed. The story isn’t exactly original or new yet it’s quite nicely told so I didn’t feel like I was being suffocated with cliche. Yes, it was as predictable as they come, but it was very pleasantly developed. It’s funny, sweet, cheerful, and yes, at times it can be a little sad.
If there is something that this drama can brag about, it is the cinematography. The large majority of this drama takes place in the countryside, but some of those shots are so rich and beautiful that it truly is a work of art. Adolescence Medley reminds me of my own hometown and childhood friends (I am from the countryside, btw). With their filming technique and focus on the scenery I felt like I could almost smell the fresh rain, taste the clean air, feel the warm sun and relate to their simple ways.
Characters and Acting:
Kwak Dong Yun. Remember that name. This is the name of the next child-actor-turned-sensation. He just needs a great roll and the rest he’s got in the bag. Seriously, this kid’s acting is amazing! It’s my first time seeing him in anything, but I’m so impressed at how well he was able to portray his character – He WAS Choi Jong Woo! Kwak Dong Yun was able to bring out so many sides of Jong Woo’s personality very naturally. Such a cute fellow too. His features remind me of Jung Woo. He could seriously be his younger brother or his younger-self counterpart.
Another note-worthy actor would be Kwak Jung Wook. He’s not a new face to me, I’ve watched him play a few different roles, but he always manages to shift characters so well. This time, he was playing Lim Duk Won, a sweet and friendly classmate of Choi Jung Woo’s, who is tormented and used as a shuttle by the school bullies.
The chemistry between Choi Jung Woo and his first love Yang Ah Jung (played by Lee Se Young) is also pretty good. Even though Ah Jung is supposed to be a little uptight and studious, there is a cute little love story that at times really made me want to squeal. Perhaps more evident on Jung Woo’s part, the taste of first love is really exciting and a little embarrassing at times. The innocence of it all just kept me smiling like an idiot, and yet completely shattered my heart at the right time.
There’s always pleasant things to look at in K-Dramas 😉 and this time is no exception. Aside from the handsome cameos by Infinite’s Sungyeol who played the student council president and CNBlue’s Jonghyun as Ah Jung’s older brother, we also have the handsome Choi Tae Joon who plays the school’s best fighter, Lee Yeok Ho (Brown Bear). He’s seriously such a treat for the eyes, but when he smiles….GHAAAAAAA!!! As for his acting, it was not bad at all. Doesn’t he look like a combo of Big Bang’s TOP and Seungri?
This mini-series does not have much music to gush over, although it does have a few that I enjoyed. Probably the best song, and a good one at that, is the the opening song Stargirl by Bulldog Mansion. It’s such a cheerful and happy ska tune that automatically makes me smile when I listen to it. You can download it for free *HERE*.