While they may not have the early exuberance of youth or young adulthood on their side, these characters are now seasoned with some life experiences. They are busy navigating through career choices, difficult relationships, are single or newly single, and may or may not be looking for love but -- it finds them!
I have found these stories amusing, and if time would teach humbleness to male leads, that would be an interesting take. Heh! But these guys are still rocking the overconfident ego which certainly adds to their appeal and charisma.
This is based on the Taiwanese Drama In Time with You. This kdrama's take on the original follows best friends - who are also next door neighbours - from high school to present day, where they are both unmarried and in their 30s.
Choi Won (played by Lee Jin Wook) has never confessed his feelings. He’s been in love with Oh Ha Na (played by Ha Ji Won) since high school, when he rebuffed her angrily as she was delivering ANOTHER girl's confession message. He was so overwhelmed by his feelings and attraction that he lied to her and to himself.
That didn’t stop them from being friends, and now these two are both successful in their careers. They still live at home and fall into relationships with others when the opportunity rises.
While I much preferred the original (which I recommend watching first), the cast i in this one is really nice. The writing was also maintained a little shorter and better than ITWY, so the episode count was shorter.
#4 Twenty Again
Being a young mom changes your opportunities in life and redirects your path. Children are a blessing! But occasionally the husband and wife team does not survive the taxing pressures of career, child raising and other life conflicts. Ha No Ra (played by Choi Ji Woo) experiences this and now later in life, her husband has pushed her away while seeing another woman on the sly. Her son is preoccupied with his studies and social life. Ha No Ra seems like a dull fixture having repeatedly followed the same patterns of day to day life to no recognition or appreciation. A wife’s duties are hard, but even harder when no one seems to care or reciprocate the love.
When she is misdiagnosed and told she only has a short time left to live, this tragic news is her wake up call to seize her life back. She writes a modest bucket list of things she wants to achieve before her time is up.
One of her top goals, is finally going to college which she missed out on due to her young pregnancy. Her Husband and Son are against it, not to mention the man she knew as a youth turns out to be her teacher.
Time has made Cha Hyun Suk (played by Lee Sang Yoon) bitter, he had a huge crush on her but was never able to confess. When she disappeared suddenly (due to her pregnancy), he was left shocked and concerned. He causes her some conflicts early on in a pitiful revenge of hurt feelings overload.
When he find out about her husband’s cheating and stumbles across Ha No Ra’s notebook with her bucket list, Hyun Suk aims to help fulfill her wishes. Even after her diagnosis is proven to be a mistake, the two slowly reconnect.
This is an optimistic drama with touching ideals of 'it’s never too late to try what your heart is set on.' It’s a fresh start for No Ra, as she gets the chance to spread her wings.
#3 Let’s Eat!
This story didn’t really grab me the first time I came across it.
But I’m glad I gave it a try because it was a really funny, well written piece
with an amusing ensemble of characters. This one teeters on the noona romance
Female lead Lee Soo Kyung (played by Lee Soo Kyung...apparently they just use the actresses real name in the drama) is a Foodie who's passionate about delicious eats, thus the title of the drama. She is also a fan of a famous food blogger who she has never seen, but is infatuated with his recommendations. When women suddenly start being attacked/murdered in her area, everyone starts panicking and being on edge!
She keeps her guard up but her new neighbour (a gorgeous young girl) who just moved in, clings to her in an annoying 'be-my-new-bestie' way. She also finally meets the male lead Goo Dae Yeong ( Yoon Doo Joon) who lives just down the hall. Wow, they all live meters from each other. But she finds him really annoying and with his slightly, mysterious ways, she suspects him of being the killer. This leads to some awkward situations!
He turns out to be the mysterious food blogger she adores so much as a fan. Discovering this juicy news, she can’t seem to contain her older, inner fangirl!
After seeing her younger neighbor - as well as her coworker - who are both closer in age to Dae Yeong, fall for him, she tries to fight her own admiration and developing crush on him.
Dae Yeong seems to have zero interest in Soo Kyung (at first), but these two wind up together in so many situations. Their neighbourly relationship is very random and awkward.
Her boss (played by Shim Hyung Tak) is another story and goodness he is attractive! He has an unspoken crush on her from when he first caught a glimpse of her at University. But she never really noticed, acknowledged, or even remembers him. So he makes her life a living hell (while crushing heavily) because he doesn’t know how to deal with his feelings.
It was incredibly cute seeing a grown man fall all over himself repeatedly because he has a crush! He was my favourite character!
Seeing all the amazing food dishes was also an added bonus. It was art!
#2 9 End 2 Outs
This cute pairing has been best friends since highschool but they never crossed the line into dating. Now in their 30s, they are plunked together in a slightly, forced living situation. These besties have to share Byun Hyun Tae’s Apartment (he is played by handsome Lee Jung Jin).
Our cute, sassy female lead Hong Nan Nee (played by Soo Ae) is living out a noona romance with a hot, young baseball star (played by Lee Tae Sung) who is over-the-moon smitten with her. It’s very cute seeing this young guy’s affections! He is so endearing that he would give up almost anything for this girl!!
However, when their parents don’t approve and the reality of their age differences smacks them both, Nan Nee makes the painful decision to let her young love embrace life’s opportunities. She crushingly steps away.
Her bestie is there to support her through this. While he has someone interested in him from work, he’s beginning to notice his growing attraction towards Nan Nee. Or maybe it’s been there all along?
These two share a strong bond to begin with, but as romantic partners, can they evolve their friendship into love?
This is one of my top, favourite kdramas! For starters, the romance element was not the driving part of the story, but instead it came later. Although I adore strong, gushy romances, this was a nice break from the usual formula. The characters are all quirky and coincidently fall into each other's circles.
40 something year old Jo Jae Hee (played by Ji Jin Hee) has huge issues with other people being in his personal space. He's also incredibly anti-social!
We follow him in his journey, seeing how hard it is for him to connect and interact with other people. He almost always says the wrong thing. This was a really unique character trait because it was not something easy for him. He often speaks bluntly, not fully comprehending that his words could be hurtful to those trying to connect to him.
The female lead is a single doctor, Jang Moon Jung (played by Uhm Jung Hwa) who wouldn’t mind falling in love. She comes to meet the male lead when he is brought to the hospital for an emergency treatment. This is the starting off point of their relationship. She finds him cute, but frustrating.
She can also handle him to a point, understanding the basis of his antisocial condition. It’s in seeing their bond form organically, instead of being rushed, that made this drama worth watching. Definitely on my re-watch list. The writing and scenarios are hilarious!
Bonus! It also has the BEST, worst kdrama kiss. I almost spewed soda all over my screen because of how over-the-top funny it was.
In this drama, he is paired up with Kim Hee Ae,who is a boisterous Drama Producer. He is a by-the-book and easily annoyed, city employee.
The two immediately butt heads, but due to a complicated living situation, end up being neighbors!
Did you love any of the dramas I mentioned above? What are some of your favorite dramas highlighting love in your 30s (and older)?