Is Lee Do Hyun & Go Min Si's drama Youth of May worth watching? Here's everything that has happened so far
Lee Do Hyun and Go Min Si's latest K-Drama has officially premiered to steady ratings and a pretty warm welcome from viewers. However, the narrative is yet to pick up the pace. 'Youth of May' is set in the 1980s, in the month of May to be specific. The 80s in South Korea was an especially turbulent and important period in the history of the nation and is marked by the Gwangju Uprising. During the Gwangju Uprising, citizens of Gwangju took up arms against government troops when Chonnam University student protestors were fired upon, beaten and even killed. The incident had around 600 victims and remains a significant event even today.
It is clear therefore that Youth of May will not be your usual romantic comedy with rainbows and sunshine. However, the first two episodes seem to take joy in a misguided sense of normalcy. The very first scene of Youth of May starts off with a skeleton being found at a construction site. The news makes one man lose control over his senses and we cut back to the 80s with a young Lee Do Hyun taking a ride in a fancy car through a crowd of student protestors. The environment is palpably tensed and in a constant state of unrest. We find out that Hwang Hee Tae, Lee Do Hyun's character is actually taking the car to sell it off and make enough money for Seok Chul, a woman he feels responsible for. Seok Chul is in the hospital and wants to go home, which prompts Hee Tae to set out to Gwangju and arrange for a transfer. Initially, due to lack of funds, he's unable to make way for a transfer but eventually, we see that Hee Tae belongs to a rich and influential family. He cuts a deal with his father, who seems not too pleased with Hee Tae being in Gwangju and finally gets his hands on enough money to bring Seok Chul home.
On the other hand, we have Go Min Si who plays a young, sincere and highly intelligent nurse, Kim Myung Hee. She has applied for higher education overseas and gets accepted at a school in Germany. The Father of the Church she visits offers her a scholarship on the condition that she has to leave within a month. Myung Hee has a rocky relationship with her father and is quite literally on no speaking terms with him. She's adored by her younger brother who's a runner. Myung Hee's best friend Soo Ryeon also comes from a privileged background but is devoted to protests and the spirit of revolution. However, she isn't taken seriously because her father bails her out whenever she gets into trouble. As a matter of fact, it is hard to accept Soo Ryeon as an activist, especially considering that she enjoys all the benefits that come with being rich and powerful while cosplaying a revolutionary. We can't fault her comrades for being annoyed with her because as viewers, we too are made to believe that she's just protesting as a hobby.
Myung Hee wants to go to Germany but she doesn't have enough money for the ticket, yet. Hee Tae's father wants him to get married to Soo Ryeon, forming a strong alliance between two powerful families. Soo Ryeon couldn't be the least bit bothered about going on a blind date. The simple solution to all these troubles is that Myung Hee will take Soo Ryeon's place and pretend to be her on the date with Hee Tae and in return, Soo Ryeon will get the ticket to Germany for her. However, it all starts falling apart when Hee Tae sees Myung Hee on the date, fully aware that she isn't in fact Soo Ryeon.
With the original plans pushed aside, Hee Tae and Myung Hee start having genuinely sincere feelings for each other, recognising each other's situations and understanding each other better than anyone else could. It is clear that the two are meant to be together but the comedy of errors that made this happen will be a huge bane for the rest of the narrative. Hee Tae's father is no ordinary personality and it is clear that he will not tolerate the truth and on the other hand, Myung Hee's dreams stand to be dashed.
The first episode of Youth of May is painfully slow but busy at the same time as we're introduced to a whole host of characters but we never come to know them any better than their first impressions. The second episode takes the slowly blooming love story of Myung Hee and Hee Tae forward but there is a constant tension that the truth is going to be exposed and it'll be too harsh for either of them to endure. It is difficult to enjoy the moments of tenderness knowing exactly what lies ahead of them.
If you don't mind slow burn romances and being tested on your patience, Youth of May is the perfect K-Drama for you. On the other hand, if you're more into romantic comedies, quick-paced plotlines and non-serious narratives, you might have to wait for a few more episodes to get into this drama. Either way, we're expecting it to be a mellow story of love rather than a cut and dry love story, which will tug at your heartstrings in more ways than one.
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