Once Upon a Small Town Review: Joy, Choo Young Woo starrer is a pleasurable experience

Baek Seong Cheol acts as the perfect third wheel.

Published on Oct 06, 2022   |  06:04 PM IST  |  550.6K
'Once Upon a Small Town' poster: courtesy of Kakao TV
Once Upon a Small Town

Once Upon a Small Town’ is the latest Kakao TV release that is set in a boisterous village of Huidong. A four hour drive from Seoul, the small neighbourhood is your regular dose of notoriety and peace, all in one place. With nosy people all around them and animals always creating a ruckus, it's our next short drama to be a proud addition on our watch-list.

The beginning:
It starts off with veterinarian Han Ji Yul, played by Choo Young Woo, being thrusted into a village life forcefully by his grandfather who heads off to a trip with his wife and leaves his long running animal hospital in the care of his grandson, a successful doctor in Seoul. Against his wishes, the city boy is wary of the increasingly intrusive neighbours who often burst into his schedule unannounced now that he is a part of the villagers. He meets an enthusiastic police officer named Ahn Ja Young, embodied by Park Soo Young aka Red Velvet member Joy, who is dear to everyone and seems to have an unexplainable interest in him. She has the whole village caring for her and in turn dotes on them. A third side to the story gets added when her best friend, Lee Sang Hyeon- role by Baek Seong Cheol, has one-sided feelings for her. He is a young farmer with a flourishing peach business.

The characters:
Joy’s character of Ahn Ja Young is very depictive of her name. She is the easily-smiling, hardworking and helpful police officer who has no parents but has made a family through her neighbours. She takes up odd-jobs even though they do not fall under her duties.
Choo Young Woo as the slightly uptight Seoul boy Han Ji Yul is the fun card in the game as his vivid expressions add all the more chaos and laughter to his scenes. He slowly learns to adapt to his not so regular surroundings and finds love.
Baek Seong Cheol as Lee Sang Hyeon is the best friend everyone deserves as he shows how he values his relationship with his friend more than the title given to it. Though the others egg him for a romantic relationship, he finds peace in rejection.

The story:
As Han Ji Yul figures out his way of survival in a place that is very unfamiliar and does not match with his usual city standards, he reacts defensively. Locking horns with everyone around him, it takes him some time to find peace and Ahn Ja Young is his confidante during those times. Both of them have childhood history which relates back to his trauma, however he has since erased those memories causing more confusion. Lee Sang Hyeon is the overprotective friend who is rejected by Ahn Ja Young but continues to look out for her.


The end:
The love story takes a happy turn as the two accept their feelings for each other keeping their prejudices, worries and upbringings aside. Their experiences connect them much more deeply. However the path to acceptance is very interesting and calming. It’s a simple story of two people falling in love despite differences.

The highlights:
The setting is in a very beautiful village with lush lands and animals in need of help at all times. The noisy and protective villagers add a homely charm to the story. Han Ji Yul’s ex-girlfriend who is still hung up on him adds the twist, enough to push the leads over the edge. It’s only an added bonus that the main cast looks straight out of a magazine shoot at all times.

Why you should watch:
‘Once Upon a Small Town’ is predictable from the start to the end, but that’s exactly where its charm lies- in familiarity. It manages to keep you watching because of its tiny details and stories that makes it heartwarming. A tiny coffee shop, the roads between water paddies, the cattle, the peach farm and the police station, all are recurring spots in the show and a delight to watch.

The 12 episodes will pass by in a flash as you continue to stay hooked to the story of the two people who are destined to fall in love.

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About The Author

After completing her engineering, Ayushi followed her passion for journalism and has been a professional writer for o...

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Credits: Kakao TV

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