International Dramas: N.Flying Web Dramas

Promotional image of (from left) Lee Seunghyub, Yuna, Kim Jaehyun, Choi Jungwoo, and Kim Doori from ‘Big Picture House’. Copyright goes to Naver TV Cast.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I’ve been watching some K-Dramas again, but because I wanted to make an N.Flying post, these are the ones that took top priority for me. For those of you who don’t know N.Flying, my sister made an entire post about them recently. I would highly recommend checking out N.Flying; they have very quickly become one of my favorite groups of all time. I listen to their music on repeat. They also don’t have very many fans in comparison to other groups, so they definitely need and deserve all the support! Anyways, my bias is Jaehyun, the drummer, and it didn’t take me long to figure out that he is also an actor. He’s most known for acting in a Japanese zombie drama, but he has done some K-Drama projects. And so has the lead singer Seunghyub. In fact, I figured out that both of them had been on two different short web-drama projects together! The mix of me loving KDramas and loving N.Flying was just too perfect, so I had to check out both of these dramas. Because they are both so short, I’m going to review both of them here. I do have a longer KDrama review coming up, so stay tuned for that as well! Anyways, I’m just going to get into these two web-dramas, because they were both amazing in different ways. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

‘All-Boys High’:

Summary- This is a set of ten episodes, each about four minutes long, that consist of clips of the lives of two students at an all boys high school. Jaehyun and Seunghyub play two opposite personalities who sit at the same desk together and navigate hilarious happenings while attempting to figure out their future.

Review- Rather than a good and bad section for this drama, I’m just going to give it a general review. Especially because it’s more of a series of comedy clips and much less of an actual full length story. I don’t think I could pick out something that I disliked about this, because I really loved it for what it was. An amalgamation of hilarious clips and relatable scenes of high schoolers just trying to figure out what they want. There’s a pretty meaningful storyline where Seunghyub’s character reveals to his teacher that he wants to become a singer, only for a more senior teacher to laugh at him. This results in his teacher defending him and making a great point about not diminishing the dreams of students. But mostly this is comedy such as, Jaehyun’s character getting caught pretending to be a ‘One Piece’ character or being asked to stand up when he’s only wearing boxers because he took his pants off since it was so hot. Usually this is highlighted by Seunghyub’s character being stoically embarrassed or awkwardly trying to support him. There’s a nice arc throughout the stories where the two characters become close friends, but expect more big reactions and comedy than anything else. It’s hilarious for the most part and each episode ends with ‘Rooftop’ playing in the credits. It’s a very short watch that I highly recommend for any fan of N.Flying.

‘Big Picture House’:

Summary- A series consisting of twelve episodes in between ten and fifteen minutes long. This series follows five college age students who are all struggling with having dedicated their childhoods to the possibility of becoming an idol, only for it to not pan out. It specifically follows Gayoung, a young woman who, after being kicked out of her company, needs to find a new place to stay and find a musician share house. A house created by a kind benefactor for aspiring musicians. The series addresses how we often take careers too seriously and how failure in one avenue doesn’t mean all the doors are closed.

The Good:

Gayoung- I really really liked her as a main character of this drama. She really had a personality all her own, and it didn’t feel like she was a blank slate. She had her own ambitions and dreams, and she also made mistakes that the drama was excellent in explaining and pointing out. For example, she initially rubs some of the people she shares a house with the wrong way, specifically Sungwoo, for talking down about idols. Over the phone, he overhears her calling idols pathetic and without any real musical talent. It turns out that she is talking to her father, and she is attempting to convince him not to worry by trying to convince him that she never really wanted the job anyways. Over the course of the story, she learns to be much more observant of the people around her. She also learns that having someone who has everything in common with you, doesn’t necessarily make for your perfect boyfriend.

Hyunmin- He’s the second lead in this drama, which is hilarious considering Jaehyun plays the first lead. He has already been taken out of the running for being an idol when we meet him, but he still holds out hope that he will one day debut. In the meantime, he is working as a vocal coach for the company he was hired under. He invites Gayoung to the share house after she is sent away from the company they were both apart of, mostly because he has a crush on her and likes that they have everything in common. His character is amiable and kind, and you can see why Gayoung would choose him at first. Though his main function is to be rejected, especially in such a short drama, he feels like a character with depth all the same.

Sungwoo- I know I’m biased (literally), but he was by far my favorite character in this drama. He at first appears pretty stoic and standoffish ( a far cry from Jaehyun’s other roles), somewhat because of overhearing Gayoung’s conversation with her dad. After he realizes her situation, he makes up for it by placing some chocolate milk anonymously at her door. Which is sadly mistaken for having been placed there by Hyunmin. Because really, he’s just a very adorable and caring character. He works multiple part time jobs at night and is still training to be an idol during the day, but he’s being phased out because of his age. He’s often looked down on by his former colleagues and suddenly finds himself feeling very lost. Gayoung is a light in his life, until he mistakes her for having accepted Hyunmin. Will I ever forgive Jaehyun for making me cry because of his couple of heartfelt sobbing scenes in this show? Maybe not. Sungwoo was the most adorable and the most heartfelt character in the entire show.

Chohee- She was one of the characters it was hardest for me to understand, but I liked her because her actions were never supposed to be rational. She was a character who also felt lost after losing her place in an idol group and is honest to herself that what she wanted the most was the attention and recognition. So, she instead tries to become a famous YouTuber, but she makes content that she feels everyone else will want to see rather than what she wants. Her insecurities involving the way other people see her are giant, and it’s always portrayed as a flaw. Her relationship even suffers from it. She makes so many bad decisions, but you understand where she’s coming from.

Jaejin- A sweet character who’s main function is to attempt to be there for his girlfriend during one of the hardest times of her life. This includes her seeing his occasional anger as signs that he hates her and her becoming jealous of him for getting more attention when she convinced him to make a couples video. He is an excellent boyfriend and does nothing but support her. Does he deserve the way she treats him? Definitely not. But he tries to understand where she’s coming from every time nonetheless. An overall wholesome character.

The Main Romance- Watching Gayoung and Sungwoo fall in love was one of my favorite parts of this drama. From the moment he gifted her chocolate milk, to the moment she realized it was actually him who had been taking care of her all that time. The moment when she realizes that she misses him and that she actually wants to be with him is such a tender moment despite this drama altogether only really being a short movie length. And when he surprises her at the end because she wanted him to come back, I almost cried again. This drama was so good at story building with the short amount of time that it had. Jaehyun’s smiles and hugs are also almost too cute to watch.

The Side Romance- I’m not putting this here because I think this is a cute portrayal of a romance. This is entirely a couple who’s going through a rough patch because one of them is trying to find themself. I like this because it’s so realistic and because it gives you the hope that they’ll come back together. She learns at the end that she never really communicated with him enough. It never portrays the relationship as being healthy; instead she learns that her insecurity made it unhealthy and wants to fix it. It’s more of a learning experience for the couple than an initial romance or breakup, and I really appreciated that.

The Message- None of the characters end up as idols by the end; but they aren’t supposed to! Hyunmin gets married to a different girl and becomes famous for his coaching abilities. Sungwoo starts getting a foothold in theatre. Chohee starts making content that she likes and is slowly getting recognition for being herself. Jaejin becomes a composer. Gayoung is the closest to not really following this trend, because she becomes a solo artist instead of debuting in a group. But for the most part, this is about a bunch of people finding jobs that they’re passionate about, even if it wasn’t the one they imagined. Which is such an amazing message for young people, especially right now. The drama feels like a giant hug for every young person who feels lost right now. And I know there are a lot of us. It doesn’t diminish you, instead it tells you that you aren’t alone.

Bad:

Length- The only thing I can really think to put here is that it’s too short. I would have easily watched and loved a full length drama with all of these stories expanded. Sometimes it felt like the stories were rushed, but that was only because they were attempting to fit within the length of a mini drama. So I can’t fault it for that. And the storytelling was well rounded! I just wish I had more of it to watch! I feel like I left Sungwoo far too soon.

Overall, I highly recommend both of these dramas. But especially ‘Big Picture House’. This has to be one of my favorite drama pieces that I’ve seen in a while and it was so short! But I think so many people need to hear the message from this drama. So many older people forget what it’s like to feel young and lost, and many young people need to know that not ending up in your initial view of your career is not going to be an overwhelming failure in your life. I really like the message of finding something you’re passionate about, even if it wasn’t what you pictured before. That’s actually how I’m currently sorting out my own career. And the characters and main romance are so wholesome and cute! I also recommend ‘All-Boys High’ for if you need to laugh for a little while. That one isn’t as profound, but I loved it as well. Let’s all give the boys from N.Flying some love, because they deserve all the love and recognition in the world!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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