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The Weekend Binge: "Twinkling Watermelon"

Twinkling Watermelon (2023) is a 16-episode fantasy, romance, music, and time-travel k-drama streaming on Viu. Together, Ryeoun (18 Again), Choi Hyun-wook (Twenty-Five Twenty-One), Seol In-ah (Business Proposal), and Shin Eun-soo (SF8) bring to life the heartwarming and nostalgic tvN series.

GwenchaNoona | The Weekend Binge: "Twinkling Watermelon" starring Ryeoun, Choi Hyun-wook, Seol In-ah, and Shin Eun-soo (A K-drama Review)

Photo from tvN/HanCinema

The Plot

The link between his silent small home and the loud wider world—that’s what the smart high school student Ha Eun-gyeol (Ryeoun) is to his family. A child of deaf adults (CODA), he later discovers his love for music, secretly learning to play the guitar from his elderly neighbor Viva (Chun Ho-jin, Beyond Evil).

One day, after a big argument with his dad, Eun-gyeol finds himself traveling back to 1995. Coincidentally, the first person he bumps into is a student his age—his father, Ha Yi-chan (Choi Hyun-wook)! But his future looks bleak as his future dad thinks he’s crazy and the troublemaker teen Yi-chan is crazy about Choi Se-kyeong (Seol In-ah), not his would-be mom Yoon Cheong-ah (Shin Eun-soo).

Will he find out why he must travel back in time before his time is up?

The Review

If you think that Twinkling Watermelon is a light and fluffy k-drama based on its bright and sunny poster, you are in for a surprise. A mix of fantasy, romance, drama, comedy, and music, this ambitious series tackles some serious and thought-provoking themes.

The real gem of the k-drama is the cast, with its amazing chemistry and realistic and seamless performance. The “older” leads Choi Hyun-wook and Shin Eun-soo showed how love can be a "shining voice" and transcend the world of silence, while the remaining leads Ryeoun and Seol In-ah depicted their timeless love. Not to be outdone, the supporting cast laid the groundwork for the heartwarming first episode set in the 2000s: the warm interactions of a much younger Eun-gyeol (Jung Hyun-joon, Mine) with Viva and with his dad (Choi Won-young, SKY Castle). In the 1990s, this was sustained with Yi-chan's moving scenes with his grandma (Go Doo-shim, Dear My Friends), Se-kyeong's awkward moments with the veteran guitarist (Park Ho-san, Would You Like a Cup of Coffee?), and Yi-chan's convincing dialogue with Cheong-ah's dad (Kim Tae-woo, Mr. Queen). Ahn Do-kyu (Duty after School) as the Watermelon Sugar band manager Oh Ma-joo matched Choi Hyun-wook's energy and comedic timing. To reinforce the series' hopeful and heartfelt message, the OST included songs like "Higher" by Ju-ne of iKON and "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton.

The k-drama sheds light on the plight of people who can't hear or speak, and the social challenges they face. It highlights the importance of communicating with and supporting their whole family (including the CODA). It also raises questions about fate vs. choice, and trust vs. responsibility, as the time-traveling protagonist attempts to alter the future through the past. The scriptwriter Jin Soo-wan (The Moon Embracing the Sun, Kill Me, Heal Me) leaves some unanswered questions, but the main message is clear: we all have our own dreams and deserve our own coda.

Stream if you want a touching multi-genre k-drama about being a "shining voice" for others and overcoming challenges.

Skip if you don’t want loose ends in your time-travel series.

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