Good Ol’ Review: The Inspiring Warmth of “Twinkling Watermelon”

Good Ol’ Review: The Inspiring Warmth of “Twinkling Watermelon”

Basic premise spoilers.

I regret waiting so long to finally watch this series. Because if I had been able to watch Twinkling Watermelon (반짝이는 워터멜론/ Sparkling Watermelon) last year, it absolutely would’ve made my year-end favorites list. Nostalgic and heartwarming. Fun and dramatic. An excellent, charming cast. Great music. What an incredible treat this series is.

Twinkling Watermelon follows Ha Eun Gyeol (Ryeo Un), a high school student who helps to care for his deaf parents and older brother. After an argument with his father (Choi Won Young) over his love and gift for music, Eun Gyeol somehow travels back in time to 1995. And he ends up joining a band with his father Yi Chan (Choi Hyun Woo), as a high schooler!

Twinkling Watermelon Korean Drama Review

While Eun Gyeol tries to figure out how and why he has found himself in this time, he learns Yi Chan has a crush on the popular girl Se Kyung (Seol In Ah) and not Cheong Ah (Shin Eun Soo), the girl that is supposed to become his mother. Eun Gyeol does what he believes he can to keep history on the same path. But during his journey, he learns and uncovers many things that give him new perspectives on his family, friendships and life.

Twinkling Watermelon is able to find the perfect balance between fun and emotional moments. The series explores themes of self-discovery and overcoming challenges. And most of all, how the bonds formed between family and friends help facilitate that growth and development.

The series is very much a coming-of-age story with a twist. The high school setting and characters on the precipice of adulthood allow for relatable, down to earth stories. Many of which may be familiar to many a K-drama viewer. But with the series’ twist and refreshing and bright approach, it makes it easy to connect with our main characters.

When it comes to family, which is arguably the series’ strongest aspect, there is a lot of different angles and stories that are told through a variety of characters within the large ensemble. Many meaningful and thought-provoking moments highlight both the highs and lows, but mostly highs of the love and care a family can provide. Most especially when it comes to Eun Gyeol and the love and care he has for his family, both in the past and the present.

Twinkling Watermelon Korean Drama Review

A big part of making that happen is Ryeo Un. He gives an excellent performance, fully deserving of many accolades. You can’t help but be moved by all of his scenes, especially the most emotional ones. When Ryeo Un as Eun Gyeol cries, you will probably cry as well. (I know I did!) And Ryeo Un definitely has many of those scenes, particularly those in which Eun Gyeol must wear his emotions on his sleeve. This role has allowed him the best opportunity to show off his versatility as a young leading man. And it’s been great to watch his growth with every role he’s been given so far.

The rest of the talented young cast, Choi Hyun Wook, Seol In Ah and Sun Eun Soo, deliver pitch-perfect and carefully nuanced performances. They, and the rest of the ensemble cast, are able to balance the louder and lighter moments with some of the heavier turns as well.

Choi Won Young and Seo Young Hee as Eun Gyeol’s adult parents and Golden Child’s Bong Jae Hyun as Eun Gyeol’s older brother also effortlessly deliver in their challenging roles. Veteran actress Ko Du Shim as Yi Chan’s grandmother and Eun Gyeol’s great-grandmother similarly powers many of the series’ most heartful moments as well.

Meanwhile, Jeong Hyun Jun, as young Eun Gyeol, helps to lay a strong foundation to essentially the entire series. His performance depicting Eun Gyeol’s childhood really sets the stage for everything that happens in the series’ 16 episodes. And once you watch his performance, there’s no turning back from continuing down this journey.

Twinkling Watermelon Korean Drama Review

Perhaps the biggest lesson to take from the series lies in the high school band’s de facto slogan. And the message that lives with Eun Gyeol and his family throughout their lives: Viva la Vida, Long Live Life.

Through the stories Twinkling Watermelon tells, they are able to depict that mantra in the most captivating and creative way. Living life to the fullest. This series shows that you can care for others as long as you care for yourself as well. Being able to follow your dreams does not have to mean setting everything else aside. That a shared and mutual support can be the best strength one can give to one another. And the series was able to depict many different examples of that between family and friends. And of course with some romance too.

Twinkling Watermelon Korean Drama Review

Twinkling Watermelon is ultimately powered by captivating and charming characters and its engaging and heartwarming stories. Sincerity allows the stories to be relatable and realistic, even with its other-worldly twist. And the talented cast helps to bring it all together. Twinkling Watermelon is without question a delightful and inspiring viewing experience.

And again, certainly one of my favorites of 2023 had I watched it just a month sooner!

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