Life in a city is rushed. Kids are rushing to their schools, adults are rushing to their workplaces, and the roads are bustling with traffic. As we run behind our dreams, in search of the big, we often tend to miss out to connect with ourselves. A weekend trip might help us loosen up; then again, it’s back to square one. ‘Hometown Cha Cha Cha‘ happens in the seaside village of Gongjin, a place where a city person would like to go on a weekend trip. The story follows the relaxed, simple, and fun lives of big city girl Yoon Hye Jin (Shin Mina) and small-town boy Hong Du Sik (Kim Seon Ho) & his chosen family, i.e., the residents of Gongjin.
This series, directed by Yu Je Won, is a remake of the 2004 South Korean movie, ‘Mr. Handy, Mr. Hong’.
Seoul Girl Hyejin Moves to Gongjin Village
Yoon Hye Jin, a dentist in her 30s, has successfully established her career in Seoul. One day, she has a feud with a senior dentist who tries to rip the money off patients and resigns from the job. The senior dentist makes sure that Hyejin won’t get a job anywhere else in Seoul. Tired and disturbed, Hyejin goes to Gongjin. Gongjin was her last vacation with her mom, who passed away when Hyejin was still a kid. After getting away from reality for a while, when Hyejin is ready to go back to Seoul, she’s met with some problems which force her to stay back in Gongjin.
During her short stay in Gonjin, she connected with many residents of Gongjin. Though unpleasant in the beginning, she leaves Gongjin with a good heart. Her attempts to find a job in Seoul keep on failing, and with not enough funds to open her own clinic in Seoul, she decides to open a clinic in Gongjin, where not a single dental clinic is present, to revive her career. Hyejin has a bumpy start as she tries to adjust to village life. But with the help of the kind and understanding people of Gongjin, she eventually becomes one of them.
Chief Hong: Gongjin’s Social Butterfly
In the seaside village of Gongjin, if there is one person who knows about every household and their matters, that would be Hong Du Sik or Chief Hong, as the villagers call him. Chief Hong is a full-time freelancer with a list of professional licenses and can do any work when any villager calls him. From plumber, carpenter, shopkeeper to a barista, soapmaker, or surfer, Chief Hong is a happy-go-lucky guy who lives every day with enthusiasm.
Chief Hong lost his parents at a young age and was raised by his Grandfather alone, who passed away when he was in middle school. The people of Gongjin have raised him ever since. However, this handsome and lovely guy of Gongjin is also a topic of mystery for the villagers. Du Sik was always an intelligent student and went on to graduate from the prestigious Seoul National University. He kept in touch with the villagers when he was in college, but after graduating, no one knew what he did for 5 years until he came back to Gongjin with a lost face. Nobody dared to ask him about his whereabouts. They understood that something terrible must have happened with him, hence helping him get out of his sadness. Chief Hong looked happy, but whatever had happened in those 5 years is still eating him inside.
The Close-knitted Community of Gongjin
The small town of Gongjin is fun and exciting because of the people. The people who have known each other from childhood. Three grandmas – Gamri, Mati, and Sukja, all live alone and are best friends. Chief Hong is close with Gamri as she took the most care of him after his grandpa passed away. Oh Yoon, a single father who was a famous singer in the 90s, runs a cafe now.
Yeo Hwa Jeong is the owner of a restaurant and also the landlady of Hyejin’s house and clinic. Jang Yeong Guk is the district head of Gongjin and the estranged husband of Hwa Jeong. Choi Geum Cheol is the hardware store owner and husband of Ham Yun Kyung, who owns a convenience store. Eun Cheol is a sincere and hardworking policeman. Jo Nam Suk is the tattletale of Gongjin, who runs a Korean-Chinese restaurant.
All of these people treated Chief Hong, an orphan, like their own family. When Yoon Hyejin found it challenging to adjust to the new life and made mistakes, they uplifted her. They accept city girl Hyejin into their community with no prejudice.
‘Hometown Cha Cha Cha’ Ending Explained
Hyejin and Miseon go on a weekend trip to Seoul after a long time, and Hyejin can’t help but miss Gongjin. In the middle of their journey, Hyejin realizes that what she’s missing is not just Gongjin but Chief Hong as well. She rushes back to Gongjin and confesses to Dusik. They officially get into the relationship, and the whole town is now celebrating as their beloved Chief Hong finally finds a partner for himself. Hyejin and Dusik have fallen head over heels for each other. Being understanding and trusting each other, Hyejin reveals the deepest secrets of her life to Dusik, but he cannot open himself up. This leads to the first break in their lovey-dovey relationship.
Hyejin decides to handle this situation with much care, which is visible from her statement, “I don’t want to break up with you. I want both of us to have a break until you are ready to open up”. Dusik has had a traumatic past for which he’s also seeing a therapist. The day he musters up the courage to tell everything to Hyejin, his past comes to him and reveals itself in front of everyone. This leaves the people of Gongjin, including Hyejin, in shock. Dusik locks himself in the home till Hyejin goes back to him, and that’s when he cries his heart out and tells everything to her. The only obstacle in Chief Hong’s happy life is now gone, and he is back with Hyejin.
In the final episode, Hyejin proposes to Dusik at the beach where they first met. Dusik says no, disappointed as he wanted to propose first and came prepared for it. Hyejin gives him a chance, and he also proposes to her. The lovey-dovey couple of Gongjin announces their engagement to the people when they are late for community service hours. The series ends with smiles and happy moments. Happiness can be found in very simple things, and love can be found in most unexpected places. ‘Hometown Cha Cha Cha‘ makes us want to take it slow and let life happen to us.
Hometown Cha Cha Cha is a 2021 South Korean Romantic Drama Series directed by directed by Yu Je Won. It is a remake of the 2004 South Korean movie, ‘Mr. Handy, Mr. Hong.’ The series is streaming on Netflix.