‘Hometown Cha Cha Cha’ Review – Where Did it Sail & Where it Almost Sank?


Hometown Cha Cha Cha left a mark on viewers’ hearts with the cuteness of the Hyejin-Chief Hong couple and all the feel-good moments in Gongjin. This story of a seaside villager runs slowly and smoothly like a ship sailing on the calm sea, but at only a few points, the storyline seems forced. Suppose you notice the subtle details of the characters. In that case, the series becomes even more likable, and this character representation is what washes away the minute plot holes and saves the ship from sinking.

The Independent & Strong Women

When Gongjin first appears on the screen, the fishermen are on the seaport doing their job, and then the scene transits to the fish market, where most of the sellers and workers are women. In most stories, be it a book, film, or television series, there is a scarcity of prominent female characters. Even if there is a female protagonist, most of the side characters would still be men. This is where the cha cha cha family set themselves apart.

Out of 17 main characters, including Hyejin and Chief Hong, 11 are women. All of these women are shown to have an independent life and career of their own. Juri and Bora, though being young, are not afraid to speak up and pursue what they want. The three old ladies still work part-time and make their own living, not wanting to be dependent on their children. All the other ladies have either a job or run their own business. The elementary school teacher Cho Hui is homosexual and comes out to her long-time crush Hwa Jeong in a scene. This is a powerful message as LGBTQ+ is still a sensitive topic in South Korea. If looked closely, the series primarily focuses on women’s lives and their struggles, which is rare when most of them are just supporting characters.

The Positive Representation of Men

The portrayal of weak and gullible women and toxic and misogynist men isn’t uncommon in cinema because reality is similar, but there are always two sides to the coin. Not all women are gullible, and not all men are misogynists, not in this era. The series conveys this message very simply, without a slight exaggeration. The husbands and wives have their differences and misunderstandings, and they fight too, but without passing a single sexist comment. It is common in the Gongjin community where men have their partners making more money than them, and they do not have any issue with that.

Fathers who are not unnecessarily strict on their children are supportive of what they like (no matter how troublesome it is) and don’t hesitate to show their emotions, particularly Oh Yoon, who has raised his daughter all alone and she is the apple of his eyes. The writer, director, and actors have made sure that the soft side of men will be delightful to watch.

The Childhood/Fated Lovers Trope

Some of the common love tropes in kdramas would be childhood lovers, enemies to lovers, fated lovers, boss-employee, classmates, etc. Here, in Hometown Cha Cha Cha, the couple doesn’t really follow a trope. However, a few scenes where dusik and hyejin meet as kids, then as teenagers, just for a brief moment, try to fit them into the childhood lovers trope. In another scene, Hyejin calls police on suicidal Dusik – years before they know each other; seems unconvincing and forced. Even if those scenes weren’t shown, it wouldn’t affect the storyline.

Unlike the childhood lovers trope in ‘What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim’ or fated lovers trope in ‘Goblin,’ Hometown Cha Cha Cha tried to show something in the middle of two. They look more like plot fillers than the actual plot itself. Had there been more fillers as such, the Cha Cha Cha ship could’ve shaken a little bit, but with interesting characters, a fantastic story, and talented actors, the ship of Hometown Cha Cha Cha sails strong.

Read More – ‘Hometown Cha Cha Cha’ Ending, Explained

Hometown Cha Cha Cha is a Romantic Comedy Television Series directed by Yu Je Won. It is streaming on Netflix.

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Neha Bhondve
Neha Bhondve
Neha is an Entertainment Writer and a Korean language and culture enthusiast. She loves to explore new people and places and when not writing, she is either learning Korean, reading a book or making a new travel plan.

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