“Our Beloved Summer” gave us a story of two high school lovers’ reunion and reconciliation after five years of their breakup. Choi Ung and Kook Yeon Su meet again, first for a work project and later, to shoot a documentary about them. They had first shot a documentary in high school, which became the starting point of their relationship. The documentary again becomes a reason for them to get back together. However, it wasn’t as lovely and bubbly as in high school. They had to grow as individuals to overcome existing obstacles and understand each other. The series is more than a love story and portrays the self-growth of not only Ung and Yeon Su but also their friends.
Choi Ung – The Introvert
Ung is the only child and his parents own multiple restaurants and cherish their son so much that they name every restaurant after him. Ung has always been a silent child with barely any friends until he meets Kim Ji Ung. He had no interest in academics but enjoyed reading books and sketching. His dream was to live a peaceful life without any hustle, so he never pursued any career. He has achieved his dream, but he is secretly an artist under the pseudonym Ko-o. Ung always loved sketching, but he followed it passionately to cope with his breakup with Yeon Su.
Ung’s art became the reason for him to meet Yeon Su again. Ung had bittersweet feelings towards Yeon Su, but he still worked with her, which revealed his real identity to the public. His peaceful and calm life was shaken by being in the public eye. He stayed low until now because he feared failure. He was scared that he would disappoint his adoptive parents. Ung, who acted like a child, learned more about himself while making the documentary. He eventually came around and accepted that he still had feelings for Yeon Su. He decided to leave behind his underconfident self and boldly chose to follow a dream he had in high school.
Though he was slow in understanding one’s mood, Ung cared about his loved ones. His best friend, Ji Ung, was like family to him. As he had little to no social life, Ung seemed awkward and unapproachable to people, but he still made it into the public eye. He was not perfect, but he was loved as a person by his family and friends and as an artist by his fans. Ung’s growth shows us that the world is in the palm of your hands once you step out of your comfort zone.
Kook Yeon Su – Unapologetically Ambitious
Kook Yeon Su was at the top of her class, but she had no friends. For her, friendship was a luxury she couldn’t afford. It required time, attention, and money, all of which were priceless to Yeon Su. She grew up without parents, living with her grandmother only. Both of them struggled financially because of the debt that Yeon Su’s parents left behind. Yeon Su had to work multiple part-time jobs while still studying to be at the top of her class. She even agreed to do the documentary because she got paid to do it. Her only goal was to make a lot of money and pay off the debt.
She had broken up with Ung because of her insecurity. As time passed, she realized that Ung and her lifestyle differed a lot. Ung was rich and had no ambitions. She thought that Ung would not like her because of her financial situation and her desperate need to make a living as they grew up. She always deemed herself undeserving of everything she had. Ung was the only happiness in her life, and she felt guilty about it. How could her miserable life have love in it? However, after getting back together, she tried her best to cherish their relationship and make it work.
She had been living her life as if she didn’t have a choice, but one decision changed her outlook on life forever. When Ung asked her to accompany him to France, at the same time, she received a job offer from France, but she chose to stay back in Korea. She had worked hard since she was in high school, and now, she only wanted to live a life and enjoy a life that she had chosen. She was no longer insecure about who she was or how her life was; she was happy.
We are often insecure about one thing or another about ourselves, be it looks, social status, financial status, clothing style, and whatnot. Instead of being pitiful, we should be truly ourselves. People who love us genuinely will always be by our side, just like Yeon. Su had her own small circle of family and friends. It was small, but it was still there. She didn’t have to try to fit herself in; they accepted her as she was.
Kim Ji Ung – The Workaholic
Kim Ji Ung is a TV producer and primarily produces documentaries. He is a difficult person to work with, and his colleagues often avoid doing projects with him. Ji Ung is dedicated and disciplined towards his profession, but is closed-off in nature. If ever, he has only opened up to Ung, his long-time friend. This behavior is rooted in his mother’s unavailability to him while growing up. His mom left home early and came home late. He barely ate homemade food from his mom and always had packed food for his lunch and dinner. He carried that habit into his adulthood as well, where he preferred packed food over freshly cooked.
When he became friends with Ung, he found someone to hang out with, so his house became less lonely, and he even got to eat homemade food cooked by Ung’s mom. However, Ung was mostly silent and immature, but Ji Ung had to mature at a young age. He didn’t have a family member whom he could rely on, physically or emotionally. This made him emotionally unavailable to others as well. He had a crush on Yeon Su in high school but could never tell her and later felt guilty for liking his friend’s girlfriend. Working was his getaway. He liked observing people from behind the camera and not getting emotionally involved in their personal lives.
Ji Ung never confessed to Yeon Su and eventually got over his unrequited love of many years. He also left aside the hatred and repentance towards his mother and made a documentary on her. Life does not give us everything we want, but it gives us everything we deserve, at the right time. Ji Ung’s deepest sorrow was for his mother, and shooting her documentary gave him a chance for closure before she left this world forever.
NJ – Unintentionally Controversial Celebrity
NJ is an idol singer who started her career at a young age. She has achieved fame, money, and celebrity status, but she is often criticized on the internet for everything she does. She always had a busy work schedule, but she was getting tired of it. No matter what she did, there was always some controversy created around her, which made her life very careful. She always tried to show her good side, but it was always interpreted as putting on a show. She found some kind of solace in Ung’s sketches and bought them. This began their friendship, and NJ ended up having a crush on Ung. NJ was a popular celebrity and had many fans. She dated a lot, and men would do anything to impress her, but Ung was not interested in her.
NJ still pursued Ung because she found her escape in talking to him. She was adamant about only dating boys and not befriending them. Being a celebrity from a young age, she never made any true friends and was always encouraged to live like a celebrity. With popularity came hatred and criticism, and all she needed was a friend to talk to, but she never knew that. Ung was kind and always offered her friendly company and advice. NJ realized that her idea of living like a celebrity was holding her back from living like a human, exploring emotions and different relationships. She lets go of trying to impress people, maintaining an image, and always showing her good side on the camera. She became fearless and showed her sassy and savage sides in public to take down her haters and critics.
She also changes her mind and accepts Ung as her friend, her very first friend. She broke the boundaries that she had set for herself. Being fearlessly herself brought her out of her life of misery. If you hold on to the fire inside you, only you will burn.
“Our Beloved Summer,” tells a tale of the transformation of people with different life backgrounds, but in a cute and lively way. The characters and their individual stories are based on vulnerable human emotions like love, trust, and empathy.