XX: Relationships Realistically
“XX” is a South Korean web drama aired in 2020. It’s a slice of life web drama, a story of Yoon Na Na who works in the XX bar and her former best friend, Lee Roo Mi- how they broke apart, struggled when they reunited and how they got through it all.
Genre: Web drama, Drama, Slice of Life, Friendship, Romance, Betrayal
Country of Origin: South Korea
Aired: January 24, 2020 – February 21, 2020
Episode Duration: 25 mins
|Character Name||Actor/Actress Name|
|Yoon Na Na||Ah Hee Yeon|
|Lee Roo Mi||Hwang Seun Eon|
|Park Dan-Hee||Bae In-Hyuk|
|Wang Jeong Deun||Lee Jong Won|
|Jeong Gyu-Min||Kim Joon-Kyung|
|Seo Tae-Hyun||Shin Jae-Hwi|
|Lim Jang-Mi||Na Eun-Saem|
From the very beginning, the drama is very on point, as it should be considering it only has 10 episodes. While the story is nothing too unique, it does have its colours.
Yoon Na Na and Lee Roo Mi have a complex relationship. An incident from five years ago broke their friendship and now they are worse than strangers. Not being in contact since after the incident, Lee Roo Mi invades Yoon Na Na’s life once again to hire her as a bartender at the bar she owns and that’s how the story begins. It’s centred around the people working at a speak-easy bar, “XX”, while the theme is “getting over one’s past and moving forward”. Both Yoon Na Na and Lee Roo Mi have their own traumas and their struggles. They finally face their past and mend their broken parts. Cheating exes are a big part of the drama. Romance is very subtle and light for most of the series, but that’s what makes it more appealing in this particular case.
Yoon Na Na:
At first glance, Yoon Na Na seems to be soft-hearted and weak, running away from her problems and making her exit quietly. But in reality, she has her thoughts and it just differs from what it seems like from the outside. She’s a girl who can’t help getting involved when someone is faced with injustice but then, she decides to endure when she is treated unfairly. She’s hard-spoken but soft-hearted.
She’s been abstaining from dating anybody since the incident from five years back took place. She now works as the head bartender of a speak-easy bar, “XX” and her daily life is pretty plain and simple. But it starts to get complicated when Lee Roo Mi re-enters her life and she’s made to face her past once again.
Lee Roo Mi:
Lee Roo Mi’s personality gives off complicated feelings. On one hand, the decisions and actions she took in the past make her seem quite detestable. on the other hand, she, herself, is a victim and had her complications.
On the outside, it looks like she has everything she could ask for but the reality is different. Lee Roo Mi lacks affection in her life, and this, in turn, caused her to make some impulsive decisions that she badly regrets. Her biggest regret was giving in to temptation which caused her to lose her best friend. She suffered psychologically as well. Lee Roo Mi pretends to be strong, unaffected, comes off as haughty and unrepenting. But once she breaks, she’s just a mess of emotions, full of insecurities and worries.
At present, Lee Roo Mi is in the food and drinks services industry and owns a bar. It started as a hobby, but she’d oddly determined to hold on to it when the business struggled. She’s surprised to find Yoon Na Na when she looks to hire a bartender, but only for a moment. Soon enough, she becomes determined to hire her and hopefully, fix her relationship with her.
Lee Dan Hee:
Once a baseball player, Lee Dan Hee now works with Yoon Na Na at XX as a bartender. He had to quit because of an injury he received. He had been feeling lost and was wondering what to do from that point onwards when he met Na Na. It was pretty much love at first sight and further interaction with her just deepened his affection towards her. Her view on bartending was what made Lee Dan Hee interested in this line of work and made him take it up as a job.
When Lee Dan Hee learnt that she wasn’t interested in being involved in a relationship and picked up on the fact that she has painful memories related to dating; he decided to wait for her instead of pushing her. He kept quiet about his feelings as well. He waited for two years and perhaps would’ve gladly waited even longer, if not for the change of circumstances. But while he didn’t push her, he didn’t sit back either, subtly pursuing her and making his presence known and this was what created the magic between them.
Lee Dan Hee is everything that a male lead should be. This is how every person should be. Respectful of one’s opinions and boundaries, considerate, not invasive yet firm, neither overbearing nor servile. Male leads are portrayed as somewhat overbearing, one that makes decisions for the girl quite naturally, overpowering her or fixing the situation with force-whether that’s physical or of some other kind not seldomly. And while that can be entertaining to watch through a screen, it can be quite upsetting at times as well. And in real life, it would be the worst. As such, it was more than just satisfying to see a male lead who respects the female lead’s privacy and boundaries. In addition, it was much more realistic. He’s probably the best male lead to have existed, personality-wise at least.
Seo Tae Hyun:
Seo Tae Hyun is Yoon Na Na’s ex-boyfriend from five years back. He’s only present in the last two episodes as a support role, but he has an immense impact on the series as a whole. He’s the reason behind the trauma of both Yoon Na Na and Lee Roo Mi. And even now, he’s just as conceited as he was five years back.
Seo Tae Hyun re-enters the lives of Yoon Na Na and Lee Roo Mi thanks to a business transaction, with the pretext of holding a bar party in the XX bar. Not surprisingly, he doesn’t feel the slightest bit of guilt or remorse for what he had done in the past when he meets them again. He even seems quite proud of his actions. Five years back, he had blamed Yoon Na Na saying that he was pushed to have an affair because of her. And five years later- now- he acts benevolent and forgiving; asking Yoon Na Na to forgive the past him and give him another chance. He conceited to the point that he firmly believes that Yoon Na Na still likes him, ardently at that.
If the director was going for the most annoying villain ever, he achieved that completely. While he may not be a supervillain, he is an irritating one. Every move of his gets on one’s nerves without fail. It was frustrating to see Yoon Na Na tolerate him. And it was just as satisfying to see her confront him in the end. The way she countered him was flawless too. It was just the ending needed for this drama as it showed how Yoon Na Na had finally gotten over her past and became the strong self she could be.