4 Reasons Why You Should Watch “Twinkling Watermelon”
Eun Gyeol (Ryeoun) shoulders big responsibilities since he was a little boy. The only person who can hear in his family, he is the voice of his family, the one who helps his parents (respectively played by Choi Won Young, Seo Young Hee) and older brother Eun Ho (Golden Child’s Jaehyun). He interpretes their signs into words and is their connection to the world. He is a diligent son and brother, and despite the many challenges, they are a happy family. As a young boy, he discovers his passion for music after a chance encounter with the owner of a quaint music shop called Viva Music. He is taught how to “speak to the guitar and the world through his guitar.” He hides his inborn talent from his family, but when the family faces a traumatic event, the young boy wonders if pursuing his passion is even worth its while.
As time passes, Eun Gyeol, who is a model student in his final year at school and the pride of his family, leads a double life. His love for the guitar and music is so strong that he once in a while takes to performing on the streets and joins an indie band. This makes him question who he really is. Is he Eun Gyeol the perfect son and student, or Eun Gyeol the music prodigy?
One day he finds himself taken back in time to the year 1995, only to end up meeting the younger version of his father Lee Chan (Choi Hyun Wook), who is an aspiring musician. There he meets the Cello goddess Se Kyung (Seol In Ah) and the haughty Chung Ah (Shin Eun Soo), the school’s ice princess who has been deaf since birth. Could traveling back in time help change his future? “Twinkling Watermelon” hits all the right notes. Here are several reasons why this show should be on your watch list!
“Twinkling Watermelon” strikes the right chord for many reasons. A tribute to the Academy Award-nominated 2021 film “CODA,” it weaves in a time-traveling element, which makes it an interesting watch. A coming-of-age fantasy story told through the lens of a CODA (child of a deaf adult) student named Eun Gyeol, he ends up forming a band fronted by his future father called “Watermelon Sugar” (not inspired by Harry Styles’ chart-topping hit).
It’s a tough role for any actor to emote through sign language and also play an instrument with such finesse, but the two versions of Eun Gyeol get it pitch perfect. Child star Jung Hyun Jun plays a younger Eun Gyeol, while Ryeoun plays the older version. He showcases a maturity and depth, which is moving and intense. And actors Choi Won Young and Seo Young Hee emote so effortlessly that it is bound to move you. Ryeoun comes out on top, showcasing his repertoire as a very promising actor as he articulates his character’s confusion, anguish, and guilt with natural flair.
An emotional narrative
Another endearing aspect of the story is the strong bond between Eun Gyeol’s family. They have their challenges and hurdles, but are a tight unit who take on each day with optimism. The supportive and encouraging parents send out a very strong message on how a positive atmosphere at home is important for a child’s upbringing. Eun Gyeol’s father in a moving moment says to him that he has no regrets that “God gave him no sound, but instead blessed him with a son like him.” Though it is a potent statement and weighs on Eun Gyeol, he also sees the pride in his father’s eyes.
There’s also the sibling dynamic between the brothers, and though Eun Gyeol is younger, he takes on the role of big brother to Eun Ho, watching over him. Their banter is sweet and their strong bro code is a winner all the way. And Choi Hyun Wook as Lee Chan is uninhibited and a riot as he tries to woo Seol In Ah’s Se Kyung.
“Music is life”
A young Eun Gyeol, who is having a hard time at school, is moved to tears as he listens to the strains of Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven,” little knowing how music will become his source of comfort. “How you speak to the guitar is how it speaks back to you” is what young Eun Gyeol is told by his mentor (Chun Ho Jin). The guitar becomes his way to communicate his emotions and feelings to the world. As the masked guitarist whose music enthralls everyone around him, Eun Gyeol is told by his bandmates that “music is the only legal drug” that can heal the world, which isn’t far from the truth.
The soundtrack of “Twinkling Watermelon” features stirring compositions such as “A Song for You” by Jung Joon Il and “Higher” by Junhoe, making it a lyrical and rhythmic ride. Reyoun also looks terrific on stage, and his guitar playing skills are so convincing, it wont come as a surprise if he gets picked by a band soon or becomes the face of musical dramas.
“Live your life”
“Who is the real you?” is the question Eun Gyeol gets asked often. As a child he tells his mentor that he hides his hobby from everyone at home because they cannot listen to it anyways. You also realize he is wrecked by guilt as well, especially when his pursuit for his passion lands the family in a precarious position. When he gets an opportunity to purse his music, he is clear “school comes before music, and family before anything else.” But when he is confused about what he wants, his mentor’s voice nudges him to follow what feels right to him. Music is his life, and his father calls it a rebellious streak. But Eun Gyeol, who has lived for others, knows that music is what makes him life for himself.
There is also Se Kyung, whose life is all mapped out. Never a hair out of place, she is told she lives for the cello, as her mother takes her from one concert performance to another. Se Kyung does not know life beyond practice and performances. When Lee Chan chides her that her life sounds stuffy, she is pretty taken back and it gives her something to ponder on. Though Lee Chan fronts a band to woo her, neither realizes that doing something beyond what they are expected to do and following their instinct is not always a bad thing.
“No one can stop me from telling them how I feel” is what Eun Gyeol’s father tells him, and it’s a great point to ponder on how life solves itself once you articulate how you feel. “Twinkling Watermelon” is a feel-good show and an ode to the complicated symphony called life.
Start watching “Twinkling Watermelon”:
Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yang Yang and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min Ho, Gong Yoo, Cha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram
Currently watching: “Love 020“