“Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha” is a hit romantic-comedy Korean series and an outstanding remake of the 2004 film, “Mr. Hong”, starring Kim Seonho and Shin Mina.
While the drama centers around the romance between two opposite lives, it also takes us to the most charming yet heartbreaking character of all, Chief Hong Dusik.
Here are three points on how the show raises awareness on healing as a lifelong process through the life of Chief Hong:
1. It portrays that healing begins with self-awareness.
Chief Hong is one of those rare drama characters which strongly relates to human problems and helps raise public awareness on mental health that is often taboo.
His life resembles one who is suffering from the painful loss of loved ones, fear of abandonment, and feelings of self-blame. Such deep-rooted trauma most probably came from the painful words that he received from certain people.
On his grandfather’s death, someone uttered concerning him, “I guess it’s true that some people bring death to those around them.”
On his bestfriend’s death, the wife blamed him, “You should’ve been the one to die.”
As Chief Hong went through these high stress producing situations, he sought professional guidance.
“Do you still feel that those around you and everyone you loved has left you?” the psychiatrist asked him.
With trembling hands and tears streaming down his face, he painfully uttered, “Yes. And I’m to blame.”
While the world normally suggests that dealing with pain is a waste of time, the drama portrays that it’s okay to seek professional help when life becomes unbearable. Real healing begins when we take a brave step of self-awareness that involves learning to face, identify, and verbalize feelings of pain and fears.
Chief Hong modeled that.
2. It reflects that healing is a lifelong journey of ups and downs.
Chief Hong learned to live life afresh in his hometown. He learned new sports, odd jobs, made new friends, helped people, and became a town hero. Over time, his life regained strength.
However, the drama reflects the reality that life is not perfect at all. Chief Hong might have slowly recovered from life’s dramatic changes but there were still days that he experienced intense anxiousness and moments of horrible nightmares.
His character teaches us that healing is not an easy journey which involves a slow and painful process of self-discoveries, realizations, and learnings. It’s a layer by layer uncovering of dealing with deep-rooted causes of woundedness. Sometimes, it takes a long time.
But to experience a life of ups and downs is definitely normal and part of the healing journey.
3. It highlights that healing involves having the courage to be known and loved.
It takes a number of factors that come together to repair and rebuild life.
As Chief Hong suffered from intense fear of abandonment and feelings of unworthiness, opening up was still a frightening thing to do. However, he needed to be transparent and face his fear of exposing his past to Hye-jin so that she could walk with him in his struggles and for their relationship to thrive.
The wonderful thing about this drama is that it highlights how healing involves having the courage to be known and loved.
This is where the community in Gongjin including Hye-jin stepped in to help Chief Hong arise from his fears. It always takes the love, understanding, acceptance, and support of significant people in life that sets a person free from inner entanglements.
Chief Hong needed to experience and realize that he is accepted and loved despite being known in his darkest. The kind of love that would set him free from self-doubts, fears, and feelings of worthlessness.
For instance, he needed to hear encouraging words of life to replace the traumatic words he bottled up inside for a long time. It paved the way for him to finally have the courage to open up.
“How you help others is admirable but you must live your own life, too. Eat a lot of good food and be happy. You deserve it,” Ms Gamri affirms his worth.
“I’ve made up my mind. But I’ll give you some extra time to think. But let’s end the break. You can think while we date. Take your time while we’re together,” impatient Hye-jin expresses patience, understanding, and extends grace to him.
This is the beauty of healing through the community and how genuine love plays a major part of being set free.
Drama Creators: Director Yu Je-won, Writer Shin Ha-eun
Photo cover: TVN Drama