While browsing through my webdrama list, I decided to watch a two-hour drama special entitled To. Jenny. Although the show obviously catered to the teenage crowd, I enjoyed it anyway.
Although Park Jung-Min is an amazingly talented songwriter, lyricist, musician, and singer, a humiliating experience during an assembly in high school left him terrified to sing in front of people. Will he be able to rid himself of this crippling phobia when he gets the chance to teach his old high school crush how to play the guitar?
Park Jung-Min is an all-around nice guy. While in high school he was in charge of watering the flowers each day and was the recipient of the Exemplary Student award. He lives with his mother and ten-year-old sister Ok-Hee. His father, who passed away in an accident, was a musician, and Jung-Min followed in his footsteps, learning to play the guitar when he was in middle school. He also plays the piano and is able to come up with a song about anything and everything – eating pork belly with friends, tiramisu cake… you name it and he can write a song about it. Jung-Min’s two best buddies often hang out with him while he works at his uncle’s convenience store, which is where he runs into Na-Ra, the girl he had feelings for in high school. Because Jung-Min has never dated before he has no idea how to get and keep Na-Ra’s attention. Thankfully, by reading a book entitled Relationship Coach’s Manual his little sister is able to give him dating advice.
Goddess-like Kwon Na-Ra was the star of Mi Rae High School and, according to Jung-Min, “shone just by existing.” With her pretty face, she was always the center of attention and admired by both the guys and the girls. Although she seemed to give off an unapproachable vibe, she had an easy-going personality. After she appeared on the TV show Golden Bell, she was in the real-time search rankings for three days straight and was immediately approached by several entertainment companies. Without even an audition, she became a trainee at JW Entertainment where she debuted with the stage name Jenny in the girl group Cocoa which, unfortunately, disbanded after making only one album. She has worked tirelessly for seven years and, hoping for the chance to debut once again, is trying to teach herself how to play the guitar.
The part of darling Park Jung-Min is played by Kim Sung-Cheol. I last saw him in Do You Like Brahms? where he played the second male lead, Han Hyun-Ho. I read that he has received a few awards – Best Male Actor – Male Rookie Award, Best New Actor (Sweeney Todd), and Best New Actor in a Film (The Battle of Jangsari). He became widely known for his performance as Kim Young-Cheol in 2017’s Prison Playbook. Although Jung-Min is already 29-years-old, he looks so young I think he could still, very convincingly, play high school age roles.
You can read about Jung Chae-Yeon, the actress who plays Kwon Na-Ra, by going to my My First First Love review.
Unfortunately, the show isn’t long enough for us to get a lot of information about these characters, and Na-Ra’s background is especially elusive. We see that she lives alone, we’re able to observe her at the entertainment company, and we’re told she was everybody’s high school sweetheart, but we know precious little about her past, except for the fact that Coco failed. It would have been nice to know a little bit more about this sweet, unpretentious young woman.
It’s heartwarming to watch Jung-Min’s social personality blossom. Because Na-Ra has what he refers to as “an easy-going personality,” she is able to make him feel at ease and he grows comfortable enough to come out of his protective shell.
A special shout-out goes to Jung-Min’s little sister, Ok-Hee. The relationship she has with her older brother is quite endearing. Whenever he writes a song, she is his audience; when he’s lost confidence, she gives him pointers on how to win a lady’s heart; when she discovers he knows nothing about how to post videos on Instagram, she becomes his social media tutor; and when he tries to become a singer, she assumes the role of manager. Although there is about a decade between their ages, the darling brother/sister duo is extremely close.
Here’s something fun to watch for… while Jung-Min’s mom and little sister are watching TV we, very quickly, get to see what’s on – darling Park Bo-Gum from Moonlight Drawn by Clouds!
This drama special came out in the summer of 2018 and is only two, one-hour episodes long.
Because the story is about musicians, we get to hear lots and lots of superbly delightful music. In just two hours they’re able to fit in quite a few songs. One thing I noticed was that Jung-Min’s songs often have repetitive words such as, “And I know and I know and I know I know that only you’re sad,” and “Grab me, grab me, grab me hard.” Tiramisu Cake is the song that does that repetitive words thing the most but, in spite of that, it was one of my favorite songs in the whole show. At first, I wondered if it was just lazy writing on Jung-Min’s part and then I realized it was his musical signature – kind of like how so many Barry Manilow songs change key about 3/4 of the way through. Since Jung Chae-Yeon’s entertainment debut came by way of the girl group DIA, I’m positive it’s her voice we hear singing in the show. I’m guessing Kim Sung-Cheol also sang his character’s songs since one of his awards comes from a role he played in a musical (Sweeney Todd). The two sound very good together. I think you’ll enjoy listening to all the songs in this drama.
The convenience store, the entertainment company offices, and Jung-Min’s bedroom make up a decent portion of the drama’s scenery. However, this little two-and-a-half-hour drama found time to squeeze in some pretty scenery by taking their characters to a halibut festival.
If you enjoy stories with a music theme you won’t want to miss this drama special. Do yourself a favor and stick To. Jenny somewhere on your watch list.
Fantastic music throughout the entire show
Excellent character growth
Darling little sister
Cute without being overly sweet
Not a lot of information on Na-Ra
It seems to cater to teenagers so it might not appeal to older Kdrama fans