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Episode 1 of Hometown Cha Cha Cha begins with Doctor Yoon Hye-Jin, living the good life and working as a dental nurse. Her superior isn’t exactly happy with the way she handles her clients, questioning Hye-Jin’s methods. This inevitably leads to her losing Ms Kim, her latest patient, to Chief doctor Min-Young.
It’s very clear Min-young is just trying to make more money and not thinking about the welfare of these patients. In fact, Hye-Jin loses her temper and walks out.
After quitting her job (and buying some brand new shoes online) she meets Mi-Seon to break the news. Only, she ends up getting blind drunk that night – which causes massive problems. In her drunken stupor, Hye-Jin posts incriminating messages against Min-Young on the public forums. This reaches out far beyond a simple forum though, with Min-Young doing her best to make sure Hye-Jin can’t get another job at a dental clinic.
Meanwhile, at the port of Gongjin, Hong Du-Sik shows up bright and early on the docks to meet all the different workers. He’s kind, helps out a newcomer and eventually ends up surfing.
As he does surf, however, Hye-Jin shows up down at the shore, reminiscing about old times with her family. Well, just like Cinderella and her lost slipper, Du-Sik shows up like Prince charming and hands back her shoe. Given it’s only one, she asks him for help finding the other. Instead, he kicks off his sandals and hands them over instead. It’s a wickedly funny first interaction, one that immediately sets the tone for what kind of pairing we’ve got in store for us going forward. In town, Hye-Jin finds a child crying outside holding his tooth. He’s clearly upset and in need of dental care. Isn’t that ironic! Well, Hye-Jin helps the boy out and brings him back to his parents. Only, his parents just so happen to be the same family that owns the restaurant that Hye-Jin’s borrowed slippers belong to. Oh, dear!
Well, they invite her in for food as a way of saying thank you. As fate would have it, Gongjin doesn’t actually have a dental clinic and many people tend to have issues with their teeth. Hye-Jin debates about whether to open a clinic in Gongjin, but eventually talks herself out of it. At least for now.
Hye-Jin’s car breaks down which keeps her in Gongjin for the time being. She stops by the local cafe, where the owner Oh Yoon happens to be an old star. Well… by old star then a guy who had a sort of one-hit-wonder back in 1993.
Through a series of unfortunate events, Hye-Jin finds herself unable to foot the 9000 won bill. So who should show up? Yep, Du-Sik. In fact, she straight away asks if he can pay her bill but he has a better idea – Hye-Jin can earn her keep. And what better way to do this than to remove innards from squids down at the docks.
Hye-Jin is absolutely shocked but Du-Sik is having none of it and leaves her in the care of the squid-removing women. They shoot disapproving glances her way, especially given she’s an outsider. Hye-Jin works for 3 hours and receives her wages.
Du-Sik also offers to check her car too, although it soon becomes clear that the pressure has gone and she’s forced to stay overnight at the local hotel.
There, Du-Sik immediately begins talking to her casually, as the pair get engaged in some pretty funny banter. Around town, Du-Sik is a saintly knight in shining armour. He’s called to an incident involving one of the elderly residents, Kim Gam-Ri, and carries her to the hospital.
In the morning, Hye-Jin heads down to the docks where she finds Du-Sik already working, auctioning off food. She gives a bright smile from afar, which is only exacerbated further by seeing the kids from the previous day. After losing his tooth, Yi-Joon is getting along much better now and promises to repay her kindness.
Speaking of repaying, Hye-Jin receives a call from Min-Young who promises that Hye-Jin will never get another dentistry job in Seoul. She’s been blacklisted by the entire community. The only way to proceed will be to drop to her knees and apologize.
This is enough for Hye-Jin to stay in Gongjin for the time being and open a clinic. Well, it just so happens that Chief Hong – Du-Sik – is also the real estate agent in town. And once again fate brings them together. The first episode ends on this note.
Episode 2 of Hometown Cha Cha Cha begins with a quiet reflection, as the theme of regret is discussed. This sends us back to Chief Hong showing Hye-Jin around her potential new home. Hye-Jin is understandably sceptical but eventually comes around. She and Hwa-Jung sign the papers – given Hwa-Jung owns that plot of land – and Hye-Jin prepares to set up her dental clinic.
Du-Sik is not just a pretty face (and a realtor) but also a certified plumber, tiler and a whole litany of other labouring positions – complete with licences to show. Well, it’s settled then and Hye-Jin is due to move in a day after tomorrow, much to Mi-Seon’s dismay.
Hye-Jin receives a warm welcome while she’s moving in though, with all the townsfolk standing and watching eagerly as all her boxes are shuffled inside. Of course, there’s a lot to sort out but the renovations are completed by Du-Sik and he does an amazing job. The next day, Hye-Jin is encouraged to get involved in the elderly party going on in town. Although she’s initially hesitant, when Hye-Jin realizes it’s a good opportunity to promote her dental clinic, she heads in and makes herself at home. Or at least she tries too anyway.
The kimchi she’s offered is politely declined which is a massive no-no. She’s also pretty rude, rubbing everyone up the wrong way by mentioning all the flaws and issues. She compares this town to the countryside and is generally just pretty rude. As Du-Sik refers to it, she’s being a total “Seoulite.”
When Hye-Jin heads off to make a private phone call, she does so right next to a live microphone. Unaware of the fact that everything she says is broadcast out for the entire town to hear. When Hye-Jin realizes what’s happened, she’s immediately overcome with guilt. The damage has already been done though and our Oh-Yoon begins to doubt himself after Hye-Jin’s horrible words about his coffee house and singing.
One good bit of news for Hye-Jin though comes from Mi-Seon. After she breaks up with her boyfriend, she hails a cab over to Gongjin and takes up the full-time position available as an assistant. The only trouble is, the entire town hates Hye-Jin now and won’t even speak to her. Well, apart from the kids anyway. Although to be fair, the kids manage to guilt-trip her into looking after a hedgehog for them for a few days.
After tentatively giving out rice cakes as a peace offering, Du-Sik realizes that Hye-Jin needs to go one step further and really show that she’s serious about making amends. And what better place to do that than the neighbourhood council meeting.
Du-Sik covers for her too, showing up with boxes of snacks ad handing them out to the grateful residents. And of course, Hye-JJin is foot the bill of 125000 won as a consequence. She even has until the end of the day to wire it over!
The next day Du-Sik forces Hye-Jin to head out and clean up the streets with the other residents. Despite her hesitance, it’s the right move given the clinic receives its first few customers on the back of this! Hye-Jin finally starts to understand and heads back to see Oh-Yoon, apologizing for her hurtful words and pointing out that another of his songs was more her style.
Down by the shore, Hye-Jin heads off to say thanks to Du-Sik but would you know, she slips on the rocks…and lands in Du-Sik’s arms. I sense romance on the horizon! And as we soon find out, Du-Sik and Hye-Jin have actually known each other before, having seen each other as kids. Is it fate?
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