How does a gorgeous/studious teen boy not have a single friend his whole life? The makers of 2021 Korean show ‘Light on Me’ want us to believe that 18-year-old Woo Tae Kyung (Lee Sae Yon), who looks like a dessert, is a loner by choice, and is almost robot-like when it comes to social skills. Fine, the viewers shall play along.
Directed by Lee You Yeon, ‘Light on Me’ is set in an all boys high school and is adapted from a mobile game called “Saebit Boys High School Council”. Tae Kyung the protagonist decides to make some friends and with some advice from a teacher, he tries to join the student council. He soon befriends the near-perfect Shin Da On (Choe Chan Yi), who is nice to the point of being unreal. But their blooming friendship is frowned upon by Non Shin Woo (Kang Yoo Seok), who at first seems to hate Tae Kyung, but turns out, he is actually attracted to him. So we have a triangle, which sometimes appears to be a square, because there is an annoying girl Lee So Hee (Yang Seo Hun), who throws herself in the story, because she is quite obsessed with Shin Da On.
While all the other characters are believable and likable in their own ways, it’s Tae Kyung who comes across as a little unrealistic. On one hand, he is portrayed as someone who cannot understand regular emotions, on the other hand – it doesn’t take him too long to fall in love with the first person who is nice to him. Despite the flaws in character-writing, actor Lee Sea Yon is the heart of the show, like an adorable pet that everybody wants to take care of. Shin Da On is a more nuanced role, a people-pleaser who often puts his own feelings on the back-foot to maintain the aura of ‘Mr Perfect’. Non Shin Woo is the classic ‘Tsundre’, the Japanese term for characters who appear stern and cold on the outside, but are completely soft and sweet at heart. Most viewers will find themselves cheering for Non Shin Woo to end up with Tae Kyung. But the makers cleverly keep adding twists to confuse who will be the ‘end-game’.
Whoever likes fluffy, feel-good, light romances, will love ‘Light on Me’. There is minimal drama, most characters are pretty straight-forward about what is on their mind. A character called Nam Goong (Goo Wo Jin) serves as comic relief, he is comically flamboyant and perhaps loves himself the most. Some of his scenes were unnecessary, but he definitely adds a little bit of teen zing to the series and lightens up the atmosphere for everybody. Seo-Hyun Yang as Lee So Hee is there fine as the annoying self-important brat, who is relentless in her pursuit of the man she likes.
It’s nice how the makers do not over-complicate things by having multiple characters or side-stories. And they manage to keep up the intrigue till the very last episode. As a viewer, you are constantly wondering “who the Tae going to go for in the end????”. Choe Chan Yo who plays Shin Da On, eerily reminded me of RM, the rapper and leader of BTS, the boy-band. Kang Yoo Seok is endearing as Shin Woo.
The climax is cute, filled with sweet little romantic moments and tempered to please the audience. “Light on Me” is bright LGBTQ romance, with loving friendships and characters that learn from their mistakes. It ends like dessert, leaving the viewer with a satisfied smile. It’s a 7/10 from me.
Fun Fact: Choe Chan Yo and Goo Wo Jin were members of the same Korean Pop group called ‘The Man BLK’.
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