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Series Review: EXO Next Door

Korean Title: 우리 옆집에 엑소가 산다
Original Network: Naver TV Cast
Broadcast Period: April 9, 2015 – May 28. 2015

An extremely shy woman buys sanitary napkins in a grocery store. On her way home, she overhears four boys behind her talking about what she assumed to be murder. While panicking, she suddenly slips on a banana and falls on the ground. When the boys tried to give her the pack of sanitary napkins that she dropped, she quickly ran away back to her house. Later on, she finds out that these four boys were actually idols from the idol group EXO who had just moved into the house next door!

series-review-exo-next-door

Love Triangle vs. Bromance- Which is Better?

Yeon Hi Ji is a dense, introverted 23-year old girl. Since she, as she puts it, “ turns into a rock” whenever she tries to talk to guys she likes, she has never managed to get into a romantic relationship with anyone. The character’s nosy personality can be quite annoying, but the comedic way actress Moon Ga-young does it makes up for most of it.

The viewer can be misled if one is not observant enough to notice the subtle hints of Chanyeol knowing Yeon Hi. Chanyeol’s intentionally-obscure lines can make it seem like he just wants to give her hell, and Yeon hi being an idiot misguides people into not realizing Chanyeol’s true intentions until it is later revealed.

What caught my attention more than the actual love story when I first watched it is the brotherly bromance between Sehun and Kwangsoo.

The relationship chemistry between the idol and the oddball was hard to ignore. Jang Yoo Sang’s portrayal of Kwangsoo was extremely comical. The character was stuck in his “kung fu” mood most of the time, doing greatly exaggerated movements. Sehun playing himself was entertaining as well. Sehun likes Kwangsoo’s eccentricity and hand-ground coffee, while Kwangsoo thought of Sehun as a perfect man.

Kwangsoo did not realize that Sehun was a celebrity, completely misunderstanding EXO’s promotional pictures on the internet. He firmly believed that Sehun, along with the rest of the group, had superpowers. Even so, when crazy fans tried to chase Sehun down, Kwangsoo sacrificed himself by wearing Sehun’s cap to mislead the girls. The strong bond of the two characters was very prominent here already, but the scene were Sehun called him “brother” after Kwangsoo dramatically chased EXO’s van to give Sehun a fresh batch of ground coffee topped it and won me over.

When I watched the show for the second time, I appreciated the love story more. It is said that we act differently towards people that we meet depending on the environment and time when they appeared in our lives. This is probably why Chanyeol acted like an elementary school student trying to get his crush’s attention when he was with Yeon Hi. D.O., on the other hand, tried to get Yeon Hi to be close to him by asking her to be his friend, without really making his intentions clear. Yeon Hi might have chosen one over the other, but it is nice to see that this was not enough to ruin their friendship in the story.

The Verdict

Although the story is simple, the series’ comedic energy is enough to draw laughter in every episode. Yeon Hi Ji’s computer-generated blush adds to the charm as it keeps the atmosphere light and unserious. The series may be focused on the romance between Chanyeol and Yeon Hi, but I found the relationship between Sehun and Kwangsoo worthy of praise as well. Sehun and Kwangsoo were unforgettable because they were so impressionably funny This series really made me see how EXO as a whole can thrive in comedy. It would be interesting to see them together in another show and maybe even another genre, because their performance acting together made me enjoy this series and see them in a new light.

Although having a love triangle in a romance series is a bit of a cliché, how the actors delivered and the overall cinematography—no matter how simple— made it something that would be nice to watch over and over again. If you are looking for a light-hearted, humorous romance story to watch, then this is for you.