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Hello, Me!

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What it’s about:

37-year-old Ban Ha Ni has a part-time job, zero romantic prospects and little to look forward to. Through a mysterious event, she’s brought face to face with her 17-year-old self. Young, confident Ban Ha Ni inspires her to reach for the stars again…and hopefully change her fate.

Names you might know:

Based on the 2011 novel Fantastic Girl by Kim Hye-jung, the series created by Lee Hyeun-suk, and You Song-yi. It stars Choi Kang-hee (Whispering Corridors, School) as Ban Ha Ni, Kim Young-kwang (Mission Possible, On Your Wedding Day), and newcomer Lee Re as young Ban Ha Ni.

Why it’s worth your time:

Hello, Me! can best be described as 13 Going on 30 meets The Butterfly Effect, with a heavy dose of K-Pop setting the theme and tone for this quirky romantic comedy based in Seoul, Korea.

Imagine meeting yourself from 20 years ago. For almost-40 Ban Ha Ni (Choi Kang-hee) it means witnessing the heartbreaking innocence of who she was before a personal tragedy changed everything. Faced with the reality that her dreams didn’t come true, her 17-year-old self (Lee Ru) pushes her present day self to get back on track.

This is easier said than done, as she must juggle a new job, old friends, suspicious family members, and a mysterious shaman tasked with helping her send her younger self safely back in time. Of course, the spunky teenager with a penchant for breaking rules has her own plans and causes endless complications for her older counterpart. They don’t always disagree, however—their shared love for music and dancing is expressed in bubbly scenes throughout the series.

Watching the chemistry between the two Ban Ha Nis is a delight, and love interest Yu-hyeon (Kim Young-kwang) is so likable, you’ll have a new crush by the end of episode one. Ban Ha Ni’s other romantic prospect, famous actor Anthony (Eum Moon Suk), provides perhaps the most comic relief of the show in scenes with his manager and assistant.

Family bonds and regret take center stage at times, with themes relatable to most viewers. Perhaps the most heartwarming relationship in Hello, Me! is the playful rivalry between Yu-hyeon and his CEO father (Yoo Joon Sang). Yu-hyeon is financially cut off and forced to work in the cafeteria at the company headquarters. If he stays at the job for 100 days, his father will forgive his debt. While the characters may appear to not get along through screaming matches, dance battles, and humorous one-liners, it’s plain to see they love one another immensely.

Hello, Me! takes twists and turns like most K-dramas, but it leaves out the cheese and manufactured melodrama that sometimes plague romantic comedies. A strong supporting cast rounds out wonderful performances by the three leads and keeps you invested during each scene. The question of what your younger self would think of you today is an interesting concept, making for a romantic comedy that’s both funny and poignant.

The takeaway:

More laughter than tears, Hello, Me is a quirky crowd pleaser. Plot holes may arise from the time-travel storyline, but give yourself permission to enter the fantasy. We could all use a reminder of the hope and optimism our younger selves carried.

Watch it with:

Your girlfriends and a bottle of wine! This family-friendly romantic comedy is also a safe pick to watch with your parents or teenage children.

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