“Oh! Boarding House” First Impressions (Ep.1 & 2)

Adapted from the webtoon Hasuk 5 by Penguin, Oh! Boarding House is a mini Korean BL meant to make its viewers smile.

Actor Shin Yong Seok portrays Seol Won, the unemployed son of a boarding house owner who suddenly finds himself in charge of his mother’s tenants.

I’ve been looking for a comedy to watch between heavier, tense dramas and Oh! Boarding House did not disappoint in the first two episodes. It has understated humor with excellent, comfortable acting. The chemistry between the main leads in the initial meeting is fire. I went into this knowing it was an ensemble romantic comedy about a boarding house of mismatched personalities based on a webtoon, so I expected the humor. I wasn’t expecting the subtle rather than over-the-top humor it delivered and how good the acting would be. This may be my surprise BL drama this year, the one drama I go into with no expectations but end up loving.

I am a fan of ensemble comedies, especially if the actors truly fit their roles. In Oh! Boarding House, we have eighteen-year-old Jae Woo (Ho Jin) with a bit of an attitude and a desire to cut school, writer Wang Ye Min (Kim Hee Joong) who needs perfect silence to write, clumsy landlord Seol Won who isn’t the best at reading the room, the somewhat mysterious, well-built PE teacher Kim Cheol Soo (Im Sung Kyun), and new tenant Cha Bong Deok (Shin Ki Hwan) who is obviously in love with the landlord. This blend of personalities makes for a fun, amusing watch that requires some suspension of disbelief.

I laughed—a lot. From the first meeting between Seol Won and his odd tenants to the robber who tries stabbing him with a non-intimidating blade wrapped for safety, the humor is consistent without feeling like it’s overwhelming the initial attraction between its male leads. Seol Won’s clumsy need to over thank Kim Cheol Soo for saving his life is endearing and frustrating, which is precisely how it should come across, both to the viewers and Cheol Soo.

I am surprisingly invested. It’s no secret I prefer dramatic and angsty plotlines. Although I like a good comedy, I tend to be less involved in them than more intense plots. Oh! Boarding House surprised me by how believable it is despite the humor and lower budget. I hope it continues to build off the ensemble cast and their relationships and that the friendships and romance blooming from their mismatched personalities continue to grip me.

This leads me to my only concern with this drama. While the chemistry between Seol Won and Cheol Soo is apparent, a short romantic drama that doesn’t progress quickly can lose viewers looking for romantic gratification. Therefore, I hope Oh! Boarding House uses its next two episodes as much for romance as it does comedy.

For a fun watch meant to make viewers laugh while still offering butterflies, Oh! Boarding House is off to a great start. Check it out now on Viki and Bilibili.

Rating- 4.5 out of 5

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