Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha took Netflix by storm this year, with millions of viewers from around the world tuning in to see this South Korean comedy-drama about two thirty-somethings who fall in love.
But the story wasn't only about their own romantic tale. The whole cast of Gongjin enjoyed their own narratives, too, in a series that gave ample screen time to its supporting cast—and with great thought.
The expansive cast of characters gave the show a well-rounded collective performance, making fictional Gongjin feel like a real place to watchers, complete with a bustling intertwined society at its heart.
The knowledge, secrets, and fears of every character are expertly explored in Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, as the narrative gently unfolds, unwilling to rush toward its conclusion.
Here are the best characters in Netflix's Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha and why they're so great and how they elevate this series.
7. Oh Cheon-jae (Oh Yoon)
Oh Cheon-jae is Gongjin's café owner and resident celebrity, more widely known by his stage name Oh Yoon.
Yoon is one of the series' more simple characters who doesn't have the most cutting narrative. However, underneath his simple exterior, he's a man who still feels the pain of losing his wife and struggles to let go of his growing-up teenage daughter.
His journey through the series becomes one of the most emotional as his life and former career are harshly put into perspective by Hye-jin, causing him to reassess his life goals. Despite his troubles, Oh Yoon is a kind soul who always treats people well and with a smile.
6. Yeo Hwa-jung
Hye-jin's landlord and the woman who gives her the means to start her business in Gongjin, Hwa-jung is one of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha's most complex characters.
Her divorce from her husband, Young-guk, is one of the series' biggest mysteries as nobody knows the reason behind it, least of all Young-guk himself. Over time, the heartbreaking truth of their marriage comes to surface, with Hwa-jung becoming one of the emotional cores of the show.
She's friendly and welcoming to all who wish to be around her, she's an excellent mother to her son, and she's nobody's fool—all traits that lead to her being a wholly realized character on screen.
5. Pyo Mi-seon
Hye-jin's best friend and dental hygiene assistant initially appears as though she'll have a reduced role, only interacting with Hye-jin in Seoul. But after Hye-jin moves to Gongjin, Mi-seon decides to go with her, thus providing Hye-jin a shoulder to cry on and counsel when she needs it.
Mi-seon's story in the show is a gentle one. Her tale within Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha sees her searching for purpose in many ways as Mi-seon struggles to find her path in life. However, upon meeting Choi Eun-chul, she sees somebody she can envision a future with.
As the pair find their feelings for one another growing more intense, there are many fun misunderstandings between them.
4. Kim Gam-ri
Gam-ri is Gongjin's pseudo-spiritual leader and a mother figure to Chief Hong. Her strong and considered opinions about the seaside town in which they all live—and what's best for those who reside there—is advice that's never taken lightly by anyone.
It's something that Hye-jin is forced to learn as the pair get off to a rocky start. Over time, with small details revealed here and there, Gam-ri's importance to Chief Hong becomes clear: he values her opinion and counsel above all others.
Chief Hong and Gam-ri's relationship shows its depth when the mystery of Chief Hong's past opens up. So, when Gam-ri declares that she's happy with Hye-jin and Chief Hong's relationship, it's a marker in the series for the audience and Chief Hong.
3. Ji Seong-hyun
Everybody knows what it's like to be Seong-hyun, the person who has had a crush on somebody for such a long time but was never afforded the opportunity to act upon it.
His journey in Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha starts as a foil to Chief Hong and Hye-jin's burgeoning love, as Seong-hyun himself has long had a crush on her. But even though his role as pseudo-rival to Chief Hong is fun to watch, they also get along famously.
In many ways, they are similar people; however, Seong-hyun's eyes for Hye-jin render him blind to those around him. He attempts to grow closer to her, but she doesn't see him as a potential partner, leaving him heartbroken—and the audience knowing his pain.
2. Yoon Hye-jin
As a dentist armed with an explosive temper, Hye-jin's story kicks off the series when she quits her job as a dentist in Seoul after shouting at her boss for taking advantage of her patients.
She finds herself blacklisted from every dental clinic in the city, resulting in her moving to Gongjin on a whim and opening her own dental clinic. Once there, she can't access her money, has no cash, and is without a working vehicle—fortunately, Chief Hong is there to help her.
Her journey from Seoul to Gongjin compounds the series, with Hye-jin's modern sensibilities ill-fitted to Gongin's more traditional ways. However, Hye-jin and Chief Hong's tale keeps the audience glued to the screen as they slowly fall in love, bit by bit.
1. Hong Du-sik (Chief Hong)
Chief Hong Du-sik's role in Gongjin is the hero who's haunted by a past mistake. His helpful manner and love for his town give Chief Hong immediate resonance with the audience, as his true nature is on full display from the very beginning.
His meeting with Hye-jin and subsequent support during her difficult first few months in Gongjin builds a relationship that ends up feeling star-crossed by the time the show comes to an end.
As he opens himself up to the idea of loving and being loved, his past rears its head and forces him to confront and move past it. But his relationship with Hye-jin feels meant to be, so no matter what truths he must face, their bond is never endangered—only strengthened.