Our Beloved Summer was one of the best Korean dramas I have seen in a while. It was a drama that proved that you don’t need to torture audiences with evil villains to deliver a powerful story of love and triumph. It was a beautiful story about loving yourself and finding love in others. But really, as beautiful as the story was, there was one character who stole our hearts from the get go. I loved everyone but from beginning to end, Choi Ung was the best part of Our Beloved Summer.
He is pure. Looking at Choi Woo Shik, he looked like a high school kid that never aged in 10 years. But Choi Ung’s purity is not just because of his baby face, it was all about his heart. How he loves people dearly and always puts them first, at the cost of his own pain. How can you not love a person like that?
He is always there. There were times at the beginning of the episode that viewers would ask if Ung was a good friend. He is not the type to coddle people and he seems like he is wrapped up in his own world too much to care about others. It would even make sense if he was selfish because he basked in the love of his parents all his life and they pretty much let him do whatever he wanted. But Choi Ung was a good friend. He knew when Ji Ung needed him and served as a sounding board to his problems. He was honest with Ji Ung and respected him enough to understand his relationship with Yeon Su and he never pitied his friend or made him feel bad. He just let him know that he will never be alone. He took care of Eun Ho. He cared for his parents. He stood by Yeon Su when she let him, and he was seriously thinking about holding off on his dream to be there for everyone.
He appreciates people. He appreciates Yeon Su for who she is, flaws and all. He sees all her good qualities even if she seems harsh on the surface. He embraces them as part of who she is and never once asks her to change for him. He appreciates Eun Ho’s loyalty and entrusts his career to him despite his inexperience in dealing with the professional art world. He loves his parents and is always asking them to rely on him even though he knows they are financially able to support themselves in their old age. He is a good friend to NJ and treats her with empathy and honesty. He looks past the surface and finds the courage to reach out and do something nice.
He does not have an ego. Some artists would balk at the allegations of plagiarism but he knows that Nu A is beneath him so he does not engage in his pettiness. He simply goes down to work to prove his skills and let his art do the talking.
He is funny. Choi Ung lacks social skills and this makes him super awkward. Adorable, but awkward. Its funny how he gets an absurd idea in his mind and just goes with it and sees it to the end. It often does not end well for him but Choi Ung is Choi Ung.
He is strong and wise. He keeps it low key but Ung is actually super intelligent. He just does not want to stand out. Given his tragic backstory, it takes a lot of strength to keep his pain to himself so he would not cause hurt to others. Its not healthy but the way he bottled up his feelings all those years was heartbreaking. Yet, these experiences also taught him to value what was important and that was what drew people to him and to his work. He understands pain and this makes him relate to others more deeply.
He triggers our protective side. Just as Yeon Su always steps up to speak for and fight for Ung because of his personality, Ung makes us want to go to battle against anyone who would trample his spirits. He triggers his friends’ protective side (ie. Yeon Su, Eun Ho) and everyone who watches the drama just feel compelled to protect him at all cost. Can’t sleep? We’ll sing you a lullaby? Somebody harrassing you? Start the #CancelNuA campaign, stat. we gotchu, Ung.
It takes very little to keep him happy. He wears his heart on his sleeve, no matter how he appears to be and those who know him can see through the layers. Ung smiles so sincerely when he is truly happy and we live for the moments that he does.
There are plenty more reasons Choi Ung has immediately become one of my instant favorite Kdrama characters and I’m sure a lot of you would agree. He’s far from perfect, this guy, but he’s just so absolutely pure. Bravo Choi Woo Shik, you did a really great job in bringing Ung to life.