First Impressions: XX

Revenge is best served cold in this girl-crush series about the ups and downs of friendship and love. 

Na Na (Hani) is the head bartender of a speakeasy bar called XX where drinks are made by request depending on what customers desire or feel. With its unique concept and lack of publicity, many find comfort in the atmosphere and exceptional drinks that Na Na has created but her dreams of making XX her own go down the drain when a ghost from her painful past comes back to haunt her. Lee Roo Mi (Hwang Seung Un) is Na Na’s ex-friend who was caught having a one night stand with Na Na’s college boyfriend, severing their friendship and ruining both their lives. Trust and trauma go hand in hand as both Na Na and Roo Mi learn to live out their lives as women but when Roo Mi walks into XX as the new bar owner, the two become enemies with simpering affection still underneath the layers of mistrust and hate. 
Things come full-circle as cheating boyfriends, best friends, and a caring coworker are thrown into the mix. Exacting revenge isn’t as simple as one thinks and labelling people as bad or good becomes more complicated as the intricacies of the characters are revealed….but revenge is still meant to be had even if it isn’t Roo Mi on the receiving end of it.
I didn’t realize how immensely popular this web series was until I saw the millions of views on YouTube alone. As a joint project between MBC and Playlist, the show has an interesting format of being accessible online but that does make it easier to circulate and discuss between the online community as opposed to traditional forms of promoting and broadcasting. I did walk into this blindly since there was hardly much to go by other than Hani playing a bartender, so the plot and storyline itself were pretty much elusive but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. 
And that being the case, the story does unfold nicely and I find myself enjoying this more than I should – it’s definitely the right show to watch during a Friday night. There’s a simplicity in how the storyline and even the romance within the drama projects itself but the complications of the characters themselves and even the depth of their emotions or psychology make this show more than your average web series. It has more mature notes to it and really focuses in on the two female leads, and then widens out to include the male characters that are central to the women.
The acting isn’t exceptional per se but it is solid and the casting right on the nail since the actors all do a great job to convey the right sensibilities for their roles. This is something to be thankful for as web series are a hit or miss when it comes to the acting department, and I’m thoroughly liking what I’ve seen so far. Nothing cringe-inducing which is a positive sign for the remainder of the drama since it’s been solid so far. 
With a total of 10 episodes expected to air, this mature web series that centres in on failed college romance and love as a form of war as an adult, dishes out the highs and lows of friendship and the uncertainties of love. XX is the right series to develop a girl crush and root for character growth and female solidarity! I’m hoping Na Na finds the courage to discover love once again…hopefully in a former baseball player.




Release Date: January 22, 2020 (Eng Sub available on Viki)

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