Ocean Likes Me is a Korean BL series about a restaurant by the beach. The main character relocates to a seaside community by himself and wants to open his own udon shop. He struggles to attract customers to his new business until a fateful encounter with a quirky free spirit. As they work together, the store and their relationship steadily gain momentum.
I enjoy Ocean Likes Me, even though this criminally underrated BL drama doesn't have the best reputation among fans. I'm won over by the cute romance, the engaging story, and the two fabulous leads. The dumb jokes and ridiculous scenarios circle back to being hilarious. Maybe it loses points for the bizarre ending, but almost everything else is charming and delightful.
Ocean Likes Me Summary
나와 같은 바다
South Korea (2022)
Ocean Likes Me is a happy & funny BL drama.
Ba Da used to work as a professional chef, but he quit his job and relocated to a small beachside community. He follows his dream of starting his own udon shop, carrying out the recipes inherited from his father. He meets So Young, the conniving daughter of a local politician. She tricks him into starting his business in her family's vacant retail space. Reluctantly, Ba Da agrees to her outrageous terms, even though she'll take a significant chunk out of his profits.
Ba Da's restaurant opening day faces a chilly reception. Nobody visits his unknown little udon shop by the beach. It doesn't help that Ba Da is shy and awkward, scaring away potential customers with his unfriendly demeanour. So Young is the only other person in the store, but she grows bored quickly. She asks Ba Da to drive him to the market since he doesn't have customers anyway.
When Ba Da starts the car, he accidentally hits a random pedestrian. Shocked and terrified, Ba Da immediately brings the injured man to the hospital. However, the mysterious stranger regains consciousness and leaves abruptly. The car accident victim appears at the restaurant the following day and introduces himself as Tommy. Although Tommy isn't severely injured, he wants compensation from Ba Da.
Instead of asking for money, Tommy wants to try Ba Da's cooking. The spicy udon tastes delicious. Tommy is satisfied and considers it sufficient payment for his injuries. However, he feels astonished by the lack of customers in the restaurant. Ba Da admits his new business isn't doing well and he'll have to throw away all the prepared food for the day. Tommy thinks that's a waste and helps him attract customers. His outgoing personality and aggressive sales tactics bring a steady stream of guests to the udon shop.
Ba Da is grateful for his restaurant's recent success. He wants to hire Tommy on a full-time basis. Tommy, who is currently unemployed, agrees to work here. However, he wants to live with Ba Da, free of rent. The chef accepts the conditions, gaining a new roommate who sleeps in the same bed as him. Once Tommy becomes an employee, he renegotiates So Young's unfair lease conditions, lowering the rent significantly. He also uses his friendly personality to bring in customers. Ba Da and Tommy make a good team, working together to make the udon shop more popular.
Ocean Likes Me Cast
Han Gi Chan (한기찬)
Ba Da is the owner of a new udon shop by the beach. He is a hardworking and talented chef with many family recipes inherited from his father. Unfortunately, he has a shy personality, poor social skills, and a lack of business acumen. Ba Da fails to attract customers to his restaurant until Tommy appears. Ba Da appreciates Tommy's marketing flair and decides to hire him full-time.
Tommy is an unemployed free spirit who meets Ba Da under strange circumstances. Tommy is one of the first customers at Ba Da's udon shop and enjoys the chef's cooking. He feels sorry for the struggling restaurant and helps attract customers with his outgoing personality. After Ba Da officially hires Tommy as an employee, they also become roommates.
Holland (홀랜드) is a Korean actor. He is born on March 4, 1996. His first BL project is the 2022 series, Ocean Likes Me. He also had a supporting role in the 2022 drama, Roommates of Poongduck 304. Holland is notable for being one of the few openly gay idols in South Korea. He has routinely advocated for LGBT rights and visibility in the country.
Han Seo Ul (한서울)
Song Tae Yoon (송태윤)
- Ba Da's actor (Han Gi Chan) is the lead of the 2020 Korean BL series Where Your Eyes Linger.
- Tommy's actor (Holland) has a supporting role in the 2022 romantic comedy Roommates of Poongduck 304.
- So Young's actress (Han Seo Ul) has a supporting role in the 2022 Korean BL comedy Oh! Boarding House.
- You may have recognized a few characters from the 2022 BL drama Behind Cut appear in Episode 6., including its lead (Bum Jun).
Ocean Likes Me Review
Drama Review Score: 7.5
Every year, I adore a lowly rated BL drama many fans dismiss as rubbish. In 2020, I championed Tonhon Chonlatee. In 2021, I embraced Golden Blood. I'm proud to announce the 2022 candidate is Ocean Likes Me, which has my full endorsement. Yes, this is the hill I choose to die on! Contrary to the consensus, I believe this underrated series is fun and fabulous. The two charming leads carry the cute, breezy love story with ease. Ocean Likes Me is surprisingly engaging and deserves more support than the negative reception.
Admittedly, Ocean Likes Me has glaring faults. I understand why many viewers may be turned off by the absurdity. The protagonists meet under outlandish circumstances, where the main character almost kills his love interest after the first few minutes. 😆 I use a laughing emoji because the events are so stupid that they circle back to being funny. It wins points in my books for a memorable start. However, I suspect most BL fans won't appreciate the dumb plot holes and have a terrible first impression of the series. Personally, I love the zaniness, but your mileage may vary.
Despite the wacky beginning, Ocean Likes Me has an ordinary romance. It's a simple, relaxing story about two men who fall in love while running a new restaurant. They work together as a cohesive team, overcome various setbacks, and bond with each experience. Yet, they also face misunderstandings and learn to get along amid their personality differences. As their relationship goes through exciting ups and downs, every development brings them closer as a couple. I feel a compelling and convincing connection between the leads, the hallmark of a successful BL drama.
Each episode introduces a relevant subplot that challenges the existing dynamics. When the restaurant does well, the protagonists will encounter a new obstacle to test their resolve. If their feelings go through a slump, the relationship will reach a crucial breakthrough. All the events unfold at a comfortable pace, building upon a cozy momentum. I like the balance between the restaurant storyline and the love story, which get equal focus without overpowering each other. I feel invested in what happens to the udon shop and the characters working there.
Ocean Likes Me leans on its two precious protagonists with their distinctive personalities. Ba Da is endearingly earnest, while Tommy is colourful and sensitive. They are compatible and complement each other's delightful quirks. Although they don't have complex development, we learn enough to feel immersed in their personal growth. Best of all, the leads are comfortable in their roles. Ba Da's actor (Han Gi Chan) is impressive, captivating me with his smooth performance. Even if Tommy's actor (Holland) isn't as consistent, he still brings flair and pizazz to his character.
Not everybody shares my favourable opinion of Ocean Likes Me. Yes, I acknowledge the plot is often silly and inelegant. I can excuse the foolishness with a laugh, but others may not. Also, the final storyline seems too nonsensical. The ridiculous ending drags down the series, finishing on a weak note. Nevertheless, I'm tolerant of the flaws and even think some of the bad writing is amusing. If I'm the only one entertained by Ocean Likes Me, then so be it. I'll be the sole defender of this drama, which gets too much hate for conveying sweet, lighthearted BL fluff.
Ocean Likes Me has a cute, relaxing story about two men falling in love as they run a new restaurant. Sometimes, the plot veers into absurdity, but I enjoy how most events unfold.
The main characters go through exciting ups and downs as a couple. Their charming relationship develops comfortably, compellingly, and convincingly.
Ba Da's actor (Han Gi Chan) gives a smooth and steady performance that elevates the material. His costar (Holland) is less consistent, but he still brings pizazz to his role.
Ocean Likes Me has a happy ending, but the final storyline is bizarre and doesn't make sense. The conflict feels manufactured, not occurring organically as part of the plot.
Many scenes are filmed on the beach, which carries a serene and soothing atmosphere. The series gets bonus points for the cool, groovy music!
Ocean Likes Me is an underrated BL drama with a cute romance, an engaging story, and delightful characters. It isn't well-received among many fans, but I stand by my support for this fun, fabulous series.
Ocean Likes Me Episodes
Ocean Likes Me has a total of 8 episodes. Each episode is around 15 minutes long. It is a medium-length BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in around 2 hours. Ocean Likes Me started on April 26, 2022 and ended on May 18, 2022.
Episode 1 Summary
Ocean Likes Me begins with Ba Da arriving at a beach by himself. He plans to start a business selling udon. Ba Da meets So Young, a local resident who tells him that he can't set up his shop without permission. After some negotiations, So Young allows him to rent a vacant store her family owns. She'll take a significant sum of his profits, an unfair arrangement that Ba Da reluctantly agrees to.
Ba Da's restaurant opening day is unsuccessful, attracting no customers. The only person at the store is So Young, who gets bored and wants him to drive her to the market. As Ba Da starts the car, he accidentally hits a random pedestrian. He performs CPR on the victim, who regains consciousness. The mysterious man leaves without contact information, distressing Ba Da after a traumatic first day. However, this stranger appears again at the end of the episode. Ba Da is surprised to see him visiting the restaurant.
Episode 1 Review
My jaw dropped when Ba Da ran over Tommy with the car. Out of all the possible ways for a BL series to start, I never imagined the protagonist would become a murderer within the first few minutes. It takes guts to begin a romance with your main character killing his love interest in vehicular manslaughter. It's a memorable start, that's for sure. 😲
The subsequent events after the car accident are so nonsensical that they just cracked me up. First, Ba Da performs half-assed CPR on Tommy to force a ~BL kiss~ in the premiere. Then, Ba Da drags his victim to an empty "hospital" that looks nothing like a real hospital. Suddenly, Tommy makes a full recovery and just disappears. WTF!? Ocean Likes Me should've rewritten the entire episode and given us a more normal introduction. However, I appreciate a series that could've played it safe, but goes for this hilariously absurd beginning instead.
People say that first impressions are important, and my reaction to the premiere is, "Wow, this drama is so dumb." You don't have to try very hard to point out all the ridiculous plot holes throughout the first episode. Almost none of the events would be plausible in the real world. With that said, realism isn't my main criteria for enjoying BL, so I can tolerate the wacky shenanigans. Plus, Ocean Likes Me hits the sweet spot where the plot is so bonkers that I turn off my brain and laugh at the entertaining antics. 😆
Episode 2 Summary
Tommy visits the restaurant to seek compensation after the car accident. Instead of asking for money, he simply wants a free meal and asks Ba Da to make him the spiciest udon ever. The chef has the entire day to prepare this meal. When Tommy arrives again, he enjoys the taste of the food and considers his debt repaid.
Tommy is curious about the lack of customers. Ba Da admits that he's shy and doesn't have experience running a restaurant outside of cooking. The chef seems defeated after another day of zero business. However, Tommy feels sorry for him and offers to help with the marketing. He brings free samples of the udon to the nearby beachgoers. Tommy's advertising tactics work, filling up the restaurant with customers for the first time. Ba Da is grateful and wants to hire Tommy to work at his restaurant full-time.
Episode 2 Review
I thought this episode was cute and lighthearted. The first half focuses on the aftermath of the car accident. Ba Da making spicy udon for Tommy is a fun little subplot to highlight his culinary skills. The second half concentrates on Tommy helping Ba Da with his struggling restaurant. These scenes showcase his character's charming personality. You can tell Tommy has the marketing and entrepreneurial flair that Ba Da is missing in his restaurant.
If Ocean Likes Me wasn't a BL drama, the car accident could've gone worse for Ba Da. Tommy might lawyer up, come in guns blazing, and demand monetary compensation. Realistically, someone like Tommy would sue his ass until Ba Da's restaurant goes bankrupt. Instead, he's a nice guy and only asks for a bowl of udon after almost getting killed. His character wins points here, creating a favourable first impression in my eyes. Tommy is friendly, doesn't give Ba Da a tough time, and even helps him with his struggling restaurant. I appreciate his kindness and altruism.
Episode 3 Summary
After formally introducing themselves, Ba Da wants Tommy to work at his restaurant. Tommy accepts the job offer. However, he renegotiates his employment terms to include free food and living arrangements. Although hesitant, Ba Da allows Tommy to live with him, sharing the same bedroom.
Tommy immediately makes an impact once he starts working at the restaurant. He confronts Soo Young for charging high rent, forcing her to agree to fairer terms. He also brings in more customers with free samples and pretty drawings. The restaurant is booming with his help. In fact, there are so many new customers that they have to close up shop after running out of ingredients.
Ba Da continues working hard after the restaurant closes. He wants to make enough preparations to serve the customers for the next day. Impressed by his work ethic, Tommy gives Ba Da a foot massage to help him relieve the stress. Tommy seems secretive as they chat among themselves, refusing to disclose much personal information. Regardless of his background, Ba Da thanks him for bringing the restaurant to life. The episode ends when a mysterious man arrives from Ba Da's past.
Episode 3 Review
I love how Tommy goes from being unemployed to enjoying his best life. He gets free food, lives by the beach, and sleeps with a hot guy. Not a bad job, if you ask me. Also, notice how he's less concerned about the salary and more preoccupied with the bed arrangements. I have never heard of a job interview where the employee negotiates sharing the same bedroom as his employer. But Tommy is crafty and knows his priorities for a BL drama. "Yes, yes. You can pay me whatever. I will work for you as long as we sleep together~ 😙"
I love this episode for its simplicity. It focuses on the two main characters bonding as they manage the restaurant together. The scenes are playful, cheeky, and even romantic near the end. Also, I like learning more about Ba Da and Tommy's personalities through their interactions. Ba Da is hardworking, serious, and dedicated, while Tommy is amusing, outgoing, and whimsical. Their strengths and shortcomings gel well together. Episode 3 really sells this couple to me, making their whirlwind romance feel persuasive and compatible.
Episode 4 Summary
The mysterious visitor is Min Sang, Ba Da's old boss. They used to share a romantic history. Min Sang discovered Ba Da's whereabouts since the udon shop is gaining traction. However, he looks down on the small restaurant and recruits his ex for a fancier culinary job. Min Sang tells him about an upcoming cooking competition with a cash prize. If Ba Da wins the contest, he'll secure a lucrative job offer at the hotel.
Ba Da harbours animosity towards Min Sang and rejects his proposal. He's happy running this udon shop with no intention to join the contest. Tommy sees the opportunity differently, believing the cash price can expand the business. Ba Da gets annoyed about their disagreement. There's still tension as they begin work the next day. When Tommy allows some kids to wait in the restaurant, they accidentally spill the sauce that Ba Da was making. Ba Da is furious and blames Tommy for the mistake. Impulsively, he fires Tommy from his job.
The udon shop is a mess without Tommy's help. So Young steps in as a waitress, but she makes more mistakes. A journalist visits after a hectic day. He has heard the raving social media buzz and wants to write about the restaurant. Ba Da is surprised to learn Tommy did online marketing, contributing to the recent success. During the interview, the reporter notes the store's poor hygiene, Ba Da's unfriendly attitude & Tommy's cryptic message after getting fired. The published article trashes the restaurant, causing its popularity to plummet. Ba Da feels awful and misses Tommy.
Episode 4 Review
Episode 4 introduces a disagreement between Ba Da and Tommy. Initially, they clashed over the cooking competition, which escalated after the sauce accident. It may seem like Ba Da fired Tommy over the spilled sauce, but it's only a response to the buildup from the previous quarrel. The real tension is Ba Da feels annoyed with his employee for overstepping boundaries, while Tommy gets upset because his boss doesn't respect his opinion. I enjoy this character-driven conflict, showing us a different dynamic between the leads.
Ocean Likes Me tries fleshing out Ba Da's backstory, but we only see a quick glimpse instead of anything insightful. The storyteller could've done a better job clarifying the relationship between Min Sang and Ba Da. I wanted to learn more about what pushed Ba Da's character to quit his old job and open a restaurant. We get fragments of his past career and family history, but the information isn't cohesive. The series doesn't explore Ba Da deeply enough, which is a shame because the actor seems capable of handling substantial material.
I like the interview near the end, which emphasized Ba Da's shortcomings without Tommy. We see the chef struggling to answer questions, do PR, or sell his restaurant to the reporter. There's a moment when Tommy appears and handles the questions wonderfully, only for it to be a fantasy from Ba Da's imagination. This scene is effective because it highlights the impact of his absence. By the end of the episode, I can feel Ba Da's regret about firing Tommy from his restaurant.
Episode 5 Summary
Min Sang argues with the reporter over the negative article about Ba Da. Even though Min Sang provided positive references, Su Hyeon ignored them and insisted on writing his vision. Tommy also arrived at the office and offered a sample of Ba Da's udon. Tommy pleads for the reporter to reconsider changing the scathing review. After tasting the food, Su Hyeon agrees to redo the content. He publishes a more favourable article about Ba Da and the restaurant, which picks up popularity again.
The two children who knocked over the sauce arrived at the restaurant to apologize. Ba Da finally understands Tommy isn't entirely to blame for the earlier incident. Feeling guilty, he closes the shop for the day and traces down his partner's whereabouts. His search leads him to the beach, but he can't find Tommy anywhere. Ba Da cries out in exasperation when Tommy suddenly appears. Ba Da embraces him and apologizes for the misunderstanding. As the two leads reconcile, they share their first kiss on the beach.
Episode 5 Review
I love how the trashy reporter insisted he wrote the article "with facts" when his research material consisted of an Instagram story. *lmao* Dude, you claimed the restaurant violated labour laws because an employee left a bitchy message on social media. I don't think your article has as much as journalistic integrity as you think. 🤫 Overall, this storyline is silly but entertaining enough for me to overlook the inconsistencies.
OMG. Did anyone think the ex and the reporter had sexual chemistry? There were definitely some sparks during their heated one-on-one interactions. I legit thought they'd be the secondary couple in the series. Sadly, that wasn't the case. The scene was just two minor characters having a conversation and my BL imagination flared up for no reason. Nonetheless, I ship them irrationally!
I thought Ba Da and Tommy's kiss by the beach was gorgeous. You can tell they waited until sunset to film the kiss and get that beautiful overcast in the sky. From a story standpoint, I have mixed feelings about the timing of the kiss. On the one hand, maybe it's too early and the couple's romance hasn't progressed enough to justify the kiss. On the other hand, the series is already half over. I prefer they hook up now and use the remaining episodes to highlight their relationship scenes as a couple.
Episode 6 Summary
Ba Da and Tommy officially become a couple after reconciling. Tommy goes back to working at the restaurant again. Ba Da changes his mind and decides to compete in the cooking contest. He wants to use the prize money to expand the restaurant to a better location.
The couple visits the market and goes shopping for ingredients, where they enjoy their casual outing together. However, Ba Da spends too much time preparing for the cooking contest, making his boyfriend feel neglected. All Ba Da does is work. At one point, Tommy gets angry and exclaims, "Do you choose udon or me!?" Fortunately, they peacefully resolve their minor feud when Ba Da spends time cheering up his partner.
Later, Tommy watches an impromptu concert on the beach, bringing back memories of his past as a musician. The episode ends with the commencement of the cooking competition. As Tommy waits for the results, he picks up a pen and paper to scribble the song in his head. It's a sign that Tommy feels inspired by music again.
Episode 6 Review
Aww, I really like the casual relationship moments in this episode. It's cute watching this gay power couple run a successful restaurant together. I love seeing them go shopping in public, share little kisses, and be subtly affectionate. Tommy's jealousy tantrum is also amusing and resolved playfully. Their interactions click with me and I enjoy the vibe between them.
"Do you choose udon or me!?" is the best quote of the series. I crack up every time I repeat it to myself. The words carry the intense melodrama of BL with a perfect touch of cheeky humour. The line is so silly, but that's exactly what I love about it. 😝
I enjoy the two leads in Ocean Likes Me. Ba Da's actor (Han Gi Chan) is dashing, capable, and carries over the goodwill from Where Your Eyes Linger. I also like Tommy's performer (Holland), especially what he stands for. It's momentous for a Korean BL drama to star an openly gay actor as the lead, which doesn't happen with many series. The representation makes Ocean Likes Me more special than your run-of-the-mill BL project. It's not the only reason I like this drama, but it adds to my overall enthusiasm. I feel more passionate about defending it against the naysayers.
Episode 7 Summary
The episode begins with Ba Da winning the cooking competition. Unfortunately, we don't see the events in the actual contest. After the victory, the udon shop is swarmed with customers. Tommy is tired from serving all the customers by himself after a hard day's work. Later, Ba Da surprises his boyfriend by bringing him to the new store. He plans to start a bigger and better restaurant with Tommy by his side.
Tommy brings Ba Da to the beach and sings him a song. Tommy explains that he used to be a musician, but he failed to gain any momentum in his career. He gave up on his dreams due to his lack of success. After meeting Ba Da, Tommy is amazed by his boyfriend's work ethic, turning his small restaurant into an award-winning hit. Ba Da's ambition inspires Tommy to pursue his musical aspirations once more.
Since Tommy wants to become a musician, he can't stay with Ba Da to work on his new restaurant. Tearfully, he says goodbye to his boyfriend and leaves him. Ba Da tries to be understanding and supports Tommy's aspirations. However, he is devastated about running the restaurant by himself. The episode ends gloomily with Ba Da finally perfecting his udon recipe, but there is nobody to celebrate with him.
Episode 7 Review
Huh? Is Tommy making music on Mars??? Otherwise, I don't understand why he leaves his boyfriend so abruptly. Can't Tommy pursue a music career while continuing his relationship with Ba Da? Why must he choose one or the other? I'm confused about his sudden departure. Even if Tommy must relocate elsewhere, can't the couple maintain a long-distance relationship? I thought Ocean Likes Me might clarify his rationale better next episode, but they never provide an adequate explanation. Tommy just leaves Ba Da…for some reason.
Thematically, I like the concept of Tommy and Ba Da clashing because they have different ambitions. Managing a restaurant has been Ba Da's lifelong dream, but it isn't necessarily a personal goal for Tommy. It makes sense he wouldn't want to be tied down to running the new business with his boyfriend. Also, I like the poignant message that Ba Da's work ethic inspired Tommy to chase after his dreams again. Unfortunately, the storyline isn't executed well. It feels weird Tommy packed his bags, ditched his boyfriend, and became a musician in god knows where.
I wish we saw the actual cooking contest, but the production is probably limited by budget constraints. Besides, I'm pretty sure the competition is held at the same venue as the "hospital" in Episode 1. *lmao* The Ocean Likes Me team is clearly working on a shoestring budget, so I won't fault them for skipping over this part. With that said, it seems sudden for Ba Da to win the contest and suddenly want to start a new restaurant. The storyteller could've done a better job at clarifying the events and explaining his character's thought process.
After Tommy's departure, Ba Da continues running the busy restaurant independently. However, he doesn't seem to be enjoying himself without his boyfriend. Min Sang visits with another job offer. He wants to help Ba Da expand his business, opening a franchise of udon shops across the country. Unfortunately, Ba Da isn't interested. Ba Da admits he wants to close the restaurant and take a break from working.
The series skips forward to a year later. Ba Da feels motivated to work and decides to reopen the udon shop by the beach. His landlord So Young admits that nobody wants to rent this store space except him. After Ba Da's restaurant starts again, Tommy suddenly appears as a customer. Ba Da is almost in tears upon seeing his boyfriend.
Ocean Likes Me has a happy ending where the couple reunites on the beach. Tommy explains that he achieved his dreams after his latest song became a hit. It's a famous song that Ba Da listened to every day. The couple reaffirms their love for each other and promises to stay together for good this time. Ba Da and Tommy share a final kiss as the series ends.
Oh my god, the Ocean Likes Me ending is so half-assed. First, you create a contrived reason for the couple to separate in the final episode. Then, you include a bunch of pointless filler scenes. Finally, the characters reunite near the end and only explain their absences through a few lines of dialogue. The finale is supposed to contain a sentimental reunion between the leads after a year apart, but it falls flat like a dud. So little effort was put into this vague and incoherent conclusion, finishing the series on an unsatisfying note.
Thematically, I like the idea of Ba Da taking a break from work. Earlier, he had a lot of ambition about expanding the business with his boyfriend. However, he lost enthusiasm and the restaurant didn't matter anymore without Tommy. Instead, Ba Da took a gap year and relaxed. We don't see how his character spent the time, but I imagine he did nothing meaningful. Ba Da probably stayed home due to COVID and binged Netflix every day. Why work when you can coast comfortably on your contest winnings? Pursuing your dreams is for suckers. Ba Da lived his best life by just lazing around for an entire year. 😙
There are two saving graces in the finale. The first is Ba Da's acting. Han Gi Chan is a solid young actor who has given consistent performances throughout the drama. He saves his best work for the last episode, particularly when his character tears up after seeing his boyfriend. Without him as the lead, I wouldn't enjoy this series as much. The second highlight is the artistry, since I adore the gorgeous final kiss on the beach. The visuals are bright, clean, and elegant. The cinematic finish elevates the ending just enough, even though the storyline is disastrous.