Oh! Boarding House is a quirky Korean BL comedy series. The goofy protagonist is a landlord who lives with the other eccentric characters in a boarding house. When a handsome tenant moves into the residence, the landlord becomes smitten with the new arrival. The two men begin as awkward acquaintances, but they soon develop a solid connection.
I like the goofiness in Oh! Boarding House. This lighthearted comedy can be silly, upbeat, and endearing at times. However, the aimless plots and pointless scenes are the signs of an unpolished script. The romance is also lacklustre and I don't feel engaged by this BL couple.
Oh! Boarding House Summary
Around 2 hours
Happy and funny
Around 15 minutes
Seol Won is a goofy and naive man who recently lost a significant sum of money in a scam. With no place to live, he turns to his family for assistance. Seol Won's mom lets him stay at the boarding house that she manages. However, her generosity comes with a condition. Seol Won must run the boarding house on her behalf while his mom goes on an extended vacation. Seol Won begins living at Boarding House 5 as the new landlord.
Seol Won shares the house with two other tenants, Jae Woo and Ye Win. Jae Woo is Seol Won's cousin. He is a troublemaking high school student who skips classes, eats all the food, and openly disrespects Seol Won. Ye Win is a creative writing major in university. He has a moody, irritable, and high-maintenance personality. Seol Won clashes with his two eccentric housemates, who make unreasonable demands on their new landlord.
In addition, a third tenant recently moved into the boarding house. He is Cheol Soo, who happens to be Jae Woo's gym teacher. Jae Woo doesn't get along with him and hates living with someone from school. When Cheol Soo first moved in, he made a heroic first impression by rescuing Seol Won from a dangerous encounter. Since that incident, Seol Won has developed a noticeable crush on his new tenant.
Seol Won wants to befriend Cheol Soo and repay him for saving his life. However, his clumsy attempts lead to awkward and embarrassing interactions between them. Cheol Soo feels uncomfortable around his pestering landlord and finds ways to avoid him. Despite the rejection, Seol Won still tries his best to build camaraderie. His sincerity finally moves Cheol Soo as their relationship improves over time.
Oh! Boarding House Trailer
Oh! Boarding House Cast
Shin Yong Seok (신용석)
Seol Won is the new landlord at Boarding House 5. His mom used to run this boarding house, but she passed the responsibility to her child. Seol Won has a goofy and naive personality, recently losing a lot of money in a scam. Seol Won has a part-time job working as a translator.
Im Sung Kyun (임성균)
Cheol Soo is the new tenant at Boarding House 5. He is a high school gym teacher. One of his students, Jae Woo, lives in the boarding house with him by coincidence. Cheol Soo likes working out and takes his exercise routines very seriously.
Shin Ki Hwan (신기환)
Ho Jin (김호진)
Kim Hee Joong (김히중)
Han Seo Ul (한서울)
- Jae Woo's actor (Ho Jin) has a tiny role in the 2021 Korean BL series Behind Cut. You may have noticed promotional posters of Behind Cut throughout Oh! Boarding House. Cleverly, that BL drama is treated as a real-life movie in the fictional universe.
Oh! Boarding House Review
Drama Review Score: 6.6
South Korea has produced many BL series in recent years, typically romantic dramas or light romcoms on school campuses. Oh! Boarding House feels unconventional by comparison, offering a slightly different flavour. It's an eccentric comedy with goofy characters, silly scenarios, and over-the-top interactions. The tone seems quirkier, the humour feels zanier, and the narrative has a more offbeat tempo than the norm.
Oh! Boarding House works best when it leans towards the wacky comedic elements. Several funny gags or exaggerated reactions can be mildly charming. Yet, not all the juvenile jokes hit the mark, and a few awkward moments feel uncomfortable instead of hilarious. I could do without the scenes where the characters enter the bathroom at the wrong time or accidentally touch each other's private parts. 😓 However, the overall humour leaves a positive impression and I'd consider it a unique selling point for the series.
Each character gets time in the spotlight with delightfully endearing moments. With that said, they are kooky caricatures and never expand much throughout the episodes. The only exception is Bong Deok, who obtains unexpected complexity late in the series. I wish the others received the same treatment, particularly the underdeveloped leads. All the actors are okay at conveying the lighthearted comedy amusingly. They also do fine with the occasional serious drama. I don't recall anyone in the cast giving an ace performance that wows me, though.
Unfortunately, Oh! Boarding House has a lacklustre BL romance. They're selling this couple to me, but I'm not buying it. The leads don't share much chemistry. Their dynamic feels strange and unpleasant. Plus, both characters aren't that likable. Early on, Seol Won oversteps boundary issues and annoys Cheol Soo. Afterwards, Cheol Soo acts agitated around his love interest for multiple episodes. Even though their relationship improves, I can't get over the friction and uneasiness between them. My perception from start to finish is that they make an incompatible pair.
Another weak point is the love triangle. Bong Deok's crush on Seol Won is a needless distraction from the main romance. His storyline actually makes the leads look worse. Seol Won ignores his best friend's unrequited love and pines after the guy who desperately wants to avoid him. The more I sympathize with Bong Deok, the less I find Seol Won and Cheol Soo appealing together. Oh! Boarding House also features a secondary couple with the straight supporting characters. That pointless relationship goes nowhere, like an irrelevant waste of time.
Despite my grievances about the love triangle, I like how the conflict resolves. I was pleasantly surprised by the final scene between Seol Won and Bong Deok. Their exchange seems sincere and heartfelt. This series shows a rare sensitive side in the end that it should've displayed more often. The best comedies can combine witty humour with sentimental plots seamlessly. While Oh! Boarding House does alright with the jokes, it struggles to create engaging drama. This BL project has merits, but the quality isn't elevated enough for me to recommend wholeheartedly.
Oh! Boarding House is an offbeat BL comedy with quirky characters in mildly amusing scenarios. Not all the juvenile jokes land, but the story is generally relaxed and lighthearted.
I don't feel much chemistry between the characters, who have an uneasy and off-putting dynamic. The unnecessary love triangle and pointless secondary romance also drag down the score.
Everyone in the cast delivers okay performances. They do fine with handling the comedic material. With that said, the actors are working with limited material and they don't wow me.
Oh! Boarding House has a typical happy ending. I enjoyed the final exchange between Seol Won and Bong Deok. It's a rare moment of sensitivity and sentimentality from this goofy BL drama.
The low-budget production values are slightly underwhelming. I don't like the shakiness of the camera, which is noticeable and distracting in some scenes.
Oh! Boarding Joke is occasionally charming with its zany, silly humour. However, the lacklustre BL romance and underdeveloped characters need way more refinement.
Oh! Boarding House Episodes
Oh! Boarding House has a total of 8 episodes. Each episode is around 15 minutes long. The last episode is around 20 minutes long. It is a medium-length BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in around 2 hours. Oh! Boarding House began on February 22, 2022 and finished its last episode on March 16, 2022.
Episode 1 Summary
This episode introduces Seol Won, who lost a lot of money from a scam. He moves into his mother's boarding house and becomes the landlord. Seol Won meets his two eccentric tenants, Jae Woo and Ye Win. They cause trouble for Seol Won, who feels overwhelmed by his new responsibilities.
Seol Won expects a new tenant to move into the boarding house. However, a hilarious case of mistaken identity causes Seol Won to invite a thief into the boarding house. The thief is soon annoyed by Jae Woo and Ye Win. Just when the thief is about to hurt Seol Won, the new tenant Cheol Soo arrives to save the day.
Episode 1 Review
My first impression of Oh! Boarding House is pretty positive. I like how the characters are introduced, each with a distinctive personality. I also enjoy the zany humour that comes from a ridiculous scenario, almost like the wacky hijinks in a sitcom.
Out of all the episodes, the premiere is the one that succeeds the most comedically. It's a cute episode with an unusual plot, lots of enthusiasm, and many quirky personalities on display. I wish Oh! Boarding House had maintained this same goofy energy across all the episodes. The sillier, the better!
Episode 2 Summary
Jae Woo is upset to discover Cheol Soo is the new tenant. Cheol Soo is his gym teacher from high school, who can now keep a close eye on the troublemaking student. Jae Woo tries plotting to get his new roommate kicked out of the boarding house. However, Seol Won is fond of Cheol Soo and insists on letting him stay.
Seol Won feels indebted to Cheol Soo, who rescued him from the dangerous criminal. He acts exceptionally kind to the new tenant, but his clumsy attempts lead to embarrassing situations that overstep personal boundaries. The episode ends with Seol Won tripping over himself, as Cheol Soo catches him in his arms. Inadvertently, Cheol Soo saves Seol Won from danger once again.
Episode 2 Review
I like the funny dynamic between Jae Woo and Cheol Soo. Jae Woo is an excellent supporting character and he has a fun rapport with everyone in the cast. With that said, it must be so awkward living with your high school teacher, and vice versa. Imagine finishing a hard day at school and thinking you can relax at home, only to worry about the constant surveillance from your teacher. I don't blame him for wanting Cheol Soo out of the boarding house.
The relationship between Seol Won and Cheol Soo is off to a weird start. I don't know if I like where this dynamic is going. Seol Won patting his hands near Cheol Soo's crotch IS too much, even if it's an accidental gesture. I understand why Cheol Soo feels uncomfortable and he probably thinks his new landlord is a creeper. I wish the BL romance began differently, or at least portray the awkwardness between them more elegantly.
Episode 3 Summary
Seol Won wants to repay Cheol Soo's kindness for saving his life twice. However, he goes overboard in his eager attempts, irritating his tenant instead. Cheol Soo feels uncomfortable around Seol Won and tries to limit their interactions together.
Jae Woo tries to skip classes at school. Seol Won snitches on his cousin and Cheol Soo catches the delinquent student. Later, Cheol Soo forgets his USB at home before an important faculty meeting, and Seol Won helps him retrieve the missing item. Cheol Soo is touched by the gesture and reassesses his opinion about the annoying landlord. He gives Seol Won a chance and invites him to the cinema together.
However, Cheol Soo misses the movie due to an emergency. Seol Won thinks he got stood up and feels bummed. Cheol Soo gives an earnest apology, promising to schedule another date between them. The episode ends with Seol Won's friend Bong Deok moving into the boarding house. Since Bong Deok has a secret crush on Seol Won, he sees Cheol Soo as competition.
Episode 3 Review
The episode begins with Seol Won walking into the bathroom while Cheol Soo takes a shower. I'm sorry, but that's a WEIRD scene. Seol Won is not just rude or socially inept, but he comes across as really creepy. His character has shown a pattern of disturbing behaviour in the past two episodes, invading Cheol Soo's personal space. I really wish Oh! Boarding House didn't portray their lead character this way.
I'm finding it tough to ship Seol Won and Cheol Soo together. Cheol Soo acts so uncomfortable around Seol Won. Although Seol Won's behaviour is unacceptable, Cheol Soo's distaste towards him is too strong. You can't come back from this kind of friction between the characters. The leads can have silly, lighthearted misunderstandings, but don't make one of them go ugh every time his love interest approaches. It doesn't feel good to watch this uneasy dynamic for a BL couple.
Episode 4 Summary
Ye Min meets Hee Soo, a girl from his university class. She has tried talking to him for the past few episodes, hoping that Ye Min could review her novel. Yet, he behaves awkwardly around his classmate despite her friendliness. Later that night, she unexpectedly shows up at his doorstep. Ye Min freaks out that she knows where he lives. Hee Soo is mortified when he calls the cops and reports her as a stalker.
Meanwhile, Seol Won and Cheol Soo meet at the bus stop in a coincidence. They feel awkward, unable to create a casual conversation. Later, Seol Won and Cheol Soo bump into each other again by random chance. Cheol Soo thinks their meetings are odd and wonders if Seol Won is following him. Finally, they clear up their misunderstanding. It turns out they are both going to the same restaurant.
Seol Won and Bong Deok have dinner at the restaurant, sitting near Cheol Soo and his friends. Seol Won and Cheol Soo seem preoccupied with each other, exchanging secret glances and smiles. Bong Deok is concerned when he observes their growing bond. The episode ends with Cheol Soo accompanying a drunken Seol Won as they go home together.
Episode 4 Review
This episode is a waste, barely advancing Seol Won and Cheol Soo's relationship. Even though their relationship improves in the end, this breakthrough doesn't feel momentous. I also think the love triangle drama puts Seol Won and Cheol Soo in an unflattering light. Ending the episode with Bong Deok's forlorn face makes you want to root against the leads.
I like Ye Min at first, but his character can be too much sometimes. He's so moody and prickly. Hee Soo has been nothing but kind to him, yet he calls the cops on her. 😓 Ye Min is better in small doses, and his increased visibility has diminishing returns. We don't need to give him a useless secondary romance with Hee Soo. Just make Ye Min a spunky supporting character who occasionally appears, like Jae Woo.
Episode 5 Summary
The two leads sit at the bus stop in the middle of the night. An intoxicated Seol Won rests his head on Cheol Soo's shoulder. Cheol Soo smiles as he looks closely at Seol Won's face, using a finger to touch his lips. Next morning, Seol Won vividly remembers what happened at the bus stop. He speculates whether Cheol Soo might have feelings for him.
Meanwhile, Ye Min apologizes for calling the cops on Hee Soo. It turns out she was visiting Cheol Soo, her older brother. She forgives him since being at the police station inspired her as a writer. Ye Min finally agrees to proofread and critique Hee Soo's novel.
Jae Woo, Ye Min, and Bong Deok pick on Seol Won for not maintaining the boarding house properly. Seol Won spends the entire day doing domestic chores, which go unacknowledged by everyone else. Only Cheol Soo appreciates his hard work, so he cooks dinner for Seol Won. When the electricity goes out, they light up candles and enjoy a romantic meal together. The episode ends with Seol Won asking Cheol Soo to go on another movie date.
Episode 5 Review
This episode isn't perfectly executed, but it's a step in the right direction. I finally see glimpses of positive qualities in Oh! Boarding House since going downhill in the last few episodes:
- For starters, it's about time the leads stop acting awkwardly around each other. The relationship moments between Seol Won and Cheol Soo are sweet for a change.
- I also like seeing a nicer side to Cheol Soo. Of course, he should've just helped Seol Woo with the chores instead of playing dumb pranks on his roommates. 🤨
If the Oh! Boarding House team consulted me, I would've told them to rewrite the last three episodes entirely. Scrap the love triangle, the secondary romance, and the unnecessary friction between the leads. The plot should revolve around the supporting cast giving Seol Won hilarious landlord troubles. Our hapless protagonist grows flustered before Cheol Soo comes in to rescue the day. Each episode, Seol Won slowly becomes smitten with his knight in shining armour. Don't you think this hypothetical idea sounds better than the actual episodes?
Seol Won's actor is growing on me. He didn't leave much of an impression in the beginning. However, his character gets easier on the eyes with each passing episode. When he smiles, there's a bit of warmth and earnestness that translate well on camera. I like the actor and wonder if we'll see him partake in more BL projects. 😙
Episode 6 Summary
Seol Won and Cheol Soo are excited as they go on their movie date. They also grab drinks afterwards. An intoxicated Seol Won confesses that Cheol Soo made him feel unhappy in the past. "Why do you keep picking me up and letting me down?" Cheol Soo reflects on those words, admitting that he has developed feelings for Seol Won.
Later, Seol Won and Cheol Soo watch another movie together at home. Bong Deok joins them, but he feels awkward when they flirt heavily beside him. The episode ends with Bong Deok confronting Cheol Soo about his feelings for Seol Won.
Episode 6 Review
I love the Nobleman Ryu's Wedding inclusion in this episode. I like how Oh! Boarding House treats other BL dramas as real-life movies in their fictional universe. It's a clever marketing tie-in, plus it's a cute nod to the viewers who have watched those series before.
Did you feel the second-hand embarrassment when Bong Deok sat down on the sofa? Bong Deok thought he was so smooth, interrupting the intimate movie date between Seol Won & Cheol Soo. Instead, these two lovebirds completely ignored his presence and continued to flirt hardcore. Poor Bong Deok had to keep a brave face, pretending he wasn't the third wheel. Oh my god, I got shivers from the sheer awkwardness through the screen.
The episode is pretty uneventful other than the partial confrontation in the end. They wasted too much time on the Ye Min and Hee Soo subplot, so irrelevant that I won't even bother recapping it. Please get rid of the boring straight couple in your BL drama and use that time to develop the main characters.
Episode 7 Summary
The episode begins with a flashback of Bong Deok's time in university. He grew up in the countryside, suffered culture shock at school, and struggled to fit in with the other students. Seol Won was the only one kind enough to initiate a friendship with him. Bong Deok harboured a crush on his friend since then.
In the present, Bong Deok warns Cheol Soo to back off from Seol Won. Bong Deok believes his love rival is simply leading on his best friend. However, Cheol Soo insists he takes his relationship with Seol Won seriously. Later, Cheol Soo confesses his feelings to Seol Won in the middle of the night. They share their first kiss, witnessed by a devastated Bong Deok.
Episode 7 Review
The Bong Deok flashback surprised me. I didn't think Oh! Boarding House would provide him with any character development beyond his role as a generic love rival. Yet, the series took the time to establish his relationship with Seol Won. This flashback isn't that profound, but it already gives Bong Deok a more complex background than all the characters in the series. Oh! Boarding House should've done something similar with the two leads because they needed it.
Seol Won and Cheol Woo's first kiss is such a buzzkill lol. There's nothing wrong with the actual kiss, but then you immediately see Bong Deok's crying face afterwards. We can't even celebrate the BL milestone for a few seconds before being dragged into the love triangle vortex. With that said, I admit it's a juicy ending for the episode. The potential drama and fallout get me kinda excited about the finale!
Episode 8 Summary
Bong Deok moves out of the boarding house after seeing Cheol Soo and Seol Won kiss the previous night. He feels uncomfortable as a third wheel around the couple. Bong Deok writes a farewell letter, confessing his secret crush. Seol Won is stunned to discover his friend had feelings for him. Seol Won feels so shaken that he rejects Cheol Soo's affections.
Bong Deok and Seol Won meet up for a chat. Although Bong Deok wants to talk about Cheol Soo, Seol Won avoids the topic. Instead, he focuses on his friend's feelings for him. "I know you had a tough time until you finally decided to tell me," Seol Won says empathetically. He grabs Bong Deok's hand to thank him. Then, he pulls his hand away and apologizes. Bong Deok understands the message. He also apologizes before thanking his friend for the gentle response.
At the end of the episode, Cheol Soo is moping because he thinks Seol Won picked Bong Deok instead of him. Cheol Soo tries to be understanding and wishes them the best. However, Seol Won interrupts him mid-sentence and initiates a kiss. The kiss confirms that Seol Won chooses Cheol Soo after all. The final scene skips forward in time as Seol Won and Cheol Soo throw a Christmas party. Everyone is invited, including Bong Deok. The last shot shows the couple holding hands, solidifying their love.
I was impressed with Seol Won's empathetic response after discovering Bong Deok's crush. He took his friend's feelings seriously, treating him with compassion. I like how Seol Won distanced himself from Cheol Soo until he sorted out the relationship drama. From Seol Won's perspective, Bong Deok has been his best friend for many years, whereas Cheol Soo is someone he recently met. We see where his priorities lie, showing that his friendship with Bong Deok comes first.
Seol Won and Bong Deok's final exchange is my favourite scene in Oh! Boarding House. This series barely contains any meaningful drama, so I had dismissed the writing as lightweight and frivolous. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful chat between these two characters. I love when a BL drama exceeds my expectations.
Here's what I like about this scene:
Seol Won is sensitive to Bong Deok's feelings. Bong Deok tries shifting their conversation to the topic of Cheol Soo. However, Seol Won avoids this touchy subject in front of his emotional friend. Now is not the time to talk about his own relationship. Seol Won only wants to focus on Bong Deok at this moment.
Seol Won's kindness is precisely why Bong Deok developed a crush on him in the first place. Years ago, this nice guy befriended the lonely outsider in class. In the finale, Seol Won still cares deeply about his friend and shows the same empathetic compassion. Observe Seol Won's behaviour at this moment, and you understand why Bong Deok likes him so much.
The dialogue between Seol Won and Bong Deok is understated yet powerfully sentimental. "Thank you. And I'm sorry, Bong Deok." is such a gentle way of letting down someone after his love confession. Thank you for liking who I am, and I'm sorry for not returning your feelings.
Bong Deok's reply is equally poignant: "I'm sorry. And thank you, Seol Won." I'm sorry for mixing our camaraderie with romance. And thank you for reassuring me that we're still friends. Seol Won and Bong Deok conveyed so much emotion in just a few succinct lines. What a beautifully written exchange.
I wanted to give this ending a higher score, but it was dragged down by Ye Min and Hee Soo's tedious scenes. This awful time-sucking subplot doesn't even end with an official relationship between them. Hee Soo confesses her feelings and Ye Min barely responds. What's the point of their storyline then!? 😒
I like the tender kiss between Seol Won and Cheol Soo in the Oh! Boarding House ending. However, I'm just not a big fan of this couple. There was too much uneasiness in the beginning that I can't overlook. I don't hate the main characters together, but they fail to inspire the BL fan in me. My lack of emotional engagement weakens the overall impact of the conclusion.
Oh! Boarding House Behind the Scenes
Oh! Boarding House Information
- MyDramaList Oh! Boarding House MyDramaList
- Viki Oh! Boarding House Viki
- YouTube Oh! Boarding House YouTube
Emotion Studio is a Korean studio that made the BL series Behind Cut (2021), Oh! Boarding House (2022), Ocean Likes Me (2022), and Oh! My Assistant (2022). It has also produced other non-BL dramas.
Great review really sumed up my problems with the main couple. I just kinda wish they had a less rocky start and weren't so awkward really hampered an otherwise pretty cute couple. I honestly wanted Seol Won to chose Bong Deok. Also the Ye min thing was weird, if wthey were going to have a side romanc eit should have been with Jae Woo instead.
Yeah, both leads grew on me by the end, but I just couldn't overlook their rocky start. Bong Deok was a sympathetic character and I rooted for him too. However, I didn't dare to get my hopes up because it seemed like the poor guy had no chance. 😢 Still, I'm glad Oh! Boarding House showed him some empathy and compassion towards the end.
I've seen a video (on TikTok, IIRC) explaining the meaning/cultural context of cooking the seaweed soup in episode 5. So when I watched it, I got even more kilig. 4 more episodes would probably made this series better to concretize the romance.
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