TV Wednesday - Strong Girl Bong-Soon (5-8)
For February, I will be watching one of the most popular Korean dramas of definitely the past decade and possibly of all time.
The predictable plot elements are clicking into place. The love triangle between the three main characters follows a lot of patterns. The rich, jerky guy has a position of distinct power over the protagonist. The guy that she is currently interested in is from her class, but complications exist of course. He has a girlfriend, and he has no idea that she is crushing on him hard...or his own feelings for her. The most effective episode is episode 6 since the two male leads are literally competing over her in a variety of games - pool, darts, etc., again leaning hard into the wish fulfillment fantasy of this and all Korean dramas.
We also start running into the potential problem of these dramas getting too complicated. Sixteen episodes may not seem a lot, but since each episode is almost an hour long without commercial breaks, these dramas tend to run through a lot of plot. When it becomes clear that they are in danger of running out of the serial kidnapper plot too soon, this is when they start introducing new plot lines, often ineffectively. At least the plot that does appear seems promising. A development group, which is really a huge gang, is planning to take over Bong-soon’s neighborhood of Dobong-dong. They soon realize that they will not be able to take over by force and intimidation as long as Bong-soon is there, and they scheme to take her out. In a country where real estate is precious and real estate development is rampant, this is actually a very current and appropriate story. I like that the community has its own guardians other than Bong-soon, such as the mothers who rightly are cagey about dealing with this new group.
We will have to see if the writers of this show can sustain the fun energy of the romance because clearly the serial killer plot is going to take a back seat for at least some of the episodes.