Hello everyone and Happy New Year!
I returned from vacation with tons of dramas to catch up on and of course, the one I had to finish first was Weightlifting Fairy, Kim Bok Joo!
What can be said about this drama?
There are dramas that blow our minds away. You know, the ones that keep us awake, guessing and researching clues to crack the code. Or the ones that are so full of suspense that we’re constantly on our toes. Or the ones that are full of intrigue and wonder that we can’t wait to see what the writer will come up with next. There are those that leave us in stitches or keep us in tears or make us long for a fantasy romance. Then there are those that make us feel. Weightlifting Fairy, Kim Bok Joo makes us FEEL.
I can’t say I started this drama expecting much from the leads. I thought Lee Sung Kyung was horrible in Cheese in the Trap and wasn’t impressed by her jealous, rich girl character in the Doctors episodes I watched. Although I found Nam Joo Hyuk cute in Cheese In The Trap, his character wasn’t particularly memorable and I was aware of the hate he received from his role in School 2015.
Given that they’ve received both love and awards for their portrayals in this drama, I think it is fair to state that this show has been somewhat of a revelation for both actors.
99% of Korean dramas are romances so a story about two people falling in love is hardly unique but what I like about this drama is how – no pun intended – it’s rather drama-free.
It’s about two people getting to know each other through friendship and then realizing that they are meant to be together forever.
Most dramas run out of steam when the couple finally gets together and often resort to insane storylines that force them apart to keep the story going. But I think the reason this drama succeeded without the usual antics was that we were so used to seeing them ‘date’ in their friendship phase that their transition to romance was very seamless and something that we not only anticipated but were already accustomed to. In other words, this drama was always about them dating each other than we didn’t need intense situations to keep us interested even after they became a couple.
Their chemistry was natural and addicting that we couldn’t help but FEEL their love. As I said, this drama was all about how we felt watching these two (and the supporting) characters lead their lives.
Not to say that I wouldn’t have enjoyed more plot/story. In my opinion, while Joon Hyung’s trauma was very well set-up, the resolution was too swift. Believe me when I say that I’m grateful that the title character didn’t get sidelined by her love interest’s manpain (as often happens) but I felt that its resolution deserved more than half an episode.
Si Ho was another character that made a somewhat quick 180 degree change. It was as if getting sick was a wake up call for her that not only changed the way she felt about the sport but about the people around her. She suddenly became this positive person who smiled all the time and supported her roommate’s relationship with her ex. It was welcome but a bit too quick. I however liked that the flashbacks explained how she arrived at the decision to end her career as a competitor but I wish it didn’t also result in her disappearance from the drama.
I understand that the writers wanted to focus on what the audience enjoyed but as much as I loved the OTP, I wouldn’t have minded if a little less time had been spent on their cuteness if it meant exploring more of the Seok Ok/Tae Kwon romance which needed more development.
Hyung and Ah Young got more screen time but I’m not even sure that he’s in love with her. Very early in the drama, he mentioned that he didn’t want to lose her as a friend and it seems to me that a big reason he decided to date her was to keep her in his life. Does he love and miss her? Yes. Does he need her in his life? Yup. Is he in love with her? I’m not sure but I’ll accept what the drama is saying even though I feel it could have been presented in a more convincing way.
These criticisms aside, I can’t emphasize enough how much I enjoyed this little show. It was a very breezy, easy, simple yet satisfying watch.
Some specific little scenes I enjoyed were Bok Joo’s Taereung sunbaes accusing her of downloading her boyfriend’s photos off the internet, which of course she did because they were from Nam Joo Hyuk’s Instagram (haha) and the scene of her jumping on him at the airport. I loved how they immediately withdrew into their own world where the crowd of people around them ceased to exist.
I also loved how supportive and encouraging Bok Joo was after Joon Hyung lost the race. How wonderful to have someone who always supports and cheers you on no matter what happens.
It isn’t everyday that I watch a drama where all the characters and audience are happy. And for that, I say Bok Joon Hyung forever!
Here’s to hoping that 2017 brings us more dramas as delightful as this one.