It feels like ages since I last sat down to write an actual week-by-week drama review, and for good reason. After writing my way through so many painful dramas in a row, I just couldn’t bring myself to endure anymore. So I didn’t. After Please Come Back Mister ended back in April, I completely quite writing reviews. I figured with the insanity of the summer about to hit, I would take some time to relax, recoup and reevaluate pretty much my entire life. (Existential crisis anyone?) While I didn’t actually intend to take an eight month break from writing, that’s kind of what happened and honestly, I think it was for the best. After experiencing a couple of overly dramatic Jackie Chan, “WHO AM I!?!” moments, I finally came to realize that despite everything, sitting here, writing about the things I love most, is really what makes me the happiest. Once I had that figured out, I decided it was time to get back to writing on a regular basis but even then, I couldn’t talk myself into taking on a new drama review. The commitment scared me and honestly, there just weren’t any dramas that really spoke to me. Sure, I enjoyed watching them and I very much loved talking about them with friends, but I just couldn’t find one that really grabbed me. Until now.
Sitting down to watch Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo the other night, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew it was a story inspired by the life of Olympic gold medalist Jang Mi Ran, but that’s about it. I actually avoided this drama when it first started airing a couple of weeks ago because a sports-themed drama just didn’t sound all that appealing to me. But then I stumbled across one of the drama’s trailers and well… I suddenly found myself much more interested in this sporty coming-of-age story. Anxious to see if this drama would be well-worth my time, I decided to skip catching up on the other dramas I’m watching, to give this one a go and all I can say is, I’m so glad I did!
It’s not often that a drama earns my undivided attention by the end of the first episode but Weightlifting Fairy did. The combination of characters and their unfolding stories was so much fun to watch, I found myself starting in on the next episode almost before I’d even realized the first had ended. I just couldn’t get enough! It killed me to stop watching at the end of episode 2 (darn you, you pesky need for sleep!) and I’m actually dying as I sit here, writing this instead of watching the next two episodes. Okay, so maybe not dying dying, but it is really painful, having to write my way through old episodes before I can get to the new.
Sitting here trying to figure out why I’ve become so completely addicted to this drama so soon is actually a little bit difficult. From a seasoned drama-watcher’s standpoint, the story itself seems pretty typical for a sports/school drama. Each of the main characters has their own issues they’re dealing with. They each have their own personal obstacles they’re going to have to overcomes as well as family issues that are eventually going to have to be resolved. It’s really pretty standard stuff for a school centered drama, at in terms of plot and character development. I suppose having the student in their later university years does add a teensey bit more maturity to these characters but just watching the first two episodes is enough to know that these characters are far from mature adults. However, I think that may be part of their charm. Starting out as immature children gives each of these characters a chance to grow as the story progresses and I like that. I like the feeling of hope and potential this drama has, as each of these athletes sets out on a journey that will ultimately define who they are, not only as athletes but also as individuals.
As far as the characters themselves go, they too seem pretty typical. At least on the outside. Jung Joon Hyung (Nam Joo Hyuk) is the very definition of a conceited jock. He whole-heartedly believes he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to the sport of swimming and his obnoxious cockiness is only outshone by the brilliance of his stupid smile. Oh my gosh! That darn smile! I swear, it’s gonna be the death of me! And yes, I totally hate myself for being so weak. I should not fall for jerks just because seeing their smile makes life worth living, but I just can’t help myself. At least not with this guy! I think my real weakness stems more in the fact that underneath all of his awful jerkiness and childish teasing, lies a very tender heart in desperate need of some good, old-fashioned TLC. It’s the classic tale of the jerk hiding a heart of gold and I, in all of my romantic weakness, am completely unable to keep myself from falling for such a man. Ugh! I’m hopeless!
While I suffer from a terrible love-hate relationship with Joon Hyung, I’ve fallen completely in love with Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung). She is without a doubt, the cutest girl on the face of the planet and I absolutely adore her! I love her tender heart and her determined spirit. I love her innocence, her sense of justice and her fiery temper. I love that she doesn’t take crap from anyone and that she stands up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. I love that she’s athletic and a tomboy and I really love that she’s a good head taller than all the other girls in this story. After writing all of this, I can easily see why I love Bok Joo so much. It’s because she’s me! Well, a lot of her is anyway and as such, I can relate to so much of what she’s going through in just these first two episodes. Not fitting into the norm of beauty standards, not conforming to the idea that all women have to be dainty and prim and proper, not really caring how the world sees you because you’re perfectly happy just being yourself… I can relate to all of that and I think that’s really why I love Bok Joo. She may not be me exactly but I can see enough of myself in her to want to see her succeed in every area of her life.
On the flip side, I really not a fan of Joon Hyung’s ex-girlfriend, the rhythmic gymnast, Song Si Ho (Kyung Soo Jin). I know she’s going to become a source of trouble for both Joon Hyung and Bok Joo and I’m just not okay with that. It’s perfectly clear that she broke Joon Hyung’s heart when she left and the fact that she’s back, acting as if nothing ever happened, is enough to make me dislike her very much. You know she’s going to try to get back together with Joon Hyung and you know she’s going to see Bok Joo as a love-rival, which means she’s going to be nothing but trouble. Of course Joon Hyung is going to make things worse with his constant teasing of Bok Joo and Oh! I just really don’t want to even think about what sorts of awful we and these characters are going to have to endure in the future! Still, you can’t have a drama without a villain around to make life difficult and Si Ho fills the role nicely. At least in a story such as this, there’s a chance she’ll eventually see the error of her ways and transform into a much more tolerable human being by the end. Here’s hoping anyway!
With a pretty solid foundation laid for this story, I’m very much looking forward to seeing how these characters develop as the story progresses. You know they’re all going to grow in one way or another and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how that progression ties into the overall story. I really do love watching the lives of characters intertwine, especially when they have a back story that links them together. While I hate that Joon Hyung has taken it upon himself to continue the torment that Bok Joo had to endure as a child, I have a feeling that teasing will lessen as time moves on and in the process, Joon Hyung will learn how to be a decent human being. In the meantime, I’m very much going to enjoy watching Bok Joo swoon over Joon Hyung’s older brother, Jung Jae Yi (Lee Jae Yoon). Seeing as how this is probably the first time her heart has every been flustered by a man, it’s going to be a lot of fun watching her figure out her feelings. Oooh! I’m giddy just thinking about all the cuteness we may have in store!
Needless to say, I’m very much enjoying this drama and I can only hope that my excitement continues as the story progresses. This drama certainly has a lot of potential for greatness, which is really all I can ask for at this point. I guess I’ll just keep watching, with my fingers crossed, and hope for the best. That being said, I’d really like to know what you think of this drama. Are you enjoying it as much as I am? It’s really too early to ask for any plot and/or character development theories you may have but I can ask what your impressions of the characters are. I can also ask if I’m the only one melting every time Joon Hyung smiles… (Please tell me I’m not!) You know I always love hearing from you so be sure to leave me a comment below!