- Jang Na-ra and Choi Daniel as teachers
- Lee Jong-suk as Go Nam-soon
- Kim Woo-bin as Park Heung-soo
- Park Se-young as Song Ha-gyeong
About: School in 2013 South Korea. Dealing with friendships, bullies, teachers.
Genre: School / Friendship / Coming-of-Age
N0 of eps: 16 Release date: 3 Dec 2012
Rating: ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪
Recommended: If you like youth or school or bromance
Reasons for watching: Lee Jong-suk, Kim Woo-bin, high ratings
Reasons to keep watching: as above, better than expected
Re-watch: 3 times now and I probably will again. What’s interesting to note is that I skipped more parts the first time I watched it than the second time because I grew to love all the characters by the end of the first time watching it.
Gush time: Lee Jong-suk is one of my loves of Korean actors. He is as adorable as always in this drama. If there is one thing better than Lee Jong-suk it is Lee Jong-suk with Kim Woo-bin they are so cute together on Running Man. If this drama ran in a romantic direction I was imagining a love triangle between him, Song Ha-gyeong and Lee Kang-joo while rooting for Go Nam-soo to get with Song Ha-gyeong. Also for the teachers to get together, ah well to see them together I can always watch Baby Faced Beauty. However the bromance more than makes up for it, not just between these two hotties, but also with the other students.
At first I really wasn’t interested in anybody but Lee Jong-suk and by an extension of that, Park Se-young. Kim Woo-bin didn’t even appear until episode 4 or so. I really didn’t like the teachers or the bullies for most of the drama and skipped most of their parts, only paying enough attention to get the general gist of the story. By the end, however, I found that I liked everybody so much that the second time I watched it I didn’t skip their parts. This is utterly strange because usually one would pay less attention the second time around.
In regards to the bullying issues I’m really glad they addressed the issue of ignoring the bullying and not caring about fellow students because it’s a hassle. Bullying itself is obviously wrong but turning a blind eye to what’s happening around you is not pressed upon so much. Just because the one didn’t commit the wrongdoing it doesn’t mean one is not contributing to it. Especially, from what I’ve seen of Korean dramas anyway, in their culture.
Issues: I don’t have any with the drama itself, it’s more of a dig at Korean society. If you watch the special episode where they interview the cast it is said that these things do happen.
The bullying that is done in the drama is so blatant. Eat Your Kimchi shared that there are three types of bullying which are shunning (which can last for years, even if you transfer), physical violence and shuttling (running errands, buying food). Also teachers that report bullying may be told off by parents or their superiors which doesn’t make any sense. I would’ve thought that bullying comes from a hate/jealousy of the victim or simply because they want someone to bully and they pick the easiest victim. However sometimes the characters seem to have such a disregard for other humans that goes beyond bullying, I think its a cultural difference but it’s terrible. I really don’t understand it. Eat Your Kimchi also said that bullying in Korea is so much greater because the students can spend up to ten hours a day with each other but that’s really no excuse for being a horrible person.
This is a summary of the article “K-Dramas show that bullying often exists because students look the other way” from kdramastars.com. In School 2013 bullying seems to be the norm. Part of the problem in eradicating bullying is that rather than speak up about it, students choose to ignore it because they are afraid of becoming targets themselves. 50% of students ignore bullying even if they witness it directly. It then goes on to talk about a project called “Friend Name Tag” which sounds good and hopefully practical. The trial was considered a success at least.
There were so many types of child abuse represented in this drama. Go Nam-soon was left alone all the time, having to survive on whatever money his father left for him. The bully was physically abused by his father but he still wanted to stay with his father. The mother pressuring her children and providing them with cheating methods that one becomes a hermit and the other wants to suicide, and there’s the opposite, the mother that expects her child to be the best without any help from her. There was a mother that was trying to take care of her child but disregarded the child’s friendships. Also there was a scene comparing one girl who got an old crappy phone because she got poor grades and her friend who told her parents she will study hard if they buy her a new phone, so they did. At the time I was wondering why such minor characters had so much viewing time but now I realise. This then led to a whole slew of problems. It’s sad that there are no good parents in this drama. Parents are supposed to be the role model and caretaker yet here the teachers have to do the job.
In this drama the teachers are the ones trying their best to help the kids. I liked how they did a comparison on the teacher that tries her best for all the kids and the one that only cares about high marks. However even though she really was trying her best for all the kids, she doesn’t have any real power and taking care of everyone means that even if one kid needs a lot of care, you can’t ignore the others. It is a hard balance and there isn’t a right answer. In real life she wouldn’t be able to be so forgiving with the bully, even if she truly did think he was a good kid, what if she was wrong. Also in regards to the bully being abused by his father sometimes even if the kid says no, as an adult you have to overrule them and say yes. So what if the kid really really wants the parents, the parents don’t want the kid, don’t take care of the kid, the kid has to be removed before something worse happens. At least it all worked out in the end.
Please let this be a jealousy scene, please!
Asian countries all place high importance on studying and work but Korea and Japan seem to be the worst. The pressures the students are put under to have high grades, to have a good reputation are so debilitating to the point of suicide are demonstrated well in the drama. The saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” comes to mind for what is the point life if not to enjoy it. Korea and Japan have the highest suicide rates in the world I hope that they are doing everything they can to change that.
Conclusion: My love for Lee Jong-suk is just never ending. The drama was amazing too. It was marked down because I skip too many parts to be give it a 10/10 but it was a great drama nonetheless.
Lee Jong-suk ♥ Kim Woo-bin
Some people think they’re gay IRL…
that thigh touch…
and of course that’s what Photoshop is for…