When it came to the 2016 to 2017 swing season of Winter K-dramas, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo was technically the only light-hearted romantic comedy playing. It is true other K-dramas had elements of romance and comedy in them like Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo‘s competition Oh My Geum Bi and The Legend of the Blue Sea, but they were not centered on being light-hearted romantic comedies. This would have been enough exclusivity for it to stand out, but airing on the same day and time slot as the K-drama marking Lee Min Ho’s return as well as his last acting gig before going into the Korean military, The Legend of the Blue Sea, was its hindrance.
As expected, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo not only finished with low viewership ratings but in last place for its day and time slot as well as all K-dramas for the season overall. Still, it had its following of K-drama fans who love light-hearted romantic comedies. And if there is one major thing Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo truly did, it was open its female lead Lee Sung Kyung to many more acting opportunities.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo finishing in last place among all other K-dramas not just in its day and time slot, but also for the season, is technically no surprise at this point. Throughout its run, it struggled to achieve the double-digit viewership numbers Korean television networks hope their K-dramas would achieve. But with the phenomenal Goblin airing on the Total Variety Network (tvN) and the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) having a double-play with hit dramas Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim and The Legend of the Blue Sea, it would be hard for the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) K-drama to keep up.
According to both Korean viewership companies, TNmS Media Korea and AGB Nielsen Korea, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo finished on average for the entire series at 4.7 percent for the nation and 5.15 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area. As for its last episode, it averaged 5.3 percent for the nation and 5.4 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area. Thanks to the 2016 MBC Entertainment Awards, the finale did not get the high viewership send-off it should have as fans had to wait five days to watch it compared to watching it the next day.
If there is one major positive to come out of Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, it is the fact it possibly opened more doors for acting opportunities for its female lead Lee Sung Kyung. For those who do not know, Sung Kyung was originally a professional model. So when she went into acting with her first role as Oh So Nyeo in It’s Okay, That’s Love as Oh So Nyeo, she acted like a “stereotypical supermodel with attitude” meaning she was selfish and stuck-up. Her character even took advantage of people around her including her fellow co-worker Park Soo Kwang (Lee Kwang Soo), who was also a cafe waiter with Tourette syndrome.
Lee Sung Kyung continued such a role in Cheese in the Trap as Baek In Ha and in Doctors as Jin Seo Woo. With the exception of Queen’s Flower, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is her only role that is “different” from her others. Also, since it is her first main lead role, it will have more of an impact if she were to pursue other acting endeavors outside of what she was initially typecast for.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo previously aired on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m. on MBC. For those who missed the original airing of the K-drama, it can be watched in its entirety exclusively on Viki.
[Featured Image by Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC)]