A few months ago, it seemed as if K-drama fans could not get enough of light-hearted romantic comedies. This was easily proven by the fact that they were the highest in viewership ratings; shows such as Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, Shopping King Louis, and Jealousy Incarnate. However, that may no longer be the case. So far, the only romantic comedy of the same comedic style as the aforementioned three K-dramas that is doing well is My Wife is Having an Affair this Week. Sadly, the two other K-dramas, which includes Sweet Stranger and Me, are not doing as well.
The other struggling romantic comedy K-drama is Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. The new Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) K-drama filling the time slot originally taken by Shopping King Louis made its debut with very low ratings. TNmS Media Korea recorded 4.1 percent viewership for the first episode and 5.0 percent viewership for the second episode. AGB Nielsen Korea recorded 3.3 percent viewership for both episodes. Apparently, both ratings companies did not record a viewership for the Seoul National Capital Area because it was too low.
However, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo has the chance to stand out simply on two details: the unique writing and cameos of well-known Korean actors.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is a romantic comedy starring Lee Sung Kyung (Cheese in the Trap, Doctors) and Nam Joo Hyuk (Cheese in the Trap, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo). Kim Bok Joo (Sung Kyung) is a promising collegiate female weightlifter. Jung Joon Hyung (Joo Hyuk) is a collegiate swimmer who is very popular. One day, they both bump into each other, and Joon Hyung says Bok Joo’s face looks familiar. Through circumstance, the two are constantly butting heads, but an incident in which Joon Hyung saves Bok Joo from drowning helps them realize why they look familiar. When they were younger, Bok Joo saved Joon Hyung’s life in an incident where Joon Hyung fell out of a window on a higher floor of a building. Bok Joo caught him before he hit the ground. It is at that moment their relationship begins to grow.
The plot itself seems like a stereotypical romcom plot for any light-hearted K-drama. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is standing out with its unique writing and numerous cameo appearances. Starting with the unique writing, there are lines that characters use that are so unique, K-drama fans are sure to rewind the scene just to make sure they heard or read it right. One example is when Jung Nan Hee (Cho Hye Jung) says she’ll break the rhythmic gymnastics team members’ “chopsticks,” as she is referring to their legs. In another scene, Kim Chang Gul (Ahn Kil Kang), Bok Joo’s father, who runs a chicken shop, actually tells Bok Joo who is eating chicken, “Shove that chicken in your mouth with moderation.”
However, the best scene that highlights Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo‘s unique writing is when Kim Bok Joo and Jung Joon Hyung meet for the first time. In this particular scene, Joon Hyung is on his bike and collides into Bok Joo who is eating a sausage. When they argue with each other, Bok Joo complains that Joon Hyung has “killed” her sausage while Joon Hyung sees no reasons to “pray for the dearly departed soul” of the sausage. It sounds very weird, but comes off as very entertaining.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is also standing out with all the cameos and roles played by well-known Korean actors. For example, Kang Ki Young, who plays Kim Dae Ho, is one of those actors K-drama fans joke has been in everything. Just this year alone, he had roles in Let’s Fight Ghost, Doctors, W, and Please Come Back, Mister. Jung In Gi, who plays Jung Joon Hyung’s father, is another actor who has been in everything. This year, he’s had roles in GlamorousTemptation, Remember, Lucky Romance, and Squad 38.
However, the biggest cameo so far was Lee Jong Suk. He makes an appearance in the second episode, where he and Jota, of the K-pop boy band Madtown, are eating at Kim Chang Gul’s Chicken Shop. There were also two things that happened to add to the fan service. The first was the song “Where Are U” by Jung Joon Young was playing. For those who don’t know, it is the theme song of the MBC K-drama W in which Jong Suk played the main lead character Kang Chul. Second is when Jong Suk and Kim Ki Young converse with each other. They both make numerous references to their characters in W.
These details of unique writing and cameos are, as mentioned, enough to make Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo stand out. It may not be enough for it to compete with its rival K-drama, The Legend of the Blue Sea. Given the fact the SBS K-drama is both Jun Ji Hyun and Lee Min Ho’s K-drama comebacks since 2013, it got the attention of Korean viewers. However, it may be enough to compete with Oh My Geum Bi, which is blessed with amazing writing and acting. If by chance one or the other starts to falter, Weightlifting Fair Kim Bok Joo might find itself no longer in last place.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m. KST on MBC. For those who do not have access to Korean free-to-watch channels, the K-drama can be seen exclusively for Viki Pass members on Viki.
[Featured Image by Munhwa Broadcasting System (MBC)]