Male Lead: Park Seo Jun
Female Lead: Kim Da Mi
Second Lead: Kwon Nara
Also Starring: Park Bo Gum, Lee Joo Young, Kim Dong Hee, Ahn Bo Hyun, Chris Lyon, Yoo Jae Myung
Year Released: 2020
Number of Episodes: 16
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: Chase
Watched it For: Chase
In a colorful Seoul neighborhood, an ex-con and his friends fight a mighty foe to make their ambitious dreams for their street bar a reality.
When Quarantine first started, my nephew Chase recommended that I watch this show. I’ve never been interested in reading subtitles so I’ve never really tried very many Korean dramas, though they’re very popular in the Polynesian community. I remember watching Boys over Flowers and Flower Boy Ramen Shop a long time ago but I can’t remember much about those shows. I binged watched the hell out of them with my nieces Meghan and Chaylene back in the day but I couldn’t tell you what they were about, who was in them, or even if I liked them. So needless to say, I was low key skeptical about trying out this show. Chase was adamant that I would enjoy it and he was absolutely right.
I freaking love this show.
Discovering this show has kick-started a love of all things Korean for me and I’m sad to report that I am not reading books much. The only thing that I’m reading much of these days are subtitles and it’s like I’m trying to make up for lost time because my entertainment of choice these days are Korean dramas and so I figured that I’ll start reviewing them and tracking what I’m watching, who I’m loving right here on the blog.
I’m counting Itaewon Class as my first Korean Drama because I actually remember it and don’t think that I’ll forget anything about it, like ever. From the very beginning, I was hooked. I went through the wringer with this show. There were lots of ups, lots of downs, lots of times when I wanted to beat every single person, and plenty of times where I thought I would burst from happiness. I also cried a lot too. Like, ugly cry. It only took me about 18 hours to watch this show from beginning to end so it was a short watch but I loved every single minute. The writers did such an amazing job with this show that I ate every single episode up.
So this show features the life of Park Saeroyi. A young man who just wanted to make his Dad proud. He was a no-nonsense kind of person, who dreamed of becoming a police officer. When he transfers schools, he meets the boy who will become the literal bane of his existence. Saeroyi witnesses, a rich kid bullying another kid and doesn’t stand for it. He punches the rich kid out and his life is forever flipped upside down. The rich kid ends up being the son of the CEO of Jangga Co., who is also Saeroyi’s father’s boss. Needless to say, Saeroyi gets expelled from his brand-spankin’ new school and his father is forced out of his job. Saeroyi is devastated that in one fell blow, the life he was working toward falls out of his reach. Over the course of the show, we see Saeroyi start from the bottom and work his ass off to have a prayer of making it to the top. He doesn’t do it by himself though. With every setback, different people fall into his life and kind of stick. I loved seeing him collect more people for his family because Saeroyi was loyal AF and his circle of friends was loyal AF right back to him.
Saeroyi’s dream of becoming a police officer goes right out the window when he goes to prison for almost killing that same rich kid that got him expelled from school. In another incident, of course. So while serving time, he studies and he researches and he plans. Once he’s released from prison, his plan goes into full effect. He works different jobs to save money to open a street bar and that street bar is the jump-off point for his real plan. To get revenge on the rich kid and his family by opening the company that is going to take the top spot as the biggest food company in Korea away from them.
A lot of different social issues are covered in this show and the way that they were all handled, worked really well for me. Transgender issues, racism, social injustices, discrimination, all of these issues are addressed throughout this show and I connected with every single character and every single storyline. These characters became family to me over the course of the show and I was such a huge fan of each of my Danbam fam.
They were all three-dimensional characters that went through their own obstacles and learned their own life lessons and I really enjoyed getting to know each of them. They all added something different and something fresh to an already fantastic show and I was here for all of them.
The romance in this show really rocked my socks. I cried so hard when things went so wrong for them and I cheered so much and so loud when things went right for them. When the light goes on for Saeroyi and he realizes who he belongs with? OMG, the smile on my face almost broke my face. I just…this was me when he finally gets his shit together and goes after his girl. The girl who has been his ride or die partner throughout the entire freaking show and he was so blind to her in every way that mattered.
I just….gah. I fucking loved them. So stinkin’ much.
This is a fantastic show. I can’t say that enough. I loved this show so much that I have made so many of my family members watch this show and it was a hit with every single one of them. I have become obsessed with finding the next Korean drama that I will love as much as I loved this one and some have come close but none have surpassed my love for this show. Park Seo Joon’s acting is superb and the rest of the cast are no slouches either. Everyone played their parts well and I am looking forward to seeing them all in different shows and movies because they all have wormed their way into my heart and I’ll support the shit out of all of them. I highly recommend this show to anyone wanting a feel good show about a man down on his luck who turns shit around and gets shit done with a solid support group along for the ride. There is some serious squad goals in this show and I loved it so much. I can’t recommend it enough. Chase did good with his pimping of this show. I’m SO glad that I watched it.
Listen to the OST
I didn’t understand a word of any of the songs that played throughout this show but the music is banging. I can now sing along with every single song because I listen to the shit out of this soundtrack. My favorite song is the main song, Start by Gaho. That shit goes hard. So good.
5 out of 5