[HanCinema's Drama First Look] "Strong Woman Do Bong-soon"
By Vasia Orion | Published on
"Strong Woman Do Bong-soon" takes many a viewer's wish for stronger female leads and translates it very literally. Aside from the super-human strength possessed by our heroine and a criminal element, this plays out like a typical romantic comedy. We have crushes, jealousy, male territoriality and many familiar plot devices and character types. This is not a particularly feminist work yet, but it lightly touches upon some interesting topics.
Bong-soon is a lovable character played well by the delightful Park Bo-young. She has focus and agency, even when the male leads try to remove it from her. At the same time, too many women here are stereotypes. Fussy houswives, manipulative love rivals, victims lacking focus. The series also has hit and miss humor for men losing to or obeying women. The male leads have the aforementioned control issues and the teased homosexuality is used for comedy at its expense and fanservice.
At the same time, Bong-soon's life includes some interesting conflicts which are very relevant to women. She struggles over her uniqueness and she tries to blend in and be what people expect her to be, including her crush, a man who likes weak women he can protect. She wants to help when she witnesses injustice, but a curse placed on her powers makes her doubt what is a just use of them and what will be considered selfish. The romance-to-be also has promise.
I call it romance-to-be, because it does not exist yet, largely due to the gay misunderstanding. I really want to like it, however, because it acts as a defiance of the notion that women should play the role of an inferior person just to stroke male ego. A confident man does not need that and so Ahn Min-hyeok's (Park Hyung-sik) character, who likes Bong-soon just as she is has potential. Yes, he is a controlling man-baby and a troll, but they also have a budding friendship as equals. It is nice to see a woman-centric series with a potentially healthy romance.
In terms of the story, things might feel a little slow, but this is better than going the way of most dramas; filling the end with plot-dragging, unnecessary happenings. The criminal element blends in nicely and there are a couple more darker parts hinted in relation to Bong-soon and Min-hyeok, but it is too soon to say if the series will go very dark later on. The actors are enjoyable and there is good chemistry all around.
All in all, the first four episodes of "Strong Woman Do Bong-soon" are entertaining and light. The contrast of the cheerful romantic side with the more serious crime parts might be off-putting for some, but at least the drama makes their presence clear early on. If the creators can maintain a balance and stay away from melodramatic temptations, it will at the very least be a cute rom-com.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'