Bok-joo has been caught in a silly pointless lie. being a generally supercilious teenager, Bok-joo then does the natural thing, and simply tries to bury herself in ever more complicated layers of deceit so she can have those sweet, sweet moments of lovey-doveyness with Jae-i. While Jae-i is handsome, he's also surprisingly dumb. I like how Joon-hyeong figures out what's going on almost immediately because really, what other logical explanation can there be for Bok-joo's behavior?
As funny as it is watching Joon-hyeong needle Bok-joo into wanted friendship, there's also a bittersweet taste underlying all this because sooner or later, Bok-joo is going to get her heart broken. Hilarious as it is that Bok-joo is able to scrape together a plausible backstory just long enough for another meeting with Jae-i, how long does she think this going to work? Even if by some preposterous miracle Jae-i does like her back, lying is kind of a big deal.
Si-ho has the opposite problem, in that Joon-hyeong thinks he knows her all too well. Granted, Si-ho is a little clingy, but Joon-hyeong's unwillingness to hear her out is a little unfair, even if he's under no obligation to take her back. Of course, being an idiot teenager, Joon-hyeong never stops to appreciate the irony of how he is both the sender and receiver of unwanted overtures. It helps that he's too stupid to realize that his overtures to Bok-joo appear to be incompetent attempts at flirtation.
Speaking of stupid yet endearing characters, Joon-hyeong's idiot friend Tae-kwon (played by Ji Il-joo) puts on a rather...oddly flattering costume for the central setpiece. Then he takes it off to talk with Bok-joo's idiot friends and, you know, everyone in this drama is just an idiot all-around except for the adults. And that's where a lot of the charm comes from. I know that they are all making bad decisions, but it's easy to understand why.
It's also easy to get just a little bit nostalgic. While Bok-joo sees the immediate "accomplishment" of these complicated adventures as being a (not actual) date with Jae-i. Yet we can also guess how, in future perspective, it won't be Jae-i himself who inspires reminiscence so much as the feats Bok-joo was willing to undergo to achieve her goal. And maybe, just maybe, future Bok-joo will also have come to appreciate that Joon-hyeong isn't quite as much of an idiot as he looks.
Review by William Schwartz
"Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" is directed by Oh Hyeon-jong, written by Kim Soo-jin-III and Yang Hee-seong, and features Lee Sung-kyung, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kyung Soo-jin, Lee Jae-yoon, Lee Joo-young and Cho Hye-jung.
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Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" Episode 5"
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