Bok-joo has made her peace with her stupid idea to get close to Jae-i by pretending to be a cello player. Yet Si-ho ends up being the one who provokes the situation further, in spite of the fact that she is obviously wrong. Even more blatantly, Bok-joo could easily wallop Si-ho in a fight, yet Si-ho continues to lash out. Once again I find myself pitying Si-ho more than I do hating her. If the sad young woman had any friends she might be a tad less psychotic.
Si-ho does have her reasons. We get a look at her background here- and this is useful mainly as a contrast to Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong's own families. Bok-joo only has a single parent, and financial troubles on top of that. Yet a good cry with her girlfriends is enough to solve most of her emotional anguish. Joon-hyeong has a well-off, stable, loving family, but he also has mental issues relating to his birth parents. Yet Joon-hyeong, too, can deal with problems by talking about them.
Si-ho does not have any of that. While Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong both dream of athletic careers, neither of them base their notion of self-esteem around how good they happen to be at sports. For the most part "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" focuses on these positive elements, and is a fairly enjoyable light funny drama. Yet the insight to family dynamics is fairly useful. The drama provides a surprisingly broad perspective of the kind of people who become collegiate athletes.
Si-ho does have one good point. It's kind of infuriating how Bok-joo and Joon-hyeong are not dating, mostly because they are too stupid to know what flirting is. The chemistry between Lee Sung-kyung and Nam Joo-hyuk is consistently excellent. These two are consistently their best most charming selves when around each other, and this is special precisely because it's so explicitly natural. They just say whatever's on their mind, never worrying what the other will think.
Admittedly, they also don't really care what each other think. But again, Bok-joo and Hoon-hyeong are idiot teenagers who don't have any idea what they're doing. The tone in "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo" is wonderfully infectious, to the point it's easy to start rooting for even random secondary pairings between the older characters. I mean granted, the whole deal with vegetables was just an excuse to set up the cliffhanger, but those conversations are nonetheless wonderfully cute.
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 8"
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