Park Seo-joon’s latest character is a breath of fresh air from his recent TV roles.
Itaewon Class’ plot revolves around the revenge-driven hero Park Saeroyi (Park Seo-joon), whose life turned from predictable to tragic after getting involved with the spoiled son of food conglomerate Jangga Co. Along his way, he met peculiar society outcasts that helped him achieve his goals.
The best part of this series is its whole cast. They made the best choices in the actors that played each character in IC.
Park Seo-joon is one of my favorite romance male lead actors. He can transform from an indifferent chaebol in one series and become a naive childhood neighbor in another. In this series, he proved he could be more than just a swoon-worthy prince charming. The ending scene of the first episode still gives me goosebumps.
As much as I hate to admit this, Saeroyi wouldn’t be an effective hero without the antagonist Chairman Jang Dae-hee (Yoo Jae-myung). I’m so used to seeing him play the good guy in other series that it took me a while to adjust to his evil character.
The series’ not-so-secret key to its allure is the supporting cast. I’m so in love with the diversity the DanBam squad has. From Kim Tony (Chris Lyon) and Ma Hyun-yi (Lee Joo-young), this is a small step towards a more progressive casting and storytelling. Hopefully, the more traditional Korean Networks would also take the risk of showing different types of characters in the future.
Speaking of unusual, Jo Yi-seo (Kim Da-mi) is one eccentric female lead. Some K-drama fans were probably flabbergasted with Yi-seo’s extreme views and actions, and so they turned toward Oh Soo-ah (Kwon Na-ra) for the comfort of the usual first love character. I, on the other hand, became a Yi-seo stan right off the bat.
I was also a bit shocked with her antisocial persona but I saw the potential of great character development, and the writer didn’t disappoint. From the jaded insensitive genius, she became a goal-driven and dependable character. Her growth was impeccably intertwined with Saeroyi’s that their happy-ever-after ending was expected.
The wait for their romance to really bloom was worthy. It wasn’t rushed at all. Yi-seo might fell for Saeroyi at first glance but it was part of her DNA. She knows what she wants and she finds ways to get it. Meanwhile, Saeroyi always takes time on everything he does. Their difference makes their dynamic so good to watch.
Their relationship developed from platonic to one-sided to romantic, and it all happened with both characters learning from each other. As trite as this may sound but it’s no doubt they do bring the best out of each other.
I guess it was a good move for the production to let the original webtoon writer Jo Gwang-jin to create the screenplay for the TV adaptation. It was evident that he knows his characters well. And although the “vengeance felt empty” realization at the end was a bit predictable, the execution was still satisfying. The series achieved its end goal of reminding its audience that one can achieve their goal without losing oneself.
I started watching Itaewon Class for the love of Park Seo-joon. My usual choice of dramas is always on the romance side. So when my favorite actors/actress venture into a different genre, I follow them with a heavy heart. Much to my surprise, watching IC transformed from an obligatory task to my favorite time of the week. Its plot is the usual revenge trope but its true charm is its out-of-the-box characters. The principled hero and his loyal DanBam friends make the journey worth watching. It proves that K-dramas can be palatable without being stereotypical.
– Gosh, I miss Park Bo-gum so much
– I always love Lee Joo-young. Praying to dramagenies to make her the lead next time.
– It would have been nice to see more of their HEA
– Kim Dong-hee is a cutie in this series. He might lack that antagonist vibe for now (he has – a super angelic face!!) but he has great potential.
– A shout out to David Lee for playing another bullied/misunderstood high school student. I thought he would be a serial killer in the end but good thing he just became a successful FM. Anyway, hoping to see him again in another drama with more screen time!
– The only thing I didn’t like about the ending was Yi-seo becoming a bait. It was too masochistic conflict. Although Yi-seo proved she could very well save herself, there could have been a better way to make Saeroyi’s give his final punch in his revenge. Albeit, it could have been less dramatic.
– V sang an OST for IC!!!