I finished watching Itaewon Class for almost a week now but I am still groping for words to say about this drama. This is just the second time I’ve seen Park Seo-joon in the small screen and I should say he’s really one hell of an actor! Park Seo-ro-yi is far too different from Lee Young-joon (What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim) that I felt they were portrayed by two different actors.
Bringing me back an old classic
This kdrama just hits differently. It’s far from the usual ones that make us swoon over the lead stars and want to fall in love again (but of course who wouldn’t fall in love with Park Seo-joon no matter what he does?). Maybe this is just me, but this webtoon-based series makes me think of Park Seo-ro-yi as our modern-day Edmond Dantes. He wasn’t exactly wronged when he went to jail after his father was killed in a road accident, and his determination to get even to those who made him feel powerless and his come back felt reminiscent to that good ol’ Dumas classic. Seung-kwon, a fellow ex-convict, along with Hyun-hi the transgender, To-ni, the black Korean guy whose father is yet to be found, and the competitive yuppie Yi-seo are the kind of diversity I rarely see in Kdramas. They are Seo-ro-yi’s Jacopos who gave him all the reasons (and the motivations) to continue what he started. Oh and yes, how can we forget Mercedes in Soo Ah’s character – his childhood romance. The woman of many conflicted feelings towards Seo-ro-yi and his nemesis, Jangga Co.
She wants rich guys but…
Park Seo-ro-yi has to exist in real life somewhere. That guy in baggy hoodies and jeans with a handsome face that has to be illegal and sports an awkward haircut that he’d deliberately pat when he’s annoyed at himself or groping for words. That boss who doesn’t discriminate and gives second chances to his employees merely because he trusts them and believes in what they can do more. That guy who knew the kitchen too well and makes sundubu better than anyone else (I’m craving for some right now!). That thug whose principles could never be swayed by fear, the one who’d get on his knees and would be ready to kill somebody if only to keep you safe. That friend who values you and his relationships with other people more than anything else on earth. That warrior who believes in the potential of the enemy that he dared use it to arm himself in his battle against that same enemy. Seo-ro-yi isn’t perfect by all means – he’s actually a flawed man, wounded and scarred who used his pain to gain strength. If this isn’t a guy you’d put in a romance book, then I don’t know what is.
Patience is key
It must be hard, to wait for fifteen long years to finally achieve that sweet revenge. It wasn’t an easy fifteen years either. There were uncertainties and losses that Seo-ro-yi has to suffer. Although, his moves were well-calculated and thought for albeit risky. It was a good thing that his motivation to succeed wasn’t revenge alone – it helped that his people, whom he considered as friends also had their own struggles that their end goals also became his business. In the end, when IC Co. was established, all of them ended up with a good life. It was just sad when Dong-hee couldn’t stay by Seo-ro-yi side. His untarnished character was too perfect he didn’t deserve his dysfunctional family. They say blood is thicker than water, I’d say water is purer than blood.
Just when we thought we are living in a modern world where everyone accepts one another just the way they are, let’s think again. Our social media feeds are full of stories about all kinds of discrimination – criminal background, gender, race, and even age. No one fully trusts an ex-convict in real life. Transgenders are condemned because they dared to defy nature. People with darker skin colors are deprived of so many basic rights. Romance between two people with wide age gap is frowned upon. This is the sad reality that I can only shake my head as I try to understand how come we are all under the same sky with the same sun and moon shining upon all of us if we are any different. This happens everywhere – even in places where people are so loud in claiming to be embracing diversity. These social “aversions” all happened in Itaewon Class, our princely lead Seo-ro-yi brought them together and proved that if there’s anything wrong, it’s the world’s perception and setting limitations to these people who just want to be somebody.
It all comes down to great acting and music
Like I mentioned earlier, Park Seo Joon did great acting. Well, he usually does but this one is just exceptional. I felt his angst and devastation when he cried in the rain for his father. His loathe towards Jang Dae-hee and everything about that old man was so palpable I could almost taste it. Geun-won’s sneer is so annoying I want to punch him in the face over and over. The evil Jang Dae-hee – the sight of his fingers drumming against the table, or the arm rest leaves me seething. I don’t get it though, because there was a brief moment when I felt a crack of sympathy for him when he found himself on his knees in front of Seo-ro-yi as he tries so hard to cling to his beloved Jangga. Plus, the music. The first episode told me that I am in for a good music treat and man! I downloaded everything and have been playing on repeat for days now.
I am not sure what to see next after this – my list is long plus there are two upcoming dramas that feature my main oppas. 😂 I haven’t decided yet but maybe I’ll see another Park Seo Joon, or Ji Chang Wook. Or maybe a Lee Min Ho (I plan to watch The King: Eternal Monarch when it’s finally bingeable).
Stay sane kids. Watch kdramas.