Do Bong-soon (Park Bo-young) was born with superhuman strength. Her strength is hereditary and passed along only to the women in her family. Her dream is to create a video game with herself as the main character. She desperately wants to become a willowy and elegant woman, which is the ideal type of her crush, In Guk-doo (Ji Soo), a police officer. Thanks to her strength, she gets the job of a bodyguard to a rich heir Ahn Min-hyuk (Park Hyung-sik), the CEO of a gaming company, Ainsoft. Contrary to Guk-doo, Min-hyuk is an odd man who is playful, a little spoiled, has no regard for rules, and dislikes policemen. He has recently received anonymous threats, blackmails, and has even been stalked at an occasion.
One day, a series of kidnapping cases break in Dobong-dong, the district Bong-soon lives in, and she is determined to catch the culprit after her friend was targeted. With the help and training from Min-hyuk, she manages to control her strength to use it for good causes. Min-hyuk and Bong-soon find themselves and their relationship grew into something more. (from: Wikipedia)
The Bad News:
Strong Girl Bong-soon has a lot of tonal shifting going on, the story jumps from rom-com to slapstick comedy to crime drama. I wouldn’t have minded the tonal shifts had the story lines been written well. The gangster story in particular quickly worn out its welcome. Grossed out jokes are tricky you see. I mean you have to be both grossed out and amused in equal measure; or more amused that grossed out. But here, I was just grossed out. False teeth on piss, feces wine….no, and no. And there were also one too many gay jokes that were in poor taste, in my opinion. And I am unsure about the whole henpecked husband and domineering wife (Bong-soon’s mom and dad) comedy routine which kind of borders on domestic abuse. Sure, such relationships do exist in the real world, but I feel like they have a dismissive treament of it, and wasn’t resolved in the manner I’d hoped for.
Also the crime drama aspect was a teensy bit lame. It was far from being thrilling or clever or scary. They Scooby Doo-d it up. And while it serves as our heroine’s 6th step (Tests, Allies, Enemies) in Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth, it’s lameness made it appear more like a plot device for romantic development. Sure this is first and foremost a rom-com, but I like everything to be, as Jake Peralta would say, toit! I am still flabbergasted at the most preposterous entrapment plan they came up with. And what’s even more preposterous is that it worked! I mean look, I know I shouldn’t demand complete and absolute realism from TV series of this sort, but I prefer that there’d at least be some degree of rationality in there. And that doing so would in no way affect the cutesy appeal of the series, I feel like.
The Good News:
So all the bad bits aside, I kinda dug Strong Girl Bong-soon. I had an awesome time watching it, way more that I did Hwarang (2017). Bodily function and gay jokes aside, the series is funny and cute and light-hearted. Thanks largely to Bong-soon (played by Park Bo-young) who has an everywoman quality about her, despite her super powers. It is really impossible to not make you root for her. My favorite scenes are of her surprising friends and enemies alike with her super strength. Especially since she is as small as a peanut! Also hats off to Bo-young’s acting prowess because when she turns on the waterworks, I believed her pain a hundred percent.
The main male lead Ahn Min-hyuk (played by Park Hyung-sik) was just as good in charming the pants of you, and he has excellent comedic timing as well.
Lieutenant In Guk-doo (played by Ji Soo), the second male lead and the third angle of the love triangle, wasn’t as notable. He was just um, okay. I don’t think though that it was fair to him considering that his character wasn’t explored that much so he really didn’t stand a chance against the first male lead, Ahn Min-hyuk. And for me the ideal love triangle is when I get confused as heck whom to choose. But here, there was a clear winner.
The romance wasn’t as cringe-worthy as I’d anticipated, perhaps because this is the kind of TV series that advertises silliness and quirkiness from the get go, so the romance was all played to be silly and funny. As opposed to say a serious k-drama where people say melodramatic lines that no real person would say. Does that makes sense?
All in all Strong Girl Bong-soon was a blast to watch and didn’t put me off trying out more K-dramas!
Watch this if:
- You like superhero stuff but with a slightly different twist
- You like cartoon sound effects on live-action
- You like quirky rom-coms
- You can take lowbrow gross-out humor
- You love your Aegyo (in Korean refers to a cute display of affection often expressed including but not limited to through a cute/baby voice, facial expressions, and gestures) (see Wikipedia)
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Nest stop: Nothing yet! I am open to suggestions!