Itaewon Class, a JTBC korean drama directed by Kim Seung Yoon is based on a webtoon with the same name and released it’s first episode on 31st January, 2020. This K-drama starring Park Seo Joon and Kim Dam-i as leads has made all kind of audiences love it and managed to keep everyone on their toes till it’s finale on 21st March. So what made it so famous ? Let’s start with the plot of the drama.
Park Saeroyi’s (The main lead played by Park Seo Joon) life is turned upside down after he gets expelled from school for punching a bully and his father is killed in an accident. Following his father’s steps, he opens a pub named “DanBam” in Itaewon and, along with his manager and staff, strive to achieve success and greater heights.
Even though the plot seems like a plain old revenge story, Itaewon Class isn’t a mere revenge story. Very rare of its kind, Itaewon class revolved around business and food industry and conglomerates of Korea. The whole story was set in Itaewon region of Korea which is known as the international hotspot of Seoul. All information from the basics of places of business to the essence of Itaewon is captured completely.
Secondly, the show showcases unconventional characters for a korean drama, the main characters include a transgender character who has to face discrimination, a black character with a korean father battling racism, an ex-con trying to be a part of the law abiding society and a person with a mental peculiarity, specifically mentioned as a sociopath. The drama also showcases strong and independent female characters rather than the clichéd damsels in distress. Characters who are trying to prove something, be something while a bond and friendship the main lead cherishes, leading his business with a motto of “Most important thing in a business is people and trust” makes you support the main lead and watch his struggles and pitfalls in an attempt towards achieving his goal.
The drama let’s you see the darker side of food industry and conglomerates in Korea. A fight full of passion to reach the top. Let’s you in on how Itaewon is, about it’s uniqueness and it’s essence in a beautiful way. The drama has been shot at real places and has given the webtoon quite a justice. The OST of the drama comes like a bonus to an already wonderful drama, whilst my personal favourite is Start by Gaho, a self produced track by Kim Taehyung of BTS named Sweet night has gotten it’s own popularity.
Lastly I believe another reason behind the drama’s popularity will be it’s availability on a major streaming platform, thus letting international fans watch it without having to go through the struggles of watching a k-drama. Episodes were dropped on time along with the subtitles so that the audience could enjoy the show without having to wait for a seperate dubbed/subtitled version.
On a final note, I highly recommend that you watch this show, it will be a great addition to your self quarantine watchlist.
(A k-culture enthusiast and leader of Ddaeng Crew)