fbpx

“Itaewon Class” Roundtable

Episode 146

Apr 26, 2020

Guests

Flower – Flower Takes on Korea Instagram

Timothy Sun – Korean-American Netflix Junkie

 

We discuss the hit Korean drama “Itaewon Class.” We recommend watching before listening because of spoilers. We cover issues brought up, our favorite characters, cultural details you may have missed, and things that we love and are annoyed by.

Host

Joe McPherson

Please support the show

Become a Patron!

About This Episode

Guests

Flower – Flower Takes on Korea Instagram

Timothy Sun – Korean-American Netflix Junkie

 

We discuss the hit Korean drama “Itaewon Class.” We recommend watching before listening because of spoilers. We cover issues brought up, our favorite characters, cultural details you may have missed, and things that we love and are annoyed by.

Plot Outline

***SPOILER ALERT***

Itaewon Class centers around Park Saeroyi, a stubbornly high principled middle school dropout with a criminal past, as he opens a small pub in the Itaewon neighborhood. He collects a motley crew of employees (“pied piper of misfits” – ManicMuse) as he tries to build his pub and get revenge on the powerful Jang family, who had ruined his life and killed his father. 

 

First episode – Jan 31, 2020

Final episode – March 21, 2020

Characters

http://asianwiki.com/Itaewon_Class <–placing faces with names

Dan Bam

  • Park Saeroyi (Park Seo-joon)
    • Parasite, Fight for My Way 쌈 마이 웨이, Midnight Runners
    • Lawful Good
  • Jo Yi-seo (Park Da-mi)
    • Chaotic Good
    • Taller than she’s portrayed (170cm)
  • Choi Seung-kwon (Ryu Kyung-soo)
    • That scar!
  • Ma Hyeon-yi (Lee Joo-young)
  • Kim To-ni (Chris Lyon)
  • Jang Geun-soo (Kim Dong-hee)
    • SKY Castle (Cha Seo-Joon)

Jangga

  • Jang Dae-hee (Yoo Jae-myung)
    • Lawful evil? Neutral evil?
  • Jang Geun-won (Ahn Bo-hyun)
    • Chaotic evil – Most punchable face
  • Oh Soo-ah (Kwon Nara)
    • Member of Hello Venus and in a lot of commercials 
  • Kang Min-jung (Kim Hye-eun)
  • Chef Park Jung-Gi (Lee Joon-Hyuk)
    Who tries to look like Linus Kim

Others

  • Park Sung-Yeol (Son Hyun-Joo)
    • Park’s Saeroyi’s father
  • Lee Ho-jin (Lee David)
  • Kim Soon-rye (Kim Mi-kyeong)
  • Detective Oh Byeong-heon (Yoon Kyeong-ho)
  • Hong Seok-Cheon

 

Differences from the Webtoon

  • The actors were made to try to match the webtoon as much as possible
  • More backstory to create motivations, especially Soo-ah
  • Originally named 꿀밤 (changed because the webtoon’s writer owned a real pub with that name)
  • The order and situations when characters meet are a little different
  • Park Saeroyi’s father opened a chicken hof, not a pocha
  • Big car chase at the end
  • Jang Dae-hee kneels his apology in his hospital room

Issues

  • Portrayals of powerless members in Korean society 
    • The age gap between Yi-Seo and Saeroyi
    • (I didn’t know she was trying to pretend to be a man at the beginning)
    • How it was used against her in the competition
    • Recent stories
      • Withdrawal from Sookmyung Women’s University
      • Discharged from army after surgery
    • Harisu
    • Hong Seok-cheon
    • “Korean-ness” more about looks
    • Assume English speaking (Han Hyun-min?)
    • Blocked at the nightclub
    • The jumping and hiding from foreigners
    • Cross-cultural marriage
    • Infantilization of foreigners
    • How the show treated Kim To-ni’s character after they had made their point
    • Dirt spoons vs. Gold spoons
    • Uneducated
    • Criminal record
    • Age
    • Transgender & LGBT
    • Foreign-born/Race
    • Did the issues feel like they were shoehorned in, or did they feel natural?
  • How did it portray Itaewon and Gyungridan?
  • Dominance of chaebol
    • Food company
      • CJ Food
      • Baek Jong-won
      • Hanjin
      • Hanhwa
    • Real life comparisons
  • Good capitalism vs. bad capitalism or Good boss vs. Bad boss
    • Relationships over money
  • Suicide? 

Questions & Notes

  • What was your favorite part?
  • When Yi-seo kissed a passed out Saeroyi… 
  • How did you feel about Saeroyi’s reaction when Mr. Jang knelt?
    • Inigo Montoya
  • Did Soo-Ah get a good ending?
  • Did Yi-Seo and Saeroyi make a sensible match or felt forced to please fans?
  • Did it feel it petered out after episode 13? When it jumped to 4 years later?
  • The gangster subplot. How do you feel about how it played out?
  • Geun-won. How realistic is his character? No redeeming qualities?
  • Which characters saw growth?
  • Park Saeroyi wouldn’t have become successful without Mr. Jang.
  • How did it break Korean drama cliches (and how did it stick to them)?
    • Different vibe
    • Subverted the myth of the Chaebol Prince
      • Both Geun-won and Geun-soo
    • Heroes not usually seen on Korean TV
    • Love triangle/pentagon
    • Underdog story
    • Reaching coincidences
    • Style
      • The talk to the back
      • Long pauses
      • Gratuitous flashbacks and inner monologues
      • Replaying the same pop songs
    • Breaks cliches
    • Sticks to cliches
  • Weird stuff
    • The detective’s daughter doesn’t age at all
    • 4-year jump
  • Is Saeroyi too annoyingly virtuous? Vulture–”He’s a paragon of moral virtue in XXL fits, with an almost astonishingly naïve capacity to do the right thing even at great personal cost.”
    • Never kissed a girl
  • Do you think with the popularity of “Itaewon Class” that more dramas will feature less represented characters in Korean society?

 

    Related Episodes

    An Englishman Outside Korea

    An Englishman Outside Korea A Korean politician and hack reporter have decided to go after another famous foreigner, trying to cater to the Korean public’s envy monster. This time it’s YouTuber Korean Englishman 영국남자. What nefarious deed has he committed? And how has...

    The Towering Infernal | SeoulPodcast #163

    One of our greatest fears–a fire broke out in a high rise apartment building. And no one was killed. This news PLUS an outed North Korean diplomat/refugee and Korea’s controversial and overdue abortion law changes.

    Shot at Sea

    A South Korean fisheries official was lost at sea, floating in North Korea. He was found, shot, and burned. We discuss this WTF moment in the land we call, “Korea.”

    0 Comments

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.