Korean drama ‘Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon’ just recently came to end and just like how it started, it also concluded strongly. However, I am in the minority in that I am one of those people who did not finish the drama and eventually dropped it for several reasons.
Prior to the airing of the drama, I did not watch any of the teasers or trailers to the drama because as much as these teasers and trailers are designed to increase one’s excitement and anticipation for the show, I find that sometimes they don’t do much for me so I just don’t watch them. Since Park Bo Young is my ultimate favorite actress, I was planning to watch the drama to support her (since her last drama ‘Oh My Ghostess’ was also a successful enjoyable hit). I ultimately came into the drama with a blank slate, not having watched any teasers and watching this drama for Park Bo Young (+ Ji Soo).
Upon the first few episodes, I noticed the various different plots/story lines existent within the drama. And while some might argue that these plots kept the drama intense, intriguing, appealing, and that each have their own charms (in which I agree they do), the execution of these plots left me feeling distracted, frustrated, and annoyed. You had the plot of Bong-soon and the ways in which she deals with her powers, her relationship/love line with Minhyuk, the gangster/crew plot, the kidnapping case, Bong-soon’s parent’s relationship, and so much more. I wouldn’t have a problem with how many plots there were in Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon as I think dramas should have multiple plots to keep the drama going, but with SWDBS, I personally felt like some plots didn’t necessarily blend or flow well with each other causing me to become frustrated or confused as I continued to watched the drama.
As someone who’s watched many Korean dramas for the past decade, I understand that there’s a need for dramas to have multiple subplots and it should. It has to or else it’s going to get boring and drag on, but my problem with SWDBS was that there were too many subplots and although the drama tried to have them all interrelated and connected to one another somehow, they were just too different in contrast to each other. I could be enjoying and squealing over Bong Soon and Min Hyuk’s interactions with each other one second and then the next I’m watching the kidnapper torture and harm the girls he has trapped in the prison/cells and it was just too much for me. These plots were just too different from each other that they didn’t blend well even when the drama tried to.
Honestly, I didn’t care too much about the gangster plot, but it’s unfortunate that the drama continued to carry on that plot throughout the drama. I would have enjoyed the drama a lot more had the drama not spend so much time on it, but instead give me more time on the development of our main couple or on the development of Bong Soon’s parents abusive relationship or something else (more time on this would have been wonderful to be honest). But the drama did not cease on the scenes with the gang and this lead me to enjoy the drama less and less. I felt like this plot didn’t necessarily serve any purpose in the drama. It was just kind of there for comedic times and moments which I always appreciate in a drama, but in SWDBS I felt like it was forced and wasn’t actually all that funny (maybe I just have a different sense of humor but it wasn’t that entertaining to me). The boss ends up becoming a monk and then the members go and visit him at the temple and that just became a mess to me. I simply did not care about the gang. As unfortunate and sad as it was that they all ended up in the hospital and stayed there the majority of the drama, to me they didn’t really do anything for the drama. If they weren’t going to contribute to the overall storyline or provide any comedic moments, then it probably didn’t need to exist in the first place but it did and I felt like the drama tried too hard to push them onto the audience and spent too much time focusing on them. But for what?
The kidnapping plot was interesting and intriguing, but it continued to drag even to the very last episodes causing me to eventually lose my interest and patience with the drama. The kidnapping plot was interesting to the point where it could have been a drama of its own (something similar to ‘Signal’), but combined with the gang plot + Bong Soon/Minhyuk relationship, Bong Soon’s family relationships, it was just too much. Especially considering that the kidnapping plot was a lot more intense, dark, and evil compared to the other scenes like the gangster scenes that were “funny” or Bong Soon and Min Hyuk that were so sweet, cute, and lovey-dovey, the tone of the plot didn’t mesh well with the others, affecting the overall tone of the drama. There was too much going on at the same time and they differed too much from each other. I was expecting SWDBS to be breezy, light, fluffy, fun, and cute and the drama were all of those things and more, but it was also intense and dark with the kidnapping plot which caused a lot of confusion for me because I wasn’t so sure what the drama was supposed to be. One scene it’s light and fuzzy and cute and then the next it turns dark and scary and suspenseful and for me there was just too much going on at the same time so I couldn’t appreciate the drama for what it was and had a difficult time enjoying it, much less watching it.
I also think there was the concern of the way that the drama was portraying homosexuality/marginalized identities in the drama. I don’t know myself how I feel about it so I won’t comment much on this topic, but it’s one of those things where it’s a grey area and you’re not really sure what to think or how to feel about it. If there were others who dropped this drama, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was for this reason though (among a variety of other reasons). I think I was able to look past this after reading how others positively interpreted these scenes, but with all the other things going on in the drama, there was more than enough reasons for me to drop the drama than for me to keep watching it.
Unfortunately, SWDBS did not live up to my expectations. I watched it hoping that it would improve and get better but it stayed the same throughout. This was good because it was consistent throughout, but it did drag for me a little bit too much (I lost so much hair from the kidnapping plot because for some reason they could not capture the damn kidnapper even though they visited the warehouse 50,000 times) and just wasn’t as appealing and interesting as I thought it would be. Since this was Park Bo Young’s second drama and ‘Oh My Ghostess’ was an enjoyable and exceptional drama, I think I came in also maybe expecting a little bit too much (which is my fault). I do think the premise was interesting and I liked how Bong Soon was strong so she wasn’t your typical candy girl who always needed someone to save her, but everything else in the drama didn’t impress me. However, the drama was great for many others, both domestically and internationally, which is always great news. The ratings for the drama were fairly high and successful especially for a cable channel and the drama was always strong and consistent which I always appreciate in a drama. So while I necessarily didn’t enjoy the drama, many many others did and the drama was in the end successful. It ended just as strongly as it started and I’m glad that the drama was enjoyable to many people. This drama was just not for me and I might be in the minority, but I’m probably gonna feel this way about this drama for a long time and I honestly don’t have the motivation to go back and watch it despite the ratings and positive comments that people have made about it. This drama is some people’s cup of tea and isn’t for others and unfortunately it wasn’t my cup of tea, but I’m glad that it was a successful hit nonetheless.