‘Strong Girl Bong-soon’ combines humor and originality

2017 Korean romance-comedy show “Strong Girl Bong-soon” fuses the superhero genre with perpetual laugh-out-loud moments. It stars Bo-young Park, Ji Soo and Hyung-sik Park./ Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

You are on the back seat of a bus that is about to crash. The bus skids and jerks around the road—everyone is screaming. You are sure that these are your last moments on Earth, but then the vehicle suddenly comes to a halt directly before plummeting off of a bridge. You look out the back windows, and on this sunny day you see a mysterious girl with a pink hoodie on, hair lightly blowing in the wind. Who is she? The answer lies in the 2017 Korean drama, “Strong Girl Bong-soon.”

I first heard about “Strong Girl Bong-soon” while looking up the actress Bo-young Park after watching “Oh My Ghostess”—a romance/mystery/cooking drama about the love triangle that unfolds between a chef, a chef’s assistant and a virgin ghost who thinks that she can only move on to the afterlife if she has sex with a man. Bo-young Park plays both the ghost and the chef’s assistant at once in a in a manner that is perfectly obvious. Amazed by that show, I looked more into her acting career and found “Strong Girl,” but put it on the back burner due to my general disinterest in superhero-type shows—that is, until my friend watched it for the same reason that I wanted to and recommended it to me…wow, was he right!

There has always been something slightly off about “Do Bong-soon from Dobong-dong Dobong-gu,” played by Bo-young Park. Due to a trait passed down through the women in her family, she has inherited extreme physical strength with the caveat that if she uses it to hurt an innocent person or for unjust reasons, it disappears. Due to this, along with a few other personal issues, the protagonist has always hidden her powers, hoping to make a video game character based on her real life and then hide in the shadows.

Besides that, Bong-soon has lived a relatively normal life in her small, safe neighborhood. Her parents own a walnut bakery, and she’s always had a crush on the handsome local police officer Gook-doo, played by Ji Soo. One day, confronted by a group of gangsters, Bong-soon loses her temper and is unable to control her powers. She wins, of course, but the damage is done; Everyone involved in the fight sees her, including a group of kindergartners and Min-hyuk Ahn, played by Hyung-sik Park, who is a very rich, handsome CEO of a major company, Ainsoft. When taken to the police station and questioned by Gook-doo, Min-hyuk comes to her defense, denies that she had an outburst and then hires her to be his bodyguard.

One of the funniest aspects of this laugh-out-loud, hilarious show is Bong-soon’s daydreams. One daydream in particular involves one of the main characters doing some very unexpected things with a very unexpected person. Often involving a certain character (not saying who!) with a princelike appearance (sometimes literally a prince), Bong-soon’s worst, most extreme romance-nightmares are depicted throughout the show. In fact, caught up in the whirlwind that is Bong-soon’s life, I often would find myself sending my friends texts that would inevitably mean nothing to them, such as, “Oh my god, you won’t believe what kind of daydream Bong-soon had about the CEO!” I would just be completely unable to contain my excitement!

Some real-life nightmares happen too; of course, what is a romance-comedy without a little murder mystery? Predictably, since one of the main characters is a police officer, there has to be at least one murder/kidnapping case—one that becomes a recurring plot point. As the murder case progresses, Bong-soon demonstrates her super strength in exciting ways, all the while developing a hilarious, adorable romance. Luckily, the love triangle that seems apparent from the start does not last too long, and Bong-soon chooses her romantic partner early in the series. While a few of the cast members act as mere plot points for a few moments, most of them are recurring characters. The gangsters that Bong-soon beat up at the very beginning of the show never leave, and some end up playing a large role in other subplots as well. Everything gets tied together in the end.

Overall, though a romance-comedy, “Strong Girl Bong-soon” features an extremely strong lead with enough personality to fill up at least seven more romance-comedies. Everything about this show is high quality, from the first opening sequence (which I watched every episode) to the laugh-out-loud scenes at the very end. The theme song that plays when Bong-soon is doing something particularly badass is extremely catchy and was not overused (I’m looking at you, every romance drama ever). Also, the most beautiful, touching thing I have seen on any form of television ever happened in this show—I shed a tear. Want to know what happened? Watch “Strong Girl Bong-soon.” You won’t be disappointed.

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