The K-Drama Sports Edition: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

It’s the third week of April and the weather’s having more mood swings than usual. Winter’s breaking up with Spring and my SPF 50 sunscreen is all the more ready to embrace it.


There’s also been a lot of interesting news lately.


Duke and Duchess of Sussex Meghan and Harry have decided to refrain from sharing details about what hospital they will be in, keeping their plans private about their little one. I support their decision wholeheartedly, but I only wish news reporters and the paparazzi will endeavor to support it too.


Pop singer Ariana Grande has decided to delve into the world of cosmetics by creating a line of beauty products called “Ariana Grande Thank U, Next” for items including body lotions, fragrances, bath gels, and more. Talk about entrepreneurship goals at age 25.


Speaking of pop singers, the iconic Jonas Brothers, who reunited nearly six years after they split up to record new music, have released hot new singles and have also reportedly recorded 30 to 40 new songs, set to come out “in the next few months.” I have Sucker and Cool playing on repeat in my car speakers right now, so every time I drive, I turn into a hyped Jonas Brothers’ fangirl. So, 2019 is turning out quite nicely in the fourth month of the year.


But of course, with mid-April in full swing, semester papers and projects have begun to line up. This means that destressing has become ever more important. What better way to relax from the stress of the workload other than taking a brief breather, settling in your favorite pair of PJs (or shorts!), and watching a binge-worthy Korean drama to distract your mind for a few moments from the reality of routine life?


There are so many pleasing K-dramas out there worth watching simply due to the number of accolades and attention they’ve garnered in their respective local audience hubs but I’ve done the painstaking (though rewarding) work of hand-selecting the ones that I would recommend in a heartbeat to any and all viewers interested in K-dramas.


You’re welcome, ladies.


I curated my selection on the basis of the cast’s praiseworthy acting skills, the direction and storytelling, the quality of scriptwriting, the cinematography of scenes, the plot, the setting, the musical scores used (Original Sound Tracks or OSTs), and the overall execution of the entire drama from the pilot to the ending episode. Of course, my own personal preference also tied into my show choices.


In the past, I brought you five amazing shows: My ID is Gangnam Beauty (a K-drama featuring toxic friendships and major societal issues regarding beauty and physical appearance), What's Wrong with Secretary Kim? (a more drama-focused show), Rich Man, Poor Woman (a Valentine’s Day special), and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (for when you’re craving Oscar-worthy, Kleenex-needing shows).


This week, I introduce you to a much more light-hearted, comedic, and amusing show that features sports, fun, romance, friendship, flashbacks, and some incredible settings for scenes that leaves the eyes star-struck.


Let’s find out more about this fascinating, somewhat cheesy yet entertaining show known as:


Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo


Good Acting, Gradual Character and Relationship Development, Cuteness Overload


Competitive swimming meets star-studded weightlifting: welcome to nice vibes.


This 2016-2017 South Korean television series falls into the categories of rom-coms, coming-of-age, and sports drama, which, in my humble opinion, makes it a triple whammy worth watching. It’s the sweetest show I’ve ever watched, dealing with how it feels for one couple to come together. It’s the story of two people who realize they are each other’s first love and come to spend more and more time together, learning what it truly takes to take care of one another despite their many, many differences. The story centers on the life of a collegiatte weightlifter named Kim Bok Joo and how she deals with the world around her. There is a ton of awkwardness in this relationship dynamic and yet, the script is so natural and the actors effortlessly deliver their dialogue!


The show stems from the true story of real-life South Korean weightlifting champion and Olympic gold-medalist Jang Mi-ran and, from a purely personal standpoint, functions as the perfect ‘feel-good’ show for a dull Friday night that just doesn’t feel completely awesome.


Here’s a couple that transitions from childhood to adolescence to a rocky but amusing friendship to finally something more than simply friendship. There’s growing possessiveness (in a healthy, cute way), more hugs (with more jokes to break the tension), and excellent fun


This show is probably the least complex and sophisticated of the entire list here, but that’s also what makes it the most youthful, innocent, and sweetest show out of all. The premise is so daringly simple that it may bring back a lot of nostalgia that many of us experienced the first time we truly fell for someone. Seeing their relationship progress from start to finish is incredibly fulfilling. Sometimes, you just need something cheesy, fulfilling and sweetly young to dig into when you’re in the mood for watching some light-hearted but nonetheless well-directed entertainment.


There is one disclaimer, though: Yes, this show is quite cheesy and there’s not much tension or conflict, but sometimes, that’s exactly what I’m looking for. It’s a rom-com. There’s a tiny bit of originality, but if your core is set on a refreshing plot, then this show most likely won’t make the cut in that aspect. But I truly miss the simplicity of cheesy rom-coms; they always remind me of the good old days of the early 2000s when life was simple and everything seemed….less stressful in general. The nostalgia and explicit predictability of such shows is what makes them so addictive to watch from time to time; sometimes, we need a dose of sanity, not reality, and as long as we recognize the difference between the two, we’ll destress ourselves enough to move on to the next level we need to achieve. Sometimes, I want to feel good, and this show is the perfect fix for that craving.

My favorite quotes from the show sound very similar to everyday aphorisms:


Jung Joon Hyung: “People don’t have a reason for liking someone. They just do.”


Jung Joon Hyung: “Well, I have so many charms. There are too many to tell.”


Kim Bok Joo: “Afraid? Why would I be afraid of that chopstick? I’m Weightlifting Athlete, Kim Bok Joo. What’s wrong with you?”


Jung Joon Hyung: “I’m sorry, Fatty.”


Jung Joon Hyung: “You’re my first love.”


“Do you like Messi?” (the best conversation starter ever)


“Do better.”




Jung Joon Hyung: “Why? Did your heart flutter?”

Jung Joon Hyung: “Yes. Your heart fluttered. It did.”


Jung Joon Hyung: “I’m worried about your heart.”


Jung Joon Hyung: “Hey, looking at you up close, it’s worth looking at you.”

Kim Bok Joo: “Are you making fun of me because I’m dumb?”

Jung Joon Hyung: “No, you’re pretty.”

Kim Bok Joo: “No one else has told me that aside from my dad.”

Jung Joon Hyung: “I’m just saying that you’re pretty enough to look at.”