2015 has been a pretty great year for notable dramas. But the drama I’m focusing on today wasn’t even on my radar until two weeks ago. You know the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, I pre-judge a lot of dramas by their summaries. I’m a tough cookie, and if a summary can’t reel me in, I tend not to give it a second thought. Yes, I’m aware of how horrible that sounds, but it’s my method of limiting how many dramas I watch at the same time.
Nonetheless, it’s always a pleasant surprise when you’re put off by the summary of a new drama, but you give it a try anyway, and you end up loving it. Such was my fate with Cheer Up, also known as Sassy Go Go. (I prefer the former title, personally.) I feel like I’ve hit the luck of the draw lately because I’ve been enjoying most of the new dramas I’ve checked out.
Here, we have the brightest and the least brightest students of Sevit High School who are coerced into joining the school’s first cheerleading squad. This school, and the parents, are cray-cray about specs. They want their kids to have the most extravagant and lavish transcripts on earth. These people literally stop at notice to achieve this and it’s really, really scary the kind of power they possess. The tragic part of all of this is that it’s the kids who are suffering. Whether it’s pressure, unreasonable expectations, or something else, the brightest of Sevit High are under an enormous amount of pressure to succeed and be the very best, academically speaking. To see a show touch on the extremity of Korean schooling and studying has been a very eye-opening experience.
For me, the cheerleading area was where I held my reservations. While I’ve never watched a k-drama centered around cheerleading and while I’m not even sure that one exists, I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve seen already. For a high school drama, it has a lot of maturity to it. To be fair, it has it’s immaturity too. But I like the fact that this series is more character driven than anything else. Yes, cheerleading is a big part of the story, but I like how it’s not the only part.
And there’s also the cast. Everyone might be cheering on Ji Soo (and yes, his character is good too), but I’m floored by Lee Won Gun’s performance as Kim Yeol. Seriously, who is this guy and why have I never heard of him before? He oozes of charisma. Won Gun’s smile is the kind that lights up an entire room. And his ability to bring deeper depth to an easily-stereotyped character is probably my favorite part.
With that said, this drama touches on some heavy subjects. And while it’s high school centered, you don’t have to be in high school to enjoy the content.