Saturday, May 02, 2020

KBS Drama Special 2019: Socialization - Understanding of the Dance

The Drama Special of 2019 is really amazing and I'm sad that KBS2 doesn't seem to want to put more subtitled episodes out there for everyone to enjoy. Because among 4, so far subbed episodes, there is not a single weak one. And I watched 3 others (including Truck, which was great) but I'm hesitant to put the short musings about those as well. This is why the short info about the episodes of the year 2019 is not in airing episodes order.

Dance! I love seeing people dance! And this episode had dance and even a tap dance! I didn't know Ahn Seunggyun could dance but oh boy he can!

The story starts with Suji, who only dreams about graduating from college early and going to Netherlands to study. Why Netherlands, you may ask. Because Netherlands is the world's number one country in people's height. And thing is - Suji is very tall. As she herself says, she was always bullied for being the girl who stands out. And even though she's very pretty, she was never considered a desirable girl, because of her height, so that she wouldn't embarrass the guy. Which also proves how fragile the male ego really is.

To make things worse, she's even bullied by her own sister. So she learned how to slouch and appear smaller. Then she gets the information that she's one credit short to graduate early and  is forced therefore to take one class for one credit. And you guessed that right - Social Dance class exactly fits the requirements. There's also no assignment or exam, but the students have to participate in the Dance Contest at the end of the semester. And since the Universe is working in a mysterious way - she's partnered with Yi Byeongheon (not the real one though^^). To make things worse, the usually positive and upbeat Byeongheon is the one who caused her embarrassment few years ago when he didn't appear on the stage with her leaving her alone. We learn he didn't mean to insult her - he prepared a dance routine with a friend. But she harbors a slight grudge, and the event added to her feeling inadequate and an outcast.

To make things even more awkward between them - Byeongheon is significantly shorter than her, which makes their progress with dancing hampered by traditional division of dancing roles - man leads and woman follows. Some figures are simply impossible to execute. Then we also learn about the hardships he himself had to endure - he was bullied in his high school to the point of changing his name so that his bullies wouldn't find him. That's why he doesn't like milk, for example. And just when he went out with Suji, his bully returned and started to harass him. Little did he know that Suji was judo champion so she easily threw him on the ground. 
And since the usual dance routine wasn't working for them, they came up with their own, unique routine and moves. And let me tell you - it was a beautiful thing to watch them dance at the finale.

I think this season's theme of Special series might be challenging social and cultural norms. DS has always been at the forefront of topics that can be made into a story, the characters often talk about things considered a social or cultural taboo, we see them challenge the status quo, we see them making choices that are in stark contrast to what the society expects. We see compelling characters that show problems and facets usually avoided in more mainstream works (although not that much, some pressing problems keep seeping into the Kdrama fabric, only people hung up on one topic don't want to see it).
Also - wonderful music and editing.
I absolutely LOVED this episode. 


It's available on YT: