Cheer Up (2022)

Drama: Cheer Up (치얼업)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Release Date: October 3 – December 13, 2022
Runtime: Mon & Tue 22:00
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot: The story a Yoon Hee Cheering Squad

Main Cast
Han Ji Hyun – Do Hae Yi
Bae In Hyuk – Park Jung Woo
Kim Hyun Jin – Jin Sun Ho

I had high expectations about the drama, I thought this was going to be like Racket Boys but I was very wrong.

The first 2 episodes were done well, although it was nothing special. I love Do Hae Yi, she was a fun fighting girl but her energy slowly depleted in the latter episodes, I thought where was the charming and agressive girl on episodes that had all the boys fighting over her?

At first I continued watching because I wanted to see the cheering squad routines and possible cheer competitions, who will get killed and who’s the killer, and seeing Hae Yi and Jung Woo together, but almost everything I was waiting for didn’t happen!

I was expecting cheering squad to be those like the Bring It On move, where they wear sexy cheer outfits with pompoms dancing and doing athletic slips, jumps and somersaults, but the Yoonhee cheer squad were singing school anthems and doing these weird hand movements (yes, they’re still athletic and I admire them) in cringey outfits (but as expected from Andre Kim). Also, there were no cheer off with Ho Kyung cheering squad (they were actually friendly rivals). There were no cheer competitions at all, the story mostly focused within Yoon Hee like the school festival is their main event, they don’t cheer at the side in sports competitions. The story is also boring, mostly about cheer practices and doing overnight team building. Almost everyone in the cheering team became a couple except for Sunho. They spent more time dating than cheering!!

The 3 prophesies were intriguing, but it was just dragged for too long but it wasn’t fun anymore. The whole stalker-psycho storyline ended up being so unnecessary to the story. His motivations and reasons are too dumb to feel anything for him. they should have scrapped the murder mystery plot and focused on cheerdancing.

The only thing that kept me staying was Captain Park Jung Woo. He is so cute and nice, sweet boyfriend to Hae Yi, very understanding too despite Hae Yi always breaking his heart.

Sunho as the 2ML at the start I thought, ok he might be the puppy kind but he was super annoying and clingy as F! Hae Yi told him so many times she isn’t interested but he kept insisting to be with her. And when she rejects him again, he looks like a puppy that was kicked out in the rain. When Jung Woo and Hae Yi were together, he was still trying to get her to like him. (C’mon move on loser!) I hate that the writer seems to like Sunho more than Jung Woo — even tried to break them apart unnecessarily.

The rest of the cheer members were so-so. I like Hae Yi’s best friend Sun Ja, but I didn’t like that she ends up with the geek with glasses. He wasn’t such a sourpuss at Hae Yi when she was the only one good at cheering, and he was so bad at it. I also like Yong Il, but I didn’t think he needed to end up with Cho Hee. No comment on Woon Chan and the twin sisters. Yoo Min was so pretty, but she coming back to the team didn’t really add anything to the story – she wasn’t able to solve the whodunit mystery, and she was never a strong contender to break the leads apart.

I’m surprised I was able to finish this drama. I almost gave up on ep 10 and was mostly fast forwarding, esp ep 15 which I thought was forced to put a last minute crisis. But this drama surprisingly ended well with almost all loose ends neatly tied.

Rating: 7/10 (I’n probably rating this higher than it should be)


All of Us Are Dead (2022)

Drama: All of Us Are Dead (지금 우리 학교는)
Network: Netflix
Episodes: 12
Release Date: January 28, 2022
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot: Hyosan High School becomes ground zero for a zombie outbreak and the kids fight their way to survive.

Main Cast
Park Ji Hu – Nam On Jo
Yoon Chang Young – Lee Cheong San
Park Lomon – Lee Suhyeok
Cho Yi Hyun – Choi Namra

I love zombie movies/drama and I think South Korea has almost perfected this genre. This time, the setting is in a high school and the stories are about high school kids. What will they do (without adults or parents present)?

Out of all the kids in this drama (and there were a lot of characters), I liked Cheongsan and Suhyeok the most. Well, Cheongsan first, because he is the leader – he always thinks of what to do, he was brave and was willing to risk his life for his friends. Suhyeok was his more handsome and taller sidekick who follows him and helps him beat the bad guys. i really liked their friendship, but I was disappointed that when Cheongsan sacrificed himself, Suhyeok didn’t shed a tear or looked anguished for his friend.

I also didn’t like the girls. They were pretty much useless. Everything there were zombies, the girls were just mostly hiding behind the guys except for the latter episodes. Even Onjo as the female lead was very disappointing as she was portrayed as a damsel in distress, although I feel bad that she lost her best friend, father and potential boyfriend in the drama. I was hoping Cheongsan and Lomon wouldn’t end up with Onjo and Namra, and I was actually happy they really didn’t!!

We see different reactions from the kids when faced with this fight or die scenario. Some because the worst friend like Yumi, some didn’t want to let go and save their friends like Isak and Jimin, some were willing to sacrifice themselves for their friends. I particularly loved and shed tears for Joon Yeong (in the auditorium), Gyeong Su (in the broadcasting room) and Wujin (saved his sister).

We didn’t see a lot of parents in this drama, mostly just saw Onjo’s dad, Cheongsan’s mom, Jimin’s parents who risked their lives to save their children. I also cried when the kids saw what happened to their parents and the thought that they are now orphans.

I also thought there were a lot of unexplored or unsatisfactory stories in this drama. Let’s see:

  1. Gwinam won’t f*ing die!! There’s no explanation why he is super strong and recovers fast other than needing to have a villain in the school.
  2. Namra was useless as a halfbie. She just served as their radar to detect other zombies. She is supposed to have special strength like Gwinam but during zombie attacks she hides behind and do nothing except in the end.
  3. There were a lot of unnecessary deaths like with Onjo’s dad (he didn’t have to lock himself in the tennis/badminton court), Cheongsan (he seemed like the main lead but killing him off was a big disappointment, and Wujin (he had to die so that there will be a sad story for him and his sister, like he they had to kill him when they’re almost free).
  4. There were also characters who didn’t have to be in the drama like the pregnant girl who gave birth to a baby, Jae-ik who didn’t really do anything other than get the laptop, the assemblywoman who was mostly powerless and useless in the quarantine, the youtuber, the little girl who was crying.
  5. There were potential issues that could have added depth to the story but the writer didn’t push through, like Nayeon, who didn’t have a chance to ask forgiveness from her friends before she got mercilessly killed by Gwinam. Gwinam fighting with Cheongsan just because he didn’t want to be caught murdering the principal. Eunji, who never got her revenge against Gwinam for the sexual harrassment, although her eating her coward friend was a little satisfying.
  6. I don’t know if they were hoping for a season 2, but they didn’t explore what happened after the Hyosan bombing, other than the kids, gathering to mourn their friends, and meeting Namra on the rooftop. Maybe I was still hoping that Cheongsan is alive.

I still enjoyed this despite the dislikes. Better if they kept this at 8 or 10 eps. Not sure about the ending but I don’t really need a season 2.

Rating: 8/10