5 Reasons to Watch ‘Backstreet Rookie’

We are four episodes in, and Backstreet Rookie is getting more and more enjoyable to watch. Starring Ji Chang-wook and Kim Yoo-jung, the rom-com series tells the story of a convenience store manager, Choi Dae-hyun, and his part-time employee, Jung Saet-byul.

Their story began three years back, when Dae-hyun met Saet-byul and her friends as he was headed home, after being rejected by his date. They asked him to buy them cigarettes from a nearby convenience store. Smitten by Dae-hyun, Saet-byul makes a move on him, and a dazed Dae-hyun unwillingly gives her his number, which she never called.

Besides the lead figures, there are other relatable characters in the series as well. And behind the funny scenes and manhwa-style illustrations, the show still lays a plot with real-life characters that represent many of us and glimpses of other actual issues in the society.

If you are considering to watch Backstreet Rookie, below are a few reasons that may convince you.

1. Comic Relief

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We all need a good laugh sometimes, especially during this stressful pandemic, and this show may be able to provide just that. Backstreet Rookie is hilarious and entertaining. It even uses manhwa (Korean term for comics) styles in illustrating some scenes, such as the fight sequence between Saet-byul and the bullies, which are plus points for entertainment. While the production painted the bullies in an almost pitiful yet comical manner, they still represent a real aspect in today’s society, as bullying is very much present in all parts of the world.

The relationship between Dae-hyun and Saet-byul as manager and part-timer is also funny. Dae-hyun always tries to look and sound authoritative, but he can’t stop falling for Saet-byul’s charms and wit. Saet-byul enjoys teasing her boss as well.

2. Stunning Visuals

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There is no denying that Kim Yoo-jung herself is very pretty, add that to her charm as an actress, and she becomes the perfect fit for the character of Saet-byul, who is vibrant, warm, and full of personality. Ji Chang-wook is also good looking, and he portrays Dae-hyun very well, who is clumsy but still adorable. Saet-byul’s younger sister, Eun-byul (Ahn Sol-bin), is very charming as well. It’s quite impressive to see Sol-bin, who is also an idol (a member of the girl group Laboum), act alongside Yoo-jung and Chang-wook.

3. Badass Female Lead

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It’s a common theme in films and series for the Prince Charming to always save the girl, but Saet-byul is no damsel in distress. She does not call for a savior on a white horse. Instead, she becomes everyone’s knight in shining armor, even Dae-hyun’s. Because she always fights and sets bullies straight, she’s often misunderstood, with people labeling her as violent, scary, and troublesome.

But Saet-byul does not stop schooling young troublemakers just because people misunderstand her intentions. She is not afraid to stand up for herself and for others. The director also praised Kim Yoo-jung for doing the difficult scenes without a body double, as well as maintaining a cheery personality for her character.

4. New Things to Learn in Every Episode

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Not only does Saet-byul teach bullies a lesson, she also teaches them some things before she beats them up, mostly about flowers and what they mean. Before she kicks their ass, she throws in some questions about flowers. The flowers she asks about usually have meanings that best describe her opponent’s current situation.

When she was being forcefully recruited by a gang, she asked them, “Do you know what China pink symbolizes?” China pinks are flowers that mean rejection, symbolizing Saet-byul’s refusal to be a part of something she abhors. Saet-byul is not only a badass, she’s pretty smart as well.

5. Life Lessons

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Behind the playful banters and hilarious comebacks, every character in the show delivers a lesson. Saet-byul is proof that you cannot change people’s opinions towards you, but you shouldn’t let that affect your intentions. Dae-hyun embodies one bad trait of society, where one judges another person too quickly and too harshly. Although he’s a bad judge of character, he sticks to his principles and is not afraid to recognize his own faults and apologize when he knows he’s in the wrong.

Yeon-joo (Han Sun-hwa), Dae-hyun’s girlfriend, has a similar bad habit of only judging people’s actions but not their intentions. At one point in the series, she showed that she only cares that Saet-byul used force and not that the part-timer did it to save her from the bullies. In the end, she only saw Saet-byul as a violent person. She’s too proud to admit she owed Saet-byul a favor because of her prejudice towards her.

Meanwhile, Geum-bi (Seo Ye-hwa) and Eun-jo (Yoon Soo) are proof that real friends stick with you through thick and thin, and they will stand up for you even when you’re not looking. Even Saet-byul’s dad (Ryu Seung-soo), who made a brief appearance, also gave us a quick lesson about parental love.

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Luna

It was Princess Lulu who first introduced her to Korean dramas but it was Yoon Ji-hoo from Boys Over Flowers who enticed her to stay in K-dramaland. She writes news and features for Kdramapal, which combines two of her most favorite things in the world—writing and K-dramas (look who's living the dream). The name Luna literally translates to "moon" and nothing special; she just likes writing at night.