“Backstreet Rookie” is a light drama series starring Ji Chang-wook (“Healer”) and Kim Yoo-jung (“Moon Embracing the Sun”).
It’s based on the adult webtoon “Convenience Store Saet-byul.” Its TV producers toned the adult content down to make it more appealing to a larger demographic. You can watch the entire drama exclusively in iQIYI.
Here are the reasons why we enjoyed watching this drama.
The sweetness of Dae-hyun
The webtoon, from which the series was based initially, depicted Dae-hyun as a loser and a pervert. The webtoon’s Dae-hyun was creepy.
But Ji portrayed the character as a gentle, harmless but eager-to-please man. He saved a kitten in the first few moments of the drama for crying out loud. It’s easy to understand how his girlfriend, played by Han Sun-hwa, fell for him.
The toughness of Jung Saet-byul
Saet-byul is gorgeous but tough as nails. In the webtoon, she’s portrayed as a go-getter who kissed Dae-hyun in the first chapter. It’s something that Kim stayed true to when she brought her to life.
Gotta love the special effects
Perhaps, director Lee Myoung-woo took inspiration from Japanese series that were adapted from manga. There are plenty of special effects when it comes to the fight scenes involving Saet-byul.
Cobras and yin and yang appear behind the characters whenever they strike a pose before a fight. Saet-byul is a skilled martial artist whose kicks can send a person flying.
However, she is not a bully. She always has a reason why she fights other people.
Lessons on what flowers symbolize
Saet-byul is very good at interpreting the meaning of flowers. She was ecstatic when Dae-hyun gave her a bouquet of pink roses. He explained that they represent admiration, gratefulness and faithfulness. However, she said in her head that pink roses also represent a declaration of love.
Saet-byul often gave wolfsbane to her enemies which means death. And when she was given hibiscus by her friend Ji-wook, played by Kim Min-kyu, she said it represented noble friendship. He was disappointed because he probably hoped that it meant something more romantic.
It showed us a snippet of an idol’s life
It’s not easy to be a trainee. The competition is stiff and the chances of getting in are very low. Eun-byul, Saet-byul’s sister, is talented enough to pass all the auditions to debut as an idol.
The drama also showed interactions between the trainees. Eun-byul, the youngest and the newest member of her idol group, was made to wash dishes, clean the dorm room and become a maid. She ended this treatment by standing up to the older members.
When they debuted, the crowd loved her for her perseverance. However, a photo that circulated on social media quickly ruined her reputation. Showcasing the volatile relationship between artist and her admirers.
Highlight on the convenience store culture
South Korea has a love affair with convenience stores. GS 25 is part of the drama but it’s just one of the convenience store brands you can find there. Convenience stores are not only a place where you can buy chips, ice cream and alcohol. It’s a place where you can hang out and have a quick, cheap meal or even drink with your friends.
Yet, it also allows you to be creative with your orders. It’s a place to jazz up your coffee with single-serve cereals. You can create your own sandwich with single sliced spams. In the drama, this was highlighted when Dae-hyun and Saet-byul created their own noodle set with meat bought from the shop next door.
Family is family
Dae-hyun’s family is far from perfect. But it’s one that adopted and protected Saet-byul when she needed someone to depend on the most.
There were also surreal moments when the mom and the dad were working for the mom of Dae-hyun’s girlfriend. It made clear references to Bong Joon-ho’s film, “Parasite.” The parody was comical.