Itaewon Class (2020) stands out in its original and unique premise. After an accident claims his father’s life, Park Sae-ro-yi (Park Seo-joon) plots to kill Jang Geun-won (Ahn Bo-hyun), a mighty Jang Dae-hee’s (Yoo Jae-myung) son. To thrive and exact revenge upon his release, Sae-ro-yi opens a bar-restaurant, DanBam in the multicultural neighborhood of Itaewon, but he lacks commercial acumen. This is when he encounters Kim Da-mi‘s Jo Yi-seo.
A gripping narrative with heaps of unexpected twists, Sae-ro-yi’s odyssey keeps us hooked. Yet Itaewon Class‘s examination of social issues and the hardships confronting marginalized groups is what sets it apart. Following Sae-ro-yi’s experiences, the series tackles societal hierarchy, prejudice, and the fight for fairness. Itaewon Class, I feel, invites us to reflect critically on what’s happening around us while also functioning as a learning resource and source of entertainment.
I dig Itaewon Class for its intricate yet well-realized characters. Its protagonists, from the gregarious and resilient Sae-ro-yi to the self-reliant and feisty Yi-seo, individually cultivate an emotional attachment that lasts past screen time via their trials and personal growths.
The show also spends time delving into the subtleties of morality and the ambiguities inherent in human nature. It presents flawed and morally gray people, subverting accepted notions of valor and villainy. The characters seem more real and relatable as a result of this nuanced portrayal, which also gives the story a deeper meaning.
Meanwhile, Itaewon Class doesn’t hold back when addressing mental health concerns and how they impact us. It sensitively and honestly portrays the characters’ battles with trauma, depression, and anxiety, increasing audience awareness nurturing empathy, and encouraging candid discussions about mental wellness.
Itaewon Class is what I think, defies preconceptions in ways that go beyond the traditional narrative of K-dramas. It is akin to a catalyst for innovation in Korean entertainment since it openly covers significant societal topics like rethinking conventional gender roles, discussing LGBTQIA+ issues, and spotlighting the sufferings of the disadvantaged. With their varied histories and experiences, it introduces us to a broad spectrum of people. It highlights the richness and diversity of human existence through stories ranging from that of a transgender chef fighting for acceptance to an ambitious female entrepreneur, shattering stereotypes.
The fashion trends portrayed in the series have been embraced by fans thanks to the cultural phenomenon that Itaewon Class has sparked. Fashion aficionados find inspiration in the characters’ wardrobe choices, which range from eye-catching streetwear to statement accessories. Also, there has been renewed interest in the drama’s vivid Itaewon area. Itaewon has blossomed into a center for cultural discovery for both residents and visitors, with hip cafes and distinct stores.
Itaewon Class is essentially more than just a K-drama; it’s an icon that has had an ongoing impact on Korean popular culture. By questioning prejudices, promoting inclusivity, and inspiring creativity, Itaewon Class has set a new standard for Korean dramas, encouraging the industry to embrace diversity and tell stories that resonate with a global audience.
I love Itaewon Class for its stunning cinematography and attention to detail. The vibrant and bustling streets of Itaewon are beautifully captured, creating a dynamic backdrop for the story to unfold. As the camera pans across its colorful streets, a visual feast emerges—the essence of the neighborhood and its unique blend of cultures and diversity. From the neon lights illuminating the night sky to the intricate graffiti on the walls, Itaewon’s aesthetics are well portrayed.
Scenes are aptly designed to reflect the characters’ personalities and emotions, creating a visually engaging narrative. The visual layout gives the plot additional texture and variety, whether it’s the slick and contemporary headquarters of a large firm or the jagged interior of a tiny bistro.
Complementing the visual elements, Itaewon Class boasts a lit OST that intensifies the emotions expressed in each scene, encasing the core of the protagonists’ journeys. Gaho’s “Start Over” remains my favorite from the album. It gives you the impression that you are sprinting with every ounce of yourself toward your goal. Particularly in the chorus sections, which reinforce the core of the song, Gaho’s impassioned voice, verse, rhythm, and music are alive and kicking. Sae-ro-yi’s yearning for a better life and the other characters’ quest for freedom while preserving their values in an unjust environment are both beautifully conveyed in the song.
Itaewon Class is the exploration of social inequality. It sheds light on the injustices faced by those on the fringes of society and raises awareness about the importance of empathy and understanding. It encourages us for a more equal and inclusive world. It highlights the stark contrast between the haves and the have-nots. Through their experiences, we are exposed to the harsh realities of discrimination, prejudice, and the limited opportunities available to those who are deemed different.
Itaewon Class delves into the complexities of this issue, exploring the underlying factors that perpetuate such disparities. It prompts us to question the systems and structures that contribute to social inequality, urging them to challenge and dismantle these barriers.
Itaewon Class celebrates diversity with characters from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations. The drama defies biases and builds a deeper sense of acceptance by depicting a realistic and inclusive representation of society. Itaewon Class is an important reminder of the power of diversity and inclusion in storytelling.
Different people who infringe on the standards of society are found amidst the lively streets of Itaewon, a melting pot of cultures. The drama is an excellent expression of their different perspectives and lives. Itaewon Class underlines the power that comes from unity in diversity and stresses the value of embracing and appreciating these differences.
Itaewon Class looks at the intersectionality of identities, acknowledging that one’s identity may have multiple aspects of diversity and choice. It digs into the specifics of these intersections, bringing clarity to the issues people run into when navigating multiple marginalized identities. By doing so, Itaewon Class deepens its portrayal of diversity while remaining authentic and nuanced. It’s a beautiful, universal story that might be both yours and mine.