Inquirer Super

Our seven favorite moments in ‘Backstreet Rookie’

By: Ruth L. Navarra

“Backstreet Rookie” is a light drama series starring Ji Chang-wook (“The 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

Backstreet Rookie
Photos are from iQIYI

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 Chang-wook portrayed the character into 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 Yoo-jung 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 Wolf’s Bane 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 in 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.

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