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[Alternate Endings] A sitcom-appropriate ending for High Kick Through The Roof

By @gadis

I never pegged myself as someone who holds grudge. But truth be told, it has been 5 years since the first time I watched High Kick through The Roof, yet I still feel like throwing something whenever I remember its ending. That drama was my second sitcom, the one that I fell for deeply and made me emotionally invested in all the characters’ journeys. Which is why, I think, I was so salty when they ruined it with that infamous ending.

Set just like the usual Korean family sitcom with two big families spanning three generations and sprinkled with enough workplace and school dynamic, I thought it would be hard for it to go off the rails. Boy, was I wrong. Turned out, they only needed exactly one scene to undermine all those lovely messages the drama had steadily delivered for 125 episodes. I mean, I already prepared myself for a lackluster ending in the vein of its slice-of-life feel, but who in their right mind would kill two of the sitcom leads at the last ten minutes? I don’t know what the drama tried to convey with that particular ending. That life sucks and then you die? Because it sure felt like it, especially for Shin Se-kyung’s character.

If there is one thing I could change from that ending to make it right, it would be to erase that car accident and let those characters go to their original destination. That brave confession from Se-kyung to Ji-hoon shouldn’t be the prelude to their unnecessary death. It should be an empowering decision for her because she finally acknowledged that they both knew that she liked him as a man. It should be the moment when she can truly leave Seoul behind to pursue a better life with her family. Her first love might be painful, but it was also one of the many things that has helped her grow and mature. And when time passed, surely it would turn into a precious memory she can treasure.

Their ride together afterward would be mightily awkward, yet Ji-hoon was determined to drive her to meet her family at the harbor. For him, who had always struggled because he felt responsible to give her a better chance at life, watching her exchanging hugs and wide smiles with her sister and father would be a relieving sight. He could see them looking a bit regretful to leave their homeland behind, yet also hopeful to find out what kind of future a foreign land holds for them. That would be enough proof for Ji-hoon that he did the right thing this time. That sending her away was actually an act of kindness. Maybe it’s time for him to admit that he shouldn’t and couldn’t be the one who solved Se-kyung and her family’s problems because ultimately, they are the ones who have to make that choice.

With that burden finally lifted from his shoulder, he then goes to Dae-jeon to sort out their issues together and call her out on her attempt at noble idiocy. With a couple like them, who has been through a lot of things, I imagined we only need a short scene of them meeting in front of her house. She looks half-upset and half-relieved at seeing him, and he just looks at her tenderly.

He could understand her reluctance to face him. But, he argues, that doesn’t mean she has to cut him off completely from her life. Much like how he depended on her when work got tough, or how he always made her wait because of his busy schedule, it’s now his turn to become the emotional support she needs during her family’s financial crisis. He reminds her in his trademark no-nonsense attitude that it’s okay to receive help and that she shouldn’t draw a line between them that harshly. And I like to believe that they’ll weather this together and come out on the other side whole and happy.

I imagine that we end the last episode with an epilogue from some unspecific time in the future. The family is gathered around in the living room, reading a letter from Se-kyung. She tells them that she’s healthy and that they live happily. Even though they miss Korea a lot, they have a better future there for now, and it’ll take a while before they finally go back home. While she continues to narrate about how she finally got her GED and found a better job, we see the whole family in their familiar dynamic.

Mom and Grandma bicker good-naturedly about a cooking recipe in the kitchen. Hae-ri snatches Shin-ae’s letter from Dad’s hand to read it herself. Jung-eum visits the house, exchanging a cute little wave with Ji-hoon, and is greeted by warm hellos from the family. Grandpa scolds Jun-hyuk for still calling Jung-eum “hyung” when she is soon becoming his sister-in-law. And on TV, we see In-na’s girl group performing their new song on a music program, still as popular as ever.

Life goes on. Mundane, familiar, yet also exciting new things happen. It might be a lackluster ending, but at least this time, the drama wouldn’t end just because a certain character wanted time to stop for a moment. Because no matter how poetic it was theoretically, there is just no way I’ll let a sitcom that started with a series of meet-cutes and odd happenstances to let the curtain fall on such a depressing note.

 
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While we're on the subject, can we fix Potato Star's ending too? I'm seriously pissed off with that show.

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Potato Star is definitely another example of unnecessary sad ending in sitcom. And personally, that one is sadder. At least in High Kick everyone knew for sure that those two leads were dead, the end. But Potato Star gave its heroine such a false and sad hope, I don't understand why anyone would think that's an acceptable conclusion. Though I think that one is harder to fix. The whole birth secret thing is going to hurt everyone unless they address it properly since the middle of the show.

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IKR? And to make matters worse, I just found out recently that the director said in an interview that the reason Joonhyuk/Hyesung left is because he's terminally ill. Just WTF... I thought the ending was horrible enough as it is, at least it's an open ending and the viewer can decide if Hyesung's gonna reappear again or not. But for the director to actually say that's what actually happened to Hyesung?

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thank you so much for this. its simple, but it works as a closure for me 😌 . I had super bad withdrawals and ive never understand what love hate is until i found this sitcom lol

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Sweet potato fries. I never got around to watching High Kick Through The Roof and now I'm so glad I saved myself the heartache! Way to rip out the hearts of all your viewers and stomp on it.

I honestly don't understand how dramas get away with these series-ruining-endings. I mean, sure, the writer could momentarily lose their marbles in the last week of shooting. But then what about the director? The producer?? The actors??! Even the coffee guy could've had the decency to look at the scenes they were shooting and be like uHMMMM...

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*rip out and stomp on the hearts of all your viewers. Sorry, lol, grammar after working hours.

On that note, it's not that I'd really expect anyone outside the writer-director-producer trifecta to have any real say in episode content - it just boggles my mind how everyone else goes along with the insanity.

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The original ending was... no words, just no words.
Thank you for fixing it.

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Omg yes! This is the ending we deserve!

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I'm completely gobsmacked....125 episodes and they give you that ending?!?!! You've def. earned a 'happily ever after'

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Thank you for your ending!!!!!!! Much love to you!!!!!!
I finally watched the ending last year just to witness what people was raging about out of pure curiosity and it can never be undone!
Now your ending is official, and I already visualize it in my head to replace for something I already forget.

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shin se kyung always with that depresive face

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@gadis,

Thank you for devising this ending. I started watching HIGH KICK! 2 a couple of months ago following THE BEST HIT. It's only my second Korean sitcom. (HELLO FRANCESKA was my first, but I've only seen part of it.)

It has been wild to watch Jung Bo-suk flounder around as incompetent but kindhearted Dad while he duked it out in Goryeo with his wife the queen in THE KING LOVES. He is presently masterminding evil insurance mayhem in MAD DOG. I really need to get back to HIGH KICK! 2 as a palate cleanser, but have been dreading the horrible ending that I've heard so much about.

I'm only about half-way through and have been kind of dragging my feet. Now that my live-watch shows are ending, I have more time to return to THROUGH THE ROOF. I started MONEY FLOWER, and Grandpa has morphed into a truly reprehensible creep, which gives me yet another nudge to watch him in the sitcom.

Armed with your alternate ending, I can safely resume my Yoon Si-yoon Retrospective. As it was, one LOOKOUT ending was one too many for me. ;-)

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Sitcom is always a great place to watch those veteran actors playing a completely different character than what they would usually do in mini-series. It's nice to see them portraying a bumbling or gruff, yet very kind-hearted character for a change.

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HKTTR 2 was also my first/second sitcom. It's the reason why I love Daniel Choi and the reason why, despite her weakness, I continue to watch Shin Se-Kyung. SSK's ending in HKTTR 2 pissed me off so much that, while I do like her despite her obviously weaker acting (especially by comparison to some of my favourites), I've almost religiously followed her since in hopes that she and her character from HKTTR 2 can rest in peace and be happy together elsewhere.

That sitcom would've been a 8-9 out of 10 for me. Then that part happened and it ceased to exist for me.

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I didn't watch this season of high kick, but I remember the shocking ending. Like, why?! What was supposed to be the message behind such an ending for a sitcom?

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LOL the producer wanted to show that since they could not be together in life because of their social class difference, they could only be considered each other's "equals" in death. I mean this ending works better if they were in a Joseon.

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LOL at "life sucks and then you die"! It's hard enough to have sad ending if it's kinda expected, but one that came crashing (har har) out of the blue like that really deserves a rewrite. Congrats, @gadis, hope this will lessen your grudge!

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Now that DB posted my article, I feel like I can finally replace the original ending with this one. It's official. There's no car accident and everyone living happily. Yay!!

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I didn't watch the second season but I read about the ending and I felt it was rather unnarrative to the plot (it's a comedy not a melo for god's sake!). The characters of the first season were not all happy in the end but it was a satisfying conclusion and some had unexpected (or, maybe unnoticed) surprises.
I appreciate the producer and the writers for great sense of comedy and drawing out relationships between family, friends and lovers but I think they tend to go over the top (like Park Min-young's arc in the first season) and seem to enjoy trolling viewers. And I found the explanation for the terrible ending rubbish (the producer said that the leads would be able to fufill their love in death, as society does not allow them together, WTF) because it makes Shin Se-kyung's character completely a self-depreciative person, even though she has the chance to improve herself.

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I've always wanted to see the actors come together again just to make an alternative ending for this sitcom because this is my favorite Korean sitcom. Even though this article did make me feel better, I just can never get the final scene out of my head. I just wish the directors made an alternative ending as a back up because they probably knew that so many people would hate the actual ending. I would have loved this article to be the actual ending because I believe that Jihoon and Jungeum deserved to end up together because of what they've been through and that Sekyung deserved to move on with her family because of what she went through. I have rewatched this sitcom about a thousand times in the past 5 years only until episode 125 and just pretended 126 didn't happen. So thank you for this ending, it really made me want this ending more and hate the actual ending even more.

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