[In Defense Of] Strongest Deliveryman and what it means to be innately good
by Guest Beanie
When I started watching Strongest Deliveryman, I simply did it because of Go Kyung-pyo, and I also wanted to like Chae Soo-bin since I hadn’t watched her in anything else since Sassy Go Go. But what kept me tuned in was that last scene in the first episode, where the hero had already buried his father and said he would keep his promise to become a good person, a good man.
And I know what you’re thinking: This premise is simple, lame, boring. Who wants to have a hero who claims to be a good person? We all know our heroes are good—that’s why they are heroes. It’s a given. They are good and that’s why they get the girl, LOL.
But in actuality, it’s not really a given. How many of us started our drama history watching the story of a modern version of Beauty and the Beast in the form of a very handsome chaebol’s son who was a bully in the school he owned, forcing weak ones to want to commit suicide? (I’m looking at you, Gu Jun-pyo. And even if you got Jan-di, I was never sure that made you into a good person. Better than the beginning, yes, but not exactly innately good.)
In dramaland there are certain standard characterizations which are repetitive and reusable: the rich handsome jerk (Lee Young-jae in Full House, Baek Seung-jo in Playful Kiss), the handsome but poor, hardworking guy (Choi Ban-do in Go Back Spouses), the successful, young, handsome CEO (our Min Min in Strong Woman Do Bong-soon), the sassy, funny clown who makes everybody laugh but sometimes carries a heavy burden, tons of descendants of dysfunctional families (most of the members of F4 if not all of them), workaholics, and a very typical Casanova (Choi Han-kyul of Coffee Prince).
But really, think about it: good men, just for the sake of it, are very few. Also, the characters I just mentioned didn’t really change so much by the end of their respective storylines; they just found someone who fell in love with them the way they were and became a little bit better, not necessarily good.
And that is why I was so in love with Go Kyung-pyo’s Kang-soo from the beginning. He had a sad story to overcome, a running mother to find and eventually forgive. He had hundreds of friends and he had an idea for a business. But beyond that, what I loved about him was this good nature which compelled him to serve others and take someone else’s problem on as if it were his. Amusingly, it was the reason why he ended up in prison for the first time, LOL. But it was also the main reason why he was so loved and respected.
It was the reason why he could make all kinds of friends in a society where people are too busy to see one another. It was Kang-soo’s good nature which made it possible for Jin-kyu to regret his bad actions and learn to apologize. Who didn’t cry at one of the most beautiful forgiven acts seen in K-dramas? And with the help of Dan-ah and Ji-yoon, Jin-kyu really became a good man. I was so proud of this second couple!
For me, it was impressive how caring and generous Kang-soo was, not only with women or grandmas, but also with other men as well, paying his friends and employees wages that the company hadn’t even earned due to the big corporation’s boycott. He could have given up when the business represented a loss for himself, but he was consistent and loyal to his principles.
He was also trustworthy and responsible. I know many of our dramaland heroes are hardworking. But for Kang-soo, who was so young, it’s not a small thing to become a successful chef. I find him very admirable, because he didn’t have backup—he was practically an orphan, and he became successful by his own means.
Finally, in regards to his love life, he was a man of honor, being able to let Dan-ah go to the U.S. if that made her happier. He was always willing to sacrifice himself for her sake, but I appreciate that he was also able to ask her not to go. Because it is that simple—sometimes all you have to do is ask and let the other person make the decision. And I was soooo happy that Dan-ah knew he was worthy. And we had a happy ending.
Strongest Deliveryman is not a perfect drama; I doubt there is any such thing. Personally, I felt even though it was recapped, this show was not as loved on Dramabeans and it never went above 8% in ratings. Within the show’s story, I did not appreciate some acts of disloyalty, but at the same time those plot points worked to show how good Kang-soo was, and that is the reason why I am defending him today. But regardless of its imperfections, Strongest Deliveryman was a good drama, so for those of you who missed out on one of the best dramas of 2017, I strongly recommend that you to check it out and binge-watch it over a couple of weekends.
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