[Best Friends Forever] Reunited friends
by Guest Beanie
One thing dramas do really well is friendship. This entire post could simply be a list of shows with amazing friendships, like Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju, Mystery Queen, Coffee Prince, Forest of Secrets, High School King of Savvy, I’m Not a Robot, Bring It On Ghost, Strongest Deliveryman, and Witch’s Romance. To name just a few of so many. Even the I Need Romance series is underpinned by great friendships, although Korea’s nod to Sex and the City was pretty woeful overall.
In the world of drama, friends might need to slap somebody or throw a shoe at somebody or form a cadre of vigilante motorcycle deliverymen to take down a corporate food monopoly. But in the real world, friends are the ones we can laugh with, have a drink with, play silly games with, and watch bad TV with. They’re the ones we can talk with—the ones who see us as we are and like us anyway.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju
As we saw from last month’s theme, so much of the television landscape is about us finding “The Destined One.” But beyond the romance and the Fated Love, how much of our life is really made bearable by the people we can rely on when we need somebody to just be there? While so much of dramaland is devoted to lonely people finding family through friendship, even more have at their core a quiet, beating heart of friendship for the sake of friendship.
But while lots of shows deal with lost love, very few shows deal with what happens when that base of friendship is taken away.
In Reunited Worlds, we’re introduced to two Jung Jung-wons. One is 19, happy and optimistic, and the other is 31, miserable, depressed, and in crippling debt with a drinking problem. As the show progresses, we come to understand that what separates Jung Jung-won from her teenage self isn’t a loss of love or of family, but a loss of friendship. She blamed herself for the death of her high school friend, Sung Hae-sung, and her grades dropped, she took on the debts of his grandmother’s illness, got a job she had no passion for, and lost contact with the rest of her friends. She lives a lonely life, not because she doesn’t have love or family, but because she doesn’t have friendship.
“I have debt from private loans. I have a drinking problem too. I’m messy and dirty. I never clean and my life is stressful because I’m so forgetful. I’m dumb too. I’m not well-educated and I’m not even from a good family. Most of all, I’m unlucky,” she tells her boss, Cha Min-joon, not to complain, but to warn him of the consequences of getting involved with her.
Thankfully for Jung-won, fate intervenes when it brings her deceased best friend, Hae-sung, back from the dead. He tells her the accident was not her fault and then helps her to create a better life for herself. In doing so, it provides her finally with a steady footing in the shifting sands of her life.
Hae-sung is a born fixer but he’s also a born friend. He loves passionately and unconditionally and never questions his feelings or his resolve. He sees past the troubles in her life to the person she is underneath and accepts her completely for who she is now.
Nobody is going to argue that Reunited Worlds is a well-written show. Its plotting is haphazard, its pacing is frustrating and the writing is often clumsy. But beyond the will-they-won’t-they romance, the last-minute shoehorned antagonist, the superpowers the writers forgot, the endless circling plot points that drag on too long, the dead fish kisses, and the numerous flashbacks as we find out that yet another character was in the school “that night” but definitely didn’t commit the murder Hae-sung was accused of, this show is about a woman who’s just so grateful to have her best friend back.
Jung-won blossoms into adulthood, not because of True Love, but because she has somebody who truly understands her to talk to at the end of the day. And with that friendship and emotional healing come others: reuniting with her supportive group of school friends, creating a new friendship with Min-joon, finding the courage to pursue her passion for drawing, and eventually having the strength to cope when Hae-sung leaves again.
Reunited Worlds is mostly concerned with how we deal with our past to create a future for ourselves. It’s about compassion and forgiveness. But it’s also about friendship.
Jung-won is given an extraordinary gift. But that gift is not the second chance most of us aspire to. It’s not the attainment of her first love that so many shows are obsessed with. It’s not even the domestic bliss she shares with Hae-sung for a time.
This gift is something even better—a new beginning.
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Tags: Theme of the Month