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[Scene stealers] The Shining Star of Noryangjin

By wondeuk-ah

I have to admit, this isn’t exactly the Theme of the Month I ever pictured myself writing for (and I’ve pictured it many times), but when I read the post, I instantly felt like it was finally time for me to give it a shot. Maybe it’s because just minutes ago, I was telling a friend how much I want a season 2 of Drinking Solo, or maybe it’s because I’m a huge SHINee fan, and Key is making his solo debut this year, but when I think “scene stealer,” my mind instantly goes to our beloved Noryangjin Idiot, Kim Ki-bum.

To me, a scene stealer isn’t a just a character that stands out – a scene stealer is an experience, and Ki-bum’s journey in Drinking Solo was just that for me. His journey is what I remember most, above the main ins-and-outs of the drama, and it is the storyline that was the most relatable and compelling for me.

It’s easy in the beginning to see Ki-bum as a caricature– he comes across as an immature coaster with no real ambition or respect for the other students in Noryangjin. He doesn’t even seem to respect his very own best friend Dong-young, who is literally giving it everything he’s got to pass the Civil Service exam, which has been the central goal of all our student characters.

Though Ki-bum’s striking bowl cut and myriad designer tracksuits were irreplaceable key (pardon the pun) features of his seemingly larger than life character, what really made him so lovable was how incredibly human he felt to me at so many points throughout the drama. There were so many times where I watched Ki-bum — with his monopoly over the Norgyangjin video game high scores and his up-to-date dramaland knowledge — and thought, “Thank god, I’m not the only one having some trouble finding my way.”

The truth is, student life is difficult and tiring for everyone. Sometimes, trying to muster the motivation to settle down and do what needs to be done can be such a painful thing. The future is looming and you’re made to be hyperaware of scary adult things like getting left behind by your peers. It’s so easy to see why someone might want to give up. I really felt that Ki-bum represents those of us out there who know we should be trying harder and doing better, but can’t seem to figure out how to fit ourselves into the equation.

While I have no doubt that hard work does earn success, I often find myself feeling that there’s more to it than that. It’s a real challenge to live life with nothing but focus and discipline. There might be a moment where you give up for a while and go clean your refrigerator because even that beats reading your textbook. There’s always something on the side that throws you off a little. It could be it’s dating, friendships, finances, or having to go through the heartbreak of finding out that the people whom you expected unconditional love from are actually just as embarrassed of your situation as you are yourself.

I cried buckets watching Ki-bum get drunk on the goshiwon roof the day he felt too ashamed to attend his grandmother’s birthday party. My heart ached with understanding because I know too well what it’s like to feel like you’ve truly let your family down, with no one else to blame but yourself and your poor choices. In that moment, he wasn’t just the comic relief character with the dorky sound effect catchphrase– he was me, and it was almost impossible to decipher if I was crying for him or for myself.

The majority of us learn from an early age that if we want to have good things and go places in life, we have to do our part to get there. Drinking Solo and its characters all serve to remind us of this life lesson. We have to work hard, and sometimes that means having to sleep a little less, study a little harder and stop checking Dramabeans so much when we have papers to write and deadlines to meet.

But what really made this drama one that I will always look back on when school has me down and the days feel a little too difficult, is the shining star of Noryangjin: loud, quirky and fiercely charming Kim Ki-bum. He showed us that sometimes, part of the process is taking time off to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, or clean your already-clean refrigerator; to go crazy on some swings and sing some karaoke; to go to a baseball game with your best friends, or drunk cry on a rooftop in the middle of a storm until you’re ready to try again.

 
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Ti-ro-ri, Key gets the first Theme of the Month post! Congrats @wondeukah! Key stole that show, no question. He was funny, but he was more than that, as you said: he was incredibly human and his ordinary struggles felt real. That rooftop scene also made me cry - how can someone dancing silently in the rain break my heart? I don't know, but he did it. He is one talented guy. I didn't even know he was an idol at the time. I just looked him up and behold, I was introduced to SHINee ❤️

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Thank you so much @wishfultoki♥ I can't believe I actually got published!

Key was incredible and that rooftop scene in particular always gets to me. It should've been ridiculous but something about it really was so sad! I've been a SHINee fan for many years now, so when I heard he was taking on this project, I was excited but I didn't really know what to expect since it was his first big screen role (though he had been in a number of successful theatre productions). He totally exceeded everyone's expectations! I'm glad it also brought you to know about SHINee. They are 5 special men♥

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@wishfultoki 👍Agreed. That was my introduction to Key and to Shinee. I became a lover, and I’ve never looked back. Just wishing that he’d do more dramas....

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Squeee. *ahem*
I have no desire to watch Drinking Solo except for the bits with the Noryangjin Idiots. Not only am I a huge shawol, but as you said so well, him and his crew were the most relatable (based off of recaps). I just need to get well-acquainted with my ff button and dive in soon!

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Thank you for reading (and the warmest hello to a fellow shawol!)♥

Honestly, as much as I enjoyed the drama, I don't think I would've liked it as much if not for Key, Gongmyung and Dongyoung. Nowadays if I go back to the drama, theirs are the only scenes I watch!

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The chance of a season 2 of 'Solo Drinking' may have increased for the simple reason that the star of its sister series 'Let's Eat' went into the army. There won't be a Let's Eat 4 anytime soon and the production company's gotta produce something.

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That is true! But I wonder how soon that might be considering all the issues concerning bad labour/welfare practices and the tragic passing of Drinking Solo assistant PD Lee Hanbin. As much as I'm itching to see the Noryangjin gang again, I really hope they sort all that stuff out so we can enjoy more dramas without seeing the people who make it all happen suffering!

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Key definitely deserved to be the first scene stealer in the Theme of the Month posts. I wouldn't have made it through Drinking Solo without him and his crew of Idiots, as he gave the drama some much needed heart. Now I want to rewatch just his scenes. Thanks @wondeukah

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Thanks so much for reading @egads! He really was my first thought when this month's Theme was revealed. Him and the Noryangjin gang really made the drama what it was! I'd love to do a rewatch, but (a lot like Key in the drama) I really should be studying LOL.

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Key!!! Hope for season 2 of Drinking Solo for him.

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Me too! Definitely the sequel I'm hoping for the most after Signal season 2. Thank you for reading @pohonphee

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Ah Ti-ro-ri is what I associate with Drinking Solo as a drama so I agree wholeheartedly that Key was the huge scene- stealer of the drama, helped in no small measure by the lacklusterness that was the main couple.

What I would like to add however is that it was not just Key but all 3 Noryangjin idiots who stole the show together! The screen there... Plus having been a civil service aspirant myself, I could relate so well with all of them so much, specially the different ways they found to waste time hehhe.

Congrats @wondeukah for being published! This was a great piece to read! :)

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Totally agree re: the main couple! You know there's something up when you're struggling to even root for them, and that was my biggest issue when I was watching Drinking Solo.

Wow, I really hope you achieve everything you're working towards! I'm also looking at joining the civil service in my country, so I definitely feel you there. I would've so loved to write about all 3 of them (I loved Dongyoung so much too!), but Dongyoung in particular is too good of a student for me to compare myself to :P

Thank you for reading, @obsessedmuch, I'm glad you enjoyed it♥

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@obsessedmuch 👍 for your comment. To me Key made the show unforgettable, however all three idiots stole a place in my heart. One of my most beloved scenes is when all three idiots got their heartbroken by their ladyloves and they sat on the rooftop together, sighing. The way Kibum went out of his way to cheer Gongmyung up was really heartwarming, if my memory serves me right. Now, I have to go back and watch the drama again. I only wish Viki has finished subbing it. It seems there was no real driver for the subbers to finish this drama.

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Tirori!!! Woah, Kibum is the real star of this drama!

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Key was definitely the scene stealer of the show. I was always looking forward to his scenes when watching the drama. I think I was more invested in his story, especially his love story, than the main story.

I was surprised he's quite good at acting since SM had been pushing Minho instead.

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I haven’t seen this! But I was impressed all the same. I think we can all identify with you about procrastinating when important deadlines loom ahead of us! And definitely scrolling DRAMABEANS is one of mine! Thank you for writing this month! Congratulations on getting published!

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Gotta admit, Ki-bum was my personal favorite character while recapping Drinking Solo. He was so ridiculous yet so relatable, and he's the first thing I think of when I think back on that show, too!

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i loved this drama. It made me relate to my life on a lot of things. And yes, he truly was the scene stealer. More than the leads, i loved the trio.They made me laugh so much and bawl my eyes out. They are the best part of this show.

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Here was me gonna write up a Key Scene Stealer myself but lo and behold someone bet me to it!
Woohoo! One of my all time favourite scene stealers. Please have another show soon Ki-bum-ssi.
*Dirori*

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My gosh, @wondeukah, this was wonderful!
I was so pleasantly surprised to see Key's face blessing DB ^^
I loved how much you related to his character <3 I think it's impossible not to, especially if you're also a struggling student. The rain scene was so heartbreaking, and I was impressed by how much I also felt his emotions on a much deeper level tan expected.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us, it put a smile on my face!

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Ha! I loved this show and the Noryangjin gangs were a highlight.
My favorite scene was when they all went to the study hall to seriously study and ended up building houses and finding all sorts of amusing ways to procrastinate!
Thanks for the post!

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I love Key, he is one of my favs..... and i did notice how he stole the scenes for me too...... and that whistle he does to underline what he says..... i finally thought it was the tones to his phone number..... giggles ...... what can i say..... that is what it sounded like......

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