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Cheer Up: Episodes 1-2

The new SBS mystery-romance drama Cheer Up is finally lighting up our screens with campus crushes, unique uniforms, and a down-and-out team that needs to find their spirit. But as the cheer squad looks for new recruits in the year of a deadly prophecy, it seems collective pep might not be the only spirit they find.

 
EPISODES 1-2 WEECAP

Cheer Up Episodes 1-2

If anyone, like me, was looking forward to a drama about fast-flying cheerleaders, I’m a little sad to say that’s not what we have (at least so far). The team at the center of this show is more like a pep squad — they don’t stunt, tumble, or do complicated dance routines. What we do get is songs, lights, costumes, chants, and a lot of energy — which is all the reason I need to watch, even if it’s not what I thought I was getting into.

We set the stage at Yonhee University in 2019 where the majority of our story will unfold. Our heroine, DO HAE-YI (Han Ji-hyun), is beyond excited for her first day at such a prestigious school. While trying to manifest money through affirmations, she arrives on campus in a vintage varsity jacket she acquired online and takes pictures with her busted up, nowhere-near-recent iPhone.

Cheer Up Episodes 1-2

Hae-yi has the makings of a classic Candy, working in the contemporary gig economy. Along with tutoring high school kids and shelving library books, she takes gigs on a “butler service” app where she does everything from deliver dry cleaning to kill roaches — all for horribly low fees. This is how she’s paying for Yonhee and why she’s super proud of herself to be there. Her degree is going to boost her status in society one day and she’s spunky enough not to let anything stand in her way.

Our female lead meets cheer captain and all around do-gooder, PARK JUNG-WOO (Bae In-hyuk), when she’s graffitiing the stadium bleachers with her name and he tells her to clean it off. The two get off on the wrong foot, continually running into each other on campus, where outspoken, scene-making Hae-yi clashes with quiet, rule-following Jung-woo. There are hints of a change when Hae-yi sees Jung-woo perform at the orientation-day pep rally and she’s mesmerized by something on stage. (Is it him? Or all the pyrotechnics?)

Cheer Up Episodes 1-2 Cheer Up Episodes 1-2

Jung-woo is performing with the cheer team, Theia, which will be the heart of our story. The team is experiencing a series of problems. They currently have only four members, which isn’t enough to carry out all their routines. The flag team accompanies them during their performances, but it turns out there’s beef between members of flag and cheer. And their funding is being cut after a 50-year-history at the university, as protestors stand outside the pep rally demanding Theia be dismantled.

Amongst their bigger issues (IMO) are their uniforms, which — for no apparent reason — look like rococo meets cowgirl. When Jung-woo claims they were made by fashion designer Andre Kim, I found myself getting behind their budget cuts. It’s not all bad, though, because Bae In-hyuk looks like a completely different person when he’s dolled up with his bangs pushed back, so that much I’ll take.

Cheer Up Episodes 1-2

To round out our campus crew, we have a few other people to introduce. There’s JIN SUN-HO (Kim Hyun-jin), a very popular (also rich) med student, who Hae-yi meets when she delivers a cake to him on his birthday (from his girlfriend who’s breaking up with him via cake message). He comes off like a jerk initially, hitting on Hae-yi after she makes the delivery, but later he spots her around campus and starts to seem truly interested.

There’s also BAE YOUNG-WOONG (Yang Dong-geun), a former member of Theia (from like, 17 years ago) who hangs out with the current members and tries to relive his glory days on the team. He’s also the bartender at their local hangout, called Cheers (the rest of this post should just be eyerolls). When he notices that Sun-ho likes Hae-yi he gets the idea to try to recruit Hae-yi to the cheer team. They need to recruit amongst the freshman and he thinks that since Sun-ho is so popular, if someone Sun-ho likes is on the team then everyone else will want to join.

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Hae-yi of course wants to join the investment club so, to make it worth her while, Young-woong will pay her to join Theia for a month. After she signs up, so does her bestie JOO SUN-JA (Lee Eun-saem) and, unexpectedly, Sun-ho himself (in an effort to get closer to Hae-yi).

Tryouts are awful. The four standing members sit through one terrible routine after another. Then, Hae-yi shows up and lands a triple back handspring. Uh, tryouts over. But in reality, only twelve people tried out, so they let them all on the team because they need the numbers. We later come to learn that Hae-yi was on a dance team as a kid, but the day of her big recital was also the day her dad died. Her buried love of performance starts to be unearthed, but can it beat out her need for money?

Cheer Up Episodes 1-2

This is only one of many questions the first two episodes present. Another: is one of the team members going to die this year? Yep. The drama is marketed as a romance/mystery and, needless to say, it’s not light on the mystery element. One thread has to do with a shaman that gave three cursed prophecies to the cheer team back in 1999 and, so far, two have come true. The third, set to happen in 2019, is that a member of Theia will die. A second thread, that we know less about, has to do with a former member named Yoo-min. A stage light fell on her during a performance and now she haunts the dreams of Jung-woo and possibly the halls of Yonhee.

The romance and mystery start to braid together at the end of Episode 2 when Sun-ho and Hae-yi are selected to move up and perform with the four upperclassmen. Jung-woo is training the two freshman when it begins to rain. Sun-ho goes to get an umbrella for Hae-yi, but when he returns she and Jung-woo are sitting close and laughing. Sun-ho looks pretty jealous. We see someone watching from afar, holding Hae-yi’s application form for Theia. Just then, she starts getting texts on her phone: “Quit the squad. Or one of the members will die. Remember the third prophecy.”

Cheer Up Episodes 1-2 Cheer Up Episodes 1-2

Without checking her phone (and with Sun-ho suddenly not in sight), Jung-woo and Hae-yi clean up the practice equipment. They’ve become much more friendly since Jung-woo told Hae-yi he also does not have a father — and she shouldn’t think badly about herself for working all those jobs to pay for school. The fact is, she’s making it work. The two are in some kind of basement storage room when the door slams shut and the lights go out. They’re locked inside, which triggers a memory for Hae-yi and she begins to panic and hyperventilate.

Well, should I be the first one to say it? Man is this show hokey. It still has a chance to be really fun if it knows exactly how hokey it is and doesn’t take itself at all seriously. There are signs that this is the case. The tone reminds me of those self-aware slasher movies that were popular in the 90s – or, did anyone ever read the Fear Street book series? It’s totally that vibe. There are a lot of really cringey scenes, like when Jung-woo tells Hae-yi, “As you see, our team has a lot of rules. Think carefully about if you want to be on the team.” Blech. But since she calls him a “fogey” after this, I’m hoping the show is making fun of itself.

Cheer Up Episodes 1-2

And in terms of story, we’ve got classic stakes and about a million problems to solve. The stakes? The cheer team will be destroyed if they don’t get new members and better routines. The problems? First, who wants to be on a team where someone will die this year? Plus, is there a ghost roaming around? Will they be able to show up the flag team and their rival Hokyung University? Can Hae-yi choose between Sun-ho and Jung-woo (and finally get her ex-boyfriend off her back)? Grrr, the ex-boyfriend — I didn’t introduce him because I’m hoping we never see the guy again. We’ll see how lucky we get next week.

My favorite character so far is Hae-yi’s mom, SEONG CHUN-YANG (Jang Young-nam). Hae-yi complains to her that being poor sucks because you can’t ever plan for the future, you have to worry so much about paying for today, you can only plan for the present. But rather than be offended, her mom tells her to keep saying all that smart stuff, “it lets me know I have a daughter at a prestigious university.” How can you not love that? On top of it, she tells her daughter to join Theia and enjoy her time in college. I’m looking forward to all their upcoming interactions. With these little heartfelt moments built in between the cheese, I’m optimistic this show can deliver some brightly colored fun.

Cheer Up Episodes 1-2
 
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I liked Sassy Go Go so I must try this one. I'm a sucker for underdogs. Thanks for the recap.

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I really liked Ep 1.. Patiently waiting for Viki to complete subs for Ep 2.
I liked what ! saw. Give me a good underdog story!! I liked all the characters and there was a fresh vibe to the cast. Rooting for the cheer squad!
I cracked up at the cheer squad recruitment. The 2ML is so hilarious (I know that becos epilogue!! lol)

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LOL, I could've watched an entire episode of just the try outs!

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I had forgotten all about Andre Kim. That explains everything about those terrifying outfits 😵‍💫

From 2007, it’s a terrible miss that there are no photos of the clothes:

Andre Kim, South Korea's fashion pioneer, still in the public eye at 72
https://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/16/world/asia/16iht-16profile.7520160.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare

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It's fun. Weirdly, for me, I actually found myself getting interested in the three curses - the way they introduced and explained them was pacey and fun, particularly breaking the four legs of the table a second before the scaffolding fell to break 4 real legs. I really want the "fulfilment" of the third curse not to be dragged out forever, though. Here's hoping!

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I feel like a deja Vu in this drama.
The unique jackets reminds me of Weightlifting fairy... and Love all play.

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@dramaddictally thanks for the weecap. I like this and think I will be able to handle the light and dark within the drama.

This phrase made me laugh out loud because I was thinking two things throughout the routines one: why are they all wearing random colours and styles?
👉 ’Amongst their bigger issues (IMO) are their uniforms, which — for no apparent reason — look like rococo meets cowgirl.’

Two: what is with their rubbish routines? When Haeyi was a kid she did a better routine🤣

I was reminded of Scooby doo style “ghosts”. I am convinced it will be someone who had an unfortunate incident in the team who became bitter and is now trying to get ‘revenge’ but on people unrelated to the original incident. I am calling it as a second lead/power battle bitter they didn't get the boy/girl and/or the top cheer leader role: cue flag team lead. Why is he so determined to close down the cheer squad they go to the same Uni so they should be united to take on the rival University rather than infighting.

I wondered if the rival university cheer squad lead is connected in some way. I have face blindness so I am easily confused with a change of hairstyle etc so I wondered if she was the woman or sister of the woman who was injured in the light incident. Changed uni for fresh start and went to their bitterest rival so she can be competitive.

So my week one theory is someone in the Uni is determined to impact on cheer leading team even if it’s detrimental to the university as it has become a personal battle. That’s how they know where the lights switches are, how to cause ‘accidents’ without arousing suspicion and knew about the prophesies. Who better than someone connected to the one who predicted them to be the one who causes the prophesies to ‘come true’. I am looking at someone in a senior position in the uni using their hoobaes (flag man for front facing mouth piece, woman cutting budget as establishment target and then someone else does the door locking/lights out) That way no one knows the full picture and then if someone gets hurt as collateral damage (woman with light incident) there are multiple people as suspects and nothing comes back to the actual mastermind. The jury is out on whether it is a man or woman at this point.

The boyfriend needed to be taken down and that public calling him out with the well timed pregnant pause was so perfectly humiliating it was the best antidote for Haeyi’s shame. The fact he followed her to have the last word shows how much she got to him. The rich med student second lead can not therefore be considered an option even though he could be a nice person because the arrogance of the rich will be all that she will see.

Haeyi’s mum has issues; I think the door incident is connected to her mum trying to kill herself and that is why Haeyi is now the mum of the family and her mum can be light hearted as she is not ‘responsible’ for the welfare of either of her children.

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It’s so funny—I almost wrote in the weecap that Have-yi’s routine as a kid was better than the Theia routines. I was really hoping for cool dances!

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I love Hae Yi. I love the confidence and control she has and the energy and spunk. HJH is really good. There were so many scenes I loved in this week’s episodes. The change in her attitude whenever money is involved, the way she handled the breakup, the way she owned up on missing the practice, the way Ju woo comforted her and in fact the whole dynamic between JW and HY. I am low key excited for the mystery part and I will be here next week for sure.

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I love her confidence, yet she is also vulnerable.. she depicts a 20 yr old wonderfully. Full of hope yet easily crushed..

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Since cheerleading or cheering squads don't interest me at all, I had little interest in this drama. I just wanted to have a quick look. But after five minutes at the latest, I knew that I would stay tuned just because of FL.

Now that I have seen the first two episodes, I can say that I liked them a lot.

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I'm not fully convinced.

The costumes are just awful. I understand that is good to follow the tradition but it's good to evolve too.

I don't really like mystery side of the story. I just wanted a simple story about students not a weird show about curses.

I'm kinda tired by college students who have a lot of debts... Can't they find a new issue?

For a student, she doesn't study a lot... We didn't really see her taking lesson or study. Neither the other students.

At least, she's not an innocent and naive FL. She's spunky and has already dated.

Bae In-Huyk's dimples are the best part of the show for now.

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pffttt.. When did college dramas have students go to classes or study.. lol..
I love Bae In-Huyk's voice!!

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I think the balance in Cheese in the trap between her studies and job was better.

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And the library scene with glasses !!! Why do they all look so good in glasses :0 :0

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Dramaddictally, thanks for the recap.

The cheer part is predictable, a squad of losers, through their hard work, will soar to new heights of excellence. The mystery ! The mystery is why the show needs a mystery at all.
Han Ji Hyun is new to me and the bright spot of the show.
The ex boyfriend should should be a dead horse by now, please don’t keep his character around.
At 16 episodes, I fear I probably won’t follow this to the end , I will tune in next week though.

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So this show kind of reminds me of When the Camilla Blooms with its quirkiness and then a mysterious and dark undertone—the strange cast of characters as well. I also felt endeared to the team at once. I like the actor that plays the captain and he seems to like these sports sunbae roles, as he also played a similar role (although with a completely different demeanor) in Love All Play. And the FL’s embodiment of the candy feels new and fresh to me somehow. That’s no small feat. And you didn’t mention the 2ML’s mother! Fresh off her Attorney Woo supporting role, Baek Ji-won is immediately recognizable and has some secrets of her own. Not sure if it’s funny or tragic right now.

Also, the flashbacks may be somewhat heavy handed. Apparently, her mom may have tried committing suicide after the death of her father and I kind of think Hye-yi was locked in that room on purpose so that the children couldn’t stop it or be involved. (And it brought chills to my spine thinking about this as I know a very real family that did this—locked the kids in their room while dad killed mom and then himself. The oldest child broke his way out of his door and found them the next morning.) I think this is why Hae-yi has basically stepped up and is the mother to her younger brother. Her mother has gone through severe depression and suicidal ideation and likely an attempt as well. She has not been able to adequately raise her children while going through this. Hae-yi had to step up. The scene when Hye-yi demands her brother’s report card and then tells him she’s signing him up for a new math tutor academy and then goes a pays for said academy is because she’s had to. And he’s first in everything but math. And their mother resigning herself in the background when Hye-yi scolds her brother for not aiming for what he wants to do because it’s too expensive to study premed computing engineering is because she can’t command the situation. Hye-ri already stepped into that parental role years ago. So I think that is one of the darker things about this drama, never mind the curse and death threats and freak accident that killed a member.

Overall, I’m interested in the team, the story, and how the FL overcomes her trauma as well as learning more about both the MLs and their families and pasts. I do like the 2ML as well. I also think the mysterious guy is the one team member that waited 3 years to get on the team—from engineering maybe? He already knows Hye-yi is getting bribed to be on the team and tattled on her for missing practice. I really don’t like him. Is he our would-be murderer? The flash forward shows a male hand and figure in a letter jacket when they showed her as blood splattered on her face. Which then tells me that maybe the one who dies killed himself in front of her? That’s just messed up. I don’t know how dark this will get, but it seems like it’s not the light-hearted fun many were led to believe.

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I lacked the empathy to feel for the FL's mom. I was getting frustrated with dramas showing irresponsible parents while the elder child has to take up the role of an adult. Now that you explain it I understand the depression and issues the mother possible had after her husbands death. But I still am not able to accept it in the current times, where the mother doesn't seem to be taking any financial responsibility - Is she working? Is she careful with money?
I still dont know if Hae Yi is being excessively responsible and driven or is their family is a terrible financial shape. The younger brother also seems like he is fine with taking care of things himself (atleast he seems responsible too).
I am not able to appreciate the mother-daughter scenes because of this.

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This is how I waited for this drama because of the main male actor and it turned out to be such a disappointment. A strange, convulsive, repetitive plot with unpleasant characters. I literally don't have a single character I care about. While watching, I found myself wishing the characters badly. I cannot watch the drama that evokes these feelings in me.

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By everyone's comments, this sounds good enough to at least try. I usually don't like youth driven dramas but this might break that streak if it is well done character portrayals. the underdog part is what interests me most.

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Finally got around to Ep 2! I am liking this drama. I like the main characters and inspite of the cliche's the show seems to handle it well.
The FL is great and ML is nice too. I just wasn't expecting them to grow closer this soon. That has me worried since the show is 16 episodes! I hope it doesn't switch genre by ep 8 into a full blown thriller.. That is not what I signed up for!!

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I'm enjoyed premiere episodes. Lavish, fabulous rococo costumes during cheerleading scenes, excellent cinematography and even so-good editing. This was a thriller-mystery melodramatic romantic comedy-drama and that cast had great acting after I sold to this Kdrama already. I want to see bit of kissing scenes throughout this Kdrama and even more Bae In-hyuk cute scenes that caught my eyes.
So I saw before each episodes' disclaimer that there's an onscreen casino. So is the onscreen casino was meant to be a SBS promotion to other TV show, a teaser to an ad, a SBS sweepstakes or this Kdrama's clues? So I'm gonna find out soon.
So into the premiere episodes, I saw that this Kdrama teased the winter scenes. I got two problems: (1) I'm worried that this Kdrama might turn into a horror genre soon when this Kdrama writer will put a lot of horror scenes/storylines and (2) I'm so worried that the final episodes of this Kdrama might be a real preemption victim by Qatar World Cup (which slated next month) once SBS will announce the Qatar World Cup schedule which affect this Kdrama. I hope that two problems will resolve quickly.

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Thanks for the heads up its so annoying when episodes are not on for a week with no prior notice so I am glad you found that out so I can be prepared.

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Does anyone else remember the second couple in Go Back Couple? They were in their university's cheer/pep squad and had outfits that looked similar 😆 That drama took place in the past though, so I'm wondering if the costumes are supposed to look dated 🤔

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I'm really liking this show. Han Ji Hyun is really good, and the other cast members are doing a great job as well. I would say the only thing that annoys me is the prophecy, which bothers me because I'm too superstitious myself. Otherwise super entertaining to watch!

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I think Yoo Min is now the cheer instructor/leader for their "rival" college. I don't think the costumes are that bad, a bit extravagant but Jang Gyuri looks good in hers, and Han Ji Hyun has great body lines so she looks good in everything.

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I quite like this show despite the mystery. Its interesting and I do hope it does not take itself too seriously though. I actually don't want anyone to die in this year's Theia members.
I was actually expecting more of a Bring It On cheer squad with the dance and gymnastic routines. Not sure if korean college cheer squad does anything like that. I actually love watching cheer dance competitions. But regardless, I do love a good underdog story so I am invested (for now) to see Theia succeed.
I actually like the cheer captain, Jung Woo. His love for the squad depsite the challenges and other people's poor opinion of him/group. While Hae Yi is a typical hard working Candy with a sad past and a horrible ex to boot. I do like her Mom who does not take her words to heart. I do hope she imprpves her relationship with her brother, who resents her bossy attitude. Sun Ho is a rich kid who is sheltered all his life so I can already tell that he will be disappointed. He will not connect with Hae Yi like Jung Woo is relating to her now.
I just watched the first two episodes on a whim and hope it will continue to hold my interest.

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I'm a huge fan of cheer dance competitions too :)

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I blame mine partly because of Bring It On. The competitions are just exciting. I am in awe of the skill and hard work put in every routines.

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In my case, I used to compete when I was younger and was on a championship cheerleading team for 4 years. So I have a pretty critical eye when it comes to watching cheer routines 😅 I’m hoping we get to see Hae-yi do more gymnastics at some point!

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Thats amazing! Those four years must've been tiring but very rewarding.
I do hope they will do more gymnastic routines. That can be Theia's advantage if its not common in Korean cheer dance.

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Finally got round to watching these episodes. It's definitely... different. Still don't know what to make of the costumes, even in college, I was too cynical for the cheerleading thing, but I love the FL and her background. I'm sticking around for another few episodes for her!

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It caught my attention because of the Go west.
Not sure if I understand the purpose of the Cheerleading team. It does not seem to be associated with sports.
Could have been better without the mystery part or could have had a better mystery plot.

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I watched Infinite Challenge (yoo jae seok variety show) years ago and cheerleading for Y and K University had become one of their mission. I was amazed by cheerleading teams dedication to what they were doing. When they were performing, uniting supporters as one, they were so cool. It sent chills down my spine. Knowing real life elements in this drama made me eager to watch. The costumes, chants, songs, movements, rivalry, festival traditions, even locations are similar (i dare say, it’s the same). So far I don’t mind repetitive back stories (poor student, childhood trauma, etc) done in this drama. Watching Cheer Up made me reminisce infinite challenge’s episodes and i like it, both the feeling and the drama. Hope it wont go too far with repetitive storyline done across kdrama.

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