I must say first off that I was probably already predisposed to liking Sassy Go Go. Reasons why are as follows:
- Eunji! In another high school drama! SOLD.
- I tend to quite like high school dramas
- Ji Soo. JI SOOOOOOO. (Okay but to be completely honest, Sassy Go Go was the first drama I saw him in. BUT WHAT’S THERE NOT TO LOVE?)
- Lee Won-guen has the crinkliest, cutest, “I’m intelligent and you are cute” eye smile
- Eunji! High school drama!
But there were several things about the drama that I found a bit embarrassing initially. First of all the title – what is “Sassy Go Go”?! The English title of the drama is Cheer Up. EITHER WAY it sounds super cheesy?? Especially Sassy Go Go LOL. I remember feeling a bit reluctant in telling people the title of the show heh.
Another issue was the plot synopsis. Like huh okay dance club = losers. Cheerleading club created by combining the dance club + elites of the school? Also elites of school are those who study v well omg what kind of universe is this. I couldn’t really get it. Since when did nerds rule the school!? It’s always the good looking ones / the artistic ones / the athletic ones etc. This was some weird universe man. Also what’s with cheerleaders? I’ve never rly heard of cheerleaders in a K-drama. Music and dance definitely yes but cheer?? Err.. okay.
I wonder if people didn’t give a chance to this drama because of the above reasons, like I read that the ratings for the drama were quite low? But IT IS SUCH A GOOD DRAMA. FOR REAL. FROM AN UNBIASED STANDPOINT. It’s such a waste that it didn’t get the recognition it deserves. And the drama was rly carried by Eunji and the other young actors sigh is that why also? Because people just label it as an idol drama? SAD.
Okay now about the drama. To be honest… I finished it about two weeks ago? So I don’t remember it as clearly as I would like to (goldfish memory sigh). First off a plot synopsis which I think more accurately conveys the story of Sassy Go Go:
Sassy Go Go centres around Kang Yeon-doo (played by Jung Eunji) and her friends. We are first introduced to her and her band of merrymakers in the dance club, Real King and we learn that the whole club are the people who are at the bottom of the food chain in their school, Sevit High, because they are literally ranked the lowest (in terms of academic scores). Their school is practically run by the rich kids’ parents who are able to manipulate the principal (because money always calls the shots in these dramas). The parents are obsessed with their kids’ grades and with having their children enter prestigious universities – especially Kwon Soo-ah’s (Chae Soo-bin) mother who has lots of money and thus influence in the school. The school shuts down Real King because anyway the members are losers in the school and provide no value AND they even *gasp* dare to disturb the members of Baek Ho (a cheerleading club, but only in name because the members are the elite students who basically only meet to… study. Together. In silence. At their own desks.) with their loud music.
Obviously these two clubs clash (because the school has no other clubs yknw even tho there are other students). The plot point used to drive the drama is that Soo-ah’s mum decides that she needs to build her ‘specs’ and thus the school has to make their students cheerlead (Baek Ho becomes a cheerleading club for reals) and win a competition so that Soo-ah gets to build her specs. The story then continues to explore how the students of the two clubs (on the different ends of the school hierarchy) become friends as the line between the two dissolve as they work towards a common goal with supportive teachers (ALWAYS A MUST IN HIGH SCHOOL DRAMAS). Along the way, Yeon-doo also starts to form a closer bond w Kim Yeol (Lee Won-guen) and Seo Ha-joon (Ji Soo). SO WE ALL KNOW WHAT’S GNA HAPPEN RIGHT. But remember she also has a childhood friend in Ha Dong-jae (Cha Hak-yeon). Just enjoy the ride of confusion as your heart gets pulled in multiple directions.
Wow I think that’s the longest plot synopsis of any drama that I have written. Okay now as usual, here’s what I rly liked about the show:
Disclaimer: I will try to indicate spoilers as and when I accidentally on purpose include them, but no guarantees. So read at your own risk if you haven’t watched the drama and are intending to (which I strongly encourage. DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS).
I thought it was the friendship and the rapport that the actors have with each other that really carried this drama. I really enjoyed seeing the friendship in the drama. Kinda like the friendship that I enjoyed in Reply 1997. But different ofc. Reply featured a whole group of childhood friends who grew up together. Sassy Go Go has a group of people slowly becoming friends and defending and protecting each other. We get to see how their friendship develops and how there no longer is any line between those who can study and does who cannot. They even start to help each other in their studies aww. Eunji really also makes things v comfortable for everyone – I wonder if I like it so much because her character here is in some ways similar to her character in Reply? Both are really loyal to their friends and follow their heart.
I feel that the drama also explores what it means to be a student today. Should we be grades-obsessed and merely work hard to get into a good university? Is it the only thing that matters? The drama seems to point towards no, but you can make your own conclusions. What I took from the drama was the chance to reflect on my own experience. The drama talks of specs building, and in Singapore, students do something similar where they join activities just to build up their resume. The drama poses the question of whether we give up our happiness now just for the chance of happiness in future? It questions the logic of working hard now and totally neglecting play so that we will be happy in future. I personally think there can be a balance. Of course the drama presents the extreme of the Baek Ho kids who just study without enjoying themselves. Gradually the kids start to learn how to let go and become 18 year olds themselves which is the message Sassy Go Go is sending I guess?
Another thing that I enjoyed in the drama was the juxtaposition of familial love. Yeon-doo gets the loving mum, Ha-joon and Kim Yeol get the misguided dads and Soo-ah gets the grades-obsessed mum. (Oh wow just realised that the drama feature more of a single parent thing over a set) We see how the parents’ behaviour (and expectations) affect the way the kids behave in school and how they interact with other people.
-SPOILERS HERE ONWARDS-
I really liked how Yeon-doo’s mum treated her daughter with respect and put her first for everything. Her love for her daughter was manifest through kind words and displays of affection. In contrast, Kim Yeol’s dad truly loved his son but didn’t know how to show it. His distance from Kim Yeol as the he grew up caused a rift between father and son which made their relationship very awkward as Kim Yeol grew older. Don’t even need to mention Ha-joon’s freaking ABUSIVE FATHER WTHHH. Omg my heart BLEEDS FOR YOU HAJOONIE. And Soo-ah’s mum. Goes to show that abuse isn’t just physical. The mental torture and pressure that Soo-ah is under from her mum doesn’t justify the horrible HORRIBLE evil things that she did but it helps to explain it somewhat.
AND OK I KNOW YOU MUST BE LIKE WHY HAS PUISAN NOT MENTIONED THIS. I WILL NOT DISAPPOINT AND PROUDLY SAY IN CAPS THAT I LOVE THE LOVELINES IN THE DRAMA. And Ji soo. I loved Ji soo as Ha-joon SO MUCH in the drama. At first I was really rooting for the Yeon-doo/ Kim Yeol couple. Then I was very confused as to where the lovelines were drawn. Was it gna be a Yeon-doo/ Kim Yeol/Ha-joon loveline? Or was it going to be Yeon-doo/ Kim Yeol/Dong-jae? BUT WHY IS HA-JOON LINKED TO SOO-AH NOW?? Oh wait now Soo-ah is friendly with Dong-jae with the frequent encounters OMG WHAT IS GOING ON. I was so so confused with the lovelines. But they settled on the key love triangle in the drama like halfway through phew. THEN I STARTED TO BE V TORN. NOW DO I WANT KIM YEOL OR HA-JOON??? But it was pretty obvious that Kim Yeol was gna end up with Yeon-doo. CONFIRM. Plus she has feelings for him!
So now the problem is how are they going to deal with Ha-joon and his broken heart. MY POOR FRAGILE HAJOON I WILL LOVE YOU COME TO MEEEEE. To add to the issue, Ha-joon and Kim Yeol are BFFFFFFF T.T DON’T WRECK THEIR FRIENDSHIP OVER A GIRL. THIS DRAMA IS NOT GNA PULL A NOBLE SACRIFICE-LOVE-FOR-BROTHERHOOD-BUT-IN-THE-END-LOVE-WILL-PREVAIL PLOTLINE ON ME. Plus they only got 12 episodes lol not enough time to do it. Also at the same time YEON-DOO CANNOT BE ALONE. But I legit didn’t know what I wanted from the drama hahaha. BUT ULTIMATELY I thought the drama handled it really well –
After all, the main point was for Ha-joon to be able to start caring and loving someone. For him to start living his life as he should rather than just breathing and passing time and staying alive. And Yeon-doo gave him that. She gave him a reason to smile, to want to protect someone OMG AND TO SMILE LA BASICALLY. He was so so incredibly happy even to be punished because it was with Yeon-doo.
(Above images credited to this drama recap)
My favourite part of the last episode is how they showed how Ha-joon has made his peace with Yeon-doo and Kim Yeol dating and the three of them have found some sort of equilibrium. It doesn’t seem awkward and they’re happy so I’m happy ^^
But I did find the last episode quite rushed. Too many things had to happen in that last episode which I thought ended the drama on a waaayyyy too hurried note. I felt that I couldn’t properly emphasise with Ha-joon’s character development (in how he finally stood up to his dad) for example. (Only giving that as an eg becos I cannot recall the rest LOL). The saving grace of the last episode is the epilogue depicting how the characters are now – how their friendship continues and how familial ties are slowly being rebuilt and strengthened. Without the epilogue I would have been quite thoroughly disappointed 😦
It’s probably quite clear from my above review as to who stole my heart in the drama. It’s not to say that I don’t like the main couple in the drama of course. What’s there not to love? I enjoyed how they complemented each other and how they changed each other for the better, providing a balance to the other’s more extreme personality. Eunji really shines in these roles. Lee Won-guen also omg MORE CRINKLY EYE SMILES. MORE. I love the way he cherishes her and recognises her for her potential. What starts off as a mild interest in this strange, different girl blossoms into care and concern and finally love :’)
All in all, the drama really surprised me. I didn’t expect myself to enjoy it as much as I did. I honestly would smile to myself as I watched it and it was so so torturous waiting each week for the episodes to come out and for subbers to English sub it sigh. Once again really grateful to people who sub K-dramas. So if you’re looking for a drama to while your time away, this drama only takes 12h to finish. WATCH IT NAAAOOOOO. Then you can message me as you watch it so I can relive the beautiful moments in this drama hehe.
(The images I used in this post are hyperlinked to the original sources of the images unless otherwise stated)