“Backstreet Rookie” told romance story of a bold part-time employee and her shy boss at a convenience store. Choi Dae Hyun once had a surprising incident with a high school girl Jung Saet Byul. Three years later the same girl comes to his store for the interview of a part-time employee.
Choi Dae Hyun played by Ji Chang Wook is a 29-year-old man who owns a convenience store. He is of kind and helping nature. Choi Dae Hyun also has a girlfriend. He has to work 24/7 at convenience store, so he decides to hire a part-timer. Surprisingly a young girl Jung Saet Byul who kissed him during their first meet three years ago comes for the interview.
Jung Saet Byul played by Kim Yoo Jung is a 22-year-old girl who likes flowers and knows Karate. She solves most of her problems either by fighting or threatening. Saet Byul’s only family is her younger sister who wants to be a Kpop idol. She surely didn’t make a good first impression on Choi Dae Hyun upon asking him for cigarettes. And even kissing him when she was in high school.
Yoo Yeon Joo played by Han Sun Hwa is Choi Dae Hyun’s girlfriend and also his former boss. Their relationship started when they both worked in the same company. She is rich and is often the leading one in their relationship. After Jung Saet Byul starts working as a part-timer in Dae Hyun’s store Yeon Joo’s love for Dae Hyun is questioned. Things even lead to break up.
Jo Seung Joon played by Do Sang Woo is son of the convenience store’s owner and also next in line for heir of the company. He likes Yoo Yeon Joo a lot and often tries to separate her from Choi Dae Hyun.
“Backstreet Rookie” is a fun and refreshing drama to watch. Although the script is not much engaging here but its light and cool atmosphere makes it a good watch. Still, there are some things I liked and disliked about the drama.
First “Backstreet Rookie” is based on an adult webtoon. It was made sure before the release that the drama will be made well for the family audience. But you get little disappointed after you watch the first episode. I was set aback too as I didn’t expect this in Korean dramas. And ‘Backstreet Rookie’ was under controversies because of that.
I guess later on they made some changes. And yes, so it is just some starting episodes which many won’t like. But later on as the story unfolds your perspective about the show is highly likely to change.
Jung Saet Byul was one of my favorite character from all and I think it was only because of her I continued watching the series. Although in the starting she seems to be a rude and spoiled high school girl who always fights, but later on you will see what made her become like that. You will realize that she is not a bad girl after all. She just has a different style of handling problems.
So the series also remark the fact that how quickly we judge someone without considering the other side of story. It was same with Saet Byul’s love interest, the convenience store owner, Choi Dae Hyun. Due to one incident in the past, he always misjudged Saet Byul and ended up hurting her emotions.
After seeing her every day, he realize that Saet Byul is actually more caring and loving of a person. She is bold enough to stand for herself and care for her sister alone. She lived a hard life with no parents and even left her own education to support her sister.
And did I tell you, she is such a cool fighter. Her Karate moves were astonishing and where do you see a girl fighting three, four male bullies alone? I liked all the fight scenes and the animated effects used to glorify them. The series is animated at times to show the scenes in a more comic style. It was entertaining. Choi Dae Hyun’s imaginations of the scenarios were also quite funny. Thus keeping the tone low and enjoyable.
But Saet Byul’s soft traits gradually comes out in each episode. As you get to know her, you realise that a tough life breaks her, just like anyone else. Even though it gets tough, she maintains her pride and does not cause inconvenience to others. Also, it was really heart-warming to see Choi Dae Hyun’s family care for her like their own daughter. Saet Byul came for love at Convenience store, but she also got a family. This part of the drama even made me cry.
One more thing in the drama I absolutely loved more than anything is the way they showed the rich poor gap. That is actually the part of the series where it gets deep on some topics that suddenly you will find yourself crying between those comedic scenes. It is executed just so well.
Choi Dae Hyun’s girlfriend Yeon Joo is from a rich family, so often her mother was against their relationship. She wanted her daughter to be with Jo Seung Joon. So she decided to humiliate Choi Dae Hyun and his family. It reminded me of the Oscar winning Korean movie “Parasite”. They even made reference to ‘Jessica’s Jingle’, which I thought was very funny. But here it was opposite, this time the rich was fooling the poor.
Another good thing that the series showed was being thankful for what we have in life. When Choi Dae Hyun’s mother tells him to not live his life as pathetic as hers. Choi Dae Hyun clears that there is nothing wrong in living like his mother, and he wants to live like her. It was so amazing to hear that. Choi Dae Hyun’s character was really a kind one. He even used to give free food to the poor kid coming in his store.
I highlighted all these little details of the drama only to justify that the drama has a good side to itself as well, which are praiseworthy.
But one thing that disappointed me was the love story of main leads. Although Ji Chang Wook and Kim Yoo Jung both had an amazing chemistry throughout the series, their love developed too slow. At to a point that it was irritating.
The relationship of Choi Dae Hyun and his girlfriend Yeon Joo is shown more than the actual leads. I thought we will at least get a hint of Saet Byul and Choi Dae Hyun’s relationship, but it didn’t happen. The story was not leading anywhere more than Choi Dae Hyun’s relationship with Yeon Joo. It is only the ending episodes we see meager progress.
All the supporting cast of the drama is very impressive. Some of them are well known actors. And for me, they made the drama much lively and entertaining.
I actually didn’t like Choi Dae Hyun’s mother in the starting. For me it was a little uncomfortable to watch. But later her character developed well and it was all in the past. I also liked Saet Byul and Choi Dae Hyun’s friends Guem Bi and Dal Sik. Both of them are hilarious and their love line was also interestingly humorous. I had a big laugh.
To sum up, “Backstreet Rookie” is worth to watch once. If you don’t mind from where it is derived and give this drama some time, it will surely impress you. The main leads have amazing chemistry but their progress is slow. The quirky side characters will surely make you laugh.
A strong female lead like Saet Byul and her efforts to get with the love of her life will keep you engaged all the way. “Backstreet Rookie” will not impress you much but also not disappoint you much. It is a light drama to enjoy without getting much serious about it.
My Ratings : 7 / 10