I’ve recently been re-watching Strong Girl Do Bong-Soon, a 2017 Korean romantic-comedy series that aired on JBTC in Korea. I originally watched it as a simulcast on the now defunct DramaFever website (that had its plug pulled last year). At the time of writing this article, it’s available to stream on Netflix or Viki.com. Netflix translates the title as “Strong Girl…” and Viki.com as “Strong Woman….” This is a mostly over-the-top comedy with some cheesy slapstick with a bit of romance thrown in. It’s got wide appeal. If you like Nodame Cantabile, Skip Beat, or Super Girl, you’ll probably like this too.
The story centers around Bong Soon, a girl who is supernaturally strong, like even stronger than Jessica Jones. Bong-Soon can only use her powers for good or she will be become cursed and lose all her strength. The super strength is hereditary, passed down in her family from mother to daughter, but Bong-Soon’s mom is a bit of a bully and has already lost all her strength to the curse before the show opens. As a result Mom’s forbidden Bong-Soon from using her strength at all—because she thinks it’s inevitable that the curse will fall on Bong-Soon too. (It’s much too easy to be careless when using the strength.) Bong-Soon occasionally loses her temper and uses it anyway, though she tries to keep it a secret from her mom.
Enter the spoiled but highly-successful video game designer who’s broken off ties with his messed up ex-mafia father. He’s currently receiving daily death threats telling him to sell his gaming company or die. He needs a bodyguard—but he also doesn’t want the death threats becoming public knowledge. Nor does he trust the police because all the officers he knows are on the take and feed information to his dad in return for favors. Then he sees Bong-Soon beating up a bunch of mob enforcers. He decides to try to try and recruit her as his bodyguard. That way he can continue to keep all the death threats on the down low.
I love watching this show when I’m having a bad day because the special effects always make me laugh. Admittedly, in later episodes some of the scenes involving the vanquished mafia enforcers’ plans for revenge can drag on a bit long. The show also doesn’t pull punches with bone-crunching sound effects. Be warned, when Bong-Soon uses her super her strength to break some bones, you will definitely wince.
What about subplots? There’s a disgraced cop who’s Bong-Soon’s childhood friend (and first love). There’s a murderer who’s killed at least once girl in Bong-Soon’s neighborhood and starts kidnapping, or possibly killing, more. Bong-Soon witnesses one of the kidnappings so her childhood friend assigns a police guard to watch her, much to her new boss’s irritation and amusement.
The show has been popular enough that it’s reportedly being remade for American TV with Rhonda Rousey as the lead. We’ll see if it ends up living up to the original, which is well on its way to becoming a cheesy, cult classic.