At this point, I was totally into Kdramas. It’s a new world where the shows end after a certain number of episodes, without having upcoming seasons or spin-offs. It’s a good thing, but also a bad thing when the shows are too damn good.
School 2013 was one of the mediocre dramas that I’ve watched. I watched it because it stars Lee Jong-suk and Kim Woo-bin, and it was said to be the drama due to which they became best friends.
What is the drama about?
Continuing the series of dramas which portray high school difficulties and teenagers’ lives, School 2013 is considered to have shown the worst of cases.
Although we follow several characters throughout the drama, it all revolves around Go Nam-soon. Go Nam-soon attends the lowest-ranked school is Seoul.
To rectify the school’s image, the authorities hire a very popular teacher in hopes of him bringing the school’s rankings up. Kang Se-chan, the genius teacher, and Jung In-jae become co-homeroom teachers of Nam-soon’s class and struggle to manage the class.
In the midst of this, a new student appears, and Go Nam-soon weirdly goes around doing everything that students wants. There has to be history between them Park Heung-soo starts taking over the spotlight from the previous bully.
All in all, the drama involves everything that is important in a teenager’s life—grades, love, friendship, family and just getting through these few years in high school.
My thoughts on the drama
- I watched the show ONLY for the famous bromance between Go Nam-soon and Park Heung-soo. But it hardly constituted 10% of the story. Whatever I saw about them was brilliant but there were too few.
- There was a rotating focus on characters. We follow 12 characters in total—10 students and 2 teachers, and it makes the show not have an overall point. The journey matters more than the ending.
- While there was quite a bit of focus on the two teachers including their lives, ideals and opinions, I has zero interest in them. I could not bring myself to care.
- We looked at the situations and lives of other students as well. I specifically liked the story line of the bully Oh Jung-ho. If I had to pick one thing I liked in the show other than Nam-soon and Heung-soo bromance, it would be this.
- There was also a little extra focus on Song Ha-kyung who studies and studies and studies. Her family expects a lot from her and since she’s in a school where she can’t really get much help, she works extra hard. To me, she always looked sleepy and dull and as if she might drop asleep any second. I guess it’s warranted when she studies every minute.
- If I had to pick a minor-ish character that I liked, it would be Kim Min-ki. I really liked the relatable story of his. Kim Min-ki’s mother drives him extra hard to study so that he’ll be successful. She’s also the head of the parents board (or whatever it’s called) and she makes sure that he gets every advantage possible. But there’s also an underlying past. I liked how Min-ki dealt with things in the end.
- The adorable moments between Nam-soon and Heung-soo were my favs. They’re my BROTP (OTP but of brothers).
- Honestly, you just need to know that Nam-soon and Heung-soo were the only things really worth it in this drama.
Since I know enough to talk about only 4 characters individually, I’m not going to talk about the rest. Maybe I can if I try but I don’t care about 10/12 characters in this drama anyway.
Kang Se-chan is a very popular teacher who taught in coaching centers and has taken up the job to teach in school for a year. He believes in making the students study very hard without caring about their overall life and situation. His intention is to bring the school’s ranking up by first dealing with Nam-soon’s class, which is the worst.
He is practical and logical. He is lazy and does not care about people’s feelings or situations, he cares only about the results. He’s also pretty arrogant.
We see character development in him through the drama but I just didn’t care about him, you know? I tried but I couldn’t.
Jung In-jae is the sweet teacher who cares about her students’ well-being more than their academic scores. She’s the complete opposite of Jung In-jae.
She tries very hard to actually reach the students and talk to them. If any of them come to her with a problem, she helps them to the best of her ability. She isn’t partial to anyone and is honestly the best teacher-counselor personality.
Now to Go Nam-soon. Go Nam-soon is the perfect example of a student who has given up and is just going through the daily motions. He works all night for his part-time job and sleeps during class.
He finds studying very hard and hence has given up, accepting the lowest marks every time.
While there’s nothing very special about Go Nam-soon, pair him with Heung-soo and you’re now caught into the story.
Park Heung-soo is the new and “troubled” student who has transferred in-and-out of multiple schools. He has a reputation of being a bully. Heung-soo has been transferred to this school as the last chance. If he gets expelled from this school as well, he’s not graduating ever.
There is more depth to Heung-soo on his own than Nam-soon on his own. Together, they’re a whole new story but I found Heung-soo more likable, compared to Nam-soon only.
The only bright points of the drama were Nam-soon and Heung-soo’s bromance but it’s not enough to completely save the show. It doesn’t take up enough screen time for that. I wish their friendship was the focal point alone because then I would have really liked the drama.
I wouldn’t recommend it. If you really want to see Lee Jong-suk and Kin Woo-bin on screen together with amazing chemistry, go for it. Otherwise better skip it.
OTHER DRAMAS THAT YOU MIGHT LIKE:
Extraordinary You (blending reality & fiction) (supporting characters are the main characters!)
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (VERY cute, girl power)
While You Were Sleeping (dreams predict the future!) (stars Lee Jong-suk!)
Have you seen any profound show, drama or movie based on high school? What do you think is one thing that will be a constant in teenagers’ lives no matter the changes in the world? Tell me in the comments!