Synposis: Cheer Up is a 2015 12 episode Korean drama about two groups of high school students forced to work together on the new cheer leading squad.
Nutshell Summary: Cheer Up was a pleasant series. The leads were likable. The couple was had a cute factor. There were good story moments. But overall, the story was mediocre. As they say, it is not on the page, it is not on the stage.
1. Our leading lady, Yeon Doo (Jung Eun Ji), was positive and willing to believe in the underlying good of others. I’ve liked Jung Eun Ji in several series, most recently Trot Lovers, another subpar series. Eun Ji has a terrific smile and can still pull off the high school character but there wasn’t much depth to Yeon Doo. The chemistry with the two male characters vying for her affection was solid. I’d love to see Eun Ji in the hands of a better writer. You could argue Reply 1994 was a better writer (and it was) but her character in that series was also straigt forward. Does Eun Ji have the acting chops for a complex character?
2. Our leading man, Kim Yeol (Lee Won Geun), had smarts and a cute smile. His chemistry with our leading lady was solid. Won Guen was a fluff secondary character in Hyde Jekyll, Me so I wondered if he could be a lead male. He was able to be lead. The problem was his character’s challenge, semi-estranged relationship with his father, wasn’t all that interesting. I liked Kim Yeol in the High School setting but did not care about his background or family story. Won Guen had solid chemistry with the second leading man, Ha Joon (Ji Soo).
3. Our second leading man, Ha Joon (Ji Soo), had a terrific friendship with the Kim Yeol but was still drawn to Yeon Doo’s kindness. The show didn’t cross the line with Ha Joon pursuing Yeon Doo. Yes, he liked her. But no, he never made an inappropriate move. He longed but did not take action. I fell in love with Ji Soo in Angry Mom when he played an abused bad boy with the sweet heart. This role had an abused component too but not as intense or well constructed as Angry Mom. I’d love Ji Soo to be given an opportunity to be the leading man. I think he could pull it off. His vulnerability is appealing.
4. Our leads delivered a sweet friendship that grew to a light romance. The show’s attitude seemed to be, this is high school pain can be full on, but romance must be tempered. For what they were given, Eun Ji and Won Geun, were cute. They were attracted to each other, though she was more “unaware” of her feelings than he was.
1. Subpar story. This story had moments but it seemed simple and not riveting. I was pleased the story was more complex than cheer leading in high school. However, the focus on Soo A and her redemption didn’t interest me much. I didn’t like her and I thought everyone was overly gracious in pleading with her to return to school. Ha Joon’s abusive relationship was glossed over with the pat “and his father is seeking treatment” statement after Ha Joon stood up to him once. That’s a bit unrealistic. I did appreciate that writer Yoon Soo Jung used the supporting characters enough so that they mattered and were not simply background. I liked the leads parents, I liked the teachers, and I liked the cheer leading students. But the story wasn’t sufficient. This was my first drama watching writer Yoon’s work (and only the second drama for this writer).
OST: The OST released 3 vocal tracks during the series and I thought it won the “tiny OST” award. See drama wiki for details.
However, the full OST with 14 tracks has been released. See the korean sound track blogspot for all the details.
Here’s a Cheer Up playlist that was created by Kdrama Playlist and has most of the tracks. I’m going to listen to it myself. Check it out via the link or the embedded video below.