“Cheer Up”, complex genre is difficult like this
Youth dramas have been called representative works of the times.
There are “The Tree Blooming with Love” in the 1980s, “Our Paradise” or “Tomorrow Love” in the 1990s, sitcoms including “Nonstop” in the 2000s, and “School” or “Reply” series in the 2010s.
Youth dramas functioned as a genre that shows the phases of the times along with the concerns of young people of the time, and as a cradle for young stars.
However, the complex media environment does not give attention simply because only young people appear. SBS’ “Cheer Up”, which ended on Dec 13th, is a work that contains such concerns. In the drama, against the backdrop of the fictional school Yeonhee University, the members of the cheering squad “Theia” showed the face of today’s youth.
Han Ji Hyun, Bae In Hyuk and Kim Hyun Jin, who played the main characters, as well as Jang Gyu Ri, Lee Eun Saem, Lee Jung Jun, Han Soo Ah, Kim Shin Bi, Hyun Woo Seok, Park Bo Yeon, Nam Joong Gyu and Jung Shin Hye were new faces, but this drama’s characteristic is that it pursued a “complex genre”.
Basically, when the characters of the cheering squad went together, they tried to revive the “romance” which was almost stuffed these days, but aside from the growth of youth, “Cheer Up” was also a romance drama with many couples’ narratives around the love line led by Do Hae Yi (Han Ji Hyun), Park Jung Woo (Bae In Hyuk) and Jin Sun Ho (Kim Hyun Jin).
Moreover, from the first episode, the drama centered on the strange story surrounding the cheering squad, especially the prophecy that “one member of the cheering squad will die in 2019”. This prophecy created a sweet atmosphere, but the chilly atmosphere that came out from time to time caught the work’s tension.
At this moment when all 16 episodes have been broadcasted, no one can tell whether the drama has successfully captured the standards of the complex genre. It is because the narrative was turned upside down due to the characteristics of this genre.
In fact, the production team should have kept the original feeling of youth for the drama. Of course, dealing with a simple story about college life may be boring, but if the problems of young people living in the present era were perfectly solved, the viewers would still be able to fully sympathize with the story. However, they decided to fill the work with the romance between six couples, preparations for cheering team performances, and the thriller surrounding Do Hae Yi.
The last episode was especially well-made, but the story was less lively and exciting after the love lines between the main characters, who have been engaging in love triangles from the beginning, were sorted out. The growth, romance, and thriller related to the character Do Hae Yi were depicted like separate dramas with different plots.
The cancer issue of Do Hae Yi’s mother broke out at the last minute of the final broadcast, and her boyfriend Jung Woo was taken aback by the sudden problem. However, this problem was casually solved within the last episode. In addition, the ending to the thriller setting of Do Hae Yi makes viewers laugh. The prophecy that “one person dies” turned out to be “one person dies in loneliness”. For viewers who nervously followed the story from the beginning, this feels like a real breach of trust.
“Cheer Up”, which had attracted attention from its production stage due to the collaboration between PD Han Tae Seop, who opened up a possibility for sports drama through “Hot Stove League” and writer Cha Hae Won of “VIP”, ended leaving only one reminder that the complex genre is not easy to deal with.
The attraction of the complex genre lies in the appropriate distributions of emotions, and detailed narratives, which cannot be achieved simply by changing the camera filter or the background music for each scene. In this case, making “Cheer Up” a pure coming-of-age and youth drama might have been a better choice.
Complex genre is indeed really difficult.