Series Review: Sassy Go Go (Cheer Up)

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“Two things you need to find in your school days: a friend who you can do anything together with, and an adult who can be on your side no matter what. That’s how you can endure in this ruthless school.”

A great high school drama always gets me right in the heart. Maybe it’s nostalgia and a desire to vicariously relive that time of youth. Maybe it’s in hopes of experiencing the giddiness of first love once again. Maybe it’s the youthful fervor that emanates from the screen. Maybe it’s the fact that we never really grow out of high school. Whatever the reason, a series set during this period of adolescence should focus on what it means to come of age, the difficulties of figuring out who you are, what you stand for, what you want in this life and, if you’re lucky, possibly who you love. In the end, Sassy Go Go fell short of becoming a great drama but the show did manage to push a lot of the right buttons for me and ends up being an overall feel good teen show with some very cute and addicting moments in addition to having some very sweet sentiments to impart.

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“We should do nothing. We don’t breathe. We don’t smile or cry. Let’s stay quiet as if we were dead. The adults want us to do that.”

Synopsis:

Sassy Go Go is a 12 episode drama starring Jung Eun Ji as Kang Yeon Doo, Lee Won Geun as Kim Yeol and Ji Soo as Seo Ha Joon. The show takes place at Sevit High School, an elite boarding school whose main concern is to propel their top students to the best of the best universities. This means that for those who are not academically inclined, they are left behind or are stepped on by others as a means to get to the very top. In this competitive environment, it’s hard for students to be anything other than studying machines.

This is the type of school where extracurricular groups such as the White Tigers, a study group led by Kim Yeol that contains the top academic performers is able to masquerade as a dance group. However, within such a suffocating school setting, there exist a group of friends who dance together not because it looks good on their college applications, but because it is something they love and are passionate about.  This is our group of actual dancers known as Real King led by Yeon Doo and consists of the bottom academic performers. Due to some plotting by a certain student’s mother to boost her daughter’s ivy league application, the two groups are forced together to create a cheerleading squad. Along the way, the students learn to co-exist, become friends, and learn the importance of happiness during this most important, and short lived, time of their youth.

What I Liked:

“At first you were just funny and fun. That was all. But lately I’m feeling afraid, scared and mad. It’s all because of you.”

Without a doubt, the best part of this show was the love line between Yeol and Yeon Doo. They were just so freaking adorable together, largely thanks to Lee Won Guen and Jung Eun Ji’s sizzling chemistry with each other! SIZ-ZL-ING! What I loved about their relationship (besides the cute, cute, cute) was that although they initially didn’t see eye-to-eye, there was never any ill will between them. Their relationship started out on a more teasing note, mostly from Yeol’s side, but through action and late night heart-to-heart conversations, they both learned to trust each other and confide in each other, eventually coming to see each other as equals.They unwaveringly supported each other in times of trouble and that’s what strong relationships are built on, romantic or otherwise, and I love that that was what we had between our OTP.

The little moments between them where he adoringly stares at her every chance he gets or constantly teases her as a way to show affection or how he always gives into Yeon Doo’s wishes were just added awesomeness. Seeing that they’re both fiercely loyal to those they care about, I can actually see their relationship lasting far beyond the closing credits!

Another highlight was Yeol and Ha Joon’s bromance. Seriously, if I didn’t know better, I would have thought they were the OTP! It was like having a double dose of adorable puppies on screen at once. Both were so protective of each other since they’re friends who are actually closer than brothers. This is why I was so disappointed in one of the plot points in the show, which will be discussed later.

Yeon Doo and Dong Jae’s (Cha Hak Yeon) friendship was also cute to watch because they both genuinely cared for each other even in the absence of feeeeelz. I appreciated that their relationship never crossed the line into any sort of romantic territory and merely stayed platonic throughout because it is proof that kdrama writers do understand that boys and girls can be friends without romantic feelings involved. *cough cough*

The breakout star of this show was definitely Kim Won Geun. Although I initially had no idea who he was, his portrayal of Yeol was so charming that he has completely won me over. Besides, just look at his adorable eye-smile!

Jung Eun Ji also did a good job with Yeon Doo, as it becomes increasingly evident that these types of spunky roles are her bread and butter. Not that anything is wrong with that but I hope she hasn’t been typecasted since I would like to see her have more opportunities to hone her skills.

What I Didn’t Like:

There’s only so much parent-school politicking that I can stand so the herd of moms storming the school over and over and over again got old, quick. If these scenes added to the show, I’d understand, but most of the time, they didn’t. When precious minutes in an already short show are wasted like this, I get quite unhappy.

Also, I like my share of cheese but certain scenes in the show were so cheesy that even I couldn’t help, but cringe. In a similar vein, I understand that the show is light and wanted to be a feel good show as the title implies but I still felt like some big issues were resolved too easily. Of course compassion should win out at the end of the day, but there are some actions that needed to be treated more seriously and needed to be dealt with more strictly. They shouldn’t just be swept under the carpet even if they are difficult to talk about. Honestly, most of the students at Sevit probably would benefit loads from talking about their problems with a psychologist.

Lastly, my biggest gripe with the show was probably the fact that Ha Joon fell for Yeon Doo. I was so disappointed with that development because of how much I loved the bromance between Yeol and Ha Joon. It was just so not cool that even though Ha Joon knew full well that Yeol only had eyes for Yeon Doo, and could clearly see that Yeon Doo felt the same way, he still fell for Yeon Doo. I know kdramas love their love triangles, but Sassy Go Go showed that it is possible for girls and guys to only be friends so I don’t understand why the show didn’t have Ha Joon just treat Yeon Doo as a good friend, one worth trusting and being loyal to because she treated him with care. Love/liking in this instance really was unnecessary and really hurt the bromance factor.

Conclusion:

Although not the best high school drama I’ve watched in recent memory, Sassy Go Go was a fun and cute show that was quite endearing.

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8 thoughts on “Series Review: Sassy Go Go (Cheer Up)

  1. shl says:

    I watched this, too, and loved it 🙂 mainly for all the reasons you’ve described, and also for the growing friendships between the 2 groups, plus the portrayal of the strengths and weaknesses of each character. I liked the little touches the writer put in, too.

    ergh, the love triangle. I’m in two minds about this. On one hand, it *is* a very real problem 🙂 I taught high school for 10 years, and these triangles popped up every year . . . and it was a serious threat to the bromance and thus had to be addressed. Friendship ftw! I liked how the two boys talked things through and gave each other space. On the other hand, I felt the writer was making Ha Joon too pitiable a character, where there was no real need. It’s not as if his family circumstances weren’t problematic enough! Ah well.

    For me, Shut Up Flower Boy Band still takes top spot in the ‘growing up/ high school drama’ category, but Sassy Go Go is a close second 🙂 and Lee Won-geun’s smile – oh gosh!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vy says:

      Hi SHL!! It’s been too long! 😀

      I also liked the growing friendship between the two groups but the over-the-top cheese slightly overshadowed the sweetness for me…XD

      Really enjoyed your take on the triangle. One of these days, Ji Soo will portray a character that isn’t so pitiful!

      My favorite high school drama has definitely got to be Reply 1997! So good! 🙂

      Like

      • shl says:

        Hi, Vy!

        Sorry I wasn’t more ‘familiar’, but I wasn’t sure if you’d remember me (heh heh)! It’s good to be in touch with you, too! And, looking forward to ‘meeting’ on the next drama we both gush over 😎

        Oo, I like Reply 1997 as well. Though I might just like Reply 1994 a tad more (it’s the friendships in this drama, not so much the romance, that get to me).

        Have you heard that Ji-soo might be in ‘Page Turner’? Maybe he’ll finally be happy there. Hope it’s not going to be like the Kim Nam-gil curse – no matter how hard you hope, he always dies at the end of his dramas . . .

        Like

      • Vy says:

        Of course I remember you! You were just so sweet during our email exchange and your comments are always lovely to read that it’d be hard to forget! 🙂

        Yes, hopefully!

        I liked both Reply ’97 and ’94. Reply 1994 had a maturity about it, in friendship and love, that I really liked. Reply 1997, on the other hand, was more sweet and innocent. 😀 Both dramas were really good and had their unique appeal so I don’t know if I’d be able to choose one over the other.

        Haha I hope he’s not cursed! Him and Kim So Hyun would make an adorable couple!

        Like

  2. buticut says:

    Whoaaa, who in his right mind dumps a bromance in favor of a love triangle?!? That’s so evil I can’t! Loved your nostalgic intro about high school – clearly there is an 90 year-old lady trapped in your body 🙂 . Took me to a trip down memory lane.

    Like

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