Hey all! It has been a long ass time since my last “Dropped Drama” post, so I figured now might be a good time to make use of this category. I’ve invested so much time into this drama, that I can’t not talk about it, but at the same time, I also can’t bring myself to waste anymore energy completing it for the sake of writing up a full, thorough and fair review. Therefore, I will instead give you a detailed explanation of why I dropped Avengers Social Club, a drama that I very much tried to like, but couldn’t completely warm up to.
[FYI]: I completed 8 out of the 12 total episodes, just so you have an idea of how far into it I got.
[Be Forewarned: Spoilers Below].
Fun Leading Ladies: I really appreciated the fact that this show made an effort to focus in on female leads, as opposed to the usual male dominated drama. Lee Yo Won, Ra Mi Ran, and Myung Se Bin had wonderful chemistry on screen and were an absolute joy to watch. The best bits of the show consisted of the three women bonding together despite the stark difference in their personalities. It was also great to see middle aged women at the center of a drama, because there’s already a surplus of dramas that showcase younger main characters. The other fantastic part about this trio’s connection was their willingness and determination to stand up for each other and themselves. In a world where women can often be so catty to each other, it was refreshing to see these women coming together to combat something, rather than competing with one another or putting each other down.
Lighthearted Tone: The drama itself also took on a more uplifting, humorous, tone which I appreciated. It’s definitely a good drama to watch for the laughs. While it does touch on a few heavier topics such as domestic violence, bullying, and suicide; it still remains upbeat on the whole, and never really crosses over into tragic or tear inducing territory. For the most part, I welcomed the drama’s simplicity. I didn’t have to think too hard about what was going on, and everything was very straightforward. It was the perfect show to watch when I needed breaks from the more complex and emotional dramas I was simultaneously watching, but didn’t want to face the struggle of having to pay close attention in order to digest what was happening.
White Knighting: Sadly, the female focus I dreamed of didn’t really get very far. About two or so episodes in, Lee Soo Gyum (played by idol and newcomer actor—Jun, from U-Kiss), quickly became a regular club member, receiving a huge chunk of screen time and often detracting from the women’s efforts by cleaning up their “blunders.” Some people might not take issue with this, but by presenting the ladies as a clumsy group who can’t accomplish anything on their own, in other words—without the help of some high school male coming in to reconcile their errors—the agency the show was claiming to give them in the first place gets completely undermined. It sends a message that the females do in fact need the help of a male to succeed, and totally erases any autonomy they might have been given, by invalidating it with this seemingly necessary male presence or assistance. I wouldn’t have taken a big issue with this if the show’s whole backbone wasn’t riding on the idea of powerful females taking revenge and standing up for themselves. While I found his character endearing, I still felt cheated out of this positive female concept once we found out their success was dependent on the help of Soo Gyum.
Male Overload: Equally disappointing was the unnecessary, generous portion of screen time given to the piggish husbands. I understand that there was a need to showcase the men’s foul behavior in order to provide evidence and a motive for the women’s revenge. However, as the show progressed, less and less time seemed to be devoted to the ladies while scenes of these clowns became increasingly more prevalent. Not only were they a bore to watch, but a lot of their segments easily could have been cut out without affecting the quality or coherence of the drama. It really took away from the whole purpose of making the ladies the center of the story. By the middle, I couldn’t tell if Soo Gyum, the husbands, or the ladies were supposed to be leading the show.
Slow Pace: Perhaps the biggest difficulty I had while watching this show was its extremely long runtime of an hour and fifteen minutes. That was far more time than needed per episode. I’d say about forty-five minutes would have been sufficient to deliver the story without losing any of its heart or charm. The plot also progressed at a tortoise’s pace. Each episode seemed to go nowhere with an unending circle of foolish mistakes and threats taking place between moments of bonding. I began looking at my watch every ten minutes or so wondering just how much of this broken record I had left to endure. This eventually led to a lack of curiosity, which in turn is why I didn’t take issue with dropping the drama after a while, having made the revelation that so much of my interest had been lost in the course of this run around, that I no longer cared about how it would all end.
Excess Filler: And so we come to my final qualm, which was the cluster of vignettes that I, and probably many others, could have done without. These consisted of various little topics, from the bully’s mom threatening Do Hee, to the gaggle of spineless husbands sharing drinks and conversation, and So Yeon listening to the same loud screamo music over and over again—just to name a few. There were a lot of these scattered throughout the episodes and most of them were almost identical to each other, which rendered them repetitive and absolutely useless. If you combined them all it would probably amount to at least fifteen to twenty minutes per episode, which means that these episodes wasted a significant amount of my time and clearly could have been slimmed down to make a more engaging and less draggy story.
Overall, I enjoyed many elements to the show. The acting was great, and seeing middle aged women at the helm of a drama was a refreshing change of pace. Unfortunately, Avengers Social Club stopped short of its empowered female goal, eventually falling back on the male characters, and consequently thwarting any ideas of complete female independence. Even though I didn’t enjoy the show as much as I would have liked, I still think it’s worth checking out for yourself. Many twitter friends truly enjoyed it, and just because it wasn’t my cup of tea, doesn’t mean it can’t be yours!
Have you watched Avengers Social Club? What did you think of it? Even if you disagree with me, I’d love to hear your take on things.