(Photo courtesy of HB Entertainment and Drama House)
La Cañada High School

Review: Korean comedy-drama ‘SKY Castle’

Over the last few weeks, I was so infatuated with watching a popular Korean black comedy-drama called “SKY Castle,” a show about the education system in Korea. After watching the finale last Friday, my view on the relationship between students and their parents had changed drastically.

SPOILER ALERT: The show focused on a small but extremely rich neighborhood named “SKY Castle.” The “SKY” in “SKY Castle” stood for Seoul University, Korea University, and Yeonse University, the top three schools in the nation. The neighborhood stood on the principles of private education to get their children into these schools. The parents there were fixated to get their children on the path to go to Seoul National University (SNU), the best medical school in the country. The drama started with a party congratulating one of the residents, Myung Joo, for sending her son to SNU. The other parents were obsessed with getting her secrets to sending her child to SNU and tried to beat each other in getting the secrets. Han Suh Jin, the mother of Yeh Suh, was willing to do anything to get her hands on the secret. Myung Joo decides to give Suh Jin the secret, which was the college admission specialist named Kim Joo Young. However, at the end of the first episode, Myung Joo sneaks out late at night and commits suicide.

Myung Joo’s husband and her son decide to move out of “SKY Castle,” and a new family moves in. Soon after, Suh Jin finds a tablet and takes it to her home, thinking that it was a tablet that she lent to Myung Joo. However, it turned out it wasn’t hers and it was the electronic journal of Myung Joo’s son. Myung Joo’s son, Young Jae, said that he wanted to cut ties with his parents and said that he was going to have his revenge on them. He said he couldn’t take the immense pressure his parents put on him and how he was pushed to the limit by his parents. However, the plot twist occurs when he says that Kim Joo Young, the specialist, told him to get revenge after he got accepted into the university. Eventually, Suh Jin feared that Joo Young would do the same to her family and fired her.

However, Suh Jin begs Joo Young to help Yeh Suh again after Yeh Suh was stressing about school and pressuring Suh Jin to hire Joo Young again.

Then Joo Young asks: “Is it okay if another tragedy, like Myung Joo’s, befalls on you as well?”

Suh Jin says yes, desperate for her child to go into SNU and become a doctor. This point of the drama is only up to the 3rd episode so I cannot summarize all 20 episodes. Throughout the drama, much more is revealed, and the conflict between Suh Jin and Joo Young becomes even deeper. This immense desire for success becomes a fight that could end in life or death.

After watching “SKY Castle,” I realized the love that our parents have for us. They will do anything to give us a better life, and they think that going to a good school is a way to do that. The pressure they put on us as students is their desire for our success so that we won’t suffer in the ways they did. However, I also saw that when this desire grows too large, it will only lead to our downfall.

When it was shown that Kim Joo Young was the one that caused the downfall of Myung Joo’s family, I realized that the parents’ greed for their children to do better was what will facilitate a life of suffering and hardship. In addition, I also noticed that this problem was not only present in Korea but at my school as well. My friends always tell me that their parents tell them to study harder and get better grades, but I know that these little words, when taken to the furthest level, will only lead to their pain and misery. I hope that societies all around the world acknowledge that the pressure we put on our children and youth is too big and will take steps to change that.

(Photo courtesy of HB Entertainment and Drama House)