HIGH KICK - Season 2

High Kick Through the Roof

High Kick Through the Roof

It seems like it was just yesterday since I made my review of the first season of the Korean comedy soap the "Unbeatable High Kick." Curious of what's going to happen, I started viewing the next season only to realize that it now has a new storyline. Interestingly, there are few returnees from the previous season, who carry with them the same character names but portrays different roles. For instance, Lee Soon-Jae returns, but now plays as grandfather of Hae-ri and Jun-hyuk and President of a self-named food company (a doctor of a Korean Medicine Hospital in the last season). Moreover, characters from the last season also have some cameo roles like Lee Min-Ho who appears in the pilot episode, but plays as Hyeong-ook's friend and a college student from Seoul though carries with him the same name from the last season.

From my review of the last season, I pointed out the confusion of genre which, in some way, has compromised depth in its treatment of the episodes. I don't know if the producers have heard the same comment from experts or reliable critics, but I guess they have done a great job to reinvent the new season and to put more depth on the theme in the episodes. I may have missed the "Sherlock Holmes" sort of theme in this season, but on a positive note, have come to see more depth in it (this time having 126 episodes versus the 167 of the first season). For me, it was an outstanding leap to further enhance the already good show.

Warning: This could be addictive. Spoilers ahead.

Let me point out some outstanding themes I selected from the 2nd Season's episode:

Episode 34 - The Essence of the Family. This episode pointed out a very interesting concept of the family. Present generation is in a great debate as to who comprises a family especially in terms of gender. But on this episode, the issue did not rest solely on WHO but WHAT proper attitudes must be kept to make a family truly a family. It did not dwell solely on the external aspects of the family but more on the internal conflicts that oftentimes arise in a family and how it must be carefully treated. Jeong Bo-seok, husband of Lee Hyun-gyeong and Vice-President of the Food Company run by his father-in-law (Lee Soon-Jae) sees a true family when all family members eat together in one table and not one less. In a dreamy fashion, he sees himself as a counselor between his wife and his father-in-law. He makes them express in words that they love one another and from that simple gesture of words establish a better family relationship. Moreover, family members must call each other according to their proper names regardless of their office/functions at work. The father must be called "father" and not "president" and the mother as "mother" even if she's a "stepmother." In a similar analogy, Jesus calls His father "abba" to signify His closeness to His Father. Such appellation transcends worldly conventions but truly shows a deeper level of relationship. In my own end, I think that this episode was trying to imply the same truth.

The episode ends with this narration:

"Nobody gets to choose their family. It's like rolling a dice. Whether you like it or not, that's what you get. And as time goes on, we begin to truly love that dice. But, when will that time come? When will that time be for you as a member?"

Yes, indeed, we don't get to choose our family members, but to be in a family is both a GIFT and a BLESSING. It doesn't matter who's in the family. What matters is how we treat each member of the family as GIFTS from God who rolled the dice for us!

Episode 81, on Gender Equality. Korea as a country follows a very patriarchal culture where the father, a male figure, serves as head of the family where all authority principally flows from. In this episode, Lee Hyun-gyeong, who's very athletic asserts gender equality and teaches Shin shin-ae (Younger sister of Shin se-keong's, who's very reserved in personality as an elder sister) that all women can do anything that men are capable of doing. In its funny way, the episode proved Lee Hyun-gyeong right, but ended up injuring her teeth as tries to prove that she too can move the car by the use of her teeth!

Gender issues have always been debatable in almost all corners of the world, but what this episode has to taught me was to go beyond stereotypes. When we label ourselves in terms of gender, we remain in the status quo. But when we go beyond such labels and give our best foot forward as to what we can possibly do, we can make the most of our humanity and so fulfill our true end. As St. Irenaeus puts it, "the glory of God, is man fully alive."

Episode 103, the way to Conversion. I am for certain that Korea is typically non-Catholic by religion. In fact Wikipedia informs us that it was only in the middle of the 20th century when Christianity has competed with Buddhism in South Korea. Christians in that region of the country accounts for 29.2% of the population (of which are Protestants 18.3% and Catholics 10.9%) and Buddhists 22.8%. For whatever reasons, this episode showed Jeong Bo-seok going to confession (a Catholic Sacrament) and was asked by the priest to make the sign of the cross. In all honestly, I was surprised at first, but at the same time, I was happy to see a Catholic Church being featured in this episode. For the producers to pick a religion that happens to be a minority in South Korea is something. Jeon Bo-seok has failed tremendously on several occasions as father to his family and vice-president of the company (in this episode, he was mistakenly accused of sexual harassment though unable to disprove his guilt). A big chunk of the show portrays him as a failure to the point of even attempting suicide. But as the episode portrays Jeon Bo-seok going to Catholic confession, it has in a way, told viewers that among venues for conversion and healing as there are religions in South Korea, the Catholic Sacrament runs more effective in giving us spiritual healing and reconciliation.

Technical Considerations: Again, one cannot expect that much to evaluate the show in terms of cinematographic standards. But like I said earlier, the second season is more focused and better in its treatment of themes in the episodes. Because of that, I would give this season a notch higher in terms of rating. I'll give it an A-.

Still, a hearty laugh awaits as you relish each episode. Don't miss the final episode for a surprising twist both in acting and plot.

Happy viewing!


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