One of my favorite dramas this year was Avengers Social Club aka Buam Dong Avengers Social Club. It came out a few years ago, but not too many people saw it because it wasn’t easily available. It’s a girl power story about three women who decide to avenge themselves of rankling injustices, and a teenage boy who tries to worm his way into the action. Come see for yourself if this is a hidden gem you need to watch.
The Main Characters
The teenage boy, Soo Gyum, is the first main character we meet. We see him running away from a man in a suit calling, “Young master!” Soo Gyum’s biological parents are an airheaded man from a chaebol (tycoon) family and an airheaded woman from a poor family. Neither of them has ever paid any attention to him. He was raised by his grandmother, but now his rich father needs an heir and becomes interested in him.
Next, we meet Jung Hye, the daughter of a chaebol family and the wife of Soo Gyum’s birth father. She suffers slights from both her husband and her own family, and her life is a running skirmish of little insults. She’s my favorite character because of her confident and aloof manner. She had one child who died as a baby, and when her husband displaces that baby with an illegitimate teenage heir, it’s the last straw.
Do Hee is a high-spirited, impulsive woman who runs a fish shop at an outdoor market. She has a son who goes to the same high school as Soo Gyum and a daughter who’s a teacher at the same school. Her son is being bullied by a classmate, and when she heads over to the school office, she comes across Jung Hye. Do Hee’s surprising, unthinking actions set the tone for the whole show. Keep an eye on her!
The introverted Mi Sook is the weakest of our trio. Her husband is an educator and they look like the ideal couple from a distance, but they have a tragic secret and he is abusive. Jung Hye picks up on it when they meet at a social gathering, so she asks Mi Sook to join her in avenging themselves on their husbands. They meet at a café to talk and witness Do Hee having a run-in with the mother of the school bully. Immediately, Jung Hye decides, “Three is better!”
The Plot Thickens
Do Hee and Mi Sook hesitate to get involved, but we’ve seen the title of the show and we know they’ll come around. They form a revenge club and name it after the café, which is the Buam Dong Coffee Club. Do Hee breaks the ice by impulsively solving her first problem with a bucket of water. After that, they decide to specialize in pranks and cons, and the rest of the show is a pretty fun watch.
It is a joy to watch them go after the mother of the bully, who is one of those self-important rich people we so often see in dramas, someone who can be counted on to make any situation worse. Although we hate her, the actress does a great job and looks like she is having a blast with her character.
Our trio targets three men: the two husbands and their pal, the sleazy principal of the high school. There’s a fair amount of slapstick involved. Soo Gyum finds out about the plot (wait til you see how he finds out) and wants in, but he has a hard time of it. His plan is to act nice to his rich dad and then stab him in the back somehow, but it’s not easy when his stepmother, Jung Hye, coldly ignores him. Then his real mother appears with her own crazy schemes.
He meets Mi Sook’s daughter at school, and she pointedly ignores him too, but he is able to make friends with Do Hee’s son. Remember, all of them are at the same school! They get caught up in each others’ problems but have different attitudes.
During its run, I kept seeing comments about how fun this show was, so I was pretty excited when I found it on YouTube recently. It lived up to the hype! It’s enjoyable to watch–there are a lot of funny scenes, the characters are memorable, and they grow together as a found family. Even though there are serious problems like bullying and child death, it is handled with a light touch and a nice change from more serious dramas. And there is a good ending. All good points. Let me know if you watch this and how you like it!
Until the next Hidden Gem,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi