When I first began watching Sassy, Go Go, having only heard that it was a cheerleading drama, I think I was unconsciously expecting the Korean version of Bring It On. However, this drama takes the premise of cheerleading and uses it in a story about friendship, family, and forgiveness rather than a competition to be the top cheerleading squad in Korea.
Main Cast: Jung Eunji as Kang Yeon Do, Lee Won Keun as Kim Yeol, Kim Jisoo as Seo Ha Joon, Cha Hakyeon as Ha Dong Jae, Chae Soo Bin as Kwon Soo Ah
Running Time: 12 episodes; 60 minutes per episode
Summary: Kang Yeon Do is the leader of the Real King dance crew in Seoul’s elite Sevit High School, a dance crew that also happens to consist of the lowest academically ranked students in the entire school. On the opposite side of the social spectrum is the Baek Ho club, composed of the students in the top 5% and led by the unshakeable Kim Yeol. But when Yeon Do is betrayed by her friend Kwon Soo Ah, a girl with an inferiority complex from her second place rank in Sevit and an unhealthy desire to become first, she and the rest of Real King must team up with the Baek Ho club to form a cheerleading team. A number of obstacles stand in the way of this team’s success including the prejudices the two clubs hold against each other and the pressure of parents and teachers on these students. To complicate matters, Yeon Do and Yeol are slowly falling for each other, despite their many differences, and Yeol’s best friend Ha Joon must confront his own feelings for Yeon Do.
Review: If you’re looking for a sports rivalry drama, Sassy, Go Go is not it. Instead, this drama was more akin to the ongoing “School” series with the primary conflicts being between children and parents, students and teachers, and amongst classmates. Sassy, Go Go does discuss some very heavy themes ranging from suicide, sexual harassment, and social prejudice but still manages to keep a lightness to the story. This is largely due to the heartwarming bond that develops between the two groups of students, as well as between the students and their teachers.
An additional dose of cuteness was the blossoming romance between Yeon Do and Yeol, two characters with very different personalities and charms. Eunji was lovable as always as the spunky, cheerful leader who is forgiving to almost a fault. And Lee Won Keun, who you may remember as one of the child actors in The Moon Embracing the Sun, is all grown up as Yeol, the quick-witted, charismatic first place student in all of Sevit. Eunji and Wo Keun had a remarkable chemistry and banter throughout the drama. It was so fun watching these characters start from initially disliking each other to falling in love as the story progressed.
Yeol’s best friend Ha Joon was the real scene stealer for me in this drama. I don’t think I’ve ever had a stronger case of second lead syndrome than I did with Ha Joon, played by rising rookie actor Kim Jisoo. His puppy love crush on Yeon Do, hidden by his prickly exterior, was all sorts of adorable. Additionally, Ha Joon’s friendship with Yeol showcased such a heartwarming relationship, with the two boys having no other friends outside of each other until Yeon Do opens their eyes. I think the love triangle in the drama was handled quite nicely, with two characters getting their happy ending while all three remained close friends.
However, I did have some issues with this drama, especially its ending. There was a rather strange subplot involving the romantic relationship between Yeol’s father and Yeon Do’s mother. Their conflict really added nothing to the story except the complication of Yeol’s and Yeon Do’s feelings and their faux-incest implications. Additionally, it was resolved so quickly in the last minutes of the drama it almost gave me whiplash. I had a similar problem with the character development of a certain bully in the story whose character turnaround was altogether too fast to be believable. And while I think the outcome of the drama’s ending cheer competition was the most plausible aspect of the finale, all of the other loose ends wrapped up a little too nicely and a little too quickly for me to take the drama seriously.
Conclusion: Sassy, Go Go is a drama that is fun, cute, and heartfelt. Though it does deal with some mature themes with less severity than I would have liked, I still feel that the story would be identifiable to any high school student or anyone who loves a story of teamwork and romance. Thus, if you want a heartfelt, if slightly cheesy, drama about friendship, family, and love within a school setting Sassy, Go Go may be the right pick for you.