Stream it or skip it?
We’re used to a certain formula when it comes to K-Dramas: romance, cute moments, endless amounts of kilig and screenshot-worthy instances between the leads. But K-Culture is, as always, expanding what we know about it, whether in fashion, in beauty, in music or in drama series.
The School Nurse Files, a six-part show on Netflix staring Nam Joo-hyuk, hardly fits the bill of the K-Dramas we’ve come to know and love and swoon over. In fact, it’s a little strange at the onset:
Ahn Eyn-young (Jung Yu-mi) is the high school nurse, lives in a different world. While her job is ordinary, she has a special ability to see creatures called “jellies.” These jellies are created by the remnants of human desire and are, therefore, found everywhere. But when people are haunted by jellies, they suffer bad luck and misfortune—which is why Eun-young has taken it upon herself to defeat them in battle with a shiny rainbow toy knife and gun.
One day, the Chinese Characters teacher, Hong In-pyo (Nam Joo-hyuk), breaks the seal of the school basement and unknowingly releases hundreds of jellies at once. With the school and its students in danger, Eun-young does her best to defeat them. Soon, she figures out that she can recharge her powers through In-pyo’s own special abilities and the two team up.
We told you: It’s a completely different K-drama situation this time around.
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If you’re hoping to satiate your romantic appetite, The School Nurse Files might not be the pick for you—only because the more whimsical aspects of the series take center stage. However, if you keep your mind open and are willing to see the actors (particularly Joo-hyuk) beyond their typical roles, then you could be in for a good time.
The chemistry between the two leads is endearing and works well into the narrative. Yu-mi plays her role believably, albeit a little deadpan as she’s well aware of the secret she must keep and how strange she looks to the people around her. Meanwhile, Joo-hyuk is the more comedic character, at first reluctantly partnering up with Eyn-young.
The series itself doesn’t take long to complete, with the first season only sporting six episodes of about 50 minutes each (you won’t need more than a weekend, trust us). The issue with shorter seasons such as that of The Nurse Files is that some subplots are sacrificed to push the main story forward—which does happen in certain instances. #NoSpoilers, but some situations are seemingly resolved quickly and at times come back without much explanation. Is it a big issue? Yes, if you’re one of those that prefer a defined overall look. But if you’re just in it for a good time, then you’re going to have a good time.
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The best part about the series might just be that it expands our understanding of a K-Drama. The show puts attention to other forms of content, to different executions and proves that there is success and merit in doing so. Entertainment, like everything else, should never be one-dimensional. And when the result is a sometimes goofy, all-around fun and energy-packed show, then we’re all for it.
So if the question is whether to stream The School Nurse Files or skip it, the answer is to stream it. I mean, we did it with no regrets.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver