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Series / School (2013)

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Where children hide and adults don't know, this is school.

School 2013, a Korean Series, is the 5th series and revival of popular drama franchise School which previously ran from 1999 to 2002. The current series had a 16 episode run from late 2012 to early 2013 on KBS. Centred around the teachers and students of class 2-2, School 2013 sets out to tell the stories the real life problems faced by students and teachers in South Korea and has been widely praised by netizens for its accuracy and relatablity.


This show provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Hakyung has one in Byun Kideok; the class clown sings her a song, and she nudges him away in annoyance when he gets too close and puts on earphones.
  • Aborted Arc: The first few episodes contain remnants of the What Could Have Been loveline, showing Namsoon and Hakyung caught together in situations and learning about each other, then they hardly interact for the next ten episodes.
  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Gil Eunhye and Nam Kyungmi's group. Hakyung is a more likable example.
  • After-School Cleaning Duty: A method of smoothing relationships between students.
  • All-Loving Hero: Even the problem students who personally wronged her aren't exempt from Jung Injae's warmth and kindness. She goes out of her way to learn what troubles every one of them, and tries to make a difference. She inspires even the ever cynical Kang Sechan and he entreats her not to quit teaching: "“Because… you’re the teacher I wished I could be. You… are the teacher I tried so hard to be but couldn’t become… you are that teacher.”"
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  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Song Hakyung is described as the school's Kim Taehee—a popular actress known for being beautiful and an alumna of Seoul University (read: smart). She's academically ranked #1 in Class 2-2 and the entire school, and is both admired and envied.
  • Berserk Button: Namsoon has one. It's Heungsoo, because of the guilt he feels towards him.
  • Big Eater: Kangjoo's appetite surprises both Hakyung and Namsoon.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Hakyung's mother is a smiling, soft-spoken woman who appears reasonable and understanding, but when Hakyung accidentally cuts Kangjoo, she coerces Kangjoo into signing a promissory note not to 'cause trouble' for her daughter, and when Jungho accidentally kicks a desk and hurts Hakyung, she immediately throws her power around to have Jungho expelled. Particularly infuriating when she didn't even know about the two circumstances until another girl's mother informed her.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Given Injae's and Sechan's respective struggles, him asking her "Class isn't over yet, right?" while they're in the empty classroom also gives a subdued And the Adventure Continues feel.
  • Book Dumb: Namsoon is one of the underachievers. His wise replies to his teachers prompt Sechan to wonder how somebody so smart can be ranked so low however. Also he recites the poem "Flower" by Na Taejoo when it seems like Han Youngwoo would have to say goodbye to their class.
  • Broken Ace: Hakyung. Initially she is portrayed as the beautiful student firmly on the path to Seoul university after being forced to leave her prestigious Hagwon due to lying about her high school she faces difficulties with her grades.
    • Heungsoo was an amazing soccer player and on track to go pro until Namsoon broke his leg.
  • Cram School: Hakyung's first scene is in one. Minki is also mentioned to be attending one.
  • Character Development
    • Kang Sechan goes through the full cycle of holding himself completely removed from all his students, to finally finding himself getting too emotionally involved, and finally at the end of the series when he meets Jongho to try and convince him to return to school, learning that it's okay to care about students, but that it's not possible to be responsible for their whole lives
    • Oh Jongho likewise goes through massive character development, from being one of the series principle antagonists and all round bad guy to promising Sechan he'll live well in the final episode
    • Song Hakyung has a more subtle Defrosting Ice Queen arc.
  • Class Representative: Hakyung and Namsoon.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Sometimes, Heungsoo seems like this. At the very least he Can't Get Away with Nuthin'.
  • Dawson Casting: All over the place, with the exception of Kang-joo, but the most absurd one would be Byung Ki Duk, whose actor is actually older than Sechan's actor.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen
    • Song Hakyung starts out as the Academic Alpha Bitch who cares about nothing else but her studies and getting into Seoul University. Thanks to her interactions with Namsoon, the concern from Injae, and her reinforced friendship with Kangjoo, she starts caring for her classmates. She texts Namsoon when he doesn't go to school, earning teasing remarks from Kangjoo, and lends him her notes to help raise his grades. Kangjoo additionally notes that Hakyung has gone a long way: she now actually cares about their teachers. Towards the end of the series, she's covering for Namsoon when he used the class' late fees to bail Jungho gangster debts, and skipping class and the disciplinary meeting so as to prevent Jungho's expulsion (on charge of hurting her, albeit accidentally). Her thawing is noted even by other teachers.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Almost everyone in the cast at some point but most notably:
    • Hakyung: Whenever Kangjoo tries to make up with her after the conflict of the week.
    • Jongho: Whenever anyone tries to do anything nice for him ever.
  • Driven to Suicide: Having had enough of his My Beloved Smother, Kim Minki goes to the rooftop and drops his bag... Namsoon and Injae come across it. Luckily, he has stepped back. The event finally makes his mother ease up on the pressure.
  • Education Mama: Kim Minki's mother is a particularly terrible example.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: Uhmforce says he's the most hated teacher in the school. He teaches Math.
  • Freudian Excuse: Jongho his father drunkenly abuses him so he bullies his classmates and only defers to people that are stronger than him or otherwise pose a physical threat.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Gye Nari and Shin Hyesun are Heungsoon shippers... a piece of paper with their notes to each other has a line that reads "Go Nam Soon and Park Heung Soo should just date."
  • Girl Posse: Eunhye, Kyungmin, and a couple other characters that had a speaking roles but no names ever given in the programme. They are the main instigators of much of the drama through malicious rumours and misinformation.
  • Happy Flashback: The brightly lit football, ramyun and arm-wrestling montage, starring Namsoon and Heungsoo in episode 7.
  • Heroic BSoD: Namsoon
    • After he breaks Heungsoo's leg, he basically shuts down for an entire year.
    • When Heungsoo gets arrested he completely zones out until he sees him again.
  • Hikikomori:
    • Part of Namsoon's backstory included a year being shut in his room before going to high school.
    • Kim Minki's older brother apparently snapped from the pressure exerted by their mother. She tells people that he went to Yale, but in reality, he refuses to leave his room and sometimes just screams when agitated.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: The reason why Namsoon hides his age and past as a delinquent.
  • Late for School: After Namsoon and Heungsoo mend their friendship, they go back to having sleepovers and they are shown scrambling the next morning and being late for school.
  • Manly Tears: Namsoon and Heungsoo shed a lot of manly tears.
  • Meet Cute: Outside the school gates, Kangjoo bumps into Heungsoo and drops her bag. He kicks it into her arms, pissing her off. Later, she encounters him in the hallway and blocks his path, daring him to kick her foot as well. He complies. She vows to kick him off someday. Nothing ever comes of it because of the No Hugging, No Kissing nature of the series.
  • New Transfer Student: Park Heungsoo.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: In order to focus on the current problems of real-life students, the producer decided to drop the romance and focus on the plotlines of the male students of the class.
  • Not What It Looks Like: A mild version when Namsoon comes upon this and his face turns into this. That Heungsoo and Hakyung step away from each other as if they had done something wrong only makes it look worse.
  • One Head Taller: Teacher Jung with Sechan, Namsoon and Heungsoo. They are all at least 186cm tall.
  • One of the Boys: When not hanging out with Song Hakyung, Lee Kangjoo can be seen palling around with the class clowns and being friendly with the sleepy and indifferent Namsoon. Her character profile confirms her as a Tomboy, saying: "It can be said that in Class 2-2, there are boys, girls, and Kangjoo."
  • Passing Notes in Class: Gye Nari and Shin Hyesun do this. A less innocuous example had Post-its with the answers to the civics test being passed around, leading to one of the most painful moments in the series, wherein Injae punishes the kids by slapping them hand-to-hand. By the end of the ordeal, she's the one with swollen hands.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: When Hakyung rejects an invite to their study group, Eunhye's nameless minion demands if she thinks the group is beneath her. Hakyung's response? "How can you say such things? It will hurt your pride."
  • Protagonist-Centred Morality: In-Universe. When the class assumes that Heungsoo bullies Namsoon, whom they all love, they hate him for it and make a concerted effort to get him kicked out of school. When they discover that actually, Namsoon did something unspeakably awful to Heungsoo, and was a far worse bully on top of that, they get over it very quickly and continue to treat him as a good person.
  • Ship Tease
    • Sechan and Injae are paired in partner dodgeball and the camera focuses as Injae slowly puts her hand in his. The kids go into Shipper on Deck mode and chant the wedding march.
    • Yikyung and Kyungmi paired off in dodgeball.
    • In a scene that doubles as a Not What It Looks Like, Heungsoo helps Hakyung get to the school nurse and they encounter Namsoon, who stares at their joint arms, prompting the two of them to break apart awkwardly. Interpret the ensuing glances as you wish.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Sechan does this to Injae in an emotional scene. In an effort to save her from further conflict, Namsoon has to do this a couple of times to Hakyung before she deigns to go with him.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Kangjoo and Hakyung respectively; while Kangjoo is a loud and cheerful Big Eater who pokes into other people's business out of concern, Hakyung is the reserved and studious Aloof Dark-Haired Girl. Nevertheless, they are best of friends.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Jihoon. After victimising Youngwoo for what assumed to be a sustained period of time before the events of the drama he writes an apology letter to him in the final episode.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ramen for Namsoon and Heungsoo, hotdogs for Kangjoo.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: In a sense, Namsoon. He's well liked and considered harmless by his classmates, so when they sense the tension between him and intimidating new student Heungsoo, they rally to protect Namsoon by forcing Heungsoo out of school. Namsoon is forced to stand up and admit that in the past he was a much worse bully than Heungsoo ever was, and their rift occurred because he ruined Heungsoo's life. See Protagonist-Centred Morality above.
  • Willfully Weak / I Am Not Left-Handed: He lets Jongho bully him, beat him up and take his cash, but when Jongho hits his Berserk Button, Namsoon turns into Curb-Stomp Battle personified.


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