When you were young, did you ever imagine that you could suddenly see ghosts or monsters? I would like to introduce a Korean drama that makes real a childish imagination, <The School Nurse Files>. It is a Netflix original series based on a novel of the same title. It became a big issue not only because of the unique storyline and characters but also an outstanding CG and addictive BGM (background music).
Ahn Eun-young, the main character, works as a school nurse at a private high school. She grew up watching ghosts and monsters since she was a child, and she knows that jelly-like ghosts with grudges appear to harm people. Eun-young, born to fight against ‘jelly’, starts to explore the secrets of her new school with Hong In-pyo, a Chinese teacher who also has special superpowers. In-pyo sends out indescribably good energy, so when Eun-young touches him, she is relieved of her fatigue and energized. He doubts Eun-young at first because she is unpredictable, but as time goes on, he starts to trust her. Let’s take a closer look at the mysterious but vivid story of Ahn Eun-young.
Recommended Episode: Kim Kang-seon Under the Streetlight
The episode I want to recommend the most is episode five that features Eun-young’s childhood friend, titled ‘Kim Kang-seon under the streetlight’. Among all of the episodes, this is the heaviest and the most lingering. The story goes back to Eun-young’s childhood. When she was in middle school, there was always a rumor that Eun-young is a ghost-watching freak. Kang-seon was also always shunned because of his father who was a gangster, and his sister who was an infamous bully. Eun-youn and Kang-seon, who were alienated for their own reasons, naturally understood each other and became best friends. Eun-young started to use a BB gun and toy knife to fight against ‘jelly’ because of Kang-seon’s advice. Unfortunately, they lost contact after graduation and gradually grew apart. After many years, Kang-seon, who died and became a ‘jelly’, appears in front of Eun-young, who became a school nurse. They meet again and tell stories that they haven’t been able to tell. This episode, which focuses on Kang-seon, gives us something to think deeply about.
Kang-seon was raised by his father, who was a gangster and now is bedridden, and an older sister who always committed misdeeds. He liked drawing cartoons and was good at it, but he gave up going to art high school due to poverty and instead goes to commercial high school. After graduation, he does everything to make money. Then, the last place he arrives at, finally, is a construction site.
The hopeless life of Kang-seon ends in vain owing to the collapse of the tower crane at the construction site. That accident is big enough to be on the news. “We stretched the crane as far as we could to work on the upper floors, but suddenly it snapped in an instant. … it was expensive. A crane over a human. That’s because we used an old crane.” Kang-seon says so, with a resigned look. At the last moment, Kang-seon’s jellies are powdered and scattered, being blown under an old streetlight where he meets Eun-young again. This is the scene where Kang-seon cherishes Eun-young until the end, and is also the reason why I named him ‘Kim Kang-seon under the streetlight’.
The tragic death of a character who has a dark history is common in dramas. Tragic death usually used to make audience sad, or to arouse the main character and bring a catharsis originated from tragedy. However, <The School Nurse Files> goes further than that. Through Kang-seon’s lines, the director criticizes the conditions of construction sites where tower crane accidents occur continuously.
As Kang-seon said, in fact, 70% of tower crane accidents occur during upper-floors operations. This is due to illegal remodeling of small cranes and fabrication of the production year. Even now, accidents continue for similar reasons, but the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the parliament cannot come up with definite solutions. Like this, <The School Nurse Files> is meaningful that in it makes people think about social problems that they do not ordinarily care about.
Why Ahn Eun-young?
There have been countless dramas about the main character fighting ghosts with mysterious superpowers. Then, what is the difference between <The School Nurse Files> and other dramas? What made this drama successful?
First of all, it turns into reality the childish imagination that anyone might have when they were young. An imagination in which a mysterious creature like jelly floats in a daily space like house or school. Or an imagination in which you become a wonderful person who can physically beat up the creatures. If you were an imaginative child, you might have thought about it at least once. <The School Nurse Files> makes this vague imagination real through colorful visual effects and solid story lines. Watching this drama, audiences recall their childhood without distinction of age, and feel a kind of intimacy with the main character.
Secondly, the main character, Ahn Eun-young is very attractive. Eun-young is an infinitely good and moral person, but she also has a small mind that calculates profits and loss. Wasn’t Eun-young afraid of the big ‘jellies’ that tried to devour the school? To make it worse, her superpowers are too weak to save the world. Not only does she have a short time to use her powers, but she also has to ‘charge’ by contacting with In-pyo whenever she has spare time. As such, Eun-young is not a one-dimensional hero who saves her country and saves other countries at the same time. She is a hero of good will who can never abandon ‘people like her’ and gives a helping hand. She is not only a woman who departs from the standard pattern, but also a very ordinary person. This makes Eun-young more attractive and makes audiences cherish the hope to change the world like Ahn Eun-young.’
“When we hear the same voice all the time, it is actually influential and powerful, so I want to write a story which includes the voices of people who have not been able to tell their own story until now.” This is what Jeong Se-rang, the author of the original novel said, when she was on the TV program <You Quiz On the Block>. In accordance with the author’s purpose of writing, <The School Nurse Files> persistently expresses the stories of people who are alienated from society and of female characters who depart from the standard pattern. At the same time, it is incredibly attractive that it includes imagination and comfort to make it not too heavy. It is a good drama to watch without much thinking, but it will be even greater if you think deeply and reflect on the meanings of the plot.
< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >