It was completely different from the School of the past.
KBS2's School 2013 finally met its conclusion, bringing back old memories and leaving behind lingering emotions in its wake. It drew out for all to see how cold classrooms of the present could be, and delved into the reason it had become harder for teenagers and the older generation to mix.
The drama first drew issues for being relatable with its realistic content. It wasn't all fantasy, meaning it appealed to students, parents and teachers alike.
It conveyed why students can't help but become more delinquent, why they're starting to feel less and less emotions, why students can't seem to reach the heart of the school and what duties parents must carry out within their families. It let viewers look back on themselves, and set right what they saw of themselves in the drama.
The delinquent Oh Jung Ho (Kwak Jung Wook) especially showed how he had come to be a delinquent not because of his own problems, but because of changed values on the older generation's part. He showed that students like himself came into being when society started to chuck out those who fell behind and lined every kid up based on a small set of numbers.
The answer was in the adults. The drama emphasized that it was up to the adults to put together healthy families and show their responsibility. Parents are supposed to be in charge of bringing up their children to be kind people. Teachers aren't supposed to be responsible for making students strong enough to survive in the harsh exam wars, but for building a school that students who have been shunned by their families can turn to.
School 2013 tried hard to deliver these messages. It didn't build a new type of school in fantasy land but stayed strictly with reality. As a result, it met a successful conclusion along with the message that it's not up to just one group to change, but to all of us.
The previous School series were mostly about love lines between high school students. School 2013 also seemed to lean toward that line at first, but the producers in the end decided to leave out the love.
They instead concentrated on more school problems and plucked more issues from reality for the characters to carry. Even those students who were given lighter roles represented some part of the teenage spectrum.
There was the change that came over Lee Ji Hoon (Lee Ji Hoon), who previously lived as he wished with Oh Jung Ho and Lee Yi Kyung (Lee Yi Kyung), the regret of Park Heung Soo (Kim Woo Bin), who had lived as a delinquent in middle school, the students of class two who came to accept Han Young Woo (Kim Chang Hwan), the boy with a learning disorder, as one of them, and the sensitive high school friendship between Kye Na Ri (Jeon So Jin) and Shin Hye Sun (Shin Hye Sun).
The lives of the model students were also represented through Kim Min Ki (Choi Chang Yeop) and Song Ha Kyung (Park Se Young). They showed that it wasn't their own dreams that had made them model students, but the adults' satisfaction.
Teachers much needed in Korea's educational system made appearances in School 2013. Jung In Jae (Jang Nara), who tried to embrace every student in her heart, and Kang Se Chan (Choi Daniel), who showed what it meant to be a real teacher, conveyed the biggest messages.
Of course, Korea's educational system won't change right away merely thanks to one run of School 2013, but the drama still left hope that the series, which made a comeback following a 10 year hiatus, would launch a small effort for change that may spread in the future. School 2013 got its producers, cast and its viewers expectant of a new tomorrow.
Photo credit: KBS
Reach reporter Choi Eunhwa on Twitter @silvercandy88!