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‘Extraordinary Lawyer Woo:’ Illustration of Disabilities in South Korea

An entertaining and emotional present a couple of lawyer on the autism spectrum acts as a platform to debate disabilities inside the nation

Hand mannerisms, lack of social consciousness, sensitivity to loud noises, desire for cleanliness and a fascination with whales — these are simply among the traits that the protagonist in “Extraordinary Lawyer Woo,” Woo Younger-woo, (Park Eun-bin) , shows.

“Extraordinary Lawyer Woo,” a 16-episode TV sequence, rapidly turned probably the most considered non-English reveals all over the world since its launch on June twenty ninth.

What makes this drama distinctive is its use of the slice-of-life style to discover regular individuals and the actual drama that arises from on a regular basis life, whereas concurrently creating an emotional sketch of among the underrepresented issues in Korea.

The present follows Younger-woo, an autistic lawyer who’s raised by her single father. She is an eccentric and clever lady who’s preventing to construct a life the place she may help individuals whereas residing with a incapacity.

The titular character’s obsession with whales, a recurring theme of the drama, provides a infantile however distinctive dimension to her character. in an interview, Park stated, “Woo Younger Woo accepts that on this world, she’s a narwhal amongst all of the beluga whales that swim across the huge ocean, that the lifetime of a narwhal is by no means lonely, and that it is okay as a result of that is her life . Her de ella saying this will look uncommon and peculiar however reveals upfront that it is also significant and exquisite.

One can level out hanging similarities between her character and whales: Each are lonely but extraordinary.

The drama additionally highlights her autism as a weak point and reminds the viewers of how judgmental society is. Previous to the story, she graduated as the highest pupil at Seoul Nationwide College College of Legislation. However resulting from her analysis of her, no firm was keen to rent her.

Based on Jung Youn Park, a Korean scholar, discrimination in opposition to these with disabilities, though mitigated by the emergence of anti-discrimination legal guidelines, emerges within the type of microaggressions.

Lastly, she obtained her first job at Hanbada, a big legislation agency in Seoul, by way of one in all her father’s connections. Mockingly, the identify of the agency occurs to be translated as “One Ocean” in English. Being totally different from her friends, she encounters shoppers and colleagues who’re prejudiced in opposition to her in numerous methods.

At its core, this drama highlights what it means to be extraordinary for somebody like Younger-woo, in each good and dangerous methods. Extraordinary, on one hand, is outlined as somebody who’s “extraordinarily good or possesses a particular high quality.” Then again, it additionally carries a damaging connotation.

Regardless that discrimination in opposition to staff with disabilities is prohibited by the Structure, the stigma stays prevalent in Korea.

Based on Jung Youn Parka Korean scholar, discrimination in opposition to these with disabilities, though mitigated by the emergence of anti-discrimination legal guidelines, emerges within the type of microaggressions.

Within the third episode, individuals on the web posted derogatory feedback about Kim Jeong-hoon (Moon Sang-hoon), Younger-woo’s shopper who’s an autistic man accused of inflicting the loss of life of his elder brother, who was an completed medical pupil. Studying how he’s handled by the general public, Younger-woo’s monologue completely sums up the truth of how the society by which she lives typically deems autistic individuals as unworthy of life.

“Solely 80 years in the past, having autism meant being nugatory of life. Solely 80 years in the past, Kim Jeong-hun and I might not have been thought-about worthy of life. Even now, a whole lot of individuals click on the ‘like’ button of a remark that reads, ‘It’s a nationwide loss when a medical pupil dies and an autistic particular person lives,’… That’s the weight these of us with this incapacity bear,” she contemplated with a somber expression.

At this level, the present poses deeper questions: Is the lifetime of a human being solely worthwhile so long as they match societal requirements? Is not life already price residing since you’re alive, irrespective of who you might be?

One other outstanding part of this present was the number of shoppers Younger-woo represented in every episode. Instances of home abuse, a North Korean defector who deserted her daughter, amongst many others, make clear the tales of marginalized communities to each the Korean and Western audiences.

However whereas these themes present some compelling depiction of the aforementioned teams in an entertaining and academic method, “Extraordinary Lawyer Woo” remains to be incomplete because it focuses on guaranteeing it’s relatable to neurotypical audiences. As an example, Younger-woo is performed by a non-disabled actress. Incorporating precise individuals with disabilities into the manufacturing would have been a extra acceptable option to handle this difficulty.

Over the previous few years, Korean dramas, together with “Squid Sport,” “Crash Touchdown on You” and “It is Okay To Not Be Okay,” made strides in implementing range (corresponding to LGBTQ, racial, gender, political and financial illustration) within the media. With a second season Coming to Netflix in 2024, I can confidently say that “Extraordinary Lawyer Woo” is one in all them.

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