Why ‘Run On’ is Getting Positively Reviewed as a ‘Nontoxic Drama’

Credit: JTBC

Run On is attracting viewers with its innocuous charm, as it provides them zero discomforts. While the characters and their speeches in the drama offer a sense of relief as they speak for the viewers, they do not criticize nor degrade anyone. As it accurately points out the problems in today’s society, this drama deals with topics that reflect on various perspectives and interests while also being considerate at the same time. Here is why it is being considered a “harmless and healthy” drama by the viewers.

Credit: JTBC

First, as track and field athlete Ki Seon Gyeom and film translator Oh Mi Joo points out the issues within sports and film industries, the episode depicts the problems that need to be solved together as a society. “Don’t blame yourself, but blame the others who made it this way,” says Seon Gyeom as he raises awareness for the inherent hierarchical violence within the sports industry, including the attitudes of bystanders, insufficient punishment for perpetrators, and insufficient protection for victims. The scene in which Mi Joo talks about her working environment with a colleague, as they exclaim “Screw unpaid work!” also depicts a disappointing reality in which some working conditions do not match one’s passion for the job.

Credit: JTBC

Even daily situations that have been taken for granted are questioned. The show points out that a supposed compliment like “You are pretty like your mother,” could be discriminatory as there are underlying tones of lookism. It calls for a balanced gender sensitivity by borrowing clichéd lines. Seo Dan Ah (played by Choi Soo Young) points out, “I want to be the best CEO. If I do it, it’s abnormal and once you do it, it’s normal. But the only difference between you and I is gender.” She also throws a blow at her father who forces her into an inter-class marriage saying, “The more uncomfortable I become, the more I know.”

Credit: JTBC

The approach toward the characters is also rather cautious. Instead of saying “orphan,” a language that draws eyes of prejudice and sympathy, the show uses the term “aged-out youth” to show the individual’s process of realizing and growing up. It prevents hastily sympathizing gazes by presenting Mi Joo, whom everyone thinks is “well-grown.”

Finally, the upright actions of the characters also double the nontoxicity of this work. Seon Gyeom encourages students to solve problems on their own, while the scripts talk about how adults, too, go through hard times and are clumsy. As characters deal with rudeness in the gentlest and classy ways possible, not a single passing scene in the show causes inconvenience.

Run On finds an opportunity to attract various people who view the society each in their different way and speed by incorporating situations that are familiar to some, unfamiliar to others, and sometimes even new to some.


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