ENA’s darling Extraordinary Attorney Woo is limping towards the finish line. The drama that was hailed in its beginning for the drama’s refreshing take on the trite lawyer K-Drama formula and for bringing awareness to developmental disabilities has lost much of its audience’s goodwill in the drama’s later episodes.
Last week, the drama was heavily criticized for making light of cancer. The episode saw one of its characters, Jung Myung Seok, who is a fan favorite, be diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, to much of the audience’s chagrin.
Controversy erupted, however, when in one of the scenes, Woo Young Woo is seen repeating the statistics of cancer survivors. The scene was meant to be funny, which audiences found in poor taste.
My mom returned from chemotherapy, and despite being tired, she watched the drama, even setting the alarm for it, only for her favorite character to repeat cancer survival rates and remind her she is going to die soon. How cruel is that? If someone has ever lost somebody they loved to the disease, there is no way they can use it so lightly. At the very least, she shouldn’t have repeated that he was going to die. So I hope you go through something like this to learn how it feels.
One would think, with the controversy, that editors of the show would make sure something similar doesn’t take place, but the drama seemingly doubles down on its cancer jokes in its latest episode.
In the scene, Woo Young Woo is seen visiting Jung Myung Seok as he is entering surgery. When asked by Jung Myung Suk why she wasn’t at work, attorney Woo replies, “Because I wouldn’t be able to see you if you died during surgery.”
When Jung Myung Seok’s mother protests at the remark, Jung Myung Suk explains to her that attorney Woo meant no harm.
Ah, mom! Attorney Woo Young Woo didn’t mean any harm.
— Jung Myung Seok
Jung Myung Seok then tells Woo Young Woo that Korea is the world’s best when it comes to cancer survival rates.
Korea is the world’s best when it comes to stomach cancer, so there is a 70% chance I’ll survive after surgery.
— Jung Myung Seok
To which Woo Young Woo is seen breaking down the statistics and once again stating the grim reality of those with stage 3 cancer.
Those statistics are for those who go into surgery early. Since you are a stage 3 cancer patient, you have a 30, 40% chance of surviving.
— Woo Young Woo
The scene ends with Woo Young Woo rooting on Jung Myung Seok and him asking Woo Young Woo to be quiet.
Woo Young Woo, please be quiet.
— Jung Myung Seok
Comically light music accompanies the scene showing the drama intended the scene to be funny. Netizens found it to be anything but, instead, lambasting the drama for not editing out the scene.
이렇게 로코여놓고 정명석 죽이는 건 아니지 pic.twitter.com/zJbuzWrapD
— 트친소 골골 (@mm_irx) August 17, 2022
You can’t kill Jung Myung Seok after turning the drama into a romantic-comedy.
Netizens criticized the scene and asked why editors didn’t edit it out.
- “It just isn’t very consistent. In certain scenes, Woo Young Woo is very empathetic and can read the room well, but in scenes like this, she is very different. Rather than showing traits of autism, I think the writer just wanted to use it as comical relief.”
- “Wow, the lines in the scene are shockingly bad.”
- “It’s getting worse, and the character has no consistency. I’m not sure what the writer is thinking.”
- “Do autistic people have zero sense of empathy?”
- “It’s so weird…”
- “Do they not care what the viewers think? I understand if last week they didn’t know, but this time they should have edited the scene out.”
- “They are crossing a line.”
What do you think? Do you think the drama intended to show a trait of those on the autistic spectrum, or do you think the drama writer wanted to exploit autistic traits for the sake of jokes?
Extraordinary Attorney Woo ends its run on August 18, when it airs its last episode.