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The Weekend Binge: "Chicken Nugget"

Ryu Seung-ryong (Moving), Ahn Jae-hong (LTNS), and Kim Yoo-jung (My Demon) star in the Netflix comedy-fantasy series Chicken Nugget (2024). Written and directed by blockbuster maker Lee Byeong-heon (Extreme Job), the 10-episode quirky k-drama is adapted from Park Ji-dok's popular eponymous webtoon. 

GwenchaNoona | The Weekend Binge: "Chicken Nugget" 10 episodes, fantasy comedy with Ryu Seung-ryong (photo of Ahn Jae-hong, Kim Yoo-jung and Ryu Seung-ryong)

Photo from HanCinema

The Plot

Chicken Nugget follows Choi Min-ah (Kim Yoo-jung), a young woman who suddenly turns into a chicken nugget in a mysterious machine delivered to her father’s company.

Upon learning of his daughter’s bizarre predicament, Choi Seon-man (Ryu Seung-ryong), the owner of All Machines, embarks on a wild quest to bring Min-ah back to human form. Witnessing the absurd event himself, intern Go Baek-joong (Ahn Jae-hong) joins his boss and along the way, they unravel unexpected mysteries and face comedic challenges.

The Review

When I first heard of the plot, I was perplexed why Ryu Seung-ryong, fresh from the success of the CGI-heavy series Moving, accepted the role for a low-budget novelty K-drama. And here I was, a little more than five hours later, thoroughly moved and entertained after completing all 10 30-minute episodes.

Chicken Nugget emerges as a delightful surprise in the K-drama landscape, blending humor and heart with an unconventional storyline. It opens with intern Baek-joong's catchy jingle, a sly metaphor for the show's magnetic pull despite its oddity. Min-ah's transformation, triggered by a mistaken step into a supposed rejuvenation machine, sets off a complicated quest, with her father Seon-man, and Baek-joong at the helm. Their journey, enriched by flashbacks revealing character depths and relationships, is unpredictable yet relatable, taking jabs at societal flaws while never losing its playful spirit.

GwenchaNoona | The Weekend Binge: "Chicken Nugget"
A passerby can't stop watching Baek-joong as he sings a weird song.

Kim Yoo-jung's short airtime made me miss her character’s presence, but through a series of short flashbacks, she provided a glimpse of Min-ah as a sweet daughter and a good friend. Ryu Seung-ryong made me root for Seon-man after showing how he takes good care of his daughter. Min-ah is also present in absurd animation sequences as Baek-joong imagines her life as a nugget. Ahn Jae-hong conveys Baek-joong's sincerity well, which makes his comedic scenes even more hilarious.

Combining their mechanical engineering skills and their knowledge of Min-ah, Seon-man, and Baek-joong try to solve the mystery, which gets more intricate as they uncover more of it. Just when I thought it could not get any more complicated, its timeline expands to 250 years!

GwenchaNoona | The Weekend Binge: "Chicken Nugget" (photo of Ahn Jae-hyong, Jung Ho-yeon, and Ryu Seung-ryong)
Jung Ho-yeon's character chooses a nugget.

Despite the long and complicated quest, interesting characters will either help or hinder them. In addition to Kim Yoo-jung's special appearance, Jung Ho-yeon (Squid Game), Park Jin-young (Yumi’s Cells), and a few others played cameo roles.

There are some K-pop references, but none of them beats Seon-man and the chicken restaurant chef (Kim Tae-hoon, My Demon) dancing to BTS music. Clearly, the K-drama does not take itself seriously, yet it manages to take a swipe at human greed, propensity for war, and misplaced pursuit of scientific knowledge, among others.

@LemonamuRM on X (Twitter)

In a crowded hit-or-miss space where streaming platforms are scrambling for Korean content, Netflix's bet on Chicken Nugget pays off, delivering laughs and warmth in equal measure. It's a unique additional nugget to its k-entertainment collection.

I should have never doubted Ryu Seung-ryong's choice. The low-budget animation of the K-drama only adds to its charm and the novelty of the concept works because it is coupled with heartfelt execution. In fact, Ryu Seung-ryong's choice to participate in this quirky venture is reminiscent of his role in the hit film Extreme Job (South Korea's second-highest-grossing film of all time about chicken-frying cops) — a testament to his effectiveness and versatility as an actor.

Stream if you are in the mood for a unique yet heartwarming and light-hearted K-drama.

Skip if you are looking for a realistic story.

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