Early Access: Extraordinary Attorney Woo Episode 1

Hi everyone!

Today, I thought I’d share my episode 1 notes on Extraordinary Attorney Woo, because I’m very pleasantly surprised by how well I’m enjoying it, and I was wondering if you’d like to join me? πŸ€—

These are my episode 1 notes, exactly as they appear on Patreon, ie, without screenshots (I’m saving those for the actual review).

I hope you all enjoy, and I hope you’ll consider joining us over on Patreon, for the rest of the discussions! ❀️

Episode notes:

E1. The first thing I’d like to say, everyone, is that I do like this one, and right away.

I’d actually seen mixed reactions to this show, so I was curious to see where I would land.

Most viewers seem to take to this show very well, and I’ve heard lots of praises for Park Eun Bin’s performance as Woo Young Woo, as well as the show itself, for being heartwarming.

On the other hand, I’ve seen comments that indicate that this show isn’t doing a good job representing those on the autism spectrum, with some viewers who are themselves on the spectrum saying that this has caused them to feel misunderstood even further by the people around them.

I’ve only seen one episode of the show so far, so it’s difficult to make a judgment on the drama as a whole – and the drama itself hasn’t even finished airing, at this point, so no one can really judge it in full – but for what it’s worth, this is my take.

Because there is an entire spectrum on which people with autism exist, it’s basically impossible for a show featuring only one character on the spectrum, to be expected to represent that spectrum in full.

In order for a show to do that, it would need to feature multiple characters on different parts of the spectrum, in order to demonstrate the differences and nuances between the various parts of the spectrum.

Therefore, my only requirement of Show, is that this one character, is believable somewhere on the spectrum. If this character can exist somewhere on the spectrum, and Show is treating this character with sensitivity and respect, then I have no complaints on this whatsoever, really.

That said, I’m no expert on autism, and therefore, I can’t make a formal statement about whether the characteristics that Young Woo displays are credibly from within the spectrum.

However, based on the little that I know, it does appear that Young Woo is being written with characteristics that are associated with people on the spectrum.

Like the discomfort with noise and physical touch; like a deep fixation on a particular chosen item (in this case, whales); like the tendency to repeat phrases that she hears.

These behaviors may not be shown by ALL people on the spectrum, but as long as these behaviors are known to exist on the spectrum, I have no issue with Young Woo showing these behaviors.

She should be allowed to be who she is, not only by the other characters in her drama world, but by viewers at large too.

On that note, I also wanted to say that Park Eun Bin is fully committed to the character, and I feel like she’s disappeared into the person of Young Woo.

All the little ticks and quirks feel like natural extensions of the character.

Like when Young Woo is hugged by other characters, the way she receives the hug, with a stiffening of her arms and a curling of her fingers, is consistent, and shows her discomfort with physical touch, while also showing a general shy awkwardness in her expression.

I thought that was nicely done.

Another issue that I’ve heard talked about, is the alleged infantilization of Young Woo.

One episode in, I don’t see that.

Sure, Young Woo’s young and pretty and cute, but so far anyway, I don’t see that Show is infantilizing her.

She speaks with the higher registers in her voice, but I don’t think that alone would qualify as infantilizing Young Woo.

More importantly, Young Woo shows a desire to be independent, not only in taking up this job as an attorney, but also, when she’s offered the option to have other attorneys speak on her behalf, on her first case.

She declines, despite knowing that this is not her strength – and then she seeks help from her friends, to practice her speech, so that she’ll be more ready for her first court hearing.

There’s nothing infantilizing about that, in my opinion.

Show is taking a slightly comic, lighthearted, family drama-esque slightly treacly approach to its storytelling, but I don’t see that as infantilizing Young Woo’s character either.

That’s just a storytelling approach, and any character that appears in such a drama world would have a particular feel-good sheen to them.

A little lens adjustment should fix that nicely, and if you find yourself unable to make that lens adjustment, then, well, perhaps this show isn’t for you?

On another note, I’m happy to see a good number of familiar faces at the law office.

I haven’t loved Kang Tae Oh in any role that I’ve seen him in yet, but so far, his Lee Jun Ho is turning out to be very pleasant, understanding and kind.

The way he approaches Young Woo without prejudice, is really nice to see.

Kang Ki Young’s also proving to be a good boss, in just one episode. His character Jung Myeong Seok might have started out wanting to get rid of Young Woo, but he’s quick to see Young Woo’s strengths, and importantly, he’s also quick to see when he’s been wrong, and apologize.

I really like that about him, particularly since he’s Young Woo’s supervisor, and therefore might understandably have reservations about apologizing to her. But he doesn’t, and I totally give him brownie points for that.

I’m also pleased to see Ha Yoon Kyung, whom I enjoyed in her various outings in Hospital Playlist Seasons 1 & 2, as well as She Would Never Know.

Her character Su Yeon might be annoyed with Young Woo sometimes, but she strikes me as having a good heart, since she does want to help Young Woo, despite feeling perplexed at Young Woo struggling with little everyday things like the building’s revolving door.

I’m also happy to see Joo Jong Hyuk as one of the attorneys in the law firm, because he’s a familiar face from Yumi’s Cells Seasons 1 & 2, and so it feels like having another friendly face in the office.

Plus, Baek Ji Won’s always a pleasure, so it’s pretty great to see her be a CEO this time.

This episode, I found it quite thrilling to watch Young Woo work through her first case, seeing things that other more experienced attorneys were too complacent to see, and taking it all in a direction that was critically helpful to her client.

I already like the kind of attorney Young Woo’s turning out to be.

With the way CEO Han shows up at Young Woo’s dad’s eatery at the end of the episode, I do have to wonder if there’s any history between them – like, is CEO Han Young Woo’s.. mother?!? – but we’ll have to wait and see, to see where Show takes this.

One last thing I wanted to mention, is that I’ve heard 2PM fans having a good giggle over the various 2PM references in this show; they are convinced that writer-nim is a 2PM fan as well, heh.

So far, I am suitably amused that our male lead is named Lee Jun Ho (and is as nice and perfect as Junho is known to be), and our female lead is Woo Young Woo (who’s a little 4D in her personality, kinda-sorta like how Wooyoung’s a little 4D in his personality).

For the uninitiated, in the 2PM fandom, Junho and Wooyoung are known as the twins, so it’s already a little amusing to me, that our two main characters’ names and personalities appear to be inspired by the 2PM twins. 😁

All in all, I was thoroughly charmed by this first episode, and I’m very much looking forward to getting better acquainted with Young Woo and her world. ❀️

*This show is being covered on the VIP Early Access (US$15) Tier on Patreon*

To view episode 1 notes in Patreon, along with everyone’s comments, you can go here!

You can find my Patreon page here, where episodes 1 through 3 notes are already available. Just look for the tag “Extraordinary Atty Woo” or click here.

Episode 4 notes will be out today, Tuesday, 2 August 2022! I hope you’ll consider joining us!

It’ll be a way to have fun, and support me at the same time? ❀️

PS: For more information on what the Patreon experience is like, you might like to check out my Patreon update post for August, which you can find here!

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1 year ago

I’ve finished this now and I loved it! Even the end was good! Park Eun Bin did a great job, too.

1 year ago

I’ve heard so many good thing about this drama that it has me considering it. I’m not big on legal dramas, but it sounds like it has a lot of other element I would enjoy. I’ll be keeping an eye on it πŸ™‚

1 year ago

A friend raved about this show after watching the first episode. It was his first time watching a Kdrama (in spite of my constant needling for him to try over a couple of years!) and it moved him enough to tears. Knowing my friend to be quite a cynic and not prone to tears at all, I just had to start my own watch to see just how amazing the show is.
I am enjoying it, but not quite loving it. I guess I pretty much love everything about the show, except for the portrayal of autism. Nothing against Park Eun Bin – she’s golden. It’s just that I find some of the autism “quirks” portrayed seem to be rather unbelievable considering how accomplished the character is. I’ve been in the field of special education for three decades and I have worked closely and supported countless individuals within the spectrum, both in the school system and in the community. I’d like to think that I have enough experience to say that there are glaring inconsistencies in the character portrayal. But, as you say, viewing lenses have to be adjusted, so…..yes, I am continuing to watch the show. I’m enjoying the story arc, and trying my very best to shush the critical part of my brain so as not to ruin anything for my hubs and friends who are watching.
Thanks again for your review!

1 year ago

Thanks for the rec! I’ve started into this and it looks right up my ally! Park Eun Bin is excellent, much better than Do You Like Brahms which I found so boring, back to Hot Stove League level awesome.

1 year ago
Reply to  manukajoe

It reminds me of other shows with “savant” type protagonists – Big Bang Theory (USA), Criminal Intent (USA), The Victim’s Game (Taiwan).

Ele Nash
1 year ago
Reply to  manukajoe

I wouldn’t say Do You Like Brahms was boring, but I get what you mean. It was very quiet. I got rather caught up in the romance though and remember shedding tears at one point. I think she’s a great actress, very good at portraying more sensitive souls 😊

Ele Nash
1 year ago

Ah, I was hoping to get a glimpse of your thoughts on this one, kfangurl – and thank you for the addition of ‘what other people are saying’ too.

This show is personal to me so forgive me if I get on a high horse at any point… I am so very, very invested in a show – and yay, delighted it’s a kdrama – that front and forward has an autistic female lead. So right off, I am determined to applaud it simply on that basis. There are still so many people in the world who think autism only affects boys. It is a depressing fact that girls here in the UK are diagnosed between three to six years later than boys – important years where a young girl is left feeling different and often, oh too often, turning that feeling inward leading to all manner of mental health issues.

So, given the lack of understanding, just having a show featuring an autistic woman is for me amazing! And I think Park Eun Bin is doing a great job of portraying Woo Youngwoo consistently. I particularly like the hands. She has a way of using her hands that is so very familiar and authentic. You’re right, kfangurl, no two autistic people are ever going to be the same, but obviously there are certain traits, such as stims (like maybe rocking) which many autistic people have. I for one am a hands girl so I appreciate this little attention to detail.

However, of course as with other shows with autistic men, there are things that jar, especially the way I do feel the show makes her a tad too child-like. It’s inevitable that in making sure they’re portraying the difficulties autistic people face in the working environment, there will be a tad heavy-handedness within that earnestness. I forgive the show because, as I say, I’m just glad that there’s a show with an autistic female lead.

Just a final note, anyone watching who thinks they don’t know any autistic women, you do, they just are likely undiagnosed and very good at masking their struggles. So on that, of course writers have created autistic women in their dramas for years, and autistic actors have played those parts, perhaps unknowing they were even autistic but identifying with the character. And of course, Woo Youngwoo may be the ‘first autistic attorney in South Korea’ but what they really mean is, she’s the first with a diagnosis because, fact, autistic women have been around for as long as autistic men, and have been mothers, lawyers, artists, actors, doctors… Everything you can possibly think of, for forever!!!!

Apologies if that was a teeteringly high horse. I feel better for having said it πŸ˜„

PS I LOVE the mentor/boss, Jung Myeong Seok!!!! Oh my gosh, I mean I am really in love with this guy πŸ˜…

1 year ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

You are probably aware of this Ele, but if not here is a vid trailer of the 2010 biopic film about Temple Grandin, featuring Claire Danes in the lead role. I understand it can be viewed on Hulu, and it is well worth watching:

1 year ago

I reallyreallyreallyreally want to watch this one, but I have already promised the universe that I will start Alchemy and there are still issues remaining with Grapevine and Autumn Concerto and quitting my day job just doesn’t seem realistic right now.

1 year ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Sorry about the mini-rant 😬

1 year ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I feel the universe is asking you to quit your day job…