TV Review: ‘Chicken Nugget’ is a Chaotic Whirlwind That is Full of Heart

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If you could accidentally be turned into anything, what would it be? Would you want to be something cute like a cat, or maybe something completely out of the ordinary like a lamppost? How about a chicken nugget? What do you think life would be like as a chicken nugget? New Netflix K-Drama Chicken Nugget poses these very questions. 

★★★★✰

Based on a webtoon of the same name, and helmed by director Lee Byeong-Hyeon, Chicken Nugget follows mechanical engineer Choi Sun-Man (Ryu Seung-Ryung) on a rather insane journey. Choi and intern Ko Baek-Joong (Ahn Jae-Hong) journey to help Choi’s daughter, Min-Ah (Kim You-Jung), after she accidentally gets turned into a chicken nugget.

Despite being founded on a completely absurd premise, Chicken Nugget is full of heart. Choi’s love for his daughter is completely unquestionable, and he constantly proves just how far he will go to save his daughter from her bizarre fate. Even intern Ko, who has had a long-standing crush on Min-Ah, stands firmly behind his boss and supports any and all missions to save her. Together, their unfaltering loyalty to one another (and to Min-Ah) is really what drives this show forward and gives all of the seemingly random elements a purpose for existing.

Actors Ryu Seung-Ryung and Ahn Jae-Hong are magnetic as the show’s leads, and without their complete commitment to the story, Chicken Nugget certainly wouldn’t have had the same appeal as it does. They bounce off one another perfectly, wholeheartedly swallowing you into the story and making you fully believe the life-and-death stakes that are at play. Their reactions, or often well-placed overreactions, are perfectly in keeping with the tone of the show and give it a rich layering of pure bizarreness that really sinks you into this crazy universe. Kim You-Jung is also a welcomed addition to the cast. Despite a limited screen time, and a rather underexplored character, she helps to give this drama’s insanity a firm rooting in reality.

For fans of runaway hit Squid Game, Jung Ho-Yeon – best known for her role as the elusive Kang Sae-Byeok – makes a brief cameo in the show as an unwaveringly opinionated food critic. Though her time on screen is brief, her appearance is most certainly a memorable point in the show and one that helps Chicken Nugget to poke fun at the very foundations of K-Dramas themselves in an altogether meta moment with the show’s leads. 

In spite of all of the strange twists and turns this show provides, the further the show progresses, the more predictable it becomes. It might be bizarre, but it doesn’t particularly provide you with anything you haven’t seen before so it can quite easily bring you back down to Earth. Plus, much like the character of Min-Ah, there are some things that felt a need for a further and deeper exploration; one such being the strange owners of the Baekjung Chicken Nugget restaurant.

These characters are a fundamental part of the story, yet have very little screen time and development. Just a little more of an exploration into these eclectic owners would have given the last few episodes an even bigger punch, whilst potentially providing more opportunities for iconic gags to arise from the show. However as this story heavily favours the narrative of its leads, it does therefore sacrifice some of the whimsical possibilities of its side characters. With this being said, if this drama had been any longer, then its crash-course effect certainly wouldn’t have held as much weight. Too much exploration into these characters, including that of the mostly inanimate Min-Ah, would have dragged the story on a little too much and made it less as punchy as it already is. So though the stories of the side characters may have been sacrificed, it was definitely a sacrifice that was worth it in the end.

The Verdict

If you’re fully ready to immerse yourself and go with the flow of absurdity, then you’ll certainly enjoy this drama and the wild twists and turns it presents. This series is easily digestible in ten half-hour episodes, so I would highly suggest consuming this in one sitting for the best effect. So, if you fancy separating yourself from reality and taking on a wild adventure into the weird and unknown, then you should definitely give Chicken Nugget a try. 

Words by Georgia Davis


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