‘Chicken Nugget’ Review: Why The Netflix Original Should Be The Show To Binge-Watch This Weekend?


“Is it better to live as a Chicken Nugget for 50 years or as a human for 5?” If someone asked you this question on a normal day, what would you think of them? Well, before I stepped into Lee Byeong-Hun’s nugget world, that’s how I’d have felt as well. However, as I watched the show, I felt enlightened on an almost spiritual level (enter disc scratching sound). Of course, I’m exaggerating, but based on that alone, I think you’d want to know more about Chicken Nugget. Ever so often, the South Korean entertainment industry decides to drop a show or film with the most absurd premise that’s both intriguing and simultaneously ridiculous that you just have to keep watching. I mean, even their mythical creatures are so unique that you’re somehow invested in the concept. But, despite my seasoned expertise in K-drama watching, I have never come across a show that is this strange. It’s the premise alone that will leave you gobsmacked. 

Choi Sun-Man, the owner of a small machine company named “More Than Machines,” finds himself in a peculiar situation when a machine (fun) is unexpectedly delivered to his office. Alongside Ko Baek-Joong, a staff intern with a secret crush on Choi Sun-Man’s daughter, Choi Min-Ah, they mistakenly believe the device is one that’s actually meant to relieve fatigue, something they were already expecting. When Min-Ah visits the office for a lunch date with her father, she decides to step into the machine after a meager 14 hours of sleep (only 14?!), thinking it’ll help her feel energized. In front of Baek-Joong’s shocked and innocent eyes, she inexplicably transforms into a piece of sweet and spicy fried chicken. Now, Choi Sun-Man and Ko Baek-Joong must embark on a bizarre journey to reverse the unusual transformation and restore Min-Ah to the beautiful human she once was. 

You know you want to take a bite of this one! As bizarre as it sounds and as surreal as the show appears to be with its exaggerated acting, dramatic plot twists, and shocking reveals, at the heart of it, it’s another one of those dystopian dramas about humanity and its inevitable doom. I’m actually shocked by the many ways South Korean people are able to piece together stories with this same concept in so many different ways. Of course, I’ve been bored, and some shows are lackluster and over the top for no given reason, but not this one. Chicken Nugget is inevitably hilarious, and no, I don’t just mean in the slapstick comedy way. It’s genuinely funny, thanks to its main star, Ahn Jae-Hong, who seems to have been made for this role. However, the thing that really cemented this show in my K-drama Hall of Fame (shh, don’t tell anybody, but there must be 100+ shows in there) is its obsession with Be Melodramatic, director Lee Byeong-Hun’s 2019 show. Unexpected plug, but if you’re like me and appreciate anything that is about female friendships depicted in a staggeringly perfect way, you have to watch this show. It’s obvious Lee Byeong-Hun is a man with a beautiful heart, or at least that’s what he likes to show his audiences. Somehow, he’s capable of depicting the alienation of growing up in the most perfect way, and though Chicken Nugget is not about growing up (or maybe it is), it’s still got a surreal version of this emotionality he’s so fantastic at. No, really. If you’re not singing “Your Shampoo Scent in the Flowers” after watching this, you’ve watched it all wrong. 

Now, I know why you’re here, and no, Kim You-Jung is barely in this show. I mean, what’d you expect? She turns into a chicken nugget. You do get to hear her voice for a little bit, though. On the other hand, Ryu Seung-Ryong, just like his colleague Ahn Jae-Hong, seems to have been born to play this role. I mean, this isn’t his first escapade involving chicken foods in his illustrious career. The duo has fantastic chemistry, and they’re both truly the absurd duo for Chicken Nugget. Ahn Jae-Hong’s jingle man Ko Baek-Joong is like an extension of his character in “Be Melodramatic.” The drama is on fire! Of course, this is a Netflix show, so the cameos are massive. Expect to see Jung Seung-Gil, “GOT7” member Jin Young (this was a shock), and comedy star Baek Ji-Won. But Kim Tae-Hoon, who has recently been playing villains, is a real delight to watch as Baek-Jung (not to be confused with Baek-Joong), the chicken shop owner. The one qualm I have about this show, though, is the ending. I wish it had been slightly different, but I suppose I get it. Still, I wish it had been less open-ended. 

Chicken Nugget could sometimes feel incoherent, sometimes way over the top, and at other times really heartfelt. I suppose this is the industry’s attempt to create another Squid Game. Though I’m not sure this one is appealing to a wide audience, I do believe it’ll be a polarizing show, with some calling it plain stupid and others enjoying it for the same exact reason. But at the end of the day, this will be a show spoken about for a really long time. Maybe it’ll become a classic, and 50 years from now, we’ll be looking for Min-Ah the nugget. You’ll get what I mean when you watch the show. 

So, would I like to become a “Chicken Nugget?” I suppose if I want to learn how much the people around me love me, then yes, I would. But in all seriousness, I’d definitely recommend watching this highly entertaining, mysterious, and adrenaline-fueled show. And savor it; don’t just gobble it down. This is a show that is lopsidedly serious, so skip this one if you can’t tolerate anything unserious because you will be left disappointed. This is a show with alien concepts, unscientific science experiments, and a lot of outlandishness. This is a show that tickles the right spots, and I highly recommend it. I’d give Chicken Nugget 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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