In late 2020, the country’s K-drama-viewing public waged a civil war–of sorts. Debates were had, sides were taken, and for anyone who watched Start-Up, you were either Team Living Buddha or Team Good Boy.
The popular Korean series, which starred Bae Suzy, Nam Joo Hyuk, and Kim Seon Ho, is divisive when it comes to its infamous love triangle. For those who sided with Team Good Boy, Seon Ho’s Han Ji-pyeong had caused them a major case of second lead syndrome. But why exactly were viewers so drawn to him, especially Filipinos?
READ: Alden Richards on why Filipinos are drawn to Start-Up's Han Ji-pyeong
With GMA’s Philippine adaptation of Start-Up now showing, Alden Richards–who plays Ji-pyeong’s Filipino counterpart Tristan–has a few thoughts on the potential reason.
“Ang lapit kasi ng traits ni Good Boy sa kung anong gusto ng Filipino culture when it comes to an aspirational character,” he explains to Preview in an upcoming episode of Summit Sessions. “The way he treats 'yung relationship niya kay Lola [Joy], and the way he is—he grew up alone, wala siyang parents, kung saan-saan siya napunta [pero] ginawan niya ng paraan.”
In the original show, Ji-pyeong, orphaned at a young age but with an aptitude for investments, struggled to make ends meet as a student. While homeless, he encounters Seo Dal-mi’s (Bae Suzy) grandmother, who takes him under her wing. Fifteen years later, Ji-pyeong finds success as a hotshot venture capitalist.
According to Alden, Ji-pyeong’s character arc was Filipino at its essence. “That's the very typical Filipino story: Naghihirap sa buhay, nagsusumikap, nagiging successful,” he said. “So I guess the role of Good Boy is really close to the Filipino heart.”
And while he thinks that the original character’s traits were reminiscent of Pinoys, to Alden, Seon Ho’s portrayal was very much still rooted in a Korean context. In Start-Up PH’s case, it’s all about translating this into a more local setting. Beyond that, the Filipino story will also uncover and delve into what makes Tristan different from Ji-pyeong.
“The conscious effort of the creatives here is to deepen the backstory of Good Boy, para mas maging holistic 'yung understanding ng audience 'dun sa pinagdaanan ni Tristan,” the Kapuso actor said.
As a Start-Up fan, Alden finds its practical yet ideal lessons on business, life, and everything else as some of its highlights. And just like Filipinos on Team Good Boy, he appreciates his long journey—and we, for one, can’t wait to see the rest of Tristan’s.
Catch the pilot episode of Summit Sessions premiering on October 1, 2022 for the full interview.
Watch the trailer for Start-Up PH below:
Start-Up PH stars Bea Alonzo, Alden Richards, Jeric Gonzales, Yasmien Kurdi, and Gina Alajar. New episodes air every weekday at 8:50 p.m. on GMA Telebabad.
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