While the K-Drama Extraordinary Attorney Woo is heavily praised, the original title was actually kind of problematic…
Extraordinary Attorney Woo has quickly become the hit K-Drama of this season. As ENA‘s first K-Drama, its first episode had just a 0.9% rating.
About an autistic 27-year-old lawyer. Due to her high IQ of 164, impressive memory, and creative thought process, the brilliant Woo Young Woo graduated at the top of her class from a prestigious law school.
— IMDb’s plot description
It has quickly grown by 10x over the past few weeks. The K-Drama releases two episodes per week and is available internationally on Netflix.
Receiving so much love worldwide, It’s already in talks for a U.S. remake. Viewers, including the hottest K-Pop idols, have fallen in love with the brilliant attorney on the autism spectrum, the show’s heartwarming storylines, and its charming cast, including Park Eun Bin, Kang Tae Oh, and Kang Ki Young.
Yet, netizens on the Autistic Spectrum expressed mixed feelings regarding the K-Drama. While some feel genuinely represented…
It’s just sort of quite personally relatable for me. Obviously, everyone with autism is different. …But, personally, I relate to Young Woo a lot.
Others feel that it just continues to enforce hurtful stereotypes. A major concern that many have, especially with a non-autistic actor portraying Woo Young Woo, is that the character could be a caricature.
I absolutely am tired of portrayals of autistic people in especially Korean media like this. It teaches everyone that this is what autistic people look like and act like, and we do not all act this way.
Granted people who are outwardly more so that fit into the stereotype still get discriminated against, but there’s also people like me who, I can’t even count how many times when I’ve disclosed I’m autistic people have told me, ‘Oh, but you don’t look Autistic’ or ‘you don’t act autistic’ or ‘I could have never told that you were autistic.’ I am, though. I have very clearly autistic traits that just don’t fit into that stereotype, and it makes it so much harder for me in society, in work, when this is the portrayal that people go with…
#stitch with @intr8vert And please be MINDFUL when you post about shows like this if you have no idea what it’s like for autistic people & the discrimination + struggles we face in society. This isn’t it. It really isn’t the representation we want. #autism #autistic #autistiktok #autisticadult #neurodivergent #neurodiverse #stereotypes #koreandrama #representation #dobetter
Another TikToker pointed out that the title alone is very upsetting.
First of all, I don’t f*cking like the title. Weird Lawyer? Can you please stop? I know ‘weird’ is not a slur, but me being a ‘weirdo’ in holistic people’s eyes has caused me harm. I’ve been bullied, I’ve been traumatized, I’ve been taken advantage of…
Netizens attempted to correct the creator on the title’s name, saying that it is actually called Extraordinary Attorney Woo, not Weird Lawyer Woo Young Woo. The creator explained that the title is translated differently for English-speaking audiences.
I think talking about the original title and how it’s offensive to some Autistic people like me is very valuable because that title was created by the people who made the work of art. It’s not a mistranslation; it’s actually what the creator intended it to be.
As the creator explained, the original title 이상한 변호사 우영우 directly translates to Weird Lawyer Woo Young Woo, not Extraordinary Attorney Woo, as “이상한” really means strange, odd, or weird.
In fact, IMDb had listed the original Korean translation of the title instead of the English version for a couple of weeks since the K-Drama was released. Since the series has been receiving attention internationally, it has finally been updated, but it still mentions the original.
The issue of the original title adds to the argument of whether or not the K-Drama actually does more harm than good regarding the Autistic community.
For example, some Korean content creators imitate the character Woo Young Woo which results in mockery of those on the Autism Spectrum.
Wife: Come eat, dear.
Husband: Why are you talking like that?
Wife: If you don’t come to eat, people will think I’m a bad wife who doesn’t feed her husband. I will have failed to take good care of you and that will lead to the destruction of a healthy family.
Husband: Ye Eun…?
Wife: Meals are dear to my heart. I can change the menu depending on how I feel.
Husband: Stop watching so much K-Drama.
Despite this, some Korean viewers have also revealed how the K-Drama has helped them. Additionally, recently, a viewer with an autistic son and Florida’s first practicing lawyer with autism have both weighed in, revealing what the K-Drama has got right.
Post: I feel the same way. This isn’t because Woo Young Woo is “trending” or anything. I used to think everyone has the same issues that I do. But the show is teaching people that autism has a spectrum. Until now, people were most familiar with autism on the severe end of the spectrum. But now, they’re like, “Oh, there is a spectrum to autism” and “Some people on the spectrum aren’t as severely affected by autism,” and whatnot. And eventually, it kind of helps people understand themselves, like, “Hey wait, I do that too!” It’s all new information. Now, with a bit more insight, I can see why I act a certain way. I thought, at first, because I was anti-social and had trouble focusing, that I might be on the spectrum but I found out that in my case, I had ADHD. So I’ve been taking medication. It’s similar to why people with Asperger’s syndrome get diagnosed so late.
Reply: I think you’re right
Actress Park Eun Bin has also expressed genuine concern over her portrayal. She chose not to imitate any person directly and developed her own interpretation based on studies in hopes that she would not offend anyone.
Read more about the concerns regarding Extraordinary Attorney Woo below.