The hottest K-Drama around has to be Extraordinary Attorney Woo! Since the show started airing, the K-Drama starring Park Eun Bin and Kang Tae Oh has caught the attention of netizens for many reasons.
Not only are the storylines heartwarming, but the focus on breaking down prejudices against those with autism has touched the hearts of viewers.
Netizens see the main character Woo Young Woo (played by Park Eun Bin) go through the hardships to make a name as an attorney because, despite her knowledge and skills, those around her automatically see her autism as a weakness.
As the series has gained more popularity, Park Eun Bin has been praised for her approach to the character.
When asked about her worries when portraying the character, Park Eun Bin expressed that she wanted to be mindful of her portrayal of Woo Young Woo, who is on the autism spectrum.
When I got this role, I felt a sense of responsibility. Without hurting anyone’s feelings, will I be able to embrace everything and act naturally in this role? That was my biggest concern.
— Park Eun Bin
Despite her worries, Park Eun Bin has gained nothing but praise for her portrayal of Woo Young Woo. Yet, for many netizens, they wondered where the inspiration for the character came from.
Recently, Hankook Ilbo released an article explaining that the production team ENA reportedly revealed that the character of Woo Young Woo was created by referring to the life of Temple Grandin.
Temple Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University, USA, and is known as a world-class zoologist.
At the age of two, Temple Gardin’s family was told that she had autism, and according to the article, doctors believed she would have to be cared for by someone her entire life and will have trouble speaking.
Yet, despite the doctor’s prognosis, Temple Gardin made a successful career by achieving a doctorate and playing a huge part in promoting the humane treatment of livestock for slaughter. She has also used her influence to speak about her experiences with autism.
In an interview with CNN, the doctor explained that she was unable to speak for many years. However, even though doctors shared their concerns, her family allowed her to thrive and made sure to develop her IQ.
She also explained that, like Woo Young Woo’s character, she was a victim of bullying and teasing. Yet, it was her hobbies outside of school that helped her develop.
Another similarity seems to be the idea that both Woo Young Woo and Temple Gardin’s thoughts seemed to be surrounded by pictures. The doctor explained, “I think in pictures. If I don’t have a picture, I don’t think. Being a visual thinker, I tend to put things into categories.”
In the series, netizens will see that when Woo Young Woo is in thought or needs to recall information, she will see pictures of the pages or the documents she needs to refer to.
Talking to Hankook Ilbo, Professor Kim Byung Gun, who advised the series, explained that they wanted to create a character that broke the stereotype that those with autism need to be cared for or are unable to function in society.
Throughout her career, Temple Gardin has proved this. With the help of her family, she was able to nurture her intelligence and make a difference in the world through her research on animals, but her dedication to breaking the stigma that surrounds autism.
Similarly, the character of Woo Young Woo is doing the same. After years of her father worrying about her, she found her passion and became Korea’s first-ever attorney who is on the autism spectrum.
So far, the attitude towards the series has been predominantly positive, with netizens worldwide sharing their praise for the show’s approach to discussing the topic of autism.
If the character has been based on Temple Gardin, it was the perfect choice as she is someone who has spent her life breaking down stereotypes and using her intelligence for good.
You can read more about the series below.