The writer of the hit SBS series The Penthouse recently sat down for an interview to look back on the earlier seasons and give a peek into the final season!
Writer Kim Soon Ok was first asked to pick the most memorable scene from both seasons. She answered with a scene from the first season that carried into the second season significantly.
In episode 20, the scene where the people of Hera Club escape from the van and are wading in the dirty water was most memorable. In Ma Ri’s [Shin Eun Kyung‘s] narration, she addresses the fantastic party of Hera Palace, but in reality, they are arguing over who will go through the dirty water first because they want to live. So the contrast was shown well. I think viewers must have felt delighted at that first punishment.
If those people sincerely begged for forgiveness, then the tragedy of Season 2 probably wouldn’t have happened. In Season 2, the second punishment for these unchanging people unfolds. I remember the scenes I had the most fun writing were when Shim Soo Ryeon [Lee Ji Ah] transformed into Na Ae Gyo, pretended to get hit by Joo Dan Tae’s [Uhm Ki Joon‘s] car, and asks ‘What day is it today?’ to the police after being stuck in the basement.
—Kim Soon Ok
Along with its interesting character relationships and near-insane plot, The Penthouse also gained a lot of popularity due to its attention to societal issues such as school violence and real estate. Kim Soon Ok shared that she is not a stranger to these topics as she has witnessed them in real life.
She commented, “I think we’ve all met a ‘Min Seol Ah’ [Jo Soo Min] at least once in our lives.” She confessed that not everyone in life is perfect. Even if someone seems like they have everything, they could be hurt, verbally abused, tormented, and inconvenienced. She stated, “I don’t think any person can feel relaxed about this problem. Just like Je Ni [Jin Ji Hee], I think we can sometimes be perpetrators, and sometimes be victims.”
Kim Soon Ok also took the opportunity to praise her amazing cast, especially Eugene (Oh Yoon Hee). She said that even though she received a lot of hate for her character’s actions in season 1, Eugene didn’t complain once and focused on acting, wondering how she could enhance Oh Yoon Hee. She commented, “I’m just thankful that she adapted so well with her pretty face to being the most realistically good yet evil character.”
As this series has consistently been well-anticipated, many fans have created amazingly intricate theories. Given the immense popularity of the series, many viewers have incredibly detailed theories. For example, many believe that Bae Ro Na’s (Kim Hyun Soo‘s) name comes from Verona, Italy, the setting of William Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet. Others believe that Joo Dan Tae’s name comes from the old book, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, with references to Zeus and Jupiter.
The names were created in a meeting with the assistant writers. Bae Ro Na is named after an Italian city known for opera festivals. Joo Dan Tae’s name doesn’t specifically come from Zeus, but we named him with the most intense nuance. The first name we picked was Oh Yoon Hee. We wanted a common name that almost everyone has seen at least once.
—Kim Soon Ok
When she was asked to describe The Penthouse Season 3, she said “ruins.” She explained, “A human sins and the entire world comes crumbling down. However, even in that tragic situation, new heavens and earth open, and in between the fallen rocks, plants will begin sprouting too.”
As for right now, Kim Soon Ok simply just wishes for The Penthouse to be remembered well. She was reminded of a past comment she received from a fan. It said, “I want to continue watching how Cheon Seo Jin [Kim So Yeon] lives the rest of her life.” She was delighted that even if a series gets completed, fans are still interested to see how each character lives in the future. She said it was one of the most rewarding things to hear as a writer.
Finally, the writer thanked the viewers for waiting for the new season and for supporting their series. She promised that she, the actors, and the crew would do their best until the end.