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The Netflix Show Where a Woman Turns Into a Chicken Nugget Is Somehow Weirder Than You Think

Be careful what you dip.

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Netflix just debuted its latest big-budget, high-profile sci-fi series, 3 Body Problem, but don’t let it distract you from a humble show with more ambition and heart that premiered on the service just days earlier. While 3 Body Problem is about saving the entire Earth, this series is focused on a much humbler mission: keeping a chicken nugget safe. It may not have the same production values, but by the end of the first episode, you’ll be more invested in one little nugget than you are in the entire planet.

Chicken Nugget, based on the Korean webtoon of the same name, follows Go Baek-joong, an intern at a machine manufacturing company who loves singing, dancing, and wearing yellow pants (a plot point worth keeping in mind). He has a crush on Min-ah, the daughter of his boss, Choi Seon-man, and he offers to share his sweet-and-sour chicken lunch with her. But before she can take her first bite, she steps into a strange purple machine that was delivered to the office and morphs into a chicken nugget.

Min-ah keeps her human form in an Interstellar-esque void, and the series opens with her asking, “Which is harder: living as a chicken nugget for five days or a human for 50 years?” That philosophical thesis is far more sophisticated than the series’ initially comedic tone, but it earns its introspection by the end. After early visual gags where Baek-joong and Seon-man realize Min-ah got mixed up in a box of normal, non-human chicken nuggets, they start to pick at the central mystery of the purple machine, and that’s when things get weird.

Over its 10 half-hour episodes, Chicken Nugget shifts from goofy mystery to coming-of-age romance to period drama and back again, all with a surrealist tone that’s hard to pin down. At one point, we see Baek-joong fantasize about a love story with Min-ah, but her head is replaced with a giant chicken nugget.

Min-ah in nugget form.


It all builds to a gutsy finale that involves flashforwards, the purple machine’s true purpose, and even Go Baek-joong’s beloved yellow pants. Without spoiling too much, it’s safe to say you won’t see much of it coming.

But while the ending is a surprise, the show’s tone never wavers. It balances Korean comedy tropes with an aesthetic that echoes Amelie and La La Land in equal measure: colorful, stylized shots that prioritize whimsy while still managing to tell a touching story.

Chicken Nugget begins by asking a big question about existence and then, as improbable as it sounds, it manages to answer it. Don’t believe it? Check out the show for yourself — you’ve never seen anything like it. Just don’t watch while you’re hungry.

Chicken Nugget is streaming on Netflix.

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