Fanzine Reveals Inner Workings of Korean Soaps

Posted by Cat Ramos

Got this from Chosun.com

The Korean Wave is ebbing, and the backlash is under way. Viewers in the Asian countries that could not get enough of Korean soaps at one stage are now complaining about their monotonous plots and off-the-rack characterization. Critics say the formula is becoming an obstacle to the further development of the Korean pop culture wave. Now, even a Japanese magazine for fans of the Korean Wave has laid out elements of the formula for its readers. “We can predict what will happen in any scene of Korean drama, like fortunetellers,” it said. “Perhaps Korean drama has a mysterious power that enables us to make predictions.” Here are its seven iron rules of Korean soaps.

1. Ordinary girl falls in love with business big shot
This is the standard storyline in Korean dramas. Hero owns conglomerate, heroine is a common office worker or an ordinary woman. How about this: Heroine is trying on clothes in a luxury boutique. Hero watches her, sitting on a chair with his hand on his chin. He smiles at her and slightly shakes his index finger, to indicate “no” for an item she’s trying on.

2. Angry guy
When a male character is angry, his face is always seen in a mirror or window. Without exception, he then proceeds to break the mirror or window.

3. Very young executive
In both Korea and Japan, most executives are over 50. But in Korean soaps, many business executives are young and hunky. Even staffers’ girlfriends fall in love with them.

4. All doctors are surgeons
In Korean medical dramas, there are no doctors except surgeons. Internists and ear, nose and throat specialists may not like it, but it is so. If the lead is a doctor, he or she always becomes terminally ill but keeps quiet about it. And you thought early diagnosis and treatment were basic principles of medical service.

5. Fortuitous cabs
The heroes in Korean soaps have an uncanny ability to catch a cab in a timely manner. In any emergency, a cab just happens to pass. Or maybe it’s the cab drivers who have the power of foresight?

6. Weather forecasts are always wrong
Heroine is soaked in unexpected shower due to wrong weather forecasts. Hero appears in front of her carrying — an umbrella!

7. Mobile phones
No matter how poor they are, the protagonists have an expensive mobile phone. Most cost some W700,000 (US$1=W923).

The list could go on, but the point is made. One pleasure Korean soaps provide is predictability, invariably.

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0 thoughts on “Fanzine Reveals Inner Workings of Korean Soaps

  1. vina

    hmmm…that’s the problem with korean dramas, the stories are quite redundant and have so many episodes…plus the storyline becomes dragging in the middle part…that’s why i only watch about 1 or 2 korean dramas each season…why do they have to reach 16-20 something episoes? because they even include some unnecessary parts, well that’s only my opinion…that is why i like japanese dramas so much, they have so many unique storylines, sometimes weird but still great!

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