[EDITORIALS]Soap opera bubbles over"Romance," a highly popular MBC soap opera about the forbidden love between a young female teacher and a male student at her school, has come under heavy criticism from the Korean Federation of Teachers Associations. While the teachers' group claims the content of the soap opera is a serious infringement of educational authority, the television broadcasting station denies anything controversial about the story. The reactions of the public television watchers are also divided. Some of the more liberal-minded viewers think the teachers association is overreacting to what is, after all, a mere soap opera. More concerned people are calling for the soap opera to be taken off the air and for the TV station to take responsibility for the moral damage they say it is causing to society's classrooms. There are those who worry that this soap opera will give the wrong impression to students and that "copycat" cases will follow. On the other hand, there are those who say they feel the romance in the soap opera is something that could happen to anyone in real life and that it shouldn't be treated as immoral. Some of the more sharp-minded viewers were quick to point out that a soap opera in the past about a male teacher marrying his female student hadn't caused such an uproar as "Romance."
Cases of love like the one found in "Romance" that transcend age and social status have already become quite frequent in our society. The difference in age or social status of two people in love cannot be the deciding criteria of whether their love is "immoral" or not. This soap opera should not be branded as harmful to society for depicting such a romance.
However, the producers should not forget the social-educational role of the television media in their pursuit of the theme of "love." Public television, unlike other more restricted media such as cable television, is accessible to all viewers. Scenes such as the one where the teacher is dragged out of her classroom by the police or where the teacher and the student kiss in the school nurse's office were not educational at all and, while it is unnatural and damages the quality of drama, undeniably corny. Though it is true that viewers can choose their own television channels, this is no excuse for television producers to avoid their responsibilities.