MBC should just say goodbye, ‘Samsoon’Enough is enough. But MBC-TV appears to be unaware of this simple truth. The station’s long-awaited smash hit drama “My Lovely Samsoon” came to an end last week, but MBC, one of the big three national broadcasters, seems to be far from getting over it.
Before the last episode of the 16-part TV drama aired at 10 p.m. last Thursday, even the newscaster on the main 9 p.m. news show, known for his all-too-solemn look and tone of voice, wrapped up the program that night by saying, “Do not miss Samsoon tonight.” Even without that urging, “Samsoon” aficionados tuned in to bid goodbye to the TV series, whose final episode recorded an impressive 50 percent audience rating.
Even after the end of “Samsoon,” the station’s doting over the show continued, leading to the birth of spin-off programs relying on the show’s aura. The first in the series was a self-laudatory documentary on the “Samsoon syndrome” affecting the station’s producers. It might be a bit too embarrassing to see the program blow its own horn so loudly, but the documentary, with the grandiose title “Republic of Korea, Kim Sam-soon,” aired last Sunday. It aimed at discussing how the drama set a new standard for contemporary women and how much confidence it gave to viewers, which, after all, was nothing but self-admiration.
This was only the beginning. The “Samsoon” lead actors and actresses kept appearing on the station’s other variety shows. Although it’s a great pleasure to see the pretty boy actor Hyun Bin, it’s also painful to see him abused. After a slew of talk shows, the actor is to appear on another MBC radio show to “share his memories about Samsoon.” Well, again, enough is enough.
Of course, the story of an average Jane described as unattractive yet spunky, achieving her career goal as well as the love of a younger and richer Prince Charming, had an explosive popularity, and this reviewer was among the Samsoon enthusiasts. More than half of the people of this (theoretically) free country voluntarily turned on their TV sets last Thursday for “Samsoon.” To see the station desperately squeezing the last drop of the show’s essence, however, is no help in getting ready for the post-Samsoon era.
It’s not only MBC that’s still swamped by the phantom of “Samsoon.” SBS, whose “Princess Lulu” starts today at 10 p.m., is obviously trying to describe “Lulu” as the successor of “Samsoon,” an exceptional ploy to make use of a competitor. Yet, the official “Lulu” Web site is all about how the starring actress of “Samsoon,” Kim Sun-ah, wishes the best for “Lulu” actress Kim Jeong-eun. There is even a theory that “Lulu” will hit it big because it’s filmed on the same island, Jeju, that “Samsoon” was. There’s no need to think hard about the absurdity of this situation. The prospect for the “Princess,” however, seems not so bright, judging from its banal premise of a pretty, pure and rich girl falling in love with a handsome, talented but poor guy, against all odds.
MBC, in the meantime, is promoting another series in the absence of “Samsoon” titled “How to Cope With a Breakup,” a story about a girl trying in vain to get revenge on the guy who broke up with her. The first question is: Why does she have to bother to make vain efforts at “revenge” over a breakup? The so-called mission statement of this new show says it wants to give an “I will survive” kind of courage to its viewers, but it’s all too obvious that revenge is not the right way to cope with a breakup. With such a dismal future ahead, there’s only one thing to say: Good-bye, Samsoon.
by Chun Su-jin