Couch potatoes get up and make own shows
Leave it to Korea’s Internet pranksters to flip television on its head. Now that almost every T.V. drama is also available over the Internet to anyone with a broadband connection, tech-savvy youths are using special software to capture freeze-frame images, edit them, add their own dialogue bubbles and then post these “drama cartoons” or “dratoons” on the Web.
These do-it-yourself dramas are often parodies. One that circulated widely was of based on MBC network’s epic series “Sindon.” Internet users noticed the resemblance of a character in “Sindon,” Wonhyeon Monk, to the star of an earlier television series “Sinipsawon.” Naturally, enterprising graphic artists mixed the two characters and plots to produce a video clip called “The Dream of Wonhyeon Monk.” Explaining the plot line of the parody would be meaningless to someone unfamiliar with the two shows, but the clip involves the Monk dreaming that he is the lead character of “Sinipsawon.” The clip is humorous because he applies for a job and is interviewed by Sindon.
On the principle that there is no such thing as bad publicity, television drama producers have welcomed these parodies. Jeong Un-hyeon, the chief producer of “Sindon,” commented on how users have manipulated the laughter of the main character. “The laughter that represents Sindon’s disbelief of his society has been mixed with the sarcasm of the current young generation, making it a subject for parody.” This is good, explained Mr. Jeong, because “It shows that the series is getting attention from the younger generation.”
Another version of these parodies is the “virtual scenario.” Viewer-manipulators reinterpret the drama’s original scenarios and create a new story line. An Internet user’s retelling of this year’s smash hit, “My Name is Kim Sam-sun,” was a hit in its own right. The amateur producer shifted the plot to something akin to the film “The Sixth Sense,” in which all the major characters were in fact dead.
Other reinterpretations of two MBC dramas, “Gutseeora Geunsuna” and “Danpatppang,” were so popular that the network set up a special section on its official Web site devoted to such remakes.
“TV drama series parodies have become a significant part of Internet culture,” said Kim seok-on, who runs the web site for Dcinside.com, a mecca for exchanging images. “Networks are adding parody menus on their Web sites. This is no longer just something enjoyed by people immersed in the Internet.”
Here’s some more jargon for you: “parody webzines,” which use magazine covers for parodies. The TV series “Daejanggeum” was parodied in “Monthly Court Lady” and “Court Lady Sense.” Some have become institutions in their own right.
“Seodongyo,” an epic drama, has set up an official Web site managed by Internet users themselves. The manager of the SBS network’s Web site, Kim Min-seon, said, “An increasing numbers of Internet users are reinterpreting, manipulating and parodying the original content to share it with others. Reflecting on this trend, we are conducting an experiment in which we handed over the official Web site to the users.” One of the most popular parodies on the site is a takeoff on “Seodongyo” and an SK Telecom advertisement.
by Jeong Hyeon-mok
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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