Characters assume alter identities

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Characters assume alter identities


From left: Hugh Laurie, Robin Tunney and William Petersen. [JoongAng Ilbo]

As American dramas become more popular in Korea, Korean netizens have been fast inventing nicknames for their favorite characters, creating a trend within a trend.
One example is “Gil banjang,” which combines the name of William Petersen’s character, Gil Grissom, from the drama “C.S.I.” (Crime Scene Investigation) with banjang, which means squad leader in Korean.
Petersen’s character has gained popularity in Korea partly due to his charisma, but also because he resembles Gus Hiddink (who led the Korean soccer team to the semi- finals during the 2002 World Cup games).
Along with “Gil banjang,” David Caruso’s character in “C.S.I.,” Horatio Caine, has been called “Ho banjang.”
“Ha baksa” refers to Hugh Laurie’s character, Dr. Gregory House, in the medical drama “House,” and “Baebeon” refers to Robin Tunney’s character, the lawyer Veronica Donovan from “Prison Break.”
Bae is the Korean pronunciation of the first syllable of Veronica, and beon is a shortened form of the Korean word for lawyer.
These characters have also become the subjects of many parodies. Recently, a top Korean star was featured in a television advertisement wearing a Michael Scofield mask and one soju advertisement featured a parody version of the cast of C.S.I.
Culture analyst Kim Jong-hui said, “Korean netizens have a strong tendency to create their own cultural trends by making parody posters and videos.
“Making nicknames for these American television characters is one of the examples,” he added.

By Kim Pil-kyu JoongAng Ilbo []
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