[TV review]Good blurs with evil in sisters’ revenge tale

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[TV review]Good blurs with evil in sisters’ revenge tale

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A scene from “Women in the Sun.” [KBS-TV]

On a recent Saturday morning, I found myself doing something totally out of character.

I was tuning into reruns of three consecutive episodes of the KBS-TV drama, “Women in the Sun.”

At a glance, this series, on air every Wednesday and Thursday at 10 p.m., seems to be nothing more than a summation of cliches.

It uses tried and trusted formulas that are usually found in Korean TV dramas.

These include secret births, double love triangles and revenge.

Naturally, this drama was way off my usual must-watch list.

Still, idle flipping through the channels that weekend morning brought me to this drama, and I found myself enslaved.

As seen by its surging audience rating, this drama is captivating viewers.

Its ratings have leapt 10 percent to more than 17 percent.

The crux of this series is the two lead female characters ? Do-young and Sa-wol, the star-crossed sisters.

These two characters betray the Shakespearean adage, “Frailty, thy name is woman.”

They are both strong-willed go-getters who know what they want.

And they are ready to do anything to make their dreams to come true.

Do-young is a successful, sought-after TV personality, hosting a popular TV talk show called “The Wonder Woman Show” that reunites lost relatives or friends.

Do-young herself is a wonder woman figure, always voted as the No. 1 role model for young women.

However, beneath her tough shell, she bears the scars from an unfortunate childhood in an orphanage.

That was before a childless well-to-do couple decided to adopt her.

Little Do-young tries her best to please her adoptive mother, but her efforts are derailed when her adoptive parents give birth to a daughter named Ji-young.

Do-young later abandons her little sister in the crowded Seoul Station and comes back home alone, never to see her sister again, or not.

Years later, Do-young has grown into this successful woman, armed with a hotshot boyfriend, but she feels a sense of crisis, as Sa-wol, a self-made personal shopper of luxury items at a department store, enters her life.

Do-young suspects that Sa-wol may be her sister and she soon discovers that her gut feeling is right.

Despite Do-young’s efforts to cover this up, Sa-wol has discovered the truth behind her birth, and slowly begins to take revenge against Do-young.

In the meantime, there is a double love triangle, as Do-young’s boyfriend, Jun-se, happens to be the one whom Sa-wol secretly admires.

At the same time, Dong-woo, who used to fancy Sa-wol from the same orphanage, falls in love with Do -young.

The true weapon of this series is that it knows how to vary its cliches.

Instead of making viewers savor Sa-wol’s revenge against Do-young, this series also focuses on Do-young’s anxiety.

Through Do-young’s soliloquies on how badly she wanted to be loved by her adoptive parents, viewers find themselves sympathizing with the character.

So the charm of this drama is that it draws no clear line in the sand between good and evil.

It’s not a simple story of revenge.

Rather, it highlights and creates an emotional connection with the scars of individuals, as it gives a chance for Do-young to defend herself.

The world is an unfair place, and Do-young was just not lucky enough to be born with a silver spoon in her mouth.

It does not feel right to put all the blame on Do-young, and this blurred border between good and evil is the drama’s virtue.


by Chun su - jin[sujiney@joongang.co.kr]
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