[Letters] Pleasing viewers or sticking to the original

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[Letters] Pleasing viewers or sticking to the original

“Is this the best way? Are you sure?” If you don’t know this statement these days, you could be considered as a spy from North Korea. Well, to be honest, I was one of the minority who didn’t recognize this famous ‘quote’ from the most popular television drama of the last year, “Secret Garden.” Even though the drama ended in mid-January, a lot of women seem to still be in love with the main character, Ju-won, played by a handsome actor, Hyun Bin. Numerous buzzwords and symptoms like “Juwon-ache” still exist all over the country, which shows that Korea is in love with television dramas. The more the show gains in popularity, the more the viewers demand and voice their concern about how the story should unfold. Therefore, the writer usually ends up with the inevitable dilemma to decide whether to change the story so that viewers will be satisfied with, or stick to the original plot. I think the writer should keep the initial intention of the plot and not be swayed by viewer opinions.

Let me give you another example: “Giant,” which was broadcast last year, is about the success story achieved in the best and worst of economic times from the 1970s to 2000s. Most people probably thought the drama would be boring and old-fashioned, but “Giant” managed to avoid predictability and had enough twists and turns to charm viewers. As for the ending of the drama, though, I was both satisfied and disappointed at the same time. First, I was happy that most of the characters in the show ended up happy and the main character demonstrated mercy, forgiveness and love to his enemies. On the other hand, I thought the ending of the drama lacked originality and it was rather stereotypical. The virtuous win and the evil lose. This has been the oldest and the simplest theme for numerous stories. I believe the author of the story that was capable of delivering such a convincing plot should have considered more about what would feel original and fresh to viewers. In this aspect, I think the drama “Giant” failed.

Another example of a drama that was affected a lot by the public was the drama, “Dae Mul.” It was originally planned to feature and define the true meaning of politics by making the main character the first female president of Korea.

This was a very fresh idea and most people were interested in the idea. However, there was one big problem. The politicians and the public thought that the main character, Seo Hye-rim, refered to an actual politician: Park Geun-hye, who is considered a realistic candidate to become the first woman president of Korea. A lot of people criticized the drama saying that all it has done is endorse Representative Park.

The impact that a television drama has in Korean society is significant these days. People follow interesting quotes and actions as if they were the main characters in the story. People also follow fashion trends shown in the drama. Some people imagine the world in the drama as true and lose touch with reality.

These phenomena surely indicate that Koreans are affected by television dramas in some way.

Being influenced by a drama itself is not necessarily a problem but it is the response that causes trouble. Instead of criticizing the show just because of our taste or wish, we should consider the key themes and original story of the drama and then make comments according to our tastes or preferences.

If you are a true fan, you should learn to respect what the writer and producer intended and planned and don’t interfere all the time to change the storyline according to your preference.

*Letters and commentaries for publication should be addressed “Letters to the Editor.” E-mailed letters should be sent to eopinion@joongang.co.kr.

Shin Ye-in, a freshman at Gwacheon Foreign Language High School
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