‘The Producers’: First Thoughts

korean drama the producers iu kim soo hyun
[Disclaimer: This article contains minor spoilers]

KBS’s The Producers premiered last week on the 15th of May to high ratings but mixed reviews. Netizens were mostly divided, some of them fully on the Producer bandwagon, while others rejected it as being too boring. As a drama being shot like a mockumentary, it is a rarity among other normal K-dramas, which may or may not turn people off.

There were a few aspects to this drama that are particularly enjoyable, despite the fact that only two episodes have aired so far. The first aspect would be the most special part of this show, the “mockumentary” format. This is shown by the constant interviews of the different characters that take place throughout the episodes. These interviews were the basis for some complaints made by netizens, as they deemed those scenes unnecessary and a waste of time. However, these interviews allowed viewers to understand the different characters in a deeper and more relatable level, and that this was a very unique way of presenting these characters. In a way, it is similar to the interviews featured in hit 2014 drama My Love from the Stars, which provided a lot of comedy and depth to the main characters. In the same way, these interviews do enhance and liven up the long Producer episodes, which go up to one hour and 20 minutes (normal K-dramas are around one hour per episode), in an effort to imitate a real Korean variety show.

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The use of real TV programs, names of producers, names of celebrities, and so on, really brings the level of realism in this drama to a new level. It also allows it to stay through to its mockumentary format and brings in a lot of comedy for viewers as well. For example, the constant mention of Na PD (Na Young Seok, producer of tvN variety shows like Grandpas over Flowers and Three Meals a Day) is hilarious, along with all the meta jokes being made throughout the show. Admittedly, it might be difficult to understand and enjoy these jokes if you are not well-informed about variety programmes in Korea, however, the show also has a lot of comedic moments apart from the meta jokes that all viewers can enjoy! A good example would be the car-scratching incident between our two main characters, Baek Seung Chan (Kim Soo Hyun) and Tak Ye Jin (Gong Hyo Jin), which took place in the first episode. The drama makes full use of the longer screening time and uses repetition to increase the effectiveness of its jokes, making for more enjoyable comedy.

kim soo hyun gif the producers

kim soo hyun gif the producers

kim soo hyun gif the producers

kim soo hyun gif the producers

via shura on Tumblr

Another part of the drama that’s greatly appealing is the four main characters, along with the amazing cast. Two characters in particular, Seung Chan and Ra Joon Mo (Cha Taehyun), really stuck out, mainly because they are the underdogs. In just two episodes, this pair faced several challenges and unfortunate situations, be it Seung Chan, the variety rookie who faces heartbreak and failures in his first two days at work, or Joon Mo, whose variety program is nearly cancelled and has to face scary old actresses. In the midst of these challenges however, both of them grew and developed in their own ways.

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In a short span of two episodes, this drama was able to showcase growth, no matter how minute in these characters, which was a definite winning point. It showed that the characterization for these characters were well thought out, and we can look forward to even more growth (hopefully) in the rest of the show. Ye Jin and Cindy (IU) haven’t really had the same character development yet, but their characters are, for the time being, imperfect and utterly relatable. Their conflicts and feelings come off realistic, which makes a bigger impression because they’re relatable and is something that is important for a drama to be successful. After all, if viewers were not invested in the lives of the characters, the drama would definitely be a flop.

iu gif the producers cindy

via Tumblr

The cast has, so far, managed to play these characters to a T, especially the more veteran actors Kim Soo Hyun, Cha Tae Hyun, and Gong Hyo Jin. They’re so natural in their roles that viewers are able to let go of their previous images. With IU, though, it’s evident that she’s trying very hard, but she definitely doesn’t seem as natural as the rest of her castmates. Her character, Cindy, hasn’t really had much time to shine so far, but she still has time to develop her character more. But overall, even though The Producers has just begun, it’s showing a lot of promise with its strong writing and cast that viewers will surely enjoy.

Are you watching this drama? How do you like it so far? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

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K-Dramas as a Window into the Realities of Korean Society

K-dramas, at times crazy and out of the world, at times melodramatic and tear-jerking, at times sugary with romance and heart-warming gestures, they are also at times very realistic in the depiction of real-life situations and problems in the Korean society.  K-dramas are an integral part of the Korean entertainment scene and have played a big part in the globalization of Korea’s culture. From realistic dramas such as Misaeng and the School Series, a lot can be learnt about the Korean society and their way of life, especially for foreign viewers like me who have not experienced this first hand.

The Korean society can be a materialistic one, as shown in a Reuters poll where more than two-thirds of Koreans considered money to be the most important sign of success. When Pope Francis visited Korea in August, 2014, he also urged the Catholic youths in Korea to go against the materialism that was present in the society, showing that Korea’s materialistic society is indeed “well-known” and existent.

Traces of this particular aspect of the Korean society can be found all types of dramas, from teenage rom-coms to makjang weekend dramas (dramas  with very dramatic plots, ranging from birth secrets to revenge, etc.) For example, in SBS’s currently airing drama, Heard It Through the Grapevine, Han In sang (Lee Joon) and his lover Seo Bum (Go Ah Sung) face many oppositions and challenges in their relationship from their families and parents because of their differing family backgrounds and economical status. This drama was even promoted as a black comedy to supposedly satirize materialistic ideas held by the upper class in Korea.

Another common problem in the Korean society accurately depicted by K-dramas is the wealth gap between the extremely rich and the extremely poor. These wealth gaps are depicted normally by “chaebol meets poor person and falls in love” scenarios in rom-coms. And through these dramas, these social classes and the resulting difference in lifestyles is also clearly brought out. Take the example of popular drama The Heirs. The drama is literally filled with rich chaebols, such as Kim Tan (Lee Minho) and Rachel Yoo (Kim Jiwon). In the midst of these rich kids however, there are a few poor ones, such as female protagonist Cha Eun Sang (Park Shin Hye) and Jeon Hyeon Ju (Lim Ju-Eun). The poor characters led significantly different lives compared to their richer counterparts, as shown by Eun Sang’s part time jobs and her mother, who worked as a servant in a rich household. Rachel, on the other hand, was consistently shown shopping extravagantly and her fashion was clearly more expensive than Eun Sang’s. In short, there is always a significant difference between the lives of the rich and the poor characters.

This problem is an existing one in the Korean society, due to factors such as the changing salary system, where a new ability-based system was implemented in efforts to improve Korea’s economy, thus increasing the income gap between professional and managerial workers. This can also be seen by the Gini Coefficient (measure of inequality of a distribution) for Korea, which increased from 0.256 to 0.280 between 1990 and 2013.

Also on KultScene:  You’re Missing Out if You’re Not Watching The Cohabiting K-Drama ‘The Lover’

 K-dramas and realities of society

Skipping away from the technical economics of the complicated Korean society, let us move on to a more light-hearted topic, high schools. Characterized by trends such as glamorous school uniforms and light-hearted romances, school dramas generally attract a younger and more fun-loving audience, but there are still instances in which the cruelty of real life seeps in. For example, a theme that is recurrent in School 2013 is that of the struggle of studying and the stress of getting into a prestigious university. The students in the drama attend school from morning to night and a few of them are constantly shown cramming notes and studying feverishly to prepare for their university entrance exams (Sunueng). An example would be the character of Song Ha Kyung (Park Seyoung), who has immense pressure placed upon her by her family of S University graduates. As a result, she studies all the time (literally, I kid you not) and even resorts to drinking a combination of energy drinks to stay awake and study more, eventually landing herself in the hospital.

This is an extremely realistic situation of the students in Korea now. The long school hours and all the time taken for studying leaves students with no time to think about their dreams and their future as they only have time to study. The reason for all this stress? According to an article from Aljazeera News, college entrance exams are seen as the gateway to a better future, and as a student interviewed in the article stated, it “can determine the rest of your life.” Getting a good score in this exam could lead to entrance into prestigious universities and the achievement of a high paying job and a potentially better marriage.

Another character in this drama that showcases the negative impacts of this study-inflicted stress is Kim Minki Choi ChangYub). Always a model student, Min Ki is a nice and kind boy, who has on many occasions helped his fellow classmates and teachers. His mother, on the other hand, constantly comes to the school to make complaints against the teachers and principals for the “poor teaching standard,” causing Min Ki a lot of embarrassment and stress. She also sends her son to attend private academies after school and even helps him cheat so that he would achieve better grades. Needless to say, this does not bode well with him, and after several years of submitting to his mother, he finally reaches his breaking point when his mother gives him the answer key for an essay competition. Unable to take the pressure anymore, he goes to the rooftop of his school and contemplates suicide. Fortunately for Min Ki, he manages to reconsider his decision and with the help of his caring teacher, Jung In Jae (Jang Nara), he reconciles with his mother and settles his problems.

Sadly, there are many students in Korea who are not as lucky as Min Ki and have succumbed to their internal struggles. This can be seen by the high suicide rate recorded of Koreans, which is at an average of 28.5 people per 100,000 people, one of the highest in the world, according to statistics from the World Health Organisation in 2013. Suicide is indeed the number one cause of death for South Koreans aged 10 to 30.

 Also on KultScene: BoA ‘Kiss My Lips’ Music Video & Song Review 


K-dramas and realities of Society (2)

When we talk about a society, we can never neglect the working class as they are the basis of a society’s economy. Perhaps the office life may seem too mundane and boring to ever base an entire drama upon, but as proven by the unexpected hit of 2014, Misaeng, realistic office dramas do indeed tug at the heartstrings of viewers due to its relatability and accurate portrayal of the problems in the society. Take for example, the problem of gender discrimination. This is especially poignant in the case of Ahn Young Yi (Kang Sora), who was initially one of the most promising and successful interns in the office before she was transferred to a department full of men who were biased against her. Although she conquered it and won their respect in the end, the lack of respect she was shown because of her gender is a real-life problem that many women in the world (not just in Korea) still face now.

Another real-life situation illustrated through this drama would be the importance of education in one’s career. The main character, Jang Geu Rae (Im Siwan) faced the problem of only knowing one language on his first day at work, as he was unable to answer and understand the calls made to the office by foreign businessmen. He was also looked down upon by his fellow co-workers because he graduated with only a high school diploma. In a direct contrast, Ahn Young Yi was able to succeed at her job because she was fluent in several languages was competent and had more experience as well.

There are plenty of K-dramas out there apart from the ones listed above that also depict several realities of the Korean society, and while some of them may be overly grim or too unrealistic, they are definitely still helpful for viewers to gain a better understanding of the real Korean society and way of life.

How accurate do you think are K-dramas in portraying real life? Do you think that K-dramas should even be so realistic? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

You’re Missing Out If You’re Not Watching The Cohabiting K-Drama ‘The Lover’

k drama the lover takuya

Love meets modernity when it comes to an episode of Mnet’s The Lover, a drama based around four couples living together. The show is groundbreaking in South Korea, where most people live with their parents until marriage, and many Korean dramas revolve around people who date only to get married.

Before the show began, I was worried that The Lover would try to tone down nontraditional aspects and just be an overall cute show. But if anything, The Lover flouts K-drama convention and does so with tender, humorous moments mixed with an amazing soundtrack.

The Lover is based on an apartment building, where four pairs of people live together without being married. One couple are hard workers who like not being married, one is an older woman with her young, broke boyfriend, the third is a man and a woman who started dating recently and live together to save money prior to getting married, and the fourth is a pair of roommates who has more sexual tension than most of the couples.

That First Scene Though

kdrama the lover

k drama the lover gif

shared by lovingdramasforever

Two Couples Provide The Heart of The Lovers

The show is about four couples, but there are two main ones. Oh Do Si (Oh Jung Se) and Ryu Doo Ri (Ryu Hyun Kyung) are a pair of thirty-somethings living together in what appears to be a love-hate relationship, with constant bickering and consistent teasing. However, when it comes down to it, the pair are really good for one another and support one another when they’re feeling down. Sometimes, one of them makes the wrong decision, but at the end of each episode, the two are happy with one another and their little tiffs are just signs of endearment. Along with working through their relationship, the Do-Doo couple turn out to have a lot of interesting fun together, especially in the bedroom.

k drama the lover gif

kdrama the lvoer gif

shared by shinagyuns

The next main couple is thirty-year-old Choi Jin Nyuh (Choi Yeo Jin) and Jung Yeong Joon (Jung Joon Young). They also have problems, particularly with their age differences, but Jung Yeon Joon’s spazztic personality (in and out of the show…) brings about a lot of laughters. The first episodes include one memorable scene with a glow in the dark condom and a lost earring. Do-Doo are endearing and relatable, but it’s the Choi-Jung couple that is laugh out loud funny.

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Sul Eun & Hwan Jong Are Skillfully Awkward

Ha Sul Eun (Ha Eun Sul) and Park Hwan Jong (Park Jong Hwan) are a brand new couple that don’t really know what they’re doing with one another, and haven’t had a lot of time to develop. Sul Eun doesn’t want Hwan Jong to know what a woman does when men aren’t around (pooping, shaving armpits, etc.) and Hwan Jong doesn’t really know what he’s doing with her. With three episodes of the show done, hopefully this couple will get more development in future episodes, rather than just exhibit an example of cohabiting gone horribly wrong.

Takuya and Joon Jae Are Eye Candy While Pushing Boundaries

Speaking of horribly wrong, here is horribly right, at least for many fans of K-dramas. Will they, won’t they? There has been a push in recent years in dramas to highlight homosexual relationships, (i.e. ” Answer Me 1997″), but this is the first time it is so overtly done by the writers, likely to make fan girls swoon while watching Cross Gene’s Terada Takuya and actor Lee Jae Joon play the roles of, what else? Takuya and Lee Joon Jae. The two men get highlighted throughout the show for their looks and height (in comparison to the other male leads,) and act like typical roommates. Until they consider watching china residents fuck and all of a sudden they’re watching porn together in the bed that they share… Because Takuya is too tall to sleep on the couch.

kdrama the lover

kdrama the lover gif

shared by bokdongie

It is actually surprising that they were able to find a way to watch such things, as most porn sites have been blocked these days. Maybe they decided to do some research on sites like VPNCompass.com to see how they can unblock some of these sites so they can heighten their sexual pleasure. It definitely has a chance of working. Although it’s unclear whether the sexual tension will turn into anything, but whether it’s for humor or to gain media play, Takuya and Jae Joon are good for one another as roommates. Takuya’s outgoing personality meets Jae Joon’s gentler, cooler attributes, and their few minutes each episode leads to a lot of cultural, linguistic understandings and a lot of laughs.

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The Soundtrack Makes Everything Worth It

Many Korean television shows have a few very stellar songs that play repeatedly throughout the show. The Lover has a new song every few minutes, with the song’s name and artist to help anybody out if they want to find all of the information out. A lot of indie artists get airtime in a way that’s unusual for Korean dramas, including 10cm and Victim Mentality, and each song is played with meaning and timing.

If you’re looking for heartbreak and overdramatic-ness, The Lover isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a good time and a lot of modern relationships, then it’s worth a few hours of your time.

Have you seen the drama? How are you liking it so far? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

5 Reasons ‘The Girl Who Sees Smells’ May Be This Year’s Surprise Drama

Some Korean dramas are set up to be successes. This year’s Kill Me, Heal Me was one such drama that started well and ended well, complete with great actors and great plots. Some dramas, however, surprise everyone and end up smash successes despite seemingly weak plots and unknown actors. Other Korean dramas look like they’ll be huge hits due to the cast and crew behind scenes, and then sadly fail. The Girl Who Sees Smells is somewhere in between all of this, which means that it has room to grow and shine. The new SBS drama, also known as Sensory Couple, isn’t just like every other drama, and that means there’s a lot going for it.

[Disclaimer: This article contains a few spoilers]

It Has Everything That a Good Drama Needs

With dark comedy, supernatural abilities, a great soundtrack, and a murder plot to keep us from focusing for too long on how ridiculous the whole thing sh/bould be, The Girl Who Sees Smells is reminiscent of award winning 2013 drama, I Can Hear Your Voice. The Girl Who Sees Smells takes itself seriously when it needs to, like when focusing on murder cases, and gives the audience steady breaks from the darkness by making the lead female character a comedian who is trying to get her first break in the industry.

Plus, it’s based on a webcomic that is widely popular, so the plot’s already set and has an audience.

Shin Se Kyung is Believable As The Girl Who Sees Smells

As the title character Oh Cho Rim, Shin Se Kyung pulls off acting as a woman who wakes up from a coma with the ability to see smells. After a reasonable freak out in the first episode, Shin’s character steps into the role perfectly, acting like a human hound as she hunts trails of scent.

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She’s goofy and innocent, but Shin’s acting during small moments when Oh Cho Rim is flustered or disturbed by something reminds the audience constantly that she is more than just a hunting tool, but in fact the hunted.

Park Yoochun Is Her Perfect Foil

If Oh Cho Rim has too many senses, Choi Moo Gak has too few, and JYJ’s Park Yoochun thrives on not letting his character show pain due to medical condition. Even after guzzling coffee or being kicked by a superior, Choi/Park doesn’t flinch and acts as the opposite of Shin. Choi is motivated by one thing, to become a homicide detective and avenge his sister’s death, while Oh wants to just succeed in the here and now.

There’s a lot of bickering early on, and their romantic chemistry isn’t the best by the end of the second episode, but the two characters learn to trust each other and as they do, so does the audience. Rather than building a perfect romantic relationship, The Girl Who Sees Smells builds the camaraderie first and it’s perfect for a drama of this type.

The Opening Five Minutes

A screencap of my reaction (that Alexis had to read) as I watched the opening of The Girl Who Sees Smells:

Reaction to 'The Girl Who Sees Smells' KultScene

With three murders in the first five minutes, two families broken, a murderer revealed, a case of mistaken identity, amnesia, and supernatural abilities, The Girl Who Sees Smells could be extremely makjang (over the top dramatic, pushing realism for the sake of drama.) But this is SBS. SBS publicly announced in 2014 that it would tone down makjang after coming under fire for making dramas too unbelievable. The Girl Who Sees Smells isn’t supposed to be believable; people don’t see smells. But the show is compelling, gives the characters drama within the realm of that unbelievable world, where actions have reactions and Park and Shin’s character’s responses to things, despite ridiculous situations, seems rational and utterly realistic. Wouldn’t you scream if you woke up in a hospital and the world was glittering?

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Pretty Yet Simple CG

Speaking of, the sparkles that depict the scents that Oh Cho Rim sees are gorgeous. The colors and shapes are pretty, and if most people were asked to describe scents in color and physical terminology, this definitely beats gaseous wafts.

via ry-ra on Tumblr

via ry-ra on Tumblr

But Can This Drama Really Pull It Off?

The Girl Who Sees Smells is, despite the humor and magic, all about a series of murders and a pair of people who are inadvertently linked to them. Right now, it is filled with questions. Why does the murderer do what he does, what caused Choi and Oh’s afflictions, why, why, why? But if the questions are answered soon, The Girl Who Sees Smells may feel stale old. But with a team of directors and writers who worked on popular dramas like Tazza (no, not that one starring T.O.P) and Rooftop Prince on board, that seems unlikely. So expect some plot twists, and join us on a bumpy ride as we watch.

What Korean drama do you think will be the surprise of 2015? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Why You Should Give ‘Blood’ A Chance

KBS 2TV’s newest drama Blood about a vampire doctor just premiered in Korea this week and received mixed reviews from local and foreign audiences. The criticism focused on the allegedly bad acting of the lead actors, Gu Hye Sun (Jan Di from Boys Over Flowers) and Anh Jae Hyun (Cheon Song Yi’s little brother in My Love From the Star), and the similarities to the Twilight saga.

And while there is some validity to these statements (like the resemblance to some details in Twilight), there are also many more as to why you should give Blood a chance. The drama is only at its second episode, so all it needs is the opportunity to let the plot develop a bit more, which is, at the minimum, intriguing.

[Spoiler Alert: Some details of the story will be revealed]

From the first two episodes, here’s what we know so far: Ji Sang (Anh Jae Hyun) is a vampire who works at a prestigious hospital as a surgeon, but is able to quench his thirst with the help of a pill. Yoo Ri Ta (Gu Hye Sun) is also a surgeon at the hospital (we still don’t know a lot about her). However, the story revolves around Ji Sang looking for the origin of his vampirism disease in order to develop a cure, and clues he has found have directed him to this oncological center.

The vampire-fantasy Korean drama is anything but a novelty (Vampire Prosecutor, You Are My Vampire), with many of these riding on Twilight’s immense popularity when they aired. However, while the Cullen’s hype has long died down, we’re left waiting for the next big vamp story. Because Twilight is not the first vampire story to be hugely popular; vampire stories (Dracula, Interview With a Vampire) have always had a certain appeal to them, and like any trend, they come and go. Blood just might ignite that interest this year.

Also on KultScene: 6 Sides To ‘Kill Me, Heal Me’

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6 Sides To ‘Kill Me, Heal Me’

The MBC drama Kill Me, Heal Me, is, like most Korean dramas, about a man and a woman and the struggles that they go through in order to have their happy ending. Unlike many other dramas, Kill Me, Heal Me is about a man who struggles with multiple personalities, and the doctor who tries to help him find out the source of his mental disorder. Romance is a constant part of the plot, but there are multiple aspects to Kill Me, Heal Me that gives the show both depth and humor.

6. Storytelling At Its Best

Kill Me, Heal Me keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat, not just because of the twist and turns in the plot, but because of the way that the story is depicted. The writer behind Kill Me, Heal Me is Jin Soo Wan, who won an award for the screenplay of the 2012 drama, The Moon Embracing The Sun. Just as in that drama, Kill Me, Heal Me is told in a way that draws the viewers in, mixing seriousness with humor to create the perfect tone. Each episode has a memorable moment, where the viewer is expected to just pause for a moment and recognize that a seemingly simple line is actually a key point in the plot. Not all is as it seems in this drama, but the twist and turns seem natural, thanks to the scriptwriting.

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10 Things Seen On The 2015 DramaFever Awards Red Carpet

The 2015 DramaFever Awards were held in New York City on February 5, and stars aplenty showed up on the pre-event red carpet. KultScene was there, and we had a chance to speak to some of the presenters of the evening.

1. George Hu and Arden Cho Got Ready To Host

Arden Cho George Hu 2015 DramaFever Awards KultScene
Korean-American actress Cho (Teen Wolf) and Taiwanese-American Hu (Lan Ling Wang) were clearly ready to host the night, each saying that they were honored to host the third annual DramaFever Awards. The two looked glamorous as they strolled down the red carpet, posing together but giving individual interviews. Cho hosted the event in 2014, and promised that the 2015 Awards would be an even more memorable night.

2. Cho Was A Goddess Among A Crowd Of Men

Arden Cho 2015 DramaFever Awards KultScene

The 2015 DramaFever Awards had a lot of eye candy, but only one woman graced the Red Carpet prior to the event. Cho’s Sherri Hill white and orange dress was reminiscent of the grandeur of early Hollywood starlets and the co-host pulled it off beautifully. Cho discussed her favorite dramas, Secret Garden and Boys Over Flowers, especially the Japanese version, and how she felt representing the Korean-American community on a popular MTV show.

3. Hu Reminisced About New York Being His Home

George Hu 2015 DramaFever Awards KultScene

Although he’s a star now in Taiwan, George Hu is a New Yorker born and bred, and he admitted that he still calls New York “home.” “My parents are from Taiwan, so I can’t say I’m not from Taiwan, but I was born here. I’m from both sides. Both are home for me.” He said that the trip to host DramaFever isn’t his only one; Hu comes to New York twice a year so that his parents don’t have to worry so much.

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4. Acting-Idol Group 5urprise Got Hungry

5urprise 2015 DramaFever Awards KultScene

5urprise performed later in the evening, but on the red carpet the five members showed off their excitement at being in New York City. When asked what they wanted to see and do in New York City, members rattled off a simple list: Empire State Building, Times Square, Shake Shack, and Umami Burger.

5. And Member Seo Kang Joon Wowed With His Grasp Of English

Seo Kang Joon 5urprise 2015 DramaFever Awards KultScene

Translators were nowhere in sight when it came to the red carpet, but 5urprises’s members had no problem communicating with the English speaking press. Rising actor Seo Kang Joon (Cunning Single Lady) surprised everyone with his English language use, after exhibiting less than perfect skills on the variety show Roommate. In charge of responding for the group, Seo’s answers were clear and precise. The other members didn’t keep quiet either, and their excitement at performing at the 2015 DramaFever Awards was clear.

6. Running Man’s Kim Jong Kook Made The Crowd Riot

Running Man Kim Jong Kook 2015 DramaFever Awards KultScene

One of the cast members of Korea’s extremely popular variety show Running Man showed up as the last person to walk the red carpet, but Kim Jong Kook’s arrival while last was certainly not least. The screams from the fans waiting outside the venue erupted minutes before Kim made his way down the red carpet, where he posed for pictures while people shouted his tagline, “Sparta!”

Also on KultScene: Korean Drama Trends to Look Forward to in 2015

7. Fresh Off The Boat’s Hudson Yang Gave a Surprise Appearance

Hudson Yang 2015 DramaFever Awards KultScene

Yang is one of the breakout stars of one of the year’s most talked about sitcoms, and even though Fresh Off The Boat premiered only a few days before the DramaFever Awards, Hudson was all laughs on the red carpet. Have things changed for him since Fresh Off The Boat aired to huge acclaim? “I mean nothing’s really changed, I’ve always been kind of popular.” As for Valentine’s Day Plans? A resounding “no! It’s not that I’m not allowed, it’s that I don’t want to yet. I’m staying free.”

8. Yuki Furukawa Revealed His Flawless English

Yuki Furukawa 2015 DramaFever Awards KultScene

The star of Mischievous Kiss: Love In Tokyo its sequel is another drama star who spent time living in North America. Furukawa lived in Vancouver and New York, and he stopped to talk about appearing at the Awards and being one of Japan’s up-and-coming drama stars.

9. The Suit Came In Many Different Styles- Including George Hu’s Bedazzled Collar


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While Arden Cho’s dress was bright and elegant, a variety of different styles of suits made it to the 2015 DramaFever awards. Some stars, like Yuki Furukawa, kept to simple black and white suits, but George Hu’s sparkling collar, made specifically for him by his stylist, kept drawing the flash of the cameras. Furukawa was the most formally dressed, with a classic black-and-white suit with a bowtie, while 5urprises’s member’s mixed and matched classic suits with leather, casual shirts, and sweaters. And Yang, as the youngest star on the red carpet, posed comfortably in a casual gray suit sans tie.

10. 2015 DramaFever Awards Were Handed Out

So this wasn’t precisely on the red carpet, but the award show itself was definitely the highlight of the 2015 DramaFever Awards.
Best Bromance
– Seo Kang Joon & Joo Sang Wook (Cunning Single Lady)
Rising Star
– Lee Jung Shin (Temptation)
Fan Favorite
– Jo In Sung (It’s Okay, That’s Love)
Best Kiss
– Jo In Sung & Gong Hyo Jin (It’s Okay, That’s Love)
Best Movie
Secretly, Greatly
Best Chinese Language Drama
Fall in Love with Me
Best Japanese Drama
Mischievous Kiss 2: Love in Tokyo
Camry Boldest Moment
Emergency Couple
Best Couple
– Yuki Furukawa & Miki Honoka (Mischievous Kiss 2)
Best Actor
– Jo In Sung (It’s Okay, That’s Love)
Best Actress
– Song Ji Hyo (Emergency Couple)
Best Variety Show
Running Man
Best Korean Drama
Emergency Couple

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All photos courtesy of Aliza Chasan

How did your favorite star look at the 2015 DramaFever Awards? Did your favorite drama win? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Why ‘Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook’ Works

Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook has been on air since 2009, which is quite a feat for any television program. Since day one he has had many well known singers, artists, and K-pop groups on the show, which attributes to some of its success. And yet, Yoo Heeyeol himself is the main reason why the show is still on the air and why the audience capacity is always full.

Yoo Heeyeol came onto the scene in 1992 after he won a contest. A few years later, he started a duo group called Toy. After his military service, he continued Toy as a one-man band and continues to release new music. Yoo Heeyeol writes, produces, composes and is also a member of SNL Korea. His many musical and artistic talents already make him a perfect host for his show. But, the fact that he is funny and personable is why it has lasted.

Every week, Yoo Heeyeol has 3-4 guests on his show. They are usually artists who have recently had a comeback and released new music. They are big names that many people in Korea recognize and many people internationally know quite well also. They’re also artists from different musical genres. This is not strictly a K-pop only show; there are hip hop artists, K-pop artists, solo artists, indie artists, and much more. Some artists that have been on the show include Epik High, Beast, Jang Kiha and the Faces, and many many more.

Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook beezino

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Also on KultScene: Korean Drama Trends To Look Forward To In 2015

Each guest gets an introduction from Yoo Heeyeol before they perform one song, usually a well-known older one. Then comes the sit down on the stage with Yoo Heeyeol, where he does a brief interview asking them about their new music and sometimes some personal things. The one things he does extremely well during the interviews is that he connects with the artist he is sitting with as well as the audience. He engages the audience with quick comments where they can easily answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or react in unison. Engaging the audience with himself and the artists is a great quality, because he is not only an interviewer, but a host of a show with a live audience; he doesn’t neglect anyone.

Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook 2ne1

via neur0leptykneur0leptyk @ Tumblr

When Yoo Heeyeol interviews his guest, it seems like we’re watching a private conversation. He always holds eye contact and responds where necessary when his guests answer his questions and share their own anecdotes. His questions are usually about the process for the current work of music, but he also digs deeper and wants to know story behind the creation of all it. In a caring and non-imposing or threatening way, Yoo Heeyeol sometimes shares his own experiences with writing music and performing. There are many instances where both Yoo Heeyeol and his guest(s) at the time poke fun at each other, but it’s clear that it is not done with a malicious intent. It’s just some fun banter to keep everyone laughing and relaxed.

Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook girls' generation snsd

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After the interview portion of each guest segment, they perform one or two more songs for the audience. These songs are usually from their new music collection, and it’s clear that the artist performing on stage and the people in the audience are all enjoying themselves. It’s a smaller venue for the artist, which make for a more intimate show, both for the performer and the audience.

Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook taeyang

by tearthisalldown

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Yoo Heeyeol’s experience in the music industry and long-lasting career make him a perfect host for this type of show. His warm and happy demeanor ensures that every guest is comfortable and enjoying their time on the show. Yoo Heeyeol, as mentioned above, keeps his audience interested in the show by including them (as a whole) in some questions/comments during the interview portion. Here’s to 10 plus more years of Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook.

Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook

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Do you enjoy Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook? Who are some of your favorite guests that have been on the show? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Korean Drama Trends to Look Forward to in 2015

It’s time to say “goodbye” to 2014, and “hello!” to 2015. In other words, there will be many more Korean dramas beginning in the next few months. There will be some really great dramas to come in 2015, and even more semi-disappointing ones. KultScene ’s done some digging and here are some trends to look forward to in the beginning of 2015.

Psychologically Driven Dramas

The 2014 hit It’s Okay, That’s Love handled psychological problems in a way that hasn’t been well-represented in Korean dramas in the past, and the show was so successful that several other therapy-based dramas are in the works. Kill Me, Heal Me, starring Ji Sung (Secret Love), Hwang Jung Eum (Endless Love), and Park Seo Joon (Witch’s Romance), is about a man suffering from Dissociative identity disorder (also known as Multiple Personality Disorder). Heart to Heart is about a woman (7th Grade Civil Servant’s Choi Kang Hee) with social phobia falling in love with a psychiatrist (Reset actor Chun Jung Myung) who has his own issues, while the two work through their problems together. Dr. Frankenstein will also feature a character with multiple personalities.

Heart to Heart Drama

Webtoon Adaptations

Based on the success of this year’s Misaeng, webtoon-based dramas are here to stay. Which is great news, considering that South Korea has some really great online comics that deserve more attention. Two upcoming dramas, circus-based Hyde, Jekyll, Me, starring Hyun Bin of Secret Garden and Han Ji Min of Rooftop Prince, and Ho-Gu’s Love, with Lee Soo Kyung, Choi Woo Shik, and Uee, are both based on webtoons. Misaeng is also rumored to be getting a second season, which brings us to…

Also on KultScene: South Korea’s Portrayal Of North Korea Isn’t A Comedy So Stop Laughing At ‘The Interview’
Hyde, Jekyll, Me Cast Reading

Hyde, Jekyll, Me Cast Reading

Continuations of Popular 2014 Dramas

Series with multiple seasons are very rare in South Korea, but a few cable networks are trying to change that. TvN, in particular, has implied that popular dramas Liar Game and Misaeng will get second seasons. The same station also announced that Let’s Eat will get an additional season. Broadcast networks in South Korea haven’t announced anything yet, but it seems like, as dramas get more and more of a following, drama writers will try to write open endings to keep an additional season open.

Liar Game

Mothers Will Rule Their Daughter’s Lives

A few recently announced dramas for 2015 will prominently feature mother-daughter relationships. Angry Mom will be about a still mother (unconfirmed who is playing her as of yet) sneaking into her daughter’s (Love Cell‘s Kim Yoo Jung) school to help defend her against bullies, while Equator’s Flower will be about a woman, Kim Sung Ryoung, who encounters the daughter she once abandoned, played by It’s Okay, That’s Love‘s Lee Sung Kyung. Unkind Woman with Lee Hana and Song Jaerim will be about several generations of women living together with one another-grandmother, mother, and granddaughter.

love cells korean drama

There are many other different types of dramas coming out in 2015, but these are some of the most noticeable trends. There will be some fantasy based dramas, some medical-based shows, and something that will surely surprise us all.

Do you like the sound of these trends? Is there something else that you’d like to see in dramas in 2015? Let us know in the comments and be sure to follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

South Korea’s Portrayal of North Korea Isn’t A Comedy So Stop Laughing at ‘The Interview’

James Franco and Seth Rogen think that North Korea is a joke, based on the trailers for The Interview. But South Korea doesn’t really think the same way.

North Korea may be a crazy country that allegedly hacked Sony because of a single movie, but South Korea thinks of North Korea less as the deranged cousin that it doesn’t want to see as much as a long-lost sibling. Sometimes  North and South Korea are portrayed as lovers, sometimes as mortal enemies; it just depends on what movie or show you’re watching.

Hot on the heels of one of the biggest entertainment industry hacks in history, the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy The Interview is all people seem to be able to talk about. And the fact that it is a comedy movie about assassinating the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, emphasizes how Hollywood thinks that North Korea is a big joke.

“The Interview” via Tumblr

But to South Korea, North Korea is anything but a joke and this can be seen in the variety of ways that North Korea is portrayed in a variety of South Korean films and television shows.

[Spoilers ahead.]

Shiri (1998)

The first film Korean blockbuster, Shiri (also known as Swiri) had it all; explosives, spies, romance, North Korean-South Korean reunification… Yes, Shiri was the first Korean film to really address the fact that North Korea, while depicted as a military state with countless deadly spies, is South Korea’s twin state. The two countries have been divided since the 1940’s and the politicians in the film were meeting to figure out a potential path to reuniting the two halves of the whole. Shiri humanized North Korea in a way that had never been seen in South Korean film.

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The movie ends with many deaths and a tragic love story between North and South Korean operatives. But the main point of the movie is that they are simply Korean, it doesn’t matter what side of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone that separates the Koreas) someone lives on. So too, does the shiri fish swims in both North Korean and South Korean waters, but doesn’t know where one country’s waters begin and the others ends.

King 2 Hearts (2012)

A drama in a what-if world where South Korea retained its monarchy after the Korean War, but the countries are still divided. So many different impossible things were going on during this television show that it seems unlikely that anything real was truly represented. But the tensions between North and South Korea, where sometimes the two countries are on the brink of war and other times working together to help the people of both nations, were accurately portrayed.

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The idea of North Korea and South Korea being lovers who are separated by outside factors has become a sort of anthropological narrative in South Korea. King 2 Hearts is just one example of a situation where the two lovers, Lee Seung Gi and Ha Ji Won, are stand in for the tempestuous relationship of the country. Unlike Shiri where the lovers were unable to be together due to the differences, King 2 Hearts represents a more hopeful view for the future of the two Koreas.

Secretly, Greatly (2013)

This film takes a different take on the story and instead of showing the relationship between the two countries and the politicians who trying to bring about reunification like the previous examples, Secretly, Greatly shows North Korean spies falling in love with South Korea. The sleeper agents spend several years integrating into South Korean life in order to save their families from torture in North Korea, and after going to South Korea they see what it’s like to be average parts of society. Secretly, Greatly depicts North Korea as a ruthless country that is willing to kill its own elite operatives rather than risk losing those very same spies, and demands everything from its people without giving much back.

The film shows the idea that many South Koreans have of North Korea: it is an evil place that doesn’t care about its people. Secretly, Greatly is itself a comedy, but a dark comedy that is tragic. The leaders of the country are not people to mock, but instead people to be afraid of. It’s a very different take on North Korea than Shiri and King 2 Hearts, but that is because North Korea takes on so many roles as the rival nation to South Korea.

There are countless other Korean portrayals of North Korea: Iris, Doctor Stranger, Joint Security Area, and Taegukgi are just some of the more popular portrayals of North Korea by South Koreans. Many of these, the ones listed and the ones discussed in this article in depth are dramatic, some are comedic, and many are both. But none have evoked the wrath of North Korea by minimizing and mocking the threat that is very real to South Korea.

North Korea is portrayed many ways: lover, potential ally, enemy, etc. But South Korean filmmakers do not mock North Korea as openly as Hollywood’s The Interview, because such a complicated matter does not warrant complete disregard.


What do you think about South Korea’s portrayal of its relationship with North Korea in film and dramaS? Share your comments in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.