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Thread: Rules for Korean (Historical) Dramas

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    Member UltraRob's Avatar
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    Default Rules for Korean (Historical) Dramas

    After watching Dae Jang Geum, JuMong and now working on Yi-San I've begun to notice certain "rules" popping up in Korean historical dramas. These rules are of course tricks the writers are using to keep the drama flowing, but are sometimes counter to common sense. For example:

    1) If someone accuses a character of something, they must NEVER attempt to defend themselves in any real way. They must look tragic and possibly cry, but not say anything that might clear up the misunderstanding. Only other characters can defend them, if they so choose.

    2) If a character needs to explain something to someone that's really really important, they must always tell them the important thing LAST. This gives them time to misinterpret the character and dismiss them before they learn the thing that might prevent tragedy and suffering.

    Any others people can think of?

    Rob

    P.S. If there's already a list like this, can someone point me to it?
    Last edited by UltraRob; 04-19-09 at 10:04 AM.

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    Member UltraRob's Avatar
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    3. Everyone in old Korea had bad hearing. Therefore you must call them at least twice before they answer you, and tell them anything important twice because they couldn't hear you the first time!

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    Senior Member Shi-Potian's Avatar
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    4. The main character MUST have an antagonist [in love] who sits in the middle of the fence being neither good or bad.

    5. the last few episodes must have an annoyingly tragic feel/component.

    6. All advances in technology and science made in China or Japan MUST be attributed to korea.

    7. Most of the time the Queen Mother must be an annoyingly evil/jealous .... . .. .

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    Senior Member Shi-Potian's Avatar
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    8. Treat all Chinese as either greedy,cowardly,stupid, or weak barbarians. I mean god when they can portray even Xue Rengui that way it is just going way way too far [dae jo yeong]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shi-Potian View Post
    8. Treat all Chinese as either greedy,cowardly,stupid, or weak barbarians. I mean god when they can portray even Xue Rengui that way it is just going way way too far [dae jo yeong]
    I'm just finishing up Yi San and I wouldn't say all the Chinese in that story fall under this category- the female lead artist even has a Chinese mentor at one point. (Because Chinese artists are acknowledged to be the best in Asia at the time, unsurprisingly.) That series also refers to Qing as being much more advanced than Korea many times, and they look towards the Qing as the center of culture and engineering advancement.

    That said, there are sneaky/greedy Chinese aplenty running around in that series too!

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by UltraRob View Post
    I'm just finishing up Yi San and I wouldn't say all the Chinese in that story fall under this category- the female lead artist even has a Chinese mentor at one point. That series also refers to Qing as being much more advanced than Korea many times, and they look towards the Qing as the center of culture and engineering advancement.
    Koreans do not consider Manchurians to be Chinese.

    Thus Qing dynasty was a dark age in China, were Chinese were being ruled by foreign rulers, and this is why China fell back from its glory days of Ming dynasty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shi-Potian View Post
    I mean god when they can portray even Xue Rengui that way it is just going way way too far [dae jo yeong]
    What's wrong with Xue Ren Gui character of Dae Jo Young? He was portrayed as a brave, loyal, and honorable hero of the ages, a bit hot headed and foollish at times. Xue Ren Gui's portrayal wasn't that bad; Tang Emperor Li Shi Min, Empress Wu and General Li Kai Gu on the other hand, well....

    The problem is that Xue Ren Gui and Li Kai Gu are considered as Chinese heros to Chinese, while Koreans consider them to be non-Chinese...

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    9. at least 1 character dies in battle or some sort of sickness.

    10. bittersweet love
    Last edited by Sunlight_zero36; 07-07-09 at 10:31 PM.
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    Senior Member Shi-Potian's Avatar
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    11. At least 1 supporting character has a happy romance with a happy ending to offset the terrible shit done to the main character!

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    Quote Originally Posted by UltraRob View Post
    I'm just finishing up Yi San and I wouldn't say all the Chinese in that story fall under this category- the female lead artist even has a Chinese mentor at one point. (Because Chinese artists are acknowledged to be the best in Asia at the time, unsurprisingly.) That series also refers to Qing as being much more advanced than Korea many times, and they look towards the Qing as the center of culture and engineering advancement.

    That said, there are sneaky/greedy Chinese aplenty running around in that series too!

    Rob
    Yay.., someone finished the whole lot. How about writing episode guides? Just a few lines each. I could only watch up to episode 7 (lots of fasforard too) and the last episode. How did the Prince finally find out that his aunt was behind all that attempt to discredit him?

    I watched Ha Ji Min in Dae Jang Geum, she was OK- minor role only. She was so annoying in Great inheritance and in Yi San... I kept wishing HAN Jin Min (?? can't remember) was the actress. She was excellent in Damo, with Lee Seow Jin too.

    Another rule: Inordinately high number of flashbacks........
    Last edited by bella25; 07-18-09 at 06:47 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bella25 View Post
    Yay.., someone finished the whole lot. How about writing episode guides? Just a few lines each.
    Sorry, nope. That's just too much work! Also, it all flows together after 118 episodes...

    I could only watch up to episode 7 (lots of fasforard too) and the last episode. How did the Prince finally find out that his aunt was behind all that attempt to discredit him?
    You missed so much I wouldn't know where to begin. Actually, Yi San really is worth watching. The only bad part is the female lead, who they try way too hard to make into Jang Geum 2.0! She gets really annoying after a while...Really....really annoying...Luckily she disappears for large chunks of the story whenever the politics get moving. (Which is the best part of the show, the political intrigue!)

    Another rule: Inordinately high number of flashbacks........
    Dear god yes! The longer the show, the more the flashbacks! Especially when a major character dies! You can expect the WHOLE next episode will just be flashbacks of the rest of the cast thinking fondly of them.

    Rob

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    Senior Member Shi-Potian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonDoe View Post
    What's wrong with Xue Ren Gui character of Dae Jo Young? He was portrayed as a brave, loyal, and honorable hero of the ages, a bit hot headed and foollish at times. Xue Ren Gui's portrayal wasn't that bad; Tang Emperor Li Shi Min, Empress Wu and General Li Kai Gu on the other hand, well....

    The problem is that Xue Ren Gui and Li Kai Gu are considered as Chinese heros to Chinese, while Koreans consider them to be non-Chinese...
    Horribly understated.. . . imo he was portrayed as being very pettyand cowardly.. ...


    NOT TO MENTION THE KOREANS TRIED TO PLAY HIM OFF AS NOT EVEN BEING OF CHINESE DESCENT..... . . . . enough said... .. . they probably would have cast him as a disenfranchised korean if they could of got away with it LOL
    Last edited by Shi-Potian; 07-19-09 at 09:13 AM.

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    my own observation from korean historical dramas is that the ending is often not a happy one for the good people. jumong, hong ji qong, sea goddness, e.g.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wkeej View Post
    my own observation from korean historical dramas is that the ending is often not a happy one for the good people. jumong, hong ji qong, sea goddness, e.g.
    They love tragedies, those Koreans.
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    More rules... (with randomly assigned numbers!)

    12) Thanks to being real historical figures, most major villains (usually the evil queen mother) will never get their righteously deserved payback deaths. The hero (writers) will come up with some twisted logic as to why killing them would be wrong, and leave them to "suffer" (ie enjoy life and often outlive the hero) now that they've "lost their power".

    13) It will end with the hero's death or some other form of tragedy. But if you're the king, you're probably not alive when the final credits roll.

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    The writers seem to like matching their good princes with lowborn (or at least brought up) women who have heart of gold and many times have annoying relatives- mercenary relatives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bella25 View Post
    The writers seem to like matching their good princes with lowborn (or at least brought up) women who have heart of gold and many times have annoying relatives- mercenary relatives.
    Writers are not actually at liberty to do this because almost all of historical drama are "historical". In other word, there is written record of who these women are and their backgrounds and writers just can't insert fictitious lead female characters that violate what's established.

    Yes, rich man + poor girl pairing works in contemporary dramas, but not in historical dramas because of "historical records" behind the show. If a woman is recorded in history, then she probably had a high social status.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonDoe View Post
    Writers are not actually at liberty to do this because almost all of historical drama are "historical". In other word, there is written record of who these women are and their backgrounds and writers just can't insert fictitious lead female characters that violate what's established.

    Yes, rich man + poor girl pairing works in contemporary dramas, but not in historical dramas because of "historical records" behind the show. If a woman is recorded in history, then she probably had a high social status.
    I am no expert on history but Dae Jang Geum for example had only a few lines written about her, according to the online sources, not enough to give her a lineage. But the King fell in love with her in the drama. Yisan, the girl was a commoner, and the prince preferred her to his queen. The 4 kings or something had Bae Yun Jung in it, and the girl that the prince fell in love with was a street urchin (ok old urchin ), he didn't know her background.
    I am sure a lot of liberty has been taken in these cases. OK the Bae Yun Jun film is like Camelot- faction, but as I 've said , I am no expert. It seemed so from the few that I've watched.

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