Drama Reactions & Reviews
Thing vs. Thing: Cradle-robbing Teachers
by | August 4, 2012 | 174 Comments

javabeans: With Big recently over, A Gentleman’s Dignity coming to a close, and a slew of noona romances both on the horizon and on the shelf in dramaland, we’ve been wondering: What, specifically, is the deal with cradle-robbing teachers?

girlfriday: You mean besides being every high-schooler’s fantasy at some point?

javabeans: You clearly did not go to my high school. Shudders. The median age must’ve been past retirement and the median hair color white.

girlfriday: Well that’s depressing. But most people have ONE young hot teacher in their lives, right?

javabeans: I’ll have to take your word for it. The interesting thing that came up a lot in Big discussions was the disgruntlement with the teacher-student trope—it’s clearly a breach of ethics in the real world, but romanticized in lots of dramas without that layer of sketchiness to cloud the matter.

girlfriday: It’s totally understandable why people might be up in arms about it. I guess it’s maybe a matter of being familiar and comfortable with the sub-genre, which presupposes a lot of things.

javabeans: I didn’t feel that the romances in either Big or Flower Boy Ramyun Shop were scandalous or immoral, but I say that while recognizing that in real life, I’d quite probably feel differently. There are a lot of things that dramaland does to neutralize the squick factor, like making Eun-bi a trainee who’s new on the job, or Kyung-joon a new student at a school where Da-ran isn’t his direct teacher and their time at the school overlaps literally by one day. But that line of reasoning can get slippery, where it becomes an attempt to justify.

girlfriday: Yeah, this is certainly a trope that works for me in dramaland and doesn’t make me go ick, but only if that conflict is addressed and dealt with. Like in Biscuit Teacher they don’t skirt around the issue, and she’s his actual homeroom teacher, so I’m okay with it when it’s dealt with in the context of the drama. She draws certain lines because of it, and that’s the big issue on the table.

javabeans: I wonder whether the discontent with the Big relationship is as much an indication of the romance’s failure as it is of the inherent teacher-student conflict. Because Ramyun Shop handled it much better, I thought, and resolved the romance in a more satisfying way.

girlfriday: Yes, I think Ramyun and Biscuit are both good examples of dealing with the conflict in a direct way: ie, I am your teacher so this cannot be, but why am I feeling this way? Whereas Big was about… something more confusing. I never got the sense from her that she FELT like his teacher.

javabeans: It was more like she felt like some random drive-by adult who had to take care of the poor widdle minor; that drama had a tendency to ignore things it didn’t want to deal with to an aggravating degree.

girlfriday: You mean like all the good stuff? The stuff we watch dramas for?

javabeans: Yes. It forgot to include that stuff.

girlfriday: I think if in Big her identity was more about being a teacher and less about being Yoon-jae’s fiancee, we’d have been in a better place actually, because anytime there’s something the audience might feel squicky about, if you have the character acknowledge that, it takes care of a lot of our worries.

javabeans: Yes, that’s another missed opportunity. Also, I think if in Big she had an identity, it would have taken care of a lot of our worries.

girlfriday: So it’s not so much the cradle-robbing part as the teacher part that got lost in that equation.

javabeans: I wonder if the time-skip device (at the end, inevitably justifying the reunion) has become too much of a crutch, though. Because you set up this great conflict, right? The age gap! The power imbalance! The seeming impossibility of the relationship! And then… zoom! Problem fixed by time.

girlfriday: But it’s sort of the one guarantee you have to have in this kind of narrative, because I have to trust that the hero’s going to be legal when all is said and done. I think the best versions of the story will deal with the conflict in real time, and they’ll choose love anyway, screw age and all that. But then to really get to HAVE the happily ever after, they have to wait.

javabeans: But the jailbait hero’s always 19 years old, right? Meaning he’s just months from being a legal adult anyway, so why then shoehorn in that time gap? One safety crutch per story, people!

girlfriday: I suppose they could do a version where they’re literally sitting around, waiting for his twentieth birthday to roll around. Ha.

javabeans: Okay, now that just made that waaaaay more creepy. Like those countdown clocks?

girlfriday: Right? That’s why with the time skip.

javabeans: I dunno. It seems to weaken its own punch, in my opinion. That’s why the student-teacher stories that speak more to me are the ones where the relationship actually cannot be—my favorite one is actually Unstoppable High Kick. So the longing and angst is the point of the story, coupled with the coming of age of the teenager, as opposed to the romance.

girlfriday: Yeah I love that kind of treatment of the student-teacher romance. And it’s also why Biscuit Teacher is my favorite, because it deals with that coming-of-age stuff so well, but also provides the fantasy wish-fulfillment of the romance.

javabeans: Those stories have a way of getting to me more, because they’re bittersweet and poignant in a way that reflects everyday life more. For instance, in High Kick, Jung Il-woo’s relationship became the runaway hit storyline of that show, because he had such perfect angst and misunderstood loner traits. The teacher was oblivious to his crush, but she also was the only one to reach out to him beyond his broody-rebel facade, which made the connection so unexpectedly sweet. It got to the point where you were just dying for them to end up together… even as you knew that it just wouldn’t work if they did… and that conflict just tore you up inside, in the best possible way.

girlfriday: Yes, that’s why I love this trope. Because it’s a totally logical angst, coupled with high school growing pains.

javabeans: Right? Because if they could end up together, you negate the power of that intense teenage heartbreak and therefore sap the conflict of its juice. It’s powerful because you root so hard for what cannot be.

girlfriday: Wait, why does Jung Il-woo always play teacher bait?

javabeans: Also Gong Yoo?

girlfriday: Seriously. What is it? Cheekiness?

javabeans: Youthful insouciance?

girlfriday: I got it. It’s the puppy eyes.

javabeans: And the puppy pout.

girlfriday: And that ineffable combination of adorable and hot.

javabeans: Yes, they’re both awesome at turning on the charm, then just as quickly pouring on the simmering intensity.

girlfriday: Also, this explains why they both make me go weak in the knees.

javabeans: “Noonaaaaaa….” *pout* *wiggle*

girlfriday: *dies*


174 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. fashionmint

    love the post ! :-))

  2. Eye Candy

    I feel like it is important to note that this normally is never a male teacher with female student because that seems to add to the predatory nature of it and just plain creepiness. Also it gets rid of the whole, yep when I’m that lady’s age, a 19 year-old is going to think I’m smoking hot too. I think it is so hard because the drama has to balance having the audience forget the age gap to accept the couple while also dealing with the fact that oh hey this is illegal. But I had not heard of Biscuit Teacher, I might have to check it out if it actually figured out the right formula.

    • 2.1 informantxgirl

      As a teacher myself, teaching students who are about the ages as these drama heroes, I admit, I was plain squicked out by these plotlines…before Flower Boy Ramyun Shop. However, I must point out that I watched that drama with a total feeling of giddy guilt. Both giddiness and guilt sandwiched together. On the one hand – ooh, hot and cute hero. On the other – ugh, he could be one of my students. Gross.

      I’d like to point out the exception to the lady teacher-male student in the couple at the center of the movie My Little Bride. He was her male art teacher, and she was a saucy little 15-year-old. Granted, they had a previous relationship that kinda trumps that, but still…it wasn’t as creepy as I thought.

      • 2.1.1 Lee

        I hear you about getting squicked out. I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch any of the dramas mentioned in the article because they seem to just perpetuate the stereotype of virginal schoolteachers being pursued relentlessly by teenage boys. The sheer number of sex abuse cases involving teachers and teenage boys is just nauseating and I defy anyone to argue that the power imbalance inherent in those ‘relationships’ doesn’t affect how we perceive consent. And I find it incredibly sexist that people tend to forgive older women for indiscretions that older men would tarred and feathered for. Not all men are predators and not all women are victims.

        • Sabah

          “I find it incredibly sexist that people tend to forgive older women for indiscretions that older men would tarred and feathered for. Not all men are predators and not all women are victims.” I was about to say something similar. I agree, gender is not a defining aspect of these relationships.

        • Eye Candy

          You make an excellent point. I unfortunately find myself guilty of making judgments based on double standards. Though I cannot speak to every instance grossing me out-I could not handle it in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop but I have not fully watched other dramas where it is a teacher-student relationship. I guess I will have to investigate further to see if I find a satisfactory dealing of this subject but definitely the implications of the power imbalance is always troubling.

        • teleri

          Forgive me for being an American but a 19 year old with a 25 year old – oh hey been there done that (I was the 25 year old)
          It’s not ethical for a superior to have a relationship w/an inferior (ie secretary & her/his boss or student/teacher or doctor/patient).
          But you know what? 40 years ago my 18 year old neighbor (female) had this secret romance going on w/the 26 year old science teacher at our HS. He married her like 2 minutes after she graduated.
          They are still happily married.
          As for the reason an older woman (most less than 10 years older) & teenage (as in 18 or 19???? really???) boy hardly raises an eyebrow? GUESS WHO is usually the instigator there?
          Even that one Samoan boy who had that affair w/his teacher – well she was a definite idiot who needed lots of counseling but they ended up married w/2 kids – I’m thinking that the person she REALLY victimized was her HUSBAND.

      • 2.1.2 Sabah

        There was also I am Sam which had the male teacher and younger female student. I haven’t watched it, it’s on my list but reviews are 50/50.

        • Cynthia

          It’s being quality checked by DramaFever for airing on the site. It was discussed on their newy-formed Podcast posting – but only in the context of having Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young as part of that ‘I Am Sam’ cast.

          • Sabah

            Thank you!

        • Eye Candy

          Ooh excellent point and I guess I will also add that to my list.

        • Eye Candy

          Ah both of you make an excellent point of me being guilty of making judgments based on double standards. I think I will have to add I am Sam to my list-I had heard of it vaguely but I now my interest is piqued. Thanks for pointing out the problem in my remark!

        • canxi

          Ah, Well in I Am Sam (I’m watching it right now) it seems to be more of a bonding thing. The female student seems to have feelings for her homeroom teacher/live-in tutor/guardian (he actually listens to her and talks with her while others don’t) but he doesn’t seem to reciprocate those EXACT feelings. He also has someone else.

      • 2.1.3 Betty

        It’s why in Unstopable highkick it’s handled beautifuly because although the student and teacher had a strong bond together she never had any feeling for him other than teacher/ student.

        At least it’s what I saw. Lee Yunho the student fall in love with her but she as a teacher was always in love with another teacher and at the end of the drama when she was about to quit school, I loved that when she had flashback moments about him, all of the flashback was about her having fun with him but always as a teacher. He was the one in love with her and until the end there was not hint of her being in love with him. Sure he was her favorite but I think that’s for her that was it.

    • 2.2 jyyjc

      I Am Sam had a male teacher-female student relationship. I don’t remember much about it even if I did watch it so i have no comments about it. I wonder if there are other dramas with male teacher-female student relationships that I don’t know about.

      • 2.2.1 jyyjc

        Ohoh and in Operation proposal with lee hyunjin and park eunbin’s characters, although they weren’t the main couple.

    • 2.3 Enz

      I didn’t like biscuit teacher because it felt like a really unhealthy kind of obsessive love and I dint feel that the story or the characters made me understand what motivated those feelings. Not only that, the female lead was a student before in that same school and was already an object of obsessive love from a teacher who happened to be related ( albeit by marriage) to the student who was currently obsessed with her!! She in turn was also in love with that teacher for years and yet when she was the object of a student’s love, she dismissed it completely! I just couldn’t get the show nor the characters I guess but watched it to see gong yoo.

      With big, I didn’t even see female lead as his teacher at all so it was more about the age gap but the female lead was kinda immature and that gap didn’t seem too much because of that

      Flower boy ramyun boy i LOVED and didn’t find it squicky cos both developed the feelings believably and with resistance on both sides.

      So that’s my take for what it’s worth 🙂

      • 2.3.1 queencircles

        I felt the exact same about bisciut teacher. I couldn’t get into it.

      • 2.3.2 canxi

        Ah with Biscuit Teacher I felt like a reason GY’s character was so in love with her was because she seemed to be the only one who didn’t seem to think of him as a complete fail. Simple as that-he saw that and he clung to it for dear life. As for why she dismissed her love for other dude to go to GY it’s as simple as feelings change. A teenage fantasy is different from the real thing and I guess she just didn’t really click with him like she thought she would all those years of daydreaming about the guy. I don’t find that difficult to believe or understand. I’m not sure about art teacher dude though, honestly. I guess he was just attracted to her and didn’t do anything about it because he was her teacher–lunged at the chance when she was his co-worker though.

        The teacher student relationships in dramas have to be dealt with realistically to me. It’s always gonna be a bit squicky because of society and because you have that one person who worries about the age difference. Even in Biscuit Teacher the main couple didn’t ever really end up together–it was an open ending where GY was still pursuing GHJ, but he was older. But there was always that conflict there and the characters fighting between heart and morals. Where in Big I never really felt Da Ran hit that with her character. I’m actually not sure what she was doing as I still feel like if Kyung Joon wasn’t in Yoon Jae’s body he would have had no chance with her in the first place. I barely saw that girl visit little Kyung Joon in the hospital. You’re in love with him so much, how comes you don’t check up on his actual body? Hmmm.

        • dramabliss

          “Even in Biscuit Teacher the main couple didn’t ever really end up together–it was an open ending where GY was still pursuing GHJ, but he was older. But there was always that conflict there and the characters fighting between heart and morals.”

          I disagree that it was an open ending. The last segment shows the day after Biscuit and Star Candy were married (so we assume a time skip of maybe 5-6 years). It also showed how some of the batchmates of Tae-In were faring–as family persons and in their jobs. And we get to see Tae-In becoming a teacher in the school where he regaled his class with all the things he went through for his love–college, military service, job hunting etc. And, of course, how incorrigible he still was–stealing kisses from her in front of students and such.

          • canxi

            Oh really?? LOL nevermind that then, I watched that drama a few years ago so I didn’t remember the marriage part AT ALL O__O; Just him becoming a teacher, kissing her and then running away

          • canxi

            Oh really??? LOL my memory of the drama is honestly bad since I watched it years ago. I didn’t remember the marriage part at all just him becoming a teacher. Just ignore that then XD

        • Enz

          I can understand why tae in fell for na Bori in biscuit teacher. I can’t understand why she kept dismissing his onfessions of love and belittling it when she herself had been in a similar situation before, ie infatuation with her art teacher which eventually lasted YEARS, leading her to finally get the job at the same school. And that art teacher was really creepy in that he continuously painted pics of her all those years ( I found that hard to believe that a crush on a student can last that long in a normal person, so obviously it must have been pathological) and as someone mentioned, took pics of her while she was a student.

          I really wanted to like it cos I had just discovered gong yoo in CP this year and really liked GHJ IN best love and girlfriday recapped the first episode of biscuit teacher and it was real funny but I found the characters creepy cos their love all seemed a little obsessive to me..

          In big, I could get kkj’s development of feelings for Gil da ran even if she was such a airhead to me and for me, not deserving of his love… Big I watched mainly to see gong yoo .. I didn’t get too emotionally invested so that I didnt get mad at how the story went and I was curious till the end at how they were going to wrap it up. I liked the ending tho, unlike most. I was disappointed that it wasn’t the kind of comeback drama that I wish gong yoo had gotten. He was awesome in it but for

          • Enz

            Oops.. Clicked too early..anyway, I just wanna see gong yoo on tv everyday if possible .. Preferably in something I can really really love.

            I would love to see him in something with lee Chung ah, the girl from FBRS cos she. Does comedy and heart really well.

            One last thing bout tae in in biscuit teacher.. Altho I can understand why tae in might fall for na Bori, I don’t feel in the drama that na Bori had done anything much at all by way of caring for him or making him feel less alone. Did she? Maybe I need a rewatch altho I don’t think I wanna:p

          • canxi

            I think she did. You don’t necessarily have to do something big for someone to earn their affections. But she did have her moments where she seemed to dote on him more than, say, the people in his family did and I guess that’s what did it.

          • ilovemandoo

            You summed up my feelings perfectly for Biscuit Teacher. I didn’t even like GHJ’s character because of how dismissive she was of Tae In. 🙁 Anyway, I never could get into it, but Gong Yoo was awesome in it (as usual).

      • 2.3.3 toystar

        Agreed loved Flower Boy Ramyun Shop but disliked both Biscuit Teacher & Big!

    • 2.4 bjharm

      I think you find in old male younger girl drama that there is always some sort of gap between the couple liking to well um sharing the same bed, so the girl well always be at lest 20 years old. This has been going on since the first of the big comedy/romance drama successful story of a bright girl where the girl was still in highschool and they had the year separation before meeting and going on to full romance. In teacher/girl it pretty much the same, it wait untill they finished school, thus technically teacher no longer the teacher, this was Biscuit Teacher and Sam and many others. The only one I can remember where it was a bit creepy was Love is All Around but that was because the schoolgirl made it clear she wasn’t interested but the teacher would not take a no and kept chancing her.

    • 2.5 TanSSSSS

      There is.
      I read the summary somewhere and the ending is really makjang.

    • 2.6 TanSSSSS

      There is.
      I read the summary somewhere and the ending is really makjang.
      i think the main girl got lead guy’s baby and he died or something.

    • 2.7 Farpavilions

      I wonder if Japanese dramas are more ready to confront the predatory ick factor in older male teacher – schoolgirl relationships since schoolgirl fetishization seems more openly accepted there (or widely commoditized, at least :p)

      I’m thinking of the seriously dark 90s drama Kou Kou Kyoushi & its 2003 remake with Ueto Aya (yeah, tiny sample size). In the original version, there is a male teacher-schoolgirl romance plotline running right alongside another plotline where it’s straight out exploitation with a male teacher raping several female students and then threatening to expose their secrets if they didn’t keep submitting.

      The remake features exploitation of a more psychological kind. Hot male teacher has fatal illness, the schoolgirl overhears him talking about the diagnosis at the hospital but thinks the doctor is talking about her, and he hides the truth from her so that he can creepily monitor her responses to impending death and find companionship that way. Then they fall in love – even after she knows the truth – and she becomes his helpmeet as his body wastes away (prettily, of course). Gah.

      I watched both series in horrified fascination. The attempts to romanticize the teacher-schoolgirl lovelines were obvious (soft lighting, no bed scenes, gentle music) but there was also no attempt to disguise the repulsive creep factor of the simultaneous rape storyline (rapist teacher appears in drama remake).

      Another difference between these two jdramas and the typical kdrama teacher-student loveline is that there was very little societal interference, it was more about the protagonists getting over the gap themselves and then keeping it a secret. Whereas in kdramas everyone from the best friend to the grandmother’s neighbor’s daughter-in-law seems to have a say in OTP pairings…

      • 2.7.1 Marie

        I have to agree that Japanese society is obsessed with schoolgirls (not unlike China and its ‘leftover women’). Still, as others have pointed out above, relationships can be predatory regardless of the gender of the teacher/older partner.

      • 2.7.2 isabelh

        Or Majo no Jouken where the 26 year old teacher is involved with her 17 year old student — sex in the library!(Ick factor increased by use of library curtains.) More satisfactory than sex with her fiance, so more sex follows. Then they run away to live together while society’s disapproval follows them.

        • Farpavilions

          Absolutely. Much as I was a fan of Tackey at the time (Boku dake no Madonna was the gateway show that led to full on j and kdrama obsession), the library sex scene and pretty much the whole premise was just squeam-inducing. He was so clearly baby-faced and she was so clearly a grown-up, and not an immature one like in FBRS or Biscuit Teacher either.

          And his trying out part-time jobs to support her was pretty much WTF, cute as he looks in a gas station attendant uniform….

    • 2.8 Eaglette

      The full name is “Biscuit Teacher, Star Candy” or “Hello my Teacher”. Check it out. Pretty fun. It’s like the Gokusen of Japanese but the Romance was the main part and handled well.

  3. Cindy

    Where I can watch or DL torrent for Biscuit Teacher ?

    Dying to watch it but no luck.

    • 3.1 Shukmeister

      It’s also called “Hello My Teacher” in some places.

      It’s available to watch on Dramacrazy, and available for d/l on doramax264. fyi

    • 3.2 Sierra

      I watched it on youtube and for the parts that weren’t there I went to my soju.

      I feel your pain though, it was soooooo difficult to find at first.

    • 3.3 Sabah

      If you prefer to dl it, there are direct links with soft subs here:-

    • 3.4 hanabi

      The torrents are active at d-addicts. Subs are there as well.

    • 3.5 Cindy

      Thanks everyone for helping!! :DD

    • 3.6 Onees

      You can watch it at AZNV.TV and it’s open registration right now. The best part is that it has no ads 😀

  4. mtoh

    Now I have to rewatch FBRS…, thanks ladies!

  5. Ana

    There seems to be a huge disconnect with Kdramas and the way the world really works — students and teachers don’t get involved, and men of all ages are too busy chasing young women to even give an old maid like myself the time of day. Watching noona dramas has become kind of a painful experience for me because I’m so keenly aware that it’s all a dream.

    • 5.1 Sabah

      Old maids unite! Hehe. I completely understand your feelings. Not just empathy but real sympathy.

      I used to think that maybe my spinsterhood was the reason that I watched way too many college dramas, since I had never had a first love let alone get over one. Anyway, noona romances kind of bridged the gap between my reality and reel life fantasy. It isn’t that I want a noona romance of my own, on the contrary, i prefer my men much older than even myself, but it is about wanting that first love, with someone who is feeling it for the first time too. Someone who won’t have certain expectations of experience because of my age. It is about seeing the person past their shell; an affinity of the souls.

      Anyway, sorry about tainting your reputation by association to me.

      Hope better than you find and find better than you hope.

      • 5.1.1 Ana

        Thank you for the kind words Sabah.

      • 5.1.2 lynnet

        so get you! as an old maid (sort of ,am 26) who never experienced first love or had to get over some dramatic torrid teenage romance like other people its awful to have to meet a guy for the first time who already experienced the whole first love thing and has totally different expectations of someone in their twenties. I definitely think I live that first love fantasy through Kdrama no matter how unreal it is.

  6. Msb

    It’s funny how I did not like any of the dramas listed and it had nothing to do with the teacher/student relationship. Just did not like the dramas.

  7. Denali

    Tae-in-ah!!! *sigh*

    My fave Gong Yoo’s character hands down. Plus Jung Gyu Woon was there too. *giggles*

  8. Sunmi

    I think the problem with Big was that a, it didn’t know what it wanted to be and b, couldn’t really be what it should’ve been–if that makes any sense at all.

    Watching it was like watching a 6-year-old kid who, believing he’s going to invent a rocket ship (in like the next ten years) struggles with long division even though he can’t add, subtract…hell even multiply for that matter. If Big had just focused on the romance and stopped trying to go for the deeply philosophical, emotionally-wrough, angst-driven conflict of test-tube babies and weird-ass convoluted ramblings about my-life-could’ve-been-your-life-except-it-totally-wasn’t, it would’ve been something entirely different. Though this is not to say that emotionally moving rom-coms are bad especially with a predecessor like Coffee Prince doing such a good job of it. But rather that ‘Big’ tried to deny its rom-comness in favor of le angst and le anger and le wild declarations of LURV. If it had just focused on the inherent conflict in cradle-robbin’ lovin’ and the shenanigans that come about because of it, it probably would’ve been bearable if not enjoyable.

    But noooo, we get 20 episodes of a spineless doe-eyed sap of a teacher and hot sexy Gong Yoo…er I mean, a overly-ambitious pseudo-adult student running around in circles like two kids on a sugar high after Halloween. SMH. I’ve never been so disappointed in my life.

    …I still love you Gong Yoo. Please do another drama…one that offers at least 5 gratuitous shirtless scenes since there (obviously) were not enough in Big. Just sayin’

    • 8.1 sally_b

      @Sunmi – your post had me in giggles ~ (thanks) 🙂

      • 8.1.1 Sunmi

        LOL. You’re welcome 😉

  9. Marie

    What other noona dramas are in the works? Can’t think of any besides Faith and I doubt romance will be the big selling point of that drama. On the contrary, my friend in Korea claims that people seem to be tired of noona romances because, despite then novelty factor, East Asians in general are just so age-conscious. Hope we don’t have to say RIP to the noona drama just yet since the trend only started in 2010 iirc…

    • 9.1 Sabah

      Err, I don’t know about ‘trends’ but wasn’t My my is Kim Sam Soon a noona romance or am I mistaken?

      There is also What’s up Fox? Both were big successes and both were around 2005.

      • 9.1.1 Marie

        Sam Soon and What’s Up Fox are some of the better dramas in the genre but I personally noticed a drastic increase in the number of noona dramas around 2010… maybe someone more knowledgeable can shed light on the issue.

      • 9.1.2 malta

        What’s Up Fox is definitely a noona drama, but MNIKSS. She was older than him, but it wasn’t by any number of years that would raise eyebrows.

        How many years older does the girl have to be for it to be a noona romance?

        • canxi

          Well, from what I gather in dramas they usually make it maybe 6 or so years older? I think. Because 1 or 2 years? Pfffft, no one is getting mad. Anything over 5? They’ll definitely have a say,lol.

      • 9.1.3 Jessica

        There was also Romance with Kim Jae Won and Kim Ha Neul.

        That came out in 2002!

        • damianna

          yes! was about to say that. then i scrolled down and saw yours.

    • 9.2 Jules

      Hm, ‘recently’ finished dramas would include I Do, I Do; King 2 Hearts (perhaps? there’s a 9 year age difference between the actors – not sure if this carried over into the drama, though); Rooftop Prince (although… technically, he was several hundred years older than her, so I’m not sure that counts *g*).

      Upcoming… Faith; Nice Guy (possibly, as the age difference is about 7 years between Song Joong-ki and Park Shi-yeon); and, hah, the 1,000 Man. Those are the dramas I can think of – off the top of my head – at any rate.

      • 9.2.1 linguist

        While Seung-gi and Jiwon are 9 years apart….their characters on TK2H were of the same age: 30 y.o.

        • BB

          I remember doubting if this pairing would work but LSG turned on the heat from the get go. He took on this role which would be successful on some part to shed his Mr. Goody two shoes image. Not that he isn’t an awesome fella but the Koreans (and most of us) I’m sure didn’t expect him to have that palpable intense chemistry that he shared with HJW that he hadn’t shared with his previous co-stars.

          • Airyn

            Just have to say I loved this pairing. <3 And although I was very much aware of the actors' age gap, they successfully made me believe that the characters were the same age. 🙂

    • 9.3 OMG

      also the Woman who still wants to marry….

      • 9.3.1 Jules

        And Dal-ja’s Spring; Baby-faced Beauty; I Need Romance; My Girlfriend is a Gumiho; Personal Taste (not sure there’s supposed to be an age difference there, though)…

        • Llamaesque

          Pasta, too. In addition to the wish-fulfillment elements, I think noona romances are so compelling because they give the writers a chance to thumb their noses at stereotypical gender roles. The women are the leaders, not the men.

          There’s a really funny student/teacher relationship in the movie 21 Jump Street. When presented with the babeliness that is Channing Tatum, his (young) female teacher practically drools and develops this tendency to blurt out totally inappropriate, lascivious things. It’s manages to be totally funny without being squicky at all. (Probably because the viewer knows he’s actually an adult.)

          • Marie

            I kind of disagree with your first point. Even with an older woman in the mix, the men still seem to be the primary drivers of the relationship since the woman is usually racked with guilt about it.

    • 9.4 Jasmine

      Loveholic…with Kangta and Kim Gyuri. I felt very squeamish in the beginning about the high schooler/teacher bond but later…so much angst and anguish. Felt for them both.

  10. 10 Brittni

    I think I was ok with Flower boy Raymun shop due to the fact that she wasnt even technically a teacher yet and 90 percent of the drama was done outside of the school so you kind of forget that he’s a student and she was suppose to be his teacher. I also like when the characters look older then 19. My biggest problem in Big ( besides the story and execution ) was that Shin looks 19 and Min Jung looks 30. * Although I think Lee Min Jung is beautiful she ain’t 19 * With the other dramas the guys always look a bit older so I tend to forget the age they are playing. I also agree that if the situation were reversed (young girl+ older guy ) it does add a level of creeper-ness. I know it sounds sexist but you just think that a guy can handle himself where a young girl is probably being taken advantage of. As a girl I’m all about equality and all that jazz but I have to admit I might not be comfortable watching a 19 yr old girl romance a 30 yr old man. I don’t know…

    • 10.1 Marie

      I agree… ironically, I’ve known many girls involved in relationships with much older men and not a single one with even a slightly younger man, but I still love love love noona romances 🙂

      • 10.1.1 Brittni

        oh I’m all for Noona ship haha I am only 21 but I still find myself older then a lot of the newer Idol actor boys so it’s a bit sad to already have to embrace a noona role but I will totally embrace it fully if I can claim dibs on Shin and L haha Although my favorites, Kim Jaejoong , Jung Il woo , Song Joong Ki, Lee Min ho, are all older then me so I get the best of both worlds ” Oppa and Noona ” Haha

        • Marie

          I don’t think I’d go for a younger man myself but I love seeing different kinds of people falling in love.

          • Brittni

            To be honest I’ve never dated anyone younger then me but hey if L or Shin came knocking on my door I wouldn’t turn them away haha and both of them are only a year younger then me anyway.

      • 10.1.2 Mar

        In my real life, I would say it breaks even for me, both ways, I know women that have/had much older significant others, and women that have/had much younger significant others. I can say that out of the older woman/younger man relationships I know about, one has failed, and one is an off again on again relationship-it’s been like that for years. ALL of the older women/younger men relationships I know about have started out as friendships that eventually progressed to something more, with the younger male developing a crush, and the older female eventually falling for him. About half of the younger woman/older male relationships that I know about have failed, and half have endured. Most of the younger women/older men relationships I know about have started as affairs with married men. Many started out as office flirtations. Only a few began after the man was in process of divorce. I do not know of any younger female/older man relationships that have begun when the man was officially single.

    • 10.2 Betty

      I am about to watch “Mr Rainy day” a Japanese movie with a 17 years old girl student and a 35 years old male teacher and I don’t know yet what to expect. The reviews are good so I’ll see… But to be honest, I am more thrown off by the age gap and student/teacher relationship here than I would be if it was the other way around (noona/student)…

      • 10.2.1 Ana

        This movie is one of my favorite JMovies of all time. It’s so sweet and romantic with the requisite dark streak —- I can’t recommend it enough. Also, and this doesn’t really have a bearing on the story, the male lead is a teacher but he’s not her teacher (if that helps).

        BTW, I find it interesting that you find a 17 year old male student/ 35 year old female teacher combination less shocking than the inverse (if I’m reading your comment correctly) since the inverse is far more likely statistically speaking.

        • Betty

          Actually I don’t mind age gap (whatever the gender) BUT I do mind underage. For me the law is the law and if the law says that an underage should not go out/ have sex with an adult then so be it.

          In the case of this movie the girl is underage it’s why it ticks me off more than if it was the contrary. I know I can be totally wrong plus it’s really a case by case thing, but why it bothers me less if the guy is younger it’s because I think a young man have more habilities to defend himself and maybe be less influenced/coerced than a girl. Of course I didn’t do any survey or research about that and I don’t know if my beleifs are legitimate or not so since I don’t know, I can only tell how it makes me feel. It’s why I prefer the other way around but really if he/she is 18 (legal age in France) then they can do whatever they want and love whoever they want.

          • Betty

            Oh I forgot to say that this was a beautiful movie. Loved it!!!

      • 10.2.2 canxi

        I’ve seen that. It’s actually a really sweet movie that I enjoyed a lot and I never felt icky about them to be honest. See it’s weird. I think it’s something you just have to watch,lol.

  11. 11 Sabah

    “Because if they could end up together, you negate the power of that intense teenage heartbreak and therefore sap the conflict of its juice. It’s powerful because you root so hard for what cannot be. ” Wow, beautifully expressed, so eloquent and insightful. I read this line several times, it moved me so much.

    For me it is once again, as with so many things in life, a case of ‘all elephants are grey but not all grey things are elephants.’ I am aware of the predatory nature of such relationships, I understand that such environments must be places where such things are safeguarded no matter what and I completely agree that rules and regulations must be upheld strictly. However even if in the minority, not all cases are like the majority. Some have sincerity and that is what I take the Kdrama versions as; the exceptions.

    I think most of them are handled well and the detailing adds to the truth of the relationships rather than the common teacher crush examples. For instance, I kind of like the use of time jumps. Sure they are a way of ‘legalizing’ it for the community and families but also I think it shows that even as the student grows, their feelings remain true and don’t fizzle out being replaced by the latest crush. It is about waiting for the sake of others but also confirming to each other your commitment.

    Ultimately, I don’t think people will become accepting of such relationships, and in a way I think that is a good thing since it serves as a safeguard. However I don’t think cases should be judged as a whole but we should reserve our judgement for each case.

    • 11.1 Lee

      I wonder if people can ever bring themselves to accept the ‘exceptions’ as you pointed out when a lot of people (living in the Stone Age, apparently) still can’t even stomach the thought of older women dating younger men, let alone teachers dating their students. I think KDramas are so progressive in this regard precisely because such relationships are still so uncommon and taboo…

      • 11.1.1 Sabah

        Bollywood films have been fighting for the whole love marriage, caste issues and money for many decades yet Asian families remained entrenched! I have witnessed many times people crying for separated lovers in films and then part their own children from their beloveds.

        People don’t tend to relate real world with the reel world. It remains a fantasy and in that way, they are readily able to accept it.

        I truly don’t think that some things should be so readily accepted, teacher student relationships included but I do think that each case should be judged individually.

      • 11.1.2 Mar

        I agree, Lee. It’s been okay for significantly older men to “be” with younger women since the dawn of time in real life, it’s been quite prevalent in casting movies and dramas with much older men with younger women.

        If one recalls in Big, Da-Ran’s mother and father met as a teacher and student, and he was in his 30’s! Do we see any ‘flack’ on that? In Biscuit, the reason Biscuit is a teacher is because in high school she and HER male teacher had an a attraction. Even though her male teacher was in a committed relationship and did not pursue Biscuit, there was an attraction and if he had not been with someone else, something might had happened. Is this ever held up as a squick? If the genders were reversed in these dramas the drama parents would be monitoring the situations…but planning their futures together.

        I’m not crazy about the idea of student teacher relationships either, because in real life its usually about sex, not love. This is however romance drama, and we are talking about 19 and 20 year olds in situations with mid 20 year olds, and with the exception of Biscuit, the women are NOT the 19/20 year olds teachers. The age and the situation are relevant.

        • Jules

          In Biscuit Teacher, the relationship between Bo-ri and Hyun-woo (I think? or wait, Woo-hyun? no, no, Hyun-woo. I’m… pretty sure.) squicked me out. But that was perhaps because the art teacher (Hyun-woo [??]) made my skin crawl – and ugh, those pictures of her he’d taken (without her knowledge or permission, I should add) when she was in high school and then kept like some sort of stalker… eugh, creepy, creepy, creepy. *shudders*

          • Enz

            Exactly this. And then she ends up so in love with this teacher for years and when the same kind of ibsessive love happens to her in the form of gong yoo, she initially dismisses it completely, having been in the same situation herself. I didn’t get it.

          • queencircles

            haha tae-in was the student in biscuit teacher. Yeah that’s why I couldnt get into that show because art teacher was such a fucking creep. I didn’t buy their relationship at all, it was just obsessive fantisized weirdness. Very creepy.

          • canxi

            He was creepy,lol. Didn’t he have some kind of…scrap book? I don’t remember and he showed it to her I think. I would have ran so fast up out that bitch, seriously.

            But I don’t think she completely rejected Gong Yoo’s feelings ever. it was more like “But I liked this guy for so long” and she didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that oh hey, you aren’t in high school anymore–feeling change. She was just a magnet for “forbidden” romances though, huh?

            In Big, I was a little squicked when I first realized the situation between the mother and father, but it didn’t seem perverse like relationships that, say, get reported on the news–the kinds that make people people frown upon stuedent/teacher relations. I think with dramas it does have sincerity and love and it’s not just creepy crawly-ness.

            Anyone ever watch Dawson’s Creek? That first season where that one guy is in a relationship with his teacher? Not korean drama but a drama, they were definitely having sex but then he genuinely had feelings for her it seemed like and if I remember correctly the teacher did not. That is a little squicky as you see one person has the feelings and the other person is using that. In k-dramas it never seems like someone is using someone. Top that with the characters being of legal or almost legal (since Korean legal age is 20, I think, and not 18 like in the States) and it doesn’t ever seem so bad.

  12. 12 kdramapedia

    It’s funny because I compare all teacher-student pairings to Unstoppable High Kick because I feel like that’s the best portrayal of that type of relationship that I’ve seen in kdramas. At one point during Big I thought to myself, “that’s totally something Yoon-ho would’ve said to Min-Jung!”

    But to make it clear, I don’t approve of this stuff in real life. ::shudders:: You have to go into dramas with some suspension of belief (you know, like switching souls and whatnot) in order to fully enjoy.

    And Jung Il-Woo can be teacher-bait (or just hot-male-bait in general) as much as he’d like! =P

    • 12.1 Betty

      Lol yes JIW does the job really well. He was so intense in Unstopable high kick and funny in FBRS.

  13. 13 JoJo

    Yes, GF, I had a young, hot, history teacher in high school. Ah, Richard Hewes, you have remained unchanged in my yearbook…but, I, alas, have not.

    • 13.1 Sabah

      The girls’ school that I attended had a point to employ over 50 year old married men but then in the summer of 1993 they employed 25 year old Physics teacher Mr King. The whole school went nuts! He left to become a missionary in 1995. True story.

      • 13.1.1 diorama

        Lol, he caused a teenage girl furor and then became a missionary…is that cause and effect?

        • Sabah

          I am not sure if it was a case of cause and effect but they definitely did come one after the other. : )

          He broke many hearts, teachers included.

  14. 14 Brenda

    Hehe, thanks for this!!
    This is a topic that I’m also always iffy on. I think there’s a cemented barrier there when it comes to student-teacher romances. It’s something I’m very against even though I love this love exchange in dramas.
    I adored Flower Boy Ramyun Shop and Biscuit Teacher, Star Candy which made my sister question my ethics since I enjoy it onscreen but detest it in real life.
    This probably makes me a HUGE hypocrite. OH well. . .If having Jung Il-Woo and Gong Yoo be teacher-bait makes me a hypocrite, I accept =P

  15. 15 queencircles

    All these boys are in their twenties playing highschoolers. That’s why I generally forgive it. It is creepy in real life when you see it but it’s a huge taboo so that’s why it’s such dramatic fodder for shows. And they get charasmatic men who can act like boys so it’s cute. Younger people are more likely to have bleeding hearts too, which you can’t help not root for. 🙂

  16. 16 Mar

    I know this is talking about specifically the dramas with teacher/student situations, but I feel it is directly linked to the older woman/younger man trope, and because, hey the world is changing. Women are becoming more “empowered” for lack of a better word, and in relations to tv drama, women are the main viewers. All females are there for the young hot male, but pairing with the older female lessens the restrictions of a high school age romance. It appears to me it allows the show makers to portray a more heated even if still quite tame, on ktv when the woman while still a “good” girl, is not a sweet young thing. I’ve been assuming it just makes life easier to deal with censoring lol.

    Regarding Big, I thought the initial scenes between Gil Da-Ran and Kang Gyung-Joon characters had great chemistry, more than between Gong Yoo and Lee Min-Jung. Not that GY is not a fun watch, because he is. I was looking forward to the ending that never happened to see that sizzle again. I never really got the forbidden fruit thing there. He was not her student. To me she connected with KGJ when she met him. I always felt it was more because Da-Ran reflected socialistic mores (not squicky pedophile or jailbait stuff) that “dictates” a man should be older than a woman in a relationship.

    I felt the same way about the characters in FBRS, once she was not going to be his teacher.

    The squick factor was more a possible issue with Biscuit Teacher, because she was his teacher, but it was addressed and handled really well to show it was not about sex, it was about an abiding affection.

    Gong Yoo and Jung Il Woo as “prime” for jailbait roles: Both had the ability to turn on a mature sensuality, that went beyond cute or pretty or even hot body. JIW, good grief, that boy might ruin a woman for all other men if he throws down like he came across in Flower Boy Raymun Shop.

    • 16.1 Marie

      Hmm, had never considered it from the censorship angle. I guess that’s why drama makers also avoid using very young actresses…

  17. 17 sherry_laruku

    Sorry to say that k-dramas version is pretty tame. They’re light-hearted fantasy drama written to please the women audience. The actresses are young, not a real cougar. Lee Chung Ah is only 3 years older than Jung Il Woo. Gong Yoo is older than Gong Hyo Jin in Biscuit teacher. Plus, in Big, the young boy sleeps till the end of the drama, it’s Gong Yoo and Lee Min Jung in the end.

    I wonder if they bring in a real real old actress, i wonder these dramas still sell… I know I will cringed… because I cringed when I see my dear Tackey romancing Nanako in Majo No Jouken (japanese drama).. Now, that’s a more realistic cradle robbing drama.. and surprising awesome!

    • 17.1 Ana

      Also cringed when I saw Majo No Jouken though the drama itself was excellent. I wonder why older actors seem to ‘fit’ with younger actresses but not the other way around. Anyways, that drama definitely opened my eyes to different kinds of pairings 🙂

    • 17.2 Sabah

      I think the ultimate one for me is Harold and Maude. That shook my understanding on love without boundaries.

      • 17.2.1 Ana

        OMG, Harold and Maude. Never again.

        • Sabah

          I will admit that what freaked you out, freaked me out too.

          Like a few people here said, Kdrama versions are ‘romanticized’ because the visuals are made compatible. As Marie below stated, a lot of people had difficulty with the initial relationship because Shin looked too young for her BUT that is the reality. I remember people hating the film Entrapment because well “you wouldn’t ever see Angela Lansbury romancing Matt Damon.”

          However, this isn’t about gender but age and though it took some time, the seed that was laid in my mind after watching Harold and Maude, has sprouted into a more broader understanding of love and where it might be found.

          • lynnet

            The only teacher-student romance I have ever watched was Flower boy ramyun shop, (still searching for Biscuit teacher), but I totally agree that kdramas have a way of romanticising this which helps a viewer forget how wrong this would be in the real world which is what happened to me when I watched flowerboy; it was only afterwards that I wondered why teachers dont get arrested in Kdramas for this kind of stuff.Lol. A brilliant way they made me forget the age difference and the whole she is in a position of power is the fact that Jung il woo ‘s character is presented as a sort “player”, he seems very experienced as shown in the very first episode when he spends the night with a strange woman he met on a plane, but the teacher is presented as being very sexually inexperienced or just not knowledgeable in the ways of love so he can totally run rings around her and you dont at all feel that she could take advantage of him. Another thing, in Kdramas its never about sex with some minor as it is in the horror stories in the newspapers, it really is about a deep abiding love with a seemingly insurmountable barrier which is what all good love stories are about .

      • 17.2.2 JoJo

        Ooh! I’d love to see a Korean version of Harold & Maude.

        • Ana

          I think the Korean public would attempt to have it banned to be honest. No matter how open minded you are, Harold and Maude will disturb you on some level.

      • 17.2.3 malta

        Maude was…80!!!!!
        and Harold 20.

        That is not anything like the age gaps in noona romances. That age difference is more like Hugh Hefner walking around with a playmate.

    • 17.3 Roggy

      I don’t know if you guys watched or remember? In Friends season 2, I think, Phoebe’s brother wants to marry his 40-something home ec teacher. NOW THAT WAS CREEPY!!

      I guess its kinda good that k-dramas make the age gaps look small, or i’d think they’d be alot more opposition/

    • 17.4 lovedramas

      I was going to mention this drama. Tackey & Nanako – this one threw me for a huge loop. I just thought it was sooo weird and inappropriate. But every case is different, I came to accept the drama but if that were to happen in real life and I happen to go to the school, I would definitely cringe.

      I dropped Big early one because I really couldn’t get into the teacher/student thing. But I dropped for many more reasons than just that. It did bore me mostly.

      The Little Bride, I did think was cute and I do sometimes have a double standard when watching dramas.

      Was not a fan was Biscuit Teacher, but I agree that the way that the actors look have a small affect on how I perceive the drama.

    • 17.5 foolmoon

      I saw Majo no Jouken and it shocked and changed my perspective about relationship, especially student-teacher one. Not that I agree with the premise, but I accept there are various kind of relationship out there.
      So far I’d say that J-drama is more realistic in portraying student-teacher love relationship, even from choosing the cast.
      While K-drama plays more in making it romantic, so I kinda accepted FBRS ’cause unconsciously I see JIW as an older actor playing young student (at the moment I even had a thought that student-JIW escaping 1-2 years of school to go to US, thus the age gap actually is not much).
      But BIG, it’s bordering creepiness, watching Da-ran interested to Kyung-Joon. The fact that she is still his teacher and has a fiancee and Kyung Joon is in his fiancee body and there is no convincing reason of the attraction between two which more than physical or kind of Oedipally love, doesn’t help the story at all …

      • 17.5.1 sherry_laruku

        Exactly. It’s NOT about noona-dongsaeng relationship. It’s about Teacher-Student relationship.

  18. 18 John

    High Kick was so sad, not due to the teen/teacher romance, rather the teacher/teacher romance.

    I love you Miss Seo!

    How could a guy not love her?

  19. 19 Sabohee

    Is it juste me, or in all these nouba dramas they chose an actor who doesn’t really look like a teenager (il woo has boyish looks but he still looks adult). I guess “big” wouldn’t have worked if we had shin&Minjung couple and no Gong yoo

    • 19.1 Marie

      I don’t think BIG worked at all, to be honest, but I do remember reading a lot of comments about Shin looking too young for LMJ. Which is weird, because we’re supposed to be watching a romance between people with a significant age gap in the first place. They’re not supposed to look compatible!!!!!

    • 19.2 Jules

      JIW looked like a teenager in High Kick, imo (probably because he, you know, *was* a teenager. *g*). 🙂

      • 19.2.1 Fiercediva

        I believe he turned 20 during UHK, no? So, stretching the upper limit of teenagerhood.

      • 19.2.2 sabohee

        didn’t watch high kick, i was talking about ramyun boy

  20. 20 Sabohee

    Is it juste me, or in all these nouba dramas they chose an actor who doesn’t really look like a teenager (il woo has boyish looks but he still looks adult). I guess “big” wouldn’t have worked if we had shin&Minjung couple and no Gong yoo.

  21. 21 acejihyo

    a lot of people are bringing age differences into this. tbh, as long as they’re legal, i have less problems with the age gap than i have with the inherent power imbalance in student-teacher relationships.

    i assume why most people can accept this particular trope in kdramas is because usually the actor portraying the student is well over legal age, thus giving us the illusion that everything will be okay. conversely, it’s probably why some people have problems with kyung-joon romancing gil teacher because shin won-ho looks significantly younger and much more jailbait-ish.

    • 21.1 Mar

      acejihyo-Good point on student teacher power imbalance, that is certainly important especially in a real life situation. In K drama, we are generally speaking of female teachers that have limited power, and male students that have family/financial power, so we have several dynamics going on, age, gender, social pecking order, organizational pecking order, etc. Great stuff to think about. I thought about the power imbalance as I was posting but tried to stick to the age thing in my post to be cohesive on one point lol. And I think that power imbalance is something to think about with High Kick and Biscuit Teacher for sure.

      • 21.1.1 canxi

        Yeah, usually the only power the female has is her age and the maturity that comes along with it come to think of it. I too have less problems with the age gap as long as the student (male or female is 18 or so rather than younger). It doesn’t mean I’ll always root for the couple, though. For example I didn’t root for FBRS couple– I could just not understand what she liked about Cha Chi Soo. But then again, sometimes you don’t really have any particular reason why you feel a certain way about someone.

  22. 22 pikapuffie

    i’ve never seen biscuit teacher but am a huge GY fan after watching BIG (missed CP the first time around cause i only got into kdramas last year). do you all recommend i watch this? also a fan of GHJ.

    only if the ending is satisfying of course. can’t deal with another let down after the BIG ending.

    • 22.1 hanabi

      Biscuit Teacher is decent…not one of my favorites, but good enough that reading this post made me want to watch it again. It’s a bit more episodic than most kdramas – many of the episodes focus on solving a particular students’ problem – though the main story is the romance. The ending is satisfactory, iirc.

      If you’re a fan of GY and GHJ (I love both these actors and want to see them together in a project again!), then I’d recommend Biscuit Teacher. The torrents at d-addicts seem to still be active. You can find it streaming too, I think, but the quality I could find was quite blurry. So I’m d/ling it.

    • 22.2 queencircles

      I just finished watching it. It was ok. I actually liked the episodic format of her helping her students and feeling like a real teacher. But… I can’t give it glowing recommendation because of the romance… gong yoo is great but the main coupling takes foooreever to come together and the other (infuriating) relationship with her former teacher overshadowed all the goodness.

      The ending was satisfying for sure though… and possibly worth all the annoyingness of the art teacher and family… nothing like the EPIC FAIL that was big.

    • 22.3 lynnet

      am also looking for biscuit teacher but you should still watch coffee prince became so obsessed with him after this show !

  23. 23 heesoup

    You forgot the drama Romance with Kim Ha Neul and Kim Jae Won. That was something….hahaha

  24. 24 heesoup

    And Loveholic with Kang Ta and Kim Kyu Ri…That was really odd as well…the guy goes to jail to cover up for his teacher’s medical condition.

  25. 25 Christy

    Nothing could ever diminish my love for Biscuit Teacher, which is hands down the best school drama I’ve ever watched (and the only one I’ve been able to stomach – something about school dramas just never seems to be able to keep my attention for more than a few episodes). While I haven’t seen Flower Boy Ramyun shop, so I can’t comment on that, I do agree that Biscuit handled the situation realistically. There were real enough stakes and hurdles for the leading couple, and the mini arcs about the other students’ stories throughout it all was just the icing on top.

    Big, on the other hand, took nearly every wrong turn and somehow made it even worse. Like their inability to juggle multiple characters and give them depth, in Big, the Hong Sisters were also unable to balance multiple plot points and allow them both to develop. The Hong Sisters chose to focus the drama on the magical body switch more than the teacher-student issue, which I normally wouldn’t have a problem with – except for the fact that in choosing to drop a potentially great and engaging narrative, they ended up fumbling the one they actually ended up picking.

  26. 26 LotusW

    Gong yoo had me at biscuit teacher – many many moons ago. Also loved Kim jae won in Romance.

    • 26.1 niKai

      i don’t like kim jaewon’s character in Romance at all. He’s creepy there.

      • 26.1.1 Ana

        His face is just creepy in general. Never understood how he got popular…

  27. 27 KimLuvv

    While watching these dramas, I’ve wanted more and more plots along the lines of Teacher-Student romance cuz I love them! But when I think about it in a real life situation, I get so grossed out!! LOL 😛 You’re totally right about that point.
    And yes, why are always JIW and GY always in the teacher-student romance dramas, its such a coincidence!! ^_^ But it’s not like I’m complaining ;P

  28. 28 Noelle

    LOL at the last bit.

  29. 29 Shiningmoon

    Really funny :). I’ve never watch Biscuit teacher, you wake my curiosity, going to search it and watch it tonight. ^^

  30. 30 malta

    I don’t get the student/teacher romance plots. They kinda make you stop and wonder why would the writer do this. I haven’t watched Biscuit. I watched and loved Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, but that had basically nothing to do with the high school setting and the story took place outside of school. FBRS would have worked just fine without her being his teacher. I was not into Big although I wanted to be because of Gong Yoo.

    I think student/teacher relationships just create issues in kdramas that are a little iffy IMO and then they confound them with age gap differences. The issue with kdrama student/teacher romances tends to not be the age gap (since most of the heroes are pretty much legal and they never do anything till everyone is legal), but the power imbalance. Hence why a student/teacher relationship in college still brings up not so fun ethical issues.

    As for noona romances, there are a lot of them, but I think people categorize more romances as noona romances than there really are. Noona romances also tend to be the trendy dramas with young stars that get lots of attention especially with the international crowd.

    If we were to count all the “oppa romances” the list would run off this page into eternity.

    It only takes maybe a 2 year age difference to make romance a noona romance, but if the guy is 2 years older or 6 or 8 or even 10 it’s not even an issue. The age gap has to be 10+ for it to be mentioned and if the woman is mature it’s still not an issue. Just calling that out for the record.

    The other thing is a lot of the popular male stars out there are young. Lee Min Ho is 25(?) and it seems that now he will be taking on roles where he plays older than he is in real life. Till Lee Min Ho is 30, I doubt he will be playing people actually his age. Jung Il Woo has done the opposite playing people younger than him in real life. Yoon Shi Yoon who was casted in Me Too Flower at the last minute played older than he is next to Lee Ji Ah (who is older than him in real life and looks older than him) and he has a total baby face, but in the drama they are suppose to be the same age. Sometimes the story isn’t about a noona romance, but it appears that way because of casting issues.

    Also, I’m calling it- Yoo Seung Ho is so the next young talented guy to fall into this quandary. He’s hot and looks older than he is. Probably he will get casted that way wooing some older woman, even when older means 23yrs old(!).

    I love both noona romances and oppa romances. As long as we have a good story with a couple who have crackling chemistry, I’m in!

    • 30.1 Ana

      Excellent point about differentiating the ages of the characters vs the ages of the actors. I’ve seen people mention dramas like K2H, RTP, Personal Preference, etc. as noona romances when in reality the lead actresses just happen to be older than the lead actors. Some of these pairings work (LSG – HJW, HJM – PYC) but others just fall flat for me. I’m not sure what crack the producer of Me Too, Flower was on when he cast Lee Ji Ah opposite Yoon Shi Yoon. I also was not a fan of Kim Sun Ah and Lee Jang Woo in I Do, I Do, but at least the plot justified the casting.

      • 30.1.1 Ana

        Also, I kind of laughed when I heard the term ‘oppa romance’. Those dramas are usually just called romances without any modification. Ah, the double standard!

        • tonbotomoe

          I believe this is also double standard in my part but what constitute an “oppa romance”? Is it when the guy is older than the girl, since the criteria that I have when calling a romance “noona” is when the girl is older?

          • Ana

            I think oppa romances are when the guy is significantly older than the girl because we naturally assume that the guy is older (say 3 – 6 years) unless the drama specifically states otherwise. It’s considered normal, so no modifier necessary. Any romance where the girl is even a year older is considered a noona romance because it’s considered uncommon and in need of a modifier.

      • 30.1.2 malta

        I liked the Me Too Flower couple. The pairing was definitely the result of last minute scrambling, but I thought it worked out well in the end and that they had a really sweet chemistry. Maybe it’s just me, but Lee Ji Ah looks young to me…and she’s so much smaller than Yoon Shi Yoon.

    • 30.2 lovedramas

      I was going to mention this drama. Tackey & Nanako – this one threw me for a huge loop. I just thought it was sooo weird and inappropriate. But every case is different, I came to accept the drama but if that were to happen in real life and I happen to go to the school, I would definitely cringe.

      I dropped Big early one because I really couldn’t get into the teacher/student thing. But I dropped for many more reasons than just that. It did bore me mostly.

      The Little Bride, I did think was cute and I do sometimes have a double standard when watching dramas.

      Was not a fan was Biscuit Teacher, but I agree that the way that the actors look have a small affect on how I perceive the drama.

      Also – isn’t some of the casting issues have to do with the 2 yrs off that the men have to do for their MS in Korea? That has some void. There are many in the age range of 27 to 29 right? It’s probably not a huge factor but somewhat, in any case.

    • 30.3 lynnet

      excellent points made all round , am so glad that dramabeans brought this up, the first time I watched a teacher- student romance I briefly wondered if Korea was on an alternate universe where such things were not taboo; this is not to say I wasnt rooting for the lead couple all the way through ,but I kept waiting for the police to turn up or the teacher to lose her job how stressful! I do think that drama writers are always looking for some new insurmountable barrier to keep a couple apart and these days most taboos are not as great as they used to be so they just keep finding a new one ; it used to be in any book or film that one of the characters was married making it a love that could not be unless the spouse died (Jane Eyre) but these days people just get divorced . Age differences are not as scandalous (on screen anyway ) as they used to be ,if you really want to be together as long as you are both legal its nobody ‘s business but your own, so whats left: teacher -student romances

  31. 31 tonbotomoe

    Jung Il Woo does intense really well.
    In America, teacher-student romance are, shall we say, dealt with pretty harshly. Forget fired, try jailed and blacklisted.

    • 31.1 Betty

      Yeah totally!!! Like in the show Pretty Little Liar season 1. Aria was going out with her teacher and there was this guy trying to blackmail the teacher because of that and it was a really big deal and throughout the whole thing I was stressed out and at some point I was like ok I hope they’ll get caught so that I can be in peace and stop biting my nails lol

  32. 32 Farpavilions

    Slightly OT: is there a specific term for younger boyfriend and girlfriend, i.e. the opp. of oppa and noona? dongsaeng doesn’t work unless used for siblings or non-romantically involved juniors, right?

  33. 33 zefreak

    What annoys me more than the teacher/student romance is all the people that think such relationships are immoral. Strange, yes. Illegal, yes. Immoral? I feel like these sort of dramas have something to say about love that shouldn’t be ignored.

    Sure, many relationships with such an age difference do not work out. That might make such a relationship a large risk, or potentially harmful, but NOT immoral. Especially considering that in the context of the drama, both characters are obviously mature enough to make relatively informed choices regarding their desires.

    • 33.1 zefreak

      Might I add that those who dislike it because of the ‘squickiness’ remind me of the people who wouldn’t watch Life is Beautiful because of the homosexual relationship or who think incest is ‘immoral’. Consensual relationships are just that, and love transcends social taboos and gender/social identities.

      It would be a tragedy if two people who desperately desired to be with one another didn’t because ‘sorry, I belong to social-class x and you belong to social-class y’.

      • 33.1.1 Renjick

        “Might I add that those who dislike it because of the ‘squickiness’ remind me of the people who wouldn’t watch Life is Beautiful because of the homosexual relationship or who think incest is ‘immoral’. ”

        Then you’d be a moron.

        • zefreak

          Can you elaborate? I’m not trying to be offensive, but I feel like the reaction to student/teacher and noona/dongsaeng from many people is not because of the ‘power disparity’ that they might justify it with but rather just because its weird and uncommon. Romance between people with a power disparity is common in korean shows, and people don’t complain about a Boss dating an employee or a rich guy dating a girl who is forced to live with him/otherwise dependent on him.

          All of these shows are basically about the power equalizing in the relationship anyways. The student/bumbling employee grows into a more mature individual, often taking care of and helping the teacher/boss/whatever with their own problems in life and by the end they are basically on an equal footing.

  34. 34 evebay39

    I think that’s missing aspects of the power in the relationship which is precisely why this type of relationship is generally not only frowned upon but illegal in many countries.

    I might be misremembering (i’ve only watched it once as I wasn’t as much of a fan) but I wasn’t as sure that Ramyun Shop did address it. I thought there attempt to leave that aspect behind was to get it out of school, him change from school uniform and generally to pretend/forget he wasn’t a school boy.

    As Eye Candy says up top, and I completely agree – a gender reversal would generate a very different reaction to these stories and, I think, rightly.

    Biscuit Candy I thought was well performed and did look at the fall out- but they were so clearly in favour of the main relationship that that did still skew it quite a bit.

  35. 35 Yue

    I personally… Died laughing at this statement:

    “javabeans: “Noonaaaaaa….” *pout* *wiggle*

    girlfriday: *dies*”

    You guys are awesome. I dunno, but, for some reason Teacher/Student relationship works better for me in Japanese dramas. I mean, KDramas do all the cutesy effect, but, so far… In JDramas, I have wanted to pull my hair out more than I can count… LOL

  36. 36 909

    Out of curiosity, which episodes does JIW star in? All i know about Unstoppable high kick is that there are alot of episodes…other than that, never watched it. Maybe I’ll watch the parts with him though hehe.

  37. 37 foolmoon

    I don’t have problem with age gap differences between male and female, whether the male is a lot older or the female (a female 15 years older than the male is not a strange case ’cause it happens around us ), BUT NOT with student-teacher relationship, especially if it is in high school.
    I am a teacher in high school and because of my friendly character and my style that somehow I look younger than my age. I can sense some of my male students’ interest and I often feel uncomfortable of that, because a few of them cannot differentiate between adoration like to an older sister or to a female. I don’t want to be their fantasy.
    Thus, I don’t understand the student-teacher romance in FBRS and especially, Big.First, it’s not a matter of age gap to me, but about maturity gap. The dramas don’t convince me about the maturity of the boys to have a relationship with older women. Thus, I guess why the writer need time jump to convince us. But then to me, why don’t the realtionship start then?
    Second, there is an ethic as a teacher. No matter how big your love is, to continue being a teacher while responding to the feeling of her student is just not right.

    • 37.1 Annie

      OT, but you know a couple where the woman is 15 years older than the man? That’s amazing!

    • 37.2 MeeisLee

      Well, at my high school, the average age is mid-late 20s/ early 30s. In fact, I don’t think there’s an active teacher who is 40 yet…

      My math teacher actually reminds me of Ha Ji Won and Agnes Park (Hawaii 5-0). The male students love her, not her teaching ability, but because they think she’s hot/cute. Doesn’t help that she’s also super nice and like 6yrs older.

      But anyway, the student-teacher thing didn’t bother me that much. I believe age is just a number in several cases (not the creepy predator style). It might also be because I’m a student and there also happens to be hot young male teachers too…

      I do object when the relationship exists in school like you said (Pretty Little Liars, for anyone who has watched) and when it goes beyond simple-crush feelings into more intimacy. I think love is possible between a pair but they should hold off until legal age. [There actually was a case where a teacher was found guilty for statutory rape, did time in jail, and now her and her younger companion live together and have kids]

      Actually, a movie that demonstrates such a relationship in more realistic context and appeal is Green Chair by Park Chul Soo. I haven’t watched it for myself but I’ve heard good things about it. It’s quite raunchy though and it’s definitely for an adult audience.

  38. 38 nyss

    7 years after Biscuit Teacher, Jung Ui Chul is still playing a high school student…

  39. 39 IBELIS

    Noona drama’s don’t bother me because most of the time the character’s are adults,this is not true for the teacher student relationship the age difference takes a back seat because it’s crossing the lines of trust between the adult, student and parent.

    Lets be honest what kind of a relationship can a woman have with a teenage boy, it’s certainly not a healthy one. I’m not saying that you can’t be physically drawn to him but would you really fall in love and risk everything for him. If you did most people would think you were nuts.

    There is not a parent in the world that sends their teenager off to school even considers the possibility that the teacher would fall in love with their kid. That’s why most object to these relationships even in drama’s.

    In Biscuit the teacher never crosses the line with him and when he about to graduate she tell’s go to collage and just like she did come back when you are an adult.
    It also helped that he really didn’t look like a kid. That can be the saving grace.

    • 39.1 Marie

      That’s because Gong Yoo is older than Gong Hyo Jin IRL. Can’t be too controversial, I guess.

  40. 40 vrosemarie

    Oooh! Don’t forget Romance (2002) with Kim Ha Neul and Kim Jae Won! That was my very first teacher-student kdrama…

  41. 41 Enz

    In real life about a few years ago, wasn’t there an actor in his teens that had a relationship with his director/ producer? I think she got pregnant too.. I just can’t remember his name. Anyone?

  42. 42 Emi

    I love teacher-student stories (as long as they are safely in imaginary drama or manga land, and not real life). I know I TOTALLY ship Shin and Yankumi in Gokusen. Ahh, if only they continued with Shin’s story instead of resetting the class every season~

    I also really like large age-gap stories. I guess that’s why I don’t mind Yoon’s storyline in A Gentleman’s dignity, or the main romance in Daring Women, where the guy is 15 years older (at least) than the girl.

  43. 43 k-soup

    I am a teacher and it’s my first year of teaching. Students having crush with the teacher is flattering but at the same time it’s creepy especially when the student is trying to get close to you and you look at them like what? cute little brothers that you want to pinch in the cheeks?

    I already mentioned this in my other post about BIG and the student-teacher relationship story is unconventional when it comes to real life contexts. I literally cringe sometimes when I watch ‘BIG’ because even though Gong Yoo play the part of the 18 year old kid, I still picture out that there is a kid inside him.

    These type of dramas actually unconsciously give the students an idea that falling in love with a teacher is FINE It’s not WRONG and it’s something NATURAL which actually not. Major pain in the butt in teacher’s point of view. Well, I think people should stop doing these kind of dramas and think of other ideas. It’s romantic, it’s funny and cute BUT it’s really WRONG.

    Just saying 🙂

  44. 44 Hee

    I still can’t get over the fact that Big was such a let down. It was the one drama I was really excited about but pfff the end was too crappy and I was left feeling so unsatisfy! Luckily Gaksital came in to save the day…!!!

  45. 45 kyunie

    OMG…. *DIES*

    LOL… you gals are hilarious 😀

  46. 46 Joisy Miller

    Mates, I am getting surprised to those touching romantic scenes. OMG!! 🙂 Really a super episode you display here. Thank you so much for wonderful bit excitement. Keep it up! 😉

  47. 47 Viki

    Lol, you gals are always so hilarious.

    I agree, why does it seem that Jung Il Woo and Gong Yoo always play the teacher-student relationship roles? HAHA

  48. 48 AF

    I die, too :))

  49. 49 wina

    Another drama with student-teacher relationship that i luv was loveholic where kangta was the student. It was so heartwrecking

  50. 50 Jasmine

    I think the immoral factor in student-teacher romances boils down to the idea that the teacher, who is supposed to be a mentor, a guide, a figure of wisdom and authority the student trusts innately, is taking advantage of his or her bond with the student. In a way, a teacher is like a surrogate parent. Would society normally expect a parental figure to have intimate relations with his or her mentees? Of course not. Add to that the usual age gap (more of a problem if the youngster is a minor), the differences in maturity of the mind/life experiences make the whole concept rather taboo. Being a mentor to a newly inducted pledge 3 or 4 years my junior in a co-ed frat, I couldn’t handle the crush he had on me because I held certain principles about my responsibilities as a mentor, first and foremost. Eventually had to find him a new one and firmly kept my distance.

    I think most student crushes on teachers are pretty superficial…ie a good portrayal is Wet Dreams I and II (K-films…once you get over the titles, the movies are pretty ridiculous but fun), but those undying love types are kind of hard to accept, ie squicky kinds like Loveholic (although they kind of solve this issue in two ways…rather heartbreaking).

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