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Dramaland reality vs. actual reality in Korea

Now, we drama-lovers know that dramaland doesn’t necessarily reflect reality, and that not every Korean man or woman are in their twenties or thirties, nor are they all doctors, lawyers, or business executives. It is hard to gain some perspective, though, if you’ve only experienced Korea through the media.

The Korea Communications Commission released a report recently, titled the “2016 Report on Media Diversity,” to show just how differently dramas reflect the socioeconomic and generational makeup of South Korea. They studied 43 dramas that aired between January and September last year on the Big 3 stations (MBC, KBS, and SBS) plus tvN and OCN, and took note of the drama characters’ occupations and ages.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, they found that drama leads were often young and had specialized jobs with above-average pay, while there were comparatively low numbers of drama heroes and heroines who were blue-collar workers or above the age of 50. Personally, none of these results were unexpected, but it was interesting to see just how disproportionate the ratios were, especially in comparison to censuses of the actual Korean population.

In terms of occupations, by far the most common job among drama leads were specialists or professionals, which took up 42.2% by itself, while in reality, those jobs only take up about 10.7% of the Korean workforce. On the other side of the spectrum, we have blue-collar jobs, which were only represented by 0.8% of drama leads last year, while 12.9% of the Korean labor force have such jobs.

It’s a similar story when looking at drama leads’ ages, although it’s actually even more disproportionate, if you can believe it (I can). Of all the dramas the commission examined, 55.5% of the leads were in their thirties or forties, and 38.3% were in their teens or twenties. Do the math, and that accounts for a whopping 93.8% percent of lead characters in dramas. According to a 2015 population census in Korea, the actual percentages of those in their thirties and forties is 31.9%, while those in their teens and twenties are 24.1%. Meanwhile, we have Korean people in their fifties and sixties, who make up 25.9% of the total population, only taking up 2.8% of lead characters on our TV screens.

I’m not sure whether this report will have any actual impact on the industry, and I don’t necessarily think the commission’s intention was to change the drama landscape. But I appreciate that this kind of report exists, because while we can always talk about how dramaland isn’t a fair reflection of reality, it’s nice to have some numbers to point to as evidence and get some perspective.

For those of you interested, I’ve included the chart released by the commission showing the comparisons between the drama survey and the censuses, and provided a translation of the same.

Via Yonhap News

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Unemployed? You mean "looking for a job" right?

And I have yet to see a drama where the lead was 50+ years old. Where did they get that 2.8% from?

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Would Dear My Friends count?

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Han Suk-Gyu: Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim.

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That's the working definition of unemployed...
I think the average age of lead characters on Dear my friends were over 50 years.

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Try dear my friends, a very good drama.

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Dear My Friends was a drama about the elderly. It was a really good drama.

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Dear IlllI, what a beautiful palindromic alias!.

I know Dramas with older people are pretty unusual, but let me recommend you "Dear My Friends". The writer girl in her late 30's is the only main character under 50, but she is (mostly) the narrator of the story.

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I think there was one drama called Grandpas over Flowers, too, right? Also, there's Choi Min-soo's new drama Man Who Dies to Live.

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Grandpa Flower Investigation Team was a fun drama.

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Unemployed is a legit term used anywhere for the measurement of the workforce of a country.

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I think the commenter is referencing Jo In-sung (Oh Dae-hwan) from Shopping King Louie, or something like that.

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"Ima cvhob sheekev..."

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"Isn't he awesome?"

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Hey, that "job seeker" is from a different species.

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No disrespect or anything but it's pretty funny that the majority of the above posters cited Dear My Friends as a drama in which the lead/cast were ages 50+. It's either that good or shows just how few (good ones) there are.

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It would be funnier if it turns out Dear My Friends counts for the entire 2.8%. (Funny as in funny-bitter, not funny-ha-ha.)

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Still made me chuckle though. lol.

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I think it's both of them. It is that good and while there's a lot of realistic drama lately, there were none that portray elderly better, gives them actual human perspective instead of one-dimensional in-laws roles.

By the way I notice that most of Koreans (almost half of them) have unspecified job (far right column) tho :o

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Dear My friends just won the 53rd annual Baeksang Awards for best drama over the much anticipated win for Goblin... now I'm curious about it. I've added it to my will watch k-drama list.

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Memory?

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Memory is still on my watch list. I think Lee Sung-min turns 50 next year.

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Not exactly 50+ years old, but both leads in "Second To Last Love" are in their late 40's. Most characters are also around that age.

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Second to Last Love
Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim
Dear My Friends
Father is strange the middle aged couples are leads too

(If we speak of slightly older dramas I could quote Misaeng, where one of the two main leads is in his 50s. )

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I find it most interesting, since I see Dramas as a muddled mirror of reality. It reflects the ASPIRATIONS of the viewers more than their reality. On the other hand, it is good to be aware of those differences since TV shows are an educational media after all.

I still remeber in the 80's lots of our Venezuelan telenovelas (soap operas) were about a girl coming from humble origins that fall in love with a rich man an after some cliched adventures had a happily ever after. Now we are leaders in teen pregnancy...

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Very acute point.

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Can't agree more. Happy to read a comment from another venezuelan :)

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Sorry for my dear fellow Beanies ;) : * Vives todavía aquí en Venezuela?, yo soy de Caracas y vivo en La Urbina. * Thanks for your patience.

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Yep totally agree with this. Also the viewers (and well everyone really) likes the thought of being someone who is highly skilled at a particular subject (words aren't working for me right now)

Really it is just a really good marketing tactic that has been used for decades, that helps creators gain a larger audience. It is like a signal of hope for those who have it a little bit harder on themselves.

That sounded way more deep than I meant it to XD

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This makes me laugh, because TV, in any country, never reflects society the way it is. Still, I wish they'd make a drama where the hero/heroine is a blue-collar worker or unemployed and a slacker. That would make a great comedy, I think.

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When I tell people I watch Kdramas and then they ask about cultural insights I may have picked up, I preface my response with the reminder "This is like asking a Korean who watched a lot of Vampire Diaries, Homeland and Gossip Girl to describe average American life." I can accurately report back about the varying concepts of rent, the rough outlines of family hierarchies, and about the food. That's it.

All TV is escapism, but it's kind of nice to see that someone is trying to tether programming to reality. But this is the same old "appeal to the individuals with disposable income who are highly susceptible to product placement" story that happens everywhere. And this rating doesn't account for sageuks, I don't think, which might be filling some of the gaps for audiences outside the teen-to-fifty range.

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Oh, that's been done all right. Of course, the slacker in the end becomes an honorable hero (or not, since it's dramaland).

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There is a drama called "unemployed romance", but i havent watched it.
The thing is: to be unemployed is not worthy.... not anything to be proud of. So... i dont think they will portray that in their lead characters.
Unemployed people are still eating and expending certain amount of money....where does the money come from? Social wellfare? Relatives? It is a shameful situation. How would we as viewers relate to that? Or like it?
Even if we are ourselves on the social welfare, we wont talk about it because it makes us feel like losers.
Blue collars is another story but there is a similar feeling of shame because everybody wants something better.

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I agree. There should be a study on how American TV showcase average citizens: all people are skinny and mostly white.

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It doesn't matter what the country is, most people are going to want to watch shows about people living the "glamorous life" or "successful" people who seem to "have it all." I think it's really about escapism.

Although one of my top favorite dramas of last year was "Dear My Friends" which had a cast of people who were mostly in their 70s. It was an awesome slice of life drama which really pulled at the heartstrings.

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Pretty much, people want to watch shows that don't remind them of their current life.

I remember when Misaeng was airing there were comments online in Korea, where people said they couldn't watch the show at all because it reminded them of their current office job. It was too realistic for some people to stomach. At the end of the day everything is deemed entertainment, and if it can't entertain who would want to watch it?

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Although I didn't watch all of Misaeng, it was pretty slice-of-life.

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I watched My Dear Friends with a box of tissue almost every episode. It was scary real.

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The social scientist in me would love to see the whole report in English, I'm curious. Then I would like to see an equivalent report done for the USA. Still trying to figure out how Jennifer Aniston's character in friends afforded her share of their huge New York apartment when she worked at a Coffee House.

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Exactly. And how Carrie Bradshaw worked as a newspaper columnist and had so many designer shoes, handbags, and clothes.

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Same for Beckett in Castle, girl must be taking bribes to afford that wardrobe as a detective.

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um yes. so much yes to this.

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they did address that, it was her nana's apartment and that jennifer didnt share rent as far as i remember.
Though i agree about Carrie Bradshaw, how she managed it despite the fact being a writer (atleast in my country) is not exactly a well paid job or ever was

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Sorry didn't see your comment until AFTER I hit send.

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On Friends their rent wasn't expensive because it was in Monica's aunt name or something. I remember they had a convo about it being rent controlled.

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You mean my young, handsome, CEO husband isn't out there in Korea, waiting for me? 😮

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no *cries* he's probably job seeking as we speak

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He IS there, waiting for you to come accidentally kiss him by falling on him on the way to walking to your part-time job at the convenience store.

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Oh okay, good. Phew~

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That's world load of coincidences. Bypassing all parallel universes to stick a wooden kiss on an arrogant noname hero.

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Oh, your young, handsome husband has to work? How unfortunate. Mine is independently wealthy thanks to some un-named wise investments. ;)

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He only works as a hobby.

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These conversations lol

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Don't worry, despite being filthy rich I saw him eating at Subway. You just must go there everyday until 'accidentally' bump into each other.

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😂😂😂 You all are hilarious.

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beware of those. they are all secret psycho killers.

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Coincidentally, the recent South Korean Presidential scam bought to light the difference between the elite in South Korea and the normal people, and many reports lay Korea as one of the good examples of where the rich keeps getting richer and poor .. poorer

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That sounds like Venezuela! LOL

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That sounds like every other country out there.

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Oye chama, ¿eso te parece divertido?... (Hey lady, is that funny to you?).

We are having a really hard time down here. Hope you never have to climb a tree to eat its fruits not because you actually want it, but simply because you can't afford to go to a supermarket. Hope you never have to see hundreds of your people open the garbage to eat residues. Hope you can walk freely in your city without the fear of being robbed/killed. Hope you can call your friends and have a reunion because they actually still live in your country. Hope you don't become lonely since you are the one left behind in your country.

Sorry to the other Beanies for the rant.

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It's because the poor in every country are kept busy and uninformed by watching absolutely fake news and fake entertainment while losing what is left of their freedom and money.

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And i hope you look at least a little bit asian. I have never watched a drama where the girl is from another country speaking little korean 😟

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Drama World?

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And there goes my future :(
*tears* ....

Seriously , I have only ever seen one black person ( who appears more than once) in a k-drama and that was that man in moorim school ...

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Indeed not surprising, but it's nice to see the real numbers of a country that I mostly know through fictional dramas. But no word about "geeeniuses" in real life? They really rack up that 42.2%. Heh.

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I am left wondering about the gender balance. Would love to know how (un)equal it is compared with TV. May there be many more of Seo hyun-jin's characters on the screen and in real life!

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Well, Korea has one of the worst misogyny rates in the world, so... https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/13/opinion/south-koreas-misogyny.html?_r=0

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At least it's blatant misogyny, in the U.S. it's just more subtle.

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SIGH. I was afraid of that but these kind of reports should always take that into account; change is really urgent. Merci.

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Really interesting report! Thanks for sharing!

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Hmm I feel like the family dramas I have watched gave me a more realistic perspective since they contained blue-collar workers and non specialized jobs. Also some are just way more believable than the other dramas that aired this year and last...no shade no tea

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Yup like Reply '88. The only unrelatable character there is Choi Taek, but the rest I felt like I met them somewhere, sometime in the past.

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In recent memory, Reply '88 and Misaeng would be the most grounded dramas I've ever watched. The only unrelatable character in Reply was Choi Taek, but the rest I felt like I met them somewhere, sometime in the past.

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Well... "Drama" / "Dream". There is not a big difference between these two words, actually!

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I wonder if Korean TV production was told to add at least one character as doctor in every drama. No offense but knowing a little bit about korean education (unhealthy studying hours, students suicidal cases, etc.) makes me think that some (or is it all?) countries including Korea tend to glorify certain occupations, which makes the young generation aspire to ONLY get those jobs while there are some that might be more suitable for them.

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While a doctor is a great profession, from my perspective, it doesn't seem to be as glorified in Korea as it is outside of Korea by Korean-American immigrants.

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I believe all professions are great, except con-man or people whose jobs are against rules or harmful for humanity. I just highlighted the phenomenon that I saw through (Korean) entertainment industry lens and related it to the reality, which is probably an insignificant representative (depends on how we view this).
That said, as we know, media is very powerful tool to plant such idea or image to people. It makes me hope Korean dramas (since we're at it) will depict more realistic story, something like Dear My Friends, Age of Youth. Or it'll be still ok if the realistic part is mixed with other interesting aspects that could sell the drama well in the market ;)

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Well people (or parents) generally aspire to high salary professions and most people already know professions in finance, lawyers, and doctors make a lot without tv telling us that lol. None of my cousins in korea had time to watch dramas growing up anyway.

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Are you a Korean? Then my previous and following comments would be irrelevant since I know nothing about the real fact and you might know it better :)
Lol I know that some jobs mentioned above are popular without tv telling us, and also students should just focus on their study instead of watching tv all day long. They too could get inspired about their dream job from somewhere else.
My point was since we're at the topic about k-drama, despite it is one of escapisms or just an entertainment, it would be nice to have some ( not all) that feel realistic but not necessarily a documentary, just a breth of fresh air ones.

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Lol I guess I was still replying to your original comment about depiction of doctors on tv and its correlation to competition in schools. I do agree that it would be nice to see some more shows that depict some ordinary (non-genius, non-chaebol) lives. I personally couldn't relate to blue collar work but it might be interesting to see dramatized.

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In k-dramas, prosecutors seem to be the highest ranking glory status profession. It may be true in real life also. Doctors are for sure a very close second.

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I heard it's athlete and then doctors.

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I thought Doctor was the highest, because I rarely see a k-drama without that profession takes space in it lol.

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Why then Prosecutors are shown Corrupt then? Name any action drama and you will whole prosecutor office dealing into shady business and lone hero trying a losing fight.

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That is true - and the same can be said about any cop above the level of street pounder. Going by dramas, Korea is one of the most corrupt in the world - everybody is for sale.

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My understanding about One More Happy Ending is that the reason they made the doc such a jerk was because the local Korean audience was rooting for him too much. Why would a Korean lady watching this show want a cute young match maker trying to find a fella have her pick an employee of a Dispatch-like operation and a single dad to boot over a doctor? Thus the doc becomes a serious cold jerk and such is the live shoot system. I bailed on the drama but when I read this, things made sense about what went wrong in the drama for me.

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I am sorry for One More Happy Ending, it should have been much better. That male lead was gold. The trolling of the female lead in front of a bus was perfect: the delivery, the mocking tone, the fact that the actor let it show that the character was having a riot on that... and the discovery they had that letting out in front of a bus of strangers was the icing on the cake.

Besides that, I loved all the Angels' friendship.

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So that is what happened! I gave up on it also, don't remember which episode though. I don't like dramas where the love interests are friends. So when the single dad reneged on staying out of his friends way for the girl I jumped ship. I remember when I read the comments on the recap, on DB, I couldn't believe how many people were all for the dad stabbing his friend in the back . Anywho, thanks for that bit of info. Now I feel a sense of relief with letting it go.

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Very interesting research. Just had similar discussion with a friend of mine regardingt the drama landscape all over the world. In my country, candy and chaebol dramas are still trending, and I've watched another country's dramas where most of the evil characters are women. Dramas are not the true depiction of reality, and in dramaverse, people hardly grow old LOL. I think it has to do with the purpose of making drama in the first place - watching drama for a lot of people is equal to escapism from reality. People need to watch pretty things with pretty background and pretty music, and well, reality don't always give that. If the drama truly depicts the real life, then Subway would be the national food of Korea instead of kimchi.

But again, dramas still give influence what we perceive in life, regardless of how unrealistic it is. The drama trends for one, give hints of the going-ons in the real world - case in point: all the legal & fighting for justice dramas in dramaverse these days are representations of the current Korean political and social landscape.

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You mean that not everyone in Korea survives on just Subway and Starbucks? (Aside from the thousands of trays of kimchi that some mother or MIL stuffs the leads' refrigerator with).

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LOL. If dramaverse is to be accounted for, all Koreans drink coffee and love fast food.

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And have a drinking problem if they real consume that many soju bottles.

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kimchi subway ftw!

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I agree with you regarding how dramas influence what we perceive in life. In my case, it is about human interactions with each other. Not the kind 'you saved a chaebol grandfather and treated him and he wanted you to marry his arrogant grandson' kind of interaction, but normal interactions between two bestfriends, couples, siblings, etc. There is one case where I was so frustrated with my roommate for constantly blaming everything when things didnt go her ways and for constantly complaining about her fight with her boyfriend *lack of communication, misunderstanding, yadda yadda*, so I ended up telling her a story of ChanYoung and Han Gyeol (I am sorry if I have offended CY's fans, at that time I did felt mad about CY, now not anymore) and asked her to reflect her situation. I told her that if she keeps blaming her surrounding, than get ready to feel bitter for the rest of her life. I also told her the reason she kept arguing with her boyfriend was because they didnt listen to each other, just like CY and HG was. Luckily she understood and try to mend things or else I might have moved out.

One more thing that always amazes me is the ability of our lead characters to do so many things in one day. They get to go to gym early in the morning, eat breakfast in a fine restaurant, go to work, pick up relatives or friends at airport, then have lunch, go back to work, have coffee, have a date with his/her partner, have dinner, and even manage to stroll at the park at night, go to sleep, and feeling refreshed next day. How they do all of this? Hahaha.

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Ha ha ha... i also wonder why on earth do they have to make days in dramas sooooo long and full of interactions that it seems forever!
It bothers me mostly because it makes people fall in love too quick, like they spend together few whole days and they are already missing each other as if they knew one another longer, or even ditching members of their own family whom they know forever just to do whatever with the other lead (of course, we know because they are falling for each other), but for me it is still not realistic, not even significative, as they want to present it...
Anyway... you guys will tell me again: this is dramaland. I know...

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I guess....thats what we called as 'love at the first sight?' LOL. Believe me, it is real. Im not sure about other people, but it is for me. But again, my friends call me drama queen, although I never have any intention to make my life more dramatic any more than I am currently living^^

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Oh yes! A day in dramaland is so, so long but years gone by in split seconds! Does that mean they're living in reverse? 🤔

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LOL!!!

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it is the will of a mighty producer like in Truman Show, slow down the sunset, let the day linger, then fast forward and it´s 2025 the next morning cause invisible hand turned the calendar

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That is because travel in Korea is instantaneous.

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Very interesting statistics report, i don't think drama watchers were actually believing that Korea is full of CEOs, genius doctors and young hot people but it's nice to have an actual document to show that.

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Over 50 will definitely be difficult to find....there are family dramas though which usually do have some in that age group as main characters and some of the crime shows have at least one or two older detectives...maybe not quite over 50 yet but at least higher than the average.
I know Second to last love was also getting close, just checked - she was around 40...

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Nearly all the 60+ or even 50+ are usually some kind of evil overlord or permanently in some kind of hospital dying.

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I wonder what the numbers would've been like during the golden era of sageuks and period dramas where there were more roles for the 50+.
There are quite a few of them who are still getting prominent roles in dramas.
(2016-17)
Kim Hee-ae in "Second to last love" turned 50 last month. Same with Kim Sung-ryoung: Mrs Cop 2.
Kim Young-chul: Father is Weird/Jang Young Shil
Kim Kab-soo: Whisper
Kim Eui-sung: SFD and W
Cheon Ho-jin: Six Flying Dragons/Man to Man etc.
Jo Jae-Hyun: Master Noodles
Choi Min-soo and Jeon Kwang-leol: Jackpot
Kim Sang-joong and Ahn Nae-sang: Rebel
Jung Bo-suk: Monster
Kim Mi-sook: Flower in Prison
Son Hyun-joo: upcoming remake of "Criminal Minds"
Heo Jun-ho: Ruler Master
Cheon Ho-jin: 7 Day Queen (+5 dramas last year)
The success of Teacher Kim might keep Han Suk-kyu in dramaland and there is Kim Eung-soo, Kim Yong-geon, Choi Jung-woo, Lee Deok-hwa, Lee Mi-sook, Jeong Dong-hwan, Kim Myung-soo, Park Geun-hyung <333 etc etc who are probably going to be in 2 or more dramas every year.

I really enjoy the 50+ veteran actors in dramas. Most of them I discovered through watching many sageuks.

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Wow! Nice count!
I have never watched a sageuk... and i am a relatively new k-pop addict. I am from Playful Kiss on! And i am not yet 40 years old.
But to tell the truth, i have a younger mind and like to watch younger faces... for me a range of actors in their 20's until their 45's is ok.
High school dramas can be once in a while an exception.
Dramas where main characters are oder.... depends on the story.
I feel i am an average viewer :/ LOL

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I was still a teenager when I discovered Dramaland and Chungmuro 10+ yrs ago.
I'm a bit of a history fan so I tend to like old dramas and movies and I've binged watch a ton from the late 1990s and early 2000s.

I recently discovered some old North Korean films on YouTube and I'm having a blast watching them.
Interesting thing is, the current N.Korea government actually banned their own films with revolutionary theme.
(Their loss my gain?)

I don't know what kind of viewer I am lol. I have weird taste in dramas and I've only finished "Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim" so far this year. Maybe Whisper will be the 2nd.

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Thank you for finding out there's North Korean films on YouTube. I hadn't noticed them. It would be interesting to see Shin Sang-Ok's films when he and his wife were abducted by North Korea.

I've been watching some South Korean films from the 60's and 70's on the Korean Film Archive on YouTube. I was surprised how well some of them have held up.

I finished "The Aimless Bullet" a couple weeks ago from there and it was great. It was created during the brief period of democracy in 1960 before Park Chung Hee took over and eventually banned the film since it was a harsh depiction of post-war Korea and the treatment of the Korean war veterans. I believe the original print was lost as a result of the ban, but since it was shown at an American film festival in the 60's, a copy was found with hardcoded English subtitles. Choi Min Soo's father is one of the main leads as well which was interesting. I watched it since it's considered one of the best Korean films by numerous people and I thought it held up extremely well.

I apologize for rambling, Korean cinema has an interesting history. I'm also watching Whisper as well.

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yeah, because they are all still 30.

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Any recommendations for good dramas with blue-collar leads? I'm drawing a blank but am intrigued by the potential!

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There are some Japanese ones, but I cannot think of a single Korean one. A few 2nd tier characters. Though I guess you could count all the thousands of pretty lead girls that work in Subway as blue collar.

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It does seem far more common in Japanese media, doesn't it? That's an interesting distinction.

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Yes. Japanese drama has more guts to potray multi layered society. I watched dramas of which lead is factory mechanic, boxer, unemployed, and homeless people.

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I was going to say the female leads sometimes have blue collar part time jobs. Are there any dramas with the males in that role? If so, I am guessing it would have to be a noona drama.

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It's an older drama (well, you know) called What's Up Fox? The guy is a mechanic though I wouldn't call it the focus of the drama as it's a noona romance. I love the noona thing and liked it once I got into it.

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I forgot about What's Up Fox, it's a pretty good drama.

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That one did eventually occur to me. I did really enjoy What's Up, Fox, but could never decide if it was because it was genuinely good or because of my partiality for Chun Jung Myung. :D

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Misaeng! The whole drama is set only in a office workplace and all the main characters worked in the office! I thought it was such a good slice of life drama

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that would be white-collar work, not blue-collar

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Ooooh, thanks for pointing out the mistake. I can only remember Modern Farmer with Lee Honey's character.

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I didn't watch it but that drama with Lee Shi-young where she was married but involved with the second lead who worked in construction.

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Would Awl count? Or Modern Farmer? (highly recommend this show)

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Modern farmers was fun. But by the way.... they really did not have luck! LOL...

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I can't think of any in recent years but I think there were a couple older dramas that had somewhat blue-collar leads. Here are a couple that I can think of that I watched. Although some of them don't really fit the blue-collar/white-collar mold, they are not typical K-drama occupations.

Ruler of Your Own World (2002): male lead is a pickpocket in the beginning and eventually becomes a stuntman. Female lead is a keyboardist of a struggling indie rock band.

Friend, Our Legend (2009): Hyun Bin's character was a fisherman until he descends into a brutal gangster. Female lead was a bank teller if I recall correctly. Not sure if that counts.

Goodbye Solo (2006): male lead was a photographer who was a bartender to make ends meet. His family was rich though. Female lead was an artist, but I believe she was also doing some carpentry work as well to make ends meet if I recall.

None of these dramas are really conventional romances and are a bit forgotten due to their age and subject matter. I recommend them though just for its content. They're not for everyone though. I hope my response wasn't too long-winded.

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I watched recently "three dads and one mom", and i really liked it. The three guys have average jobs and the girl is almost useless.... she doesnt even know how to cook! But the drama was sweet and it made me cry at least once. Made laugh many times as well... you can take a look.

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I really liked THREE DADS AND ONE MOM, too. Very touching at times. The three dads were cartoonist, cop, and investment advisor. Their deceased buddy was an architect.

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Yoo-na's Street is an excellent drama; it depicts 'life in the trenches' for the lower criminal classes.......and 90's drama of 'Moon of Seoul'

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+1 for Yoo Na's Street.

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Another + for Yoo-na's Street.

If I'm not mistaken the two leads ended up dating in real life.

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Only for a few months

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MAN OF THE VINEYARD has lead Oh Man-seok as a university agronomy researcher with a master's degree who quits the lab to farm organically.

The male lead in SWEET STRANGER AND ME / MAN LIVING IN OUR HOUSE is a reformed thug who becomes a mandoo maker. He farms in greenhouses to supply the restaurant.

CAN YOU HEAR MY HEART? has a mentally-challenged individual working as a landscape gardener, and a family who runs a chicken restaurant. None of them are leads.

Another family runs a barbecue restaurant in FIVE CHILDREN. They aren't leads, either, but the parents are in their 50s or older.

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oh I was so grateful to MLIOH / SS&M for having someone grow food. It had a substance.

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Oh Vineyard Man. <3 Taek Gi is the OG of my k-drama boyfriends. I might have to rewatch that one now!

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One of my favorites but underrated, alas!

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Wouldn't Hogu's love count?? The male lead was a cartoonist if I recall correctly while the female lead was a former national swimmer. It's a nice drama, but as a warning it deals with some heavy themes. There is also an extremely adorable baby as well XD Nobody ever seems to remember this drama which makes me sad because it's a really nicely done drama. If anybody else here has watched it, please tell me what you thought of it

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Well, it's drama after all. Why should we think based on the accurate data. Drama is the land that we want to have a fantasy and enjoy another side of life. In fact, I think the good looking, rich, nice, smart and lady killer or gorgeous hunks that are loved in every age range are actually available in real life though their population are so few lol. Take example: Bae Young Jun or Eric.

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I'm not interested in the diversity between jobs, gender, or ages. What I want to know is how come every drama has "geniuses?" I would like to see a drama/rom com with a lead of average intelligence.

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the irony there being, most dramaland geeeeniuses are not actually very smart.

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There are many other ways that k-dramas are totally divorced from reality, many have been discussed in the past. Some are funny, some make good plot devices, many are just downright stupid. I mean do Koreans REALLY need someone to tie their shoelaces, replace a light bulb, or go into total panic over the sight of a spider?

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I will tell you that panic depicted over a spider is 100% my reality.

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You definitely would not want to live in Thailand or Australia then :D

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*crosses those destinations off bucket list*

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Oh no not spiders again.You must have an English background as they have the same fear. No one can guarantee you won't see a spider in Australia. Even in the best hotels you MAY see one.They have adapted well to our civilisation. However they will try and avoid you- because well, you're much bigger than them! So believe me they won't cause you any injuries (apart from when you hit the ground after passing out).

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Michix3, I signed into the site again just to tell you that I spit out my toothpaste reading this. Lol! 😅😂🤣

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i am a grown ass man and i still panic to spiders that are a half inch big. i kind of hate myself

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I had to kill one for my grown cousin who is also a man--don't beat yourself up, lol.

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It was the B-52 flying cockroaches that got to me in Hawaii. The suckers fly right at you when you try to swat them with your slipper. The smaller ones are usually kept in check by resident geckos. Luckily I never encountered any humongous stinging centipedes.

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I've always wanted to go to Hawaii.. but your response is making me reconsider this...

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Those are not really cockroaches, they are palm bugs. But they are just as ugly.

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Hold on...FLYING cockroaches?? I'm not scared of bugs and would gladly live with them as long as they keep a distance, but that flying bastard sounds scary.

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I don't watch dramas for reality. I want to suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride. I do that instead of going to Disneyland.

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Lol I do both.

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The go into total panic over the sight of spider is me, and sadly living in country with a tropical climate means I have to deal with it everyday. I even stopped driving in the middle of the road because I saw a big spider near the passenger seat and went into panic mode as soon as I saw it! Even thinking about it gives me goosebumps!

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I never figured out why spiders are so scary for some people. Maybe because I grew where they were common. I am much more worried (bugwise) about mosquitoes and those horrible vampirish biting flies.

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This is a really awesome and necessary post. It reminds me that K-Dramas are often a depiction of a bubble within a bubble. It's not just age and profession, but also race, ability, ethnicity, and sexuality that are disproportionately represented--lacking in representation might be the more accurate thing to say. The funny thing--which is not funny at all really--about this is that if dramas inflate certain stats like profession and age, it makes me feel there is little hope for those much smaller pockets of Korean society. At the end of the day, it's all about what makes the companies money. It takes me back to the CNN/Rain report on the Korean Wave. Korean Entertainment is a lucrative export after all. Why change what works when there is a demand for it?

https://youtu.be/BvYMq82Fl_k

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And in dramas it seems like the big dream of everyone is to work for a "big company". (Largely true in China also). I often wonder how small companies manage to get workers, since they are all applying for jobs at Samsung and Hyundai.

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Speaking of smaller companies, if only I watched dramas like Laurel Tree Tailors.

Wanting to work for the big companies reminds me of Radiant Office all over again.

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Females especially are in roles they normally wouldn't be in in real life. How many female detectives are there in real life? A few, but any cop drama has at least one female cop protagonist, or lawyer, or someone with authority and of importance. (One reason I like Queen of Mystery is the female protagonist is a bored housewife, wanna be detective and smarter than most of the males. Plus, she's older and so am I).

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I have been wanting to watch that show, but was busy with other things. I will make foom for it. I like the actress :)

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