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Why do so many dramas change their titles?

It’s not a new practice for a drama to change its title sometime between first announcing the project to the time it gets on the air — remember Accidental Couple / Just Looking / That Fool / Six Months? — but it’s been happening with noticeable frequency recently. You might even call it a trend, with a whole bevy of high-profile projects being associated with multiple monikers.

Turns out there’s no fixed reason that explains all the recent title swaps; each case has its own particular circumstances that prompted the move. I guess we can rule out the conspiracy theories.

Of all the title changes, the only one I actually like is Lie To Me — but that’s one where I thought the old title, Sweet Scandal, was just as fitting. Both allude to the premise at the drama’s core — the heroine lies about being married to a famous rich guy, giving rise to a scandal — and seem appropriate for a light-hearted romantic comedy. The rest of the titles? Ehhh, not so much.

For example: Chaebol/maid romantic comedy Romance Town, the new title for Maids, which stars Sung Yuri as, well, a maid. That project had carried its working title for a long while, and became known to the public as Maids for months before it was prompted to change it due to complaints. The particular word it had used is one that those in the domestic-help profession have spent concerted efforts to phase out of common usage, and they found its usage offensive. Hence: Romance Town.


Romance Town, Lie To Me

The case was different for You’ve Fallen For Me, formerly known as Festival, which took a completely different approach to its naming. The drama headlining young stars Park Shin-hye and Jung Yong-hwa held a viewer contest, probably aiming to rouse the interest of its social-media-savvy young audience by engaging them directly.

The new title doesn’t come without a few complications, such as its similarity a KBS morning drama with the title I’ve Fallen For You, which sounds even more similar in Korean (난 네게 반했어 versus 넌 내게 반했어). Plus, there’s the fact that You’ve Fallen For Me instantly recalls that popular No Brain rock song, which bears the same title, though that may be a positive association for the drama.

Then there’s SBS’s upcoming weekend drama My Love By My Side, which changed from its original name, Nice To Meet You, three weeks prior to its upcoming May premiere. Producers felt the new title fit the project better (I like the first one better, personally), but perhaps they were trying to chase success, since there are two successful projects already titled My Love By My Side: one is the recent movie starring Kim Myung-min, while another is the hit movie starring Jeon Do-yeon and Hwang Jung-min. Third time is also a charm?


Best Love

Ripley also modified its name, dropping a few words from its original (and frankly better-sounding, imo) title Goodbye, Miss Ripley. At least the old one expressed a statement; the new one is downright inscrutable. Apparently the title is an allusion to the Matt Damon/Jude Law film The Talented Mr. Ripley, wherein Ripley is a character skilled at forgery and impersonation. The Lee Da-hae character in this drama is based on the infamous case of Shin Jung-ah, a university professor who forged her academic credentials and committed fraud and embezzlement. So you mean she’s the new Ripley, got it.

But while I understand the desire to link a project to another one based on thematic ties, I honestly don’t know that Ripley is an apt title for a Korean drama unless there’s a character in it actually called, yunno, Ripley. It’s a step removed from Midas, which may not have a character bearing that name but at least is based on a concept/myth so well-known that no explanation is necessary, particularly given the drama’s obvious money slant. Ripley, as a narrative symbol (if you can even call it that), is hardly in the same category as Midas.

There’s also the Hong sisters’ upcoming Best Love, originally known as Birth of Affection, which was modified to Discovery of Affection, and then even briefly flirted with the title Good Job, Good Job (which was the same name of the Chae Rim weekend drama).

I’ve already mentioned how I feel about the change (blaaaaaah), and while I never was a great fan of the Affection options, at least those were an incorporation of the main character’s name (Ae-jung = affection), which is something I’ve come to expect of the pun-loving Hong sisters. Girlfriday and I joked that with the new title being Best Love (Choi-go-eui sa-rang), the hero’s name had damn well better be Choi Go (as in, Choi Go’s Love), to at least keep the punning alive. Alas, his name is Jin. Booooo-ring!

Via Star News

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Thanks for this post! With so many dramas coming up in May, and with all the name changes, I can't keep track of all of them, much less remember which ones I have to watch!

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haha me too , all i can remember was festival/you've fallen for me and sweet scandal/lie to me !

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I;m not of Best love either or any new title for the ext batch of kdramas - all I want from them is to be easy search-able on google

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arghh I ate my words literally ( I must try to live my life outside my keyboard coz now it needs desperately 2 things : a maid and an EDIT button)

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Don't you just love it when that happens? I do it all the time. Too bad I can't blame my keyboard since my laptop is new. Oh, and it's not "maid" it's "Domestic Worker". (I'm joking by the way about the maid/DW thing.)

Anyways, I still hear TV shows and people here in the States use the word maid, but I've also heard housekeeper or cleaning person more often. But it's always a good move to change your title if potential viewers are disgruntled about it. I like Suspicious 1st Street just because of the meaning behind it as explained in jb's other post compared to Romance Town. XP

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Hehe, at least the male protagonist's name is Dokgo Jin. Sounds close enough to Choi-go?

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Oh no! His hair.... and facial hair.... please tell me that's not from Best Love.

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Looks like it's from Athena. But if you've seen the promo stills, IT's still there. (IT = catterpillar-under-the-nose) although they trimmed it a bit...

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I'm only hypothesizing, but I think it's indicative of how much of a rush some of these dramas are being pushed out there. You'd think that a drama would have the working title, full script, locations, and other details all worked out before being produced and put on the air, but alas we all know that isn't always the case. With mid-season changes and such occurring all too frequently as well, the quality of the product is bound to suffer.

I'm not sure of other last minute title changes that have happened in the past, but I watched "That Fool" and it wasn't the greatest drama. I enjoyed the main dude's acting, and it was cute, but the story definitely wasn't as tight as it could have been.

I'm looking forward to a lot of these dramas, so hopefully they can prove me wrong.

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Other than Maids name change due to complaints,the rest of the names changes will only serve to confuse the viewers.The only one which should have a name change is City Hunter,yet it stayed true to its original name despite the change in the story.

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hahaha! so true abt city hunter!

as for Choi Go vs. Jin. Jin may be his stage name. maybe his real name is Choi Go!

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hahaha! I was just wondering about this topic recently when I heard that Festival changed its name too

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Ha! Choi Go can definitely be a name, with an arrogant personality since it means "the best"

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I think for Lie to Me, they should have stayed with Sweet Scandal. To me when i think of Lie to Me it reminds me of the action American show, "Lie To Me" and not a romance drama. At Sweet Scandal just has a cute ring to it... well that's my opinion though

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Honestly, the title doesnt sway me toward a drama at all.

In fact, the synopsis is a HUGE deciding factor. They should put their skills into translating/developing those properly lol. :D

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Huh. When I read Ripley I thought of Ellen Ripley as in Alien.

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Ditto! :)

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i think they change according to people's opinion
in the case of maids, they should kept it but because the union of domestic workers hate that word
they have to change it
i think the writers should go back to school and learn how make witty titles
maybe get the help of dramabeans to help
cos the more you change the title
it is sometimes harder and harder to find more and more details about the show

if they do change it, it has to fill this criteria
1. the writer was so high and behind with his/her work and decided to call it whatever just for the time being
2. only if it offends a group/parties
3. only if the lead actor/actress is changed

bye

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JB,

No matter what the titles end up being I have to give you a big "THANK YOU" for posting the days the shows air on your front page of the website.

Figuring out which one is which...

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I just HATE that furry explosion at CSW face! HATE IT, HATE IT!

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I liked it when it was originally called Sweet Scandal. It rolled off the tongue better than Lie To Me. But then again, all that matters is that the drama is good. Agreed about Ripley though. That name does not sit well with me.

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Funny how they keep changing the title, and the real name they finally use? sometimes is unsearchable so you have to use(thus remember) the old one(S) too!!!

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Then you have titles that ARE different for the same drama:

Twinkle Twinkle/Sparkling/All That Glitters

was because they were catering to a pan-Asian + English-speaking audience, and that once the titled was translated, ended up with similar if not exact titles.

But I guess that is a different problem because that is how it is known NOW, not before it aired.

This was a challenge finding Star Bisquit Mr. Teacher, or whatever that was, online.

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for Best Love since it involves a fake reality tv marriage, i like the title Best Couple, reminds me of We Got Married's Jo Kwon. also Romance Town sounds too corny Maids sounds good and also the other title i forgot but it made it sound interesting and mysterious.

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I don't know Korean, but as an English-is-my-only-
language-American, this constant name changing
gives a really bad impression of "Who's minding
the store?/Who has a clue?" as to these Korean
TV titles. As in the English phrase: chickens running
around with their heads cut off.

Accidental Couple/That Fool is a perfect example.
I thought that "AC" was a good title, at least it
was accurate. To call the male lead a fool, when
he was really a sweetie pie, was insulting to the
charactor, as well as to the viewers who didn't
consider him a fool at all. He ended up with the
beautiful and famous movie star, didn't he? :)

Somebody in the Korean TV industry ought to
hire some authentic English-speaking people.
NOT the usually laughable extras who "learned"
English while picking up Russian accents, :)
and watch these programs...AND THEN...come up
with a title for foreign release that makes sense.
And makes sense in the Korean language, too.

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