Life Lessons Korean Dramas Have Taught Me. Lesson #2.

August 13, 2010 at 12:11 AM 1 comment


Lesson #2: Marry within your own social class. Or at least moderately close to it.

Every girl out there has gone through some sort of a “princess” phase where all they wanted to do in life was to meet their prince charming and live happily ever after in a splendid and magical castle surrounded by all the wonderful shoes and bags in this world.

Or pink ponies, fairy godmothers, what have you.

Lesson #2

So in the Korean culture, class means a whole bunch more than it should. You have your middle class, your upper-middle class, rich, really rich, really really rich, really really really really rich, and then you have your chaebols.

Chaebols. Your filthy rich, economic powerhouse families. Your so rich and so powerful families that they run for major government offices; and they WIN.

I’m sure you are all familiar with famous Korean brands. Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Lotte, SK, Daewoo and others.

In the states, it’s illegal to create huge monopolizing conglomerates who vertically integrate pretty much anything they can possible.

In Korea, it’s not.



Switch the “trillions” to billions, and that’s how much US dollars it’s worth.

And within each of these South Korean powerhouses, there is one man sitting at the very top of each massive pyramid.

He is what you call a chaebol. And his family is what you call a chaebol family. LINK<—-WIKI IT.

As the chaebols themselves actually live in a good amount of secrecy, many Koreans fantasize what it would be like to live as one of them. And their fantasies cause them to make numerous dramas or movies regarding forbidden chaebol–>normal person love.

Or at least it is quite a bumpy road to love.

I can’t really imagine the life of a chaebol being easy. Millions of Koreans look up to you and depend on you to keep the economy going, and to keep your…conglomerate on it’s feet. If Samsung were to one day simply implode, not only would nearly 40% (a guesstimeate) of all Korean electronics disappear, but millions of people all around the world would lose their main source of income, and the world could quite possibly do a few somersaults before Hyundai or LG decide to take everything over.

So yes, the average Korean most likely does not understand everything that happens in a chaebol’s life, so they do with what they can to make these average Koreans more keen to watch.

And in these dramas, even though the chaebol family may have all the money in the world, it seems like such a headache to run everything, and keep relations between companies in good standing. Not to mention the ridiculous amounts of confusion in the family. Secrecy, betrayal. Idk.

You have your evil mothers who control their children and forbid them from marrying a non-chaebol.

You have your domineering fathers who demand that their children take over the business once he retires.

You have your secretive butlers/chauffeurs/bodyguards who know absolutely everything about the family. More than the family members themselves know.

You have your evil uncle/aunt/half-sibling who secretly wants to company for themselves or their child.

But you do seem to have the grandparents who genuinely care about the grandchild’s overall well-being despite the fact that they may inherit nearly a quarter of South Korea’s economy.

And the children themselves may be something of a headache.

Drama focus of the day:

My Bread King Kim Tak-gu (제 빵왕 김탁구)

For starters, I am actually really enjoying this drama. I’ve tried to watch some episodes with my mom and sister on normal Korean television, (I am proud to say that we contributed to the record-breaking 44% rating last week!) but since it’s not subbed, there are some parts where I have no idea what’s going on. So maybe I’ll wait until it’s subbed in the states…

And in Korea, Tak-gu is currently the highest rated drama of the year. It has come in first in it’s rating all the way since June 24th. And it’s rating rise each week. 44% was the highest (last week) it had ever been. And there are still 18 episodes left to go!

And I guess in Korea all dramas that have surpassed 40% ratings are dubbed “national dramas”. I don’t entirely know what this entails, but my guess is that it means everyone and their mother AND their grandmothers watch it. And love it. Seeing how South Korea really is not that large of a nation, I can imagine people in the deep countryside getting excited about Tak-gu as well as the chic city-dwellers. Here’s more information on Tak-gu’s achievement: LINK

For those who don’t know this drama, it’s about this child born out-of-wedlock -Tak-gu- (white shirt, no tie, right of grandpa) who was born to a very poor mother, but a (I guess you could say chaebol) father. (Sitting, tan suit, red tie).

But the father is married to another woman, who hates Tak-gu and his mother. (Woman sitting down with yellow jacket). Naturally understandable. But what the father doesn’t know is that his wife cheated on him with the butler/bodyguard (Gray suit, glasses) and bore the butler/body guard’s son. Ma-joon. (Black suit, left of grandpa). At least she tells him Ma-joon is his son. My mom, sister, and I have speculated that perhaps Ma-joon is really not the butler’s son…

Tak-gu’s mom brings him to his father when Ta-gu was a child asking him to take care of him, and so Tak-gu -tries- to become part of his other family. His father’s wife hates him, his -half?- younger brother hates him, and the butler/bodyguard tries to make his life miserable. So Tak-gu runs away. 12 years later, he ends up with an old grandpa who decides to teach him how to bake. And Ma-joon -who knows who his real father is- tries to make his suppose-to-be-father (who is a renowned baker himself) be proud of him, etc, so he goes to the same grandpa to learn how to bake.

And then in this whole mess Tak-gu’s real mother went missing, and now she’s in hiding, and Ma-joon is in love with Tak-gu’s abused childhood friend. Abused by her alcoholic father, not Tak-gu. (Far left, black dress). Whom Tak-gu is in love with too. Who is supposed to be evil now? Gah…. All I know is that in real life she’s like 7 or 8 years older than Tak-gu and Ma-joon, and she definitely looks it in the drama.

The drama is less confusing than it sounds by my explanation, I promise.

I just noticed this, but it seems like the evil? characters in this drama are on the left and are all wearing darker clothes. But the good? characters are on the right and wearing lighter colors. Hm…. coincidence?

Anyways, the chaebol father is a good character as he tries to take care of Tak-gu and genuinely loves him, but his wife is something else. EVIL RICH MOMS.



70% of the reason I don’t want to marry someone rich.

Just looking at her makes your skin crawl.

Her main concern in life: have her son Ma-joon inherit the company and no one else.

Anyways, she’s out to get Tak-gu’s real mom, and quite possibly Tak-gu himself. A few episodes ago she finally found Tak-gu after 12 years, and so I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen now.

And after 12 years, the father may begin to have a sense that something is different about Ma-joon.

As for the conflicted chaebol child himself?


I don’t really know how I’m supposed to feel about him…
The child actor who played him was abso-freakin’-lutely adorable, so I can’t take this guy seriously.


How can you expect an evil guy to come out of this adorable face????

I think Ma-joon is a moderately typical conflicted chaebol child. He doesn’t really care much about the company itself; he knows he will have to one day run it, but he’s not in any particular hurry. All he wants is his supposed-to-be-dad to love him and tell him he’s proud of him. Everytime he tries to please his dad, something goes wrong and his dad gets angry at him. And Ma-joon is left feeling unloved and angry in turn at Tak-gu, whom his father adores.


I’ll give him a hug.

*Aish, all people in this world need affection. No use in hiding it. It’s a given fact. Humans were made to live together and interact with each other. No need to be the tough guy, Ma-joon.

It seems like a few episodes ago he was slowly beginning to change towards Tak-gu. From a “I despise everything about you and I want you to die” to more of a “I can’t stand you, but seeing how we’re both in a bad situation I guess I can handle you for a few more months”.

So I’m rooting for Ma-joon to become good. Hehe.

Cute scene cut from episode 16. :>

The actor himself not bad looking, minues the dark circles that seem to eat up his face. But he does need to stop scowling so much. Every scene he puts on this scowl that makes him look so ugly. If he doesn’t stop he’ll have scowling wrinkles by the time he’s 25.

He does over-act a tad bit, and it annoys me how he sometimes talks out of the side of his mouth. But on the plus side, according to his management agency’s website (I’m such a stalker) he was in musicals! So he can sing! There, you go. And in my amazement, out of 37,000 pictures of him of Naver, this is the only one I could find that looks like a musical. Argh.



But I guess half-smiles are all we’re going to get for the time being. *Sigh. But for a newbie actor -this is his first major project besides the musicals- he is doing well. How’s for having your first major project be dubbed a “national drama”?

PhotobucketI think he likes it.

I shall continue to watch this drama, and hopefully! it won’t take a turn for the worse and become nearly impossible to watch. *Cough* Cinderella’s Sister.

I’m sure not all rich families fit into the ridiculous stereotypes Korean dramas have put out there, but it seems like too much of a headache to have to deal with so many logistical matters, family issues, etc.

I’m definitely guilty of once having the princess state-of-mind, but after a few Korean dramas, I think my views really have changed. Oh my goodness, Korean dramas really change your life. Hahahaha.


I’m sure the producers of “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” (first episode’s summary: LINK) didn’t think that Tak-gu would do as well as it is, but I’m glad to see that it still brought in good ratings (12.7%) despite being aired at the same exact time as Tak-gu on a different channel. I’m sorry Seung-gi, but as of right now, my priorities call for some tasty bread.

I like me my Kim Tak-gu.

*Disclaimer: Gumiho/Tak-gu picture and Gumiho link taken from Joo-won photos from naver. Woo-young gif from Woo-young fan forums.


Entry filed under: Everyday ramblings., Kdramas.

Hey there, smilin’ eyes ⌃⌃ I didn’t know fox-women were so glamorous.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mary  |  August 19, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    I just had dinner with your sister tonight and she told me you’re nokcha ice cream! Looking forward to reading your other posts :) I’ve read you on Dramabeans, but didn’t know you had your own site.

    I’ve only watched up to ep 6 of this drama and got distracted by Bad Guy (why writers why??) and my new love of Lee Seung Gi. I do want to see what the hype is about for this drama though, since it’s become a National Drama. Who knew a drama about bread could be bring so many people together. I’m not one for the melodramatic plot turns and birth secrets, but I’ll check this out just for the bread.


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