Korean Soap Opera Dramas - 69

Korean soap operas

Sometimes students were not clear what a ‘soap opera’ is. The correct definition in English from dictionary.com is ‘A radio or television serial with stock characters in domestic dramas that are noted for being sentimental and melodramatic’. A TV Series (or serial) is different, because a TV series involves a certain number of shows per year, i.e. the programme has a definite start and end to its season. A soap opera/drama is continuous Soap drama on TVand has no definite end date.

Examples of a soap opera/drama these days on Korean television, are Hae-shin (Sea God) and Shin-ip Sa-won (Fresh Recruit). The origin of the term ‘soap opera/drama’ comes from the fact that in the 1930’s, the advertisements were often from soap manufacturers, targeting their products at women who were the main viewers of daytime programmes.

I risk upsetting a few people, but in Korea I have found the soap operas to, in some cases, be funnier than the comedies. The reason for this, is that every time I go to the gym, half of the people there who do exercise spend the majority of their time in front of the televisions screens and the programme always involves either someone crying/fighting, a love situation involving a young person or someone dying/sick. The top three soap opera’s in Britain in contrast, are all set in pubs. ‘Eastenders’ for example, is set in a pub called the Queen Victoria, in East London – while ‘Coronation Street’ has the Rovers Return Pub - and ‘Emmerdale Farm’ (Woolpack Inn pub). In Korea the focus generally is the home and sometimes school environment.

Korean Singing/music shows

Singing/music shows – As discussed, music is very popular in Korean culture and the interest in music spreads to Korean television, where one can choose from numerous singing shows, some serious and some for comedy. Flick through Korean cable TV and you will see at least one or two channels where a gentleman/woman is singing solo, and the audience full of ajumma’s swaying their bodies and singing along. It seems as though music in the past perhaps, was something that brought people together in difficult times, and this passion for music continues today in modern day Korea.

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