Korean Dramas: Expectations vs Reality


[music] Back when we were teachers, we were amazed about how our students would ask us questions about Canada and America based off what they saw on TV shows. And that led us to think about how people’s perceptions of countries might be skewed by the TV shows they watch. And on the flip side, I realize that some of you who watch a lot of Korean dramas might have your perceptions of Korea skewed as a result as well. So today, we’re gonna talk about the expectations vs realities that you might get from watching Korean dramas. What’s that, Simon? There’s something on your lips. Let me just [humming Korean song] Some mustache. You won’t see that in a Korean drama. All right, let’s start with rooftop apartments. We’ve definitely all seen a drama where the hero was living on the very top of an apartment, and it has that kind of ubiquitous paint everywhere Green, brown and everything with a great view of the city. And for you, you might think, “Wow, this a beautiful looking thing, it’s very lovely and what not.” Kind of like how our Korean students all thought that we lived in mansions when we showed them pictures of our bungalows. It’s… Because like, the real estate is very different there and here. And having a rooftop apartment in Korea isn’t as great as it looks on the TV shows. Yes. So when they’re talking about the person being poor or struggling or having a hard time, and you see this apartment, you’re like, “That’s a swaggy.” That looks great. Is that a penthouse apartment? Exactly. It’s not penthouse. It’s really not the same. Yeah, and we actually found that out the hard way when we were apartment hunting. So we found these really cheap listings for these gorgeous kind of apartments that were at the top floor and we’re like, “Oh my god, we could have like a garden (S: Right.) and like a patio…” (S: Sounds great.) However it turns out that top apartments tend to leak a lot because of monsoon season and wintertime when the snow is melting. Summertime as well, the top floor and the rooftop apartment is scalding hot! Nobody wants to live on the rooftop at all. It is not as glamorous as it seems. Yes. All right, let’s talk about driving in Korean dramas. We’ve all seen that scene where somebody gets a phone call. [phone ringing] And they pick it up and they go “Mwo? Mwo?” and they bust like a violent U-turn and they head towards the hospital or the location or wherever it is that they’re heading. That will never ever, ever happen in Korea. You don’t realize how extremely crowded the streets are. If somebody busts a U-turn like that, they are crashing directly into somebody, right away, damaging the car and they’re going nowhere. What they really want to say is like, “What? What? I’ll be there in a second!” and then you put your car in park, and then you get out of the car, you get unto the subway. Our Eatyourkimchi Mobile, we’ve just passed 10,000 kilometers on it and the average speed, it tells us in there, We’ve been all over Korea, right? (S: All over Korea.) To Jeju, so far, everywhere. The average speed overall: 15 kilometers an hour. Because we are crawling the whole time. I barely stepped on the gas at all because there’s so much traffic, you just have to roll with the whole thing and hopefully you can make light and not get stuck in the intersection like a jerk. This is Korean driving. There’s no way you could burst a U-turn like that anywhere. I would say maybe if it’s a countryside drama, which (S: Maybe.) there aren’t a lot of dramas that take place (S: That’s your chance.) in the countryside. And the funny part as well is that, we know where the driving scenes are filmed because It’s right outside of our apartment. We live in Digital Media City, and that’s where they shoot most of the K-dramas so you actually see the trucks where they put the cars on it and they have the lights They’re not actually driving. They’re not actually driving. So if you do wind up seeing the street empty, it’s because they’re pretty much directing the traffic while they’re there. They have two dudes that jump off the end, and if the light turns green, they just stop driving the car and they’re like, “All right, everyone, go around us.” and then they drive. I’m sure you must have seen the Eatyourkimchi Mobile in some of those dramas because I drove intentionally behind those cars, blaring music I don’t know if you’ve seen it, let me know. I’ll tell you who made it into the dramas though. Definitely Spudgy. I think the funniest moment was when one drama was trying to film around our block, but it was like “three different locations,” and we’re walking around the block with Spudgy. We photobombed every location. There was even a scene where they tried to tell us not to walk. We couldn’t move; Spudgy was pooping! (M: You can’t stop him!) You can’t rush it, you can’t just squeeze him out like toothpaste. It doesn’t work that way! And we saw this Korean guy go like, running past us full scenes. We were accidental extras in some movie. Speaking of our dog leaving products in certain places, let’s talk about product placement in Korean dramas. Oh my god, that transition was so beautiful Wasn’t that brilliant? I thought of that myself. Use of product placement in Korean dramas, not very subtle. Subtle (beh) [music] (beh-beh-beh) No subtle! No subtle! Let’s go with that. Simon acting one hundred percent. There you go. Not subtle whatsoever. I think when I watch a Western drama, I don’t really notice a lot of products (S: Right.) like maybe some movies, you’ll see a car pulls up and you know, the BMW car or like They might show a logo. In Korean, there’s no subtlety whatsoever. You’re going to see every single label perfectly placed in there. When a drink or food pays for product placement, the people in the drama will all seem to use it. They’ll take it with them to practice, it’ll show up in a meeting, it’ll be with them at school and it’ll just beat it into your head. Also, according to Korean dramas, I feel like there are six coffee shops in all of Korea. Pretty much. With lately, Mango Six dominating the Korean drama field. (S: Exactly) I would say Mango Six, Caffe Bene, Twosome, Hollys and Droptop are constantly being used and reused in all these dramas. And what’s weird about it is that Mango Six is so prominent in Korean dramas. But a Starbucks, there’s one across the street right there, one down the block that way and another one two blocks that way. Far more Starbuckses than there are Mango Sixes but you barely see those at all in Korean dramas. There’s nothing wrong with the product placement, the problem is that a lot of people will put it on their bucket list (S: Yes.) They’re like, oh my god, I have to come to Korea Yes, I have to do a Mango Six when I come to Korea. Not a Mango Six. The Mango Six. In Apgujeong, where they shot “The Heirs” or the whatever. But the thing is, that’s like putting McDonald’s on your bucket list because you saw it in a movie. Right. It’s like, “Oh, I saw it in ‘Die Hard’ so I want to get some McDonald’s.” That’s so lame. There’s so much more the Korean Seoul has to offer than that. But the McDonald’s. There’s no such thing. In the Boston. At the corner. As the Mango Six, or the Caffe Bene They’re everywhere. Just cross that off your list if you come into Korea. Now the fact is there are so many other cool places in Seoul and Korea that you can go to that offer so much more instead and– Tell me, what are you doing right now in the middle of our TL;DR? Oh, this? I was just playing with the QuizUp app. [magic wand noise] It’s easy. You can challenge people from around the world or directly from the area around you and play lots of different quizzes. Currently, I’m playing the Harry Potter one. And after that, I’m gonna play the Marvel Cinematic Universe one. Plus, with QuizUp’s latest update, everyone can make their own quizzes and challenges. Wow, that sounds addictive. You should make one about K-dramas. Good idea. Actually, I already did. Oh my god! (Murmur) What are we talking about again? Um, oh yeah. Product placements in Korean dramas. Not subtle whatsoever. Not subtle at all. And the next thing we want to talk about is this bizarre [kissing sound] kissing that you see and these [gasp] weird back hugs that happen a lot in Korean dramas. I don’t want you to feel that because you’re seeing this in Korean dramas that Korean people are very prudish and ultraconservative because they kiss so terribly on screen. That is not the case at all. It might be for some Korean people, but it’s definitely not the case for all Korean people. You know what’s amazing about it? The censorship laws for Korean dramas It’s almost like the total opposite perspective that my students have on North American– Exactly. So like all my students thought that everybody was doing drugs, drinking, they thought we were rich, they thought everyone was constantly having sex everywhere Everyone’s having sex with everything all the time. And I was like, “Okay, once again, Gossip Girls, Vampire Diaries, not the best.” So don’t feel that if you come to Korea, it’s this land of sunshine and innocence that you might see from Korean dramas. Now I would say some of the awkwardness you see in the high school dramas, that can be a little bit closer to the truth After teaching in Korea for three years at an all-girls high school, I remember showing a scene from Twilight where Edward literally just leaned into Bedwar– Bell– Edward? Bedward. (M: Who’s Bedward?) Edward and Bedward! We’re gonna go with Bedward. He just leans into Bedward. And when he leans into her, all my students scream. So my students were a lot more innocent around that, but we live in the Hongdae neighborhood We have seen so many people making out and getting it on around here, especially because right behind our studio, the parking lot is really dark and secluded. We have walked in on tons of people making out. Especially awkward way, we’re trying to get our car in reverse and we turn on the lights, and it’s on them. Glaring on them, and they don’t even stop. You’d think that if you shine a light on someone when they’re making out, they’d be like, okay I’ll stop. I even high beam them, just for experiments and they just keep on going. The dedication with Korean making out is really impressive to us. So there are parts of Korea where people are just normal meeting each other. Go to a club, you’re gonna see people having a good time, dancing and grinding. They’re not like, this far apart It’s not as prudish as it seems on TV. We’re gonna talk about Korean dramas in our blog post. Make sure you click on the link here and I will be talking a lot about my favorite thing ever: the wrist grab. That’s like the worst thing ever. Super frustrating. (S: I hate it.) Does it exist in Korea? I wonder. You’re gonna have to click on the link. And my question for you is how is your country misperceived because of its representation on TV? I’m really interested. Let us know in the comments section below. Eh, Canadian dramas, we are always with mega thick accents. I’ve never just seen regular Canadian folks, eh? We always have– we all love hockey. Come on, eh– Do you like hockey? I hate it. It’s the worst. It’s all right. I don’t really know anything about it. But Blue Jays, let’s go!!

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