Life in a K- drama

Dra­ma­world pokes fun at drama­tised uni­verse of Korean TV shows.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - By RUMY DOO

THE fic­tional realm of Dra­ma­world very con­sciously pa­rades out ev­ery K- drama cliche: It weaves in trade­mark tropes such as the im­mac­u­late, not- lived- in homes, fe­ro­cious kim­chi slaps, ex­ces­sive prod­uct place­ment, over­bear­ing mother- in- laws and, of course, the male lead who, though an heir to vast wealth forges his own path as a res­tau­ra­teur.

The lead char­ac­ter is Park Joon, played by Bri­tish- Korean ac­tor Sean Du­lake. There are two women fight­ing for this ideal man’s af­fec­tions: gold- dig­ging restau­rant man­ager Ga- in ( Kim Sa- hee) and hum­ble sous- chef Seo- yeon ( Bae Noo- ri), who falls in love with him.

The story takes place in Taste Of Love, the drama- within- a- drama in Dra­ma­world.

Col­lege stu­dent and hard­core K- drama fan Claire Dun­can, played by Aus­tralian ac­tress Liv Hew­son, be­comes mag­i­cally trans­ported into this drama uni­verse, which she nav­i­gates with Seth Ko.

Played by Korean- Amer­i­can ac­tor Justin Chon, Ko is the “fa­cil­i­ta­tor” who nudges the plot onto the “right” path so that every­thing re­mains pic­ture- per­fect.

Ac­cord­ing to Ko’s ex­pla­na­tion of the rules of the drama world, the first kiss is the defin­ing sym­bol of true love; the male lead must be a gen­tle­man deeply con­sid­er­ate of women; a shower scene fea­tur­ing said male lead is es­sen­tial; and the more ob­sta­cles there are to a cou­ple’s re­la­tion­ship, the truer the love be­comes.

“In a Korean drama, that first kiss is every­thing,” Claire ex­plains to her fa­ther, who can­not re­late to his daugh­ter’s ob­ses­sion with Korean shows. They’re dif­fer­ent from Amer­i­can dra­mas where a kiss means noth­ing, she elab­o­rates.

On Viki, the US- based global drama- stream­ing site that helmed the cre­ation of Dra­ma­world, the show can be viewed with sub­ti­tles in 39 lan­guages. Since the sub­ti­tles are cre­ated by view­ers, the fact that the show has been trans­lated into so many lan­guages at­tests to its pop­u­lar­ity, said a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Viki.

The mas­sive hit K- drama se­ries De­scen­dants Of The Sun star­ring Song Joongki, which be­gan stream­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally on the site in Fe­bru­ary, has sub­ti­tles in 37 lan­guages.

On In­ter­net fo­rums, fans say cameos by Korean A- lis­ters, in­clud­ing ac­tress Han Ji- min and singer- turned- ac­tor Choi Si- won also add to the show’s ap­peal. Some say they re­late to how Claire is more en­thralled by the world of K- drama than real life.

Fu­eled by pos­i­tive re­sponses, plans for the show’s sec­ond sea­son are in dis­cus­sion, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive said.

Viki’s CEO Tammy Nam has re­ferred to the project as “a love let­ter to drama fans ev­ery­where” and an un­prece­dented mash- up that pushes the bound­aries of in­ter­na­tional co- pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion.

Dra­ma­world, which fea­tures both English and Korean dia­logue, be­gan stream­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally on Viki in April. The show was cre­ated by Viki in part­ner­ship with US- Korean pro­duc­tion com­pany En­terMe­dia Con­tent and China’s Je­ta­vana En­ter­tain­ment and Third Cul­ture Con­tent.

Each episode lasts be­tween 11 and 18 min­utes. All 10 episodes are avail­able on Net­flix Malaysia. – The Korea Her­ald/ Asia News Net­work

hew­son ( left) plays Claire the ‘ fa­cil­i­ta­tor’ and Du­lake is the male lead in Taste Of Love, the dra­maw­ithin- a- drama in Dra­ma­world. — pho­tos: hand­outs

Dra­ma­world fea­tures scores of cameo ap­pear­ances by pop­u­lar south Korean stars in­clud­ing Choi from su­per Ju­nior.

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