Sunday, 3 May 2009

All Ham and Cheese

It's Sunday evening again and I am at the computer. My girlfriend is watching the TV and there is 'not much on'. Repeats and repeats of repeats and some poor quality films so the familiar weekend ritual happens again and she is watching a Korean drama. These are weekly shows that, unlike soap operas there is a conclusion after twelve weeks or so and they are on the big three terrestrial channels throughout the evening. And they are awful. When one show finishes, the next week it is replaced by a new one.

I come from the land of Coronation Street, Eastenders and Hollyoaks so I know what I am talking about when I say I know what bad acting and bad television looks like. I also know what Olivier, Gielgud and other outstanding actors were like so I know the difference between good and bad. Dramas tend to be low budget, low quality and low expectations and Korea meets all the criteria. I mean it when I say that all these drama's all look the same. You can see what is coming up a mile away. And the acting, is sometimes worse or the equal of what you see in the famous UK soaps. You may point out that my Korean is poor and I cannot understand all that is going on, and you'd be right, but I can see with my own eyes that 95% of these shows are unequivocally abysmal. There is nothing wrong with these shows but they are fillers in the schedule and unbelievably people lap them up - just like in the UK. No doubt there have been some fine dramas here but all I see are predictable sentimental programmes.

In Korean TV dramas, less is more. Less acting that is and more shouting and the most important thing of all, more hysterical over the top reactions to literally anything that is happening. And god forbid any kind of male/female physical contact because that could make the earth just spin off it's axis. Who are the worst offenders? Older women just shout and look offended at everything, old men just shout and complain at everything. The younger women are usually some chaste individuals who dress like they are from another time, like the 50's. Younger men look like they came out of a men's clothing catalogue and quite frankly cannot be taken very seriously. I have never seen so many people wear ties in my life. There is drama in everything everyone does and it is all so over the top you couldn't make it up. The best parts are when there is some form of physical violence because this is when Korean males display a love of pushing and shoving unparallelled. How do all the people have such ridiculous lives? Often a semi-popular singer appears in the shows and proves that they can't sing or act. There is so much to admire and like about Korea but this shows aren't anything special. I like my ham and cheese but this just doesn't taste right.

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