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TV Sitcom Wins Over Viewers With Unconventional Characters

2007/02/06 | 157 views |  | Permalink | Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

MBC sitcom "High Kick!" (Kochimomsi Highkick) has been faithful to its title. It has been maintained viewer ratings of more than 20 percent.

The ratings are remarkable given that the show airs at 8:20 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. The time slot is usually dominated by daily miniseries dramas.

What is the secret behind the sitcom's success?

First aired in November, the sitcom revolves around a wacky family and their friends who more often than not find themselves in strange situations. But that's the case with many sitcoms.

The popularity of the sitcom, its director said, is largely because of its focus on the story.

"In a new attempt, we try to make the story develop continually", Kim Byung-wook, director of "Kicking High Unhesitatingly", said. "We also added conventions from other genres, including mystery, melodrama and horror, for an element of fun".

Kim is a veteran sitcom director known for his previous popular works such as "LA Arirang", "Sunpung Obstetrics and Gynecology", "Do the Right Thing" and "Cute or Crazy".

In the early 1990s, many sitcoms were a huge hit, sweeping major television channels, but the boom soon subsided, as they lost their charms by depending too much on conventions.

"It's crucial to try new things to appeal to the viewer as well as to survive. I hope `Kicking High Unhesitatingly' will lead to a new era for the sitcom genre", Kim said.

Many people find it fascinating to watch a range of wacky characters whose secrets are gradually revealed.

The characters' distinctive personalities have prompted fans to give them nicknames and produce their own versions of stories. Parodies are posted on many popular user-created-content sites.

The family in the sitcom has seven members _ grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, uncle and two brothers.

The brothers, Yun-ho and Min-ho, have distinctive personalities. Yun-ho is a motorcycle maniac who doesn't want to study. Min-ho excels at school.

Their father is a retired man whose main interest is food, and their mother is a proud Oriental medical doctor.

The grandfather believes money is the most important thing in the world, and the grandmother comes up with ways to win higher status than her daughter-in-law but is always outwitted.

The uncle is a 27-year-old single father who has an awkward relationship with his ex-wife.

The characters deviate from stereotypes, which produces the humor.

"People tend to want to see something different", pop culture critic Kim Heoun-sic said. "All the characters in the sitcom interestingly break the stereotyped and idealized images of family members and their relationships in other TV dramas, and it seems more realistic".

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