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'Candyrellas' Return to TV

2005/06/06 | Permalink | Source

By Park Chung-a
Staff Reporter

Critics say the lead female characters in "My Name is Kim Sam-soon","Candyrella" characters are again dominating the TV drama scenes. The two representative dramas of the trend are MBC's mini-series drama "My Name is Kim Sam-soon", which airs at 9:55 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the SBS drama "Only You", airing at 9: 45 p.m. on the weekend.

"The leading characters of the two dramas are mutated versions of `Candyrella' stories", said Bae Kuk-nam, a TV critic. "Candyrella", a new term coined by TV critics and journalists late last year, describes the heroines that combine the characters of Candy and Cinderella. Candy is representative of a girl with an ever-optimistic spirit despite encountering difficulties, originating from the name of a Japanese animation heroine, while Cinderella refers to ordinary women who succeed in changing their destiny by marrying rich men.

"My Name is Kim Sam-soon" is a Romantic Comedy, comically describing a contract romance between pastry chef Kim Sam-soon and Hyun Jin-hon, a young chairman of renowned confectionery. "Only You" is a melodrama centering on an accidental encounter and love between Lee Joon, the third generation son of a Chaebol family and Eun-jae, a cook from a poor family.

The character Sam-soon from "My Name is Kim Sam-soon" is not pretty, not slender, nor young. She is 29, the third daughter of a miller and has an abundant curiosity about so many things. She doesn't hesitate to swear and speak slang whenever she is angry. She lets out her stress by eating and sleeping and is realistic-minded enough to know that a prince will not appear out of the blue and save her.

Eun-jae, the heroine of "Only You", is an outgoing chef who has a strong sense of responsibility and is the first daughter from a poor family. Having worked as a waitress in many restaurants and as a party planner, she is currently the owner of a small pasta shop.

Although the two characters seem to be slightly different externally, they have a lot in common. Both of them are energetic and have a strong will to confront any unpredictabilities in life. Also, their male partners are both somewhat difficult characters, but competent and rich with high social positions.

"At a superficial level, the two dramas seem to distinguish themselves from other Candyrella dramas that portray Candyrellas as innocent, passive and self-sacrificing. Considering the change of women's status in society and the social trends, the heroines in the two dramas are described as active and independent", said Bae. "These characters have backgrounds and characters that ordinary women can identify with and at the same time enables them to have a vicarious satisfaction as they win the hearts of the rich, male characters".

"Only You", are more independent and outgoing, showing updated versions of Cinderella, called "Candyrella".
Bae, however, points out that the two dramas substantially have no difference from other same old Candyrella dramas, whose stories are so unlikely to happen in real life.

"In real life, the chance of a Cinderella encountering the son of a Chaebol family is almost none. However, the dramas keep repeating such storylines and characters, causing a standardization of female characters", he said.

Ironically enough, despite such criticism, both dramas have been enjoying a high viewer rating from the start. "My Name is Kim Sam-soon", recorded viewer rating of 18.3 percent and 21.3 percent at the first and second episodes of the last week, while the weekend drama "Only You" recorded 17 percent at the first episode on Saturday, according to TNS Media Korea.

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