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Drama Looks at Divorced Life

2005/06/27 | 630 views | Permalink | Source

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By Han Eun-jung
Staff Reporter

"Super Rookie", a television drama that ran until last month, brought attention to the nation's lagging job market. Last year's "The Million Blossoms of Roses" looked at the problems of "hojuje", or the traditional family registration system, while "Yellow Handkerchief" in 2003 examined the hardships of single motherhood.

And as can be seen with other TV dramas that have either raked up high viewer ratings or heated debates on discussion boards, today's formula for success seems to come down to just how well they are able to connect with audiences by addressing real-life problems.

The societal issue that "Single Again", a weekly drama currently airing on SBS, takes into account is divorce, or, to be more precise, the female divorcee, as two of the three main characters are 30-something women.

While the number of divorced women portrayed in productions has certainly increased in recent years, this is the first drama to have its story revolve around a group of women who find themselves "single again" in their 30s.

The show's producer Chang Ki-hong admits he was worried whether viewers were ready for a drama revolving around single women, and divorced women in particular. However, he pushed for the idea because it's a known fact that there is a growing number of female divorcees in Korea today.

"What I wanted to do from stage one, and still am trying to do, is portray these women as any other women leading bright ambitious lives", Chang told The Korea Times.

In fact, the National Statistical Office (NSO) reported just last week that newlywed couples (those married less than five years) accounted for 25.2 percent of the total number of divorces filed last year.

The results of their recent study also showed that women between the ages of 30 and 39 were the most likely to file for divorce.

With the number of active divorced women on the rise, remarriage is an option many are looking toward, as is evident in the NSO report where it states that the number of remarriages has risen 11.9 percent to 67,550 the past year.

In "Single Again", Kang Hye-ran (Jo Mi-ryung) and Park Hyun-keum (Jung Sun-kyung) are 33-year-olds who both lead successful careers but find themselves back in the dating game. Their ultimate goal is to find that perfect somebody to settle down with.

While that might have seemed impossible just a few years back for a divorced woman living in a conservative South Korean society deeply rooted in Confucian ideals, that may not be the case now.

According to a survey conducted by Duo, a matchmaking company based in Seoul, last year 17.2 percent of 2,578 men surveyed said they would marry a divorced woman. The number had nearly doubled within a year; just 8.9 percent had answered that they would in 2003.

Another 28.8 percent said they would consider it while 15.2 percent replied that it would be possible if the woman had no children, thus more than 60 percent responded positively to the idea.

"Single Again" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:50 p.m.

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