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[Lily's Take] Successful Medical Drama Despite the Cliches

2017/01/25 | 2786 views | Permalink

Once I saw a post jokingly remarking the difference between Korean, Japanese and US dramas. The post on Twitter went viral in Korea. It is silly but it was very agreeable. This is how the post compared the three:

If it is a paralegal drama -

In the US drama, the lawyers will do the paralegal stuff. In the Japanese drama, the lawyers will teach a moral lesson at the end. In the Korean drama, the lawyers will fall in love with each other.

If it is a medical drama -

In the US drama, the doctors will do medical stuff. In the Japanese drama, the doctors will teach a moral lesson at the end. In the Korean drama, the doctors will fall in love with each other.

There's also a post that said "In US dramas, everyone's unnecessarily serious. In Japanese dramas, everyone's unnecessarily diligent. In Korean dramas, everyone's unnecessarily angry".

Now, these posts are totally stereotyped and obnoxiously exaggerated but it has been exaggerated based on some truth. When we take a look at Korean medical dramas, we can see more stereotype of its own. Let's call that… a cliché.

When we follow a certain genre, it is unavoidable to follow the route the viewers are familiar to. Producers and screenwriters can either take a risk and create a whole new route or stick to the basic. For the dramas that stick to the basic though, how can they make it an outstanding drama by keeping the "clichés?" I say a lot of that depends on how well the actors and actresses carry on the characters they were given. When we look at that, it is no wonder "Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim" was an outstanding medical drama despite its clichés.

What are some of the known clichés of Korean medical dramas though?


#1 – Prideful Genius

Being admitted as a first place in medical school, the best grade as an intern, etc. The main character is often recognized as a genius of their age. Their skill may be outstanding but their characteristic often cold, prickly or prideful. By the end of the show, they will learn to be a humane doctor.


#2 – Tough Teacher

There's at least one of these in each hospital. They have a firm standard and their example often inspire the arrogant genius doctors to develop compassion.


#3 – CPR

Of course, this is a must for any medical dramas. Along with CPR, there will always be one of these scenes where the doctor put every effort and energy into reviving the patient and people around the doctor will say "Doctor…Stop". With teary eyes.


#4 – Death Statement

After #3, this is where we find ourselves sucked into the screen, crying with the doctor who states the name of the deceased patient and time they passed on while chocking on tears.


#5 – The Gangsters

Can't forget the episode with scary misters dressed in black suits and gold accessories. When the head of the gang is being treated, there's always a threat from the underlings saying, "You better do this right!"



Even in the chaotic hospital, there need to be a romance to capture the heart of K-Drama lovers. The most standard coupling would be a prideful, cold genius doctor and a warm hearted doctor.


#7 – Hospital vs. Doctor

Conflict between the greedy hospital and dignified doctors who will choose people over profit is always so cliché yet so entertaining.


"Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim" had an interesting start with the very first episode but soon it became the best show I watched last season. Each episode made me cry, laugh and smile. The casting was a great one to begin with, but my favorite part of this drama was the character, Teacher Kim. This drama pointed at the problem of Korea's society and this unique character flushed away all of our frustration with his care-free attitude. In appreciation of this drama, I'm going to conclude with my favorite scene from this drama.

Did someone said #Squadgoal???

By. Lily Lee

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