가족을 지켜라 (Save the Family)

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120 Episodes
A KBS Production
Timeslot: Weekdays, 08:25 PM
Genre: Home Drama
Format: 1080i Dolby Digital 2.0 – 35 Minutes
Runs from: 2015/Mar/11~

WITH 재희 (Jae Hee) as Jung Woo-Jin; 강별 (Kang Byeol) as Lee Hae-Soo; 정혜인 (Jung Hye-In) as Go Ye-Won; 최일화 (Choi Il-Hwa) as Jung Man-Jae; 이휘향 (Lee Hwi-Hyang) as Bok Su-Ja; 변희봉 (Byun Hee-Bong) as Jung Soo-Bong; 반효정 (Ban Hyo-Jung) as Cha Yong-Shim; 나르샤 (Narsha) as Jung Hee-Jin; 박철호 (Park Cheol-Ho) as Jung Ho-Jae; 임성민 (Im Sung-Min) as Na Ae-Ran; 엄유신 (Eom Yoo-Shin) as Nam Jung-Sook; 신승환 (Shin Seung-Hwan) as Jung Tae-Jin; 임채원 (Im Chae-Won) as Choi Yoon-Jung; 로미나 (Romina) as Mina; 정다빈 (Jung Da-Bin) as Son Da-Hye; 

CREW Production Director 전성홍 (Jeon Seong-Hong) Main Writer 홍영희 (Hong Young-Hee) Chief Producer 박기호 (Park Gi-Ho) Producer 이정섭 (Lee Jung-Seop) Director of Photography 위창석 (Wi Chang-Seok) Lighting 김정수 (Kim Jung-Soo) Editor 김충열 (Kim Choong-Yeol) Art Director KBS Artvision 이병준 (Lee Byung-Joon) Music 이창희 (Lee Chang-Hee) Action Choreography 정윤현 (Jung Yoon-Hyun) Assistant Writer 정진아 (Jung Jin-Ah) 신융빈 (Shin Yoong-Bin) Assistant Producer 황승기 (Hwang Seung-Gi)

RATINGS
AGB Nielsen Nationwide
HIGHEST: 24.4% (05/11 - E01)
LOWEST: 19.6% (05/15 - E05)
AVERAGE: 21.70%

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Photo ⓒ KBS

FIRST LOOK

The assumption that a selected few timeslots have become a safe bet is pretty much accepted by everyone in the industry – essentially the KBS1 evening daily and KBS2 weekend home dramas; it's no use discussing the reasons that over the years led to this phenomenon, as they've become such a staple of Korean TV that anything the station decides to air will meet the silent approval of the audience regardless of the content (sure, some shows a bit light on the makjang might “disappoint” a little, but we're still talking exceptionally high ratings in an environment where everything else is free-falling). That's a statistical no-brainer.

But I'd be more curious to see what motivates this large an audience to tune in so religiously to what has been the same old story offered in two-three supposedly different “flavours;” curious as to why they would continue supporting something that has become more prone to decadence than the sugarcoated, garden-variety popcorn flicks that the majors serve us on a regular basis in Chungmuro. Of course there is no nudity and very little direct violence here, but these shows have become more damaging to society than allegedly dangerous genre cinema filled with nudity and extreme violence. And they're out there for everyone to bask in, from the functionally illiterate elder citizen who is content with a few fart jokes, pretty young lasses and some cheap nostalgia thrown at him to the tiny blob who'll be asking mommy to explain why people from different social upbringings can't just get along. Is the price to pay for universal accessibility a complete lack of moral scruples on these (drama producing) people's part?

Look at this disgrace of a show.

All the lower-middle class characters in this story are leading a life on the brink of destitution, with no apparent dignity awarded to their current state by our wise storytellers: the head of the family has to impress his boss and embarrass himself in a desperate (perhaps futile… it wouldn't be dramatic enough to succeed) attempt to save his job; his son, despite being a capable doctor (of course he's a genius! It's a Korean drama!) is overlooked by the big mainstream hospital he used to work at because of his lack of connections – and sure enough, he has to quit and briefly “relocate” to much humbler surroundings to make ends meet. Oh, and did I mention that his fiancée ends up being forced by her parents into an engagement completely unbeknownst to him, simply because he wasn't chaebol enough for this family of VVIPs (vigorously, vehemently important people?)? His prospective belle gets fired from her job because of a ruckus she caused, thinks nothing in life is more important than money, and yet is living quite the hippie life by allowing runaway, underprivileged kids and the token foreigner to live with her.

Wouldn't it be easier and more fun if everyone was a chaebol?

Yes, OK. The drama's purpose is to eventually let “the traditional family values that are now playing second fiddle to individualism” and all that “compassionately conservative” (sense a trend? Not my fault) wisdom triumph at the end. But in the meantime it panders to the lowest common denominator by turning class consciousness into the most derogatory dichotomy you could think of. Of course if you take everything you see at face value you'll be met by the same old clichés: people who would seemingly loathe each other meet fortuitously in a turning point for them, and then gradually grow closer and closer to each other, enveloping their entire social microcosm. You've seen it a million times and you'll continue to see it around this hour on this channel, all year long. Perhaps for years to come. There eventually will be makjang, flamboyant cliffhangers and dramatic confessions, but in the end good will prevail over evil, and all that stuff the grannies knitting your next scarf just lap up with joy.

We know that anything you broadcast at this hour will score decent to very good ratings, so why continue subjecting the entire nation to material so unabashedly lowbrow and ethically pernicious? Why continue using the 0.01% of the country as if it was half the population just to titillate the fantasies of the masses (and fill your sets with fancy products that pay your sponsorship bills, obviously), when telling stories of ordinary families would allow you to create much more realistic and topical dramatic conflict? Why continue to bastardize this format to the point that writing a daily drama review has become almost an annoying affair in cutting and pasting the same old complaints?

This has to stop. But I doubt it ever will. For that to happen, the audience would have to get tired of it all, and not just wag their tail at everything that gets served to them. But let's carry on, swimming in these quicksands… maybe there will be an oasis down there somewhere.

ACTING GRADES

64 박철호 (Park Cheol-Ho)
64 임성민 (Im Sung-Min)
63 반효정 (Ban Hyo-Jung)
62 엄유신 (Eom Yoo-Shin)
62 변희봉 (Byun Hee-Bong)
60 최일화 (Choi Il-Hwa)
60 정다빈 (Jung Da-Bin)
60 임채원 (Im Chae-Won)
58 이휘향 (Lee Hwi-Hyang)
58 신승환 (Shin Seung-Hwan)
57 강별 (Kang Byeol)
55 로미나 (Romina)
54 정혜인 (Jung Hye-In)
51 재희 (Jae Hee)
37 나르샤 (Narsha)

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