U.S. spoof of Korean dramas provides comic relief

July 21, 2016

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) — An American-Korean web drama capturing the cliches of Korean soap operas has been providing comic relief to viewers with its witty spoofs of what makes K-dramas popular here and in other parts of the world.

“Dramaworld,” produced by the U.S.-based video streaming site Viki, bares it all — from the handsome but arrogant male lead who refuses to inherit his family business and sets up a high-class restaurant, to the two women vying for his attention, in and outside the kitchen.

The 10-part series adds another layer to the story by telling it through the eyes of a 20-year-old American college girl whose obsession with K-dramas causes the stars to align, transporting her into the virtual reality of her favorite show, “Taste of Love.”

It has been available in South Korea on the U.S. media streaming site, Netflix, since July 1.

This image shows a poster for "Dramaworld."

This image shows a poster for “Dramaworld.”

“It’s company policy not to reveal the number of times a video is played,” a Netflix official said in response to an inquiry from Yonhap News Agency, but added, “We’re feeling the positive response to the drama through various channels.”

Inside “Taste of Love,” Claire Duncan (Liv Hewson) plays a “facilitator” — the supporting role in a drama whose job it is to throw banana peels on the floor or switch bags to ensure a “chance” meeting between the protagonists.

Claire’s mission is to get the chef and his sous-chef to kiss because there “always” has to be that decisive kiss in a Korean rom-com, as she says herself. Should she fail, the virtual world will fall apart.

The cliches are all there — from the snobbish mother who’s unhappy with her son’s choices, the evil but sexy woman who tries to seduce the hero, the scene where the chef (Sean Dulake) takes a hot shower to cool his anger to the one where he shows his anger by stopping his car in the middle of the road and telling his passenger in a low voice, “Get out. Get out now.”

This image shows a scene from "Dramaworld."

This image shows a scene from “Dramaworld.”

On top of that, there’s the obvious product placement that’s so rampant in Korean dramas and the added fun of cameo appearances by actress Han Ji-min and boy band Super Junior’s Choi Si-won, among others.

“Although we can’t reveal the exact figures, we’re seeing an explosive response,” a Viki official said. “We’re getting so many requests for a Season 2, and actual discussions are currently under way.”

Viki viewers have translated the English subtitles for “Dramaworld” into 38 other languages, which is more than the 37 languages for the hit drama “Descendants of the Sun” early this year.

“For K-drama fans, it has all the elements of a Korean rom-com while their fellow K-drama fan Claire basically realizes their dreams by having her love come true. So they’re really drawn into it,” the Viki official said.

This image shows a scene from "Dramaworld."

This image shows a scene from “Dramaworld.”