SOUTH KOREA: Pop Stars or Movie Stars?

KELCEY LORENZO WRITES – Since the mid 90’s, Korean pop idols have appeared and starred in many Korean TV dramas and movies. Many idol-actors have been successful despite their lack of formal training and experience in acting. Reply 1997, starring solo singer Seo In Guk and A-Pink’s Jung Eun Ji, became the highest rated cable drama ever at the end of its two-month run despite having a rookie cast. MBLAQ’s Lee Joon made his acting debut in 2009 in Ninja Assassin and is now regarded as a seasoned actor after his portrayal of a sociopath in Gap Dong.

Unfortunately, some idols’ popularity can only go so far.

In the case of My Lovely Girl, a TV drama currently airing on Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), three idols are playing the roles of the main leads: Bi Rain as the lead male, f(x)’s Krystal as the lead female, and Infinite’s L as the second lead male.

The pop idol-filled cast earned large amounts of attention and anticipation for the drama before it was released. However, after a few weeks on the air, the general public of South Korea was not so impressed.  K-netizens (Korean commenters on online articles) used the Internet as a platform to voice their opinions.

‘My Lovely Girl’ would do better taken off air. The lines all suck, the cast lacks any energy, the drama just sucks the life out of you…” one netizen commented.  This was one among many other negative reviews about the cast and the drama itself.

Despite the demeaning criticism and ratings by domestic viewers, My Lovely Girl was sold for a record price to a distributor in China and became a bit hit due to the Hallyu wave that has taken China by storm.

As more idols are casted in TV dramas, broadcast systems and producers must decide whether to boot them off or take a chance on them.

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