(Makjang drama means drama that includes extreme, unrealistic, abnormal or ridiculous situations and usually uses topics like birth secrets, potential incest, adultery, revenge, terminal illnesses, rape, murder, and suicide)
The popularity of JTBC’s Friday-Saturday drama The World of the Married, which recently surpassed 20 percent of viewer ratings (based on Nielsen Korea), reminds the viewers of the drama SKY Castle, which also aired on JTBC. Just like when SKY Castle aired, The World of the Married becomes the hot topic with every episode. It’s the craze for The World of the Married.
The World of the Married and SKY Castle are similar in the sense that they show the inside story of middle-class families that seems harmonious. That’s why some viewers are imagining the story “if” Kang Ye Seo from SKY Castle appears in The World of the Married. If sensitive topics like adultery and entrance examination are used in a provocative manner, the dramas are considered makjang dramas. But the dramas mentioned above present a high level of completeness in both script and production and are considered “well-made dramas.”
There are more JTBC dramas, which drew attention by crossing the boundaries of masterwork and makjang, besides SKY Castle. Misty and Woman of Dignity are good examples, and going back, one can even add Secret Love Affair, also starring Kim Hee Ae, to the list. The World of the Married also follows the tradition.
The fact that they put problematic subjects at the forefront is something that these dramas have in common. The World of the Married deals with adultery, SKY Castle deals with entrance exams, Woman of Dignity mainly uses the topic of rising in status whereas Secret Love Affair deals with love between a man and a woman with a big age difference. They stimulate dramatic interest by producing such provocative materials in a sophisticated manner. If necessary, they will not hesitate to be rated 18+.
At the heart of the story is a woman. Jin Sun Woo (Kim Hee Ae) of The World of the Married, Han Seo Jin (Yum Jung Ah) of SKY Castle, Ko Hye Ran (Kim Nam Joo) of Misty, Oh Woo Jin (Kim Hee Sun) and Park Bok Ja (Kim Sun Ah) of Woman of Dignity and Oh Hye Won (Kim Hee Ae) of Secret Love Affair all use their own methods to protect their desires and dignity when facing incidents or hardships. The drama delicately depicts the psychology and relationships of characters who have met conflict, giving them probability and raising the level of immersion. They also show an aspect of Korean society, especially the hypocrisy and vanity of the middle class, through various characters.
There is one last thing they have in common: their finale never received good reviews. Despite the fact that they led the stories with an outspoken manner, somehow they all left regret in the final episodes. As the stories reach the ending, the characters suddenly and awkwardly chose to reconcile. That’s why viewers are curious about the finale of The World of the Married as it has just reached a turning point.