Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
These days, when sitcom productions are so infrequent, I miss the days when sitcoms have occupied the small screen and produced various buzzwords and parodies. Fortunately, with the spread of YouTube and OTT, we get to see the old sitcoms whenever we want. This article will introduce the best sitcoms that are still fun to watch these days.
Soonpoong Clinic (1998-2000, aired on SBS)
It is the work that made producer Kim Byung Wook a legend in the sitcom world. With the setting of Soonpoong Clinic, the sitcom tells the story of the director of a hospital, his family and the employees and delivered laughter to those who faced hard times in the midst of IMF. Although it aired at the same time as 9 o’clock news of other broadcasting stations, it recorded high viewer ratings, and the cast, including Oh Ji Myung, Park Mi Sun, Sun Woo Yong Nyeo, Kwon Oh Jung, and Park Young Gyu rose to fame. However, as the number of episodes kept increasing, the production team and the cast dropped out of the show midway, and by the end, most of the early members have left. You can see the early days of Song Hye Kyo, Kim So Yeon, Kim Rae Won, and Lee Jung Jin.
Why Can’t We Stop Them (2000-2002, aired on SBS)
It is another sitcom produced by Kim Byung Wook. It tells the story of Noh brothers and people in the fire department. Shin Gu and Noh Joo Hyun, who challenged comic acting, stood out, and comedian Lee Hong Ryul also showed impressive performance as an actor. Despite the pressure of being a follow-up of Soonpoong Clinic, it gained huge popularity for its delightful episodes and fun performances of unique characters. However, when Park Jung Soo, the wife of Noh Joo Hyun, suddenly died, the myth of “Kim Byung Wook’s sitcom always coming to a sad ending” surfaced.
Honest Living (2000-2003, aired on SBS)
It is a sitcom about Noh Joo Hyun, a veteran actor who runs the orthopedic clinic, and his family. Producer Kim Byung Wook directed the show once again and mad another hit. The fact that Noh Joo Hyun from Why Can’t We Stop Them and Park Young Gyu from Soonpoong Clinic have come together have made headlines even from the start and actors, including Lee Eung Kyung, Hong Ri Na and Ahn Jae Hwan, presented their first comedy performances, breaking out of their original images. You can see the early days of Lee Dong Wook, Chun Jung Myung, Choi Yeo Jin and Jung Ryeo Won.
Unstoppable High Kick (2006-2007, aired on MBC)
This is the first sitcom produced by Kim Byung Wook after he left SBS and settled in MBC. It comically depicts the story of Lee Soon Jae, who runs an oriental medical clinic, and his family. Lee Soon Jae and Na Moon Hee’s unconventional comic performances certainly stood out, while other actors also showed characteristic acting, earning nicknames such as “Grumpy Min Yong,” “Falling Min Jung” and “OK Hae Mi.” The sitcom also drew attention by putting romance between young actors and mystery element of the murder within the boundary of a family sitcom. Jung Il Woo, Park Min Jung and Kim Bum, then rookies, rose to stardom.
High Kick Through the Roof! (2009-2010, aired on MBC)
The second work of the High Kick series. It depict the story of Shin Se Kyung and her sister, the country girls who came to Seoul for the first time, as they move into the house of Lee Soon Jae, who runs the food company. Shin Se Kyung’s naive behaviors and comic acting of Jeong Bo Seok, who always causes inconvenience for others with his dopey actions, were outstanding. Out of all Kim Byung Wook’s sitcoms, romance is more highlighted in High Kick Through the Roof!, and its ending that emphasizes tragedy stirred up the controversy at the time.
Three Guys and Three Girls (1996-1999, aired on MBC)
This work represents the “youth sitcom.” Shin Dong Yup, Woo Hee Jin, Lee Jenny, Song Seung Heon, Hong Kyung In and Lee Eui Jung appeared, comically capturing the daily lives and love of college students, giving many teenagers the illusion of college life at that time. Every episode was full of fun stories, including Shin Dong Yup’s comic acting, which often showed great results in sitcoms, and Lee Eui Jung’s unique fashion sense, which makes you laugh just by looking at it.
Nonstop (2000-2005, aired on MBC)
This is another work that represents the “youth sitcom” following Three Guys and Three Girls. It dealt with episodes of college students and their love, and introduced new cast and stories in every series from 2000 to 2005. As much as its long history, there are many young stars who rose to stardom though Nonstop. Jo In Sung, Jang Na Ra, Park Kyung Rim, Go Soo, Han Ye Seul, Hyun Bin, Han Hyo Joo and Goo Hye Sun all made their faces known through the work and gained huge popularity.