13 December 2013

상속자들 The Heirs

  • 상속자들 Sangsok Jadeul
  • 왕관을 쓰려는자, 그무게를 견뎌라 - 상속자들 Wangkwaneul Sseuryeoneunja, Geumoogereul Gyeondyeora - Sangsokjadeul
English Title:
  • The Heirs
  • The One Trying to Wear the Crown, Withstands the Weight - The Heirs
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Year: 2013
Episode: 20
  • 박신혜 Park Shin Hye
  • 이민호 Lee Min Ho
  • 김우빈 Kim Woo Bin
  • 김지원 Kim Ji Won
  • 정수정 Jung Soo Jung (크리스탈 정 Krystal Jung) (크리스탈 Krystal)
  • 강민혁 Kang Min Hyuk
  • 강하늘 Kang Ha Neul
  • 박형식 Park Hyung Sik
  • 최진혁 Choi Jin Hyuk
  • 임주은 Im Joo Eun

Kim Tan is the second son of the president of the Jeguk Group of companies. He has a complicated family life because although he is included in the family register of his father and his second wife, his real mother is the mistress.

Cha Eun Sang is the daughter of a housemaid in the house of the president of the Jeguk Group of companies. Eun Sang went to the US to live with her older sister but her older sister ran away, leaving her alone to fend for herself.

The Heirs is one of the most badly written dramas I've ever come across with, and that says a lot because I have watched a lot of Asian dramas. It's such a pity that the production managed to get talented actors as part of the cast because most of them, if not all, were either gravely underutilized or had to deal with poor characterization.

In a drama full of infuriating characters, the three lead characters are the most appalling: supposedly former psychopath Kim Tan who is still a selfish man-child and who thinks creepily observing another person on CCTV cameras is romantic, poor Cha Eun Sang who has no morals and whose character changes often depending on the needs of the script, and ultimate psychopath Choi Young Do who is supposedly pitiful because he has a horrible father except I don't really feel sorry for him because he is almost as terrible as his father.

The only saving grace of The Heirs is spoiled princess Lee Bo Na who thrives in drama. She seems to be the only well-adjusted character in the drama because although she has flaws, she also has her good points: she's in the top half of her class in terms of ranking, she is in a relationship with a good guy, she has many friends, and she's pursuing her own interests by being active in school clubs. She says the funniest and the most interesting things.

Lee Bo Na: Men and women can never be just friends!

Lee Bo Na: Without the proper care, there's no beauty. Without beauty, there's no boyfriend.

Lee Bo Na: They are so shallow. They were talking crap behind their backs but now they are sucking up... There are no friends in this school. It's just connections.

The scenes featuring Bo Na and her adoring boyfriend Yoon Chan Young are the highlight of the drama for me. It's a little frustrating that their scenes are only two to five minutes per episode on average.

Lee Bo Na: Don't go anywhere from now on.
Yoon Chan Young: Let's always go together from now on.

I also find Yoo Rachel a very interesting character, particularly because she seems to be generally neither good nor bad, except when she thinks she's being maligned or insulted. She is always put in a situation wherein she chooses to do the wrong thing and although I don't always agree with how she acts, I can ultimately understand where she's coming from. For instance, she knew about Kang Ye Seol's mother being a hostess bar owner but she didn't reveal that information to the class until she overheard Ye Seol insulting her and her mother.

Rachel epitomizes the typical heiress; elitist because she does not really have much opportunity to interact with the lower social classes (not that she really wants to do so), and trapped into a life planned by her mother that she chooses to follow because she doesn't want to be disinherited.

I'm really curious with the social hierarchy presented in the drama, and whether it can be attributed to the writer's creative license or it is a reflection of the Korean society. If it is the latter, I think it is fascinating how much things has changed over the years in South Korea because historically, the social hierarchy is basically the nobility, the ordinary folk, and the servants.

Yoon Chan Young: There's a strict hierarchy here. The highest class is the management succession group. In other words, the sons and daughters of the families who own conglomerates. The second class is the stock-shares inheritance group. They will not participate in management but they are already major shareholders. The third class is the honor inheritance group. They are children of honorable occupations such as ministers, politicians, the chief justice, and presidents of law firms.  And the fourth class is the social care group or kids who got into the school through social care.

Anyway, I hate how cheating is taken lightly in the drama. I mean, if you think about it, why is it that the wife and the fiancee are considered evil? Even if the marriage and the engagement were not love matches, shouldn't people still accord these arrangements with proper respect and recognition?

I hate how the drama just glosses over bullying without much resolution. I don't care how pervasive bullying is in this world, it is still not right to tolerate bullying and to completely let bullies get away without any consequences. I don't really think it matters that these guys have difficult backgrounds and that they carry a lot of responsibilities on their shoulders at such young ages, there is no acceptable excuse to knowingly hurt other people physically, verbally and emotionally.

상속자들 The Heirs