7 December 2011

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Korean Dramas vs. American Soap Operas

Imagine this: your brother's ex-wife's cousin was kidnapped by an evil super villain who was a clone of your own father, and now it's all up to you to defy conventions and save the day! Does this sound like a real drama, or something you would find on daytime television? In America, it's frowned upon when people waste away an hour watching soap operas that feature an overly twisted plot, and have no ending. The longest running American soap opera is Guiding Light, which has been running since 1952, having already run for 15 years prior to that on the radio. Other countries have also famously run soap operas, such as the Latin telenovelas. It has only been within the past decade that the popularity of Korean dramas has begun spreading around the world. Due to excellent translation work, Korean dramas have become popular in Japan, China, the U.S. and even many Latin countries. Why is it that Korean dramas are becoming all the rage? Let's explore the difference between American soap operas and Korean dramas to find out.

The American Soap Operas
American soap operas typically deal with several different family groups. Most often there is it least one main protagonist that seems to manipulate and control the actions of all others. 

There is sordid romance, murder and even demonic possession to make the show more…compelling? In general, soap operas tend to have very few morals and are always rated TV-14 for their adult content. Episodes last for an hour, and air once a day. There is never a conclusive ending to the story.

Korean Dramas
Korean dramas are typically more modest in every aspect, when compared with American soap operas. There are actually two different types of Korean dramas: romantic or action-based comedies and historical dramas. Unlike American soap operas, Korean dramas always have an end. The standard length of a Korean drama is about 16 to 20 episodes, lasting an hour each. While some shows can have 30 minute episodes no show will ever last longer than 200 episodes (similar to our American sitcoms).

Korean dramas tend to be much more clean than their American counterparts. In the romantic and action-based comedies, romances are never explicitly displayed and swearing is mild, if translated at all. Love triangles are a frequent feature, but are usually based on an initial friendship. There is often a super villain who makes things difficult for the main characters. Their challenge in overcoming this opposition leads to characters forming various changes and improvements in their personalities. Murder can occur in the historical dramas, but is never gory. All-in-all, Korean dramas are more subdued, mild and family-friendly than soap operas.

The moral of the story is this: if you are going to waste your time watching pointless TV, you would be better off selecting a Korean drama over an American soap opera. Korean dramas are cleaner, tend to be less sordid and scary, and will ALWAYS have an end. American soap operas never end, almost always involve supernatural elements, and are definitely not appropriate for younger ages. Plus, South Korea has such a beautiful culture that you don't want to miss out on becoming more diverse.

About today's Guest Writer:
Tiffani Azani is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people make an informed decision about their education. By studying through an online school, they can earn basic certifications, complete online masters degree programs or even make it all the way up to a Ph.D.

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