High Society (2015)
Directed By Choi Young-hoon
I went on a Korean drama binge last weekend and finished this 16 episode drama in two days. I am a fan of the actor, Sung Joon, who starred in Shut Up! Flower Boy Band. However, it’s my first time watching UEE, Park Hyung-sik, and Lim Ji-yeon in a series.
High Society is a melodrama centering on the life of Jang Yoon-ha (UEE), the youngest daughter of a chaebol family. Yoo-ha wishes to have a normal life and fall in love with a man who loves her and not her money. Choi Joon-ki (Sung Joon) grew up in poverty. He’s smart and hardworking but is also quite calculating. He dreams of marrying a rich woman in order to live the life of a high-class gentleman. Although the drama is focused on the relationship between Yoon-ha and Joon-ki, Yoon-ha’s family has their own personal issues in which Yoon-ha’s older siblings are fighting for the inheritance of the family’s business.
I enjoyed the relationship development of the main and supporting couples: Jang Yoon-ha and Choi Joon-ki and Yoo Chang-soo (Park Hyung-sik) and Lee Ji-yi (Lim Ji-yeon). Both couples have great chemistry together. Usually, I would just focus on the main couple, but I was rooting for both on-screen couples to get together in the end. I was empathetic towards each couple because social class is an obstacle they both have to suffer through. Chang-soo’s and Yoon-ha’s parents constantly try to separate them from Ji-yi and Joon-ki by setting them up on blind dates with other rich kids and threatening to take away their inheritances. This ultimately leads to Chang-soo and Yoon-ha questioning whether or not they can live without power, status, and money.
Furthermore, the friendships formed between Yoon-ha and Ji-yi as well as Joon-ki and Chang-soo were great. I don’t ship friends in dramas, but I did in this one. The chemistry between the two friendships is fantastic. The concept of “friends before significant others” is clearly established as a rule among the four. It interesting to note how each friendship handles the up and downs of love and life because there seems to be a gender code, similar to how Joon-ki tells Yoon-ha about the code of dating where it’s the man’s job to properly ask the woman out (Joon-ki is an old-fashioned kind of guy). For example, Ji-yi and Yoon-ha would eat chicken and drink soju whenever they are heartbroken while Joon-ki and Chang-soo would throw punches at each other or compete against one another to express their frustrations. Overall, this drama emphasizes the importance of building strong friendships that aren’t based on social classes but through good character.
Although I like the characterization of the main and supporting roles, I was kind of disappointed with one of the storylines. As I said before, Yoon-ha’s two older siblings are in a fight for power and it results in the brother disappearing. Due to this sudden disappearance, the drama transforms into a mystery of what happened to Yoon-ha’s brother. I’m not going to spoil what happens, but the drama builds on this mystery and yet, it disappoints you in the end because although the mystery gets resolved, it’s more of a loose-ended conclusion.
Overall, High Society has great character development, but a horrible storyline.