[article] ‘Beautiful Man’ is trying to teach lessons openly, but why I don’t hate it?

Original source: http://news.nate.com/view/20131206n07356
From KBS 2TV ‘Beautiful Man’, Choi David (Lee Jang Woo) and Kim Bo Tong (IU)

Why KBS Wednesdays/ Thursdays drama ‘Beautiful Man’ still can’t get a high viewer rating? There is few banal and dead-end elements. I can say it’s unusually a good drama in recent days. Apart from the viewer rating, I can see there are a lot of fans supporting this drama online. What is the reason?

Lessons that I don’t hate listening to
If we have already finished all of the official education, it means we have already learned something in one third of our life, and then we’ll learn more in the rest. There is nothing as good as learning, but ironically those who try to give a lesson to others are likely to be hated, and it seems not accepted favorably to convey straightforward messages in movies and dramas, too.

However, this drama ‘Beautiful Man’ keenly tries to teach something. The open way to tell us what money is, what brings disaster on ourselves, and what the difference between giving bribes and gifts stimulate us. To tell the truth, I had a silly idea that as the original is manga (comic), it must be just a cute romantic drama. However, it’s not!

Maybe it’s one of the reason why ‘Beautiful Man’ hasn’t got a high rating because it dares to give lessons to viewers? How many viewers would watch dramas to get solemn lessons?

Needless to say, it doesn’t mean we can’t expect this in the first place. Because the story line that Dokgo Mate (Jang Keun Suk) is going to meet a lot of women and become enlightened by them was already released before the broadcasting. But if a drama is trying to show something meaningful even though we ordinarily don’t expect anything but enjoy watching, it’s natural that the fun goes down by half.

But surprisingly, I found myself listen to such lessons shown openly in the drama. Strangely enough, the messages through the drama are so straightforward that it might be natural to induce a feeling of rejection, but instead, it actually creates a positive mood as if we need to listen carefully for some reason.

Seems like the reason is ‘they don’t show the lesson as a big deal’. For example, they show us a bit different view that we usually have on money or people, not showing them as sacred and precious to all human beings and all over the country. Instead, they show us a small secret to move people’s heart in a unique way. Their simple lessons are intrigued enough to draw attention from viewers naturally.

A feast of distinct characters, hopefully it gets a meaningful result in ratings BM_144
In ‘Beautiful Man’, Dokgo Mate is trying hard to move the sock factory President’s heart.

‘Beautiful Man’ is a very good drama in all aspects. It shows us a lesson directly, but it doesn’t sound intrusive at all. No devilish bad person. No extreme struggles that give us huge stress. It’s clear that things happen in the future are not easy to overcome, but still I believe this basic framework won’t twist on the way.

However, above all things, the most fascinating point that ‘Beautiful Man’ has is all characters are lively and breathing. Not only main characters such as Kim BoTong (IU) with cheerful youthfulness and innocence, Dokgo Mate’s distinct personality with a double glittering charm, Choi David (Lee Jang Woo) who looks sophistic at the first glance but has some philosophy of life, Iron Lady Na Hong Ran (Kim Bo Yun), Mysterious Woman Hong Yoo Ra (Han Chae Young), but also other women involved with Dokgo Mate (?) all have distinct and unique characteristics.

In that sense, I was a bit surprised and sad to know around 5 %, low ratings of ‘Beautiful Man’. At the same time, however, it is fully predictable. This drama doesn’t have any intricate secrets of birth in particular nor deep and mellow sadness that breaks our heart. In addition, a secret weapon, love triangle with Dokgo Mate, Kim BoTong and Choi David looks cute and awkward rather than painful. Because of these conditions, getting a high rating is almost like a miracle.

Instead, the characters in this drama are committed to achieving their goal, and struggling to learn any lessons that are useful in life. They are recklessly dedicated to their beloved one and never expect something in return.

Even so, if it’s uninteresting, what is the point? ‘Beautiful Man’ doesn’t have explosive fun, breathtaking suspense and trill, nor unpredictable magic like a black hole that we unknowingly fall into. But even if not maximum, it’s always guaranteed to retain an adequate level of making it interesting and touching. The day will come when it is rewarded with the good rating? I hope it will happen for some reason. Because it’s obvious that ‘Beautiful Man’ is unusually a ‘good’ drama in recent days.

34 thoughts on “[article] ‘Beautiful Man’ is trying to teach lessons openly, but why I don’t hate it?”

  1. Finally I translated a Korean article I found a few days ago. Some parts were not easy to understand from Japanese translation, but I hope you’ll understand the point. I think the author is objective and supportive for BM. Even BM is lack of essential conditions to get a high rating in Korea, it’s true that BM is one of the greatest drama in recent days! I really hope male viewers will start to watch BM more. So I’d like to convey how good it is not only from Mate’s fascinating scenes but from lessons we learned. 🙂

    • Thank you Tenshi for sharing!!!! I am glad this author took a very objective view in commenting on this drama. candidly before the drama was aired, I was a little worried and concern the content of the drama, worrying it’s one of those silly drama where the male lead tries to win the hearts of 10 different woman…. hmmm not too attractive in my opinion……However after watching the first episode, it was an eye opener and I could understand why Jang Keun Suk wanted to take up this role!!! The storyline has plots embedded within, and there are “lessons” each of us can learn too from the various “real life situations”. One may think the content is a little heavy for a drama, yet, I was again pleasantly surprised I always laugh through each episode with the funny scenes slotted in between, and we subsequently got to know some of these funny scenes were actually suggested by Sukkie himself kekeke

      • I even recommended this drama to non eel friends and they are now happily hooked on the drama too, and even thanking me for the recommendation!! They now eagerly wait for Wednesday and Thursday each week so they can catch Beautiful man 🙂 …. Just like me!!!

    • I love Beautiful Man Drama, not totally because I am a fan. I love this drama becoz it’s good and fresh drama. I love this drama becoz it has unique and unusual fazed to its plots and storylines. I love this drama becoz it make me smile and laugh a lot. And most of all, I love this drama because it is a beautiful drama containing with many CUTE and funny scenes, and with life lessons for me to ponder about, too……what if…?

      What’s if…..I applied the lessons to my life, would it works..? Work or not work, the drama still has value lessons, for simple human like me, to learn …and will keep on learning!! Therefore, I am one of the million people who have absolutely no problem or no PRIDE, in listening or watching some educational teaching…..either in the classroom, in training seminar (which I do often since I’m old now), or DRAMAs, why not? Learning is learning, don’t really care where I learned about certain things from…….
      Lets talk Beautiful Man drama…… my point of view~~!!!

      I haven’t watch many dramas like Beautiful man in my life I could recall of…… a beautiful man who used his pretty face and charm to gain success, wisdom and life lessons from women. There is an old saying, “behind a great man, there is a great woman…!!!
      Oh yeah….that’s what I think about Beautiful Man when I learned beyond doubt, this drama is not about playboy gold digger, from watching BM to Ep #6 as of now.

      Note: I do know there is one France Movie called Bel Ami existed, but it is more to DARK version of beautiful man, which I haven’t watch it yet…I’m not sure I like to watch the Dark side of beautiful man.

      Let’s talk Beautiful Man’s rating……>

      This is totally based on my own FEELINGS and opinions as a long time fan, and based on reading many articles here and there about majority K-neitizens think about Jang Keun Suk, as a person….not persay Actor Jang. I expected I might be totally WRONG in certain regards. Don’t know who get its right anyway, we are all assumed of somethings!!!
      I do understand this Author’s point of view about BM’s low rating …… parts of it becoz this drama is “openly” teach audience some lessons……..goshh… who would want to watch drama for life lessons….?!!

      People often said they know about those lesson already and there is no need to repeat or reminding themselves about it……or even worst…. It’s PRIDE, thingy..!!!
      Most drama watchers, they watch the dramas for dramatic, tragic, romantic stories, and watch dramas for their BIAS stars…., which I found dishearten INCREASE in numbers among drama-lovers.

      The Neutral drama-lovers are in the PAST: Neutral drama-lovers would watch any good given dramas, no matter who are the Actors or actresses playing the roles. They rated the dramas based on their honest opinions of what’s type of drama they like most, actions, dramatic, tragic, love or comedian…..choose they most favorite according to their affected feelings for certain dramas. Some dramas would lingering longer in their minds for a while, some dramas were just once Done watching it’s DONE.!!!

      I grow up with this type of old good drama-watchers. I doubt these people even knew what’s the RATING of their favorite dramas were..?? They probably did NOT care about rating. I would like to be neutral drama-lovers like these people.

      I called the new age drama-watchers, BIAS Drama-lovers: Nowadays, many people are watching dramas based on their biases or recommending from circle of fans or based on their preferences or whatever..? These group of people tend to watch dramas for their BIAS only, no matter the drama has GOOD or BAD reviews, they would still think the drama is GOOD and the BEST. True fans reactions all across the broad, in every Fans-domes.

      What’s even worst knowing is many times, people would like to totally talk “trash” about the drama that their IDOLS not in it, even the drama might have GOOD review by the experts or drama critics. Fans started to verbally fighting about who is the BEST, who is most popular…attacking each other about STARs’ fashions, or personalities, on and on. Obliviously, DRAMAs are not even their FOCUS now.

      I found more disturbing thoughts in seeing, the MOST talking about Websites of dramas-reviews or recaps, nowadays, are filled with sooo dirty and negative comments. So I assume most people are more entertained reading the comments of fans (or better word, FANS-WAR) more the dramas itself…..LOLL.

      I don’t know how the good old neutral drama-lovers evolve to be Bias drama-lovers.

      Ok.OK!!! Let’s come back to Beautiful Man, low rating…… my opinions only..!! (I’m sure many people have different opinions of their own..).

      In my opinion, I truly believe that… if Dokgo MaTe is being play by other K-actor, not by JKS, this drama has higher chance of success in TV rating in Korea. Becoz, the genre of the story is NOT new topic to general Korean people. This drama is based on “popular” Mangha in Korea. If they don’t like the “teaching life lessons” story, how come it proclaimed popular Manghwa in Korea?

      Based on my observations and reading many articles or news about JKS, many Koreans just have some issues with Jang Keun Suk, as a person, NOT so much as an ACTOR Jang. Even some of them might admit JKS is a good OK actor, but their dislikes of his PERSON and personalities are stronger….therefore, they won’t care to watch his works. Plus, there are man many K-dramas being produced to their liking…..why would they even bother to watch dramas of a person who they don’t care about.

      OmO-yahh….I can’t fault them. That’s normal human reactions and actions!!! Be honest, Once we decided to dislike a person, for whatever the reasons, it is so difficult to play attention to that person whatsoever…… that’s just the way it is..no right or wrong feelings…!! When we said we don’t like someone or something, it does NOT meant we are BAD person, either.

      Ohhh… beside the JKS pig situation in Korea, the very POOR done promotion of Beautiful Man by KBS is not helping JKS and Beautiful Man’s rating at all.

      Phewww…sorry for my long post!!!

      • I do not judge them and not blame the Koreans. Every nation has its culture , customs and traditions. Perhaps they are traditionalists. As I said , when something or someone comes out of the usual patterns , you may not be understood or even rejected.
        For JKS his fellows chose a middle way. He accepted her but not appreciated at its true value .
        Regarding this. manhwa is the Korean term for comics and general print cartoons (common usage Also includes animated cartoons ). South Korea is now one of the major Producers of comics .
        Manhwa belongs contemporary Korean culture and Chon Kye -young is a popular manhwa creator . She wrote a series of 18 comic books underlying Beautiful Man series .
        Here I return to traditionalism and try to understand what I read somewhere before the start of drama as it can not rise to the level of the manhwa .
        So it would be better to leave aside all this madness and enjoy all that JKS gives us after hard work and with love for those who looked at him.
        We love him and are with him with the soul and good thoughts.

    • Thank you soooo much for your hard work translating, Tenshi 🙂 I bet it wasn’t easy.

      I love the objectivity in this article!


  2. i said it once and will say it again ,… korean people are so stupid and don’t know what are they missing > hell with them >_< !! i enjoy every single ep in this drama and dont care about the ratings at all . every body in ths drama is doing a awesome job and i won't change a thing. JGS be strong and don't let anyone get to you . you have your eels with you all the way PM fighting ??!!

  3. From December 7 when “eta” asked us to vote for JKS on http://www.im.mx/fet888/BestOfKorea/faceoff.html and support him I voted every time I could.
    JKS has always been the 2nd, a small difference in the first place. Now where there are 2 (d) 05 (h): 19 (min) 30 (sec) the result is:
    – 51.89% for first place with 228.722 votes
    – 48.11% for the 2nd place (JKS ours) with 212 093 votes.
    I am sad and disappointed!
    Did we really can not mobilize, to show him we care and how big are our love and our appreciation for him?
    I think it would mean a lot to him …
    So please, please, please vote and thank you!

  4. yep because of some scenario things it is hard to get good ratings but i still believe it is also related with “hate” toward suk in his home country….
    But I hope it will get good results from other k-drama fans. noadays it seems like not too many k-drama fans are watching. I guess main reason is Heirs… also it is december so many people do not watch many dramas simultaniously because of holiday season or exams…. I hope many international fans will watch soon ^^
    during love rain, JKS’s twitter increased. hope his SNS accounts likes/followers will increase fast ^^

  5. it is difficult to get good rating due to Korean’s mentality and dislike for Suk – don’t know why??? His MMM, LR were popular overseas, that proved that His drama and acting are good – although I understand how much it will mean to him if his own countrymen support him as much as the us, and how hurt and disappointed he must be!!! However, you only have one life darling, so live the way you want to be, at least on the final day of your life, you can proudly say to yourself I have done it all MY WAYs – no regret, no waste, I have live a FULL LIFE – that is important

    • Maybe it’s one of the reason why ‘Beautiful Man’ hasn’t got a high rating because it dares to give lessons to viewers? How many viewers would watch dramas to get solemn lessons?

      idk about korean mentality but frm this quote..it seems like they watched drama just for fun.what’s wrong with lesson in drama? isn’t it good if we can get both frm drama?it doesnt make sense for me since i tend to watch drama with more values..but maybe its true since this article is frm korean site.

  6. somehow i want to know the person who wrote this article. this was the exact same reason i had tried to explain to my sis why i think this show is not picking up in ratings – the koreans are not open to be taught, they just want to either cry or laugh. I still pray that some of the smarter ones like the one who wrote this will be able to influence those unprepared for change. Sukkie is so ahead of his time i am so proud of him. Thank u so much for sharing this tenshi! ❤ BM fightin’!

  7. Thanks for sharing this article, sis Tenshi. I’m taking it as a positive response as well. I don’t want to have more prejudice & overgeneralise the Korean public as I don’t think I am well informed with their real situation, esp. when it comes to drama preference & viewership. From this article I could understand it well why the rating has been low for BM. I also hope that more and more of younger people will think about this drama the way the author of the article does. It is indeed one ‘unusually’ good drama and it deserves appreciation.

  8. I totally agree with this Korean blogger as I have read also other Korean blogger’s recap (translated by Chinese eels), that Korean blogger is also a non-eel and has commented that drama is fun, meaningful and good acting by cast.. but also commented something wrong with the Korean TV rating.. so I guess even many Korean audience are questioning on the Korean TV rating now…

  9. I like the author of this article. It was very well written without biased and having a objective view. BM may look like any ordinary romance comedy drama, but if you follow closely in each episode, it was really an interesting story which trigger your thought about valuable lesson in life. I especially like the ‘button’, ‘bribe and gift’ topic. I guess why the viewership is not doing well in Korea because Korean are not that open up in their mindset. Their culture and values are unique which not many people can understand.
    Look at millions of viewership via online and positive feedback from media shows that BM is well liked by many. Dwelling on the low rating will only bring down this drama. So let’s continue to support and promote this drama 🙂

  10. Beautiful man は本当に素敵な奥の深いドラマだと思います。その重要なMateの役を演じきっているJKSは本当にすごいと思います。単純なスリルや冒険のドラマはいくらでもあります。人は皆、そういう単純な物語が好きなのでしょうか…。日本でオンエアされたら、もっと高い視聴率がとれるのに…残念でなりません。

    • Shizuko, again, I post our request here. The target for our blog is international eels. So please try to use English when you leave your comments here. Simple English is enough. Thanks.

  11. I agree with the article. I understand the low ratings because it is not the “norm” of a korean drama. It doesn’t have the ingredients to the taste. BUT it truly is a good drama just as what the author observed.
    Korea is not ready for this one.

  12. Unfortunately many people may not be able to get past their own sexism and the gender role reversal in the first few episodes to actually enjoy the show. Dating and marrying for security and money are encouraged if not expected for many women, especially if they are pretty yet when a male who is prettier than most women seeks this it is sooo wrong. Really?

    Most people do not like change or growth, they prefer status quo so in that sense ratings will remain a challenge.

  13. honestly i was hoping Bel Ami would get high ratings eventually but the opposite happened and it really saddened me,i can’t comprehend why a good and “unusual” drama didn’t get netizen’s attention despite the good reviews from media, until someone in ECI shared that Bel Ami had 23M viewers online in China alone!!! that number is really overwhelming compared to less than 3k household where they based Korean tv ratings!!!! now i don’t care about ratings anymore…it’s enough to know that more people liked the drama of which JKS and the others have worked so hard…

    thanks for translating and sharing,i love the author’s insight about the drama!

    • What is ECI? That’s good to have 23 million internet viewers. actually, that’s the current way of watching tv now, we cab now access tv channels using our tablets and smartphones. If its wi-fi you can just watch

      Viewership rating is actually limited to “those watching tv”. Nielsen and TnS both based their sampling frame from the population of households with television sets. That’s old sampling design. Both should update their methodology to include administrative data – meaning: tv rating + total number of viewers watching the internet (eg the way that 23 million are counted in China). Therefore, the viewership rating is very limited in scope. Is it the true measure? During analogue years “yes”, in digital age “no”.

      • i totally agree with you…this companies should not base drama’s popularity through household sampling only,it is digital age now!! btw,about ECI,i recon you’re not a member yet…it stands for Eels Club International,our crazy JKS world,a facebook fan group where we you can get to know our Prince more,if you’d like to join please click Eel’s Club International below the blog’s banner for more info and we’ll be happy to welcome you…i hope to see you there soon!!!!

  14. I am glad that many ppl are discussing about bel ami … mainly bcos it’s really a drama worthwhile to review and also because the low rating that gets ppl talking or questioning. I am hoping that BM can become the talk of the town ..and proves that it is a drama that not just comes and goes ,but will leave something in the kdrama scene.

    • i think this drama is not the stereo-typical Korean drama. It doesn’t leave you a heavy heart after watching it. Every week i look forward to the airing of this drama because it makes me smile and aside from the entertainment i also get lessons on life, relationships, and money.. what’s the difference between a bribe and a gift, why connections are very important.. and a lot more. Here the versatility of JKS acting skills is showcased.From comic to serious, from light to heavy.. A good thespian indeed. I just hope the Korean community will be more open minded, embrace this kind of drama and appreciate JKS’ efforts as an actor. I am wishing him more success because he has a good heart.

  15. Rhank you tenshiiiii for sharing this article! Whoaaa… I m learning to understand about Korean viewer in general toward this drama from a Korean reviewer. Thank youuuuuu….

  16. I’m going away for 6 weeks during Christmas holidays. My townhouse will be empty during that time. So, I requested my neighbour if she can water my indoor and outdoor plants while I am away. I thought of giving her a gift, together with my keys, then I remembered “Bel Ami’s lesson last week” – “If you give a gift before something you want done, that’s a bribe; but if you give something after a favour is done, that’s a gift.” So, I decided to give a gift on my return from vacation.

    So, do we all know now the difference between a “bribe” and a “gift”? If you haven’t watched Bel Ami, you lose lessons learnt.

    hahaha…I learned something last week by watching “Bel Ami”.

    • Deanna…have yourself a very happy holiday…6 weeks..wow

      Yes that’s the lessons learn from Bel Ami…When given the gift afterwards that means you have been thinking about them the whole time and is a token from the heart…instead that it’s a must do to be over with or a bribe…
      I’m sure our Prince and his family learned it the “hard” way too…for a lot of good actions from our prince is taken the wrong way..
      Luckily you are still able to watch Bel Ami…I am only one week away and already stressing about how to watch Bel Ami…They say there is wifi over there but these things can’t be trusted untill you are there to experience…LOL

  17. I don’t think the reason that some people aren’t watching it is attributable to it being educational, but the lack of promotion and placing wrong focus in the advertising campaign. But in general this article is well written and objective. BM deserves a lot more rating than what was announced. But nobody should be serious about a survey done with 2000 to 3000 set-top boxes installed seriously. For real just enjoy it.


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