Just like with cliché's in written fiction, screen dramas also have their clichés. One common cliché is some form of arranged marriage. It gives the viewers an envisioned fantasy of effortless romance - the idea of having someone already there for you on standby. You don't have to find your partner, because they're already there.
K-Drama, seemingly, is no exception. These dramas below are the ones where arranged marriage/forced marriage is central to the plot where all works out well in the end... or maybe not quite. Enjoy :)
1. Marriage Not Dating
Marriage Not Dating is a 2014 drama starring Han Groo and Yeon Woo Jin. The drama was semi-well received however not as popular as other currently airings. This drama however, seems like it was made to be on the list with the story that unfolds.
Joo Jang Mi is a woman unlucky in love. Her boyfriend, Hoon Dong, a cheater, a liar, and wants nothing but some fun, while Jang Mi wants a serious relationship that could possibly lead to marriage. Hoon Dong has an equally as playboy-ish friend called Kong Ki Tae whose family is forcing him to marry.
After a small stunt in Hoon Dong's café in which Jang Mi attacked Hoon Dong in front of the public and is charged with assault, he decides his best friends crazy ex would be perfect to introduce to his family as his soon-to-be-wife, knowing they'd never accept her. He enlists her help, and with some convincing she agrees.
During this period, Hoon Dong sees another side to Jang Mi he'd never seen while they were together, but unfortunately for him Kong Ki Tae is beginning to fall for her too - and his advantage is that he's her now fake fiancé. Jang Mi keeps the charade going as she discovers how happy it makes her parents to feel to have a successful plastic surgeon son-in-law.
Only to make their complicated love harder, they both have lovers prying them a part from either side. Jang Mi has the handsome flower-boy waiter from Hoon Dong's café and Hoon Dong himself. Kong Ki Tae has his long time best friend, Kang Se-A, also a successful plastic surgeon who his mom is rooting for in the race to marry her son.
This drama is great in all romantic comedy aspects and in my opinion is one of the more 'out-there' dramas, also considering it was broadcast by the network tvN, who typically broadcast such content anyways. It's a must watch for old or new K-Drama fans =D
-Bride of the Century
Bride of the Century is a drama aired in 2014 starring Lee Hong Ki and Yang Jin Sung. Like the drama before, it was neither acclaimed nor shot down. It was just another drama following the 2014 trend of arrange marriages. This one however centres around the arranged marriages made between business deals and how that unfolds. I personally preferred this one over Marriage Not Dating, however both were great in their own rights.
The family behind TaeYang Corperation have been under a century long curse spanning multiple generations in which the first wife to the first son would die on the night of their marriage, supposedly murdered by the sour wandering soul of a ghost seeking revenge for the marriage she couldn't have. in 2014, the first son is Choi Kang Joo, who's currently in the process of finding potential brides using marriage dates and to settles business deals so he can inherit the company. He meets the character of Jang Yi Kyung and both families settle on a marriage deal. They become engaged.
Meanwhile, the character of Na Doo Rim is a struggling working girl living in rural South Korea with her elderly grandma due to the accidental death of both parents as she was a child. She works as a diver and as a waitress in the run down café her grandma owns. On a delivery run tona construction site, she bravely saves a suit and tie man, Jang Yi Hyun, from being hit by a falling brick by taking the force with her helmet covered head from riding her moped. They exchange numbers just in case she needs money to cover medical costs should a problem come up.
Shortly after, her grandma falls ill and decides to lie that she's in hospital due to the falling brick to extract the expenses from Jang Yi Hyun. Jang Yi Hyun, however, has decides he needed her help for something long before this and had been waiting on her call. He happens to be the brother of Jang Yi Kyung, the woman engaged to TaeYang companies first son. The daughter has ran away out of fear for her life and wanting to marry someone she loves. Coincidentally, both Yi Kyung and Doo Rim look exactly alike - like twins. They need Doo Rim to become Yi Kyung so they can receive TaeYang groups financial benefits and keep their construction company afloat.
Promised a pretty penny, Doo Rim agrees while not knowing about the first wife dying rumour. She's under the impression Yi Kyung will return before the marriage. She assumes the identity of Yi Kyung. At a family meeting, Kang Joo - her now fiancé - and her meet for first time. Kang Joo notices the cold woman has become someone else entirely, but he still hates her and Yi Kyung has to pretend to hate him too, despite being a big fan of the company brand and his brother - a famous KPOP star.
The drama follows the two falling in love with each other while a twisted pot brews between Yi Kyung's real mother and Yi Kyung who isn't missing after all and has no plans of returning until after Doo Rim has died in her place. While this is happening, Kang Joo and Doo Rim (as Yi Kyung), fall for each other while Kang Joo has no idea in the slightest who the woman he's fallen in love with really is.
This story is a well plotted twisted piece of work that gives you butterflies and keeps you chasing the ending you really want. I recommend this just like the last to all viewers.
I had to include Heirs at some point. This drama was the biggest hit of 2013 and was my second drama to watch. I watched this drama as it was airing and while it received as much criticism as it did acclaim, it picked up several awards due to the well delivered performance by its star studded cast. The plot, however, is laregely criticized.
This drama stars Lee Min Ho as Kim Tan and Park Shin Hye as Cha Eun Sang. Kim Tan is son of a wealthy chaebol family currently living in USA attending school. Cha Eun Sang is the daughter of a single mute mother who works in Kim Tan's household as a maid to the mistress. Cha Eun Sang's sister has told her family she lives in the US with a husband and also attending school, and at news of their wedding, Cha Eun Sang scraped the bottom of the barrel to fly there and attend their big day.
When she arrives, she finds it was all a lie. Her sister is working as a waitress in the beach-front café and her boyfriend is an abusing drunkard with no intent on marrying her sister. She confronts her sister who's surprised to see her there in the middle of her workplace and demand to know why she lied to her struggling mother. Her sister admits it was for money and steals in broad daylight the money from Cha Eun Sang's suitcase and runs away with it. This is all witnessed by Kim Tan, who's sitting at a table with friends.
In a tearful panic, Eun Sang tries to pack up her bag but Kim Tan's friend mistaken a bag of special Korean flour for cocaine and steals the bag from Eun Sang's grasp. She chases after him instead of her sister and he accidentally falls into the sand and bursts the bag all over his face. He begins to have an allergic reaction. Kim Tan and Eun Sang are taken in by the police so they can probe the situation while his friend is in hospital.
They release Eun Sang but take her passport to stop her from leaving until the situation is resolved. Kim Tan drives her to where she believes her sister is staying with her boyfriend, but Kim Tan in the end invites her back to his modern beach front mansion due to feeling guilty about what happened.
Meanwhile back in Korea, Eun Sang's mute mother has just been granted a scholarship to the elite high school Kim Tan's family own. Also happening, is the marriage between Yoo Rachel's and Choi Young Do's family - Yoo Rachel being Kim Tan's business only fiancé and Choi Young Do being the ex-best friend now enemy of Kim Tan.
In the US, Kim Tan and Eun Sang spend a lot of time together and start to have feelings for each other - but noting either of them would act on. Yoo Rachel lands in the US to meet Kim Tan and becomes enraged to know another girl is staying with Kim Tan. This marks the beginning by episode 2 of their rival relationship.
Shortly after, Eun Sang returns to Korea thinking she'll never have to meet those people again. She decides not to tell her mother about her sister and leaves it at that. She begins to attend school, only to find her arrival is over shadowed by another - Kim Tan. In the time it's taken Eun Sang to transfer, Kim Tan has also arrived back in Korea despite his family wanting him to remain in a different country due to his rebellious behaviour. To make things worse, Eun Sang also discovers on her arrival home that the money her mother gave her sister was the deposit for their house hence no longer have a home. They now live in the maid quarters of Kim Tan's family home.
School becomes troublesome for Eun Sang, as she discovers the place is overrun by bullies, in particular, Young Do - Yoo Rachel's step brother and Kim Tan's Ex-best friend. He targets Eun Sang out of boredom and curiosity, and also to wind up Kim Tan who clearly has an attraction to the poor new girl. This obvious attraction makes her a target for more than just Young Do.
Some episodes on, they realise they're living in the same house. Eun Sang has to construct lies to her classmates to ensure she isn't bullied further if they discover she attends on scholarship as the school operates on a class system, scholarship being the lowest of low. In between all this, Young Do twistedly begins to falls of Eun Sang who sees him as nothing but a bully.
Kim Tan loves her too despite being engaged. How this all works out, you'll have to watch.
You can watch all of these on VIKI and on YouTube! (which is another great place to watch K-Dramas with very few significant ads ;-))
SUPPLEMENT #6 - KDRAMA EYE CANDY (08/12/15), AND ISSUE #7 - FANTASY CREATE ISSUE OUT (12/12/15)!