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The ‘Boys Over Flowers’ Phenomenon: How One Drama Continues To Influence Korean Entertainment

BY Adrienne Stanley | Feb 25, 2015 11:14 AM EST

The cast of 'Boys Over Flowers.'
(Photo : Boys Over Flowers)

The 2009 KBS drama “Boys Over Flowers” continues to maintain its relevance as an iconic K-Drama that has impacted the Hallyu Wave and Asian pop culture throughout the world.

To seasoned fans, the clunky camera angles and slightly off-putting plot devices make "Boys Over Flowers" appear dated. However, the series continues to be one of the most viewed Korean dramas of all-time. With distribution through KBS World, DramaFever, Hulu, and availabilty on services like Amazon, “Boys Over Flowers” is an ubiquitous series that has served as the gateway show for many new Korean drama fans. 

The main cast of the show have been significantly impacted by its success. A recent fan meeting in the Philippines for Lee Min Ho demonstrated the fanaticism that surrounds “Boys Over Flowers.”

On February 24, Lee Min Ho was greeted by a swarm of fans, who eagerly awaited his appearance at a fan meeting in the Philippines. The fan event, which was organized by Kyochon Chicken, was attended by an audience of 10,000 people. The popular actor, who is a spokesperson for Kyochon Chicken, singlehandedly created the level of buzz that is usually reserved for pop stars.

In addition to the fan meeting, countless numbers of fans flocked to the airport to greet the Hallyu star and gathered in the streets surrounding the Greenhills Center, with hopes that they would catch a glimpse of the star.

During his brief promotional trip to the Philippines, he generated so much buzz that exasperated officials made off-hand remarks that his visit should have been declared a holiday.

Lee Min Ho is a cultural icon in Asia. 

(Photo : Starhaus Entertainment )

His ability to influence the consumption of Korean culture surpasses most other Hallyu stars. According to a report from Enews, his impact on the Philippines is significant. An unnamed media source stated, “We learn about Korea from Lee Min Ho.”

Another uncredited source cited by Enews stated, “We learn about the Korean language, food, fashion, and culture through Lee Min Ho’s dramas.”

Lee Min Ho is one of the most influential drama stars to emerge from Korea. A recent report from Top Star News analysed the highest ranking Korean actors on Facebook. Lee Min Ho had the largest Facebook of any K-Drama star with more than 16.4 million fans. His “Boys Over Flowers” co-star, Kim Bum, placed second on the list with over 6.7 million Facebook followers.

 ‘Boys Over Flowers’ heavily influences fans opinions about Kim Hyun Joong’s recent scandal. 

The third highest ranking Korean actor on Facebook, according to the report from Top Star News, was also a star of “Boys Over Flowers.” Former SS501 member Kim Hyun Joong placed third on the list with more than 4.3 million Facebook fans.

His situation with his ex-girlfriend continues to drag on, with its complicated details. Tabloid reports such as the recent article published by Women’s Sense have done less to clarify the situation, while sparking confusion.

On the eve of the report from Women’s Sense, a video for his upcoming tour was uploaded. The video included the dedication, “To My Fans I haven’t ever met.”

In the minds and hearts of many K-Drama fans, Kim Hyun Joong continues to be the sweet chaebol Yoon Ji Hyo, from “Boys Over Flowers.” Regardless of his current circumstances, he is a cultural icon whose image is virtually untouchable.

While the allegations are different, his situation bears more resemblance to Bill Cosby of “The Cosby Show” than American football player, Ray Rice. Bill Cosby was a cultural icon of ‘90s American television who served as a fatherly figure for millions of viewers. For every person that speaks out against Cosby, dozens more step up to defend the comedian. On forums like Netizen Buzz, a similar battle wages between fans of Kim and his detractors.

Kim So Eun’s ‘We Got Married’ appearance evokes the warm, fuzzy feelings fans received from ‘Boys Over Flowers.’

Kim So Eun with Kim Bum.
(Photo : Boys Over Flowers )

 

 

Kim So Eun experienced a career lull after “Boys Over Flowers.” Many of her roles after the drama were forgettable, with the exception of her portrayal of a young ghost in the film “Mourning Grave.”

In September 2014, she joined the cast of “We Got Married” with Song Jae Rim. Fans immediately flocked to the couple. Their personalities were well matched and their chemistry was believable. Together, the LTE couple is almost as perfect as the “Boys Over Flowers” pairing of Kim So Eun and Kim Bum.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect; Kim was preparing for her K-Drama comeback as Nam Da Jung in the 2014 tvN series “Liar Game.” “Liar Game” received rave reviews from fans and critics, placing its leading lady back into the spotlight.

Gu Hye Sun set the bar for K-Drama ingenues but she struggles to keep up with the standard she established.

Gu Hye Sun and the women of 'Boys Over Flowers.'
(Photo : Boys Over Flowers )

 

 

While the hunky men of the F4 were one of the main attractions of “Boys Over Flowers,” the heart of the story lies within the scrappy exploits of Geum Jan Di. Gu Hye Sun endearingly portrayed the role, winning the hearts of viewers. However, she has struggled to find another drama that will generate the same ratings as “Boys Over Flowers.”

Her subsequent Korean dramas, “The Musical” and “Take Care of Me, Captain,” were flops. Her Taiwanese series, “Absolute Darling” generated buzz with Chinese viewers who were attracted by the storyline and Fahrenheit’s Jiro Wang.

It appeared as though her slump was finally over when she starred in the 2014 weekend drama “Angel Eyes.” She was delightful in the series, sparking anticipation for her newest drama “Blood.”

With negative feedback from critics and Korean audiences, “Blood” could be another example of a drama that has struggled with Gu at the helm. Unfortunately, it appears as though she cannot top the success of her performance in “Boys Over Flowers.”

Was ‘Boys Over Flowers’ your first K-Drama?

What are your thoughts on the success of the ‘Boys Over Flowers’ stars? Was it your first Korean drama? Do you think this has influenced the way we view Kim Joong Hyun? Comment below.

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