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‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’ Heads Off ‘Hwajung’

BY Julie Jones | May 06, 2015 02:24 PM EDT


The dramas "Heard It Through The Grapevine" and "Hwajung" have been so close in the ratings lately that at this point they are just taking turns in first place.

On May 4, the 50-episode historical drama "Hwajung" claimed first place with 9.4 percent of the ratings. "Heard It Through The Grapevine" was close with 9.3 percent.

The next night the roles were reversed. "Heard It Through The Grapevine" was in first place on May 5, leading with 10.9 percent of the ratings while "Hwajung" came in second with 10.3 percent.

Both dramas have a lot going for them.

"Hwajung" is the involving story of the Princess Jung Myung, who narrowly claimed being executed among the family members that were see as a threat to Prince Gwanghae. The drama stars Cha Seung Won doing a great job of portraying the dark thought process that leads the prince to forsake his ideals in order protect his throne. Lee Yeon Hee plays the princess who plots her return and revenge against the older brother whom she thinks killed her younger brother. While she waits for her chance, she grows up wearing a boy's disguise.

"Heard It Through The Grapevine" is a distinctively quirky drama in that it's often hard to tell where the story is going. On one level it's the classic story of pretentious snobs who are due for a reality check, but that's just part of the story. The pretentious snobs, played expertly by Yoo Jun Sang and Yoo Ho Jung, are also somehow sympathetic because they are so obviously ridiculous. And they are also the parents the sweet young married couple played by Lee Joon and Go Ah Seung.

The drama has veered off into some unexpected plot lines, focusing on worker's rights, adultery, some insider trading and single motherhood but there are few more episodes left to wrap them up.

The third place drama "Who Are You - School 2015" has gathered some viewers. The "Prince and the Pauper" story of a bullied poor girl who winds up living the privileged life of her dead twin sister is a thought-provoking high school drama. It examines the issue of bullying from the perspective of the victim and the bully. Also interesting is the way it shows how bullying is not always physical and thus easily apparent. The social and psychological pressure bullied students face can also be terrifyingly destructive.

"Who Are You - School 2015" stars Kim So Hyun, Nam Joo Hyuk and Yook Sung Jae as private school students.

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