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Why 'Heard It Through The Grapevine' Won Best Drama Award

BY Julie Jones | May 27, 2015 08:55 AM EDT

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"Heard It Through The Grapevine" won the Best Drama award at the 51st Baeksang Arts Awards, winning over the other nominated dramas "Kill Me, Heal Me," "Misaeng," "Punch" and "Yoona's Street." Go Ah Seung also won the Best New Actress Award for her role in the black comedy about a powerful and presumptuous family.

The drama, which stars Go Ah Seung and singer-actor Lee Joon edged out the workplace cable drama "Misaeng," which became a hit because so many young Korean workers identified with its characters.

Why did the honors go to "Heard It Through The Grapevine?" Both "Heard It Through The Grapevine" and "Misaeng" resonated with young viewers. "Misaeng" focused on the workplace conditions that young Koreans struggle with. "Heard It Through The Grapevine" may initially have seemed like the story of young mismatched lovers but it was also something more.

"Heard It Through The Grapevine" is the story of corruption, snobbery, and the abuse of power. And it is the story of how a new generation perceives the need for change, for a new more democratic order. Lee Joon's father Han Jung So, expertly played by Yoo Jun Sang, wields much of that power inside In Sang household. But as an influential lawyer and power broker, he is engaged in similar power plays that reach the heights of the political system.

"The rain falls from the clouds," says Han Jung So. "Not the people."

But that's the way things used to be, says this drama. A new generation may see things differently.

Go Ah Seung and Lee Joon play an idealistic young married couple both studying law. Although she was born to a poor household, she is smart and hardworking, as qualified as he is to succeed at law. Loving someone who has no money has helped him become a better person and more aware of the struggles of those less fortunate. There's a sign in their bedroom that says "An unjust law is no law at all." They believe in justice, love over tradition and false notions of propriety.

Many younger viewers identify with their ideals and the need for a world in which merit holds equal value with inherited privilege.

"Misaeng did win some honors for its stars. Im Si Wan won the Best New Actor award for his performance, instead of Lee Joon. Lee Sung Min won Best Actor for his role as Im Si Wan's manager and not Ji Sung for his multilayered comic performance in "Kill Me Heal Me."

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