BY Adrienne Stanley | Jun 03, 2015 12:58 PM EDT
On May 27, the SBS series "Mask" premiered with solid ratings and a storyline which incorporates the concept of doppelgangers. While the existence of doppelgangers is often questioned, there is a possibility that someone can encounter another person with a similar appearance.
Soo Ae portrays dual roles in "Mask." She stars as Ji Sook, a poor woman who is plagued by her father's mounting debt. Ji Sook bears an uncanny resemblance to Eun Ha, a wealthy heiress, who is engaged to a privileged businessman. Eun Ha becomes preoccupied with by the concept of doppelgangers, after an accidental run in with Ji Sook. Her concerns, which border paranoia, are well founded. When Eun Ha meets an untimely death, Ji Sook is forced to assume her identity.
Korean dramas regularly employ the plot devices of twins separated at birth and doppelgangers. The KBS teen series, "Who Are You: School 2015" stars Kim So Hyun in dual roles as twins who were separated at birth. Eun Bi grows up in an orphanage and is incessantly bullied by her classmates. Her identical twin Eun Byul is a popular student at one of the most prestigious high schools in Gangnam. Eun Bi assumes Eun Byul's identity when she disappears during a school trip.
Identity switches have become a go-to plot device for K-Dramas. It is a trope that is rarely seen in Hollywood, with the exception of films like "The Parent Trap." Korea's fascination with birth separation could stem from the high rate of domestic and international adoption which followed the Korean War. Poverty, poor economic conditions, and the taboo of single motherhood were contributing factors to the trend.
However, the majority of K-Dramas that incorporate identity switches have featured solid acting and storylines. The 2014 series, "Bride of the Century," received positive responses from viewers while struggling to record single-digit ratings. Perhaps, the strong reception of "Mask" and "Who Are You: School 2015" demonstrates that K-Drama viewers have yet to grow tired of the identity switch plot device.
About the writer: Adrienne Stanley is a contributing writer for Kpopstarz, KDramastars, MTV Iggy and CJ Entertainment's KCON blog. Her passions include a love of K-pop and Asian drama. When she is not writing she is hanging out on Twitter (@retrogirladdy).
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