In response to a study published last year by five researchers from Seoul National University that suggested Chinese viewers of Korean dramas tend to come from the lower end of the education/income spectrum, a group of Chinese fans ran a full-page ad in the popular Seoul periodical Chosun Ibo that defended their intellectual capacities.
Addressed to the study’s authors, the ad proudly proclaims: “We would like to say…you screwed up! We love Korean dramas…but we love IQ even more!” In an effort to prove their love for both intelligence and “My Love From the Star” star/Korean hottie Kim Soo-Hyun, this “official movement of Asian fans of ‘My Love From the Stars'” have pledged to turn to their TV sets: Yesterday, Kim himself was a guest on Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation’s 最强大脑, or ‘The Brain’, a show “for people with high intellectual power” (or at least so claims the ad’s authors). The ad lays forth the following challenge: If the show’s viewers surpass 100 million, Mr. Kang Myung-Koo, one of the report’s authors, has to make a public apology. [At the time of this article’s publication, it had not been disclosed whether this challenge had been met.]
In addition to the challenge, the group’s official Weibo page is offering prizes for those who can display their “shining intellectual capacity” and “high income” through tweets accompanied by the hashtag #星星迷正名行动# (“official movement of Asian fans of ‘My Love From the Stars'”): First prize receives three tickets to see a Kim Soo-Hyun in Guangzhou, with second prize getting a personalized cell phone case displaying Kim’s portrait.
In response to this challenge, Mr. Kang complimented Chinese fans’ passion for Korean dramas, while acknowledging “that there are some parts in the study that can produce misunderstandings.”
The controversial study, which was based on a poll of 400 people aged between 20 and 60 taken in China in January 2013, included a preference among the high-income-and-education group for watching U.S. TV shows such as “The Big Bang Theory.” Despite these findings, the authors did point out a few caveats: One, viewers of Korean dramas, which contain such convenient plot twists as car accidents that lead to temporary amnesia, may “curse [the unrealistic plots] but still watch them”; two, high-income viewers may also watch shows like ‘My Love From the Star’ but be too embarrassed to admit it.
For more on the Chinese obsession with ‘My Love From the Star’ (regardless of the viewers’ income and educational background), click here.
By Alex Stevens