There is a special way you have to watch a 50 episode k-drama. First of all you have to forget a few things: reality, the law, humanity, time, space, common sense and any thoughts about justice. When you get over that, you can jump right in and enjoy the ride.
What will you get: A good character, 90% of the time a woman who is noble, good and most of the time naively stupid. Her goodness makes her an excellent target for the evil partner. The evil partner, is most often also a woman. Ambition, greed and pride are the motivators of the evil character. Kindness, filial duty, responsibility, diligence and submission are the qualities of the good character. The clash takes place over 50 grueling episodes, that is 25 weeks, basically, half a year. So, you have to commit to the grind of the torment of the good character.
Most often the torture of the good happens in waves with the final episodes most of the time not giving you the satisfaction of true revenge. The evil one will either get into a car accident, lose everything and beg for forgiveness. The frustration will be that the good character will get some lukewarm satisfaction in the vengeance game, but there will be no great destruction of the evil one because the good one will go all limp and coddle the evil one. Why, well read above,this person is noble, good and kind to everyone.
The best aspect of these shows are the inner dialogues of the evil one justifying why he/she must do all that because he/she or her child deserves to get it all. The evil character will malign the good one with imaginary vices.
Of course there are always secondary story lines to cleanse your palette from the evil and the constant punishment of the good. Skip over those. Most often it’s a sister or brother who is always bilking the heroine of the money for some get rich scheme.
The evil character will have the best “evil character” wardrobe. If there is one job I would seek out is being the stylist of evil characters on 50 episode shows, (pay special attention to the mother in Madly In Love. That one deserves a special award.
Don’t try to make sense of legal or business matters. They get jumbled into a royal mess. Always look for the rooftop or basement apartment that they will end up in when they lose all their money. Of course, nose bleeds and working in menial jobs is a given.
I am working on developing a rating scale of the evil vs. good calculus. If I was smart enough, it would be an algorithm that can go into an app of some kind.
Keep track of the number of times the “noble stupidity” ( borrowed from a Viki commenter) will make you bash your head and give points for the acts. Same with the malevolence, give points for such things as work sabotage, taking of identity, lying about birth, paying gangsters to do harm, etc. etc.
Right now,the best candidate to practice this art is Jang Bo Ri is Here. Man, this one has it all. Identity switching, trickery, orphans, secret birthings, evil step mom, dopey country bumpkin , gangsters, tradition. If you ever wanted to jump into the fun of a 50 episode suspend every standard for quality you may have and enjoy the ride.
If you are already a 50 episode connoisseur, tell me what you enjoy about this genre. One word you need to be familiar with to enjoy this style is : [makjang]. Basically, extreme an outrageous plot devices. You know that you are addicted when you start looking throughout the internet for such dramas.
You will know you will need an intervention when you scour the dubious drama sites for more of these shows. You will also know when some of them are not worth watching because they are a bad makjang style, lazy and cheap.