King the Land who rides a tightrope between classical and Cliché
When I watch JTBC’s Saturday-Sunday drama “King the Land” (written by Choi Rom (played by Tim Harimao), directed by Lim Hyun-wook), I can think of countless dramas. The love between the third-generation male protagonist of a conglomerate with unknown pain and the bright candy-type female protagonist even in difficult circumstances has long been the foundation of successful romantic comedy. It’s that stable, but it’s also that cliche. In this day and age, when the obvious Cinderella story has to be transformed with joy, freshness, and pleasure, the story of “King the Land” is somewhat reckless. At the production presentation, Lee Joon-ho said, “There are a lot of cliche, but it’s classic,” adding, “It’s a true taste to know.”
Let’s look at the description of King the Land. It is a story about Salvation (Lee Joon-ho), a man who despises laughter, and Angelang (Im Yoon-ah), a “smile queen” who has to laugh, creating a day where people can smile brightly at the VVIP lounge “King the Land,” a dream of hoteliers. Here, male relief is a third-generation chaebol, who is expected to be the successor to King Hotel, and Angelang graduated from a two-year university and started as a month-long intern at King Hotel and entered the VVIP lounge with hard work. The Cinderella story between people of different social classes has a long history. In particular, the love between the highest power and an employee within a group is a formula that was prevalent from the 1990s to the early to mid-2000s, from “Love in You” to “Lover in Paris” and “My Name is Kim Sam-soon.”
The poor but brave Yeoju captivates Namjoo, who is feisty with her unique cheerfulness and boldness, but has inner pain. Nam Joo’s pain is mostly due to the sneezing left by her ex-lover or her situation in the family. The salvation of “King the Land” has a painful memory when everyone treated him with a smile even in the face of the tragedy of his mother who disappeared one day. Koo Hwa-ran (Kim Sun-young), a half-sister with a different mother, checks herself and tackles everything. Absence of mother and conflict with half or half brother? Han Ki-joo (Park Shin-yang) of “Lovers in Paris” comes to mind, and Kim Tan (Lee Min-ho) of “The Heirs” comes to mind. Although it is not a romantic movie, some middle-aged people may think of the 1995 “Hotel,” where the half-brothers had a management conflict against the backdrop of the hotel
There are no triangular and square villains, but there are also many flat characters that have been seen before, such as secretaries who are close like friends, strong friends who protect their children like friends, fathers of power who harshly push their children to compete, and hotel seniors who openly ignore Yeoju. Secretary Noh Sang-sik (An Se-ha) and King Hotel manager Kim Soo-mi (craft paper) seem to have been assigned the role of laughter code, but Kim Soo-mi is regrettable because she wants to express a snob character, but she is seen as a “female” character that has been neglected by the sensibility of the times.
Overall, “King the Land” creates a very familiar atmosphere, including the brave Yeoju who says what to say even in front of a prince on a white horse and Namjoo who creates a left-and-right smile with a crush on the Yeoju that has already permeated. Even if it’s not Lee Eun-ji of “Ppyong Ppyong Global Entertainment Room,” which is familiar with millennium-era emotions, those who watched some dramas from the 90s to the 00s to the 2010s will find dozens or hundreds of scenes of dramas from that time in “King the Land.” This familiarity is also the part where Lee Joon-ho can say, “The taste of knowing is the essence.” Very fresh dramas are good, but sometimes I want to enjoy the taste that everyone knows lightly and comfortably.
Above all, the high ratings from 5.1% to 9.6% from the first to fourth episodes are largely attributed to the exquisite casting of Lee Joon-ho and Lim Yoon-ah. Director Lim Hyun-wook said about the casting at the production presentation, “I think the three generations have gained virtue,” and those who have watched the drama will have no choice but to accept the director’s words. Lee Joon-ho, who has been well-received for his stable acting since his debut, has risen to the top with his star actor’s aura with “Collaboration” and Lim Yoon-ah, who has been upgrading her acting skills with constant efforts, appears to be perfect for “King’s Land” In addition, as the visuals of the two actors fit perfectly with the character, probability is added to the story that can be childish. Can you think of a mask and a smile that suits you as well as Lim Yoon-ah’s hotelier who has to smile brightly even in situations where you don’t want to smile
The 16-episode “King the Land” is performing well enough to reach 10% of viewership in the fourth episode, but the key is now. In order for Lee Joon-ho and Lim Yoon-ah’s acting and visuals to continue to gain strength, it will only be possible if the story of retro sensibility in the early 21st century gives some variation to the right place. “In-house Confrontation,” which was introduced last year, was also a typical storyline to the point where the word “Cliche Restaurant” came out, but it was well received for its variations in the right place and the use of characters.
King the Land also has a strong message. Cheon Sa-rang and friends were assumed to be employees of hotels, airlines, and duty-free shops represented by emotional labor services to show the shallow bare face of a capitalist society that forces laughter with money. The fake laughter that salvation despises and the laughter that Cheon Sa-rang has to make are also symbolic of the society of “A and B,” which has virtually become more solid in capitalist society, although there is no outwardly revealed social status. In addition, watching Cheon Sa-rang and his friends move forward as middle managers and are divided into Gap and Eul again in the society of Euls, you can guess the message that “King the Land” wants to throw through laughter. It remains to be seen how well the message will blend in with the early 21st century retro sensibility