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K-Drama School

K-Drama School

By Grace Jung
K-Drama School is hosted by comedian and media scholar Grace Jung who analyzes a new Korean TV drama every week and contextualizes it according to its social, cultural and historical significance. K-Drama School is a fun and intellectually stimulating podcast for K-drama fans everywhere. Let Grace school you in K-dramas!
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K-Drama School - Ep 16: Beautiful Days and Noble Things with Jaren George

K-Drama School

K-Drama School - Ep 16: Beautiful Days and Noble Things with Jaren George

K-Drama School

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K-Drama School - Ep 19: Personal Taste and Giving Our Mothers a Childhood with Moni Zhang
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the show Personal Taste (2010, MBC) and its LGBTQIA+ theme. Grace continues to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month as well as picture-locking her film while in New York. Grace talks about acknowledging the celebration of mothers on Mother's Day but also being mindful and respectful of those who have contentious relationships or no relationship with their parents who might feel uncomfortable with such holidays. Grace then has a chat with comedian Moni Zhang (@moni.zhang.comedy on Instagram) about growing up in Wuhan, China and its famous hot-dry noodles,  her latest LSD trip and her big realizations about her womanhood and beauty, self-love, and self-appreciation, Confucian patriarchy and its extreme misogyny, and how she wants to give her mother the childhood she never had. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss Live (2018, tvN).
01:32:52
May 10, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 18: All In and the Single Tear Strategy with Walter Hong
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the show All In (2003, SBS). Grace celebrates the first week of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. All of May will include interviews from Asian American and/or Asian guests. In her opening monologue, Grace discusses the pachinko business run by Korean gangsters, male-centric narratives, passive female characters, and more. Grace then has a chat with comedian Walter Hong (@yellowsheki on Instagram) about Clubhouse, the Atlanta and Boulder shootings (recording date May 23, 2021), gun control, the importance of vulnerability, capping CEOs' salaries to 40x their lowest paid employee's, Descendants of the Sun, and Song Hye-kyo's masterful and playful side-eye. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss an LGBTQIA+ themed show Personal Taste (2010, MBC). 
01:56:29
May 3, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 17: Successful Story of a Bright Girl and the Power to Change Your House with Esra Karakaya
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the show Successful Story of a Bright Girl (2002, SBS). Grace talks about Jang Nara and Jang Hyuk’s careers, their onscreen chemistry, South Korea’s desperate need to create labor unions for the entertainment industry, and the amazingness of Youn Yuh-jung (Oscar winner as of April 25, 2021!). Grace then has a chat with Berlin-based journalist and activist Esra Karakaya (@ms_blackrock on Instagram). They talk about Koreans’ obsession with weight loss, the importance of grassroots activism, how to manage anxiety, Esra’s talk show Karakaya Talk, as well as the benefits and beauty of Muslim prayer. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss another old school show called All In (2003, SBS).
01:06:26
April 26, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 16: Beautiful Days and Noble Things with Jaren George
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the show Beautiful Days (2001, SBS). Grace goes into depictions of toxic masculinity, Lee Byung-hun's sex scandals, why leukemia is such a common trope in K-dramas, and another fan letter she received. Grace then has a chat with comedian Jaren George (@jaren.george on Instagram). They talk about IT, Oregon snow, Valentine's Day jokes that get too real, beefing up resumes, game life, Christianity versus magic, and more. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss an old school show called Successful Story of a Bright Girl (2002, SBS).
01:24:12
April 19, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 15: Itaewon Class and "Don't Kill My Dad" with Ai Yoshihara
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the show Itaewon Class. Grace goes into representations of Black-Koreanness and transgender identity on this show, as well as issues of diversity that South Korea has trouble addressing in mainstream television such as that of migrant workers from Southeast Asia. Grace then has a chat with comedian Ai Yoshihara (@aiyoshihara3 on Instagram). They talk about how Grace got stood up by her initial guest, pandemic-anxiety, meditation, love, self-improvement, systems rigged against international students in higher education institutions, money-management, and many more. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss an old school show called Beautiful Days (2001).
01:15:55
April 12, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 14: Something in the Rain and Black Hearts with Ji-yoon An
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the show Something in the Rain starring Son Ye-jin and Jung Hae-in. She goes into complex characters like Jin-a's mother on the show and what her significance is. She also talks about Son Ye-jin's chemistry with Jung Hae-in which she shares with Hyun Bin (in Crash Landing on You). Grace then has a chat with Dr. Ji-yoon An who currently teaches at the University of Tübingen. They talk about Korean history, "compressed modernity," how to improve or adjust expectations in pedagogy, Korean films, Korean diasporic living, and so much more. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss the hit Netflix K-drama series Itaewon Class (Netflix, 2020).
01:43:60
April 5, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 13: Kingdom and Hot Baths with Dan Telfer
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the original Netflix series Kingdom (2018- ) written by Kim Eun-hee. She breaks down the zombie allegory in the context of South Korean history, politics and culture framed around the Cold War, while also citing films like Train to Busan, Seoul Station and The Wailing. What is a zombie supposed to be in South Korea? What about ancient Choson Dynasty Korea prior to the Cold War and the dividing of the Kingdom of Korea? Grace then has a chat with comedian guest Dan Telfer (@dantelfer). Dan was the senior editor of MAD Magazine. He also wrote for The Onion. He co-hosts the Dungeons and Dragons podcast. You can listen to his most recent comedy EP The Greater Chaotic Good. Grace and Dan talk about feral cats, why nerds are bullied in society, and what works and doesn't work when it comes to Kingdom. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week we discuss Something in the Rain (JTBC, 2018).
01:25:35
March 29, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 12: Star in My Heart and Deep 1990s Korea Nostalgia with Hye Yun Park
#StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate. Stop Killing Asians. To all the people who were silent around this issue, open your eyes, ears and hearts. To all my Asian and Asian American family members, I love you. You are not alone in your pain, fear, anger and grief. Solidarity. [Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the show Star in My Heart (aka Wish Upon a Star) starring Choi Jin-sil and Ahn Jae-wook. She discusses Choi Jin-sil's tragic life story and career, Ahn Jae-wook's hair, and the world's initiation into K-drama hallyu hype through Star in My Heart. Go listen to Ahn Jae-wook's song "Forever" right now and you'll understand why. Grace then has a chat with writer, director, actor, clown and burlesque performer Hye Yun Park who created the webseries Hey Yun! and BKPI. She was also an actor and staff writer on HBO's High Maintenance. Grace and Hye Yun talk about what K-dramas meant to them growing up, Youn Yuh-jung's bad-ass status, Korean films, trauma and poop.  Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more.  Next week, we discuss the hit Netflix K-drama zombie series Kingdom (Netflix, 2019- ).
01:45:25
March 22, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 11: It's Okay to Not Be Okay and BDSM Daddies with Kristen Lundberg
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the show It's Okay to Not Be Okay (tvN, 2020) starring Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Yeji. Grace goes into representations of disability on K-dramas especially PTSD stemming from the Vietnam War which South Korean mercenary troops were hired to fight in by the hundreds of thousands. Grace then has a chat with Los Angeles-based comedian Kristen Lundberg who sings a song on BDSM gay daddies, talks about her former roommate who broke into the bathroom while she was in the shower, and why she incorporated the violin into her stand-up act. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more.  Next week, we discuss a classic old school K-drama called Star in My Heart (MBC, 1997).
54:22
March 15, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 10: Search WWW, Power Lesbians and Maseratis with Saundarya Thapa
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace’s guest sidekick Julieta Degese (@dgcjulieta) makes a quick early visit to answer flashcard questions. Grace discusses the 2019 show Search WWW—the debut work of Kwon Do-eun. Search WWW is a solid queer text showcasing a lesbian love-triangle disguised as business affairs with a thin veneer of heteronormativity. This show reunites Im Soo-jung with Jeon Hye-jin from their I’m Sorry I Love You days but as strong female characters with deep complexities and greater agency. Grace then has a chat with former PhD candidate of Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA who now works at a talent agency in Los Angeles—Saundarya Thapa (@saundaryathapa). They have a deep-dive discussion of K-dramas, IU, Hyori, why there’s so much eating in Korean film and TV, why Instagram ads are so accurate, and how to overcome an impasse. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (tvN, 2020).
01:31:18
March 8, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 9: Full House and a Golden Doodle with Natisha Anderson
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the hit 2004 drama Full House starring Song Hye-kyo and Rain when they were super young and adorable. Grace breaks down Full House's subtle critique of domestic labor shaped by Korean patriarchy, and how K-drama stars originally got their start in sit-coms. Grace then has a chat with Los Angeles-based actress, comedian and clown Natisha Anderson (@natishaanderson) who you've seen on Lady Dynamite, All That, CSI and Angie Tribeca. They talk about golden doodles, stand-up comedy etiquette, crying inside cars, and murder. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Subscribe to K-Drama School on YouTube. Next week, we discuss Search WWW (2019, tvN).
55:54
March 1, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 8: My Lovely Sam Soon and Costco Muffins with Ben MacLean
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses My Lovely Sam Soon and its feminist protagonist which marks a shift in female character development for Korean dramas in the early 2000s which were notably different from heroines of 1990s shows. Grace talks about the pressures that Korean women face in society to conform to patriarchal heteronormative standards that determine what is acceptable in terms of weight, looks, and age. Grace then has a chat with Berlin-based Canadian comedian Ben MacLean (ben__maclean) and his past life as a diplomat, seeking a healthier life, and Costco muffins. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss Full House (2004, MBC).
53:59
February 22, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep. 7: The Greatest Love and “A” Minuses with Kimberly Clark
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses The Greatest Love (2011, MBC) written by the Hong sisters. It is a romantic comedy starring Cha Seung-won and Gong Hyo-jin. Grace breaks down the K-pop ecosystem and where variety shows fit into the equation, cradle-rocking-perverts of Korean show business, and Korean models. Grace then chats with comedian guest Kimberly Clark (@clarkkimberlyl) who's been on NBC's Last Comic Standing and Lopez Tonight with George Lopez. They discuss Syracuse's snow, Arizona's state law against a house occupied by solely women, people who hate getting an 'A' minus for a grade, microaggression in the workplace, joke writing advice from Drew Carey and the time she almost met Steve Martin. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss My Lovely Sam Soon (2005, MBC).
59:33
February 15, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 6: The World of the Married and Getting Stabbed by Your Girlfriend with Dante Chang
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses The World of the Married. She goes into the declining number of South Korea's marriages, increase in divorce, negative stereotypes of single working women, and why Kim Hee-ae is the queen of K-dramas. Grace then has a chat with Los Angeles-based comic Dante Chang (@dantechang) who is originally from DC. They discuss girlfriends who get revenge by stabbing, self-care, emotional health, and violent Asian American and Korean masculinity. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss The Greatest Love (2011, MBC).
58:28
February 8, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 5: My Mister and Great Practicality with Erika Ratcliffe
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses My Mister (2018, tvN) which stars K-pop starlet IU and Lee Sun-kyun of the Oscar-winning Bong Joon-ho film Parasite (2019). Grace goes into the #MeTooKorea movement's impact on My Mister's initial reception, sonic/auditory voyeurism, female agency, the "spycam" problem in South Korea, and fallen male K-pop stars like Jung Joon-young. Grace then chats with comedian guest Erika Ratcliffe (@erikaratcliffe) about noisy neighbors, school bullies, Japanese television, filmmaking, and what makes a good director.  Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss World of the Married (2020, JTBC).
50:55
February 1, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 4: Crash Landing on You and Un-Tweeting with Will Hines
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the hit K-drama Crash Landing on You (2019-2020, tvN, Netflix). She talks about the show's intertexts, Kim Soo-hyun's return from his military conscription, the chemistry between Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin, the Korean War, orphans, Pretty Woman, and how this show turns gender tropes on its head. Grace is then joined by Los Angeles-based comedian and actor Will Hines (@williebhines) who you've seen on Brooklyn 99, Between Two Ferns, Broad City and loads of other shows and films. They discuss Will's book How to Be the Greatest Improviser on Earth, Twitter, cancel culture, "calling in," and why so many actors follow Eastern religion. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss My Mister (2018, tvN, Netflix).
01:16:06
January 25, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 3: What Happened in Bali & Voodoo Handj*bs with Erik Escobar
In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses a 2004 SBS winter classic What Happened in Bali starring So Ji-sub, Jo In-sung and Ha Ji-won. She links the young working-class female protagonist in K-dramas to its origins in modern Korean "factory girl" literature from the 1920s and through the Korean industrialization period from both the pre and post-Korean War eras. Grace is then joined by Los Angeles-based comedian guest Erik Escobar (@erikescobar). They discuss Erik's 100-pound weight loss, decolonization through food, and the benefits of graduate school. Erik gives some hilarious answers to Grace's What Happened in Bali flashcard questions. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss Crashlanding on You (Netflix, 2019-2020)!
01:02:19
January 18, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 2: Goblin/Guardian and Huevos Rancheros with Lizzy Cooperman
[Spoiler Alert] In this episode of K-Drama School, Grace discusses the 2016/2017 "mega-hit" show by Kim Eun-sook called Goblin or Guardian: The Lonely and Great God which she contextualizes against the backdrop of the Sewol Ferry tragedy and other ghost/supernatural K-drama narratives. Grace then has a chat with comedian Lizzy Cooperman (@lizzycooperman) who you've seen on HBO's Crashing and Lights Out with David Spade. Her album Organism is available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and GooglePlay. They talk about New Mexico, George RR Martin, huevos rancheros, and re-freezing ice cream. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss What Happened in Bali (SBS, 2004).
58:14
January 11, 2021
K-Drama School - Ep 1: SKY Castle and Korean Siestas with Tobias Hauser
Welcome to episode 1 of K-Drama School podcast! Meet your host Grace Jung (comedian and PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA) who is here to school you in Korean dramas every week followed by an interview with a guest comedian or scholar. [Spoiler Alert] In this episode, Grace analyzes the hit JTBC show SKY Castle (2018), the Korean school system, suicides, helicopter parenting, Christianity and decoloniality with her sidekick Julieta Degese (@dgcjulieta). Berlin-based Austrian comedian Tobias Hauser (@hahahouser) is the special guest. They discuss original sin, Newton's laws of motion, maple syrup fetish and high kicks by Christina Baranski. Follow @KDramaSchool on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Visit kdramachool.com to learn more. Next week, we discuss Goblin or Guardian: The Lonely and Great God!
01:30:56
January 1, 2021