K-Drama Review: ‘High Society’ an Empty and Pointless Drama?

High Society
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Do You Enjoy Chaebol Dramas?

Some chaebol dramas give cliché romances where the rich man falls in love with a poor woman and the rich man’s mother tries to sabotage the relationship. In the end, the rich man will always marry the poor woman after overcoming all the obstacles.

Honestly, who’s never dreamed of finding an awesome young CEO who we meet unintentionally and ends up falling in love with us, like it often happens in dramas? Most female Korean drama fans must have dreamed of it at least once.

The drama series High Society aired every Monday and Tuesday for 16 episodes from June 8 to July 28, 2015 on SBS. The actors who starred in the series were Uee, Sung Joon, Park Hyung-shik and Lim Ji-yeon.

Melodrama Couple and Carefree Pair with Different Love Stories

The story revolves around Jang Yoon-ha (Uee) who is the youngest child of the Taejin Pacific Group’s CEO. She has a bad relationship with her family, especially her mother. She dreams of finding happiness outside of her monied world. She even has a part-time job at one of the sampling corners in a supermarket, where she hides her true background. She has a best friend who is one of her co-workers, named Lee Ji-yi (Lim Ji-yeon). Ji-yi has a bright personality and works to make ends meet. Ji-yi doesn’t know that Yoon-ha is a chaebol.

High Society
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As for the male leads, Choi Joon-ki (Sung Joon) works in the Yumin department store where Yoon-ha’s part-time job is. He is the subordinate and friend of Yoo Chang-soo (Park Hyung-shik), the executive director of the store. Joon-ki’s goal is to become a rich person. He doesn’t want to live the way his family lived, despite growing up in a loving environment.

High Society
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Through some encounters, Yoon-ha develops a negative impression of Joon-ki. But soon, the negative impressions begin to change into romantic interest. Ji-yi, who already had a crush on Joon-ki, realizes that Yoon-ha and Joon-ki like each other. She initiates conversation with Yoon-ha and declares that her crush on Joon-ki is over. Yoon-ha is perplexed, and she doesn’t want to be the reason why Ji-yi gives up on her feelings for Joon-ki. However, Ji-yi treasures Yoon-ha like a sister and just wants her friend to be happy.

High Society
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Meanwhile, Chang-soo starts to take interest in Ji-yi and makes some moves on her. However, Ji-yi is being realistic. She said that Chang-soo is just a chaebol she sees in dramas, and she doesn’t have time to shoot one as she is too busy living her life. In her mind, a successful relationship leads to marriage. Chang-soo finds marriage talk is too serious in their youth and he refuses to connect dating with marriage. However, Ji-yi says that Chang-soo is free to like her, but he won’t admit it because if he does, he thinks that her heart may waver.

High Society
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Yoon-ha decides that she wants to confess her feeling to Joon-ki. Once they’re alone, Yoon-ha asks Joon-ki if he would date her, and Joon-ki rejects her. As Yoon-ha tries to act cool and turns to leave, Joo-ki stops her. He says that it should be the guy who asks the girl out. Joon-ki then asks Yoon-ha to date him. Yoon-ha can’t help but smile as she says yes. However, their happiness doesn’t last long. While on vacation, Yoon-ha’s older brother’s boat sinks off the coast of Mexico. Even though no body has been found, he’s presumed dead. Yoon-ha’s mother is shocked and blames Yoon-ha for her older brother’s accident.

High Society
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Yoon-ha really does start to blame herself for her brother’s death, thinking that everyone she loves eventually leaves her. She’s convinced she can’t ever love anyone and starts to ignore Joon-ki. When they meet, Joon-ki pulls Yoon-ha aside for a private chat. Yoon-ha asks to break up. However Joon-ki doesn’t believe her words. Yoon-ha then speaks up about her chaebol identity. She explains how she has been preparing to live without her family, and suddenly her brother died. She tells him that everyone she loves get hurt and leaves her. She misses Joon-ki, but worries that he could be hurt because of her. Joon-ki reassures her that her fears are baseless and kisses her.

High Society
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On the other hand, Chang-soo starts to tease Ji-yi that she likes him too. Chang-soo points out that they could date and she could realize that she doesn’t want to marry him. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t try dating, and they end up agreeing to see each other for now.

Chang-soo takes Ji-yi out shopping before their dinner date and does the typical storybook-romance move, where the rich guy and poor girl are dating. Ji-yi admits to have enjoyed her fairytale-like evening but couldn’t help but constantly count pennies in her head. She suggests that they break up. Chang-soo is annoyed and feels like Ji-yi used him so she could feel like a princess for a night. Ji-yi then asks him to bow his head a little and then kisses him. Ji-yi confesses that she started to like Chang-soo. Chang-soo adores her and swoops for a proper kiss.

High Society
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Conflicts arise when Yoon-ha finds her childhood photo and hairclip in Joon-ki’s drawer. She asks him if he already knew her identity before it was known to the public, but kept it a secret for her. Joon-ki nods. He says that he saw her a couple of times in the elevator on the arranged date day between Yoon-ha and Chang-soo. He tells her that the background check was on Chang-soo’s request.

Joon-ki says that he didn’t plan all of that, but gave it a shot anyway. He put up an act because she seemed more likely let her defenses down if someone who approached her acted as if he knew nothing about her background. Yoon-ha asks why he wanted to get close to her, and Joon-ki replies it was so she’d like him and marry him. Yoon-ha calls him cruel for toying with her all this time, but Joon-ki retorts that he didn’t do all that much, as she was the one who suggested that they go out and misinterpreted his kindness as something more. Yoon-ha bursts to tears and says that she loves him and it was him and her love for Joon-ki giving her the power to overcome her grief over her brother’s death.

High Society
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Conflicts also arise on Chang-soo and Ji-yi’s side. Chang-soo’s mother doesn’t approve of their relationship, and asks Ji-yi to break up with Chang-soo. Ji-yi says that she wouldn’t want to marry into a household who is against their union, either. In Chang-soo’s mother’s next meeting with Ji-yi, she makes Ji-yi feeling guilty for what has been and will be taken away from Chang-soo if he continues to date her.

When Ji-yi meets Chang-soo, she asks to break up. She tried to resist, but when she found out that she was affecting his future, she couldn’t bear it. Chang-soo agrees to stop seeing her, but it starts raining and they cancel their break up since they can’t break up on a rainy day.

High Society
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After the breakup, Yoon-ha changes her style and starts acting all tough. At the same time, Joon-ki quits his job with Yumin department store and joins Taejin Group, since the conditions offered by Yoon-ha’s sister are better than those at his olds job. Chang-soo doesn’t like the idea of his longtime buddy leaving him, but Joon-ki believes that the separation will end up being beneficial to their relationship. At the very least, Chang-soo may come to understand where he’s coming from. Their relationship had deteriorated some time before, due to miscommunication and misunderstandings, but it was starting to iprove again.

High Society
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