If you have been watching Korean dramas long enough, you might be familiar with the names of the screenwriters who were behind your favourite dramas such as the Hong Sisters and Kim Eun-sook.
Some you might not be familiar with Kim Soon-ok but she is the brain behind the popular drama The Penthouse.
As every screenwriter has his or her own distinct style, Soon-ok’s works are known for extreme ‘ridiculousness’ that viewers cannot stop themselves from watching.
Basically when you watch her drama, you cannot help but think, “This story is so unreal but I still want to know what happens in the end.”
Hence there is no surprise that her dramas are harshly criticized while also widely-viewed and highly-rated.
Here are six K-dramas written by Korean screenwriter Kim Soon-ok to watch:
1.Temptation of Wife (2008)
In this revenge drama, Goo Eun-jae (Jang Seo-hee) was a woman who was nearly killed by her husband Jung Kyo-bin (Byeon Woo-min).
Her husband truly believes that she had died until a woman named Min So-hee who looks identical to his dead wife but with a completely different personality shows up.
Here comes the ridiculous part; the only physical difference between Eun-jae and So-hee is a mole on her left cheek.
Just because of this mole, nobody recognises Eun-jae anymore.
Putting aside the many controversial issues surrounding the plot, it became one of the most viewed dramas.
On top of that, the series has been adapted into China, Malaysia and Filipino versions.
2.Jang Bo-ri is Here! (2014)
As a child, Jang Bo-ri (Oh Yeon-seo) was adopted by a family without much money.
She then learns that she is the missing daughter from a wealthy family.
Bo-ri goes through a drastic change in her life and tries to become a successful designer of traditional Korean dresses.
The drama became highly-acclaimed and won Drama of the Year at the 2014 MBC Drama Awards.
3.My Daughter, Geum Sa-wol (2015)
The Korean public dubbed it an ‘absurdly unrealistic drama that rated well’ while The Korea Times called it a drama that been ‘drawing flak for an unrealistic plot, complicated relations among characters and scenes with certain dramatic settings that seemed far-fetched’.
The plot tells the story of three friends Sa-wol, Hye-sang and Oh-wol who grew up in the same orphanage.
Hye-sang finds out that Sa-wol is to be adopted by her wealthy biological father instead of her after a DNA test that reveals the mix up between them.
Wanting to be raised in the upper class society, Hye-sang traps the orphanage director, who is also her true father, to hide the truth.
However, when Sa-wol ends up being brought into the family as well, Hye-sang starts tormenting, blame shifting and burying the truth, to make herself the better daughter.
Let us warn you that the series is 51-episodes long, so you can expect plenty of twists and an emotional roller coaster ride.
4.Five Fingers (2012)
The drama starts when Yoo Ji-ho and Yoo In-ha were kids. When Ji-ho suddenly loses her grandmother after being run over by a mysterious black car, he is adopted into the rich family of In-ha.
Life at his new family is not easy for Ji-ho as his adopted father begins to favour him causing the jealousy and outrage of his adopted father.
His own best friend who becomes his adopted brother also starts to feel threatened by him.
Overall, the story is about the two of them who became rivals not only in their careers but also in their love lives.
Through this drama, it is the first time we see actor Ji Chang-wook in an antagonist role and Ju Ji-hoon’s first TV role after his drug scandal in 2009.
5.The Last Empress
The Last Empress is set in an alternate universe, in which Korea is a constitutional monarchy in 2018.
Oh Sunny (Jang Na-ra) is a bright and vivacious musical actress who marries the Emperor of the Korean Empire, Lee Hyuk (Shin Sung-rok).
She becomes involved in the palace power struggle and a mysterious murder that sets off events that threaten the monarchy itself, while searching for true love and happiness.
She teams up with Na Wang-shik (Choi Jin-hyuk) who works as a bodyguard for the imperial family in order to uncover the crimes of the Imperial family.
Most people do not know that Na actually started working in the palace to take revenge on the person responsible for his mother’s death.
In the midst of the political drama, Oh starts to fall for her bodyguard Na.
Overall, the series received high ratings and Jang in particular was praised for her performance.
6.The Penthouse: War in Life (2020-2021)
Speaking of ridiculousness, nothing beats The Penthouse: War in Life. This drama led the Korean public to give Kim Soon-ok various nicknames such as ‘Anything is possible with Kim Soon-ok’ and ‘Kim Soon-ok’s mythology’.
This is because dead characters kept on coming back alive throughout three seasons of the drama.
Even the scriptwriter herself admitted in an interview that The Penthouse lacks a sense of reality.
Despite that, the drama to this day is one of the most viewed Korean series of all times.
It follows the story of wealthy families living in Hera Palace and their children at Cheong-ah Arts School.
All of the parents have grand ambitions for their children and would do anything for them.
For those who are planning to watch this drama, we highly advise you to just through your common sense out of the window.
Let just say that this is the 90s telenovela equivalent of Korean dramas.