The KBS TV2 drama “Boys over Flowers” has created quite a stir in the nation. Depicting the lives of four dashing young men (known as “F4”) from affluent families and a high school girl from an ordinary family, this drama has gained explosive popularity from viewers as young as teenagers to people in their 30s.
The drama presents viewers with a chance to forget about harsh reality, albeit temporarily, and sample the world of fantasies. Parodies of the drama have flooded the Internet recently, while the same-titled Japanese cartoon on which the drama is based has been selling like hot cakes. Even elementary school students and office workers have become huge fans of the drama, which has inspired men to improve their looks by using diverse fashion items and cosmetics.
Internet bulletin boards were the first to reflect the popularity of “Boys over Flowers.” Netizens have been posting all kinds of parodies of the drama. The community site DCInside offers diverse parodies, such as “Grandpas over Flowers,” “Boys over Flowers Psychopath,” “Men’s Requiem over Flowers,” and others. “Grandpas over Flowers” features middle-aged actors and makes an impact with its excellent production values and plot. “Boys over Flowers” has recorded viewers’ ratings of more than 30 percent, creating a sensation. Recently, it has become a popular subject on variety shows as well. Entertainers have been trying to imitate the F4 characters on variety shows and reenact famous scenes from the drama.
The cartoon on which the TV drama is based has also been enjoying enormous popularity. According to the Internet bookstore Libro, sales of the original cartoon have surged twentyfold since the drama’s premiere. Moreover, the majority of customers who purchased the complete collection of the cartoon CDs are in their late 20s to late 30s. “Boys over Flowers” has already gained fame in Korea for its Taiwanese and Japanese versions. Given that the plot of the drama already became well-known after a book was published in the 1990s, customers still continue to purchase the cartoon simply to have it in their homes.
When the drama “Boys over Flowers” first debuted in Korea in the 1990s, women who are now in their late 20s to late 30s were in middle or high school. That is why, by purchasing this cartoon these days, they want to enjoy the nostalgia and reminisce about their youth. The popularity of “Boys over Flowers” as a drama largely stems from the fact that it fully reflects the content of the original cartoon. But another major reason behind its phenomenal popularity lies in the vicarious satisfaction that it offers in times of economic recession and financial hardship. As the popularity of the drama shows no signs of abating, sales of drama-related items have soared recently, inspiring retailers to focus their marketing on the drama as well.
Playing “Boys over Flowers”
From school students to office workers, many people have been using famous lines from the drama in their everyday conversations. Setting up “F4” groups is all the rage among school students these days. They assign roles exactly as in the drama and behave accordingly. Working women enjoy acting out the drama’s female character “Geum Jan-di” and using the lines from the drama when chatting. They even view one another as rivals for the role of Geum Jan-di.
The drama has inspired many men to improve their looks. As a result, sales of men’s cosmetics and fashion items have skyrocketed. According to the Internet shopping mall Auction, sales of pique shirts, knit vests and slim jackets that often appear in the drama surged 40 percent month-on-month in January alone. The character’s hairstyles have also set new trends. The curvy hairstyle of one of the main characters, “Koo Jun-pyo,” is the latest rage among young men these days. Among women, it is Geum Jan-di’s bob haircut that is currently ruling the fashion world.
“Boys over Flowers” marketing
Dining companies have launched the so-called “Boys over Flowers” marketing to lure women who are mesmerized by the drama. They have been hiring good-looking male personnel because they are treated like celebrities by female customers. The cafe “Walking Slowly” made headlines by hiring aspiring and active models to serve customers. The cafe has seen a steep increase in the number of customers, who mostly “come to look at the tall and dashing models with tiny faces.” Recently, many Japanese tourists have been frequenting the cafe after learning about it by word of mouth.
“Boys over Flowers” fashion
Clothes that the drama characters wear have become huge hits. Men have been waiting in lines in hair salons to get haircuts that look exactly like those sported by the drama characters. An island that was featured in the drama has become a hot tourist spot. The original soundtracks of the original cartoon and the drama are enjoying enormous popularity despite the economic slump. Experts say “Boys over Flowers” is an opportunity for women to relieve their stress from everyday life and satisfy their underlying needs. (KBS)
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