‘Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi’: Direction Supporting Feminism Makes K-Drama Very Popular On JTBC

When Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi first aired back on March 18, 2016, many in the K-drama community were surprised. Generally in K-dramas, the male lead character in a couple would be the authority personality despite what their actual role was in the plot. In Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi, the typical couple situation was switched as Ok Da Jung (played by Lee Yo Won) was the authority personality while Nam Jung Gi (played by Yoon Sang Hyun) was the submissive, or timid, personality.

Needless to say, the unique direction, one that strayed away from what was usually normal for K-dramas, favored Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi as it opened with favorable ratings for a series on JTBC. Yet, a successful debut means absolutely nothing if Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi is unable to capitalize on it. Thankfully, the directing, storytelling, and acting from the cast have been more than phenomenal.

However, there is one detail about Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi that stands out from the rest, and that is its direction of supporting feminism. Apparently, K-drama fans find high favor in such a direction as proven through viewership ratings for JTBC. They are the highest since 2014.

For those who kept up with Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi, the direction for feminism would not be surprising given how Ok Da Jung’s character is portrayed. She is fearless, strong, confident, intelligent, and knows how to do her job without lowering herself. However, in the latest episodes – Episodes 7 and 8 aired on Friday and Saturday, May 8 and 9, 2016 – the K-drama really pushed the feminism support through the direction of issues women in the workplace suffer just to either get by or to be successful. In Episode 7, it was revealed that Da Jung was not always the strong woman she is presently as Kim Hwan Gyoo, Da Jung’s former superior at Golden Chemicals, makes it known to Nam Jung Gi that Da Jung used to “entertain” potential partners and clients to be successful.

Episode 8, however, highlighted a far more serious issue pertaining to women in the workplace. Jang Mi Ri (played by Hwag Bo Ra), a product designer for Lovely Cosmetics, was asked by a superior to accompany him to a restaurant to discuss her becoming a full-time employee. Instead, she was sexually assaulted by the superior. Though she was able to escape, Mi Ri was torn between reporting the situation or letting it go just to up her chances of becoming full-time.

JTBC, Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi
Near the end of the seventh episode of "Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi," Jang Mi Ri is sexually harassed while entertaining a client along with her superior. [Image via Screen Capture of "Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi]

The seriousness of the situation in the latest two episodes really boosted ratings for Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi, but the overall direction for feminism has been beneficial for the K-drama as well as JTBC. As a matter of fact, the last time a K-drama for JTBC had continuous high ratings was back in December of 2014 with Maids. After that, all the other JTBC K-dramas, including Falling for Innocence, Beloved Eun Dong, Last, D-Day, and Madame Antoine have averaged around 1.25 percent viewership for both TNS Media Korea and AGB Nielsen. Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi is earning an average of 2.5 percent viewership for both.

If viewership rating trends continue, Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi may reach into four or five percent viewership ratings. This would be a monumental task for JTBC because it is a premium channel, meaning South Koreans have to pay for the channel to watch its shows, similar to HBO or Showtime. Ergo, more than two percent viewership rating on such a channel is extremely successful.

Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi is currently halfway done with eight episodes aired, eight remaining. It airs on JTBC, a premium channel in South Korea, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 KST. For those who do not have access to such channels, it can be viewed for free, with ads, on both DramaFever and Viki pending region.

[Image via JTBC/Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi Poster]