Doctors, the K-drama currently airing on the Seoul Broadcasting System, seems to be on the fast track on becoming the network’s best series for 2016. Starring Park Shin Hye and Kim Rae Won, Doctors started out with excellent viewership ratings for both Korean ratings companies. At one point, it was reported that the first episode earned 30 percent viewership ratings for the Seoul National Capital Area via AGB Nielsen, an achievement that guaranteed Shin Hye’s promise to sing and dance “Cheer Up” by K-pop girl group Twice. That rating has since been adjusted correctly, but it was still good as it recorded in the double digits.
However, there is a unique detail about Doctors that many may have noticed, but probably let slide for the sake of entertainment. Park Shin Hye’s character, Yoo Hye Jung, and Kim Rae Won’s character, Hong Ji Hong, express a relationship with a significant age gap. With that in mind along with the fact that both Shin Hye and Rae Won are extremely popular K-drama actors in the Hallyu Wave, can Doctors initiate a trend for relationships in which the man might be significantly older?
For starters, it must be noted that outside of the K-drama Doctors, there is a bit of an age gap between Park Shin Hye and Kim Rae Won. Shin Hye was born back in 1990, while Rae Won was born back in 1981, giving them almost a decade in difference between them. In Doctors, it is possible their characters’ ages have an even bigger gap. We do know that in the first episode, Yoo Hye Jung (Shin Hye) is 16-years-old as it was mentioned. Hong Ji Hong (Rae Won) is believed to be in his late twenties. This can be discerned by the fact that he was a doctor working at his father’s hospital prior to becoming a teacher. We will assume Ji Hong pursued the direct entry course of six years prior to the sudden shift to the four-plus-four system often seen in North America. Also, we know that Ji Hong was a teacher for at least one year. Ergo, discernment shows Hong Ji Hong is probably at least a decade older than Yoo Hye Jung.
After arriving to the conclusion showing the difference of ages between Park Shin Hye and Kim Rae Won, as well as their characters in Doctors, it is possible their popularity could initiate a popular trend towards relationships in which the man is significantly older. For those who don’t remember, Shin Hye became one of the biggest names in the Hallyu Wave for her roles in K-dramas Heirs and Pinocchio. Rae Won is also very popular especially for his roles in K-dramas A Thousand Days’ Promise and Punch.
Though South Koreans are showing a growing interest as proven by the viewership ratings by TNS Media Korea and AGB Nielsen, there is one group that would do better in initiating a trend for the aforementioned relationship: the Chinese fans. If a K-drama in China is extremely popular, it can affect their economy in very unique ways. For example, My Love From Another Star was very popular in China because Kim Soo Hyun is big over there. Anyways, Chinese women would go out and buy outfits similar to what Jun Ji Hyun would wear in the series. If Kim Soo Hyun had a scene eating a particular brand of fried chicken, the Chinese fans would go and order that same brand of fried chicken. And if anyone wants a more recent example, see how Chinese fans were affected while Descendants of the Sun aired, as reported by Asia Times.
Anyways, we will have to wait and see if relationships in which the man is significantly older will catch on. Such relationships were touched on before, such as Lee Bum Soo and Yoona in Prime Minister I, but it did not start any trends. Doctors airs on SBS, Mondays and Tuesdays at 10 p.m. KST. For those who do not have access to Korean channels, the series streams for free with ads, pending region, on both DramaFever and Viki.
[Image via Seoul Broadcasting System Promotions for Doctors]