For K-dramas, 2016 has been a great year. Although such success is often synonymous with series that show on Korean public or free-to-watch channels, series on Korean pay channels also experienced it.
Orion Cinema Network (OCN) aired two successful K-dramas, Neighborhood Hero and 38 Task Force, in which the latter became the most successful drama in the network’s history. The numbers were better for Total Variety Network (tvN) in which they aired numerous successful K-dramas, including Reply 1988, Cheese in the Trap, Another Oh Hae Young, and The K2. tvN’s current K-drama Goblin might possibly go down in K-drama history as the most popular series for both tvN and the year, surpassing standouts like Descendants of the Sun, Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, and The Legend of the Blue Sea.
Another major Korean pay channel that also did well this year was JTBC. Known for K-dramas like My Love Eun Dong and Last, they also found success this year too. Ms. Temper & Nam Jung Gi, Mirror of the Witch, and Fantastic have earned more than 2 percent in viewership. However, their one standout K-drama this year so far is My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week.
My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week, also known as Cheating, is a K-drama starring Lee Sun Kyun (Coffee Prince, Miss Korea) and Song Ji Hyo (Ex-Girlfriend Club, Running Man). The JTBC series is about Do Hyun Woo (Sun Kyun), a veteran producer for 10 years, and the relationship with his wife Jung Soo Yun (Ji Hyo), a graphic designer. Hyun Woo believes he is in a strong relationship because they have been married for eight years and never truly fought. However, that all changes when he comes across signs that Soo Yeon is about to be unfaithful. Too embarrassed to turn to his friends and family for advice, he instead turns to social media, asking anonymous people online to figure out what he has to do to save his marriage.
Just recently, My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week concluded. Although the series ended on a high note with high viewership, it possibly had a more important role than just being an entertaining K-drama. It is possible that My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week gave strong sociological insight for Koreans into infidelity in relationships.
Starting with the details that are easiest to report, the viewership ratings provided by AGB Nielsen Korea and TNmS Media Korea show that My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week received slightly higher viewership than other JTBC K-dramas this year so far. If we were to average the nationwide viewership ratings for all 12 episodes, the entire series’ nationwide ratings average would be 2.817 percent for AGB Nielsen Korea and 2.4 percent for TNmS Media Korea. Such numbers may seem meager but once again we have to stress JTBC is a Korean cable or pay channel and viewership are often low. For JTBC, the average is usually one percent or less so My Wife’s Having an Affair earning an almost 3 percent average definitely makes the K-drama a success for the network.
My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week may not have earned the title of most successful K-drama to air on JTBC. Childless Comfort holds that title for now. Yet, the K-drama, as mentioned earlier, might have had a far more important role than just being entertainment in giving sociological insight into adultery for Koreans. South Korea is very conservative with the majority of its views being enforced by Christianity, the primary religion in the country. Ergo, adultery is not just looked down upon like in other cultures, but it is given the “black and white” treatment. This means adultery is always bad no matter what as proven by the former law that adulterers were given prison sentences if caught.
What My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week did was humanize the situation, showing there are strong emotional reasons under the generic reasons why people commit adultery. It isn’t always a simple explanation such as sexual desire. However, the K-drama made sure to stress that adultery is still a transgression that usually hurts both the adulterer and his or her affected spouse in the end.
It is an insight that Koreans do need to face now that the Infidelity Law has ended last year in 2015, as reported by the Telegraph. This resulted in a surge in adultery as found by a recent survey conducted by Macromill Embrain. Adultery increased by 2.4 percent among men and 4.3 percent among women.
My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week used to air on Fridays and Saturdays at 9:30 KST on JTBC. Its day and time slot will be taken over by upcoming JTBC K-drama Solomon’s Perjury. For those who didn’t get a chance to watch My Wife’s Having an Affair This Week, the entire series is available to watch for free, with ads, on both DramaFever, Viki, and OnDemandKorea pending region.
[Featured Image by JTBC]