"The Best Divorce" sounds ironic in itself as the two words are incompatible, like water and oil. Generally, couples resort to divorce in the most unfortunate, worst circumstances.
The new KBS 2TV's series, also known as "Matrimonial Chaos," seeks to delve into the delicate, complicated relationships of married couples, and ruminates on the commonly-asked question, "Is marriage the completion of love?"
What happens when an attempt to salvage an unhappy marriage, which one has entered into in pursuit of happiness, only creates more misery?
In the Korean remake of the popular Japanese series of the same name, Cho Seok-mu (played by Cha Tae-hyun) and Kang Hui-ru (played by Bae Doo-na) decide to end their marriage. But they learn that they need time and due process for a smooth legal separation, so they agree to live together for the time being, with a series of strings attached -- like no interference with each other's privacy, including dating.
At a press event held in Seoul on Friday, producer Yoo Hyun-ki said married couples are not necessarily the drama's target audience, and that the show will touch upon many episodes, emotions and tensions that come from human relationships.
"It will deal with many issues arising from co-habitation with strangers. It can be about those of married couples or of couples who opt to live together before marriage," he said, adding that the drama will take on those issues in a comical and light manner.
"The original series is already great, but we tried to localize the settings so that they fit with Korean culture and sentiments," he said. "Particularly, female characters become more aggressive and dynamic."
Cha Tae-hyun, the only married one among the main cast members, echoed what the director said. "The series is about different people living together under one roof. There could be many forms of co-habitation. The story is more about consideration of people close to you and understanding of different thoughts," he said.
Bae Doo-na, who plays the female lead role, said she, in the beginning, was worried if the Korean version could outperform the highly-successful original series, but soon realized that the drama has been adapted successfully to reflect the Korean culture about marriage. "Although the title includes the word 'divorce,' it is actually quite a fun show. It also has many great lines that viewers can reflect upon for a long time," she said.
The original Japanese series, written by acclaimed screenwriter Yuji Sakamoto, aired on Fuji TV every Thursday from Jan. 19 to March 21 in 2013, recording an average 11.8 percent viewership rating. Sakamoto's "Mother" was also made into a Korean TV show on tvN earlier this year.
The new Mon-Tue series is one of the most highly anticipated series for terrestrial network KBS 2TV, which has seen the popularity of its TV dramas plunge in recent months. "Lovely Horribly," the predecessor of "The Best Divorce," once hit a disappointing 1.0 percent rating, before climbing back up to 3.3 percent on its final episode earlier this week.
"Yes, I feel great pressure. Nobody knows the success formula for great ratings," Cha said. "But honestly, I will be fine because I've done lots of works with disheartening ratings. What I am not quite sure about is how well the network and staff can cope with bad ratings," he joked.
The new drama is set to premiere at 10 p.m. on Monday.
source: Yonhap News