I swore never to watch another k-drama again, yet here I am, about to write an entire post on the K-drama that takes up 2 of the 5 hours I set aside every week to decompress and watch TV. You can’t know how it infuriates me that I’ve succumbed to this drama and after 14 episodes, with 6 more to go, I’ve decided to stop wasting energy on this love/hate relationship, and just go with it.
So this is me, going with it.
Kim Tan (Lee Min-Ho) is a chaebol and the illegitimate son of the large business conglomerate, Jeguk. We meet him at the start of the drama, living alone in California and surfing to his heart’s content. He’s not entirely alone, save for a few American friends. As a side note, there is a bit of English at the beginning of this drama, but the English speakers have an intonation and cadence that sounds like English language drills.
Cha Eun-Sang (Park Shin-Hye), flies to California from Korea to attend her sister’s wedding. She arrives to find her sister’s glamorous lifestyle all a sham. Her sister works as a waitress and is in a loose relationship with a sloppy American guy with whom she’s living. Once the sisters reunite, her sister promptly takes off with the wedding money Eun-Sang brought over from their mother and disappears. Eun-Sang is left crying her eyes out, while Kim Tan watches from a distance.
He’s drawn to her. Maybe he’s lonely or maybe he was touched when he saw her crying in the street, but he takes her in, since she has no place to stay, and in the process, develops feelings for her. I liken Tan to a golden retriever. He is loyal to a fault and follows her everywhere, except it’s not a cute dog, but a tall, good-looking guy. His lurking and pining sometimes feels a bit stalker-ish, but the theme song (see below) is always cued up to distract from the creepiness. Oh, the power of music!
We find that as a chaebol, Tan is engaged to the daughter of another fortune. The arranged marriage is a business merger, so although his fiancee, Yoo Rachel (Kim Ji-Won), has hopes the engagement will result in real love, Tan has never wanted any part of it. When he sets his sights on Eun-Sang, it further fuels his wish to get out of his engagement. What he doesn’t realize is that Rachel is not giving him up so easily.
Kim Tan and Eun-Sang return to Korea separately, falling back into their respective socio-economic classes. The divide is ginormous. He’s über-rich, while Eun-Sang embraces her role as the 2nd daughter of a disabled mother. Eun-Sang works several part-time jobs to make ends meet, while also helping out her mom, who works as a live-in housekeeper… in Kim Tan’s house (What?! I know, right?!). Given her own humble status, Eun-Sang can’t bring herself to publicly reciprocate feelings for Tan, although deep inside, she really does like him. Maybe she could move on, but Tan won’t stop following her around. He still wants her, despite being “untouchable” for someone of his problematic status.
Choi Young-Do (Kim Woo-Bin) was once friends with Tan, but they’ve since had a falling out. When they were thick as thieves, they would bully the less fortunate kids in school. Tan appears to have changed over the course of 3 years, but Young-Do continues to perpetuate the reign of terror. Things get even more complicated when Young-Do softens up and develops feelings for Eun-Sang. I had high hopes for this secondary love line between Young-Do and Eun-Sang, but Young-Do doesn’t know how to express his emotions. He’s 18 years old and Eun-Sang is the first girl he’s ever liked, so he expresses adoration like a 5-year-old, by first, scaring her then making her cry.
Heirs feels like a Korean blend of Gossip Girl and Mean Girls. On steroids. Enforcing social status is the primary concern in the Jeguk School and the kids are unnecessarily ruthless and cruel to keep up those divisions between the strata, thanks to the system originally set up by Tan and Young-Do. In fact, most of the rich students would like the school free of the “charity cases”, like Eun-Sang and her bestie and class president, Yoon Chan-Young (CN Blue’s Kang Min-Hyuk).
I’ll stop, because as you can see, by the level of detail I’m using to write this post, I’m in deep. There are secondary story lines at play as well, but I’m not about to start. This post will go on forever if I do.
On another note, between Kim Woo-Bin’s charisma and Lee Min-Ho, I can’t function. They’re not quite believable as high school students, so instead of feeling conflicted about the intended age of their characters, I’ve decided to justify admiring their looks by imagining that they have flunked out of school and are on their 5th attempt. *sigh*
Two new episodes will air every week for the next three weeks on Hulu, unless it’s decided to extend the series with a few more episodes. Go check it out. You won’t regret getting emotionally over-involved.