The Free Dictionary definition: “a conglomerate of businesses, usually owned by a single family, especially in Korea.”
K-drama definition: a ridiculously rich, good looking man who has everything to offer to the (usually poor) girl he falls in love with except a perfect personality, which the girl usually changes anyways.
Just because their personalities are not “perfect,” though, it does not mean that their personalities are horrible – most of the time. In fact, the best word to describe K-Drama chaebols is eccentric.
Silly. Wacky. Weird, but utterly lovable.
So who are some of the most lovable chaebols out there (in no particular order)?
Besides the fact that knives grow out of his back when he gets angry, Joo Hong Bin (Lee Dong Wook) displays plenty of his strange personality in “Blade Man.” First of all, he has a tendency to take things to the very extreme – a personality trait that seems to run in all K-drama chaebols. For example, he turns a complete 180 from cold, uncaring CEO to loving boyfriend willing to dress in a bear costume and hold an event in an amusement park.
One of my favorite traits about Joo Hong Bin that helped create his personality was his super sense of smell that came and went. It made him make faces like this (top right):
Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk) on “Fated to Love You” first appears on screen and fully portrays his out-of-the-world personality in approximately four minutes. That’s how long it takes for you to fall for this man’s crazy personality.
It’ll take another few episodes – give or take a few – for you to fall in love with his crazy laugh. By the end of the series, you’ll just be in love with him and all his strengths and flaws. Jang Hyuk is absolutely brilliant in portraying this crazy, lovable chaebol.
Joo Joong Won, played by So Ji Sub in “Master’s Sun,” is another prime example of an eccentric, but lovable chaebol. Rather than specific actions, Joo Joong Won’s whole aura is slightly awkward and subtly odd (and still so, so attractive – props to So Ji Sub for pulling that off). But he does have his moments – like his hand movements, especially when he says, “Shove off.”
Another trait that seems to run with chaebols – and perhaps with many others – is the tendency to talk to himself and/or inanimate objects. Of course, sometimes So Ji Sub is talking to invisible ghosts, but nonetheless, my point stands.
Blast to the past: Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin) in “Secret Garden” may be the origin of the rich, attractive, slightly strange and lovably eccentric chaebol character. (If he’s not, feel free to correct me.) Some of his legacy includes:
1. “Is that your best? Are you sure?” Basically his catchphrase.
2. His famous, refreshingly-new romantic gestures, including the sit-up scene and the foam kiss.
3. This wonderful, glorious outfit that fully encompasses Kim Joo Won’s personality.
These are definitely not all of K-Drama’s eccentric but lovable chaebols; however, they are some of the most strange, most hilarious, and most charming of them all. Who is your favorite chaebol? Tell us in the comments below!