[Paparazzi Corner] Untouchables in K-pop: Religion

Religion remains to be a touchy and complicated topic in Korea’s mainstream media today. When it does make its appearance however, it often shows itself in the forms of cults and alternative religions, likely due to the fact that those possible conspiracies are harder to debunk and it minimises the possibilities of the production crew getting into trouble with religious organisations.  The mysterious factor attached to it also makes it an attractive option for investigative journalism.

These topics are much less discussed in Korean dramas or shows. It is also hardly the overarching theme as they might face difficulties in keeping a loyal audience due to the complexity and depth of the topic. To put it simply –– it doesn’t appeal to the lowest common denominator.

(Screencap from Episode 6, God’s Quiz 2)

There are the brave ones that decide to go ahead with it anyway. God’s Quiz is a crime-medical drama that has since aired 4 seasons. In their 6th episode of the 2nd season, it featured a cannibalistic cult that believed in healing by consuming remains of the dead. It also showed the cult performing rituals around the deceased.

The crux behind the cult was revealed to be two money-minded doctors who needed an extra source of income to tide over a difficult period of time. This scene is perhaps the most stereotypical portrayal of religion in mainstream media and the closest to a portrayal we could get.

Most recently, OCN’s new thriller “Save Me” might just be one of the first dramas with religion as an overarching theme. Their first episode was broadcasted less than two weeks ago and have received relatively decent feedback. The drama stars 2PM’s Taecyeon, actors Woo Doo Hwan, David Lee and Ha Hoe Jang and actress Seo Ye-ji and talks about how 4 country bumpkins bump into a girl in the alley who asks to be saved from the religious cult she’s in.

While the ratings have room for improvement, it seems there are more opportunities to develop the plot into something that could possibly go viral.

Personally, I have high expectations and hopes for this drama and I hope it can develop into the likes of its successful OCN counterparts such as ‘Voice’ and ‘God’s Quiz’. Who knows, it might spark a whole new trend of religion-related content in K-pop.

What are your thoughts of seeing the topic of religion in K-pop? Is it too much or too little? Share with us what you think about the portrayal of religion in K-pop!

Article by: Cass @ KAvenyou

KAvenyou: Singapore to Korea – Music, Wanderlust, Foodie, Lifestyle.

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