Analyzing Crash Landing on You in Terms of Media and Society

Analyzing Crash Landing on You in Terms of Media and Society

April 16, 2020 0 By Manassanun Phomkam

Some people may think that dramas only provide us entertainment. Of course its main aim is to entertain the audiences, that is what dramas were made, but the audiences would be acknowledged about related information more or less from the content the producers want to convey. Talking about South Korean dramas, it is undeniable that one of the famous South Korean dramas these days would be Crash Landing on You. Therefore, this blog would be about the relation between Crash Landing on You and the media and society in various perspectives.

In a digital era where technologies are dominant in our daily lives, being informed or receiving entertainment can occur via various platforms including both conventional media and social media. Since the advent of the internet, Users are able to consume media products from everywhere all the time. People can access to any source of information more easily, and it is also an opportunity for the media producers to reach their target more in a wide range. 

One of the significant reasons the producer also chose to air Crash Landing on You on a Korean television channel even though it is an original Netflix series would be the competitiveness in the media nowadays. As there are numerous platforms for audiences to choose, to attract more audience and stay profitable, the producers would use many platforms to engage target audiences. In this case, the producers attract foreign audiences and make it available for them to watch on the Internet with multi-language subtitles, Netflix. Another target group is South Korean in a wide range of age, so they can watch it both on the internet and television.

What is Crash Landing on You about?

Before analyzing the drama, let’s start with the plot of it first. The story is about Yoon Se-Ri (Son Ye Jin) who is an heiress to a conglomerate in South Korea. One day, while paragliding, an accident caused by strong winds led Yoon Se-Ri to make an emergency landing into the Korean Demilitarized Zone. There, she meets Ri Jeong-Hyeok (Hyun Bin) who is a North Korean army officer and an elite member in the country. Jeong-Hyeok tells her the way to get back to the South Korea side. Unfortunately, while she is trying to go back and cross to the South Korea side, she accidentally runs in the wrong direction and finally finds herself crossing to the North Korea side instead. With this unhelpful incident, Jeong-hyeok eventually gives Yoon Se-ri shelter, and develops plans to secretly return her to South Korea with the help of Jeong-Hyeok’s soldiers team.

Power of Media

South Korean drama “Crash Landing on You” is an example of the power of  media that can influence audiences’ thoughts by raising awareness and informing people about what is going on in North Korea. The drama creates the good model of Korean male because Korean series always create the content that men are gentlemen, warm-hearted people, and smart. In real life, there are many cases of violences in the family. Media plays a role to reduce the violence rate by making the males want to follow the men in the drama. Following the men in the dramas can make females like them. So, Crash Landing on You indicates that the media has many impacts on the audiences’ behavior and thought.

Audience Theory: Hypodermic Needle Model

It is a process in which the media have a direct and powerful influence on audiences, like being injected with a hypodermic needle. Moreover, the audiences have no chance and no choice to consume the information.This hypodermic needle will inject value and belief to the audience using the power of the media. Media products in the theory have only one message which the audience can pick up. People in this model will react the same way from gaining the same message. This model can be used for propaganda as North Korea.

Compared with the crash landing on you, this drama reflects the real society in North Korea that the citizens always believe that their country is the best and has a good leader because the government control all media platforms.The government use the hypodermic needle model to control all of the citizens attitude by portraying the positive sides and create a good image of their leader. As we see in the drama, every place in North Korea both in private residence and public places will have pictures of their leaders hanging to make citizens feel loyalty. Moreover, every morning the government will announce the recording message about their leader and their country on the public radio, which creates nationalism and shapes their attitude. It does not matter whether the message is short or long.The citizens are still being brainwashed once they listen to the same message over and over.

Another attitude that we obviously see in the drama is the negative attitude that North Korea has toward South Korea. All products from South Korea are banned. In many scenes, If officers find any products from South Korea, they will confiscate all of it. Also, there are scenes where Jeong-Hyeok’s soldiers team think that South Korean government would torture them once they got caught in the South Korea.This can prove that people in North Korea consume negative information about South Korea.

The Stereotypes

The stereotypes between male and female are obviously different because women in the drama have the role of a housewife by taking care of their husband, their kids, and housework. On another hand, males always serve the country. Males always have more chances to be a leader not only in house but also in the country. We can see from the series that all government officials are men.

Disability

We canclassify the disability into 2 perspectives. The first one is Disability of Media. According to Crash Landing on You, it is obvious to see that there is a disability in accessing the media. Most of the citizens do not have mobile phones or televisions. They mostly have only telephones. This can limit the way they receive the information. Another aspect of disability is the Disability of expressions. The government strictly limits citizens’ freedom of expressions. Citizens are not allowed to talk about the leader and government in a negative way both in public and private places because the government sometimes wiretaps them.

Cultural Diffusion

When we consume media products in forms of movies and dramas, we receive not only just the core information which producers want to convey but also the cultures in such stories. Thus, sometimes we absorb both intentionally and unintentionally. In this case, watching Korean movies or dramas, where Crash Landing on You counted as one of them, cause us to gradually become interested in Korean culture. The common Korean cultural diffusion that can be seen easily in Thai society these days would be about clothes, makeup, and food. Because of the popularity of Korean dramas in Thailand, The ways many Thai people dress and wear makeup are influenced by Korean celebrities in dramas. Furthermore, a variety of Korean dishes are famous in Thailand. One of the main reasons would be from what audiences perceive and absorb from Korean dramas and movies.

Crash Landing on You provides glimpse of Culture in North Korea

Their fashion including hairstyles and clothes are like in the old days. There are also some daily activities that people did in the past but are hard to find nowadays. First, instead of a coffee maker most people use nowadays, Jeong-Hyeok makes a coffee for Se-ri using an antique coffee kit. They even hang plastic sheets over a tub of hot water to create a steam bath during the winter. In terms of the language, even though both North and South Korea use Korean language, some words are different. One of those words is “Taxi”, which North Koreans call it in a different word. The accent is also different, and it is very easy to distinguish between Seri’s accent and North Korean accent. This can be an example of how subculture can lead to misunderstanding as well. Apart from that, the majority of North Koreans do not own mobile phones. Only the elites, middle classes, or people who live in the capital city Pyongyang use it. Also, private car users in the country are mostly government officials or elites.

Relation between Marxist Theory and North Korea 

Marxist Theory is about a belief that society is full of conflicts caused by inequality between classes. Only some groups in such society own the power of the media. In North Korea, the ownership of the media is the government, who control all the citizens using mass media as a tool. Furthermore, in another case, you can realize that there is a huge gap between classes after watching Crash Landing on You, which shows various examples of the inequality in the society. For instance, middle classes or government officials with lower rank tend to fawn upon ones with higher rank and ones who have more power. In the drama, it is when doctors flatter Jeong-Hyeok when he is in the hospital, as well as when village wives of lower rank soldiers try to please a higher rank government official’s wife. Moreover, the elites will also have more opportunity to study abroad.

Agenda in “Crash landing on You”

The producer’s agenda of this drama does not have a negative attitude towards North Korea. This also indicates that this drama creates a positive image of North Korea. Compared with other films, they try to create films that present North Korea in a negative way. Also, one of the parties in South Korea (Christian Liberty party) sued tvN station because this drama portrays a positive image to North Korea. 

Why is it popular in Thailand?

Cultures in Asian countries are quite similar to one another. Thus, Asian people are able to relate to cultures from other Asian countries more or less. As in the drama, Asian parents usually take care of their son/daughter more than parents in the western countries even though they have already become adults. To illustrate, both Thai parents and Korean parents are similar in this case, so Thai audiences do understand at this point. Also, Korean entertainment industry is booming across the world right now especially in Asian countries including Thailand. In addition, in Thailand,  the stereotype of good men is being calm, gentle, and fearless tall men with fair skin. Once you watch the drama, it is clearly seen that what I have mentioned earlier suits Jong-Hyuk’s character well. That is why he is famous in Thailand. As well as for women, many Thais and people from other countries nowadays tend to like Se-Ri’s characters, a strong woman or businesswoman who does not need to rely on anybody. Lastly, people usually like to watch something that is new for them, like something about North Korea. Because there are not many dramas or movies that represent how people live in this country, Thus, it is a spectacle for the audiences.