SKY Castle Thoughts and First Impression
Forewarning: This is a first Impression of SKY Castle AND the following thoughts about it afterwards. I’m going to give a note right after the first impression indicating it’s the second part.
SKY castle is a satirical comedy about extremely rich families who takes extreme measures just to get their children into top medical universities.
To start off, SKY Castle had been on my radar because of Oh Nara. As I’ve seen My Ahjussi, she’s definitely one of the many notable characters in that Korean drama which aired last year. This drama is probably not my first choice if I ever were to choose from the dramas that were currently airing. Saying that I still had it on my to watch list before it aired because I like to switch things up a bit and go for the ones I usually won’t go for. It’s in those that I get the most surprised and amazed to find out that they’re such a good watch and I would have missed out!
What grabbed my attention though and made me start watching this long before I wanted to was the incredible amount the ratings have jumped to. Starting with just a humble 1.7% in it’s premiere, it isn’t proving to be much received. Bear in mind though that this is airing in JTBC, a cable channel, meaning viewer ratings are bound to be ‘lower’ compared to commercial networks like MBC and SBS. According to Amino Apps, a cable channel with a rating of 2% to 5% is considered average and well below that is considered to be poor. Week after week though, it has risen dramatically in viewer-ship ratings, finally breaking into the double digits on EP. 10.
It made history as the highest-rating cable channel in Korean TV when it hit 22.3% just this weekend, on it’s 18th episode. Not forgetting that this drama’s drastic rise in popularity caused it to be extended in episodes. Before this, all highest rating cable dramas are ALL from TVN, starting from the Reply series to the famed fantasy hit Goblin.
If that wasn’t enough to at least check the drama out whilst it’s airing, I don’t know what else. I was really waiting for this to finish and frankly, I just wasn’t ‘in the mood’ for it yet but I’ve seen a post saying that this is the best time to watch it, whilst it is airing.
I had to remind myself that this is a satirical/black comedy take on a subject matter that lies heavily on the Korean society. We see the group of families who seem to have all the luxuries in life compounded with the belief that they will only be even more successful if their kids get in in the most prestigious of universities.
The style of filming and the dialogue, which took time to get used to, was so different because of the type of drama this is. We weren’t given much background or context to what they are talking about. Thus making their conversations meaningless to us viewers.
If you are not aware of the Korean societal views on education, South Korea values its education HIGHLY. For most, true success comes from being able to go to the top universities and then working for big companies. Children, despite such young age, are enrolled to after school classes and doesn’t stop studying until late in the night. Knowing about this felt suffocating for me. I can’t imagine doing something for so long, everyday without the chance at doing something I really like.
One particular event happened that shook SKY Castle residents to its core. What appears as a perfect family on the outside had so much more behind closed doors with the death of the mother.
This mother who was envied and for whom a party was set up by the rest of the other mums to celebrate her son getting into SNU Medical University. Of course with a not so hidden agenda of getting Young Jae, the boy’s winning portfolio, the remaining ladies scramble to get on the mother;s good side and get their hands on the portfolio first.
With a loving husband who gifted her a luxury two month cruise, a son who appeared kind and obedient – everything is perfect in the eyes of this envious mothers. But a drastic decision shook its residents to its core, questioning everything they thought they knew.
So this drama caught my attention by its display of extreme luxury. All our main leads breathes and lives this everyday lifestyle. It’s ordinary. With their big family photo frame hanging inside each of their houses, it definitely seem like they have it all. But they’re all parents who want more and behind those lovely pictures are the parents who force their children to achieve that, no matter what it takes.
It will take more episodes to truly get inside the center of this story but I can’t wait to see how this one go. You definitely need to understand the societal context this drama is based on to get why they’re even doing the drama in the first place.
More than the storyline, it’s the calling out of the brutal reality that most students face in South Korea – a never ending studying and reach for the top. I find it also brave and about time that someone confronts that and with this drama shaking not only the families in SKY Castle to the core but also us viewers, I can’t wait what more it will give us.
This is such a mystery drama drawing theories from a lot of viewers watching it and with the arrival of a new family that definitely isn’t like any of the SKY Castle family – I can’t wait to see what it reveals about each of them and the consequences of their action to their children.
*end of first impression*
SKY Castle – thoughts after the first two episodes
I really really wanted to like this and it’s evident by how much I managed to actually watch. Sadly, it wasn’t at all how I thought it would be and the promise of the two episodes didn’t deliver it for me with the following episodes. Below is my real time thoughts whilst watching episode 10.
\had to pause in the middle of episode 10/ This is actually not as addicting as I thought. I’m still struggling to get through each episode without pausing every now and again. The problem is that the characters all are so shallow. Yeh Suh really deserves a slap on the face and so does her whole family, sans Yeh Bin. Instead of making me feel like I understand the extreme lengths they go to, the reasoning behind them tells me otherwise.
I just found cliche after cliche of stuff that makes me just shake my head. NO one is truly like-able. Even Sue Lim’s family. They come across as too good to be true. It’s either they’re sooooooo shallow or just very one dimensional. The mystery behind Coach Kim is a bit interesting. I just don’t get why they have to make her appear so scary and so intimidating? After all, she is only a tutor. The reasons/excuse behind those actions aren’t convincing at all. They feel so contrived. I mean, do you lose your common sense once you have that much money?
I did go in here knowing that it’s a black comedy about rich people going into great lengths just to get their children into the best universities. BUT I feel like the competition is just between them four. They go into these extreme lengths when their competitors doesn’t seem like they need to the same thing. That’s why I remain unconvinced. Hye Na is one of those characters that are very absorbed. Stereotypical manipulative smart girl that shines despite her less privileged background. She is not like=able at all. I don’t think being an orphan makes it acceptable for you to become a sly person. GRR. I feel like all their actions are uncalled for and the plot isn’t moving along. Where’s the theories that everyone was talking about?
So yes, end of rant. LOL.
Overall, I think I managed to finish this episode and even watched episode 11 if I recall correctly. I so wanted to like this but I was just dragging along each episode and I knew I couldn’t watch anymore. With a lot of dramas, it’s a lot to do with the timing. When you watch it and what state you are in actually plays a big part on whether or not you’ll enjoy one show. So I guess, for now I’ll chalk it up to not being in the right mood for it.
“I may not be able to sympathize because I had different college entrance exams. I have never seen a friend who had a college admissions coordinator or received a private education as in the drama.”
She studied at Seoul University also. It’s just nice to know that I’m not the odd one out or weird one who thought differently that way. I obviously wanted to be able to get addicted to it but it sadly wasn’t the case for me. Despite Yeh Suh being a real spoiled brat, I somehow found myself leaning towards her more than Hye Na.
So yes, that’s my SKY Castle experience so far (you never know, I might actually find myself in the mood for this one day, end up loving it, hit myself on the head for not seeing the gem this show must be at the time when a lot of people were talking about it.)
How was your experience? Were you interested in it? And did you end up loving it? I wish there are people like me out there so I don’t feel like the weird one. lol.