Orange Marmalade: A Kdrama Case Study?

It is a beautiful Saturday morning and glorious sunshine is beaming through my bay window but here I am, watching episode 5 of Orange Marmalade (OM) and blogging about it.

What a turn of events five weeks into the premiere of this highly anticipated vampire fantasy teen drama. This one is currently getting butchered on social media.

At this rate, will there be any viewers left after episode 5? Will KBS consider shortening it like tvN’s Ex-Girlfriend Club? Experiment gone awry?OM6

[Spolier Alerts!]

Ratings for OM were below expectations from the start and no one would be surprised if they keep sliding. Even Korean Netizens are finding these climactic turn of events befuddling.

I cannot remember in recent memory where a drama has made me ride through such a dramatic love hate relationship.

  • Episode 1 & 2 – loved it! It delivered as promised in the teasers
  • Episode 3 – the head scratching starts…..why so fast paced?
  • Episode 4 – the jaw dropped in disbelief…..what the heck just happened?
  • Episode 5 – is this a brand new story….curiosity creeps in

Prior to watching episode 4, I had read on social media that the story is going to be split into three parts consisting of the present, past and future with the past being a sageuk presentation. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes, and was in denial for a whole week, hoping these were groundless rumours but, as the saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Bam! My hope came crashing down in episode 4. Shi Hoo dead? Jae Min amnesia? Previews of the characters in hanboks? Arghh! My stomach started churning in despair. Why? Why? Why? Why mess with a good formula?

The usual me would have dropped this drama after this train wreck. However, curiosity got the better of me and I finished episode 5 this morning and unexpectedly with no fast forwarding. Sageuk’s not my bread and butter but I did enjoy Sungkyunkwan Scandal but that doesn’t say much.


So many questions are swirling in my head. This makes for a compelling kdrama case study. Just like any competitive for profit business entity, everyone is looking for that single differentiator and wow factor that sets it apart from the competition, to rise above mediocrity, to get it noticed and ultimately to bring in the $$$.

Case study questions

  • why borrow a popular webtoon but change 90% of it and risk pissing off the diehard fans?
  • is it a time travel or is it not? So far it feels like 2 separate stories or to be 3?
  • why jam so much into each episode? why not stretch it out over 16 episodes rather than the advertised 12?
  • why the once a week format when most fans are expecting two episodes a week?
  • why the shock value? is it going according to script?
  • what convinced the execs to sign off on this project? would love to be a fly in the wall at these board meetings
  • what made rising star Yeo Jin Gu sign up for this? is this stretching his creative talent? did he get a huge signing bonus?
  • is this creative genius or an experiment gone awry?

Nevertheless, I have decided to stick this one out. It is thankfully only 12 episodes. Why? Just to satisfy my inquiring mind. The above questions are nagging at me. I may not get all the answers but it is one homework that I will strive to complete.

What about you? Care to join me?

Related posts from other equally baffled bloggers:


10 thoughts on “Orange Marmalade: A Kdrama Case Study?

  1. Pingback: Orange Marmalade: Why am I still watching? | Mitta

  2. – why borrow a popular webtoon but change 90% of it and risk pissing off the diehard fans?
    – what made rising star Yeo Jin Gu sign up for this? is this stretching his creative talent? did he get a huge signing bonus?

    Ive been asking myself those two questions like crazy, and of course I didnt get an answer.

    I dont usually love the vampire thingy story but I love orange marmalade (the webtoon ofcourse) and the reason why I read it at the first place was because I cant wait to see yeo jin goo to play his first lead ever. So I was gonna read the webtoon to get to know the character before I saw baby jin goo on tv. But I guess, that was wrong.. I shouldve not read it.. perhaps I woudnt dissapoint me this much. perhaps I would still enjoying jin goo’s acting..

    sorry for whining.. love your blog btw!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello! Thanks for visiting and glad you like the blog. I am sure you must be super disappointed with how OM turned out. I haven’t even read the webtoon and already felt cheated. But funny enough, the historical epis are not too bad but they feel like separate stories to me. I am still hanging in there….just coz it is so different and I am incredibly curious. Good thing YJG is still so young and his future is definitely shining bright. I see that you wrote a piece on OM too. Will check it out. Glad you stopped by. Cheers!


  3. Well, I decided to drop this too after the fiasco that was ep 4. I have better things to waste my time to. 🙂 What were they thinking!? Mmmmm… come to think of it, I guess no-one was actually using their brain when they decided to let this out of the gate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL….that’s why I love reading your posts. You certainly don’t hold back. And it is the reason why I am curious. KBS is one of the big three. Who approved this concept? Very strange indeed. 🙂


  4. Well, I’m dropping OM. I think that even if they wanted to experiment this format, they should not have destroyed the first story so cruelly. It could have been like a short and sweet drama special, without all melodramatic and useless, not to mention frustrating elements. I would love to hear your thoughts on each episode. On the upside, all 3 leads look gorgeous in Joseon look..hehe. Again if they are going for same type of story, that’s another disappointment.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mitta, this is why I love your blog. This is yet another tought provoking post (by the way I finally saw you on my “Reader”).

    When I saw the picture you used I went, WAIT IS THIS THE “ORANGE MARMALADE / VAMPIRE STORY” that started a few weeks ago??? What’s with the historical theme?? I thought they were in the Subway on the poster???

    You’re asking pertinent questions…
    – 90% change? It’s weird. The title is actually super-awesome to me. Maybe they just thought to use the “appealing title”? But what a huge risk considering the fanbase. Whatever their reason was, it obviously blew in their face.
    – Once a week…. that’s probably one of the reasons of this flop? Very few viewers have the patience…
    – Can’t say if it was creative genius since I don’t watch it, but an experiment, probably, since they do that sometimes, I don’t really know what to think of this.
    – Yeo Jin Gu…I almost want to blame most of this decision on the manager, not trying to find excuses, he has an impressive resume but he’s like 18 years old, maybe he’s more likely to trust the experienced manager in charge of his career. Such a waste, apparently that’s his first lead role.

    Judging from the comments of the link you posted people are really mad at the writers! Even those who didn’t read the webtoon are pissed. Do you think they may cut to 8 or 10 episodes or something if it’s really that bad? :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha Blue! You are so funny. Here I am grinning at your comments. Ya right? Those leads in hanbok took everyone by surprise. I tend to agree with you about YJG. At 18 he is likely enticed by the lead role or it came highly recommended by his manager. I must be a sucker for punishment but I am intrigued to see where this is heading 🙂 And thanks for your support as always!

      Liked by 1 person

Chime In!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s