“Bitch X Rich” and “The Penthouse” give different takes on rich kids running the school.
Bitch X Rich
“Bitch X Rich” is another series about high-school politics and the glaring wealth gap that set students in different stations at Cheongdam highschool. While the school opens its gates to students from all backgrounds, those from the lower class cannot live an easy life.
Moreover, the series accurately depict the nuanced group order within the rich. It simply goes as: the richer one’s parents are, the higher a status they will occupy, Je Na (Choi Ye Rim) is the prime example as she is the “Queen” of the wealthy because her father runs one of the largest companies in Korea. Not only students but teachers are hesitant to take actions against her.
With that much power in her hands, Je Na is not afraid to abuse it. She pulled strings to get a male student expelled after he accused her of abusing power; another time, one female student almost disappeared without a trace for provoking the rich kid cliques.
When that many wealthy kids attend the same school, it becomes a place for displaying wealth and vying for power. Academic ability recedes to the background and only wealth gives a student voice in the school.
Similarly, “The Penthouse” also has Hwayeong Middle School is also a place for the rich. Regardless of the status as an institution for nurturing musical talent, anyone with enough money can buy their way into it.
Students themselves will form cliques and go on a hunt for less well-off students. For example, Joo Seok Kyung (Han Ji Hyun) will take her friend group to bully the poor in the school.
At Hwayeong, academic competition still exists, and students are not afraid to use their parents’ money to break into higher academic rankings. This is where Hwayeong departs from Cheongdam, where students fight for higher rankings based purely and directly on wealth. At Hwayeong, the better a student performs, the higher chance they will be suppressed.