“The Red Sleeve” has reached a rating of 10%, but fans are angry as Lee Jun-ho and Lee Se-young’s romance is being pushed back by the story of Gwanghang Palace.
The popular MBC Friday-Saturday drama “The Red Sleeve” has made a big mistake. Lee Joon-ho and Lee Se-young‘s romance is decreasing, as the proportion of the story about “Gwanghan Palace,” which was not even in the original novel, has increased in the main story development. The ratings of “The Red Sleeve” is on the rise, but as it now focuses only on the drama that happened inside the palace after building everything with court romance, the drama now has to face a period of stagnation.
Based on the narrative from the original novel of the same name of Jeongjo and Uibin, which is considered the best love story of the Joseon Dynasty, the “the King loved the court lady but did the court lady also love the king?” perspective added an interesting side to the story.
What is more important than anything else is the push-and-pull psychological description of Lee San (Lee Joon-ho) and Seong Deok-im (Lee Se-young). As the Royal Consort Eui-bin Sung is well-known to future generations as “the court lady who rejected the King’s affection twice,” the biggest point to watch in this drama is how their romance unfolds.
However, as the series is reaching its second half, when the romance between the two main characters, Lee San who finally realizes his love for Seong Deok-im and decided to pursue her and Seong Deok-im who tries to push him away even though she knows his feelings, is supposed to be built up, “The Red Sleeve” poured cold water on the audience by bringing out the court ladies’ secret organization “Gwanghang Palace”.
This detail was not even in the original novel, but it appeared in the drama with the setting that Gwanghang Palace, a secret organization of court ladies led by the Head Court Lady Jo, tried to create a king that suits their desire. Gwanghang Palace appeared in earnest from episode 8 and even aimed at assassinating Lee San during his trip to pay tribute to his ancestors at the previous kings’ mausoleum.
The problem is that this detail occurred too many times from the later part of episode 8 until the ending of episode 10. “The Red Sleeve” recently extended 1 more episode to become a 17-episode series. Although the drama requires rapid developments, from how Lee San becomes King Jeongjo to the story of Sung Deok-im becoming Eui-bin Sung and her death, they decided to push back the romance of the main characters.
In the meantime, Lee San, a resourceful man, was drawn in an incompetent way and the laxity of the drama was also revealed. Even though the assassin squad was caught during his trip to visit the ancestors’ tomb, their existence suddenly disappeared. Lee San, who said he would reveal the hidden truth, was monitored by King Yeongjo, who moved the palace to the side of Daejeon due to the separation of Head Court Lady Jo and Hong Jung-yeo (Jo Hee-bong). The rebellion incident only revealed the truth of the royal inspector official then just made the viewers wait for his return to Hanyang.
Of course, appropriate conflict elements to push the drama developments could increase tension and deepen the relationship between the main characters. However, since the role of main and supporting characters seemed to be reversed and the main characters’ narratives were buried, there is no choice but to doubt the writer’s ability. It is such a regret that if they wanted to emphasize political events, the stories of characters such as the Dong Deok organization, Princess Hwawan or actual events were enough.
As a result, the viewer bulletin board of “The Red Sleeve” was flooded with protests. Netizens left comments such as “I want to stop watching the story of Head Court Lady Jejo”, “Please focus on Jeongjo and Deok-im”, “I’m sick of Gwanghangung”, “The main character Lee San only appeared for 17 minutes”…
“The Red Sleeve” chose to extend one episode in order to repay viewers’ support and deliver a more complete story. However, the prolonged development of episodes 9 and 10 raises suspicions that extending one episode is not to increase “the work’s completeness” but because of “the work’s success”.
Lee Jun-ho promised to dance to 2PM’s hit song “My House” in a Dragon robe (worn by Joseon kings) if the drama’s ratings exceed 15%. In response, viewers expressed their expectations that they would be able to see the pledge.
However, “The Red Sleeve” has been stagnant since the appearance of the Gwanghangung episode, with no further increase from the ratings of 10%. If this continues, it could be a downtrend, let alone Lee Jun-ho’s pledge. What viewers want is the enthronement of Lee San. “The Red Sleeve” is a full-fledged romantic drama about Lee San and Deok-im, including their pregnancy and childbirth. The clumsy political story is enough to season the two’s romance. In a situation where most of the filming has already been completed, it is up to the production team’s ability to calm down the angry viewers.