Love is the Moment: Some Notes on Heirs

by jh

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Last fall, it was pretty hard to ignore the phenomenon of Heirs in the English k-drama fandom. Since it’s all research, I did my part by writing a few posts for Drama Fever. Normally, I would’ve linked to them while they were put up. But, they were in Spanish. Also: I flaked out and only wrote three posts. Yeah. So in an effort to document what exactly I thought about about Heirs, here are a few random observations I made, translated from the original Spanish. There are spoilers.

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  • When Tan confesses to Eun Sang, it’s a key moment that shows the difference between each character. Since Tan is rich and a guy, the way he treats Eun is immediately possessive. Think of the way he takes her cellphone away from her. This displays his economic superiority, while also acting as a microcosm of “rich guy / poor girl” k-drama dynamics. All of his behavior is tossed aside thanks to a hug and a declaration of love which just puts Eun Sang in a tough spot, revealing the precarious equilibrium that holds her life together.
  • Even though Tan’s feelings are pure, the way he expresses them bring up all sorts of different interpretations. There’s a chilling moment when he tells Eun Sang that there’s no place in the house that isn’t his. The meaning is clear, even though it may not be to Tan: there’s no place to escape, because this is my world.  He later expresses how happy he is that Eun Sang lives at his house, but this happiness is one that simply shows that since Eun Sang lives there, it also means that she is just another thing that belongs to Tan as well.
  • One of my favorite scenes in Heirs is when Kim Tan’s dad receives a report over his two sons (including photos of what they’ve been doing). It’s a sad scene thanks to its implications. Love is something that the sons have to hide from the father, because in the world of the show, love is a luxury. Marriage is something that only exists to merge together companies, nothing more.
  • There’s an interesting scene early on where Chan Young explains the rules and structure of the school to Eun Sang. This is a world where capitalism decides everything; if you don’t have money, you’re not important. Students spend time checking their stocks, asking each other what kind of business their family has and how much money they make: this is a world where everyone knows their place, those who trespass are punished swiftly and what’s important is maintaining the prestigious nature of the institution.
  • The only thing Kim Tan and Young Do show is that when you’re rich you can do whatever you want. Rich people in k-drama act like royalty because they think that they can do whatever they want, and own whatever they want. So then we get Young Do terrorizing his classmates without consequence, and Kim Tan having fights at school without being kicked out. Being rich doesn’t stop with just being materialist, but rather continues until it becomes a worldview. In other words: the possessive manner with which Kim Tan and Young do treat Eun Sang is inevitable thanks to their upbringing, what the world expects of them, and the conventions of k-drama.

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How To Find It

Luckily for everyone, this one is available right on Dramafever.

Heirs (2013)

20 episodes

SBS

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