'My Man's Woman' Empties Streets

SBS soap "My Man's Woman" is shaping up to be a huge hit. The drama was highly anticipated because it once again teams up writer Kim Soo-hyun with producer Jung Eung-young, the creative spirits behind hit dramas such as "Men of the Bath House" and "Letter to Parents."

The cast is also intriguing, with Kim Hee-ae, the prototype of a good wife and mother, cast as the seductress of her friend's husband and Bae Jong-ok, who usually plays the worldly woman, as the housewife who blindly trusts her adulterous husband and friend.

The soap drew a mere 11.3 percent viewer rating when the first episode was aired on April 2. But since then it has set fresh records with every episode, and the current ratings are the highest among soaps broadcast on Monday and Tuesday. The nationwide ratings of the soap came in second at 25.9 percent, and in Seoul and the metropolitan area it ranked first with 28.1 percent when the 16th episode was aired in the fourth week of May. The press has been predicting that ratings will soon pass 30 percent.

Viewers are certainly passionate. The trivia hunters already have their hands full. "What's the title of poem that Bae Jong-ok recites in the 14th episode?" "What is the brand of sky blue T shirt that Kim Hee-ae wore in the soap?" And the answers are all there too, from the places the characters visit to the brand of wallpaper in their bedrooms.

And it's not just housewives who watch. Just listen to the men. "I don't usually watch soaps, says college student Kim Dong-shin. "But since I saw one episode of 'My Man's Woman,' I've been hooked. I sometimes think, what if people around me were in similar situation to the drama? The soap seems very realistic."

Lee Young-chan, a 52-year-old office worker, confesses he watches the soap with his family. "My wife is a huge fan. I feel sorry for Bae Jong-ok because her character reflects ordinary housewives in our society. I keep thinking my wife is a housewife just like Bae in the soap."

Female viewers appreciate it for the same reason. "I watch the soap because it depicts everyday issues in a family while other dramas deal only in Cinderella stories or cartoonish subject matter," says Nam Ji-hye, a college graduate. "The soap depicts the humanity of people involved in adultery instead of judging them."

"Adultery shakes up your life," says Yeo Ji-young, a 34-year-old housewife. "I understand the situation where a woman falls in love with a man though he is married. But Bae is heartbreaking from a housewife's point of view. I think the soap is popular because it describes in detail how the betrayed wife feels."

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 07, 2007 09:59 KST