Korea’s –Style TV Show Courts Controversy

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com August 08 2011 4:25 PM ET

When officials of the Korean Broadcasting System, South Korea’s most influential media organization, decided to air the nation’s first lesbian-themed drama, they had no idea how much of a commotion it would cause.

According to AllKPop.com, the brouhaha over Daughters of Club Bilitis began before the show premiered Sunday. The series follows the lives of three lesbian couples across the generational divide: 50-year olds Choi Ran and Choi Hyang Ja, a 30-year-old career women Han Go Eun and Oh Se Jung, and high-schoolers Jin Se Yeon and Ahn Ji Hyun — and like its American counterpart (The L Word), it has some hotties in the mix.

Even though the premiere was originally slated for a midnight time slot, assuring a largely adult audience, after KBS received a barrage of online protests, the network took the additional step of rating the show as appropriate for ages 19 and up (a much more restrictive version of America’s NC-17 movie rating).

While critics have issued a variety of denunciations, such as calling the show an “illusion” and a “crime against humanity,” the LGBT world is thrilled with what appears to be to be a pretty fair and balanced portrayal of LGBT lives. U.S. bloggers are posting trailers and the first episode — so far without subtitles.

Even better, according to AllKPop.com, KBS is resolute in its support of the show. The site quotes an anonymous broadcasting insider, who says, “There are LGBT persons around us. Just because a drama is LGBT-themed does not mean that it’s meant to purposely be stimulating, yet people still view it through those lenses. Because KBS is a public broadcasting network, there remains obstacles on airing dramas of such content. Still, we hope that people will view the drama for what it is: a drama.”

And, according to Asian-American lesbians, it’s a damn good one at that.