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‘The Blue House Family’ hopes to revive Korean sitcom

Cha In-pyo plays the role of president in “The Blue House Family.” (Astory)
Cha In-pyo plays the role of president in “The Blue House Family.” (Astory)
While made-for-television political satires have had little success in Korea, “The Blue House Family” is ready to take a jab at the genre early next year.
It so happens that 2022 is a presidential election year in Korea, and Astory, the production company behind the 10-episode sitcom, is betting that content related to politics will grab viewers’ attention.

“Politics and comedy go well together. Many comedians and content creators view the political scenes as a treasure box of sorts. Reactions to hilarious memes and videos in the online communities and social media are proof,” Astory said in a press release last week.

Veteran actors Cha In-pyo, Yea Ji-won, Jung Woong-in and Yoon Da-hoon will star in the upcoming sitcom, with Cha to take the role as President Ko Han-pyo.

Astory, producer of such hit series as tvN’s “Signal” and Netflix’s “Kingdom,” may be uniquely qualified to take on the project. Its comedy show “SNL Korea,” available on video streaming service Coupang Play, has featured interviews with presidential hopefuls -- former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl and former Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung, among others.

“Because sitcoms have virtually disappeared from the Korean entertainment and broadcast scene, shooting a comedy series had been in my mind for a long time. And I thought it would be interesting to portray a president, commonly viewed as a solemn and charismatic figure, as a father and a husband of an ordinary family,” Ahn Sang-whi, Astory’s head of production division No. 2, told The Korea Herald on Friday.

Ahn thought that the president may get scolded by his wife and be overwhelmed by work and government officials rather than rule over them, just like the lead character in HBO’s “The Sopranos,” where an Italian American mobster has difficulties balancing his family life with his role as the leader of a criminal organization.

Ahn believed that his project might just quench viewers’ thirst for a comedy series and ran with it, something local broadcast and cable channels have been avoiding.

“While South Korea has never had a president-themed comedy or sitcom before, many American channels have produced amazing projects, including HBO’s ‘Veep,’” said Ahn. While political satire or sitcom are not in-trend in Korea, Ahn hopes to see “The Blue House Family” lead a revival of the Korean sitcom, he added.

“The Blue House Family” seeks to mark the return of sitcoms after almost eight years, with the most recent Korean sitcom being Tving’s “Potatostar 2013QR3”

Astory plans to release “The Blue House Family” via streaming, but a final decision has yet to be announced.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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