First off, I hate to be the netiquette reminder fairy but do not be a douchenozzle and steal my writing. Words are like my kids, if I put it together into a sentence then I consider it kidnapping if it’s lifted wholesale. With the intense frenzy for Heirs news despite being three months away from airing, I’ve already seen things lifted without credit and would kindly ask that it stop. Link to any post or take screencaps or stills and write your own words about information I’ve gathered, but it’s a no-no on copying-and-pasting. Capesh? Now that’s out of the way, I’ve not seen the type of pre-airing frenzy of this level since forever and I must say it loads of fun to ride the high. I’ve no expectations that Heirs will be qualitatively good, but if it’s fluffy and entertaining without pretending to be otherwise, then I think the drama and I can be fast friends. I want a drama where I can get caught up in a story even as I have the freedom to acknowledge its limitations and even make fun of it. And I think Heirs will have all of the above. Just the thought of Lee Min Ho going back to high school makes me giddy with the possibilities Will the entire endeavor be an homage (or giant FU) to Gu Jun Pyo? His character doesn’t sound as assholey, but then again, the very creation of Domyoji Tsukasa was always intended as a caricature that was gradually fleshed out into a believable extreme, like a reverse stereotype.
Same with the plucky poor girl in Makino Tsukushi, representing the pinnacle of the poor girl with grit. I mention Hana Yori Dango because in the last 3 days leaked pages from the first two episodes of Heirs have been making ripples in DC and Baidu and this drama reads just like HanaDan with a few changes. If Kim Eun Sook came right out and said she was indeed doing her own take on HanaDan because she thought Boys Before Flowers sucked donkey balls (which it did) and she wanted to do right by the story, then I would appreciate this endeavor more. Because then she is giving credit to HanaDan which created the trope of four rich high school boys forming a posse, a poor girl transferring to a rich high school under the charity case guise but in truth to avoid a different scandal, and the love story between the richest boy and the poorest girl in school. Kim Eun Sook is well-known for her snappy dialogue, quick one-liners, and flash over substance (such as when her characters banter sometimes over what is essentially nothing of substance narratively), but in the leaked script pages I see none of that. But then if she does bring it and manage to succeed here, I’ll give her kudos for living up to some massive fan expectations.
[Reading the leaked script pages, this aligns with the rumors that the leads were headed to Australia next month for a location shoot. I will venture a guess that the Kim mansion will be the same luxury building used as the Palace in The King 2 Hearts and My Princess, and Gu Jun Pyo’s house in Boys Before Flowers and Kang Hye Na’s residence in My Fair Lady. Empire High School will be the same high school used in BoF.]
Early morning in the Gold Coast near Brisbane, Australia. The rising sun blanketed the shore and ocean surface in a golden light. A giant golden wave churned in the sea. Riding the waves was a lone figure – Kim Tan (18 years old). A rookie surfer, one who took up the sport as a way to endure the loneliness of study abroad life.
Four years ago, on the day he left for Australia, his half-brother Kim Won (31 years old) gave him a few pithy words that left a lasting impression “Don’t worry and don’t over-think, just eat, drink, and be merry. Eat well and sleep well, and if you want, you don’t even need to come back.”
His brother turned, his cold backside stiffened with resolve. In that moment, Kim Tan understood it all – he wasn’t leaving to go study abroad, he was being sent away…….his brother was starting to take back everything that Kim Tan’s mother took away.
Someone asked “Don’t you hate your brother? Hate your birth mother? Hate the father that never once protected you?” Kim Tan’s answer was simple “Hate? Who has the energy, I’m really lazy.”
The Southern Hemisphere, in a luxury building located near the Sydney Harbor Bridge – in the penthouse apartment, Kim Tan walked through the clean living room and into his bedroom. He sat down on the bed and started writing a school essay. At that moment his phone rang and initially he had no intention of answering. He stared at the caller ID and was stunned, it was his mother calling. His mother – who spent her life coveting what other women had – their purses, their homes, their husbands……
Kim Tan didn’t answer in the end. Even if he didn’t listen to her he knew what she was calling about. Rachel (18 years old) was on a flight to Sydney, or she was boarding, or perhaps she’s already landed. It could only be one of those three choices. It wasn’t hard to guess Rachel was coming here. It was the holidays in Korea right now, and in two days it would be the anniversary of their engagement. Rachel was Kim Tan’s fiancée.
On the day of the engagement, Rachel asked “Why do you have any reason to be unhappy? This matter has no downside for either of our families. Within our circle, is there a better future spouse choice for either of us? But with your attitude right now, why are you getting engaged to me then?”
Kim Tan replied “I think that if I don’t want to marry you, I need to first get engaged to you.”
Kim Tan started packing his bags and grabbed his notebook as well. He wanted to leave for a few days and not have to deal with the engagement anniversary. Because he was just that lazy.
“The plane is approaching Sydney International Airport, all passengers please fasten your seat belts…….”
Eun Sang nervously walked out of the arrivals terminal, all around her in the airport were Western faces. Until this moment, she finally realized what she had done. She asked herself, with anxiety rushing towards her, what she was doing here when she hadn’t even taken a domestic flight within Korea before? This trip was a trip way too far. But Eun Sang steeled herself. “I can do it, I once got 14th place in the entire school.”
Eun Sang walked out of the airport and looked at the bus signs. She held a piece of paper in her hand containing directions she printed out back in Korea on how to get to the Gold Coast from Sydney airport. At this moment, a Korean voice reached her.
“Yes, it’s me, I just arrived.” Eun Sang instinctively turned around and was immediately stunned. My god……that fancy looking girl, from head to toe, even her eyelashes was so pretty it didn’t look real. She was looking at Rachel, who at that moment was standing in front of a luxury car while a forty-something man (a manager for Rachel’s family’s company working in Australia) was loading her suitcases in the trunk.
“Of course Tan picked me up at the airport! We’re together right now and he’s putting my suitcases in the trunk. Tan said I got prettier. Oh, him too, he’s gotten even more handsome.”
Eun Sang’s mouth opened – that forty-something man could not possibly be the “Tan” she was referring to. Then……..ah………so that was it. Eun Sang packed away her curiosity and turned her attention back to looking for the bus signs.
Rachel was starting to get annoyed. Her mom wouldn’t stop talking and that strange girl near her kept secretly peeking at her. And Tan didn’t even come to pick her up. She finally ended the call and had a bellyful of frustration she need to release.
“Hey! You there!” Rachel’s annoyed voice reached Eun Sang and she turned her head. “You were laughing before, what were you laughing at?”
“I didn’t laugh, but if you thought I was laughing, then I’m sorry.”
“You had a weird expression, what did you mean!”
“……..I didn’t mean anything bad.”
“I get to decide what you meant!”
“…….you really want to hear it?”
“Do I look like I have all the time in the world?”
“I was thinking……..so I’m not the only person that is so unpopular.”
Eun Sang and Rachel’s ill-fated connection started from this moment on……
And its to transfer to Empire High School? Hearing that Kim Tan’s mom wanted her to transfer, Eun Sang was already uncomfortable. Even though her old life in the small neighborhood was quite far from her school, and it was tiring to get up when it was still dark to get to school on time, but transfer to Empire High School? That can’t be happening.
“I’m sorry, I………..”
“Do you think I’m asking for you to agree?”
In truth, Kim Tan’s mother loathed to transfer Eun Sang to the school owned by her own chaebol group. But…..that one time she wavered, that one passionate kiss with the tennis coach outside their mansion in the alley…..it was all seen by Eun Sang’s mother. The price for Eun Sang’s mother to keep silent was twofold – to allow Eun Sang to move into the Kim family mansion and to transfer her to Empire High School. In Eun Sang’s mother’s mind, if Eun Sang attend that school then her life would get better.
“The…..the daughter of the housekeeper?” Seeing the student file brought by Kim Tan’s mother, Principal Choi’s mouth dropped open.
“So I’m just asking you to transfer her in. Don’t worry, I don’t need you guys to give her a good education. Lately there have been lots of negative buzz about Empire High being a rich kids school, right? You can just see this as countering that publicity and package her as a charity case. Since school tuition is rising continuously, sooner or later she’ll leave on her own.”
So just like that, the first day arrived for Eun Sang to head towards the most prestigious high school – Empire High!
They say rivals are always bound to run into each other, but who knew not one but two would happen at the same time – Rachel AND Young Do. The two of them had a look on their faces like they just saw a ghost.
“This is impossible! Hey, part-timer! How did you end up at our school?”
Rachel’s expression was even more incredulous than Young Do. “It’s really you! The girl who was with Tan in Australia. Who are you really?”
“Cha Eun Sang? What is going on?”
Eun Sang had no choice but to tell Chan Young everything – how she came back from Australia like a shadow of her former self, how she moved into the mansion where her mom works, how the Mistress of that family arranged for her to transfer to Empire High. Chan Young had already experienced so much, seen so much, at this school. At this moment he could see all the difficulties that Eun Sang would be confronted with and it made his heart heavy with worry…..