‘Chungdamdong Alice’ has taken the realities of the setting to present them in quickly and excitingly in its pilot episode.
The first episode of the ‘Chungdamdong Alice’ showed the newbie worker Se-kyung (Moon Geun-young)’s entrance into the world of Chungdam-dong and her relative lacks and difficulties, compared to the ultra-wealthy denizens of the neighborhood.
Se-kyung, graduating top of her class in her prestigious university’s design department, and with a gallery of awards under her belt, repeatedly fails in her applications because she lacks any foreign experiences. After 3 years of joblessness, coming into a company as a part-time worker, her first job is an errand from the boss, with multimillion shopping list.
Her creed of ‘hard work makes my life worthwhile’, in the face of the realities and their contempt and ridicule of hard work, was shattered. She was even cut off from her dream of working as a full-time worker by the head of the design department’s shout that “your ability is formed from your birth”, because she lacks any strong family background.
Another group of the drama, in complete contrast to Se-kyung, was Yoon-joo (So Yi-hyun). Yoon-joo, using her beauty and charm, was the type where she used men to grant her comfortable lifestyle, and later on in life she also managed to marry a CEO of the company, living a life in stark contrast to Se-kyung. Despite Se-kyung having much more ability in school, Yoon-joo eventually ended up doing a much better work in life.
The dichotomy of their choice, in stark contrast to the school’s teachings of ‘hard work being the answer to everything’, was reflective of the society that does not place value on individual hard work anymore. Yoon-joo is effectively bypassing effort by cheating, but despite the scornful looks that may be earned, it is still reflective of the wall in the reality that prevents many of people from ascending into higher positions.
Other aspects of the drama, like people buying luxury bags just to keep up with others and the luxury companies using their psychology to boost their sales, the so-called ‘marriage-working wives’ who met wealthy husbands in the face of unemployment and those who scorn them, but nevertheless dresses up for marriage ceremonies to find their own, and those who bought their houses in housing booms but became ‘house-poors’ nowadays, was an eloquent stab at the realities of the state of 2012.
Taking a stab in the thorny problem of wealth, all eyes are on ‘Chungdamdong Alice’ to develop their challenge into a convincing drama.