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My Absolute Boyfriend: K-Drama remake of J-Drama bombing in Korea but finds international audience

Yeo Jin-Goo and Bang Min-Ah lead the cast of SBS K-drama, My Absolute Boyfriend
Yeo Jin-Goo and Bang Min-Ah lead the cast of SBS K-drama, My Absolute Boyfriend. Pic credit: Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)

My Absolute Boyfriend, the K-drama currently airing on the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), is the latest series to have differing levels of popularity among domestic viewers in Korea and international viewers.

This continues a growing trend of unpopular K-dramas in Korea recuperating their losses through international popularity and appeal. This is a good thing for Korean networks as K-dramas like My Absolute Boyfriend would have been simply considered a loss in the past.

The numbers don’t lie for domestic and international viewers

In Korea, My Absolute Boyfriend was somewhat doomed even before the K-drama aired. For starters, it is based on an old J-Drama, one that aired more than a decade ago. The “old story” did not spark the interest of K-drama viewers, especially those who may have already seen the J-Drama.

Nevertheless, SBS still went forward with My Absolute Boyfriend and the ratings have been dismal ever since. According to AGB Nielsen Korea, every episode has received a single digit viewership rating for the nation. Not only that, not one episode has surpassed four percent. That is really bad.

My Absolute Boyfriend does hold one record and it is one not worth having. As of right now, it is the K-drama to have the lowest viewership ratings for any episode in SBS K-drama history.

Their 17th and 18th episodes airing on June 12, 2019, both received 1.8 percent. It still doesn’t beat the Korean Broadcasting System 2’s K-drama, Manhole, at 1.4 percent, but it is really close.

Internationally, My Absolute Boyfriend is one of the more popular K-dramas to air. For American viewers via Rakuten Viki, it is the second most-popular K-drama this week right behind Her Private Life. It has an average rating of 9.4 out of 10 stars among over 2,500 ratings and over 66,000 followers.

Girl meets boy meets robot

It is possible that SBS wanted to remake My Absolute Boyfriend because of the sudden spike in “robot romance” K-dramas. Starring Yeo Jin-Goo, Bang Min-Ah, and Hong Jong-Hyun, the trio bring the J-Drama to Korean (and international) audiences.

Um Da-da (Min-Ah) swears off men after a horrible breakup with her last boyfriend. But things change when she receives a package containing Zero Nine (Jin-Goo).

Via “accidental kiss,” Da-da activates Zero Nine and the latter takes the former as his girlfriend and gives his selfless love and dedication to her. In turn, Da-da slowly begins to learn more about true love. Things, however, could get messy when Ma Wang-Joon (Jung-Hyun) arrives in their lives and he tries to win back Da-da.

My Absolute Boyfriend is currently airing on SBS. Upcoming episodes will air on Wednesday and Thursdays at 10 p.m. KST. For international audiences specifically in the Americas, it is available to watch for free, with ads, on Rakuten Viki.

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War Omega is an entertainment news writer and painter that specializes in Asian entertainment. On Monsters & Critics, he writes about K-pop, K-dramas, and Chinese... read more
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