DISCLAIMER: I am not attacking any K-pop groups or fans and especially not the show this article focuses on. I love the show! Noticed a pattern, and thought it would be interesting to write about it. This article also pertains only to the show adaptation and not the book, since the book is different (due to censorship). Please enjoy reading!
As I began watching The Untamed, I noted the marketing and psychological strategies behind the drama. While The Untamed is an amazing show with a heart-wrenching storyline, strong character development, and unforgettable friendship, I personally believe that, in addition to these features, another aspect of the show has fueled its rise to the top.
The Boyband Effect
Chen Xiaoqian from The Romance of Tiger and Rose makes a good point: “The male lead belongs to the female lead; the male supporting lead belongs to everyone else.” With 2nd lead syndrome, the audience roots for the more likeable, very single male supporting lead or 2nd lead. But what happens to shows without a female lead or love interest? This is where the “Boyband Effect” comes in.
Boybands such as BTS and GOT7 are practically made for their fans. They’re discouraged from dating (or straight up aren’t allowed to) because their fans are “dating” them. They know personal facts about the boys from their blood type and religion to their favourite food and what the pinky finger of each member’s hand looks like. When fans discover a member is dating (or married), the fangirls feel betrayed (which is total BS), and the member’s popularity unfairly plummets.
The “Boyband Effect” is a vital marketing strategy for companies. The fangirls can have a “boyfriend” without connecting with the people around them —all they have to do is watch millions of YouTube videos and V Live streams, repost every picture, and spend the majority of their time with the boys.
Now, let’s take a look at The Untamed. This show has an exceptionally large cast of hot, single guys – just like you would have in a boyband. There aren’t any female leads or love interests – except you. The Untamed characters are made for their audience, unlike a 1st male lead in a more standard show, which is made for the female lead.
The cast of The Untamed is larger than the average boyband, covering a variety of types that the audience might have. This show has it all from the hot, mature cinnamon roll and the adorable scheming psychopath, to the hottest blind dude, eye-rolling tsundere, and everything in between. The fangirls have all the boys to themselves, don’t have to 3rd wheel to a female lead, and could probably choose a bias if they want to. If the 2nd lead is made for the audience of a standard drama, all the boys here are made for the audience of The Untamed.
I believe the “Boyband Effect” has truly helped boost The Untamed’s popularity. Because of this effect, the show is backed by obsessive, rabid fangirls who work together as a mobile unit to top the drama lists and get certain actors from it trending. This is not to say that the only reason The Untamed got popular is because of hot guys and rabid fangirls. The show itself, from the heart-wrenching storyline to the exceptional chemistry between characters, is a very entertaining watch. It’s very well done and deserves every bit of praise it receives – the hot guys in the show are just a plus.
Side Note: I’ve definitely fallen into this effect and am not judging any fangirls. I could probably fangirl all day about some of these characters and actors. (Example: I found such a good photo of Jiang Cheng up there tho ahdjsfsdjflskd).
OTPs are Still Effective
However, in a different kind of show (like a romance drama), the 2nd lead is not the only character made for the audience. While the 1st male lead is made for the female lead, when the two of them get together, the OTP that arises can be equally enjoyable for the audience. The audience gets to have a relationship with the 2nd lead while happily 3rd wheeling the OTP.
However, in The Untamed, the audience isn’t the 3rd wheel of any character – they can be the love interest of every character. Because The Untamed did an especially good job of executing the show and the show’s concept is fresh and new, it rose to extreme popularity and toppled a good number of long-standing dramas from their former position.
End Side Notes
- “Rabid fangirl” isn’t meant to be an insult and isn’t referring to the fanbase as a whole, just a few fans who are rather aggressive
- I’m not saying that you have to be a girl to like this drama!
- Dang, that really is a good-looking cast (O_O)
- I truly love The Untamed and would like to see more shows like it (^_^) (especially historical/wuxia)
- Wow look at those power couples tho – hopefully didn’t make any mistakes up there…pls, tell me if I did!
- Holy crap why does Xue Yang look so good there
- I can’t get over how good Jiang Cheng looks in that pic afkdosnfs
- Just FYI I usually wasn’t one to fangirl (it’s usually my sister), but Cdramas really brought that out in me. Good job Cdramas T_T
- Thank you, @probablydoinghw, for insisting on helping me write this article! (She made an account just for this.)
I hope you liked the article – feel free to leave a like and comment?
Most importantly, thank you for reading!
*Images are from Google, not mine - I just compiled a few of them together. (^_^)*