My Ahjussi has been riddled with much controversy, such as the age gap between the leads and depiction of violence against women. According to @tiger457_stv, this controversy is a blessing in disguise because it creates opportunity for discussion, and that somewhat dilutes the prejudices we all have.
@mujay said after 6 months or even 1 year, My Ajusshi will still dominate discussions, since it brings viewers themes which are unfavorable, eye-opening, etc… This reader agrees with you wholeheartedly.
1) Violence against women. The beatings that Ji-an took was shown in brutal detail. Literally she got punched in the face and abdomen until she crumpled to the ground. This made many delicate viewers cringe, hence the frantic warning from the authorities about excess violence on screen…
THE PROBLEM IS… screening violence against women… DOESN’T MAKE THE PROBLEM GO AWAY. It doesn’t lessen the blows, the punches to the face and the body until these women crumple to the ground whereby they end up in hospital with internal organ damages or bone fractures.
That scene where Ji-an went to the pharmacy to get pain medication, where the woman pharmacist shows her on a piece of paper, “Do you need help?” eyeing the gamer boy (thinking he was her boyfriend and beat her up)… is a message to the abused, that there are people out there who may help them, that they should seek help, that there are people who care.
Those brutal scenes further highlight who Lee Ji-an is. She may be desperately poor, living a miserable downtrodden existence where she eats table scraps, much like a dog, literally tortured brutally, YET she remained relatively unbroken, with her dignity and scruples intact… shirking from those scenes of violence against her would not have lessened her injury and her suffering… showing basically a society that just wants to sweep the ugliness under the rug… out of sight, out of mind!
There is no excuse to assault another human being… unless they have rabies and attack us first!
2) This tiresome age gap matter. There has been endless discussion on this topic with enough cooking ideas to make a 100 courses meal! In reality, there won’t be consensus on anything… The audience could not even agree on whether their relationship is one of father/daughter, teacher-student, friends, more than friends, lovers etc… With that, the audience could in no way agree on how they proceed with their affection toward each other, whether it be platonic, romantic, skin-ship?? etc… But, this controversy has created a lot of dialogues, which in some way dilutes the prejudice that WE ALL FEEL…
Some shippers here at Soompi state without hesitation that they think the relations between the main characters are fine and ship them. This reader will pose a slightly different scenario where their age gap is 35-40 years, would the shippers still ship or look away with unease at such a relationship? If they feel uncomfortable, that is what many nonshipping audience feel. This is why the nonshippers pretend to see a father/daughter uncle-niece, beautiful friendship relations. It makes the audience more comfortable. In reality, most of us have some prejudices, and it takes time and reasoning for us to change or not change our mind. But the dialogue was started by My Mister.
3) What to do about the poor? K-drama tends to show the richer poor in society (those who are poor but not desperately poor)… What about the rest who are the poorer-poor. They get swept under the rug. Sometimes a hero may end up being a street bum but he doesn’t stay there for long. In reality, there is very little that society can do for the poor. By definition, if someone has more money than another then one is poorer and the other one is richer. There is no societal scale that can make everyone equal… but at least it shocks us seeing Ji-an, the heroine of the story, eat table scraps that belong in trash or something one may throw to a dog, seeing the startled reaction of the engineer and the computer kid when they see grandma being transported in a cart (something that would startle all of us if we see that in real life)… And it makes us think… for a moment!
4) Workplace violence. Director Yoon should not be director. He is abusive, tactless, disrespectful to all those working under him… while acting like a lap-dog to those above him, licking their boots. Engineer Dong Hoon on the other hand show the right traits for a manager. He even tries to save a lady bug (life is relatively sacred and gratuitous; violence is not good).
5) How to make a successful drama… that sucks the audience in and won’t let them breathe, that play with their emotions, week after week. This matter has been discussed in many thoughtful essays here… so this reader will simply sum them up as: Visual, sound and scenery.