How many times have you heard a drama being described as being a Cinderella story? Probably too many times to count? I honestly have lost count as to how many “Cinderella“ stories that I have seen. That’s because a Cinderella Story is such a broad term that it can be used to describe almost any drama where it involves a man and a woman coming to love each other through a series of obstacles.
The term Cinderella story is applied too broadly. Regardless of what the actual drama itself is about, as long as a couple come to love each other after a series of events, the term Cinderella story can be applied. A drama is not necessarily a Cinderella story if it has the word “Cinderella” attached to its title. To be a Cinderella story it must, at the very least, not stray too far from the Cinderella plot. Of course, there must be some tweaking here and there to create a unique plot but some tweakings are too overdone that the drama no longer resembles any a Cinderella story.
Travelling back in time, the story of Cinderella is about a woman who has lost her father and lives with her step-mother and two step-sisters. She was treated harshly and made to work like a maid by her step family. One day sneaked her way into a royal ball where she met her Prince Charming. However, the clock soon struck 12 and she headed home and left behind a glass slipper before her Prince Charming could get to know her. So, he used to this glass slipper and after some complications, he finally found her and the two married and lived happily ever after. Now that is what you call a Cinderella story. Anything that strays far from this plot should not be described as a Cinderella story as they are nothing alike.
Nowadays, a Cinderella story just has to involve two people coming to love each other through a series of events. It doesn’t matter about the background story and whatnot, it just requires the man to be the Princess Charming and the girl to be Cinderella.
Let’s have a look at the following “Cinderella stories” (which btw, do not have the most accurate summaries)
A rich heir of a fashion empire, Lee Joon Hee, switches identity which a poor man, Oh Dae San, who happens to look like him. Dae San is an “imitation designer” earning him living by copying designer pieces to sell at his market shop. Upon the identity switch he meets his Cinderella , Seo You Jin. So Dae San has to live posing as to identity.
Cinderella Story? Nope! Promoted as the masculine version of a Cinderella story, it definitely strays far from this.
Song Eun Jo, a girl who lost her father at a young age is brought into a new family when her mother remarries. She meets her new Cinderella step-sister, Goo Hyo Sun where trouble begin to start for Eun Jo. Her mother appears to love Hyo Sun more than she loves her and furthermore, Hyo Sun seems to be falling for Eun Jo’s prince, Hong Ki Hoon. Thus begins the story of step-sister extracting revenge on Cinderella.
Cinderella story? Yes, for sure! It follows the basic plot of Cinderella with some tweaks here and there, but it remains to follow the plot of Cinderella.
An ordinary college student, Lee Seol, suddenly discovers that she is a princess, the great-granddaughter of the last emperor of the Joseon era. A diplomat, Park Hae Young, is put in charge of teaching her the etiquettes of being a princess. Hae Young finds himself drawing closer and closer to her despite knowing that he may lose his entire inheritance if the monarchy is restored.
Cinderella story? I think so. Aside from the princess aspect, this drama really builds on the group of a commoner falling for royalty.
Chao Yun Jie, a divorced rich company heir discovered that he unknowingly had an eight year old child with his ex-wife, Wang Lan. In order to gain the custody of his child, he assumes a fake marriage with hotel maid, Fang Yong Yong.
Cinderella story? Yeps! This is probably as close to a Cinderella story that you will find in dramaland. Fang Yong Yong comes from a step family with two step sisters and a step mother. She is made to work like a maid by her family and she encounters her Prince Charming through work which brought the two together.
Fated To Love You
After a one night stand, ordinary office girl Chen Xin Yin finds herself pregnant with the heir of a soap and cleaning company, Ji Chun Xi’s child. The two are forced to get married for the sake of their child but fate drew them apart and put them on a journey to uncover their feelings for each other.
Cinderella Story? Definitely! It follows the plot of a Cinderella story but manages to change it up a bit to give it a modern take without removing the aspects of what Cinderella is all about.
Rich Man, Poor Woman
Hyuga Toru is an arrogant man with a lot of flaws in his personality. He is also the CEO of an IT firm aiming to bring this adventurous ”Personal File” project to life. He encounters a young college student, Natsui Makoto who helps to remove his flaws and sticks by his side to bring his project to life.
Cinderella story? Definitely a no! I have no idea why this one was even termed as a “Cinderella story of the real world” when they have no connections whatsoever! Or maybe it’s just me who doesn’t see the connection? I just don’t see the connection. Her character doesn’t assume the role of Cinderella and I don’t see the connection with the plot.