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[Herald Interview] 'LTNS' draws portrait of modern Koreans via infidelity, broken marriages

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Feb. 6, 2024 - 13:19

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Directors of Directors of "LTNS" Lim Dae-hyung (left) and Jeon Go-woon (Tving)

Directors Lim Dae-hyung and Jeon Go-woon said they wanted to draw a portrait of modern people by portraying broken marriages in their six-part black comedy "LTNS."

Short for "Long Time No Sex," the drama series follows the story of Woo-jin (played by Esom) and Samuel (played by Ahn Jae-hong), a sexless couple who have been married for five years, who chase down unfaithful couples to extort money from them.

The drama series delivers sexually explicit scenes and dialogue -- still relatively taboo in Korean television -- while depicting different types of infidelity through the adventures of Woo-jin and Samuel.

"We wanted to discuss what was forbidden," said director Jeon during an interview held with reporters in Seoul on Monday.

The forbidden topics include adultery, sex, homosexuality and even love between middle-aged people, according to Jeon.

"By discussing such topics, we expected that we would receive a lot of hate, but (Lim and I) thought that there was a demographic who wanted such topics dealt with on-screen," said Jeon. "We drew courage from that and decided to create something never seen in Korea before," Jeon continued.

"I was constantly raising the question 'Why is sex a topic that is so avoided in Korean (media)?'" Lim said.

"I think the very fact that the Korean society avoids talking about sex is one of the prime reasons why sex-related social problems occur," said Lim. He added through 'LTNS,' he wanted to create the kind of atmosphere that allowed for a relaxed conversation about sex.

"(Korean) drama series always talk about different human needs such as food, money and clothes. Sex is one of those things, and I wanted to explore diverse aspects of the concept with 'LTNS,'" said Lim.

According to Jeon and Lim, certain episodes of the drama series were inspired by the real stories of the directors' acquaintances. The directors said that through the incorporation of true stories, they wanted to relay to the audience what marriages and love look like in the modern era.

"My friend's mother told me some 10 years ago that she had never kissed anyone before," said Jeon.

"According to her, in the past, it was possible to marry someone and carry their children without kissing them. Such a story of loveless marriage had a powerful effect on me. Thus, I created a character with such background in 'LTNS,'" said Jeon.

"My acquaintances told me that they often felt like a machine after marrying their partners," said Lim.

"Before they got married, their parents were strict about them having sex, telling them to come home early," he said.

"But after they got married, they told me they were constantly badgered about when they were going to have children -- which just means that they were coerced to have sex with their marital partners. People told me they had a hard time adjusting to such a change," Lim added.

"I wanted to convey such social atmosphere in the drama series," he said.

All six episodes of "LTNS" are currently streaming on Tving.

A scene from A scene from "LTNS" starring Ahn Jae-hong (left) and Esom (Tving)