Discussing The Queen’s Classroom (Ep 1-6) with TenLotus

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Not too long ago I wrote a post about the drama, The Queen’s Classroom, being a hidden gem. I was very happy to find out that not only me but other bloggers have thought of this drama as something special. I thank TenLotus for inviting me to talk more about it! Please support her blog, she is a great writer, and I’m sure you will find something to be inspired by on her blog! This is our first time ever doing a collaboration, so please bare with us. We really wanted to dig deep into this drama so I hope you don’t mind the length. It’s always a pleasure to find someone who likes to rave about the same things you do, and so we chose to rave about The Queen’s Classroom in all its grandeur. If you’re not watching TQC, there are spoilers ahead so be aware, and if you are watching it, agree or disagree with us. Your thoughts are all welcomed.

Link to TenLotus’s Post: The Conversation: Talking About ‘The Queen’s Classroom’ with Analogueblues [Ep. 1-6]

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Analogueblues: So it seems that Nanny McPhee has dropped into drama land. I haven’t seen the Japanese version of this drama, but I’m really wondering why Teacher Ma is the way she is? She’s so mysterious, it’s a bit scary. And that laptop she always keeps with her makes me wonder if she has any life, or if somehow she’s lost it. Something was revealed in ep 6 that she was married before but never divorced…That means her husband probably died and maybe she’s been scarred by that event. Or maybe like Daniel Choi’s character in School 2013 she made a mistake regarding a student and has promised herself not to make it again. I really have no idea why Teacher Ma is like the way she is.

TenLotus: I totally agree with the Nanny McPhee assessment, just from the feelings of the drama and the aura surrounding Teacher Ma, I wondered in the beginning if the drama would take out the supernatural card to try to explain her behavior, which I now doubt will happen. Maybe I should have watched the Japanese version first? Because so far, the drama hasn’t made me sympathize with the teacher, who goes so far as to eavesdrop on the students’ chat and publicly shame them using their family history.

Somehow, in the back of my head, I can see her harsh treatments being driven by pure intentions but that still doesn’t justify some of her actions that should be put under the microscope. Maybe you’re right, an accident from her personal life definitely might be still affecting her to a much greater degree than she lets on. Do you think the writer will try to veer her character on a similar trajectory as Nanny McPhee, who at the end, made the lives of the children better?

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Analogueblues: If Teacher Ma is a martian, then that would truly explain the cold wind that blows across a person’s face whenever she comes around the corner haha. Even though I have no idea why Teacher Ma is so manipulative and shrewd, I actually agree with her actions as unmerciful as they may be. This drama seems to be alluding to something more than a group of kids in a classroom, it wants to point out the struggles of different types of people living in society. Life doesn’t pick and choose what bad things happen to you, they just happen.

When Teacher Ma publically shares Dong Goo’s family history in front of the class, it makes you think that lots of other people in the real world will also look down upon him because he is an orphan. Thankfully, Oh Dong Goo is the type who rises above that and does not care what people think about him because he knows who he is. So I feel Teacher Ma is challenging the very kids who have the power to overcome her challenges and she knows that. And I do believe that in the end The Queen’s Classroom will finish on the same note as Nanny McPhee did..as long as Na Ri doesn’t try to start any more fires…

TenLotus: I still can’t move past wondering how Teacher Ma knows every students’ family history, was she an agent or something? That would explain how she’s able to step up to every challenge. I remember from your post on the drama and how you compared her to the ultimate ruler, it reminded me of my 1984 reading days and Big Brother in particular though that definitely is a bit of an extreme comparison on my part but no one can deny Teacher Ma’s surveillance skills! Top notch!

As a teacher, Teacher Ma seems the most qualified out the bunch at that school and I just love how she has an answer for everything and everyone. But is her method the right way for a teacher to reach a student? I am still not buying it fully, she has definitely done some great things (saved Ha Na’s life and possibly Oh Dong Goo’s)  but the downside of teaching kids distrust and displaying a cold exterior is throwing me off. Even though she was able to reach Oh Dong Goo, what ultimately changed him for good from the little we saw of him in Ep 6 was Shim Ha Na’s concern and friendship, not Teacher Ma’s intimidation.

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Analogueblues: I absolutely looooove when Teacher Yang confronts her about her actions, and she quickly justifies what she is doing which in turn Teacher Yang never has a reply. I do not feel she’s teaching the student’s distrust though, in fact they already know about that themselves. When she shows Bo Mi the texts between Na Ri and her friends, Teacher Ma only shows Bo Mi what they are saying, and it’s Bo Mi who chooses to accept what they are saying as truth and turn against Ha Na. If that didn’t happen, Bo Mi would not come to the realization of what a true friend Ha Na is. Teacher Ma is manipulative, but it’s indirectly and it works. Teacher Ma also helped Dong Goo escape his bullies when she gave him the advice to give in to them if you can’t run away or fight back. Teacher Ma also played a  part in him leaving school, that was to force Ha Na to make him come back. This lady is really something else, and I don’t know whether to be a little scared or happy that she’s operating in this manner. #TEAM MA!

On another note, I also find that the majority of the class are like a school of fish, while being attacked by a predator, together they move away from the danger without a second thought. If being on Teacher Ma is the safe side, they swim over there. If Na Ri and her coup decide to go against Teacher Ma, then they swim over to them. They are just a bunch of kids following the crowd and that’s why none of them do not shine bright in this drama. But it’s vital to the drama itself to have those kids. If all them rose up to the challenge, then The Queen’s Classroom would be over 50 episodes, and there would be no lesson to take from this.

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TenLotus: I like the adjacent character comparison the writer shows between the two teachers. Terminator Ma wins over Teacher Yang, who’s a terminator only in the arcades and not the real world! There are multiple sides to each story and I don’t think Teacher Ma is showing all that she should and maybe it’s just me not embracing her method fully but I hope that in the coming episodes, we can see her methods come to fruition in a more direct manner.

We sure talked a lot about Teacher Ma, hopefully we touched on her character on all fronts.

Totally agree, the other students are in their own way trying to survive the current tide. Looking at it that way, the character of Seo Hyun intrigues me in that she seems to follow neither the main crowd nor the outsiders, but her trajectory has also bored me in that I hoped and wanted to see her take more of a commanding role. What’s your feeling?

Analogueblues: I agree that Seo Hyun has become a boring character. I’m not sure how the writers will make Teacher Ma transform her. She is very mature for her age, and she quietly remains on the sidelines watching over her classmates. She’s not on a high horse, but she is also not passive when it comes to standing up for others. So I’m interested in what exactly the writers are going to do with her. They better not leave her to waste because she possesses the acting chops. If they do, I will call Won Bin myself to deal with them *cough*.

I’ve noticed that the whole “Ha Na’s dad might be cheating” arc is a bit out there compared to everything else going in the drama. Ha Na is our heroine, and it’s important that we know more about her than everyone else, but why adultery. This drama likes to implement juxtapositions, and I’m wondering if this is suppose to have some deep meaning or not.

TenLotus: You have the netizens’ King Won Bin on speed dial?? After we’re done here, share the number with me please. [side deal completed, HA HA HA] On another note, the future is definitely bright with Kim Sae Ron (the child actor who plays Seo Hyun) along with the other kids in the mix, I can’t wait till she grows up and starts blowing people away with her acting chops. Despite her being nonchalant at times, there are times I can’t help but admire her, hopefully we see her growing out and acting on her beliefs.

I feel like the drama wants to break my heart into pieces. On top of becoming singled out by her classmates in her own class, Ha Na has deal with the drama between her parents along with her sister being ill, which I can see as a character strength for Ha Na’s mom along with the cheating hovering over her head. In a way, Ha Na and her mom are so similar yet so different at the same time.

Analogueblues: [I’m only giving you his number for emergency purposes..when we get married, you might have to delete it :/] So I hope I’m not the only one who thinks the principal is bit weird. All she cares about is taking care of her garden which can be symbolically important to the drama. I love the actress who plays her, and I also love that the principal like Teacher Ma knows what’s going on between the kids. Someone brought up a peculiar point which basically encompassed the idea that the principal used to be a Teacher Ma.

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TenLotus: That’s a smart conclusion you’ve reached on the principal’s character, I can see that actually being the case. Right from the beginning, it felt as though the principal understood Teacher Ma better than anyone else in that school. But it is quite enlightening to see that their characters are total opposites, maybe we can hope to see a gradual shift towards leniency (trying to find a correct word here) in Teacher Ma’s character as well? And the actress who plays the principal is a legend, seen her in so many dramas and she always leaves an impression.

Analogueblues: Ah yes, the actress is basically everyone’s grandmother. And I suppose that Teacher Ma’s nature towards her students will also change just like you said. She will learn to let go of them and allow them to grow on their own, because she won’t be with them forever. Speaking of letting go, the tribe of mothers in this drama need a 101 class on that. Even the kids themselves know that they have to do whatever their parents want, they have no say. I can’t speak on behalf of the South Korean education system, but this type of behavior has been alluded to in many school dramas. The teachers are respected but do not have much authority.

TenLotus: I am starting to slowly like Teacher Ma more after your insights. That should please Teacher Ma since I am sure she is lurking somewhere reading our conversation, yay, that means more readers!

Teacher Ma should lead a class for those mothers and give them a proper schooling. They need it so badly. The pressure put on top of the students it seems are internally making them more conflicted and even though I believe rightly directed guidance can become a great catalyst, these mothers are clearly looking out more for themselves than their kids, which is saddening to see. That is why I feel bad for Na Ri because she is not the only one at fault here, her mother has been on her case pretty much 24/7. I had a tinkling Na Ri would cause trouble considering she was playing the typical spoiled rich girl part but never for one second thought she would attempt to commit arson.

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Analogueblues: Yayy, I was hoping to slowly convince you to like Teacher Ma because she is downright amazing, scary yes, but amazing. Teacher Ma is always watching.. And yes, deciding what someone wants is not always what someone needs, so hopefully these mothers can turn around. Don’t even get me started with Na Ri’s mother, she’s purely a control freak and it has contaminated her daughter.

That makes Na Ri the best candidate to be a villain in this drama, because she might be the weakest character out of the children. At this point in time, I have no sympathy for her and since this is a “good feel” drama I’m sure it won’t leave her character in the dust, she’ll come back around. She treats her friendship with Ha Na very lightly, you know, whatever “friendship” they were having before. It moves me to the core that Ha Na still treats her so nicely. Oh Ha Na, you move me to tears.

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TenLotus:  I will be rooting for the tribe of mothers all the way! Tribe For Life! Years of pampering and control has definitely made Na Ri weak, she has potential though to overcome, once she sees the error of her ways and embraces Ha Na as a true friend.

Are you sure you’re not one of Ma’s followers? Now I get it, you’re that butterfly from the drama, the one that’s always following Teacher Ma around like nobody’s business. I need to know why you [the butterfly] keep following her around, are you trying to spread your metaphorical sense, because I don’t get it. I am terrible with symbolisms, care to explain???

Analogueblues: Just to put it out there, I really love Na Ri’s outfits if that counts, but her attitude is a no no for me. I just might be the butterfly that follows Teacher Ma around [TenLotus rudely interrupts: I KNEW IT!] , I’ve been assigned to set her and the children free. The principal may or may not have something to do with this…

The Queen’s Classroom has made me a little nostalgic about my childhood. It’s great that Teacher Ma is teaching these children about the harsh realities of life which is in her way ultimately protecting them. The truth isn’t always crystal clear, and many choose to go along with the crowd despite knowing that it’s not the right way. I think this drama is really delving into the philosophical question concerning the matter that the truth always prevails in the end. Does it really? Teacher Ma seems to always ask Ha Na that question. Will she really continue to sacrifice herself for what she believes in and go against Terminator Ma’s authority?  They say that rules are made to broken.

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TenLotus: What can I say? It has been such a pleasure getting even the chance of having a conversation with Analogueblues. As they say, two talking heads are better than one. Finally, any thoughts on what you would like to see from the drama moving forward?

Analogueblues: I hope in the coming episodes we can learn more about Teacher Ma because I AM LITERALLY DYING TO KNOW, and I also hope Bo Mi will repent of her ways and learn to accept the fact that there is such a thing as a true friend. It was really fun talking about this drama with TenLotus, till next time 😀

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TenLotus: The drama has brought about a real conversation that I believe many in today’s society are trying to avoid. It’s not perfect in its portrayal but what it establishes is not that much further from the truth. The real battle between Ha Na and Teacher Ma is truly one for the ages, Ha Na’s young yet so headstrong, taking stands against authority and criticisms admirably which beyond doubt makes her the singular focus of the drama. I still remember her rebuttal against Teacher Ma as clear as day, “I believe in what I believe. Friendship is precious.” Like you, I can’t wait to see how the director handles Bo Mi, who we have seen show a slight remorse, being the one who alerted the teacher that Ha Na was in trouble on that not so fortunate day at the swimming pool.

I feel like I got a lot of things off my chest during this brief chat with Analogueblues and even though this post might turn out to be a bit of a lengthy read, I regret nothing!

Gone away are the days of Uhm Force, it’s Ma Force now! The Queen’s Classroom is currently airing on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s. Teacher Ma is watching it, are you? 

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*Visit TenLotus’s blog here: Tidal Kpop

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