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Series / Sungkyunkwan Scandal

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Sungkyunkwan Scandal (Hangul: 성균관 스캔들) is a 2010 Korean Series about a group of popular students studying at Sungkyunkwan University during the Joseon dynasty.

The main character is Kim Yoon Hee, a cross-dresser who poses as her brother in order to provide for her family. After a series of mishaps, she ends up at Sungkyunkwan where she is pulled into the politics that goes beyond the boundaries of the school. Along the way, she meets and befriends Lee Sun Joon, Gu Yong Ha, and Moon Jae Shin—each with his own political alliance.

Their alliance doesn't go unnoticed by the War Minister's son, Ha In Soo, who's determined not to let their cross-political party friendship usurp his Absurdly Powerful Student Council.

The series contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Led by Ha In Soo. Well in a school that plays up the political games, it's justified.
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  • Allergic to Love: Jae Shin dissolves into hiccups around girls. This makes things more interesting when he starts to fall for Yoon Hee.
  • Back Story: Jae Shin's brother and Yoon Hee's father die before the series begins, trying to retrieve a book for the king
  • Big Man on Campus: Ironically, Yoon Hee, who is nicknamed Big One for passing her hazing with flying colors
  • Bodyguard Crush: Jae Shin is not Yoon Hee's bodyguard per se, but he protects her. And also falls for her.
  • Bridal Carry: When Sun Joon rescues Yoon Hee after she falls into the river
  • Character Development: Lee Sun Joon
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Jae Shin is called "Crazy Horse."
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Yong Ha won't let any harm come to Jae Shin. Jae Shin also looks out for Yoon Hee.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment : Yoon Hee gives herself up for "cheating" on an entrance exam and sent to Sungkyunkwan by the king as punishment.
  • Cool Teacher: Professor Jung Yak Yong
    • Stern Teacher
  • Daddy Issues: doubles with Well Done Son, Guy - Jae Shin, Sun Joon
  • Daddy's Girl: The War Minister is wrapped around Hyo Eun's finger.
  • The Dandy: Yong Ha is a sharp dresser with a materialist streak a mile wide.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Occurring with several characters
  • Fantasy Forbidding Mother: Yoon Hee's mother tries to get her to stop cross-dressing and attending school, believing it would get her in trouble.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Sun Joon, Jae Shin, and Yoon Hee - later Yong Ha - form a True Companionship, mostly due to In Soo's repeated attempts to sabotage them.
  • Gender-Bender Friendship
  • Government Conspiracy: See Historical Domain Character. The king is convinced that his father's death was a political setup.
  • Here We Go Again!: The show ends with the Blue Writing Bandit running around.
  • Historical Domain Character: The king in this show is Jeongjo, whose father, Crown Prince Sado, was put to death by the previous king, Yeongjo. King Yeongjo, who happened to be Sado's father (and Jeongjo's grandfather), came to believe that Sado was violently insane. This really happened. Also, Jeongjo spent most of his lifetime trying to clear his father's name.
  • Ho Yay: Although Yong Ha is affectionate with everyone, he confesses that he loved Jae Shin when he was younger, during his conversation with a confused Sun Joon - enough to question his orientation and masculinity.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Sun Joon loves Yoon Hee, whether she's a man or not.
  • Innocent Cohabitation
  • I Regret Nothing: subverted when Yoon Hee asks if her mother regrets forsaking her family to marry. Her mother replies that of course she regrets it: if she hadn't alienated her family, they wouldn't be so wretchedly poor.
  • It Amused Me: Yong Ha's antics - trying to get other students in trouble, trying to get people to find out Yoon Hee's true gender - are all because he's bored and wants excitement.
  • Jerkass: Lee Sun Joon is a stickler to the rules, and an ass to anyone who disobeys. He gets better.
  • Karma Houdini: Cho Sun, who in the guise of Hong Byuk Seo, kills numerous people while fighting but somehow ends up with the War Minister's son.
  • Les Yay: Cho Sun is in love with Yoon Hee, flirting with her and offering to give up her position to be her mistress. Even when she finds out that Yoon Hee's a woman, she protects her, due to her fond memories of her time with her and her fine treatment at Yoon Hee's hands.
  • Love Triangle: This is a kdrama, after all.
    • Yoon Hee <- Cho Sun <- In Soo
    • Gul Oh -> Yoon Hee <-> Sun Joon
    • Yoon Hee <-> Sun Joon <- Hyo Eun
  • The Nicknamer: Yong Ha (nicknamed "Yeo Rim"/Womanizer) calls Yoon Hee "Daemul" (Big One), Sun Joon "Ga Rang" (Ideal/Beautiful Husband), and Jae Shin "Gul Oh" (Crazy Horse)—and the names stick.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Nonverbal example in an early episode: Hyo Eun opens her door wearing nothing but her underwear, not knowing that Sun Joon is outside. He gawks for a minute and then closes the door for her.
  • Porn Stash: Yong Ha gives Sun Joon a couple of books when the latter is left doubting his orientation. It gets a pretty hilarious callback in the last episode.
  • Roof Hopping: Gul Oh
  • Secret Identity: Jae Shin as the masked Hong Byuk Seo
    • Also Cho Sun as the "other" Hong Byuk Seo
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: In Episode 16. Interestingly this one is girl-on-guy. As in, Yoon Hee kissed Sun Joon to get him to shut up.
  • Stalker with a Crush: In Soo's sister Hyo Eun to Sun Joon
  • Student Council President: In Soo
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Yoon Hee impersonates her brother Yoon Shik.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Sun Joon and Cho Sun fall for Yoon Hee while still believing she's a guy.
  • Teacher's Pet: Sun Joon is this - partly because of his father's position, partly because he's Lawful Neutral.
  • Underdogs Always Win: In the archery tournament.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: In-Universe. The entire school is arranged around separating students in accordance with their parents' political alliances. So much so that the fact that Jae Shin (Soron political party), Sun Joon (Noron), and Yoon Hee (unaffiliated) live together is a scandal. (Not to mention that one of them is a girl.)
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Yoon Hee
  • Wild Card: Yong Ha, early in the series