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Welcome to the addictive world of Dramaland! Whoa, so many questions! I'll try to add my few cents:
(1) - As someone else pointed out, chaebols are basically a way to have someone be rich and powerful, usually in a Cinderella-esque story (the "Candy" character falling in love with chaebol or vice versa is standard rom-com fare). Chaebols are handy to have a rich character without going through the rigamarole of how they became rich.
(2) - There are a lot of respectful traditions when it comes to drinking. You'll see a lot of characters pouring a drink using two hands -- a sign of respect to a parent or someone who is older, or if in a work environment, a boss or sunbae. Turning to the side away when drinking is a sign of respect, as is using the right hand to hold the cup while the left hand is on the wrist of the right hand (and to accept a drink with two hands like that shows respect to the elder/sunbae giving the drink).
(3) - North Korea isn't really something that comes up. There's not an obvious threat all the time, but the reason there's mandatory enlistment is because technically the two countries are at war, so while there's lowkey awareness, it's not such a major thing that it permeates the culture, especially escapist entertainment. It doesn't come up very often in dramas (unless it's a focal point, like King 2 Hearts). Not taboo, just not mentioned in general.
(4a) - Arranged marriages, not so much, but definitely "good matches" that are approved by good families. Matchmaking companies are still a thing, although maybe not as popular as they used to be. Many Koreans are getting married later and later, but there's still an old-fashioned familial expectation of marriage and kids.
(4b) - Drinking as a work event is a huge thing. They're called hweshik and it's generally mandatory and very hard to avoid drinking at them. Taxis will take drunk people home (I don't think they'll carry people to their bed, that seems extreme, but I didn't use taxis when I was in Korea), but it's also popular to call a designated driver who will drive your car home (with you in it, of course). Seoul is a pretty accessible city in terms of public transportation and walking. I'm pretty sure no one is piggy-backed as often as you see in dramas, though.
(5) - Family registry is a pretty big thing. Originally, when a woman married, she would be taken off her family's registry (under her father's name) and be added to her husband's registry. That's changed in the past decade to be egalitarian and respectful of individual choice. The family registry is historically patriarchal, which is why the change so that women can remain on their own registry and their children don't necessarily have to take the father's family name in lieu of the mother's. Adding someone to the registry means making them a part of the family, with all the legal privileges that come with it.
(6) - This has been pretty much answered, but technically what we think of dramas are classified as "miniseries." (You'll see that classification if you watch award shows, making them different from the daily dramas or the long-running weekend family dramas.)
(7/8) - I don't know the answer beyond "tradition" -- that's the convenient length to tell a story, and those are the lengths broadcasters are used to, so they can plan how many shows to air. The lengths are due to a different style of ads than are in the West. Unlike commercial breaks, there's usually only one at the beginning and then one at the end. Most ad revenue comes from companies paying for their brand to be shown during the drama ("paid product placement" or PPL as it's known). This has been changing just recently, which is why you'll see some dramas have an episode count of 32. It's still technically 16 episodes, but they've split each episode into two in order to create a convenient spot for an ad break.
Ad breaks are more common on cable TV -- this is mostly about the shows on the main broadcast stations (MBC, KBS, SBS). The length of the shows is an hour mostly because of tradition (I assume) but sometimes they run a little longer in a sneaky attempt to raise their ratings, because if their show is a little bit longer than a show on another station, they'll get the numbers of people tuning in to see the ending of that drama after they've watched their show on another network. I think the main 3 broadcasting stations got slapped down recently to make sure their episodes only run for an hour (again, cable -- tvN, OCN, JTBC -- has its own rules and can pretty much do whatever it wants).
As for a show getting boring, that comes down to the vagaries of the live-shoot. Most dramas will have the first few episodes all ready to go by the air date, but will still be shooting up until the final end. This can sometimes be a good thing because a writer can tweak a script if the reaction isn't going well, but it can also mean the cast and crew get exhausted near the end. I believe there is an attempt to address the difficulties of the live-shoot, and there are more pre-produced dramas these days, but it's still a work in progress. (Plus, "boring" is relative!)
(9) - I kind of addressed this in the previous answer, but yeah, a gradually growing episode length just depends on the show and how much the broadcaster thinks they'll make in ad revenue. You will sometimes see shows get longer during their run, which is often a sign it's growing in popularity and companies want to put their PPL in the show. The irregular start and end times are mostly a way to get more viewers, since so many dramas air the same time on the same nights. Ratings are a big deal.
(10) - It's a legal thing, and it's censored by the broadcasting company. Here's the official rules in terms of violence (such as using a knife in a threatening manner):
>The following items, which may convey excessive shock, anxiety or disgust to viewers, may not be broadcast. There may be limited exceptions if such depiction is unavoidable in discussing the content; even in such cases, expression of these items must be approached cautiously.
> 1. Graphic depiction of beheading, strangulation or dismemberment.
> 2. Direct depiction of the moment of suicide, or depiction that implies the method of suicide
> 3. Graphic depiction of killing or maiming with firearms, knives or other tools
> 4. Depiction of mangled corpse or body parts
> 5. Graphic depiction of killing of an animal
> 6. Other depictions that are similar to the above
So a knife won't be censored until it's being used in a threatening way. You'll also often see tattoos censored out because it's not considered "family friendly." The same with smoking -- no drama can show someone smoking. Broadcasters get around this by showing someone pulling out a cigarette, but you'll never actually see them light it or put it to their lips.
Brands are censored out simply because they didn't pay to have their name shown. It depends on the show how far they go with this -- I believe MBC/SBS/KBS are probably more strict on what they'll censor than the cable stations.
I'll also suggest Dramabean's e-book, Why Do Dramas Do That -- it doesn't address all your questions, but it could be helpful for anything else you're wondering about, especially if you're not familiar with the culture.
r/KDRAMA Challenge 2021
What would our dramas be without icicle leads who may lack communication skills? Exploring consent in C-dramas.Jeana's Unpopular Opinion: Hype Busting Super Popular 2021 Dramas
In this article, Jeana gives her take on MDL's popular 2021 dramas that didn't live up to the hype for her.Kim Seon Ho issues official statement regarding his private life controversy
Kim Seon Ho officially gave a statement regarding the ex-girlfriend's revelations.Kim Seon Ho's agency finally gives their statement regarding actor "K" rumors
After holding their silence, Kim Seon Ho's agency finally speaks up about the controversy involving their artist.Pure Terror with Top 10 Horror Dramas on MDL
Halloween is coming. Even if you don't celebrate it, you can join the festivities watching horror dramas. And here are our top 10!
.Kdrama moments that can get 'wtf' out of your mouth
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