Of course these dramas depict Korean life well in most ways. They have to be realistic enough for society at large to relate to them. And the general Korean attitude toward romanticism, and dignity, and responsibility in a marriage or a dating relationship is accurate too. There are many Korean men who have kept incredible loyalty to their families overall, and are really shining example of men dedicated to their wives. So these are ideals that everyone in Korea can readily relate too.
At the same time, these are ideals. They don’t really reflect reality, and although some people come closer to the model than others, you have to remember that the stories and lives are stylized and made-up. A lot of the most popular dramas emphasize old ways of thinking played out in a modern setting. But the old ways are changing, and they were not always so great anyway. There are a lot of hidden skeletons in the Korea social closet too, just like in other cultures. And of course, on TV the society will try to put their best face forward. I’ve seen a lot of families that fit the depictions pretty well though, but others that don’t.
Some of the things you see on the dramas that have less international popularity do reflect old and new negative stereotypes too. Sometimes you see men cheating on their wives, which happened a lot in the past and still does. Surprisingly, Korean women now are liberated to the point of equaling, maybe even surpassing the men when it comes to infidelity. You see the ultra-jealous modern woman too, and that has become more prevalent than it ever was in the past.
But there is a melodramatic emotional tradition in Korea that I think is the real attraction for women around the world. In Korean past, part of being and educated person was the ability to speak in extemporaneous poetic prose. That poeticism is like a hyper emotional dramatic posture that comes through loud and clear in these popular dramas, and I suspect that is the part that really gets the girls attention. Korean affinity to that kind of emotional intensity is evident under the skin of a lot that happens here. That part especially is actually real.