To be honest, there are more than 10 things I love about KDrama, but I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t break the internet due to post length when I finally uploaded it.
Which is also why this post is being broken up into two parts. Well, to be strictly truthful, I have another reason. As one of my writerly friends said, breaking this blog post up means that I’ve got blog posts written for two weeks instead of one. Bargain! And since I’m trying to be balanced about this, my next two posts after this two-parter will be 10 Things I Hate About KDrama (which might be a bit of a stretch, since I’m not sure I have that many things that I hate about it).
You may or may not have noticed, but I’ve been watching a fair bit of Korean Drama lately. And since I was fascinated with the language and the written form, I’ve been learning Korean as well, which gives me the perfect excuse to just keep watching as much Korean TV as possible. It’s research, OK?!
I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t analyze (and over-analyze) the whys and wherefores of my new-found love for KDrama. So I’ve been thinking over the things I love and hate about it (and as much as I love KDrama, there are things I hate about it, too).
So, in no particular order, these are the first 5 things I love about KDrama:
Oh my. I’ve really been enjoying the humour. When I first started watching KDrama, I was hugely surprised to hear it called KDrama– because to me, it was all hilarity. My first thought was Wait, if this is Drama, what the heck is their comedy like?! I was to learn very quickly that the drama does, in fact, come into things, but in all my favourite KDramas so far, that humour has continued all throughout as well.
There’s the slapstick, of course, which–when done right–I’ve never really grown out of loving. Then there’s the mouthing off that happens in, well, every KDrama I’ve seen so far. If you read my books you know how much I love characters who are constantly mouthing off at each other. There’s the cringeworthy embarrassing stuff that happens to every female lead who is meant to be adorably clumsy (during which I stare at my screen in horrified wonder from between my fingers and wonder exactly what is wrong with their brains) and that sometimes happens to a male lead if he’s the right kind. Oh, and don’t forget the delightful back and forth that happens between H & H.
As a matter of fact, a lot of the humour in KDrama comes from the relationship between the H & H. This humour can be any of the above, but to my joy, it quite often takes the form of physical comedy.
There’s always a point at which, if the relationship in question is a typical love/hate one where the main male lead is a right prat who insults and annoys the main female lead, that I will be longing for her to bash him one. This happens when I watch either KDrama or any other kind of T.V.
I will literally be sitting there howling: “Are you kidding me?! Punch him in the face!”
To my eternal sadness, this happens so little in Western T.V. And yet, twice now while watching KDrama–as I was in the very process of making said outcry–the female lead has, in fact, punched him in the face. Cue me whooping in disbelief and delicious glee. I really can’t express how much I enjoy watching pratty male leads being punched in the face.
Other things I find myself delighted over: tiny little Korean girls who have been teased and annoyed to the point of exploding. Because the next thing you see is a tiny little Korean girl pulling the hair of a guy twice her size while he howls and tries to run. This honestly never gets old.
Well. This is slightly difficult. Reason being, The Drama in KDrama is also on my list of 10 Things I Hate About KDrama. I don’t, as a rule, like drama. Drama for the sake of drama, that is. The angst, the tears, the head-beatings. Mostly I want to slap characters who become too morose and weepy. But as with Shakespeare, the delightful blend of comedy and drama makes each element much more poignant: the humour pulling me in and the drama alternately breaking my heart and uplifting me. There aren’t too many KDramas that get the mix exactly right (I can think of 3 at the moment, out of the many that I’ve watched so far) but there aren’t really that many that get it horribly wrong, either. Most are a mix of good and bad, but mostly good if you discount the sticky middle.
The Actually, Really, Believably Lovely Characters
Okay, despite me trying to keep this down to only 10 things I love about KDrama, and breaking it into two parts this blog post is probably going to be ridiculously long anyway. This because of Characters.
I’ve raved on and on about Soon-Jung in Falling for Innocence as a completely lovely female character–an actually, morally good woman who is honoured (and targeted) for that goodness–and I have since found at least four other completely lovely characters.
Kkae-Geum from Flower Boys Next Door. Kang Yun-Doo from Sassy Go Go. Ahn Dan-Tae from The Beautiful Gong Shim. Dong-Wook from Falling for Innocence.
Sigh. These are characters who are not only morally lovely, but are allowed by the writers to change their paradigm by the rippling effect of that lovliness on all of those people around them. I could go on and on about how much I love finding beautiful characters–not to mention ones who aren’t belittled or seen as foolish for being morally lovely–but my word count is looking rather frightening so perhaps I’ll defer that until another episode of These are a Few of my Favourite Things…
The Lack of Sex Scenes
Yeah, yeah, I know there are always exceptions, but I’ve been fortunate enough not to run into any so far. For me it’s really nice to be able to watch something and not be moodily certain that the characters’ ‘love’ is going to wind up being ‘developed’ by having them sleep together. Sex is not the end goal of the romance here. There is actual character development and the closer understanding of two people. I love that. I find gems like that in Western films, too, but to be honest, they’re gems because they’re rare.
What’s that? Can I eat it? (And other hilarious catch-phrases)
Seriously. Seriously, guys. It shouldn’t be hilarious, but it really is. Everyone is a pervert in KDrama. Accidentally walk in while a girl is wearing her (perfectly concealing, flannel) pjs? PERVERT. Stare too long at someone? PERVERT. Smile at them? PERVERT.
Such a deliciously belligerent phrase! Especially fun when spoken by tiny, fierce, female leads.
-Ha! What’s that? Can I eat it?
This one is probably my favourite. Someone thinks you’re afraid? “Hah!” You say. “Fear? What’s that? Is it a food?” Someone tells you to quit. “Hah!” You say. “Quit? What’s that? Can I eat it?” I honestly don’t think I’ve come across a foreign phrase that I love better (even though ‘wanna die?” comes pretty close). At first I thought it was a peculiarity of one distinct character in one KDrama, but then I saw another character or two use it in other KDramas. This is one that’s coming over to the English–at least in my house…
Okay, I’m sure you guys have your favourite things about KDrama, too. Feel free to share in the comments. Otherwise, I’ll see you in a couple days for the other 5 things I love about KDrama!
(Also, if you want reccs, check out: Sassy Go Go, Falling for Innocence, Flower Boys Next Door, and The Beautiful Gong Shim. They are all hilarious and more than moderately heart-warming. I’ve already reviewed Falling for Innocence, and the others will follow in due course.)