Questioning the Logics of Korean Drama

The very first time for me to watch Korean drama was in 2001 when I watched “Endless Love”, starring Song Hye Kyo and Won Bin. The drama was awfully sad, melodramatic, and heartbreaking, but I kept watching it because the actors looked good (Won Bin hadn’t undergone plastic surgery at that time) and their acting skills were superb. I was a sophomore in that year and I didn’t want to be too emotionally invested in a TV show, so I didn’t watch the drama until the last episode (although I got spoilers from my fellow hopeless romantic friends).

After that I accidentally watched “Full House” (2004 – Song Hye Kyo and Rain), because my friends played the OST songs over and over again in our lab. I would watch it whenever I had free time at home, but I didn’t really like the plots. The main ideas themselves were impossible. How could one’s friends sell one’s house without her knowledge, and one wasn’t being that angry with that friends (I would definitely involve the police if I had been Han Ji Eun)? How could people fall in love just because they lived in the same house although they’re constantly fighting with each other? A friend pointed out to me that the characters might have started to develop feelings for each other because they’re used to seeing one another all the time, as they lived in the same house. So, the feelings occurred because of the habit of having a companion in your space. My answer to that idea was, it wouldn’t be love then, the feelings were just an answer to the characters’ loneliness.

Anyway, I started watching drama in May 2016 after so many hypes on the internet. Descendants of The Sun (Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo) was personally promoted by my friend, Omija Cha, and I was head over heels for the actors and the plots (more for the lead male actor, though, ha-ha). After DOTS, I watched several other dramas starring Lee Min Ho, just because I saw a coffee ad with his face printed on the packaging. I watched “Personal Taste” (2010) and “City Hunter” (2011) and I ended up with mixed feelings. “Personal Taste” was simple and light; it’s about LMH pretending to be gay to gain access to live in a historical house owned by a woman. He ended up falling for his landlady. Notice this; they got to live together in the same house for a period of time. The pattern was repeated in “City Hunter”. This is where it got more absurd. In this drama LMH bought the house of his poor-but-pretty co-worker to help her pay for her father’s hospital bills. He then chose to live in the same house with her (although he got his own house), while she was unable to move out, because she used up all of the money and she didn’t have anywhere to go.

In November 2016 LMH starred in “The Legend of The Blue Sea”, whose plot had one undeniably similarity with his other dramas. LMH got to live in the same space with the drama’s lead female.

The repetition and the logic of the occurring plots made me think:

  1. Why do people think that living in the same house is the fastest way to fall in love?

Seriously, why? My friend argued, how could we not fall in love with the housemate if he’s as handsome as LMH? Yeah, right, as if we can choose how good-looking our housemate is. Living in the same space with another person is a tricky situation. No matter what the gender of the housemate is, things will get complicated if the personalities and habits clash. We can tolerate living with our core family members due to blood relations and lack of choice. But living with extended family members, or even strangers, has its own challenges. I’m a private person and I need my private space. I’ve experienced once living with a roommate for six months. It was difficult. Not only did we come from different backgrounds, but we also had completely different habits and characters. She, coming from a wealthy family with her own personal maid, had never cleaned anything up in her entire life before she became my roommate. I, on the other hand, was used to cleaning and tidying up. My motto was (and is) that the cleanliness around me would keep my sanity. That roommate and I argued over a lot of simple things: 1) female napkin left in the bathroom (guess whose napkin it was), 2) bread crumbles left on the dining table (no initiative to clean it up on her side), and many more. Living together was like gambling. If you happen to be compatible with each other, then you hit the jackpot, you’ll live happily ever after. But if your characters clash too often and you’re sick of being tolerant and understanding, the mere sight of your roommate will make you nauseous. Being roommate with a good-looking guy might make one’s heart pound and flutter. But will it still skip a beat if the roommate is picking his nose at the dining table, never does the dishes, always leaves the air conditioner on even though he’s left the house? I seriously doubt I will like, let alone fall in love with, that kind of roommate, ha-ha. Falling in love with someone you live with is a romantic and absurd idea. It’s suitable for fairy tale stories, but not for real life realities.

 

  1. The timing of the first kiss

Those of you who have watched many Korean dramas might be able to guess the climax and the number of episodes most dramas have. The number of episodes is either 16 or 20. If it’s 16 episodes, expect confession of feelings from the leads and the first kiss on episode 7 and 8. If it’s 20 episodes, expect them happening on episode 9 and 10. Some dramas deviate from this pattern though. “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo” hadn’t shown either confession of feelings or first kiss among the leads even though it had aired its 10th episode. Speaking of first kiss, is it possible in real life to expect kissing and being kissed by your crush even though you’re not officially dating? I mean, the leads in the dramas are all in approaching stage, the stage of getting to know each other better. As much as wanting to kiss to show one’s affection, is it appropriate to kiss without the certainty of a relationship? I think the appropriate response to a kiss without being in a relationship is to slap the face of the trespasser. I mean, come on, does he think woman is that easy? I would definitely slap anyone who’s not my boyfriend but tried to steal a kiss from me. But you’ll miss the romantic and heart-fluttering part, argued my friend with whom I had this discussion. Will you stay put if it’s happening to you, I asked her back. It might feel thrilling, but imagine the guy doing so to other girls he’s not having relationship with. And that’s including you. Call me old-fashioned, but I think any display of affection should be prefaced with a declaration of commitment from both parties involved. Otherwise it’ll be just another fling, without any seriousness and loyalty invested in the relationship. That’s why I dislike the short drama “Seven First Kisses” endorsing Lotte Duty Free. It looks like it’s hastily made, it has the wrong actress (not actors), and it shows no respect of romance and affection. It’s a show of seven flings which are not interesting enough to watch.

 

Those are my takes on Korean dramas. I’d like to hear the opinions of fellow K-drama lovers!

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