Thursday, 26 April 2012

Korean dramas and romcoms - Typical scenes

I first got into Kpop in 2007. I was 19 at the time which even then was seen as pretty much far too old to be bopping around to "cheesy, boyband music," especially the old school style I liked (such as Shinhwa for example).
Anyway, along with Kpop I was obsessed with Taiwanese dramas and then came Korean dramas.
At first I loved them all and watched a dozen within the space of a few weeks. Meh, instant noodles, procrastinating writing essays and youtube was pretty much student living back then.

Eventually I came to notice patterns amongst most Asian dramas, but Korean dramas and movies in particular. I prefer original plots and so my love of Korean dramas has dwindled in recent years (though not diminished completely). Not saying I don't still love Kdramas 'cause I do - in fact I hardly watch anything classed "Western" anymore, ever since jumping on the hallyu bandwagon. Buuuut, what I am saying is that many dramas have a lot of similarities and it can get rather predictable. So here's my rant on what I find annoying about these recurring storylines.

1. The leading couple generally can't stand each other at first and have the chalk and cheese vibe going. Usually the male lead is rich and female poor but very fiery in temperament.

2. There is generally a love quadrangle of some sort.

3. The first male lead who eventually gets girl is the "charismatic" one, i.e. gives the girl the cold shoulder a lot or just comes across as quite mean to begin with.

4. The second male lead tends to be the nicer, sweeter guy.  I always end up rooting for this guy just  because it seems he deserves the main girl more but alas, it never happens. (e.g Boys Over Flowers, You're beautiful).

5. There is generally a really mean, controlling mother somewhere.

6. People often go off to or return from exotic locations even in adulthood to "study" though when they return they never do seem any more intelligent.

7. There's nearly always a rich, old, mean CEO somewhere.

8. They often cast the prettiest, thinnest actresses for the role of lead girl, put her in some baggy clothes and hey presto, we're meant to believe she is an unattractive, podgy little thing.

9. There are often contracts involved somewhere (contract cleaners, contract marriages etc).

10. The tone/atmosphere at the start of these dramas often begins in an optimistic, humourous way, but about ten episodes in they take on a gloomy, serious mood.

11. Said serious tone can come from someone getting injured in a car accident or some sudden long term illness coming to light, and/or memory loss storyline meshed in there somewhere.

12. People seem to get caught in the rain for five minutes and then get critically ill the next day.

13. Umbrella scene!!

14. There's gotta be a piggyback or carrying scene in there somewhere or it ISN'T a Korean drama.

They're not just a drama thing though. Piggybacks seem to be all the rage for kpop celebs too, it's kinda like a friendly gesture. I think it's cool it can double up as a sign of affection/ interesting mode of transportation.
15. Two avenues for typical endings here:
  •  They get married, have kids and live happily ever after
  •  Somebody dies.
Thankfully the latter scene is becoming more and more infrequent these days but there was a good few years where nearly all the popular movies and dramas ended with at least one or both of the leads dying. What a tear fest that was as I seemed to be sobbing my heart into a hankie come every drama/movie finale.

I do think some dramas have managed to execute these scenes very well but it would be nice to branch out with plot writing so they weren't present in nearly EVERY popular drama. Still, they are very memorable. And whilst this post has been a bit rambly and rantlike in nature I am by no means dissing Kdramas. They can have repeating plots but overall I love them and love rewatching my fave eps on rainy days. Post listing faves will be up shortly :)


  1. I agree with you in this post. The kdrama formula is effective anyways so I'm not complaining :)

    BTW, what show is the last umbrella scene? (before the number 14)...thanks!

  2. Yeah, I love Kdramas and movies but they are very formulaic! It'd be nice to see something really crazy and out there but I still like them as they are.

    Umbrella scene is from an old movie called Temptation of the Wolves. I'm sure the movie is still lurking around somewhere on youtube :)


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