…And it is really pretty bad.
Those suckers aren’t short. Unlike our anemic television shows over here, their episodes (without any commercial breaks!) often come out to an hour, or maybe a little longer. Granted they don’t have multiple seasons.. but they do have around 20 episodes each, sometimes as many as 30.
And seeing as I have watched, oh… 6 of them in the last few weeks, you can probably do the math.
TL;DR, my life for the past few weeks has basically be K-Dramas and work. @___@ ❤
However, as far as flimsy excuses go, I’d just like to say that I don’t consider time I spend watching television as a COMPLETE waste. After all, while they might be in a different format than what I work with, television shows are at their core just stories that someone brought to life. So I can continue to see what story-lines work, what I like to see, how to progress relationships… It doesn’t help much as far as craft–you really do have to read books to write them–but as far as plots go, it’s solid research, I think.
I watched my first K-drama a while back when I started Boys Over Flowers, a rather popular one based off of a manga. I was immediately intrigued. The pretty boys, the feisty heroine, the journey from utter dislike to love… Well, it’s no secret that I have the blood of a romantic practically pouring out of me… Er, well, that’s not a great image, is it? ANYWAY, I love me some love. ❤ So it definitely appealed to me. I followed along, got used to the characters, nearly tore my hair out during the middle part where they weren’t together, and then smiled stupidly as they finally reached an understanding.
There’s a formula, but damn it, it WORKS.
(Namely–girl and boy meet somehow, the more unusual the better. Story builds their relationship, usually from hating/disliking one another, or some kind of argument/debt, to love. Then comes the honeymoon phase where they’re both allowed to be happy together. This can last different amounts of time, and sometimes be repeated, depending on the length of the drama. Then something happens, a big something, that tears them apart. Meddling parents, and revealed secrets are the usual. This is dragged out until the last episode, usually, or the second-to-last, and then they do the wrap-up, which all too often involves one or both main characters leaving to pursue other interests for a bit, and then reuniting in like the last 5 minutes, just so that you, the watcher, don’t have a heart attack screaming at the TV/computer for them to ‘just be together and love each other, damn it!’. That’s K-dramas in a nutshell.)
You may wonder why, after a few times, that whole scene doesn’t get tiring… But as someone who has read pretty much every thing Nora Roberts has ever wrote, I’m pretty good at ignoring the formula in favor of the individual settings and characters. There’s always something new to love. ❤
The only thing that usually irks me is that you get VERY LITTLE physicality between the main love interests, usually. Their first kiss is usually the popular ‘we’re fighting, and now I’m going to kiss you, and we’ll both just stand here with our lips touching, because that counts, right?’ kiss. After that, it’s rare if there is anything more than perhaps another kiss or two. When I get a proper make-out, I usually cheer. (Or my gosh, in Coffee Prince, when they actually… well, I won’t give it away, but it got positively steamy for a K-drama!) I realize these aren’t porno’s here, but damn, I want some lovin’!
If you were thinking about trying one out yourself, I would definitely recommend it! 🙂 I watch through Dramafever.com, and if you pay a bit for a subscription, they don’t even make you watch ads! (I can’t wait till Easter is over, ’cause they’ve been playing the same dang one from Rice Krispies for a week now.)
Here are the ones I’ve gotten through so far, and why I liked them:
1. Boys Over Flowers – I watched this the longest ago, before my recent addiction flared up. Like I said, it’s based on a manga, and was, if I remember correctly, a bit drawn-out for me… Too much of the back-and-forth, together-then-not, for my poor heart to handle. But with some judicious fast-forwarding, I do think it is worth a watch! Lee Min Ho as Jun Pyo is quite attractive, and even manages to make his character’s weird curly hair… well, tolerable, ha ha! Plus Jan Di is pretty adorable and works well as the feisty main character. Beware–Jun Pyo is a SERIOUS jerkwad when they first meet. At first it is hard to root for him, and in fact I rather still like Ji Hoo as love interest, but hey… the heart wants what it wants, I guess, and with Pyo’s mother, it isn’t hard to see how he got to be so twisted.
2. Goong, or Princess Hours – The first one I watched after coming back, this one is similar to the above–namely, a girl torn between two rich guys. However, in this setting, Korea still has a royal family of sorts, operating kind of like England–figureheads, but still important. Chae Kyung ends up marrying the prince out of filial responsibility–but he already has a girl he likes! In steps his cousin, who has sights on Chae Kyung. Joo Ji Hoon is also seriously cute, although it kills you to watch their slow descent to love while he continues to do things that break her heart. I’m a huge fan of the main actress as well, Yoon Eun Hye–she’s also in Coffee Prince! A nice mini-makeout towards the end, but it’s hard to watch Chae Kyung look heartbroken and miserable for a decent chunk of the series… the problems they could solve by just TALKING!
3. You’re Beautiful – A suggestion by Michelle, which turned out to be very spot-on! We have another girl-two-guys formula, but while it becomes annoying after awhile in Goong, you actually feel badly for the back-up nice-guy in this one. However, it was always going to be my dear Jang Geun Suk in the end. At the beginning I thought, who is this emo greasy-looking jerk? But as the series goes on and you get to see him really smile, and get a better haircut, you fall in love right alongside Mi Nyu. (Who is a nun-in-training who winds up pretending to be a guy in a boy band to cover for her twin bro. Whoops!) This one is terrible in the physicality department, and perhaps makes their situation a little more.. complicated, shall we say, than it really needed to be, but by the end you won’t care anymore–and you’ll also know what Piggy Bunny is. It’s a thing.
4. City Hunter – Another Michelle suggestion! Back to Lee Min Ho, my cutie from Boys over Flowers, as he plays a man groomed to get revenge on the men who betrayed his father and a bunch of other South Korean soldiers by killing them to cover up a secret mission. He does this by totally destroying the corrupt government officials in his own way. This is complicated by the fact that he falls in love with Kim Na Na, a secret service agent who tends to protect the officials he’s targeting. WHOOPS. x) While Na Na fumbles through being an agent for the first 3/4 of the drama, and insists on wearing heels even when it is totally impractical, this drama is nice because of the dramatic factor, and it IS actually rather humorous towards the beginning. The ending falls slightly flat, however–very little in the way of wrap-up, which I always hate. </3
5. Love Rain – I was missing Jang Geun Suk from You’re Beautiful, so I decided to watch this drama about a 70s couple who is separated, only to have their kids fall in love years later. The first 4 or 5 episodes are about In Ha and Yoo Hee, and then it flashes forward to Joon and Ha Na, who are INFINITELY more attractive, but played by the same people. (Oh God, Geun Suk’s hair in the 70s!) While Ha Na has a guy on the side, that plot gets shut down rather quickly, making it a bit different–the major wrench here being that their parents meet again, and ALSO want to be together. (Which would make them related, which is a huge no-no in Korean culture.) This one is sweet and charming, a little slow but not draggingly so. It’s a feel-good kind of drama, although you’ll feel badly for both couples, since you know something has to happen. However, from our USA point of view, it can be hard to understand what all the fuss is about!
6. Coffee Prince – OH GOD COFFEE PRINCE. Maybe it’s just because this one was my most recent, but I am IN LOVE with this drama. Five stars all around, and NOTHING I didn’t like… Well. Maybe one thing, but it’s TINY. This has the girl from Goong and an older guy, Gong Yoo, who is a bit manlier-looking than most of the main characters I’ve been watching up till now. I thought that would put me off, but I was so wrong. The CHEMISTRY in this drama is superb, as is their natural way of being with one another throughout. It’s actually one of the more natural displays of relationships I’ve ever seen. AND SO PHYSICAL OMG. They’re always touching or kissing each other, and like I said above, there’s ALLUSION TO SEX. It happened. I nearly died. Anyway, in this one, Han Kyul comes back from America to find that his grandmother and mother want to set him up with a woman. So he does what anyone would do–hires a young man to pretend to be his gay lover! Little does he know that Eun Chan is actually a girl–and so begins our merry 17 episode romp. I also love this drama for dealing with homosexuality, as for a majority of the show, Han Kyul, apparently staunchly heterosexual, finds himself falling for a person HE THINKS is a guy. There’s a side-plot with his cousin and the girl they both like, but I found that by far the least interesting part of the drama. Actually, when they eventually open the coffee shop, it is populated by a cast of characters who are all really interesting in their own right, and hardly second fiddles. God, I could talk about this drama all day, but seriously. WATCH IT, even if you only pick one. It’s adorable. It will make you puke rainbows.
Sorry for the word vomit, but I was feeling guilty about not posting for so long. NOT ANY MORE!
I’ll try to get back here more often, though. 🙂 When I am not so addicted, perhaps.