Monday, August 26, 2019

more things I've learned in DramaLand

One Percent of Something

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

Do you watch Korean dramas? Ahnyeo? Well, I do. I find I'm a little wonjahn addicted to the slow romance, beautiful actors, implausible storylines, fabulous fashions, and yes, compleeetely predictable plot devices. Don't let the sometimes cringey English titles throw you off.

 King of High School



Maybe you caught my original post, Things I've Learned in DramaLand? You may find it amusing in the way only Kdrama devotees can. As an American and a veteran Kdrama watcher, I still find there are a lot of things that are puzzling about Korean culture, just like I'm 100% sure our international friends must be perplexed by the totally authentic and real American culture portrayed on American TV. (Honestly, American TV is why I watch Kdramas.)

Come and Hug Me 


So here's Part II of my list of things that I've learned that are 100% true from South Korean dramatic TV and movies. *Humor Alert* (Looking for Part I? Yogeo.)
  1. If there is a company dinner planned, unless you are spurting blood out your eyeballs, you will be expected to attend. 
  2. And also to cut the meat for the table with scissors and cook it.
  3. A 60 hour work week is considered, well, kinda lazy.
  4. A chaebol is a good looking, emotionally distant corporate heir with a tragic lack of love.
  5. Chaebols never watch TV. They are too busy looking immaculately groomed and upholding the Korean economy.
  6. High school grade ranking is serious, cutthroat business.
  7. The Korean word for 'rain' and 'blood' sound like the exact same thing.
  8. No one in Korea drives anything that was not made in Korea.
  9. If your great great great grandfather once committed a crime, and your neighbors find out, you may as well move overseas. You will likely be run out of your neighborhood, called the devil's spawn, and pelted by eggs. 
  10. If your companion falls asleep and slowly topples their head onto your shoulder, it's True Love.
  11. Korean beef is the world's most desirable thing to eat, followed closely by pork belly lettuce wraps, spicy chicken feet, black bean noodles, fish cakes on a stick, ramen, your mom's radish kimchi, red bean shaved ice, or spicy rice cakes swimming in malevolent red fire sauce.
  12. The entire city of Seoul is built on back breaking 45 degree inclines.
  13. If your otherwise modern male companion has a conniption fit about the modesty of what you are wearing, it's True Love.
  14. All young Korean actors are also gifted vocalists. Seriously. And they probably headline a Kpop group as a parallel career.
  15. All young Korean actors are able to cry very prettily on demand with no snot and no red nose.
  16. All young Korean actors have their pores surgically removed.
  17. The use of proper honorifics is serious, cutthroat business.
  18. Unmarked white cargo trucks in Seoul never stop for red lights at crosswalks, picking off hapless pedestrians by the hundreds. Pretty sure they are manufactured without brakes.
  19. If you are good looking, in love, rich, and on your way to do something really important, the chances you will be mowed down by a white cargo truck increase by 500%.
  20. After being mowed down by a cargo truck, you will likely wake with a rare but completely real condition in which 1) you can no longer recognize faces except for your gorgeous secretary 2) your memory is mysteriously wiped clean every night 3) you will be psychosomatically allergic to human touch or 4) you will be permanently, hopelessly blind. But no broken bones.
  21. Each of those rare but completely real conditions will be confirmed to be progressively fatal by an American doctor from Harvard Medical School, but will miraculously be cured in Episode 16 by True Love.
  22. Oppa can mean either your male love interest or your older brother, which never leads to any misunderstandings.
  23. No one in South Korea has an iPhone. Samsung, baby.
  24. If someone accidentally sits on you in a crowded bus, it's True Love.
  25. Never apply lipstick on your whole mouth. Apply it to the innermost part only with your pinky, and then smack your lips together. You will look like you just finished a cherry Charm Pop.
  26. KPop fangirling is serious, cutthroat business. And not limited to teens.
  27. When you are being chastised, under no circumstances should you voice any common sense defense of yourself or your actions in order to clear things up. Instead, stoically endure while angry people accuse you of all manner of moral turpitude in front of smirking onlookers. Who are filming you on their phones.
  28. If you don't return someone's feelings, it's clearly not their fault – it's because you are just not trying hard enough. Everyone agrees on this.
  29. Knife blades in Korea come with a built in cloaking device which makes them appear out of focus, but they will still cut you.
  30. If you are famous, no one will love, support, and adore you more obsessively than South Korean fans.
  31. If they find out you have a tiny flaw, no one will drop you faster, and they will likely pelt you with eggs as they set your house on fire. 
  32. If your oppa says for you to look in the trunk of his luxury Hyundai, it's True Love.
  33. There are only five seasoned, highly talented character actors in South Korea, and they are shared across all dramas.
  34. Never have an inner dialog. Say everything you are thinking out loud.
  35. If you are a chaebol, there's an 89% chance you are not actually the child of at least one of your parents.
  36. It turns out after watching hundreds of hours of Korean dramas, you will mysteriously still not be fluent in Korean. Daebak. Wei? WEI? Aigoo.
  37. If someone is skulking around wearing a black hoodie, black baseball cap, and black surgical mask, no one suspects them of anything.
  38. There are two non-Asian actors in South Korea, and they earn lucrative salaries making cameo appearances as high powered deal brokers or Harvard Medical School doctors.
  39. If someone spends a small fortune getting you a kawaii softie from a claw hand vending machine, it's True Love.
  40. No one is able to stay awake on buses in Seoul.
  41. Properly sorting your recyclables is serious cutthroat business.
  42. It is generally known that South Korean technology produces robots that are completely indistinguishable from a real human, and which end up kissing surprised young ladies.
  43. Some means you've got a little flirty somethin goin' on, but no one is calling it a relationship just yet.
  44. Always plaintively say 'Oppa' with a pouty mouth while tucking your arm in his. He will immediately buy you an expensive bag.
  45. Whatever problem you have, it can be cured by a heaping plate of grilled meats. And 5 bottles of soju.
  46. If you are a woman forced to disguise yourself as a man to step around rigid societal expectations, no worries, you will completely fool everyone. Despite your diminutive size, hourglass waist, lack of Adam's apple, tiny slender hands, narrow shoulders, and female angel's features. Don't even bother to lower your voice. 
  47. If you are under the age of 6 in Korea, you will be indulged as the most helpless, precious treasure imaginable and given anything you want. People will fall over themselves to stop you from crying. Mothers will handfeed you choice bits of food. Strangers will pet your head and buy you cream filled buns.
  48. Once you start school, buckle up, Buttercup, you are on your own. Better start carrying a knife.
  49. No one in South Korea stores their phone contacts with people's actual names.
  50. If your secret True Love fell asleep five seconds ago, you can touch their face, rearrange their limbs, steal a kiss, and confess undying love in a perfectly normal tone of voice right next to them, and they won't even twitch. 
  51. Rich, good looking oppas can somehow get away with wearing eye-popping, flamboyant, girly fashions and no one ever questions their manhood.
  52. If someone gives you a surprise back-hug, it's True Love.
  53. Never apply expensive face cream without making sure the brand name is visible to the camera.
  54. The delicate art of Push-Pull is when you can have True Love for someone but continually say they are not only ugly but also kinda stupid. This only fans the flames of their ardor.
  55. No one in corporate Seoul can function on fewer than three cafe Americanos and a red ginseng packet per day.
  56. If you are virtuous and determined, you will earn loose change by peeling onions/garlic or sewing on the faces of kawaii softies.
  57. Marriage between chaebols is serious, cutthroat business. Correction, marriage between anyone is serious, cutthroat business.
  58. If you trip over your own 4 inch heels and are caught in the arms of a stern looking oppa in slow motion replay as you fall beautifully backwards, it's True Love.
  59. If you are a plucky, beautiful, but poor tomboy just trying to better yourself, you will fall in love with 1) a chaebol whose mom breathes fire 2) your emotionally distant boss 3) the lead singer of a Kpop group 4) an expensive android or 5) your secret illegitimate brother.
  60. If things are going really well, your future is bright, and you are having a super happy time, PLEASE, I beg of you -- pay really close attention at crosswalks. Jae-bal!

 The Secret Life of my Secretary

 One Spring Night

I Am Not a Robot

We can all have a chuckle, but we know these tropes are what make Kdrama so unique and addictive -- so don't mess with the formula, people! Some side effects of my Kaddiction are the urge to answer my kids in Korean, try all kinds of ramen recipes, and I have to restrain myself from bowing when I say thank you. Another thing I've noticed is that the fashions travel westward. I find that I see a fashion trend on my dramas (and sometimes think what in the world, I'll never wear that) and then about six mos later it shows up in the stores here. And I end up wearing it.

Now that I've watched heaps of them, I've become picky about which dramas I watch. The reality is that I quickly pass on many of them after an episode or two (or 5 minutes in some cases), because I just can't quite suspend my disbelief, or I can't take the deliberate over-acting, or the extra silly humor, or the super slow pacing, etc... So now it takes a special one to really hook me. But there are plenty of those! Also, keepin' it real, I have to say, a lot (not all) of the Kpop ballads that play ad nauseum during many of the scenes...arrrrgh. Sorry. My American new wave musical tastes often seriously clash with what I'm watching. So there's that. 

South Korea has many genuinely talented actors and writers. And they just keep making more dramas to watch! One thing I really hope is that they do not try to westernize the plots and themes to draw in international viewers. I've already noticed signs of this. Boo! I vote no to that. Check out my Kdrama Pinterest board if you like. I only pin dramas I've watched and would recommend.


  1. Larissa, Do you know the Korean language?
    I will check your pinterest page.
    I just watched "boys over flowers" the first two episodes, as I am tread milling. I watched it on youtube so the picture is a little fuzzy, but pretty good. The story is hilarious.
    I should look at these films that you have shared first. Where else can you find them? Hulu?
    The subtitles go so fast I spend so much time reading haha. I love languages, but have only mastered the germanic - Dutch German French etc, so Asian is totally out of my orbit, but I will try. I know that you have posted in the past about these shows. I do like efforts from other countries and yeah, US shows we never watch. - for various reasons.
    have a fun Tuesday.

    1. Hey, Rosemary! No! I most definitely am not fluent in the Korean language. It's a mystery why not, after listening to it alongside English subtitles for hours and hours. :-D I do know some words and phrases and can sometimes pick out the meaning when I hear it spoken. OK, so Boys Over Flowers... I may be the only Kdrama fan on the planet who does not like it. I tried the first episode and just can't take it. Too over the top for me. Maybe I should give it another try. I watch my dramas on Viki, and Amazon Prime and Netflix also have a large selection to view. Be aware -- a not all Korean dramas and movies are PG, especially on Prime. I'd recommend trying Strong Woman Do Bong Soon -- that's one of my faves. It's funny and well done -- and it also has a gripping crime mystery storyline.

    2. thank you Larissa for the "heads up" regarding ratings. I am not much interested in anything other that PG or G.
      I will watch this one that you recommended.
      I only watched two epiisodes of the Boys/flowers one.
      this is my first ever experience with KDrama so I am flexible and open. I like funny stuff. Thanks for "broadening my horizons" as my beloved mom used to say❤️

  2. No. 12 so true! I took a taxi up those "slopes" once to visit someone and it was super scary. When it was time to leave, I had the good sense to walk down the "slopes". Thankfully I was wearing running shoes and I did not fall flat on my face.


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