Things I Don’t Understand About Korean Dramas

So, many of you may see the title of this post and wonder how this is going to apply to your life whatsoever. Let me tell you, it won’t. But then again, when have these stories every applied to anything? (That’s why they’re useless). I just thought I would preface this post with that before continuing. These are just some things that I (a teenager from America) found confusing about dramas originating from Korea.

You might also be wondering: “How does one come to watch Korean dramas?” And to you I would say: GREAT QUESTION. I have no freaking clue. Well, I have a little bit of a clue, and it starts with… Netflix. Doesn’t everything start with Netflix? Well, Netflix and YouTube.

You start off watching one thing and then you’re  linked to something completely different until you’ve followed the trail so far that you no longer remember where you started–the only thing you know now is that you’re competing with yourself to read the subtitles faster than the actors can speak. At least, that’s how it worked for me.

Alas, that’s (vaguely) how I ended up watching (way too many) Korean dramas. That, and I have a lot of time on my hands to watch television in general when I should be writing. Again, oops. After a while of watching, you might notice things in your own culture’s television shows–for example: why do American T.V. shows feel the need to make every teenager have a pregnancy scare? Because, um, if that’s really how often people get pregnant, we might have a bit of a problem.

Anyhoot, there were things that began to stick out to me after a while that I just didn’t quite understand. Please note also that these are purely opinion based observations and questions solely from watching these dramas and with no prior knowledge of the Korean culture whatsoever. Which, in retrospect, I feel makes me sound bad, but let’s all be honest with ourselves: how many of us know a lot about other cultures outside of our own? I mean, really know about them?

If your answer is that you do, fantastic! But for other people like me who aren’t as…um…cultured? Well, I challenge you to pick a country or region that you find fascinating and learn about it. Maybe start learning another language–I have a list of twelve that I want to give a go–but that’s a bit much. Sorry, now I’m seriously digressing.

My questions are, primarily: why are the characters rarely open about what is happening around/to them? And WHY does the second love interest always get kicked to the curb even though (for the most part) he/she is way nicer, funnier, prettier, better looking, NICER than the lead character?

I just don’t understand 😦

To begin with, why do people never talk to one another? It seems to me like they purposely avoid saying anything of importance to one another (especially in the melodramas) until people just start dying off left and right, and I’m watching the screen like WHYYYYY?!?!?

I understand part of that is for the dramatic effect, and I also understand that American television shows do this quite a bit as well, but if you know that so-and-so murdered your best friend’s dad and your best friend thinks it’s Marty from down the street, and then your best friend kills Marty from down the street and you didn’t say anything because you were concerned your best friend’s feelings might get hurt, that is on you, amigo.

However, I am one of those people who despises passive characters no matter their form. As a writer, passive characters make me a little bit nauseous. So when I come into contact with characters who keep a million secrets and never tell anyone anything useful (even though the problem could have been solved years ago had they just opened their mouth) I kind of want to punch them in the face. Really hard. I don’t give a crap who they are or where they’re from, they need a solid punch in the face. So frustrating…

But even more frustrating than that is the fate of the poor second love interest (usually male) in the world of K-dramas. The majority of the time, in my own opinion of course, the second love interest is more attractive, funnier, and WAY nicer than the lead male. For a large portion of k-dramas, especially in the romance/rom-com genre where this would be taking place the most, the male lead is  a wealthy son who is forced into circumstances with the female lead and is a royal douche the entire time. Typically this behavior changes as the story progresses, sometimes it doesn’t, but either way I just want to smack the crap out of him/her.

And then you have the oh-so-adorable sidekick (second love interest) who gets friend-zoned so hard you can see their head spinning and you can’t help but feel awful for their little precious selves. That is what confuses the crap out of me, because the way I see it: handsome+kind >>>>> rich+douchey.

And I do get people wanting to see the typical “douchey lead’s heart is changed for the better because of the girl” circumstances, but still. The second guy is almost ALWAYS better. So what is the female lead doing with her life?

As with Tootsie Pops, the world may never know.


Don’t forget to swing by my new (and embarrassing) YouTube channel for the parallel video to this post coming tomorrow!

Check you later, gators 🙂




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