Drama Reactions & Reviews
First-date dramas
by | June 5, 2008 | 113 Comments



I was thinking how I’ve been watching lots of first episodes of dramas these days, but haven’t found anything to dive into since the end of Who Are You? It’s starting to feel like going on a string of disappointing first dates — measuring up expectations versus performance, anticipation versus letdown, etc.

You know, there’s that date you’re really looking forward to, so you get dressed up and put on your heels and makeup and count down the hours, and he turns out to be a total dud. Or the date you agreed to because it was easier to give the guy your number than to try to invent an excuse not to because those excuses always come out embarrassingly half-assed — like you say you don’t have a phone and then it rings, or something — but then you end up having a good time.

I didn’t exactly intend to go off on an extended metaphor, but when I thought about all the recent dramas I’ve caught, they all seemed to fit (more or less).

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Iljimae is the date your friend set you up with, assuring you for weeks in advance that the guy is so hot, so popular, SO the perfect catch, and then you meet him and you’re like, “Him?” Your friend then assures you that everyone else loves him, but all you can do is keep looking and wonder, again, “Him?”
Three Dads, One Mom is what happens when the class clown asks you out, and you think this should be a fun night out. He takes you to some place casual like a carnival, or bowling, and although it’s hardly romantic, you enjoy yourself thinking that even though your conversation is pretty shallow, all people have hidden depths and you’ll get to see his at some point. But you’re wrong. Some people really don’t have hidden depths.
On Air is the date I actually had with some random guy who spent the entire night telling me what a dick he was (seriously) and how he used to be an asshole to his last girlfriend (seriously) and expected me to be charmed anyway. Instead of recognizing his actions as problematic, he seemed pretty proud of himself, and when he suggested we follow coffee with dinner, I practically blurted “No” straight out and ducked away to safety.
The Last Scandal of My Life is the date you hesitated to accept because he was a little older and you thought you probably don’t have much in common. But it turned out he’s actually really young at heart — he might even be younger at heart than you, like he’s a semi-regular skydiver, or parasailing expert — and you get on smashingly well. He’s the date that turns into a long-term relationship.
La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life) is the date you admire for being smart, albeit somewhat humorless, but after a while you get really tired of his Pinot Noir-swilling, Foucault-spouting crowd, and you’re like, “I need someone who knows how to converse about things other than Darfur and Sudan and drinks beer occasionally and doesn’t make me feel ashamed for knowing how many kids Angelina Jolie has or for watching reality television — hey, some of it’s really entertaining!”
Why Did You Come To Our House is the guy you had a pretty fun time with, and intended to call back to meet again, but when you got back home you totally forgot. You remembered several weeks later, but by that point it would have been more awkward to call him back, so you figure he wasn’t The One anyway and promptly forget about him again. (Hey, it’s not like he couldn’t call you, either.)
Tokyo Showers is the date who’s kind of old-fashioned and sweet, but you just have nothing to say about (or to) him. Thankfully, he knew from the start that this was going to be a short relationship and just faded back afterward, unobtrusive and undemanding.
Rivals is the dude who thinks he’s George Clooney but he’s really more like Owen Wilson. Or Jack Black. As in, he’s fun on his own terms, but he keeps thinking he’s more deep than he ought to. And apparently he can’t make up his mind about who he likes, which is so frustrating to the two people he’s stringing along.
I Love You is another date I actually had, this time with the cute guy whom I really wanted to like. He was interesting, funny, and likable in an everyday sort of way. He was a great catch and kept asking me out, but I wasn’t attracted to him (I tried!) so we parted ways and I figured he’d make some other girl happy.
Spotlight sounded good on paper, if a little dry. Probably a workaholic. But then he showed up and bored you to tears and you called your friend to stage the fake-emergency date extraction phone call. You felt kind of bad for doing it, but he never noticed.
Hong Gil Dong was the date who was tons of fun — maybe a little shallow — over drinks and appetizers, but halfway through dinner he got up and switched places with his twin brother because maybe they have some kind of weird grown-up Parent Trap thing going, only it doesn’t work so well nowadays because Twin #2 is just so dire and tragic. You want to leave too, but you feel so bad for him that you stay and in the end he kills himself. Or, like, passes out in a drunken mess after dessert.
Bulhandang / Robbers is the date that started off tentatively until the guy suddenly started tearing up and told you he had just been diagnosed with a terminal disease, which totally brought to mind how your last blind date went awry and that guy kicked the bucket too, which makes YOU feel all teary-eyed, and now the both of you are just a blubbering mess of tragedy.
Who Are You? is the date that almost never was, because at first you thought he was kind of goofy in a lame way, but then you cut him some slack because maybe he was just nervous asking you out, you know? And then you have a wonderful date and he’s a lot more interesting than you gave him credit for, and you’re simultaneously glad you decided to go on the date but also ashamed that you weren’t initially going to. But all’s well that ends well.

Yi San is the date that would never end. Every time you’d near a natural point to end the night and go home, he’d barrel over the conversation and extend it, ordering more courses, suggesting additional rounds, and generally wearing out his welcome. He’s a pretty decent catch, so maybe he figured you would want more of him and was happy to oblige. You could’ve had four other first dates in the time it took you to get through one with this guy.

Extending the metaphor to an older drama: Coffee Prince is the date with whom you hit it off so well, so instantly, that before long you were swept up in a whirl of happy romance and hormones. But about twelve dates in, you started to realize that you didn’t have as much in common as you thought, and that you were held together more by attraction and endorphins than anything else. In the long run, you’ll probably outgrow each other, but boy, did you have fun while you lasted.

And what about dramas that have yet to air?

Will Gourmet be a romantic fine-dining experience, or will he be the guy who took you to the fancy restaurant just because he couldn’t think of someplace more original to take you? And Chil Woo looks to be a quick summer fling — will that be all frosty mojitos and sunset strolls, or a cold day on the beach? While it aims for hard-edged swagger, will East of Eden come out more James Dean or Jimmy Dean? How about Beethoven Virus, When Night Comes, Lawyers of Korea, or Painter of the Wind?

Got any more first-date scenarios to offer for comparison?

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113 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. ripgal

    Goodness, that was sooo well written.. so witty and yet delivers what you feel about the dramas.. HAHAHAHA..

    Good job XD

     (0)


  2. Ivuson

    A little harsh on HGD. I thought you LIKED the ending.

     (0)


  3. mzpakipot

    i need to go out more on dates!! hahaha…! well written! i’ll definitely fall in love with “last scandal” guy scenario…

     (0)


  4. Sherrie

    Whew!! That was excellent composition. If I am a teacher, I would give you an “A plus” for all the reviews. I too is going through a very rough time with what to watch. I started to watch On Air (2008) and then Powerful Opponents – not all at the same time. Powerful Opponents ended last week and I don’t know what to watch now. I guess I need a break from Kdrama for awhile and go back to watch regular TV.

    Again thank you for your reviews.

     (0)


  5. leanie

    tu es une ecrivaine fantastique!

    love your witty and humorous analogies. you should have more blogs like this =3

    and lawlz, totally agree with Sherrie on the A plus part. bet you were a brilliant english student when you were in school.

     (0)


  6. trang2610

    Omg I always love your writing
    it’S soo funny and enjoyable^^
    I love the way you figured out the dramas since I just had the same feeling like you lol^^

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  7. trang2610

    Omg I always love your writing
    it’S soo funny and enjoyable^^
    I love the way you figured out the dramas since I just had the same feeling like you lol^^

     (0)


  8. giddygirl108

    The most entertaining and yet insightful analysis of all of the dramas (per you personally). I spontaneously come up with metaphors for many things but yours are far more eloquent and clarifyingly (is that a word? if not, sorry!) expressive. LOVE. IT.

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  9. lovenyc52

    wow i loved this post. you’re analogies were spot-on :)

     (0)


  10. 10 choram

    This may come off as sad………

    ……….but reading this post was a lot more fun than any dates I’ve been on lately!

    Seriously LOL :D

     (0)


  11. 11 phiphi

    Your First-date drama rating is well done. It’s precise and has a good sense of humor.

    I’m waiting anxiously for my first date with Chil Woo!

     (0)


  12. 12 nisku

    Never have i enjoyed such a wonderful comparision beween 2 entities. I just love the way you have seen the minute details which we seem to overlook. You are dead on right on the first dates.

    I just loved it!!!!!!!

     (0)


  13. 13 gailT

    wow, that was awesome and pretty right on! this should go get published somewhere so you can collect. :D great writing!

     (0)


  14. 14 ruthiepoof

    I love your comparison of the dramas to dating! I especially like the comparison of I Love You and The Last Scandal of My Life!!

     (0)


  15. 15 minime

    wow nice extended metaphor. yeah i feel like there are no more good, classic dramas anymore :(

     (0)


  16. 16 diane

    haha i love it!pretty accurate… when is a decent first date going to come around and save us all!!!!

     (0)


  17. 17 epyc

    Congratulations on a most witty and ‘dead’ right piece, Javabeans!

     (0)


  18. 18 juno

    Hong Gil Dong was the BEST ever! Loved the whole story line! So I really don’t know what the you’re talking about!

     (0)


  19. 19 all4movies

    I’m impressed by how much dating experience you have to draw on.

    Aja.

     (1)


  20. 20 Suzy

    Wow, you really know how many kids Angelina Jolie has? haha
    Thanks, that was alot of fun to read!

     (0)


  21. 21 AudHepFan

    Yi San is the date that would never end.

    best line

     (0)


  22. 22 Sue

    this is why i love javabeans

     (0)


  23. 23 jinkzzmec

    that was fun to read and well written…agree on the last scandal scenario… i have initally hesitated ( no matter how much my friend convinced me how good it was) but i end up loving the drama so much.

     (0)


  24. 24 soyboy

    Love your writing! This article is just brilliant! I enjoyed reading it very much. Thanks for making my day.

     (0)


  25. 25 mookie

    Javabeans, bravo! :)

    This is the best blog entry I’ve read in a long time!! Now I’m going to give Last scandal another chance.

     (0)


  26. 26 Irene

    Oh my goodness… ‘drama’ to ‘date’ – totally different thing but you have linked them together and make so much sense!! It is brilliant!!!

    “Who are you?” is also my ‘date’ so far.. I still couldnt find ‘anyone’ to replace him! :D

     (0)


  27. 27 koekoedoque

    i love this entry!

     (0)


  28. 28 katwoman

    This is an amazing post and so fun to read. Seems like you have had a lot of dating experience there.

    When Night Comes for me might be the date with the guy you have seriously dated before and was head over heels in love with, but he had to leave(move out of the country). But now he’s back and you are looking forward to rekindling the flame. It could go two ways. You hit it off again and fall in love and the works or you realize you’ve changed or he’s changed and the spark is not there anymore.

    I miss Kim Sun Ah of Samsoon.

     (0)


  29. 29 yeli

    WOW…i love this entry too! lol…those are great comparisons..i never thought of dramas that way but it makes so much sense :D

     (0)


  30. 30 Auntie Mame

    As usual, your prose is so delightfully mischievous and totally entertaining.

    And, I so agree with you on Coffee Prince. Although I enjoyed it at the time of its airing, in retrospect, I find it lacking in substance. It’s like a firework display where everyone is “oohing” and “aahing”. But, ultimately, it just dissipates and everyone walks off, with nary an over the shoulder look.

    I always love reading your blog.

    Thank you so much for sharing your wit with us.

     (0)


  31. 31 JD

    hey javabeans, you are a great, great writer. wow.

     (0)


  32. 32 mzpakipot

    we’re just gonna have to wait and see who we are going out on a date for the next time…I’m looking forward to Lee Dong Gun’s character in When it’s at Night with Kim Sun Ah. in the meantime, let’s just relax and watch some US reality shows! heard of Farmer’s Wife? (yeccch!! weird!) i like the “last comic standing.” if u don’t like those shows, try watching Tokyo Shower. It seems good, ajussi look good/young from far away.. ;D kim sa rang’s cute in this drama..and it’s only 4 episodes!!

     (0)


  33. 33 bambooshoots

    I’m loving this post! it’s so witty and well written, much better than the usual “Well, this drama’s good ’cause…and this drama’s boring since…”
    I come to your blog everyday but i never comment (hehe), so i just wanted to say that this is one of my favorite blogs of all time. keep up the good work! =]

     (0)


  34. 34 Miki

    Lol. The comparisons were hilarious!

    ^_^ Though I wonder if you’ve had real similar first dates like that? You can compare dramas to first dates so well….But they’re totally true and I got them all. (I’m slow). The new crops don’t look promising either, but who knows. There might a “Who are You” type of series in there.

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  35. 35 jen

    totally not related —- i love your shin dong wook header!!!! wihee

     (0)


  36. 36 Liv

    “You want to leave too, but you feel so bad for him that you stay and in the end he kills himself. Or, like, passes out in a drunken mess after dessert.”

    I love it lol

     (0)


  37. 37 jackie

    After watching, WHO ARE YOU, I really don’t know what to watch. Nothing can’t beat that show right now.

     (0)


  38. 38 feifei

    That was brilliant! Could not remember how many times I have burst out laughing spontaneously over your comments. Way to go, Javabeans. Love it!

     (0)


  39. 39 lulu

    watch you are my destiny. it is the best out there right now… so addicted.

     (0)


  40. 40 ames4eva

    love it :)

     (0)


  41. 41 bethany

    가을동화 was my first drama… and my first date. kind of typical first date (and relationship) – it got too crazy too fast, so intense and addicted… but way. too. much. drama. and ended in such a way that i can look back and smile… even if inside i’m churning from all the tears and drama.

     (0)


  42. 42 nileey

    oooo….i love how you associate each drama with a date….that’s really entertaining!

     (0)


  43. 43 nomad

    lol @ your date/drama comparison. After Who Are You? I couldn’t find anything interesting to watch among these recently released batch of dramas either, so i started watching H.I.T. and i’m so glad i did…very intense.

     (0)


  44. 44 royal

    That was a very clever way of showing how you like/dislike the dramas~ :D And I really hope Eric’s drama will be really entertaining…. I like that guy and Hye Sun.

     (0)


  45. 45 Stawr

    how about the kind of first date where the guy is perfectly fine, good manners, good looking but he just has this super awkward aura. everything about the date just ends awkwardly (kind of like when people are reading something aloud and they end it like a question. “this is a dog?” instead of “\this is a dog.”).

    okay. so i guess my scenario isn’t as the ones you listed in your entry, but it was pretty darn…awkward…lol it wa slike no matter what you tried to do, it was just an awkward ending. LOL

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  46. 46 Row

    Another great piece, Javabeans! A real good read — funny, witty, on the spot, out-of-the-box analysis! Can’t thank you enough. You should write professionally (like write books, if you aren’t already).

    I’m currently watching Bliss/Happiness, now on Episode 34. Although it’ll be a 50-episode drama, there are no boring moments. Excellent masterpiece of the writer(s). Maybe you can take a peek and see if it is worth a “date”.

    Ttumannayo!

     (0)


  47. 47 Epuni

    a great read to finish off the day….thanks!

    you’re a very brilliant, creative writer. i enjoy reading your posts everyday. :)

    oh and i totally agree with ^^ ….Bliss is an excellent drama. there hasn’t been a time where i look to see how much time is left in each episode. instead i’m always wanting more and more. each and every actor/actress does a superb job portraying their character.

    Bliss is my second favourite series next to Last Scandal for 2008. you should give it a try…i guarantee you will not be disappointed.

     (0)


  48. 48 dhivs

    That was some fun read!!!……thanx javabeans!!!

     (0)


  49. 49 chubby

    love this entry!

     (0)


  50. 50 rice

    I agree with whoever recommended ‘You Are My Destiny’.
    You should give it a shot if you like daily dramas. :)

     (0)


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