Pop Culture & Society
Dramabeans the (e)Book: Why Do Dramas Do That?
by | August 19, 2013 | 277 Comments

Why do dramas do that?

If ever there were a question that characterized the seven years we’ve been running this site, that would be the one. What’s with the back hugging? Do Koreans really drink so much soju? Wrist grabs: EXPLAIN!

We attempted to tackle the question with our Pop Culture and Glossary series of posts (examples: What’s an oppa? and an explanation of the folk-tale Gumiho), but quickly realized that there was so much material we wanted to cover that we joked we could easily fill a tome with it. So why don’t we? was the obvious response.

And thus Dramabeans: The Book was born, which we decided to call, aptly, Why Do Dramas Do That?

We’ll be publishing the project as a three-part ebook series, which we’ll make available on Amazon (to be read on a Kindle device or free Kindle apps) and Smashwords (which publishes formats readable on Sony Reader, Kobo, Nook, Kindle, and your iThing of choice).

We’ll be releasing Part 1 soon, so stay tuned for updates. For now, here’s a taste of what’s in store:

Why is everyone in a K-drama obsessed with a first love?

First loves have their own mythic place in K-dramaland (or perhaps because of dramaland), holding power over characters that traverse the unlikeliest of divides: time, memory, generations, even between the living and the dead. Countless dramas base entire romantic plots on the love of a little boy for the first girl who was ever nice to him. Often we can sum up an entire drama this way: boy meets girl in youth, falls in love, gets torn apart by tragedy, spends life fighting all odds to get back to her. The End. Is it realistic? No. Then why do dramas refuse to leave that mythic land, FirstLoveonia?

Why do diametric opposites attract?

He’s deaf but pretends to hear; she pretends to be deaf although she can hear. He can’t feel any pain, while she has acute sensitivity to pain. She’s poor and overflows with warmth; he’s filthy rich and frozen so rock-solid that a lump of ice resides in his chest cavity. How is it that these characters always manage to find the person who represents the exact antithesis of themselves? Is there a special pheromone that only drama stars are keen enough to detect as they hunt for a romantic match? What gets accomplished through this K-drama Law of Diametric Opposites?

The Prince and the Pauper: Wither the Middle Class?

K-dramas might give you the impression that Korea is divided into two economic classes: chaebols (insanely rich, and all handsome, young, and brilliant to boot) and dirt-poor commoners with strong work ethics (all beautiful and sweet, naturally). And while the income gap is a very real thing, these dramas tend to ignore a notable majority of the population, leading us to wonder: What happened to all the normal people? Where’s the middle class?

Why are loan sharks such a threat to the innocent heroes and heroines of dramaland?

Why is dramaland so littered with loan sharks, and why are they always black-suited brutes with fashions from the ’70s and brains from the Cro-Magnon era? And what do they possibly get out of harassing a dirt-poor hero or heroine who clearly can’t pay up anyway?

They’ll harass, stalk, threaten, and then do the same to every relative they can track down. It doesn’t matter if the heroine has not a cent to her name, or if the hero isn’t technically the name on the contract; if the thugs terrorize the debtor’s child, the theory goes that the debtor will be nearby. It’s not fair, but who said fair had any place in a predatory loan in the first place?


277 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. redfox

    awesome! bravo! excited!

  2. martha


    • 2.1 hoaa

      super exciting!!

  3. taegyo

    wah this is really exciting!! can’t wait to read it.

  4. Windsun33

    This should be interesting, and may answer many of the burning questions about -WTF??- that many of us have had for ages.

    Some things I sort of understand – Cinderella stories have been popular in all cultures, ever since.. well Cinderella.

    But many things seem peculiar to K-dramas (and sometimes J or T dramas) that simply make us non Koreans go blank.

    My question for some of these though, is which came first – the egg or the chicken ajumma? Just like in the US and other countries I wonder how much of pop culture and behavior is due to the various tropes very common in k-dramas?

  5. cherkell

    Can I just say it’s about freakin’ time?!? Looking forward to it!

    And thanks for the shout-out on Smashwords! It’s a great resource for small works of unknown authors — they’ve been flying under the radar for so long that it’s nice to see some love shown for this plucky little start-up! ♥

    • 5.1 JoAnne

      It was a new word for me, and I will be looking at it tonight to see what is the what in the what.

      And yay!!!!! my Kindle, she is fired up and waiting for y’all.

    • 5.2 Shukmeister

      Yay for Smashwords! I find many small but mighty authors there to add to my must-read list. I’m excited for you guys!

  6. Cheryl

    Totally looking forward to this! I know all these things can be found in places all over the internet, but it would be awesome to have it all in one (or three) places.

  7. anonymous

    Do you honestly think that you are the best people to write that book?

    I don’t know how to break this to you, but you are no experts. It doesn’t matter that a lot of people are worshipping you, you are still just some fangirls with slightly above average writing skills and you always will be.

    I know I will be laughed at, but I just feel it had to be said.

    • 7.1 Windsun33

      So who do you feel SHOULD write it? Name one single “expert” in this field?

      • 7.1.1 anonymous

        If you had spent some time in the community you would know who should write this. No names.

        It’s the blind leading the blind if it is written by jb/gf, the community could do without if it’s written by someone that has no knowledge of dramaturgy/narrative/structure/the industry/(…).

        The cluelessness will be repeat so often and will be taken as a fact, till everyone believes it.

        • pogo

          …and what is the mythical ‘community’, anyway? People who hang out here/on other drama blogs? Netizens? From my perspective, JB and GF are well qualified as viewers to walk us through kdrama and explain things that us non-Koreans may not immediately get.

          And I’m actually interested in knowing who you’d consider an adequate ~expert on the field, so if it’s not too much trouble to stop pulling the ‘if you don’t know then you’ll never know’ act, please do suggest a name or two for a girl to check out.

          • Penny

            It’s an anonymous post. They won’t even stand by their statements by giving themselves a screen name. Your wasting your breath on this troll.

        • mary


          If the book has some “wrong” opinions (and I’m not discounting that possibility), the more “qualified” people are very much welcome to write another book on the matter.

          I’m also sure the readers who hang out at DB aren’t stupid. They have their opinions and can think for themselves if something makes (or doesn’t make) sense.

          I know I disagree with what JB and GF write sometimes. But I don’t let it bother me because I *know* it’s an opinion, and I don’t treat what they say as some sort of Kdrama Bible.

          As for the other readers who (you think) will blindly agree with what JB and GF will say… well, no amount of “proper” and “qualified” writing will sway them anyway. Since they’re, yunno, already blinded. No use worrying about them.

        • Celery


          I haven’t been here long enough to consider myself an expert on netizens posting on Dramabeans, but you sound suspiciously like someone else who’s a regular poster… with a different user ID.

          Regardless, I’m curious to know, who in your opinion SHOULD write it then?


          • sally_b

            @Celery — anon writes amazingly close to a person who posts here and on Soompi. That person spares no opportunity to belittle the most benign comments with ponderous multi-paragraph scoldings.

            Lambasting mostly sweet and well-meaning posters. (who de-lurk just to squeak and squee over some minor thing that gives them joy)

            Now… when I see her sig name …I scroll right past the blah-blah-me-me-I’m-a-writer nonsense and leave the posts in the dust.

            …and NO — I’m not going to give the name. It’s like calling the Devil. (Beetlejuice) 😉

          • Shukmeister

            [nods nods] Just leave her in her small, pathetic world of one.

          • Celery

            @sally_b @Shukmeister @the68monkey

            Think we all have the same suspect in mind. Oh well, innocent until proven guilty.

            I have no qualms about people voicing out their opinions TBH but I don’t appreciate it when the poster’s masking his/her personal grievances with faux objectivity. More respect for the outright brat who wants the lollipop.

        • ilikemangos

          It’s korean entertainment, not a history book they’re writing about.
          You can chill, because you won’t be forced to read it in school.

          • AnotherFan

            LOL. Love this post!

          • the68monkey

            Actually, I think I will force my students to read this in my school’s K-pop club! 😛

            Thanks, javabeans and girlfriday! Nobody would want to read a book written by somebody who knows how to write a drama; we want to read a book written by the ladies who are experts in what the fans (and other viewers) really want to know!

            Bravo! I’ll be purchasing at Amazon as soon as it’s available, and it WILL become required school reading for K-pop enthusiasts at my school.

          • the68monkey

            And by the way, you might as well write your actual user name instead of anonymous. Some of us already recognize who you are by the way you write.

          • Narina

            Ignore him.He’s just a coward who doesn’t even have the courage to write his name.All he wanted was some attention.We shouldn’t give it to him.

        • windsun33

          I have been here in the community for about 3 years, and have read and replied in hundreds of posts, on this and other sites. Have watched probably 200 complete dramas and movies.

          So I am not sure what you mean by “spending some time in the community”.

          • tiny

            exactly! i’m not even twisting his/her arm to really name names. i really just couldn’t figure out who he/she means.

        • Lamphead

          It doesn’t even really matter if your trollposting is correct, luckily its a fact for them that the majority of people want to see a book written by two fangirls with slightly above average writing skills.

          You think that a demographic that can put up with KDrama BS for 16-24 episodes a pop cares about deep industry knowledge or critiques? I think all we expect is something that gets the mind jogging and that opens the discussion for a bunch of drama related topics.

          If anything, your first mistake as a serious fan of drama or TV is..to be watching KDramas in the first place.

          • Faye

            Bravo to every word of this post. I watch K-dramas for escapist entertainment. Not to say that some of them don’t have deeper aspects, but in the end, this is K-drama, not deep literary/artistic criticism.

            I wonder how old this Anonymous is. He/she reminds me of those ponderous, self-obsessed Arts majors you come across in college who sneer at any enjoyment of popular culture and who love to show off how “educated” they are via long, rambling, often incorrectly cited references of famous literary or cultural figures.

            At the ripe old age of 34, with plenty of other responsibilities and pressures in life, I like K-dramas as a fun outlet. I would suspect most people who post here are the same way. Let’s keep the drama in the K-dramas, not in their discussion of it, you know? Otherwise there’s no fun in it.

          • lilibaiyu

            It’s kind of amazing really how easy it is to spot a troll. They just kinda wander in out of nowhere and start criticizing everything and everyone. Oh well. Personally, I can’t wait until I can buy this on Amazon. 🙂

    • 7.2 kookicookie

      Everyone has an opinion, but my mom always taught me
      “Don’t knock it until you try it!”. Doubt is one thing, but the tone of this comment teeters on the edge of something entirely different: envy. But hey, that’s something every one feels sometimes when other people are getting more recognition than you are. Don’t sweat it, but just do it behind your computer, silently.

      Yours Truly,

      the kookiest cookie you ever did meet.

      p.s. If you don’t like the content, why continue to visit the site and help out all the wonderful people (pretty sure all of the writers are women, but gotta hedge my bets) at Dramabeans? Just a kooki little thought for you. :3

      • 7.2.1 anonymous


        You don’t have to repeat your name every few words and make stupid puns out of it.

        • anniemo

          Well aren’t you a nasty piece of work. I’m very glad our paths haven’t crossed before. You may not think they are “qualified”, but your tone and need to respond to every criticism (aside from being utterly unnecessary) scream “chip on shoulder”. One of the things I really like about this blog, in addition to how intelligent its commenters are, is the politeness with which everyone generally speaks. I had to add the “generally” just for you. So please, do us all big favor, take a deep breath, shrink that ego, up that maturity level past age 13, and try again.

          • Shukmeister

            [wild hand clapping]

          • Waca

            Exactly what I was thinking!

        • windsun33

          If you can’t keep it civil, then please just shutup.

          • nomad

            AGREED! Please, just shut up. We happen to like each other here. If you don’t, you’re most welcomed to get out.

        • Lc

          Trolls like you are best ignored.

          • Mollee

            Agreed! Let’s get back to kdramas and ignore this fool.

    • 7.3 djes

      nobody forces you to read/buy it tho?

      thank God for JB & GF – who have “slightly above average writing skills” – since I’m entertained with this site since 2007.

      • 7.3.1 anonymous

        Spend your money how you want. Just pointing out, that it may not be wisely spent.

        • Member of Your Club

          Since you profess to be wise:

          “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

    • 7.4 Termas

      It’s good to be able to express your opinion. Kudos to you for being brave, I guess.

      As for Javabeans and Girlfriday writing this, I personally believe they are excellent choices (as if we were actually electing authors for this. Ha!). I don’t know their histories, but from reading their posts, it is clear that they have a native understanding of both Korean AND American cultures. This is one reason their blog is so popular; they understand what may be confusing to American (or European) viewers, but they are able to explain the Korean perspective confidently because they are Korean.

      On top of this, from their writing I can tell they are well-educated. References to current pop culture, past pop culture, AND to classics (and other things that only come from higher education) are not uncommon on this blog.

      • 7.4.1 anonymous

        I agree that as Koreans they are good sources for the Korean perspective and the cultural aspect of it. I just have a problem with it, because their knowledge of the industry and how dramas are written and why they are written that way is lacking.

        If you don’t know exactly what you are talking about and write such a book that will be the bible of the community, the falsehoods and false assumptions will be spread fast.

        • luvs

          hello anonymous,
          I myself will be curious and maybe read this e-book, because I am interested in other people’s cultures and sensibilities. Rest assured anonymous that I won’t take anything as written in stone or bible as you said. and why worry about other people? if a reader believe everything they read, it is their problem not yours.
          I like reading GF and JB’s commentaries myself. I’d like to know if they are Koreans since they seem to understand the culture more than me who is from another part of asia but love kdrama and korean variety shows.

          • eqhmm

            And yea, they are native koreans residing in the US~

        • Waca

          Hi anonymous,

          You know, if you want us to take you seriously and not as a troll, you should start by not hiding yourself behind your anonymity. The “anonymous” name screams of cowardice.

          That said, I kinda understand what your problem is, but I don’t agree with it, for many reasons. If I understand you right, to sum you up, you think gf and jb shouldn’t be writing that book because they have no “official” knowledge of the drama industry, is that right?

          I think your way of thinking, while understandable, may be flawed. Imo, on the contrary gf and jb are as qualified as anybody else who has a minimum of drama culture and a good sense of criticism, because they have an outside view and thus can see stuff that people working in the drama industry may not see because they are much too used to it.

          Do you understand my point? If only specialists were allowed to criticize stuff, then humanity would never improve, because then we would have a mass of passive people and a only a few elite guys able to keep a sense of criticism.

          GF and JB know a lot about both korean culture and American culture, can also get the opinion of people from other countries via dramabeans, and they have a good sense of critic. While I don’t always agree with them, I really like that they’re good critics, and thanks to them I learnt a lot about korean culture in dramas. I believe that they are not about to write about the industry of dramas itself, but about its cultural aspect, as people who watch them.

          So relax. Read that book as a sociologist, not as a believer. 🙂

      • 7.4.2 Ann

        Brave and anonymous rarely go together in my experience.

        • Carole McDonnell

          Majorly good point!

        • Termas

          I was trying to be polite.

          • mommai

            Kudos for being polite! I’m a fan of being polite even when other parties in various situations are hostile. Yay manners! 🙂

          • Ann

            Polite is the best way to go, of course, and I am sure you were stretching for something nice to say! Is praising someone for their relentlessness complementary? It sounded better in my head.

    • 7.5 Jen

      lol who would be considered enough of an expert to write the book besides two people who watch countless dramas, analyze them enough to write about them, and have ties to the culture?

    • 7.6 mary

      Not sure about “best” but they are definitely qualified in my opinion. And by qualified, I mean, they pass the ff tests (which, frankly, some best-selling authors don’t even pass):
      – Do they have enough experience in the subject?
      – Are there people interested in what they have to say?
      – Can they write in such a way that engages the reader?

      Relax. Don’t think of this as a textbook/encyclopedia/reference for all things drama. Just look at it as an editorial/opinion book written by the team who’s been publishing interesting kdrama posts more than once a day for more than 5 years now.


      BTW, if we limited writing and publishing to only the “best” people in a certain field, there’d be an awful less amount of books today. 🙂

      • 7.6.1 Newbie

        Very well said. Esp. the part about writing in such a way that engages the reader. There are blogs out there (and the gutless anon might even refer to the one I’m thinking of), that are basically unreadable, because the author is drunken on its knowledge.

        JB and GF created a side, where you can get basic info and more several times a day in a matter of minutes. Not everyone is able or willing to invest hours to analyze and check cross-references of one single post.

        On top of that they helped create a wonderful community, that wouldn’t be here, if we didn’t feel informed and entertained.

        Oh, and it is quite interesting to see, how fast you responded. You seem to observe a blog of non-experts very closely. Your pseudo-altruistic advice to invest our money elsewhere is see-through envy.

        • Newbie

          * you =/=mary
          I switched to addressing anon. 😉

          • Shukmeister

            Newbie –

            I think everyone understood your sentiments, even if we we don’t have a dozen letters following our name. Well said!

      • 7.6.2 jaglaine

        Took the words right out of my mouth, Mary. It will be written from their own perspective. It’s not a textbook, for heaven’s sake! Relax, mate.
        Let’s wait for it. Enjoy a good read. Have a few chuckles along the way. And put in our two cents’ worth in an open stream somewhere down the line.

    • 7.7 Cate

      Experts are essentially big fangirls/fanboys of their field of studies anyway. If they weren’t, I don’t think they would take the time to become “experts”. With that said, anonymous is allowed to have his/her own opinion in the matter. I just simply feel that JB and GF have demonstrated incredible knowledge and insight concerning Kdrama and the culture that surrounds it. So why not write a book? “Fighting!”

      • 7.7.1 toritorisan

        Totally agree with your post. Although I may not agree with JB and GF’s opinions all of the time, I do think they are very insightful with breaking down and analyzing dramas. For example, I never thought about “middle class” missing from Korean dramas until it was mentioned above. Now, I really want to know the answer!

    • 7.8 Carole McDonnell

      oh good lord, Anon! Usually, I ignore your comments because I think of you as some kind of anti-fan or someone who has her/his own dramablog and who is trying to undercut and belittle the competition.

      But sometimes you are so petty and silly..and downright vindictive — I can’t help but answer.

      Of course they ARE experts! By any definition, they are experts. Fans can be experts.

      And really: why do you think it HAD to be said? Is there some law of communication that declares we get a pass to be stupid, unkind, and lacking in etiquette just because we “feel” something has to be said?

      • 7.8.1 katmoo

        Well said.

      • 7.8.2 megels7719

        Well put

      • 7.8.3 kfangurl

        Hear, hear. Particularly the last bit. EVEN IF we feel something needs to be said, there are always kinder ways of saying it.

        I’m a big fan of being kind. Thank you, Carole.

      • 7.8.4 Faye

        Sorry to fangirl, Carol, but as always you say it best :). I love people who feel they “have” to say things. To such people, I refer them to Dave Chappelle’s skit on “keeping it real.” It goes along with people who say horrible things because “I’m just telling you the truth!” First, of all, your truth is not necessarily someone else’s. Second, how would you feel if someone “had” to be “honest” with you?

    • 7.9 ellaminnowpea

      Maybe you’re having a knee-jerk reaction because the word “book” has certain heavy, authoritative connotations, but seriously? Self-publishing an ebook is hardly any different from their self-publishing the same content in the form of blog posts, aside from format and monetization. If it’s any consolation to you, it’s not like they’ve secured some huge book deal with a prestigious publishing house to write THE K-drama reference book. It’s clearly a passion project for JB and GF aimed squarely at their own audience, so there’s no need to point out that they lack scholarly credentials in K-drama analysis or industry insider experience (or DO they??…), if that’s what you mean by expertise. Whether in blog form or e-book form, they write from a certain point of view as bloggers and long-time bilingual consumers of K-dramas, and we, their fans, value them precisely for that point of view. If anyone does follow them blindly, as you seem to fear from your other comments, that’s not the fault of the DB team but of those particular fans themselves.

      • 7.9.1 Moraine

        “I know I will be laughed at, but I just feel it had to be said.”

        – “I really cannot laugh at it; you are safe from me”

        • Sabah

          – “There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil…”

          • Ann

            “I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding.”

          • Laura

            Jane Austen always helps to make a point 😀

          • ladida

            You guys are saints; gracing a troll with Jane Austen. I love it!

        • bbstl

          *sighs a happy sigh* THIS is why I love dramabeans.

        • barnowl

          “Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can.”

          Jane Austen has the best comeback for trolls. 😉

      • 7.9.2 AnotherFan

        That is such a well-put comment. Thanks ellaminnowpea!

    • 7.10 Katie

      Anyone can write a book. Not everyone has to choose to read it. Okay, fine, you don’t think they’re experts on kdramas…then don’t read their website where they recap and try to explain concepts to people who appreciate it.

    • 7.11 pats

      I’ll read it.. I’ve really enjoyed your blog and I am looking forward to your eBook

    • 7.12 ladida

      You’re rude, annoying, and lacking in reading comprehension skills.

      Anyone can write a book. And as folks who have been running a site that has served as the go-to resource for new kdrama watchers for years, jb and gf are uniquely suited to write a book that explores kdrama tropes and trends. This is a kdrama-pop culture book, and seems to extend the same atmosphere of winsome commentary that Dramabeans provides. This is not a History of Korean Cinema/Film Studies tome. There are sources online and in academia that cater to that, and I’m sure jb and gf, as well as anyone else who does a modicum of research, know about them. They are deliberately choosing to write something else.

    • 7.13 tiny

      how about you @anonymous? are you an expert to judge THEIR competence?

      my drama watching has been a thousand times more enjoyable ever since i started reading this site years ago. i love that i can understand the story within the context of a culture which can easily be lost in translation.

      you can relax @anonymous. nobody’s gonna quiz you on this 👌

      on a more positive note (ehem)

      Yey! bring on the funny 😀

    • 7.14 kumi

      Sounds like a cry for love.

      • 7.14.1 Kiara

        I second that.

      • 7.14.2 Shukmeister


        • DDee

          …or for attention

          • barnowl

            I second this.

    • 7.15 jomo

      So many things.

      They didn’t say they were the best people to write this book, but now that you mention it, why do they have to be? Are you thinking a university professor or media analyst would be better? Do you think any of the readers here, who are the intended audience, is more likely to read about Korean drama from JB/GF or a guy like David R. McCann – Harvard scholar – who wrote a bunch of books?

      Their skills are only above average, you say, but what does that mean? JB and GF write their posts to the level of the readers. Considering the content and the audience, above average is just about all we can handle. If either ladies wanted to write literature, or heavy-duty important stuff, how do you know they wouldn’t be able to do it? Thing is, most of us wouldn’t be interested it. This is POP culture we are talking about here.

      The only reason this book exists is because JB and GF wanted to write about something they love to talk about and thousands of readers will decide if they want to read it. Since you read the site, you must know that the questions are constant from this reader base about this subject matter. It will be read.

      I am not going to laugh at you, but I would admire your willingness to ask the tough questions more if you showed us your true face.

    • 7.16 adette

      It’s not like it’s going to be a university press published manuscript or anything. What qualifies Javabeans and Girlfriday (or any writers on Dramabeans, or Seoulbeats, or any of the myriad other sites that write about Korean dramas and pop culture) to publish a single word on the internet at all? Interest, knowledge of a culture from growing up in it, research, life experience… so maybe they don’t have degrees in Korean Pop Culture Phenomena (I know very few people who even write serious academic papers on the topic).. if someone else feels they are more qualified, they can write a book or start a blog or whatever. Who fucking cares.

      I can’t say much for what they know of the industry… but really, can you? Unless you know either or both of them in person, you’re making assumptions that they aren’t qualified… you don’t know what they do for a living, or what they studied in school or what kind of experiences they’ve had. What they share with us online is only a fraction of their actual beings… But narrative and structure? Really? I don’t even know how to respond to that without being incredibly condescending.

      And then you have the audacity to insult readers of this site by calling them little more than mindless sheep following whatever the dramabeans goddesses had to say… I rarely see posts on this site in which there isn’t some disagreement and argument and presentation of alternate opinions in the comments. And I’ll leave it at that.

    • 7.17 Quiet Thought


    • 7.18 Pipit

      Wow! Just wow!
      Don’t feel like laughing at all. I’m totally amazed by this way above average writing skills.

    • 7.19 Shukmeister

      Based on the above, I’m guessing there won’t be a chapter on Musim.

      Just sayin’.

      😎 (Wearing shades but I ain’t anonymous)

      • 7.19.1 D

        Shukmeister Sunbaenim… thanks to you, i snorted coke thru my nose..

        • Shukmeister

          D –

          Mian haeyo

          [offering you a purple paisley handkerchief and a fresh soda can] 😉

      • 7.19.2 jomo

        So funny.

    • 7.20 DDee

      Anonymous, am sending you a care bear stare. Peace.

    • 7.21 the50-person

      My dear, mutual respect is much appreciated. I honestly think that the first sentence u made could hav been a lot more polite.

      I understand where you are coming from, but I think that you shld keep that challenging tone. How would you feel if someone spoke to you like that?

      and I certainly believe that JB and GF are qualified to write. They have managed DB impressively well over these few years, and this project is just similar to another of their posts. And who says netizens can’t publish their own stuff? This is the age of media. Please keep up with the times.

      and although they might not be ‘experts’, they have the PASSION, which I think is wayyyy better than someone who self professes to have a lot of ‘knowledge’ and belittles the others. And yes, fan girls can be experts. Without the passion, how else do you think that the experts can attain such an advanced level?

      of course, let me direct that very same question you posed to JB and GF back to you:

      “Do you honestly think that you are the best people to write that book?”

      if not, hold your peace. If you aren’t qualified to do so, neither are you qualified to say the same of others, unless you happily profess yourself as the expert on kpop culture.

      everyone has the right to share with others their knowledge, and I hope that everyone can respect one another’s opinions. I did not intend to sound harsh, but I found it necessary to voice out my opinion.

      thank you.

      • 7.21.1 Ad Miral

        Goodness gracious.

        Chill out.

        I cannot wait for the institutionalization of a PhD program in “Dramaturgy” just to say they are the most qualified to write an ebook on Why Do Dramas Do That?

        Dramabeans is more than enough. As simple and enjoyable as that!


    • 7.22 Faye

      Thankfully, then, this is a free country (or countries, since I know people outside the U.S. who use the site), and nobody is forced to buy the book unless they want to.

      And if you write a better book, feel free to let us know about it, instead of just trashing someone else’s efforts.

      In terms of people “worshipping” the creators of this site, that’s ridiculous and offensive. For those of us who are not of Korean origin but who enjoy K-dramas, the site offers a chance for us to expand our understanding of what we’re seeing, to learn more about Korean culture, and to interact with others who share our hobby. Why do you feel the need to trash those of us who are doing that? Jealousy, perhaps? Uncertain that you know as much as you should? Maybe you should examine your own motives and knowledge base before bashing others.

  8. Linh

    Excited about this! Lol guess I’ll commandeer my mom’s Kindle so I can read it XD

  9. Rashell

    GREAT idea! Can’t wait for the first installment. So many drama questions that I can’t wait to hear the answers to. One of my favorite things about watching dramas, besides the stories themselves, is the little snippets of Korean culture I can glean from them. And I often wonder how accurately it is portrayed in dramas. If I compare with American TV it’s about half right and half wrong. So this will help me differentiate which is just television and which is real. Thanks!

  10. 10 Jo

    Ekkkk, what do I do if I only have my trusty computer??? I’m not yet in the world of ebooks, or the devices that they go with!!!! Help me someone, I can’t miss what the ladies have to say!!!! *stress*

    • 10.1 Termas

      I’m super excited for this! It’ll be great to read it. ^_^

      As for just having your computer, Smashwords will probably have some option available to you. I could be wrong; I’ve never used Smashwords from the author’s side, so perhaps the author/s have the ability to decide what formats Smashwords offers.

      When the first part is made available, look as Smashwords and google all of the available formats to see if any work on your computer. Good luck!

    • 10.2 Windsun33

      eBooks can be read on just about any device.

    • 10.3 Cate

      I don’t have an e-reader as well, like Kindle. However, you can still download the ebooks onto your computer. Amazon has a “Kindle for PC” app you can download, and read any of their ebooks that way. That’s how I’ve been able to do it. It’s really easy.
      Hope this helps.

    • 10.4 mary

      If you buy from Smashwords, I think they can support PDF format. (As long as DB releases a PDF version, that is.)

      Oh, and you can also download a Kindle app for your computer. It’s free and lets you read Amazon-bought ebooks from your computer. I think they also have free apps for your phone or tablet. Really, you don’t need an actual Kindle device.

    • 10.5 Jo

      Thanks everyone 😀 I have a Mac, but from reading all this, I’m sure I’ll be able to read it too….. PHEW! Phone or tablet equates to thing plugged into wall that has keypad, and thing you take when sick 🙂

      Thanks again for knowledge and willingness to help one in stress mode 🙂

      • 10.5.1 jaglaine

        Jo, that is so funny! Love the tablet, sicky thing.

    • 10.6 momosan

      Amazon Kindle books work on Kindle software for various operating systems. So if you have a PC or Mac, you get that app and read it on your computer. Or, you download it from Kindle or Smashwords and use Calibre to transform it into the format of your choice.

    • 10.7 trotwood

      Thanks, Jo, for bringing this up, for my palms were staring to sweatt that I was not going to be able to read this. I don’t have anything fancy but a pc either. This is what I love about this site. You put out a call for aid and . . .

    • 10.8 Saya

      Jo, you can downloand kindle for PC for free and use it on your computer! I don’t have a kindle, but I have the PC reader!

    • 10.9 megels7719

      Oh, i wouldn’t worry! If you have the internet you can read an ebook on anything. You’d just have to download a reading program….Like i have kindle and nook on my phone and computer…

    • 10.10 Mashimomo

      I think someone mentioned it already, but if you have a smartphone/iPhone device you can download the Kindle app! My phone is my lifeline and I seriously would have the shakes if I forget to bring for a day.

  11. 11 hannah

    Congratulations and thank you. This confirms to me that you two really don’t sleep. As a reward for all the work you do, you should take some time during KCon to do some star gazing (with pictures for those of us who can’t be there).

    • 11.1 pogo

      This confirms to me that you two really don’t sleep.

      I think we discovered the DB secret…..they’re actually vampires! That’d explain the superhuman amounts of energy they put into this site..

      • 11.1.1 Julia the Berkshire Beanie

        Maybe they are like the character in “Do No Harm” that never sleeps, just switches between 2 completely different personalities. There must be a jb/gf recappers working at night while all the rest of us sleep.

  12. 12 may tae lee

    This is awesome. Looking forward to reading it 🙂

  13. 13 snow_white


  14. 14 Nheony

    You guys always make my day. I love it!!! I’m looking forward to reading this.

  15. 15 tanya

    Definitely getting this book.

  16. 16 alua

    Honestly, the first thought that came to my mind was, with the insane amounts of recapping that you do, how in the world do you have time to write a BOOK?!?!?!?!

    • 16.1 mary

      I’m hoping one of the volumes will reveal their 4th dimension secret.


    • 16.2 DDee

      HAHA my first thought too!! Then I asked myself what the heck am I doing with my own life… oh right, watching dramas.

  17. 17 v

    Brilliant! Eagerly waiting for the book to be out.

    I’ve learnt so much abt Korean culture from watching dramas and films. I’d like to know how much drama has influenced Koreans and vice versa.

  18. 18 dfwkimchi

    Yeah! A page turner FOR SURE!

  19. 19 Daniaa

    I’m in the moment you mention wrist grabs, LMAO.

    • 19.1 grateful1

      I’m really glad the wrist grab issue is getting addressed as there’s a lot of cultural misinterpretation around it. (Sometimes a wrist grab is an inappropriate use of force, but sometimes it’s more of a “wrist lead” that’s totally appropriate in Korean culture.)

  20. 20 bjharm

    hope you cover the idea that if a second cousin twice removed disapproved of a couple getting married then for some reason they can not…lol well you know the theme I talking about. I know about the idea of two familes getting married rather than just two people but is it really THAT much an issue?

    • 20.1 Timbone

      Lol nice one, reminds me of Ojakgyo Brothers, when one of the brothers fell in love with his mother in law’s sister haha.

      Towards the end I was rooting for them lol

  21. 21 grateful1

    I wonder if this is the surprise project that you mentioned you were working on a couple of years ago?

    I hope you’ll be charging something for the e-books and that thousands of Beanies buy them (out of interest in the subject matter, but also as a way to show our support). I’m sure the earnings would only be a pittance when you consider all that you’ve put into this site, but it’d be nice to get even a leetle bit back, wouldn’t it?

    As always, I’m super grateful for the countless ways that you enrich my life.

    • 21.1 mary

      I think Amazon has rules (or limits) on how much and how long you can offer an ebook for free. So it definitely seems like they’re going to charge for the book. (As they should!)

      I also (dimly) remember them talking about a secret project. But I honestly thought JB was applying as a screenwriter for a kdrama or something. Haha that would be awesome.

      Still, this is very happy news. (Not as much as City Hunter 2 written by the DB team, but still.)

      I’m excited for the wit, the puns, and the unabashed fangirling. Plus I’m sure when they explain things, it wouldn’t sound like a dry textbook at all. 😀 Yey yey yey!

  22. 22 owl

    This is so great! I’ve actually tried to find a book/article/site along these lines to no avail. I look forward to explanations of those remote kdramaland places like FirstLoveonia, Debtoria Falls, Back Huggery Haven, Chaebol (Icelandic), Diametricopolis, Middle-earth and much more! Super excited 🙂

    • 22.1 Elina

      What do you mean? *dirty thoughts*

  23. 23 mira


  24. 24 Carole McDonnell

    oh my gosh..i am SOOOOOOOOO going to buy this when it comes out.

    • 24.1 Carole McDonnell

      and i’ll review it as well

      • 24.1.1 Saya

        Me, too! I’m looking forward to that part! Taking DB to the world!

  25. 25 Hugepuffball

    That is AWESOME! But, I was just wondering, is there actually a film where one of them is deaf and the other pretends to be deaf? Because, I would actually want to check that out 🙂

    • 25.1 Jo

      I believe this was a reference to ‘Can you hear my heart’ 🙂

    • 25.2 windsun33

      Yes, there actually is. Don’t recall the name and have not watched it, but I saw the description of it on Gooddrama dot net.

  26. 26 liz

    Why good parents always, ALWAYS die in Kdramas?

    • 26.1 mary

      Because good parents are illegal in kdramaland? 😀


      • 26.1.1 megels7719

        love this! Made my night reading it!

      • 26.1.2 Ponpon

        Haha, too true! I feel like it is really hard to portray good parenting or even realistic parenting in Kdrama land. Parenting is always portrayed in such an extreme way and sometimes that gets very tiresome to watch. I’m sure there has to be at least one drama out there that portrayed a healthy relationship between parents and their child/children. Would Beautiful Life be counted as one?

    • 26.2 windsun33

      The good parents need to die to produce poor debt ridden Candy Girls.

      • 26.2.1 Mashimomo

        LOL good point! I was not aware that Candy is a much beloved character in Korea until TMS. Barely remembered the story as I watched it when I was much, much younger, but the part that always stuck with me was when she kept screaming Anthony!!! Then now I have a dramaception moment coz I think of Kim Myung Min when I hear Anthony. Oh kdramas, I love and hate your tropes. Congrats to JB and GF, cannot wait to read your book!

  27. 27 joo

    Awesome sauce! Totally looking forward to this! 😀

  28. 28 fangirl98

    Great way to augment your podcasts! I’m very excited about the coming ebook(s). THANK YOU, Thank You!!

    • 28.1 Waiting

      Of course I also want the audio version of this book because no one can narrate this stuff better than JB and GF.

      ** Audio Version!! ** please, of course. 🙂

  29. 29 Pookie

    This is BRILLIANT.

  30. 30 cv

    I will be waiting for this. Can’t wait! ^^

  31. 31 Ann

    Looking forward to it. I rarely listen to podcasts because I find it difficult follow along (thanks, ADD!) so I will enjoy reading.

  32. 32 Blue mountain

    It has always bothered me, Do Koreans really sleep with full days clothes on? and also the way they eat, very messy with with full mouth n talking at the same time. do real koreans do that?or it’s it meant to cute? Coz, it was shown over n over in most of the dramas. Not to be mean…. just wanted to know the culture differences. btw, I’m a big fan of Korean dramas .I’ve been watching korean drama for the last two yrs.

    • 32.1 Arhazivory

      I wonder about the full clothes sleeping bit too.

    • 32.2 PollyRose

      Ha ha! Thank you so much for bringing up the pajama issue! It’s not even like I expect them to be in raggedy sweats and t-shirt all the time (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but really? Button up dress shirts to bed? Who needs to be office appropriate to sleep?

      Bottom of the 9th with 2 Outs was one of the first dramas I saw where the characters actually dressed down and looked cozy for bed. Until then I was convinced pajamas(of a nature not like “couple tees”) were mythical in the land of K-dramas.

    • 32.3 Celery

      HAHAHA @ mouth talking and eating. It’s rude in Asian culture to do that at the dining table so I’m assuming it’s shown in the show to emphasize on how uncouth/unrefined the character is. Somewhat like a character tic. E.g., HS in IHYV.

      As for sleeping with clothes on, I think it’s more of a production thing/advertisers’ thing/keeping the actresses/actors looking good than a cultural anomaly. The same thing with wearing makeup in your sleep or waking up with mascara AND eyeshadow (seriously!?!). I also noticed that characters don’t actually go to bed in good clothes but are implied to have, because they don’t change before plopping onto their beds. And then next scene, they are at work or somewhere about in amazing clothes.

      I’m okay with characters going to sleep with work/casual clothes on IF they are drunk because that’s realistic (come on, we all have done it at least once right?) but I find it incredulous if they just go to sleep in it without any reason. Which is one of the reasons why I like IHYV.

  33. 33 Cynthia


    And to follow up on bjharm’s comment re/Korean drama tropes – is it really so shameful to be a divorced/single mother with a child, looking
    into remarrying the chaebol son who has a malevolent mama dragging at his ankle? Can the new daughter-in-law really be tossed out shoeless into the streets, waiting to be rescued by the 2nd lead?

    Also, as much as I know we all should totally ignore that nasty comment up thread, just can’t let it float by unacknowledged –

    To Anonymous; That was a really nasty, judgemental and bitchy
    comment. Learn to be polite, develop some manners.

  34. 34 Saya

    Ohhhh man I want this. I’ve been secretly wishing you guys would write a book! I really want it in hard copy, though, will that happen?

    Wait, let me read the post now.

  35. 35 Arhazivory

    Great job ladies. You girls are an inspiration to those of us like myself, who’ve been talking about writing instead of just getting up and doing it.

    To Anonymous: You are aware that in this world anyone can write a book on anything they want right? Whether its read or not is up to the public and how dare you try to trample someone’s dream because you don’t think they’re capable enough. Its people like you that hold others down and tell them they ‘can’t do it’.

  36. 36 Sandrou21

    Wahh love the idea, looking forward to it ^^

  37. 37 whimsicalnet

    excited n looking forward!!

  38. 38 Elina

    You need to write some drama titles at the end/beginning of each article.

    My Kindle is ready!

  39. 39 crazykel

    I think this is a fantastic idea and I’m fully on board with it! I’ll be getting the book, hopefully, when it comes out, but I have to ask, will it be expensive? I’m trying to budget money right now and I don’t want to miss what you have to say, but I kind of also have to pay for food.

  40. 40 colors

    Awww, I’m so glad you guys wrote about that! I’m so buying the book first chance I get, even if it means buying it through amazon.com.

  41. 41 Harleyqwen

    Thank You so much DB for clearing up some of the fantasy vs reality culture confusion…

  42. 42 Rexy

    This is brilliant! I can’t wait to read it on Kindle!

  43. 43 blokkoms

    I totally squeed when I read the article title – am getting terribly excited. This just moved to the top of my reading list 🙂

  44. 44 MeeisLee

    Yay! Supremely excited :)! I wonder if this will be a gateway for you guys to quit whatever mysterious underpaying jobs you have and pursue drama-writing full on since I think I remember you guys saying you wish you could get paid to do what you love (watch dramas). Anyway, best of luck guys! I’ll be sure to buy it when I can (expensive college textbooks notwithstanding).

  45. 45 Timbone

    About the first love thing, I dont mind it sometimes but most times when the couple last met before they were even at puberty and the story claims they were first loves. I end up going EHHHH..UHHH?

  46. 46 Moraine

    What a pretty cover!

  47. 47 Chloe

    Is the outline of the book completed already? Because after watching Good Doctor, I’d definitely like this addressed – Why do Koreans in the dramas (especially the older folk) beat on their chest/heart with their fist when they’re upset? I don’t see that in other dramas. I’ve also tried it in real life but nope…it doesn’t help alleviate the pain I’m feeling inside when I’m upset at all.

    • 47.1 Yoori

      I don’t think the purpose is to alleviate the pain but rather express their hurt/anger. It’s actually common in Asian cultures. Body expression is used more than words.

      But I do wonder why they [elders] wear a white cloth band around their head when they’re sick or sad? I’ve only seen people wear it at funerals or while they’re mourning.



    And would love to make interesting pictures for any purpose….just tell me

    You give us … readers a lot……..
    It is time to encourage and participate…..

    good luck!

    • 48.1 Julia the Berkshire Beanie

      Oh, this so reminds me of the cartoons we had on the site a few months ago for the DF fiasco. Wouldn’t it be great to include original artwork? Great idea. All you talented and funny people out there, this is your opportunity.

      (I would love to see Dilbert-like cartoons for each of these silly tropes. KDramaland just lends itself to self deprecating humor.)

  49. 49 Sabah

    Wonderful news! I always love reading your notes and insights on things and your writing style is so eloquent too. I wish your venture much prosperity and you success upon success!

  50. 50 Elena

    I am really excited about this – i can’t figure out if it is free or will be for sale. I would pay for it, as I value your take on the Korean Drama culture or I would not be a frequent visitor/reader.

    There are lots of things I wonder about and (as noted above) sleeping is regular clothing is one of them. I remember one time the lead was headed to bed in a gorgeous sweater and I was nooo don’ t sleep in it! (I get really sucked into there sometimes. 🙂 )

    • 50.1 megels7719

      The sleeping in regular clothing would be my question too! I’m always wondering if they think they’re going to a fashion show in their dreams!

    • 50.2 Anonymous

      I recently saw a drama episode where the female character went to sleep in really nice business-wear, which included a satin blouse and a pencil skirt. How she slept in that is beyond me.

    • 50.3 PollyRose

      Ha, yes so much! I understand there are times when the character rolls into bed drunk…but the ones that get me are when you see them wash up and change for bed…and they look dressed to the nines. It’s the deliberate decisions to where this to bed that get me 🙂

      And you are so not alone getting sucked in at times…or you know most of the time…or just about every time 😉

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