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Dramabeans Top 10: Korean dramas whose endings are better left unwatched (trust us)

javabeans: Sooooo, we’ve been wanting to bring back the “If You Like…” series of reviews, where we take a theme or motif and recommend other shows like it. We really liked the idea when we first brought it out…

girlfriday: But then we got tired. Mostly, it was just daunting because we wanted so much to be all-encompassing, and never leave out a drama.

javabeans: And as many shows as we’ve seen, there’s just no way we would be able to write about every single workplace romance drama, or makjang tearfest drama, or drama about heroes with good eyeliner.

girlfriday: Wait, I might still want to do the one about eyeliner.

javabeans: But then it occurred to us that we could cap our lists, instead of trying to name every single applicable title ever made.

girlfriday: Hence, the birth of Dramabeans Top 10. Because ten is a number we can handle.

javabeans: Plus, it sparked a wave of fun future list ideas to tackle, so we’ll roll those out in due course. We promise! I’m pretty sure we said that about If You Like, but we mean it this time! I feel good about this. Because Top 10 means Not Top 100.

girlfriday: For our first Top 10, we decided to start at the end—or more specifically, with endings.

javabeans: And for better or for worse (mostly just worse), drama endings have lacked a little something recently. I still haven’t seen the finale of Yong-pal, for instance. I know all about it, and I just can’t bring myself to sit through that.

girlfriday: I think you’re better off skipping it.

javabeans: But I have to finish it! I invested 17 whole hours already, and even loved 6 of them! I can’t NOT see the last one!

girlfriday: … And therein lies the perpetual problem that we face, time and again. To finish, or not to finish… that is the question.

javabeans: Would you rather preserve a pleasant memory despite harboring a gaping hole about the ending, or would you rather tarnish the whole experience so as to save your curiosity from expiring?

girlfriday: We’re here to help out! If you choose the gaping hole, feel free to stop reading here.

javabeans: However, if you choose the red pill, we’ve got a whole list for you below, so you can read up on the ending but not waste your hour.

girlfriday: Oh, and SPOILER ALERT, because of the obvious.

javabeans: These are in no particular order, if only because how do you measure the weight of one heartbreak against another? *sob*

 

1. 49 Days (2011)

javabeans: The ending for 49 Days may be more polarizing than universally decried. But it gets added to this list because for those to whom the ending felt wrong, it felt really, really wrong. The crux was this: You gave your heroine a second chance at life, she earned it, and then you killed her anyway! What in the WHAT.

Dying wasn’t the problem, since this whole drama was built around finding new meaning in life via death. After the heroine was killed before her fated time, she was given the chance to win back her life if she could find three people who truly loved her. If she were to fail, we all knew she was taking that big elevator up to the sky, so we were always aware of the threat hanging over her head. The problem was in giving her all these narrative plot hoops to jump through, awarding her the victory, and then declaring that she had been fated to die soon afterward anyway, claiming her life for a wholly unrelated reason. That’s not just withholding a cookie from you; that’s giving you a piping hot cookie, describing all the ways in which it is delicious and gooey and mouthwatering, then snatching it away before you can eat it. And throwing it on the ground. And crushing it under a dirty, heartless boot. Stomp, stomp.

 

2. Who Are You—School 2015 (2015)

girlfriday: I swear, my resentment for this show’s ending isn’t all about being on the other romance ship—it’s also about not giving our twin heroines a proper resolution as sisters. On the one hand, this show’s ending isn’t actually offensive premise-destroying anti-matter like some of the others on this list. But the ending still took all the wind out of my sails when I really enjoyed the ride up until the finale.

Who Are You—School 2015 put a fantastically tense twist on the usual high school drama, with Kim So-hyun playing two diametrically opposed twin sisters who swap fates. It repurposed melodrama tropes—amnesia, hidden identities—to intensify high school drama, which made for some crack viewing through its run. But in the end one sister basically took over the other’s life, becoming her stand-in rather than gaining a relationship with a sister. Where was the sisterly bonding, the character growth for unni? And don’t even get me started on the romance, where we watched the hero pine over one sister all series long and then suddenly love the other one, reinforcing that whole replacement motif (which I find worse in principle because they’re identical twins). Or set up the second lead to pull all of our heartstrings to the bitter end, only to kick his heart to the curb. Ugh, I take it back. I’M STILL MAD AT YOU.

 

3. God’s Gift—14 Days (2014)

girlfriday: This one actually pains me. Because this show was so good. SO GOOD. I actually wish I could tell people to watch only 15 episodes and imagine the rest, because the ending you picture in your head will invariably be better than the one the show delivers. But the problem is, you can’t not find out what happens at the end of a mystery thriller where lives are at stake… so then you’ll just have to watch and join the rest of us who carry the rage in our hearts.

God’s Gift was a brilliant show that wove together two mysteries—a dead girl and a killer on death row—and put a heart-stopping, sweat-inducing ticking clock on the story by sending its two lead characters back in time 14 days so they could stop their loved ones from dying. It unfurled in tense, gripping action and suspense as a mother stopped at nothing to save her daughter. The problem, of course, came in the final episode when our hero discovered the role he played in the girl’s death the first time. He could have just not killed her the second time, but no, he decided he had to sacrifice himself to Fate (that bitch) to save the girl who was already saved. Sadly, Captain Awesome was not also Captain Smartypants. Worst. Gift. Ever.

 

4. Surplus Princess (2014)

javabeans: I can almost excuse Surplus Princess for its off-the-rails ending in light of the meta knowledge that the show was being suddenly cut down by two episodes, with barely any time to adjust for the new timetable. But knowing why a show flipped everyone the narrative middle finger doesn’t magically make sense of the narrative chaos, so the show earns its spot on this list.

Surplus Princess had a quirky and zany charm that may not have resulted in a ratings bonanza, but entertained its cult audience with its wacky comedy and silly plot about a mermaid princess who became human to win the man she’s crushing on, which required her to score a job at his company. Thus the show entwined the familiar Little Mermaid premise with the topical theme of the younger generation struggling to find gainful employment in today’s fiercely competitive market.

Did she win her man? Yes. Did she win the right to keep her legs and remain on land? Ish. She disappeared into tears and mist, only to make a literally last-minute reappearance after the obligatory finale time-jump, marked by the deliberately provoking caption “I’ll be back.” The show dropped a tantalizing plot twist, and then dropped the curtain, as though to punish us for the cable station’s misdeeds. What did we ever do to you, Show, but love you and watch you faithfully?

 

5. Vampire Idol (2011-12)

girlfriday: I can’t be entirely mad at Vampire Idol for not delivering a satisfying conclusion when the network cut its episode count down from 120 to 79. And in some ways, I admire the ballsy approach to write a big F—you ending for being robbed of a third of its intended run. I could imagine doing the same in the heat of the moment, with a bottle of bourbon at my side. But it still sucks to be on the other end as a viewer who invested time in these characters over 79 episodes, to be left wondering, basically, WTF.

Vampire Idol was a wacky show to begin with—a sitcom that brought alien vampires down to Earth and found comedy in acclimating them to human life. It was low-rent, low-tech, and filled with acting newbies (many of whom would go on to superstardom). But it was also hilarious and witty and totally out there, and found ways to embrace its own limitations with inventive jokes and storylines. We even started to care about this crazy family of vampires, idol trainees, and assorted guardians. So imagine what a punch to the face it was to get to the last episode where instead of a resolution, we got a series of cryptic glimpses into the future that left a zillion more questions and everyone hanging in the balance. I mean, it literally closed on: And then that happened… *surprise face* THE END.

I can’t imagine a single person who watched that ending and didn’t throw something at their screen. And if you didn’t, you are a better person than I am.

 

6. Hong Gil Dong (2008)

javabeans: Admittedly, I did write in defense of the ending in the finale recap, and I still think there’s some merit that can be mined out of the ending. Or maybe that was my heartache talking at the time, trying to glean purpose from a finale that yanked the rug out from under our collective feet. Sure, the drama had been growing increasingly dark, and yes, war is a harsh mistress… but for the type of show Hong Gil Dong was—a rambunctious romp that portrayed a legendary fictional hero in a slapstick rom-com light—it was rather a slap in the face to kill off all our good guys in the final hour in a futile burst of bravery. It wasn’t the death itself that hurt, but the clash between our expectations of a boisterous happy-ever-after and the bitterness of the closing massacre (however beautifully filmed) giving us a sacrifice that amounted to nothing. If Hong Gil Dong had been presented in a more nuanced, complex, or dark light from the get-go, perhaps the ending wouldn’t have felt such a betrayal of rom-com trust. Instead it left us like the drama—the ground razed and barren, smoking in the aftermath, just like our spirits.

 

7. Rooftop Prince (2012)

javabeans: Structurally, Rooftop Prince was a bit of an oddity, sandwiching an uproarious fish-out-of-water comedy in between a romantic mystery-melodrama. For most of the drama, we focused on the Joseon prince and his three sidekicks who time-jumped into present-day Seoul, where one plucky everygirl took them under her wing like very adorable, color-coded ducklings who relied on her to acclimate them to modern marvels like toilets, public transportation, and evil chaebols. Hilarity, much of it side-splitting, ensued. On either end, we were given a heartfelt romance and mystery set in Joseon times, where the prince struggled to uncover how his beloved wife came to die.

That made for a finale episode that felt, tonally, jarring compared to the wackiness that preceded it. But tone shift aside, what gave Rooftop Prince its disappointing ending was the conclusion of the romance, inasmuch as the lovers were split apart by 300 years: The heroine got a second chance with a reincarnated version of her prince, while the prince… died alone, forever devoted to the sweetheart he left behind in modern Seoul. Sure, future Yoochun may have gotten his girl, but past Yoochun had to live out his life without her. Well, at least he had his Power Ranger sidekicks with him to soothe the pain.

 

8. Gu Family Book (2013)

girlfriday: Loving your girl’s 422-years-later doppelganger is totally the same as loving her… right? WRONG. I seriously felt like Gu Family Book got dropped on its head just before the finale, because whatever possessed it to kill off our heroine and propel our hero four centuries into the future as an ending resembles no earthly logic.

I know, it was a supernatural drama to begin with, about a half-gumiho hero who learns to tame his inner beast and save Joseon. No one ever said it was realistic. Gu Family Book was certainly flawed, but it also had a fun, comic-book style and I enjoyed the hapless beginnings of a young hero-to-be. But the show had a bizarre idea of narrative payoff if it thought that killing his one true love and making him wait generations for her reincarnated doppelganger was some kind of cosmic reward for being a hero. There are some dramas where this kind of ending could work [javabeans: NO THERE AREN’T], but this one didn’t support that kind of epic scope, in story, scale, or execution.

 

9. Mi-rae’s Choice (2013)

javabeans: Here’s a simple, clear-cut fail for you: You designed a drama all around a character making a choice, and then? WE GOT NO CHOICE.

Okay, sure. The character did make a choice in the final episode, which we’d been building up to all series long: Which man would she pick? The one she’d initially fallen in love with but grown to bitterly resent later, or the one her future self was convinced would lead to a happier life, prompting her to time-travel back to her youth to convince herself to pick Door Number 2? (The dilemma was a tad bit more nuanced than a mere love triangle, but since the key premise was withheld from us, the drama forfeits its right to claim nuance.) And so, we’re shown that she chose… but not shown the choice. Who does that?

When you refuse to deliver on the most basic, fundamental element of your story, you’ve basically copped out of telling a proper narrative with a beginning, middle, and an end, inasmuch as we never got out of the beginning territory. You’ve essentially reneged on telling a story at all, which means this drama barely gets to be called a drama. Go away, dram.

 

10. Big (2012)

girlfriday: You know what’s funny—Big got its romantic happy ending, and yet it still angers me more than any of the other dramas on this list where characters met untimely deaths, ambiguous fates, or were forced into second romances with reincarnated doppelgangers. Because, go figure, this happy ending was supposed to be between the heroine and the hero of our story—aka Coma Boy—not the heroine and the body he was borrowing while she fell in love with him.

Big is really simple in premise—it’s a body-swap drama that asks us to spend an entire series believing that there’s a teenage boy inside a grown man’s body. Which is a head-twister in the romance department, because you’re not quite sure she’s falling in love with the true person on the inside and not the hot man on the outside (because, um, Gong Yoo), but you still put faith in what the story is telling you. Because you believe in such a thing as blind love. And call me crazy, but in exchange for going along with that, I wanted to see those two characters, in their own bodies, getting their happily-ever-after to prove that she really did love only Coma Boy. Is that asking for too much? Is it really? To get a happy ending with your two leading characters in their true corporeal form? I think not, Show. I think not.

 
+7 Honorable Mentions:

11. Oohlala Spouses: On paper, saving a troubled marriage via body-swapping hijinks sounds heartwarming and hilarious. In practice, the marriage should never have happened and wasn’t worth saving.

12. High School King of Savvy: We were with you until you married a high-schooler. Is “He’s eighteen—it’s legal!” really the message you want to be sending?

13. The King 2 Hearts: You killed the only thing that was good and true in this world when you killed off the king’s bodyguard. RIP, Earnest Bot.

14. Secret Door: You were supposed to give us a secret door into the untold truth of the infamously grisly, captivating true story of a king who forced his son to kill himself. What we got was a blander, tamer ending that told us nothing new. I could have gotten a more riveting story reading my history textbooks.

15. Prime Minister and I: It’s a romantic comedy that ends on a handshake.

16. Bad Guy: In a word: nihilistic. In more words: Our “hero” ends up destroying the thing he wanted all along (family), lets his sister shoot him, and dies alone and friendless. Nobody ever finds out he’s dead. The murdering sister blithely relaxes to a massage after killing the brother she never knew she had. Fin.

17. Nice Guy: Maru may or may not have lost his memory, and may have started a new romance or rekindled an old one. We may never know. Maru is mysterious. No one will ever know Maru.

 
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omg! those.. I totally agree!!

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hahhaa...me too ..totally agree...
yes..im in on "big" ..wat an ending...a ridiculous ending ..mehhh

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Ok, my two cents..
High School King Of Savvy - for the exhilarating ride and for the love of Seo In Guk, I did forgive the ending, in their minds it was supposed to be a fairytale, so be it then.
BIG - such a waste! But in the end, we all watched it coz of Gong Yoo. I truly wonder which one of the Hong sisters is to blame. ditto for Warm & Cozy, saved only by the chemistry of the main leads.
Mirae's Choice - blame the curls, the open ending,too but methinks it was the cold chemistry of the main leads. stop playing this downtrodden characters with no spunk, Ms. Yoon Eun Hye coz it is so painful to watch. Just be the haughty and naughty Kang Hye Na.
Surplus Princess was cut down to 12 episodes so they couldn't hv a proper ending, but she got the wrong prince. For me it should have been Song Jae Rim, aim high and hit the mark, baby!
God's Gift - that was a total mindf*#%, I had to look around for someone to talk to after it ended but since I'm alone, I just stared at the rolling credits and asked myself "what the hell just happened?" I wanted to talk to a shrink after that but they might think I'm crazy?!
the others on this list, since it is a futile attempt to change the ending, I simply accept and move on. The others like 49 days, vampire idol, bad guy and nice guy I haven't watched yet so I'm saved from any agony.

and for my biggest disappointment, got my blood boiling to a hundred degrees and made me want to crash my macbook on the wall if only it wasn't my most precious laptop, would have to be - WHO ARE YOU SCHOOL 2015 - yea, this is the biggest, stupidest, mind boggling, angst-inducing ending of all time for me. You have two identical twins, c'mon! why can't they have one each, just to make everyone happy. Am I supposed to imagine that maybe in college eun bi and Sung jae met each other again and finally then they live happily ever after? I was like, is there another episode after that or an epilogue, why oh why, why, wHY?
can't move on... sorry, I can't. my heart bleeds for Sung Jae or Tae Kwang. uh, enough, I see red every time this comes up. whatever did whats-his-name do to deserve the girl? yes, he was upstaged by the 2nd lead but when your character is so limited by the capabilities of the actor playing it, what can you do. uh, I hate it! It should be no.1 on the list. The pain is so raw still! argh!

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I normally only lurk on DB but chloe, I had to comment on your comment to thank you for making me laugh out loud multiple times! Your indignation at these dramas is simply adorable. "...wanted to talk to a shrink but they might think I'm crazy?" and "...crash my MacBook on the wall if only it wasn't my most precious laptop" ahahahaha I'm still giggling at this.

Thank you! Definitely know what dramas I will NOT be watching in future :'D

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King 2 Hearts - I watched that when there was nothing else to watch then I had to skip a lot of scenes coz it was kinda boring then the cute bodyguard died. ok, stop watching and just start knitting mittens.

Prime Minister and I - they don't really suit each other ok, the age gap is so glaring, it's incest just to see them try and be romantic. ee, cringed much!

oh, that reminds me, where in the world is Yoon Si Yoon? yea, in korea probably but no news?!

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He is serving in the Marines.

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im totally rooting for the +honorable mention.. especially :
1. the king 2 hears. i TOTALLY stopped watching it at the time, our cute bodyguard died. end!

2. Bad Guy. i wish it would be at 'best 5 worst ending ever', gosh. sigh.

Well, may i add some 'better left unwatched trust me'?
mine :

1. IRIS!!! a looooonggg sigh.
2. Queen Seondok. (after watching Bad Guys, i learned that i wont watch anything with Kim Nam Gil except romcom! thanks).

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How I cried when he was killed my husband thought I was crazy!!

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I keep sobbing for a week after Bad Guy and Queen Seon deok end
like why? just why?

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Bad Guys really made me angry. It was really good untill the end. I wasn't angry about he died but rather the kind of messege it sent the way he died. It basically said that those people with power will always have their happy ever after; however, people trying to punish them will have a horrible fate. Beside his murderer sister, the real bad guy (woman) is released and continues her life as if nothing happened. By the way I couldn't care less about his family beside the older sister as they were piece of sh*t.

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Once we keep in mind the genre Bad Guy belongs to everything should fall into place. It's a "noir" series meaning happy ending is not an option. Thousands of noir films have similar finales and they all seem appropriate and true to their genre to begin with. The narrative, though, which is used to get us to that ending is a whole other issue. If you felt it was rushed, you're probably right,- it doesn't, however, change the concept of the storyline which is not redemption and forgiveness...

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Yes. So did I. I loved Ha ji Won and Seung gi in that drama. But I was totally bumped-out when they killed our body-gaurd. I stopped watching it at once.

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the I.R.I.S ending still haunts me till this day!

bad guy ending-WTF?

49 days-WHY?

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Omg Iris!!!! Talk about horrible ending!

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OMG. IRIS. I almost flipped my laptop when I saw that ending. Totally felt betrayed LOL.

God's Gift too.

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You're totally right about Kim Nam Gil! Why didn't I know this! I gave my heart and soul to Shark ( I love Kim Ji Woo chakkanim, man!) and then I got a bullet in the head. Thinking of that reminded me of Soo in Heartless City . . . Oy voy, voy!

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Can Answer Me 1989 be added to this list? Its ending left me in depression upto now (2 weeks after it ended) and I know many felt in a similar way.

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I agree with 2/10 of the list but I didn't watch all though. GFB's ending got me jaw dropped because other than the time skip and the death of the heroine, they just have to end it hanging. And for God's Gift, the drama got me crying buckets of tears and only to end with the hero dying. I was actually hoping both the mom and the hero to be together!

And at the honorable mentions, it looks like you guys have yet and never will get away the death of Honest Bot for King 2 Hearts 😂😂

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Any one thought of City Hunter?? That abrupt and open ended ending...That scarred me for sometime. I wasn't sure why he was driving away by himself in that car and could they not hug and kiss?

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That ending plus the Prosecutor's death left me very frustrated and I was enjoying the drama so much.

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Yes! City Hunter's ending left me wanting more. That was one of the first dramas I watched that had a mildly whuuuut ending and I thought it was a waste to end it like that.

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i agree the city hunter ending is needlessly ambiguous SMH!

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If the killer and the mom had ended up together, what would we have been saying about that ending today? I could have understood forgiveness but never, ever romance!
Poor, poor God's Gift... It suffered tremendously for the sake of SBS, advertisements and Dr. Stranger's trailer. I WANT the last 2 minutes as the original ending but, alas, nobody is listening...

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Many of these I didn't start, but the ones I did... I agree!! I either hated the ending, or didn't even get to the ending.

Awesome, excellent Top 10 (Top 17?) list! :)

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It's scary to think that I actually see most of the dramas on this list although not finishing many for the obvious reasons.

But from those I watched and finished I also agree with both JB and GF except for High School King of Savvy.

This Top 10 warning +7 dishonorable warning is super excellent!

Love the mention of the handshake in the Prime Minister and I!

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I fall on the other end of the spectrum of reactions to the end of 49 Days. I absolutely loved it despite the fact that I went in already knowing this might be it and I thought I would hate it. I think it had to do with how the last two episodes were delivered where it was more heartfelt than gut wrenching. I also agree that King 2 hearts could've totally done without killing our earnest bot at the end even though I loved the show. I also loved Nice Guy though I agree that the ending was perplexing.

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I'm also one of the few that didn't mind the way 49 Days ended.

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I couldn't stand the ending of 49D. I was really mad at K dramas in general for months there after, and honestly don't trust them ever after.
Love that the list starts off w 49D.

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I also liked the ending for 49 Days. I guess I wasn't really expecting happily ever after, so I wasn't terribly surprised that she died in the end.

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I loved it too. The ending wasn't random as most people think, it made perfect sense. If she had lived the story would have been about surviving and it wasn't, she was supposed to help people around, her family, her sister and herself, who was clueless when she was alive. It was about making the most of your time and learning to let go, which everyone had to learn, the hero who never confessed, Scheduler who never apologized, the sister who never knew the truth, the parents, everyone.
It is not a perfect ending, I'd rewrite the lost sister thing and explain better how the villain changed but apart from that it was one of the better written endings.

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Beautifully said. I loved the ending of 49 Days and thought it made perfect sense as well.

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+1! I totally agree. This kind of story should have that finale and that finale alone. Anything else would have been nothing but fanservice. It's not usual for writers to insist on their initial storyline despite what majority of viewers (and/or channels) may think of it; so, yes, it was one of the best endings and consistent with this particular plot.

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The ending made perfect sense to me as well. I loved 49 days even though I cried a bucket of tears and my eyes were all swollen the next day. I tried to justify the whole lost sister reveal was the only way for her her to possess her body because of their sisterly bond. Loved ... Loved 49 days including the soundtrack. :)

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Thought I was in the minority on this, good to know that there are others who feel the same way.

While you go asking why even bother giving Ji Hyun another chance at life when she's about to die anyway, through that she had the chance to tie all loose ends. If there was anything, I just felt bad for Han Kang. He didn't even had the chance to confess.

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49 Days is one of my fave shows..
Even though I wish it ended better, like somehow Yi Kyung ended up with Han Kang. The ending makes sense for me..
I love it anyway!

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I love 49 Days as well and think its ending was perfectly fitting and more memorable (even though it made me dehydrated from crying after watching 2 last episodes). Writer So Huyn-kyung never fails me with her dramas :)

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As much as I understand 49 Days's ending, it still leaves a bad taste for me, its like waiting for dessert, but it wont come! And I still feel like it couldve done better, especially when the sisters just got reunited! I honestly wanna see them interact more, with less....ghostly (sorry for the lack of better word).
I still love the show tho, and I just have to avoid watching final episode, so I wont feel bitter ^^

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49 days was fine all the way until the last ep, in fact maybe the last 30mins of the drama. It traumatised me and burst my bubble of nice korean dramas. Together with other melodramas, it taught me the angst of korean society. Somehow the unresolved war with North Korea just crept into dramas as angst and unhappy endings.

Bad guy opened my eyes to the perils of live shoot and how terrible that system is, being all for fan service and profits sacrifising the storyline of the drama. It is a classic case against live shooting, where your hero just had to report to army and cant continue filming period.

Marry him if you dare is a total waste of time. Why did that drama got make in the first place? It is also another classic case of pandering to fans lead you nowhere, because I believe had it been pre-produced the script writer would have make a choice. This was a drama, I felt sorry for all the actors involved.

I was tempted to watch Nice guy given all the fanfare return of Moon Chae Won in Mr Black and all the fervent shipping of Chiaki. But now that its listed as one of the dubious endings candidate. I will not touch it with a ten foot pole.

For Gu Family book, I am okay with the ending. Coming from a chinese background. many hero/heroines died and get another life thru reincarnation. So I can accept that arrangement.

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The thing about Gu Family Book is, it just dropped the reincarnation/rebirth thing out of nowhere. Like there was NO mention at any previous point in the story that people can reincarnate, but suddenly we get one when it's convenient? I don't think so.

I'm Indian and many Hindus also believe in reincarnation/rebirth, but that doesn't let the story off the hook for being so sloppy. In a fantasy story, I expect to have some rules laid down, not pulled out of the writer's behind at the last minute when they need a plot device.

Nice Guy's ending wasn't that bad, all things considered. The ambiguity isn't nearly as frustrating as any of the other dramas on the list, and I think someone who's watched the whole run can figure out what's up.....eventually. I would have happily paid for a whole lot more hugging and kissing, but knowing how Lee Kyung-hee dramas usually end (spoiler: with death and tears), I can't complain.

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You should give Nice Guy a chance.. The ending was really not that bad. It's just that for some people, they might have preferred a sad ending coz they think it's more logical given the writer's previous works. And to those who are still confused about the ending, even Joong Ki himself clarifies it (I opt not to give full details so as to avoid spoilers)..it was a happy ending. Plus the stellar acting of the casts will surely blow you away..not to mention the chemistry of the leads..

Btw..it's CHAEKI not chiaki..😅

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I must be one of those that was so impressed with the subtly and depth of the cinematography that I was so used to looking for the cinematographic meaning behind all the scenes.

So yea, I didn't think the ending was confusing at all. It could have been better written, but compared to all the horrific Kdrama endings I've seen, Nice Guy actually has the directing and acting going for it.

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I agree, I went into the drama knowing that I might not get what I want so I wasn't really disappointed by the ending,, I personally think it's beautiful. It's just...like any other melodramas, I won't watch it the second time.

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I didn't mind it either, it's sad but I get it,
it's sad but it fill me with the journey

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I thought I was the only one who took the ending positively. what I liked about the ending was they explained it beautifully why she got to live in her body for the second time. But the ending of God's Gift makes no sense for me :P

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Me too. I thought it was fitting too.

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I totally agree about King 2 Hearts. I held on too long hoping he wasn't really dead and never got closure. Also, I stopped watching Prime Minister and I when his dead wife appeared. Bye, I'm here for a cute romcom, not that bullshit.

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Eun Shi-kyung's death scarred me so much that I was juuuuuust starting to watch life-or-death stakes dramas live again when WHAM! a new death sent me ducking for cover again (gah... Tae-in... you went through all that just to die anyway?!?!).

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Although, upon reflection, that wariness has paid off more than a few times over the years. At least 7 out of 10 of these dramas were on my to-watch list.... until I heard how they ended.

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I stopped watching the drama the min. Eun Shi Kyung died, and couldn't bring myself to watch the rest of it till a year later. Still resent it to this day.

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Lol, me too. I haven't finished Prime Minister and I to this day. One episode left but I just couldn't do it.

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I have quite a bit of those on this list...where I basically left the one last episode. Case in point: OLL Spouses. Some endings better not be watched. ever.

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Becos of the dramas on this list, I've become very wary of drama endings in the last couple years. I generally check comments on streaming sites for the last 2 eps before starting those eps.

Sadly, the trust that they'll give a worthy ending is all but gone! Those writers are trying to be clever rather than honest to their stories is my opinion.

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I am amazed at how many of the shows on this list that I dropped:
- Rooftop Prince
- Prime Minister and I
- Gu Family Book
- School 2015
- Mirae's Choice
- Big
- OohLaLa Spouses
- High School King of Savvy

The only ones I managed to finish were Surplus Princess (ugh that ending) and King 2 Hearts (chain yanked but I forgive you)

The rest I was able to avoid thanks to heartfelt warnings from other reviewers. Thanks to all at Dramabeans for falling on these grenades!

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for me the reason I dropped King 2 hearts was when the king set up the bad guys mistress just to insult the bad guy knowing it would likey lead to her death, after that I lost all emotive contection with the guy and stopped watching.

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Every drama on this list gets my vote (my terrible endings vote, at any rate), though I'd add one more: High Kick 2, because it was a freaking sitcom. Who does that? Who?

*still angry*

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Omg I forgot High Kick 2. Forgive me! It will be honorary #18.

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Going old school on you hear. Sangdoo Lets Go to School and Lovers in Paris. Buff said.

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I actually liked the ending of Lovers in Paris. To me, it seemed like the leads would get their happy ending without all the angst of the fictional characters in the heroine's story.

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Oh, I hated Sangdoo's last episode. I just watched it recently and was blindsided by the ending.

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damn. Forgot about the ending to Lovers in Paris. So many years ago! One of the weirdest endings to a kdrama ever

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sangdoo need a special episode , sometimes I wish Kdrama adapt Jdrama habit of making a special episode of drama

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omg that's the one I was looking for in this list. That is my number 1 horrible drama ending. I'M STILL MAD ABOUT IT. Someone should've warned me to stop like 10 episodes before the end. Like...WWWWHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Still crying over the ending. I wish I didn't see it.

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Totally agree with this. High Kick 2's ending scared me so much to start watching the next installment. I will forever imagine Hwang Jung Eum reunited with Ji Hoon and Se Kyung live happily with her family abroad. Though this ending is still far better than what God's Gift pull on us. Why oh why my awesome ajusshi can't get his happy ending?

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OMG. FOR REALS. I resent that ending so friggin much, yo, so friggin much. I've never hated an ending as much as I hated that one.

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it has nothing to do with k-dramas but your mention of high kick 2 reminded me of how i met your mother ending. lol
what's up with sitcoms trying to be deep and dark.

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naaah I don't think HIMYM should end like that
I mean, Barney......

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OMG, i watch HK2 several times, but not the ending!

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FOR REAL!!!!!! WORST ENDING EVER!!!!!!!!!

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total agreement total WTF moment made worse as yes it a sitcom for...counts to ten slowly

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I just wrote about "Gu Book." Suzy's character had such a STUPID reason to die. Why, if you know you can't be "brought back again if you do die" would you sacrifice your life for a being who CAN'T DIE!!!!!????
Come on, I know you love him and all, but that makes about as much sense as finding your one true love and then deciding you must travel to Italy for a year to learn how to make coffee.

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TWO years, she was gone for two years. Seriously....

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I am beaming with pride because I know which drama this is!! ...and maybe there second one with a similar ending.

"Come on, I know you love him and all, but that makes about as much sense as finding your one true love and then deciding you must travel to Italy for a year to learn how to make coffee."

:D

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Yes, but it wasn't about making coffee, c'mon we all know that. :)

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I enjoyed Gu FB for what it was worth, but for the life in me, can't remember its ending. That's how good it was for me.

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I on the other hand, will never forget it. Hee. Not because it was good, but because of the reactions it got!

I was watching it raw while messaging my chat-group of LSG /k-drama fans. When the screen flashed modern Seoul (400 yrs later), I initially thought that it was a commercial....to realise that it was! - with all the PPL they were stufing down the viewer's throat at the last minute. And the messages that were flying to and fro from the chat group! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry - from the comments and the so so bizarre ending.

I couldn't bring myself to watch the last ep with subs till 2 weeks later. i did it, only because of LSG.

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LMAO@ the shade in this comment. But I totally agree, like WTF? it's coffee , you can get it ANYWHERE!!!!

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Cantabille tommorow. That pre-shooted later episode that missed the link with their previous episodes (that shot weeks after this horrible episode) orabaaaaangggg

You forgot lie to me tho. Their ending also super awful.

Ah. I know Skip Beat! is a T-drama. But siwon and donghae headlining it so lets just count it. That only kiss at the very end happen to be dream and heroine not able to debut/graduate-from-that-awfully-shocking-pink-uniform yet.

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Yes on Cantabile Tomorrow!!! nope, still not over it

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I'm okay with skip beat just because i'm hoping for a sequel one day. *delusional*

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nil ~

Cantabille Tomorrow should have never been made, period. They butchered that.

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Lie To Me - I do give it props for an awesome kiss scene but that ending ruined it.... OMG, I sat there staring at the screen like "SRLY!!! That's it??? WTH??"

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Cantabille Tomorrow HORRIBLY OVERRATED!

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It's the most aggravating when the drama is fan-freaking-tastic and the end is basically dagger in your guts. I'll never forgive whoever was responsible for ruining a gem like God’s Gift—14 Days! *clenches fist*
I have skipped countless endings, the fear of a let down is real.

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"I've skipped countless ending. The fear of a letdown is real."

Fab, I can't agree more. 😘

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I don't think I'll ever forgive for God's gift!! It makes me sad that I can't recommend it. I had so much love for it but that ending was the ultimate betrayal.

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15+alpha!

It's a good thing to have dramabeans around when a show unintentionally (or intentionally?) gives us hints of an 'unwatchable' ending by going downhill after some episodes in. In these cases, I always just "read" the finale if I really want to know how it went.

But, like you said, when a drama is so freakin-tastic till almost the end just to drop you a freak bomb in the last episode?? That.is.scary.

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Basically A NIGHTMARE.

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We all know who's responsible for butchering God's Gift at the very last minute: SBS and Dr. Stranger's trailer. I still blame them for ruining that ending... I agree, it was a rare gem and I can't get over what happened to my "precious"!

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@Kalel
Oh my, you have to tell the connection between God's Gift and Dr. Stranger! I wanna know who my real enemies are. *gets in a fighting position*

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Dr. Stranger's trailer deprived God's Gift (and us) of essential minutes during its final episode. The director himself complained about SBS's urge to show the trailer, hence the sloppy editing that made little sense and provided more questions than answers. This whole drama was based on last-minute revelations (I think more like a film than a TV series) and crazy CEOs chose to sacrifice God's Gift for their new and promising(?) projet. To be honest, I was a bit happy when viewers were furious at all the mess in Dr. Stranger. But, alas, they had already caused irreversible damage to one of the most remarkable storylines on mainstream channels for the last couple of years.

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Oh, and I thought "Shine or Go Crazy" was an excellent show (maybe not in my top 10, but definitely an "is it on yet?" type drama,) until at the last episode it DID go crazy.

And what is it about Korean Drama frustration that makes me write stupid long run-on sentences?

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LOL. You word play has me laughing so much!!! XDDDD

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Ugh! Hate that ending too! Thank God I didn't watch the last episode! (read the recap somewhere first)

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I was just finished watching the drama a few days ago, it was my third times actually, and everytime I still feel bitter about the ending. I guess thats the downside of being sagueks lover, especially one that has historical value in it, because no matter how much you love the characters, and the pairings, if the history said she actually a fictional character, then she will always be fictional, or when she has to go, she must go!

p/s: now I understand Jumong/So Seono's fans. I love him with Yesoya ;p

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100% agree with the top two - 49 Days and School 2015 hurt my soul, I don't think I'll ever be over Tae Kwang and Eun Byul's endings 😭 Don't even get me started on 49 Days 😭😭. The only two I would add here is Birth of a Beauty, I hated the last few episodes. And I hated Cruel City's ending so much 😭 soo and doctors son will forever live on in my heart 💔

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Dear Master's Sun, for your nickname I suppose you are a Hong Sisters Drama lover.

I have a question: is Big that bad?. In the ratings is 6/4 and 5/4. I saw Warm & Cozy until ep. 13 and it was abysmal but received a 6/5 and 5/5 ratings. Is Big safe to watch in a house containing a handgun or if I see it will I blow my brains just for soothe the pain of it?.

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Big was good except the ending. You'll forget the rest of the show because of the ending though so I suggest not going through it with the handgun still in your house.

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@earthna, In which episode do I stop watching?.

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Ep 15 is enough. But halfway through, you know it is nearly impossible for them to land the plane.

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How much do you hate Suzy? This will impact your reaction to Big.

Also. How much are you skeeved out about a grown woman ostensibly dating an immature teen boy (albeit in the hot bod of Gong Yoo). He starts out the series sleeping in a racecar bed type of immature.

I lurve Gong Yoo and the Hong Sisters, but Big was a big WTF for me.

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There is a time skip and when he returns he is 19 if I remember correctly, hardly a teen anymore.

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It's been a long time since I watched it, but I remember at the time I felt that it came across as grooming.

To each their own, though! :-)

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there alway a time skip if one of the two leads is underage..always..or say like sweet 19 where they never sleep together until she of 'age' even though they where married.

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Dear Emi, as an actress I am afraid I only saw her in Gu Family Book or in the occasional Cameo. As a man I consider her beautiful and admit if I come across a woman like her I would certainly approach even if only by curiosity.

Long story short: I like her so far but know her (work) only from afar:) .

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I mentioned Suzy because there are a ton of people who have really strong feelings about her on this site. If you're cool with her then you should be fine.

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Emi, thanks for your answer. I don't know if Suzy will ever show a high acting calibre as Ms. Park Bo Young, the actress who was both a meek rug and a sassy posessed woman in Oh my Ghosthess, but will be eager to be shown otherwise.

If I were to watch BIG, in which episode should I stop?.

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FGB4877,

Out of love for a fellow beanie, I looked at the recaps for the last few episodes of Big. This gave me the opportunity to remember some of the noble idiocy that I'd blocked out in my memories of the show. If you're adverse to noble idiocy and lots of crying, then don't watch past episode 12. If you like noble idiocy, then everything but the finale and write your own ending in your head.

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Dear Emi, thanks and please feel loved back ;) .

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@Emi, you just also described why I never watch those high school dramas either…I get grossed out getting the feels from a bunch of teenagers…and yes, Im in my 30's! but that's like my opinion man :)

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big is confusing but cute with very big premise which make you think a lot when warm and cozy also confusing but it doesn't take itself seriously so you can enjoy it without expectation

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for Hong sisters dramas, i would recommend
- My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox . It's perfect.
- You are Beautiful. last few eps gets angsty but it ends happily, i rewatched about 5 times however i think i overgrown it now, funny and cute, and i don't laugh easily.

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but,but, i loved big, and for me anding wasn't that bad, yes i wanted kisses and hugs but it was still ok, so watch and decide yourself :)

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While I agree with some Oh La La spouses is #1 for me. To the extent I never watched the last episode and made up my own ending.

Great list by the way! Looking forward to the next.

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I didn't even watch it, and I was still mad at that ending. Only a twisted mind would come up with that.

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And how about Golden Cross(I keep calling it RED cross lol)?! Again, good drama, disappointing end. Maaaaaybe a little fitting, but still. "(

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Didn't mean to post this here, excuse...

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Haha, yes!!! Some of these endings made me SO MAD!! Especially the God's gift one, like I can maybe get over the others but NOT THAT ONE!!! 'Captain Awesome was not also Captain Smartypants' indeed!

Love the honourable mentions too! R.I.P Earnest Bot...

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Wasn't there show where the lead guy was shot in the head while driving with the girl in that last 20 seconds? I think that was the first time my daughter her my curse mantra.

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The first IRIS had such an ending.

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That's it! I think I stared with mouth agape for a full minute. Thanks!

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Ow, about a year ago I've watched snippets of the dubbed version on TV, and even though I wasn't invested in it, that ending still shocked me.
So was there IRIS 2 where he survived??

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I've actually been to scared to see Iris 2 just because of the way the first one ended. I would also like to know if it's worth it.

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IRIS was my very 1st foray into kdramas and marathoning. At the time, I was so shocked and pained by ending. Because for the lead to die was new to me and I didn't expect it. He'd survived everything else. Now when something like that happens, I'm more aware that it's possible even though it still stings.

IRIS will forever have a place in my heart because it introduced me to the world of kdramas.

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My sister went through the exact same thing. She first watched Iris the TV movie version and then she marathoned the whole series knowing the "un-happy ending". Now she's pretty much prepared for the worse (unlike me). She has watched War of Money, Sign and Bad Guy and considers all those finales to be appropriate plot-wise. I guess we all need to toughen ourselves up at some point, especially those who have been watching kdramas for years (and,at times, even help the rest of us accepting odd or simply sad endings like caring old sisters...or am I asking too much?).

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That's reminded me the ending of Memory in Bali.. Stars So Jisub, Jo Insung, Ha Jiwon.. They all died at the last minute of the show.. What an ending !! I still shocked...

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Actually, I think the ending of What Happened in Bali (or Memory in Bali) is one of the best in all of KDrama. It made sense, given the personalities and clashes between the characters, their lives and the world they lived in. It is shocking, and you don't ever forget it, but it didn't come out of nowhere, narratively, and it was certainly plausible for these people.

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Successfully missed all of the top ten and most of the "honorable" mentions. Fully agree with the commenters who've mentioned Cantabile Tomorrow and Shine or Go Crazy.

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"Maru is mysterious. No one will ever know Maru." hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

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I died reading that.

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I cried at that ending, not for the ending itself, but because I spent 19 episodes loving that drama so much only to be given something that made no sense. To this day I believe the original writer was pissed that the fans wanted a happy ending and in a rage threw the script at the PD, who then asked the first person he saw to quick, write an ending. Either that or the writer left all sanity behind and got roaring drunk while writing the last episode.

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I quit it at the "whitewash" stage of the drama. I was upset that she received a reprieve by the writer after trying to kill someone...anyone just because it was the kdrama way to have the heroine pure as the driven snow. BS.

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that drama ruined me....I was ok with the ending but after 19 episodes all I wanted was to be sure that he was alive and happy. Kang Maru you are the biggest mystery of my life.

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Completely Agree about Big and Gu Family Book.

Kind of Disagree about Rooftop, it was a messy ending but it still made sense, they had to go back.

Disagree about School 15, Surplus Princess and Mirae, they had a good start but were awful shows so the ending being bad matches the rest.

Completely Disagree about 49 Days, it wasn't about her being alive, she just had to appreciate life and become a better person. It was the only show that had a sort of Candy heroine that was disliked because she was so nice she really didn't understand anyone. It is a brave story with a kickass ending. :)

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Agreed about RP, it made sense to me and left me conflicted at the same time which I thought was fine.

Mirae wasn't bad either. You could tell from the picture in the box in the ground who she chose. The kid was the same kid as the old Mirae and the reporter from the future.

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+1

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Hmmm. I only watched two on the list, RP and NG and could not bring myself to finish either.

Yet, the honorable mention for me is WBDS. I will not ever accept that ending or watch anything else from the writer.

Thanks for the laughs.

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Oh, the ending of WBDS was awful, wasn't it? I can't believe I stuck around through all the pointless stuff in the middle of that drama, hoping for an ending that lived up to the promise of the beginning, only to get something that managed to be even worse than the middle.

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A resounding, YES!. To be taken advantage of by a writer after spending 20 plus hours of one's life only to be humiliated by an ending is a bit much. I no longer accept that from Kdramas.

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WBDS is what, exactly??

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A genre under sageuks. See comment #37.

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Warrior Baek Dong Soo

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LOL, I'm not mentioning this Kdrama name...

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I rewatched it many times but always stopped a couple minutes before the end of ep 28. I accepted and rationalized the ending but I would not watch it again!

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Don't even get me started on the end of WBDS. No. Not going there.

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missing noir m left me confused. the series as a whole was amazing but the ending just didn't work out for me

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Agreed. I loved that show, but the ending was totally underwhelming. And depressing to boot. But maybe they'll make up for it with a second season? Probably wishful thinking.

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Reading this list, I feel like I dodged a lot of bullets, because I've never finished a single one of these. I watched several of them to various points, but dropped them all. Haha. I must have bad-ending radar or something. Or maybe not. Because I did watch the last episode of Yong Pal. :) Although I would say that it's by far not the most infuriating ending I've experienced. Just merely okay with a side of WTF here and there.

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Annnd...this was not supposed to go here. Not sure what happened.

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Missing Noir's script had written "film" all over it...or a second season by all means. To be honest, MMB's ending was worse: "the finale is in the eye of the beholder" always makes me furious! I don't mind depressing, open or silly ending bust I hate with all my heart the indecisive ones...

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It's not the journey that only counts, the ending matters too. I fear pissed off writers as much as crazy netziens and saesang' fans

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My list has Answer me 1994. Why? Because i just finally watched it last week and I still can't get over the fact that she didn't choose Chilbongie. Sorry Garbage fans. The heart wants what the heart wants.

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I'm not upset because she chose Garbage...but I"m really really really upset that we never learned how CB got HIS happy ending. He NEEDS ONE!!! HuAAAAA :((( (all these comments bring all the emotions back to me)

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Chilbongie ;____; Even with the ridiculous episodes length, they couldn't manage to squeeze in some time to explore the potentials of his character's story (outside the love triangle), nor give his character a proper closure.

We get to see every boarder's parents but not his. I was honestly waiting for his story with his parents to be told and resolved but nope. What's so costly about telling us how the story of him and his parents is resolved (since there were a lot of mention about this throughout the show)? Also, we get to see how the other boarders develop their feelings and relationship with their significant others but none for him. Ugh at the last minute vague encounter with chicken girl - it was not even interesting nor smile inducing.

Some says his happy ending is that he cured his loneliness by finding a ~family and ~friendship in those boarders. Lol honestly, even tho I kinda like the friendship between NJ, YJ, SCP and HT, I am not that convinced with them as Chilbong's best friends other than Binggeurae. He was his only family and friend who knew about Chilbong's loneliness and /feelings/ while the others are rather ignorant and not caring about it most of the time - for years. It made me even wonder if he's not a famous star athlete, would they still even bother about him.

ooops. I ranted. sawry.

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Yes, I too felt upset about the lack of closure for chillbongie. As u said the fact that it was 1 1/2 hrs there shld be more mention on his family, career n esp his love life which to be seems to be hanging... So sad for him 😢💔

To me, he needs to experience the love he needs the most 💝💕💖 but it wasn't there 😔😔😔

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I agree. Seriously though. They didn't even know it was his birthday?! What utter bullshit. All I kept thinking was that this sweet sweet man, who knew what he wanted and went after it, who put his heart out there, both romantically and family-wise, lost out on both counts! Sometimes I wish we could just move him to Answer me 1997. I'm sure the motley crew of Shi-won, Yon-jae, Joon-hee, Yoo-jung, Hak-chan and Sung-jae would have been better friends for him. They wouldn't have forgotten it was his birthday for chrissakes! Alas, Answer me 1994 failed me on several counts.

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omg that moving Chilbong to R97 wish and imagining him being friends with those adorbs motley crew *___* It would be sooooo cute!

(Trivia : R94 PD said he wanted YYS for R97 it was not materialised - http://tenasia.hankyung.com/archives/336667 But him being R97 would probably mean we wouldn't see one of the 97 boys in the show so I don't think I can take that either. haha.)

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