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[Dramaland Catnip] Crossdressing and gender-bending romances


Sungkyunkwan Scandal

[We had a couple of overlapping submissions, so we’re combining them to give you today’s themed post, which I’m sure will be a favorite for many. Enjoy! –javabeans]

 
By @jaderjy

When I read the call for Dramaland Catnip stories, I had no idea how it was gonna work out. I’ve certainly never analyzed the dramas I’ve watched to find out what specifically drew me. Then I read the entries and I must say, this site and other fellow Beanies seem to know me better than I knew myself. I found myself repeatedly saying “Me too!” for every newly discovered catnip I never knew I had. And so I had to list down the dramas I’ve watched to see if it too could lead to some self-discovery.

As a K-drama watcher of more than a decade, I find I don’t particularly have a favorite genre. Give me a combination of a well-written story that is well-executed and I’ll be in drama heaven. But I’ve found a particular plot that just thinking about the dramas I’ve watched makes we wanna squeeeeeeee: Gender bender dramas. They’re the ones I can happily watch, well done or not, that makes me swoon every time. Plot holes? I don’t remember them having any.


Coffee Prince

I think it all boils down to the idea of loving someone against all odds, with gender being the ultimate symbol. We’ve seen the all-too-common differences of social class and warring families that are external factors that the leads need to overcome. But what about an internal battle? The need to overcome one’s self, one’s identity? The choosing to love despite it all. There is nothing else that says, “I will love you for who you are no matter the circumstances” better than this genre because the thing to overcome is the person himself/herself, nothing else.

And none have done it as well as the mother of all gender-benders: Coffee Prince. This drama remains to date my favorite: romantic, full of heart, sensitive in its execution. It was revolutionary especially at that time for not being afraid to go where no drama had gone before: actually making the lead male, Han-gyul question his sexuality and then still choose Eun-chan thinking she was a guy. Ah, the angst! But a very delicious kind. And that made it even more angsty when he finally found out the truth and the betrayal was worse; as he tells Eun-chan, when he recognized that he liked her even as a man, he was ready to put aside what the world would think of him.


You’re Beautiful

In addition, it’s always great to see the change in awareness taking place in the characters, where the friendly guy-to-guy touch starts to feel different. Jeremy in You’re Beautiful is a great example of this: Wondering why his bandmates seem attracted to Mi-nam, he starts seeing her in a new light and ultimately falls for her too while still thinking she’s a guy. Coffee Prince had the angsty version, while You’re Beautiful took a lighter approach with heartwarming hilarity, such as all of Jeremy’s laugh-out-loud reactions and his sweet gestures toward Mi-nam.

On the other side, there’s awareness of the swoonworthy kind, like in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, where the awareness was more unconscious in the way that Sun-joon and Jae-shin (his hiccups!) gravitated toward Yoon-hee. And often it seems it’s the second lead who finds out earlier on that our heroine is a girl and ultimately ends up helping to protect her secret. Jae-shin did it better than anyone else—the lengths he went to help her! Like insisting to sleep in between her and Sun-joon, and staying particularly close to Sun-joon so he never went too close to our girl.

It’s also common for our heroes to find out early on that our heroine is really a girl. Like Tae-kyung in You’re Beautiful and more recently the crown prince in Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, it ups the swoonworthy factor because in this case, it spurs the hero to do anything to protect the woman he loves. Particularly with Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, with so much more at stake if Ra-on were found out (death, probably), Yeong goes into full-on hero mode to help her. ♥


Moonlight Drawn By Clouds

 

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By Shasha
(a longtime reader, but unregistered so no clicky username)

Ah, gender-bender dramas. What’s not to love when the heroine has to, for whatever various reasons, pretend to act a guy? I have a particular fondness for this “genre” of Korean and Asian dramas, as it lends itself to such hilarious and poignant situations.

The first gender bender drama I saw was Coffee Prince, and I was left floored. Han-gyul’s famous line to Eun-chan, “I like you. Whether you’re a man or an alien, I don’t care anymore,” absolutely made me swoon. It was such a pure, unconditional romance and I loved that he was able to overlook gender and love Eun-chan for who she was.


Coffee Prince

In both the Japanese and Taiwanese versions of Hana Kimi, I found myself laughing over and over again as the heroine kept finding herself in sticky situations and had to pretend to be overly masculine to disguise herself as she navigated the confusing world of an all-boys high school.

But besides the comedy, I also love that the heroines will always find friends that will fiercely protect their identity from being found out. The most beautiful friendships and romance always result from the unconditional trust the male characters have in the female lead. In You’re Beautiful, I lost count of the number of times Tae-kyung and Shin-woo covered for Mi-nyeo/Mi-nam and made excuses in order to help her hide her gender. In all these dramas, the female lead’s friends are willing to help her hide, without questioning her integrity or revealing her secret to the masses (though sometimes it does take some convincing), and I love that they’re able to see beyond the heroine’s lie and understand her true reasons.


You’re Beautiful

And that leads us to the dramatic reveal. It’s always interesting to see how different characters handle the truth behind the heroine’s true gender. Her lie is a barrier that must be overcome at some point, and most revelations come with plenty of shock and anger over the heroine’s “betrayal.” I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the transition from the initial angst and denial to acceptance and back to love for the heroine. Because let’s be honest here—if my best friend/lover suddenly told me that he/she had been hiding his or her gender from me the entire time, I’d feel a little miffed for a while that they didn’t trust me with the truth.

A big revelation like that takes time to process and come back from, but it makes the reunion and ending that much sweeter and meaningful. And they do always come around. Because after all, the heroine is still the same person, regardless if she dresses up as a boy or not. She’s still their friend, their lover, and the person they spent so much time together with.

What I love most about gender-bender dramas is their portrayal of humanity and the emphasis on truly loving a person for who they are, not merely their outside appearance. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to watch the budding friendship, bromance, and romance between all the characters. Besides, who can resist a classic rom-com, as these gender bender dramas often tend to be?


Sungkyunkwan Scandal

 

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By @michykdrama

I’m relatively new to dramaland compared to many others here. Because of the time constraints from my kid and job, I’m picky over what I watch. Ain’t got time to commit to a 50-hour makjang, or one with subpar acting that makes me cringe.

However, my Achilles’ heel, and the one thing that I can rarely ignore, is the crossdressing trope. It doesn’t matter how obvious it may be that the guy is really a girl, or how oblivious the guy may be, I swallow the premise down all the time. I blame it for being in the gateway K-drama that sent me down the rabbit hole forever.

You’re Beautiful was my first K-drama, and my introduction to it was so randomly accidental, I sometimes marvel at how it happened at all. I was at my friend’s house and for some reason You’re Beautiful was on TV. I had never watched any Korean dramas before, but suddenly I was captivated by Hwang Tae-kyung and his interactions with the crossdressing Go Mi-nam.

I couldn’t get enough of how he was prickly on the outside but conflicted because he cared for her so much but didn’t want to show it, and how she was oblivious to it all, her main worry being keeping her gender a secret. My husband couldn’t understand why I was so stuck on the episode: “The male lead has guyliner for crying out loud!” and “The girl totally doesn’t look like a guy—her Adam’s apple is missing!” But I was totally hooked, and 16 episodes later, I was craving more.


You’re Beautiful

Cue internet search for similar dramas, which led me to To the Beautiful You and its Taiwanese counterpart Hanazakarino Kimitachihe. I knew that this trope had to be my catnip because I actually watched it all despite the wooden acting from Wu Chun. I still can’t believe I finished it!

Fortunately since then, I’ve become smarter (and also found Dramabeans and their ratings system) and have watched much better dramas with this trope. Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, which featured a heroine pretending to be a eunuch in the palace and capturing the heart of the prince, was epically addictive with its higher than normal stakes, since if she were found out, it would be tantamount to treason and death.

Watching Prince Yeong progress from butting heads with Ra-on in the beginning, and then growing fond of her, discovering her secret and confessing to her, coupled with the secret dates behind umbrellas, stolen skinship (who knew helping Prince get dressed could be so adorable?), and then him risking his life to protect her… my squees and swoons were near unstoppable.

Coffee Prince was a recent watch (I don’t know why I took so long, I’m sorry Gong Yoo oppa!) and I can say that this was the only drama where the mannerisms of the female lead were extremely convincing as a guy. Han-gyul was completely fooled by Eun-chan, and I wasn’t surprised.


To the Beautiful You

Now, I logically know there are ways of telling if you are girl versus boy, and none involve hair length or depend on chest size. An absent Adam’s apple or the angle of your arms (yes, I’m serious!) can actually give it away. But my usually annoying medical radar doesn’t even ping in the slightness for this trope, because I secretly (or not so secretly) love the idea of a guy (usually popular and good-looking) falling for a girl based solely on her personality, regardless of her outer appearance.

I’ve been a feisty tomboy my whole life and I’ve always envied those girly girls who were always so perfectly poised and coifed, soft-spoken and sweet, so ladylike. When I was growing up, there were only the demure Disney princesses who got their Prince Charmings—and they did it while twirling in ball gowns or serenading birds or getting their fingers pricked while sewing. I wanted so badly to be a damsel, but it gave me more distress than I felt it was worth. So it’s perhaps more than just a hopeful fantasy for me to believe that a guy can see past the superficial and love a girl purely for who she is inside.

What adds the extra oomph, which distinguishes this trope from the usual guy-falls-for-ugly-duckling-girl scenario, is that he doesn’t only fall for her inner beauty. He falls despite the fact that it’s a taboo love, since he thinks she is a guy like him. And thus, regardless of logic, for this trope, I’m always a goner, hook, line and sinker.

I guess I just can’t resist the hope that maybe not only the Cinderellas, Snow Whites and Auroras get to be with Prince Charming. Sometimes the Eun-chans and Ra-ons get their happily ever afters too.


Moonlight Drawn By Clouds

 
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Omg, this is my catnip too. You're Beautiful is the one who opened the door for me to kdramaland. It was such an addictive show that it took me a year before I really moved on from the show.

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Haha! Me too.. I got addicted to kdrama cuz I was looking for good gender bender tropes and I had run out of good manga gender benders (how awesome was tokyo crazy paradise?!).

In fact so obsessed am I with this catnip.. that I actually started watching 50hr+ Queen Seondeok & Empress Ki just cuz of this! Though they were totally worth it in the end :D

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You're Beautiful was my sign the deal drama, never stopped from that moment on. And still is one of my favorites.

Gender bender definitely a catnip for me, the guys usually so grumpy get so sweet for the love of a girl they think is a boy that I instantly melt.

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For me gender benders are either a hit or a miss. It irks me SO MUCH when the heroine is clearly female (!!!wearing eye shadows while crossdressing as a guy!!!)
I REAALLYY enjoyed coffee prince though. Yoon Eun Hye did a very good job acting as a tomboy. It's such a classic.
When the cross dressing is done right - it is definitely one of my cat nips :D

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Well with regards to the eye makeup, when you see that many of the male stars wear eye makeup (and I can tell some even wear eyeshadow) that part does not even bother me as much. I think I have become too used to K-Dramas and excessive makeup on the guys

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This is a hit or miss for me too. So far, Coffee Prince still stands as the best out of all gender-bender dramas I have seen. Yoon Eunhye owned being a guy.

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Yes, I agree that they can either be hit or miss. My favorite performances have been Yoon Eun Hye in Coffee Prince and Moon Geun Young in Painter of the Wind. I kind of wish actresses with more 'masculine' features would be used, but it's seems that some productions are reluctant to go all the way.

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Oh like that too! Especially because in kdramas the gender roles are often very formulaic, so this gives a refreshing new perspective.

Also I loved that in Coffee Prince she pretty much dressed the same after the "reveal", because that was just her style.

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I still remember Eunchan's baggy shirt and pants. Also, the way she walked did not change even after the reveal.

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I see ShaSha and I shipped the same second leads hahaha. Yoo Ah In and that amazing mane of glory is love.

SKKS was my first "period" drama, I remember wondering if I could sit through a whole show with guys in dresses. Oh how I laugh at the old naive me.

I want to thank that show for Yoo Ah In and Song Joong Ki and that epic bromance.

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I'm not a good writer, so I won't submit and entry, I feel like I couldn't do it justice, but I'm desperately waiting for the [Dramaland Catnip] Bromance post

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Me too! If a Bromance didn't bring me to the drama it sure can keep me watching.

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The only reason I know this is catnip for me is because this is the reason I got into dramas!

Coffee Prince was my first drama, and I watched it specifically because of the gender bending. It's one of my favorite tropes since my favorite Shakespeare play is As You Like It.

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It was the same for me. I read about a korean gender bender drama and that was the beginning of everything.

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Because of SKKS , Yoo Ah_in and Song Joong_ki are friends up to this day.
While I was watching this show, I was like "who cares if you don't get the girl when there is epic bromance between you ,crazy horse and Gu Yong_ha " .
HA

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By the way, SKKS is one of my favorite dramas at that time(still favorite). I started watching it after 2nd year theorey final exam of medical school .
It was still airing, I didn't know about that and searched it all over the internet to watch it. Because of that, I had very little time left to prepare for my practical exam.
What a memory!

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Eeek, you chose mine! Thanks DB! 😊

I knew I wasn't gonna be the only one with this catnip! ❤

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Haha yes! High Five fellow catnip Beanie! ❤️

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High Five back at ya! ♥

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Gender Bender is definitely a catnip, even better if the leads get involved in all sorts of antics , because the lifeline of gender bender drama is crackling comedy .

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Secret Garden had these in spades because it was forced on them by 'circumstances'.

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Yes! I love gender bender dramas since it usually shows the leading lady's real personality and not just her outer looks. This view of her is what the leading actor falls for and eventually, it also comes down to the revealing of her true gender. Since I'm a late bloomer, I started with MDBC and then I watched SS and CP.

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There's been more dramas where I was meh about it but when it does work, there is so much satisfaction that I keep seeking more like it. Does that mean I am addicted to it?

Coffee Prince remains one of my favorite dramas and it turned me into a huge fan of Yoon Eun-hye. Probably because I related so much to her character at the time I was watching it. There are so few actresses who are willing to look a little less than pretty and that raw cry scene sealed the deal for me. Well I should stop talking about her since this is about catnip. I just wish she can one day return to Korea and make a good drama. sigh Anyways, I loved Moonlight as well. I still have to finish it though. lol

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Yes! Please come back, Yoon Eun Hye! :)

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I totally agree that Yoon Eun-Hye was the only Korean actress in gender-bending dramas that had the masculine/tomboyish quality down pat. She's the equivalent of Ueno Juri in Last Friend (J-dorama where she plays a girl with gender identity disorder).

I like these dramas, but it's hard to keep the suspension of disbelief when you think that everything about the female lead (usually, though there are the opposite kinds as well) screams "girl!" Usually, though, I just choose to enjoy the ride. Once I take your mind off the things that would otherwise bother me, it's easier to focus on other things: the chemistry between characters, the adorableness, etc.

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CP was among the first Kdramas I watched and didn't know any of the actors. I stumbled upon the Dramabeans recap while looking for background information and @javabeans was kind enough to add a pic of YEH to help appreciate the transformation that had taken place (http://www.dramabeans.com/2007/07/coffee-prince-store-1/).
I was truly shocked and this really helped me get even more invested in the drama and appreciate it. Haunted DB since then.
Thank you @javabeans!

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HAH My ultimate catnip. No joke these were what got me hooked on kdramas.

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And because I can, imma spazz about one of the gender-bender's not mentioned here: (bear with me, ik i'm annoying but) PAINTER OF THE WIND! DOES NO ONE REALISE HOW DIFFERENT IT IS FROM THE USUAL GENDER-BENDERS? I MEAN WHERE ELSE DO YOU GET A BISEXUAL FEMALE LEAD IN KDRAMALAND? SHE WAS LITERALLY FALLING HEAD OVER HEELS FOR THE GISAENG! THATS THE ULTIMATE CATNIP.

deep breath wow

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Also, did I mention that my otp was electrifiying. I WANT A KISS!

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Haha, you're not annoying!

I came across Painter of the Wind when I looked up "gender bender dramas," but I've never watched it. I might just check it out now because it sounds great!

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I agree, they had such a sizzling chemistry!

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In Sunkyungkwan Scandal it was the opposite when the gisaeng fell, hard, for the lead... I liked that the this happened because this was first 'man' to appreciate her femininity, actually see her as a woman to a plaything and encouraged her to appreciate herself.

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SUNGKYUKWAN SCANDAL, is my first asian fusion... and the BEST!!

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Gender-bending is my catnip although only in Coffee Prince that the ruse is somewhat convincing both in Eun-chan's demeanor and how the writer initially sets up the story. Coffee Prince still remains in Dramaland as one of the most sensitive portrayal of one's internal conflict of grappling with homosexuality and its final acceptance.

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The writer did well in fleshing out the characters in Coffee Prince. The confusion of Hangyul, the dilemma of Eunchan, the angst after the reveal... everything. Now, I really need to re-watch this. hehe!

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I've watched alllll these dramas. Suffice to say this is one of my catnips too. It's ridiculously unrealistic, but I can't seem to tear my eyes away from such plots. Sungkyunkwan Scandal is a personal huge favourite of mine. I see in a recent interview PMY said she feels more comfortable dressing as a guy in Seven Day Queen, and I immediately thought of SKKS.

You're Beautiful is not my first drama by far, but it is one of the first few dramas that made me go crazy and it holds a very special place in my heart. Up til this day I will watch anything JGS and PSH are in, just because!

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I do like this trope only sometimes. Loved it in Coffee Prince and Moonlight drawn by Clouds. But sometimes it puts me off in other dramas. Not sure why

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Pulling off a 'boy persona' involves stripping away the pretty looks the actress has invested in throughout her career. It shows off her 'raw side' and then some.

If the actress isn't fully invested in the role and still looks girly, it usually puts me off. YEH in CP Is already mentioned. Ha Ji Won did this twice in Secret Garden and Empress Ki.

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Yes, one my favorite catnips of all time. You can't improve on Coffee prince. She was so convincing, without trying, she could have fooled anyone. And the love story was so beautiful and true, everything was perfection.

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I want dramaland to return to this trend and make newer more heartwarming gender-bender comedies! Pliss?

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Yes, yes, yes!!! I nominate my queen, Kim Go-eun, because her androgynous style in Coin Locker Girl was enough for me to want an actual gender bender role from her. It also didn't help that her name was being tossed around to supposedly be Ra-on in Moonlight Drawn By Clouds and reunite with Bogummy back when the casting news were churning out. Would love for them to reunite on screen and get their happy ending, but as long as it's Go-eun unnie, I'll be good.

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Thanks @javabeans for including my submission! ❤️

And High Five to fellow Crossdressing Gender Bender Catnip Beanies!

I loved SKKS but couldn't get on board with the OTP because I had such bad SLS, to a point that I couldnt finish the drama- I'm still stuck somewhere around episode 14 in fact. But I think I will finish it after reading what people said, just so that I can epically soak in the bromance between Jae Shin and Yong-ha, and see what lengths Jae Shin went to protect Yoon Hee.... even if it will break my heart in the process. Jae Shin ah! ❤️

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It's here! I still remember the day the catnip post submission was first announced and you went, "OMG! I am so sending mine! Gender-bender!"

Oh and don't worry. Gong Yoo oppajusshi will forgive you for watching his classic drama in 2017. hehe!

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dont kill me.
Nope, nope. This catnip is catastrophe. The reason I cant clickbait what is Moonlight Cloud is bcs of this.
Im thinking in my head, is genderben still a plot in 2017? I try, really with you're beautiful, but it isnt working for me. Perhaps bcs even before you're beautiful, I was fed enough of this plot from JDorama & Taiwan drama. Sowhhrryy :(

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Omg. This is totally my catnip! Been waiting to see if they were gonna post about it. My all-time favorite is coffee prince and I binge-watched every drama with a twist of gender-bending, even if nobody really liked them (*cough* to the beautiful you and k-pop ultimate challenge *cough*). I just love seeing the male lead falling for the disguised heroine.

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Oh noes! This was my catnip prompt that I was working on for these past few days. I still haven't finished mine (why is it so hard for me to articulate my words? This is something I love!) but now I think I'm just gonna set it aside (maybe I'll post snippets of it here) and read what other Beanies have to say. I'm sure we share the same sentiments about this catnip.

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Oh yes do post what you've written! There's no such thing as too much love for this kinda catnip! :)

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Hee! 😊 So nice! 😌 Thank you! I'll try to do so a little later. This theme is one of my absolute faves! I love a good gender bender and while it's usually a woman crossdressing as a man, we get the occasional gem like Ma Boy and it's just always a hoot to watch–especially when the woman/man is totally owning it both inside and out.

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just a recommendation for all gender-bender drama lovers:
do try this Taiwanese drama named BROMANCE (literally).

i avoid gender benders because i will find it ridiculous if a girl lives as a boy in real life. more of illogical to me lol.

BUT, Bromance was reallyyyyyyyy good. Megan Lai, the female actress was TOTALLY convincing as a man, & Baron Chen, the male lead was soooooooo charismatic. I SWEAR. u have to try this drama if u love this genre.

here's a wiki link for more details:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromance_(2015_TV_series)

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Oh man, Bromance. I have a love-hate relationship with that drama -- so cracked out yet so so addictive. Megan Lai and Baron Chen had spectacular chemistry, but good lord the story was beyond ridiculous. It was like every bad trope was tossed in there (birth secrets, cancer, rich lead, gangsters, betrayal, first loves, childhood trauma, just to name a few).

But seriously y'all, I totally second checking it out if you like gender bender -- it's crack-tastically fun.

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i went in for the leads, & i stayed for the leads. it was a reunion for them hence the chemistry. i even binge watched their 1st drama while i was waiting for the new episodes since i live watched Bromance. it wasn't good since they were still green then.

i was bored, finding a new drama to watch then i chanced upon the title Bromance & saw that Megan & Baron were the leads. i know the both of them & the supporting cast too so i just went ahead & boom! all the makjang u mentioned but at the same time that literal bromance was OMG.

random fact: Baron is really a son of a reputed gang leader in real life LOL

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Lol! Yes, exactly! With so many tropes and clichés, you'd think they were trying to be bad on purpose! Ahaha. I'm so glad I checked it out despite the cheesy title and just it being a T-drama (I usually only watch K-dramas) alone, because I was blessed with one of the best OTPs I've ever laid my eyes on.

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I mean, I'm pretty sure this show is my litmus test for whether I can be friends with a person. Because it's so objectively bad, yet so crack-tastically good that if you don't get it we can't jive. I used to message my (non-drama watching) friend while I watched, and even she was amused by the antics. (That camping trip y'all! I still can't get over how funny it was, even the parts that were supposed to be swoony. And the stupid hairclip!)

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Lol! Phew~ so I passed, right? We can dance, jive, and have the time of our lives? ;)

Omg, that camping trip! I love how his sister was trying to impress Ya Nuo the whole time, so she was dressed to the nines while they were all in sweats! And then the part where Yanuo was taking care of Zifeng and she ended up caressing his facial features and pointing out how "perfect" he is and then she totally got caught and he kept teasing her about it! Ahaha, this: http://chaoemoi.tumblr.com/post/137605191632/irrational-obsessions-gottcha78-zifeng-teasing

Oh man, seeing little scenes from the show's making me wanting to go back and watch. I wish someone made a compilation of all the Megan x Baron parts so I don't have to sit through with the entire show. I guess there's always the FF button... OMG! Pwahaha! You just reminded me that they had yet ANOTHER cliche! They also knew each other from childhood! Omg.

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Omg, found the actual face-caressing scene in gif form: http://chaoemoi.tumblr.com/post/137605053582/irrational-obsessions-gottcha78-busted

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YES! Lol, I actually wondered if I could mention Bromance as I was writing my entry since it's a Taiwanese series, but man oh man, that drama SPOILED ME ROTTEN! It was a terrible drama plot-wise and it was FULL of clichés (I ate it all up though because it was so delicious, haha), but the OTP is out-of-this-world fantastic with the most hottest, sizzling chemistry I've ever seen from an onscreen couple. You can't watch them in that drama and NOT ship them on and off screen. Megan and Baron were not afraid to go all out and they easily became one of my fave OTP evar.

As for the actual crossdressing aspect of the show, YES, a lot of people would agree with us that Megan Lai made one believable man. Even though the reasoning behind her having to live as a man in the first place is probably one of the worst. Ha, that's not he only thing I overlooked when it came to that drama, though. It was a mess, but Megan and Baron were such a beautiful part of that mess.

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yes, the reason for her to live as a man was really yucky, it reminds me of Lucky Romance which i didnt watch though im tempted by the cast ARGH

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Glad to see I'm in good company regarding my feelings about Bromance. It's both one of the most ridiculous and one of the most swoon-inducing dramas I've ever seen. I rarely stalk BTS videos, but I did for that OTP. I was happy to hear that the drama was so popular in Taiwan (for the same reason I'm glad that Coffee Prince was widely accepted).

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I second your recommendation! That drama was totally worth it if only for the squeal-worthy interactions of the leads, and there were so many. And the chemistry, whooo! Tying a tie shouldn't have been that hot! The other side of the plot was meh and totally forgettable but who cared

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haha! so happy to see many people loved the drama too, the leads were just beyond awesome, they really went all out for fan service. remember that aftercredit kiss in the finale? omggggggggggg 😋 they were serious at their work, no joke!

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Oh my God that post credit kiss was just so freaking awesome! They were all out it was insane! I was wondering how they were able to show it on TV. I confess I replayed that part a lot, it's my fave scene lol. I had a huge crush on Baron Chen after that drama..haha

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it was broadcasted! idk how it works but taiwan is definitely wayyyyyy more open minded in terms of kiss scenes. the actors & actresses always go all out & kiss so passionately, unlike the usual kdramas' dead fish kisses... sighs!

taiwanese dramas will always have the best kisses! 😘

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Ahaha, I replayed almost all of their skinship/kiss scenes! The passionate ones were definitely too hot for TV, but hey, they did it! That last scene was so outrageous and was yet ANOTHER fanservicey scene just to kill us some more! I had a crush on Baron after Bromance, too! Heck, I had a crush on Megan Lai, too. Haha. Their BTS videos were just as juicy as the final product!

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I like that K-dramas have been moving out of that dead-fish kissing territory and have been giving us some pretty decent kisses, but I gotta admit, if my fave K-actors pulled a T-drama kissing style on me, I think I'd faint because of all the hotness.

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im almost never satisfied with kdrama kisses. it will be heaven if they have tdramas' kisses omg omg omg omg omg i cant imagine lolll

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Those two made everything unnecessarily hot. Especially Baron. That boy. Case in point: http://chaoemoi.tumblr.com/post/137605754467/irrational-obsessions-gottcha78-omg-what-are

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Coffee Price....*sigh*...... that drama indeed deserves to be the godfather of all cross dressing dramas.
The portrayal was so real and the angst and pain Gong Yoo went through questioning his sexuality and how he could like a guy and yoon eun hye's pain knowing what he might be going through an d her desire to reveal but couldn't and when he found out! The feeling of betrayal
All the emotions were so ripe and real. It was in 2007 (I think) but even in 2017 it'll never get old. Thumbs up to a great drama

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Coffee Prince was ahead of its time. It's a classic and it does not feel outdated even though it was released 10 years ago.

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Definitely! Did not feel dated at all despite the fact that it's 10 years old... truly deserving of its crown as king of crossdressing kdramas.

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How could you forget Empress ki 😨😨😨

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Hahaha, seeing Joo Jin-mo getting flustered and Ji Chang-wook being all smitten with a crossdressing Ha Ji-won was a lot of fun! Then it got really sad. Man.

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This is my catnip for sure...I watched of all of To the Beautiful You as well just because of this. It's true catnip when you can overlook glaring plot holes, bad acting, and just all out badness.

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Twelfth Night is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays so it was inevitable that I would enjoy this kdrama trope. I started with Sunkyunkwan Scandal and then watched both Coffee Prince and You're Beautiful. I've since seen the Japanese drama Hanazakari no kimitachi e and I thought Mulan was one of the better Disney heroines. More recent dramas, Moonlight Drawn by Clouds and Seven Day Queen, have given us further feisty females in disguise. For it to work for me there always has to be a very good reason why the heroine is disguised as a boy. Of course in Shakespeare's day it would have been a male actor playing a female character disguised as a man.

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LOVE Mulan! <3 Ping! Ahaha.

A good reason why the girl has to disguise as a boy in the first place is always a bonus! I've watched a lot of gender benders where the reasoning is oftentimes the weakest plot point, but if there's at least one thing that's strong and captivating enough in the show, itself, then I'll most likely stick it out 'til the end. I guess that's when you know it's your drama catnip.

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Yes! Having grown up on the Chinese Butterfly Lovers story, Mulan, and Legend of the Condor Heroes (female lead meets male lead when she was pretending to be a beggar boy) so I am a hUGE fan of this drama trope. Dae Jang Geum and Goong were my first kdramas but Coffee Prince is what hooked me on kdramas.

I especially love it when the girl-dressed-as-a-guy has to dress as a girl and pretend to be a guy pretending to be a girl--such hilarious hijinks ensue, and I love how the male lead makes googly eyes when he sees how pretty the girl is for the first time.

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Cross dressing is not one of my favorite catnip. So tired of watching it in sageuks but out of so many Moon Geun-young's excellent performance in "Painter of the Wind" won me over.
I must say she totally deserve every single awards and acting acclaim she got for this role.

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Boy, is this ever catnip for me! Everything you all said here is exactly how I feel about cross-dressing dramas and I have seen them one and all (and loved them although it was hard to get through the Taiwanese Hana Kimi). I will confess that sometimes I get taken out of the scene when the girl's femininity is way too obvious but for the most part, the girls have been good. I think the best actresses in this gender were Ella Chen and Yoon Eun Hye.

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Yes! Definitely one of my catnip as well. Started from Empress Ki or Coffee Prince I guess. <3

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I love this trope to death but somehow To the Beautiful You is a strong exception.

I nominate Queen Seon Deok because I didn't find it mentioned.

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How can you not love a couple who calls each other punk and stubborn ass lol and a guy who puts his girlfriend in a headlock? All the while looking lovingly at each other like they're the most beautiful thing in the world and that they feel lucky to have you.

My beloved Coffee Prince. Oh the wonderful memories of the first time I watched this. I initially watched it for Yoon Eunhye, but then I came out of the drama being an eternal fan of Gong Yoo as well. Their love story was done beautifully, even the angst. So so good.

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This was a catnip of mine, judging from the first dramas I watched: Jumong, Queen Seon Duk, Gu Family Book, Empress Ki, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, You're Beautiful (all time fav!!!). However, I didn't really like Coffee Prince (sorry Gong Yoo), and then To the Beautiful You cured me of this particular catnip - it was so addictively bad. I haven't recovered, seeing I dropped Moonlight early on and was just rolling my eyes in Shine of Go Crazy because everyone except the main guy knew she was a girl for like 13 episodes.

I don't know if this qualifies, but for me Secret Garden has a the ultimate cross-dressing/forced cohabitation hijinks. What else if the girl ends up in a guy's body and he ends up in hers?

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How come no one mentioned "A well raised daughter"

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Do you recommend it?

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It makes sense that more women cross dress as the advantages are obvious especially in historical periods (SKKS)
But, are there any example of men cross dressing in k-drama? I would love to see one

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Ma Boy. It's a mini-drama but it's good. Other than that, as far as I am aware, there's scenes here and there but not a whole drama.

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As WishfulToki mentions above, Secret Garden had this with the 'body switches' when it rained. Very well handled by Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin. The initial shock and desperation (with many laughs), the acceptance and adjustment then the harrowing agony...

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I, too, have this catnip, and have watched some horrible shows because of it.
I think part of it is seeing if someone can actually do it right - make it convincing enough that I'd actually buy it in real life. Bromance and Coffee Prince came really close, but not quite, even though I loved them, so I'm still waiting.

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Yaaaaassss my ultimate catnip!!! Coffee Prince will forever hold a special place in my heart as the gateway drama that started the addiction

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"Moonlight Drawn By the Clouds" has got to be my favourite for this catnip, followed closely by "Sungkyunkwan Scandal": Both dramas took place in an era wherein if a girl were found out that she was cross-dressing, drastic consequences would take place, and it is these extremely high stakes that draw me in. Having such high stakes brings out the emotions of all of our key characters all the more and all the more DEEPLY and with more impact and that "umph" factor that just draws me in. I must say, though, that I like how the ending of "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" was handled more than the ending of "Moonlight Drawn By Clouds", even though I like "Moonlight..." more as an overall drama. In "Sunkyunkwan Scandal", I'm happy that, despite being a girl and everyone knowing about it, Yoon Hee was able to break barriers and go back to Sungkyunkwan and teach there and keep her rank and be considered somewhat of an equal and have an academic-related career made out for herself with her own efforts--women empowerment, ftw--- even if the only way to keep her position in Sungkyunkwan was for her to teach.... still dressed up as a man. On the other hand, the ending of "Moonlight..." was a little more understated-- a little more quiet--- given, Yeong's story in real life and in history never made it that far; I'm happy that Ra On didn't have to die, but I was disappointed in how, in the end, all the pain that they went through to keep Ra On's cross-dressing secret a secret ended up being naught when she was going to get kicked out of the Palace at the end of everything and couldn't stay by Yeong's side anymore inside the Palace with a different position... But then again, I guess with "Moonlight...", the main focus/priority was to keep Ra On alive, no matter what, and everything else-- her position in the Palace and court, especially-- was secondary #livelihood

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Okay this is my biggest catnip. Legit though.

My first ever kdrama was "To The Beautiful You" and legit after that I watched every single crossdressing Kdrama there was. Sungkyunkwan Scandal (I bet I spelt that wrong) Coffee Prince, Nail Shop Paris just to name a few~

I have to admit though You're Beautiful is one I have yet to watch but with every single mashed recap mentioning it I will totally go ahead and take a peak at it.

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This is the one that interests me the least and the appeal just isn't there. I can always tell the girl is a girl, so it's always just frustrating to watch. I made an exception for Splash Splash Love because he knew she was a girl pretty much the whole time. The part where the lead knows and keeps her secret for her protection is sort of a draw, but other than that, this one just isn't usually my thing.

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I wanted to write about this catnip but I was too late (or too lazy) to send it! One of my first drama was Hana Kimi ("To the beautiful you" - the japans and the 1st version). I also remember watching "Ma Boy". A short drama of 3 episodes! If you don't know what to watch!

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I forget to say for "Ma Boy" that in this case this is the guy who cross dress as a girl!

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This is definitely my catnip. I love stories of unconditional love and gender-benders are a great way of showing how two people connect on a deeper level. These relationships don't start because of physical attraction but are about loving the person for who they are, not what they look like. Another reason I like these type of dramas is because the male characters behave the way they would with their male friends with the female in disguise and she gets to see a side of him/them that she wouldn't normally. The relationships are based on friendship.

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This is my brand 'o catnip as well. Jeremy on the bus remains one of the most heartbreaking scenes I've ever watched. And this is Taiwanese drama (if I remember correctly) but Bromance with Megan Lai is my favorite gender swapping drama of all. Sorry Coffee Prince. So much skinship! So many intense stares. So many kisses! So many nonsensical plots---that one may be a drawback. I've watched it over 10 times in the almost 2 years I've been a drama watcher.

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Hhaha.. this is another catnip for me. I have watched all the dramas mentioned here. I wish there's another gender bender drama.

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I do really enjoy this one when it is done well!!!

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One of mine too. I watched Empress Ki because of this. Somehow the idea of Love being unconditional is very appealing. Add to that the fact that the heroine becomes more of all that she can be, makes it powerful.

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this is definitely up there in my favorite tropes as well. i've started to notice that many of my favorite tropes are those that really just reflect parts of myself...just like @michykdrama mentions about being a tomboy. yes, it's satisfying to know that in a drama "a guy can see past the superficial and love a girl purely for who she is inside" because just maybe this is also true in reality...although i can't be sure how swoony the guy can be unless it's gong yoo or jo in sung.

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