[Dramaland Catnip] Prickly marshmallows and tsundere heroes
by Guest Beanie
When I read the catnip post for the first time, my head went completely blank. What is my catnip? I thought and I thought and I thought, and then I realized a lot of my favorites did have one thing in common: They all had one male character, lead or not, who was a typical tsundere—prickly on the outside, but hiding a marshmallow heart.
Take, for example, Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim. Han Seok-kyu’s eponymous Dr. Kim is the perfect example of the stern and sometimes inflexible man who nonetheless cares deeply about people important to him. His silent support of his protégés comes from a place deep inside that he doesn’t show to the world except when its back is turned.
Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim
The same can be said of Tunnel’s time-traveling hero, Park Kwang-ho. Probably because of the time he grew up in, Kwang-ho is firm and dependable but unused to being open about his feelings. Although he may never say the words, his single-minded dedication to getting back to his wife, as well as the care he shows toward his daughter and partner, speak volumes.
Do I know why these men are my catnip? No. I suppose when it comes to prickly puppies in love (requited or otherwise), like Geol-oh in Sungkyunkwan Scandal or Kwang Tae-ho in Gogh’s Starry Night, it’s the fact that they overcome a painful past or even just their own personality for the woman they love, and really, isn’t that why we love bad-boy love stories? Because they are willing to move past the pain or get over themselves just to be with the person they love. Maybe it becomes more poignant when the love is unrequited like Jung-hwan’s in Answer Me 1988, but only because he gets in his own way.
Maybe it’s because when characters like Ha Woo-jin in Liar Game step up to be the knight in shining armor, it means more because they’re not doing it for love or even because they want to, but because it’s just in their nature to do so. (I was already done when Woo-jin came to the heroine’s aid and called himself her “faithful dog,” but then he had to go and say “Da-jung-ah” with those giant puppy dog eyes and I was toast.) Or it could be because when I watched Hwi-young hide away his love for Soo-hyun in Chicago Typewriter for the sake of fighting for his country, his bravery and self-sacrifice made me pray and pray that he would be rewarded like he hoped.
Maybe it’s because when I see these grumpy marshmallows, I keeping thinking of that saying, “Still waters run deep.” They may hide it deep, deep, deep down, but there is so much passion and kindness and love in these men that when they do show it, you know how much that moment or person really means to them and just for that second, you wish you were that important to someone too.
- [Dramaland Catnip] Reverse harems
- [Dramaland Catnip] Noona romances
- [Dramaland Catnip] Secret identities and alter egos
- [Dramaland Catnip] Disastrous first meetings
- [Dramaland Catnip] Cohabitation shenanigans
- [Dramaland Catnip] Enemies turned lovers
- [Dramaland Catnip] Crossdressing and gender-bending romances
- [Dramaland Catnip] Opponents turned allies
- [Dramaland Catnip] Marriage before dating
- [Dramaland Catnip] Swooning for dramatic height differences
- [Dramaland Catnip] Ragtag bands of misfits
- [Dramaland Catnip] Finding satisfaction in sad love stories
- [Dramaland Catnip] The magic of bad drama magic
- [Dramaland Catnip] The stinging embarrassment of thinking someone likes you… when they don’t
- [Dramaland Catnip] When the hero falls first
- [Dramaland Catnip] The angst and thrills of dramaland’s reunited lovers
- What’s your dramaland catnip? Tell us your stories!
Tags: Theme of the Month