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[Dramaland Catnip] The angst and thrills of dramaland’s reunited lovers


Sly and Single Again

What better way to kick off our new Theme of the Month series than to celebrate one of the many reasons we find dramas so addictive (sometimes against our ideas of good taste, or our better judgment)? Hence “dramaland catnip,” which can be any story idea, trope, or element that is so immediately appealing that the attraction overrides other, possibly more objective considerations.

I’m not talking about feeling excitement for a project upon evaluating its potential merits based on the writing, directing, or production value. That’s logical. Dramaland catnip is for me more of an irrational attraction, like your id unleashed and left to run wild (and claim dominion over the remote control). The kind of idea that sparks interest so instantly that the appeal takes hold before our brains have had time to catch up to assess whether the drama sounds any good.

Maybe the drama will be good—or maybe we know in our brains that the acting will be subpar, or that the story will head for the hills… yet there’s just something about that particular trope that tugs at us and begs to be watched. To mix metaphors, perhaps its appeal is near-Pavlovian, uncontrollable, and we should just accept that we’re about to commit sixteen hours without knowing whether we’ll be cheering through it or cringing—and all because this drama happens to be about cohabitating frenemies, amnesiac chaebols, a Candy in debt to her hero, or, better yet, a hero in debt to his Candy.

Or, as in my case, reunited lovers, a trope I find reliably hard to resist (and is thus responsible for many a bad drama watched). There are several tropes that make catnip status for me, and I would probably name contract relationships as my ultimate one; however, I’ve written about those before and figured I’d spare you the repetition.


My Secret Romance

As it happens, reunited lovers is the trope that’s most on my mind these days, having just sat through one of the more underwhelming dramas I’ve completed in a while, My Secret Romance, which dragged me in with its promise of a cheery, shenanigans-laden romantic reunion. I… did not get what I wanted out of the show, but that’s the downside of being catnipped, isn’t it? I saw reunited lovers, a pining hero, and a bumbling courtship and I was suckered in for the long haul, despite having the niggling feeling that the haul would be full of stupid. (That inkling was not wrong.)

What My Secret Romance had that kept me coming back, though, was in giving the hero a major role reversal; these reunion stories necessitate passage of time between the couple’s initial meeting and their eventual love story, making them ripe for character development. In this drama’s case, hero Jin-wook transforms from snotty playboy to uptight workaholic, and the subtext is that he was driven celibate after letting The One get away. He spends three years pining for Yumi, the girl who disappeared after a one-night stand—but when they meet again, she pretends not to remember him, which drives him crazy because he’s so glad to see her but his pride refuses to let him admit it.

What ensues is Jin-wook’s determined pursuit of Yumi, which frequently devolves into childishly petty antics to gain her attention, driven by a burning desire to get her to admit she likes him, too. (She does, by the way—it’s one of the narrative safeguards in this problematic setup, where he persists despite her outward disinterest, because inwardly she is interested. It’s a point that should have been handled more thoughtfully, and is one of the drama’s many flaws.) There’s just something satisfying about a former spoiled jerk being brought to his knees by love of a woman (all the better if she’s a mousy type, as Yumi is), and watching him sweat bullets trying to win her over.


Delightful Girl Chun-hyang

This works for me because I’m a sucker for the scenario when one side is in full pursuit of the relationship and the other is in some sort of deep, plot-induced denial. This kind of relentless chase would be undesirable in real life (please let’s not actually attempt brute-force courtships), where one can never be certain of someone else’s intentions, but in dramaland where intentions are clear and true feelings confirmed, we’re lent a cover of safety.

I do cringe when heroes ignore what heroines say because they just know she means something else—even when she does mean something else—since that’s a troublesome line to cross. It’s what makes Delightful Girl Chun-hyang one of my favorite examples of the wearing-down-denial setup, because of how it effectively neuters that concern. Hero Mong-ryong and heroine Chun-hyang were in the flush of young love when a jealous interloper split them apart, and (long story short) she ran away and lived undercover for years to prevent the villain from attacking the hero. (I swear, in the drama this works. Mostly!)

So when Mong-ryong finally locates Chun-hyang years later, he’s thrilled to see her again and has investigated enough to know that something shady prompted her flight. Thus when she lies that she doesn’t love him anymore, there’s a legitimate reason for him to refuse to take her words at face value—and, well, that paves the way for a funny, determined, and confident courtship, one where we’re rooting for him to overcome her fears while also getting to enjoy how hard he has to work for it.


Uncontrollably Fond

There’s another appeal of the reunited lovers trope, in unpeeling the layers of the mystery to answer the question that maybe the characters themselves don’t even know, of why things didn’t work out the first time. I love setups like Sly and Single Again, where you join the characters post-split and are told they were previously married. The drama provides us with multiple mysteries to invest in: how they were ever in love enough to get married when they hate each other so much now, what went wrong with the marriage, and then when the backstory unravels, how they could possibly overcome the hurdle that split them apart the first time.

A similar dynamic is in play in Emergency Couple, which I’d argue was a much less successful version but did keep my curiosity piqued by tossing us hint-crumbs about what the past marriage was like through the interactions of the divorced couple in the present. If they’re so antagonistic now, how on earth did they ever marry in the first place? And in Uncontrollably Fond, it takes us a while to unravel the story of why the hero who seems so in love with his ex-girlfriend once pushed her away, and why his messages now are so mixed. Maybe this is why I don’t hate time skips as much as I otherwise might; fast-forwarding the story contributes a layer of mystery, because skipping time inevitably creates questions as to what happened in that time.

Then there are the scenarios where the past relationship isn’t a mystery, but our thrill comes in watching sparks fly at the reunion. Maybe one side is faking indifference in the interest of self-preservation, like the heroine in Fantastic who pushes away the man who’s still in love with her. Or maybe one person is hiding that their one-night stand years ago resulted in a baby, like the heroine of Only You, which was another terrible drama that I got suckered into watching because I was dying to know how the hero would find out the child was his, and thrilled at all the close calls, however badly written. (*shakes fist at Only You*) Maybe she’s pretending like she’s forgotten him—or maybe he’s actually forgotten her, like in Winter Sonata, and the question of how love will overcome amnesia is the hook keeping you on the line.


Green Rose

But by far one of my favorite reasons for a reunited couple resisting a renewed romance is because one of them is working a secret identity and can’t let on that he’s actually that same guy from before. Secret identities have enough crack factor to merit its own entry (stay tuned!), but they also have a special place in the reunited-lovers trope, because they lend the conflict such delicious angst. I mean: The couple just spent ages apart, fiiiiinally manages to be back in the same place and time together, and one of them is pretending not to be himself? How great is that?

Green Rose remains one of the most addicting cases of this for me, because it did such a fabulous job teasing us with the precariousness of the hero’s new identity: You desperately wanted him to reveal himself to the heroine he’d been so in love with, but also desperately wanted him to get his revenge, which necessitated a solid cover. She, meanwhile, became increasingly convinced that New Guy was actually Old Guy, struggling with confusion because he wouldn’t deviate from his cover. Urg! Angst! Good times.

Moreover, the dramatic irony of knowing more than one of the characters (or both of them) can be hugely satisfying, especially when dramas purposely play with our expectations in fan-servicey ways. The heroine of She Was Pretty realizes that her first love and old best friend doesn’t recognize her as an adult because she’s no longer the beautiful It girl she was in adolescence, and decides to leave him in the dark rather than disappoint him with her unattractiveness. (I’m still mad at this premise, by the way.) But the hero is hit with vague feelings of familiarity, and the drama revels in teasing us with just how long it will take him to realize that his first love is standing right next to him.


Hong Gil Dong

Hong Gil Dong takes a more comedic approach in its reunion scene, where the hero, who has been presumed dead, is finally spotted by the heroine and unable to get away in time. Wearing a flimsy disguise and shrouded in shadow, he convinces a friend to speak for him (lest his voice be recognized) and does his best with the resulting hammy speech while fighting his own emotions at seeing his love again. Hong Gil-dong, world’s most hilarious and heartbreaking ventriloquist’s dummy.

And in Joseon Gunman, after our hero is shot in front of his sweetheart and proclaimed dead, he reinvents himself and comes back with a new identity in order to take revenge (this is a popular concept, okay?)… and of course the heroine recognizes him. As in Green Rose, she’s convinced he’s the same person and tests him regularly, and it’s satisfying in a perhaps sadistic way to enjoy how much the conflict wears on him; at every turn, we see his turmoil written all over his face. (Also: Lee Jun-ki wears turmoil so well.)

I could go on and on about all the shows that employ the reunited lovers trope to dramatic effect, or why each instance is compelling, but ultimately for me this trope works because it adds layers to a romance that you don’t necessarily have in a straightforward first meeting. History, in and of itself, adds context and dimension to a scene; when used well, it serves to heighten emotion and tension in a drama. Heck, they often do that even when not used well.

I suspect this is because when dealing with catnip tropes, us addicts tend to love the trope so much that we’re always thinking of what it could be, rather than merely accepting what it currently is. Maybe we’d be better off without these irrational biases—or at least have a lot more time, freed from the clutches of bad dramas we can’t abandon—but as for me, I like to think of it as an asset to never give up on that potential even when the reality is much worse. Hope springs eternal!


Joseon Gunman

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There's something about this trope that would make you die of curiosity
about their past and how much each has changed to make it work the second time around. It also somehow gives us hope that second chances are possible only if you realize your mistakes in the first one.

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You know what other show reminded me of most of the descriptions in your list? 49 Days!

They're not exactly lovers, but they were *getting* there. And then things happened and they both had to leave. Then Kang-ah came back to SK, but he finds out his new bestfriend was gonna marry his first love... who's trying so hard to be friends with him again. So he has to pretend to be grumpy when we all know he's just staying away because his bf and crush look happy. (Also because he's a grouchy marshmallow.)

And then things happen (again!) and he falls for this "new" girl who can't tell him who she really is. Until he figures it out, because he's smart like that, and they find a way around the I-know-you-know-that-I-know-who-you-are part. So there are lots of scenes where they say one thing but we know they mean something else and they both know it means something else and everyone is just happy at least until the second to last episode.

And there's the other Yi-soo/Scheduler almost-reunited story too where we were just screaming at the screen for them to remember or see each other. Which also reminds me of the Reaper loveline in Goblin which was also one of the highlights for me.

Hahaha... I didn't know how much I liked the reunited lovers storyline until I read this post.

Can't wait to see which beanies get featured next in this section and what they're going to talk about. :D

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O Lord, I cried so hard during that drama man. Such a heartbreaker. I desperately wanted them all to be able to be together. *Tear*

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This reminds me of Fated to Love You, and the differences between the korean and taiwanese versions. In the latter, the show was great until they were reunited and then it tanked. The original was meh at first, they were such an unlikable couple and the male lead was a juvenile jackass, until they were separated and then the drama became great because he had spent their whole separation in agony, and then when they were reunited he had to basically walk over hot coals and grovel to death to win her back. It was so satisfying!

Loving the new features db.

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OOOH.

I thought I didn't have a catnip (I like sleep to much to give it up for anything. ANYTHING! (Except food)), but I realised that there IS a subset of the reunion catnip that I fall for - when the male counterpart has a son he doesn't know about (or whom he thinks its a son) and I'll just watch until I see the paternal shenanigan cuteness.

Then if the story's really bad, I go off to sleep.

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I would like to add Shark to this troupe, although its more of a revenge drama rather than romance but it's one of my favorite drama which their younger days is more delightful to watch than when they got reunited as adult.
I can also add more dramas to this type of genre like Shark, where the lead characters meet when they were young and their love blooms faster than most people and it keep blooming even when they're separated and meet again as adult.

Ps, its a little oot but my heart hurt when I see Uncontrollably Fond's picture because I keep remembering Kim Woobin's condition right now. I really wish he got well. Please got well :'(

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About the UF picture.... My heart ached a little, too. I couldn't help it.

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For me it's totally friends united as lovers..! I just cant resist that....well as for lovers getting reunited..well that takes a lot of patience. A lot

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My Secret Hotel is my go-to drama for reunited lovers. Who cares for the serial murderer faced with those two (supposingly) functionnal adults who have never gotten over their short love story ? The snippets from the past were so beautiful and heart-tugging; their relationship in the present was downright immature and hilarious! :) Not really a good drama, but I can't help to go back to it.

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I like that trope so much and i love first love trope so much too. But i only like Delightful girl Chun Hyang here. Other havent watched or didnt like much. My favs are like Stairway to heaven, Tree of heaven, The moon that embraces the sun etc...i am sure there are more. i dont remember at this moment.

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Sooo good! I do have a bunch of tropes that I love! And surely rediscovering your love is one. Except for delightful girl and she was pretty, I haven't watched any other dramas in the list above( though I have watched more than 150 kdramas).

But I love this trope so much. My love for "All about my wife" ( especially I'm Soo jung's character) bears witness to it. They were such much in love and got married. But she started "suffocating" him so much that he hired someone to make her want to divorce him. And finally when he realise what kind gem her heart is and how much she loved him! Despite me preferring the slow character developments as in dramas than movies, the premise itself is dear to my heart and so the movie too. If I am right, the movie "Dancing queen" also had a sub plot along those lines. In short, I love couples,lovers rediscovering their love for each other but I don't know if it's a catnip for me. Because I couldn't go on with sly and single again because I found it hard to proceed with LMJ's and the hero's acting in it despite that I loved her in movies.

It takes me Herculean efforts to overlook actor/actress who can't act. Many a times I have got sucked in to a drama just because of actors.. so at times I can say my catnip is more inclined to good actors than the trope itself ? Jo Jung Suk, Seon Hyun Jin, Gong hyo jin, Park bo Yong, Seo in guk, Yoon Do joon in let's eat series, Park Hyun shik in SWDBS, YAI in SS and now Chicago typewriter, Jun ji Hyun in MLFAS,Park eun bin in AoY.. well! I should stop my rambling! 😊

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Ha, it's so funny how different we all are in our tastes. I almost never care about bad acting, I care about people who are boring in their bad acting. To cite two common examples, I like Han Ga In, but I find her acting so boring. I also like Suzy, and I find her brand of bad acting really watchable, lol.

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Lee Jun Ki wears turmoil almost as well as he wears period clothing.

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Hahah! Second that! 😄

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First, can i just say that you write so beautifully Javabeans! No matter how many times I read your commentary I can't help but be amazed at how well you articulate your feelings and opinions! Always makes for a very interesting read. 😊

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I think my favorite drama which used this trope is Sly and Single Again. The back story was so good and when the big secret was revealed at the end it was absolutely heartbreaking which made the reunion all the more meaningful and bittersweet. ❤️

Also, I like it when the dynamics of the two characters​ change by the time the reunion happens. Like in Sly in Single Again, in the past Ae-Ra is the dominant one in the relationship with her outgoing personality and beauty. But when they meet again Jung Woo has the upper hand with his successful career etc. It makes everything all the more exciting!

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My favorite drama where a couple reunites after many years is Reply 1997.

Ok they were just friends before that and he liked her but she was too young to like him back, but that scene where he walks up to order coffee and then realises who he's standing next to and they look at each other.... I couldn't breathe.

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Oh man yes! I love that scene and love that couple 😍

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Oh yes!! Reply 1997 is the best couple reuniting. Technically they weren't a couple yet, but who cares.

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Oh my gooooooddddd. This moment ALWAYS manages to give me goosebumps, even upon inevitably replaying it about 50 times when reaching it. Reply 1997 really does this trope best/most satisfyingly, I think, because they both changed so much because of each other & the other was such a major object in their lives even while apart. They both longed for the other so much when they were apart, but neither would admit it!!!! Ahh!! Yeah, I think it's time for a rewatch.

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D'aaaww, I just loved Mong-ryong in courtship phase. He was the best thing ever.

Princess's Man is probably my favorite angsty 'reunited lovers' story.

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Yay, nice nod to Sly And Single Again as the post's icon! 😍😍 I loved that drama for precisely the reason that it did the reunion between the exes so deliciously well.

Would like to add the reunion of reincarnated lovers in too! I just love the idea of fate resetting time and giving lovers a second chance after having kept them apart, in a happier setting. This is done to great effect in Chicago Typewriter, where in their past life, the lovers had to choose the country over their own happiness, which they did. Arang and the Magistrate also does this a bit at the end I think. Anyway, thank you for the great article, as always, Javabeans! 😊

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The reincarnation aspect of LotB really grabbed me. I really appreciate that not only the main couple was given a second chance, but also that connections they made with friends in the past continued into the present e.g. Yoona or Nam Doo.

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OTT, seeing pic above remind me Joo Sang Wook oppa is already taken and currently is in his honeymoon.. 💔
This couple probably the next one to get honeymoon baby after Rain-Kim Tae Hee. 💜

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I always cave before a drama woth bickering couples. I just roped in no matter how much i try to resist. I also enjoy stories where protagonist comes back for revenge or has been plotting revenge for a long time. Stories with opposites attract theme are my weakness as well. It kinda belongs to bickering couple territory but i thought it was worth mentioning it.

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Can anyone recommend a good "Reunited" drama? I have a a sad list of half finished dramas where I gave up.. Though I suppose LOVE IN TROUBLE is a bit of a Reunited story and I am loving it. I also enjoyed FATED TO LOVE YOU. Tried to watch UNCONTROLLABLY FOND and found it too painful.

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Reply 1997!

I would have recommended Wild Chives and Soybean Soup and Moon/Sun if they kept the child cast but it wasn't as good without the child actors. Especially WCASS.

There's also reunited lovers in Innocent Man which is a Lee Kyung Hee drama like UF but much much better.

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Yassss! Secret identities, contract relationships and reunited couples are my favourite things in dramaland evaaar! I still can't believe I watched all of Goodbye Mr Black, even after I heard how terrible it was, but the secret identity + couple reunited trope that sucked me in (and the lead actors). What an awful drama that was! I still cringe when I think about it.

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I love the reunited lover trope especially when the lovers reunite but hide it from everyone else that they know each other. Like Sly and Single Again (which is one of my top 10 dramas).

I also love when it's characters who knew each other but weren't necessarily lovers reuniting again or were even aware they were reuniting. Like I Can Hear Your Voice (My 4th favorite drama) or Gaksital and Healer (My 1st and 2nd favorites).

Or you have the tragic reunited lovers like in the Princess' Man (My 3rd favorite). Betrayal, hurt and revenge fueled that break-up and reunion and created so much delicious angst.

I just realized all my top dramas seem to have this trope and I didn't even realize it until now!

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OMG. I didn't think of HEALER and I CAN HEAR YOUR VOICE as reunited dramas. Both favorites of mine and in my top 5. Though I CAN HEAR YOUR VOICE was just bumped from top 5 by CHIEF KIM.

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Yes both excellent dramas!

I haven't seen Chief Kim yet but have heard good things. The humor looked like it wasn't quite my thing but I think I'll still give it a try.

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i have the same shows so it helped me find my catnip!

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Why has Jae Hee mostly disappeared from dramaland :(

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Yesss,why !

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Reunited lovers.... Stairway to Heaven and Save the last Dance for me.

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Will it Snow for Christmas!

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Hope does spring eternal and Lee Jun-ki really does wear turmoil so very well. One of my favorite troupes!

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Love this trope. Have to add Delightful girl Chun Hyang to my list. kill me, heal me has a bit of it as well but just partially.

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Oh man I remember watching Boys Before Flowers, my first Kdrama, and when I got to that time skip when Jun Pyo had been away from Jan Di for a while and the last thing he told her was that he loves her, Jan Di finds him in Macau or wherever, and he totally brushes her off!!! If my innocent fangirl heart had a brain, that was the moment it first got mind-blown. I can completely sympathize with this trope being total catnip. All that aaaangst, and you have a lot of questions, and you're shouting at the screen. Drives you nuts in the best possible way.

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In last week's OT, someone asked about why we keep getting excited about dramas, even after years of watching dramas full of predictable plots and worn-out tropes. I didn't have time to answer, but I wanted to say that one of the main reasons for me is that k-dramas have basically turned me into Pavlov's dog. I used to get annoyed at the predictability (and still do if the writing feels too stale), but now I often enjoy the familiarity of many tropes, and anxiously await the emotional payoff.

For example, there was a time when I would avoid storylines involving amnesia like the plague. But as I got more hooked on the reunited-lovers trope, I found that even amnesia could be quite delicious as a trope. I enjoyed watching I Have a Lover, which uses both real amnesia and pretend amnesia, and I salivated like crazy waiting for the lovers to reunite.

And even though it's already super predictable how things will eventually turn out on Father is Strange, I don't need any surprises to keep me happy-- like a dog wagging it's tail, knowing that it's time for a walk, I eagerly anticipate watching everything I already know is going to happen because it's emotionally satisfying. (Not to mention that researchers have found that anticipating something good brings us even more pleasure than attaining it does.)

Another aspect of the Pavlovian response I have to dramas is the residual fondness that I have for actors and actresses-- I end up loving so many of them in at least one of their roles, and it takes a lot for me to stop being fond of them after that. So when I watch them in a new role, my heart is already primed to find something lovable about them again. This explains why we often hear Beanies say that although a certain drama is pretty bad, they're watching it for {insert name of beloved actor or actress}.

I could go on and on with further examples of how I'm like Pavlov's dog in relation to dramas-- but anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to see this dramaland-catnip post that's echoing what I've been thinking about this week.

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I watch almost everything now due to fondness for actors and actresses. A few things, I start because I want to be on the bandwagon if the fandom takes off (thank you DB Survey for helping me to identify that).

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I really enjoyed I Have A Lover, too! It wasn't perfect, no, and the adultery topic was a little controversial, but their chemistry was aces.

I agree. K-dramas recycle the usual tropes but I find myself comfortable with the familiarity. My favorite classic themes are probably friends-to-lovers, reunited lovers, and enemies-turned-lovers.

As for favorite actors and actresses, I think this is one of the major considerations I have when starting a drama. Even if a drama isn't that great, I can force myself to sit through it if I like the cast enough to do so. I'm probably more likely to sit through a boring drama with a good cast than a good drama with a cast I can't stand.

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My Secret Hotel
Discovery of Love

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Have a soft spot for this trope too. Sadly, it's most recent iteration - My Secret Romance - was so very disappointing :/ I am yet to watch the last two episodes...one day...

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I stopped after 4 episodes. So very not good. Sung Hoon was so deliciously good in OH MY VENUS.

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Was much,much better in Five Children.

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My limited english prevents me from participating in the submissions and the comments party, so I guess I'll just abusing the thumbs up button at beanies' comments..

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Your English is very good-- definitely good enough for you to be a regular commenter. Don't let perfectionism prevent you from joining the party!

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Friends... ~ arghhh, Won Bin... ❤v❤
Thorn Bird.
Will It Snow for Christmas.
Love Letter.

Those come to mind when I read the title. The story is heart twistingly memorable. It's angsty but can't stop watching and weeping too... ^^

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im a sucker of romantic reconciliation kdramas & i wanted to submit an entry on this too but since it's done, i shall not repeat! 😄

Discovery of Love is one of my favourite, along with Emergency Couple, I Need Romance 2012, Paradise Ranch & more!

im aware that Paradise Ranch was rather unknown but im curious who else watched it besides me LOL

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Oh me!!! I don't know which was worse, Paradise Ranch or My Secret Romance. Both were bad... yet, I did watch PR at least 3 times and I can't say I didn't enjoy parts of it very much. :) I'm a sucker for these!

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glad to know that im not the only one who watched Paradise Ranch! haha! i paused My Secret Romance after 3 or 4 episodes due to the overwhleming of ongoing dramas. hope i can get back to it soon! but im quite sure i will prefer PR to MSR. i have rewatched PR at least 3 times as well LOL *hi-5*

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Discovery of Love

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"Lee Jun Ki wears turmoil so well" - I second that!! I can't wait for his Korean Criminal Minds. I haven't watched the U.S. version of it but so many people like it.

Does Green Rose have a happy ending? Is it a lot of tears?

Are we talking only about reunited lovers here? Or about what our catnip is? My favorite genre is murder mysteries, especially the ones where the characters have an on-going story; not just procedures.

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What was that drama with the divorced doctors with Song Ji Hyo in it?

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Emergency couple!

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If we are talking about 'reunited lovers', then, oh man, I have so many lol My first ever would have to be the age-old "Winter Sonata" (Oh gosh, that was 15 years ago???), but that was before I knew any better and just sunk my teeth into any K-drama that I could get my hands on (amnesia and faux-cest and everything else included) 😂
But for something more recent, yes, my 'reunited lovers' catnip would have to be "My Secret Romance" 😂 I loved everything about it, even though it was as predictable as night and day XD It also helped that I couldn't help but to root and cheer for the Yoo Mi that Song Ji Jun interpreted and brought to life (who knew THAT was the reason for her having such a sweet [*RE: insecure*] and mousy personality?) and the Cha Jin Wook that Sung Soon (😍😍😍😍😍😍) interpreted and brought to life just proves that chivalry isn't dead, and also that the guy also needs to work for his love (the girl doesn't always need to be the one doing the pining); Another thing I appreciated about Sung Hoon's interpretation of the pining male lead finally reunited with The One That Got Away But Came Back is that he never pushed or forced her into anythings, in terms of her emotions. Sure, he forced her to cook for him and tried to win her over with proximity (lol "breakfast") but he never tried to influence how he thought she should be feeling towards him, but at the same time, he was always very open and vocal about how he felt about her <3

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My catnip is a drama basically hung on the bones of the Pride and Prejudice story. Two strong personalities meet, clash when the man acts like a butt, the girl thinks wow what a JERK and then we're off to the races. They each learn a lot about themselves and the other in the process and he bears the brunt of the self-correction (of course! I'm a girl, duh!). My favorites here are Kim Sam Soon and Secret Garden. Hyun Bin also qualifies as major catnip for me 😉

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From this list, Single and Sly Again is definitely my favourite. It was such an enjoyable drama and I crack up every time I remember Joo Sang-wook telling Lee Min-jung he was diagnosed with Plastic Flower.

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I forgot about Joseon Gunman... This post is a great reminder of all the dramas I don't recall much. Now I want to go back and watch them.

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I have been so missing javabeans and girlfriday's recaps!

But if we are gonna get such brilliant write ups on varied topics, I am gonna count myself lucky for now!! I am really looking forward to this series!

I really hope a show captures both their attention soon!

Seriously though, what was the last drama they recapped?!

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Girlfriday is currently recapping Seven Day Queen...

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Also for consideration is Orange Marmalade with the vampires and stuff...

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Where's the "thumbs-up/like" button for Dramabeans posts???

I love both this newest monthly theme AND this latest JB post...so well-written, and a great example to emulate come time I try to write my own!

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This is my kind of post. I love this type of story. My favorites are Sly & Single, The moon embraces the sun and Love of the Game.
Sly & Single is the one that I related to the most. I loved how they had a “normal” dating life and then married. They were married a few years before divorcing due to circumstance and misconnection. I always felt they loved each other still. Their issues were issues that many young married couples face. Even when he was CEO after meeting again, as immature and a jerk he was, it was clear he was very hurt and still loved her so. LOL – both times in marriage & dating, she was still the dominant one. LOL He totally lets her too.
TMETS was great cause I really can’t pass up undying first love and of course with KSH and a royal background – it doesn’t hurt to have that kind of setting. Love of the Game is absolutely one of my favorites. It has a few tropes in there. Revenge, amnesia, kid and “love despite all…” mentality and of course JJM and LBY. I’ve had to have seen it sooo many times over the last decade or so.
I thought Only You was ok but as JB said, it’s terrible. My favorite part of UF was when he confessed to her on stage. I could replay that scene forever… it’s so moving for dramaland.

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haha, I'm a sucker for that kind of one-sided pursuit too, because the moment when they manage to break resistance and the other cracks is all the more SATISFYING.

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I love Delightful Girl Choon Hyang to the stars and beyond, but the leads being separated (and, of course, by extension, the causes of their separation) were SO, so frustrating. It's one of my favourite dramas ever, but it sure had a lot of crying (a lot of it being done by me) for something marketed as a rom-com.

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If you watch Chinese Dramas - My Sunshine is for me the best reunited lovers story, especially since it's first love.. Also - Wallace Chung <3 <3 ^^

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Definitely!

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I love reunited lovers! My favorite, hands down, are "Discovery of Romance" and "Princess's Man". I absolutely loved the familiar bickering in Discovery which showed how much history they shared and how well they knew each other and how much they were both hurting without even realizing it! So.much.angst! It was perfect!

Same with Princess's Man where the reunion is tinged with misunderstandings and shared pain, that it adds a depth to their relationship which was otherwise missing when they were young and in love. It makes the reveals so much more dramatic and laced with meaning (and totally worth the wait) once we get past all the betrayal induced angst! Love it!!

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Paradise Ranch has such a soft spot in my heart for this trope!

Also, even though he said otherwise, I felt like in My Secret Romance, he was changed after the one night stand because she humiliated him and hurt his pride, which was something completely new to Jin Wook. This made him infatuated with Yoo Mi, who he was always interested in romantically, which then led him to fall in love. As far as her being "The One that got away," I didn't feel like it was love at first night. See what I did there? Sorry guys.

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I did not know a catnip until you told this one. It can be such a sucker as it was in Only You. Did not feel it was so bad; just kept going back at it. it must be the earnestness of the pursuit and the JHJ . Now i wish they can remake this one like 1% of Anything and have you DB as consultant on how it could be better. I can imagine Park Hyun Sik on it.

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I didn't even recognize the reunited lovers trope in Ruler: Master of the Mask until I read this right after watching episode 16 and the (SPOILER) semi-reveal which anticipates the BIG reveal to come. Oh the angst!

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My dramaland catnip?

Do I have one? I may. But one particular trait in a character which always manages to hook me from the start and almost guarantees I'll finish the drama -- and idk if it qualifies as genuine 100% catnip -- is when a character (man/woman) falls in love at first sight and doesn't deny it, at least with themselves. Love at first sight is the most absurd irrational feeling/(occurrence?) so when a character realizes and embraces it, its the most empowering thing to watch ever. That one main character who is honest and sincere from the beginning wins my heart and I can root for them till the end. Bonus points if its a girl. Examples of this include the current Suspicious Partner, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, Boys Over Flowers, Master's Sun, Greatest Love, W-Worlds, High End Crush, One Sunny Day (latter two are webseries). Yupp. I think some of these may not qualify as love at first sight dramas but whatever; I said it wasnt 100% catnip.

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Ohh and then theres the work of a select few oppas and unnie's I would never miss out on. The fact that I would sit through hours of tortorous dramas/movies I just don't care about only to follow his/her work (usually his) should qualify this as catnip.

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Yes yes, there are a few oppas I will always watch regardless of what genre or role he is acting in just because it is him.

Lee Min Ho, Kim Soo Hyun (especially when he is in sageuk' dramas). Park Hyung Sik. And recently Yoo Seung Ho because of Ruler: Master of the Mask. They're definitely my catnips :p

On a side note, coming from a Chinese background, I watched a lot of HK-TVB and Taiwanese dramas growing up. My least favourite genre was any historical-costume drama. However, this is opposite for K-dramas. I love sageuk dramas! (I also love dramas about best friends turning into lovers -- Fight for my Way is currently my cup of tea ~

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Lol @ the first part of your response, soo true and similar to me. I've followed aallll of Kim soo hyun, park hyung shik, seo in guk, and lee jong suk. There were others whom I tried to follow and then gave up on, but these few I believe I exhausted 97-100% of their work. Crazy fangirl binges...its sometimes pretty pathetic looking back. But I'm still glad I do it.

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Yup, crazy fangirl indeed :) I've tried to limit my favourite actors to only the 4 of them, otherwise my list of dramas to watch will be forever endless, as if it's not already long enough.

Surprisingly.. I don't really have a favourite actress tho..

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Lol me too! I tried limiting my men hahaa. I totally forgot to mention actresses. I absolutely looove jun ji hyun, park bo young, gong hyo jin, and nam ji hyun. I tried following most of their work, but couldnt dedicate. But my love for them remains 😊. I'd follow any new thing they'd appear in though.

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