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[In Defense Of] The Truck of Doom


The Lonely Shining Goblin

By @Cloggie

That I made it to ajumma age without knowingly encountering the Truck of Doom in a TV drama now seems almost as hard to believe as a good-looking rich guy making it to his late twenties without ever having been kissed. Truck of Doom featured briefly in my maiden K-drama, but it became a thing with the second one I watched, where the main character dies from being hit by a truck whilst in a phone box.

This was a time-skip drama, and the Truck actually got to kill the guy over and over again, cementing the awful image in my mind. From here on in, I was worried whenever I saw anybody on a pedestrian crossing and a truck nearby, in pretty much the same way that after your first breakup, you become worried whenever someone says, “We need to talk.”

It made me wonder what it was about K-dramas that made the Truck of Doom so ubiquitous, to the point where I now shout, “Truck-o’-doom!” out loud at the screen (only when by myself) and burst out laughing whenever I see it. Clearly drama writers must be aware of this, so why still use it? I think I’ve found the answer and want to argue that it’s not the poor writers’ fault.

I want to present to the readers the following thought experiment. Let’s imagine that a writer is working on a slice-of-life workplace drama in a cosmetics firm (for the PPL), where the life of a group of employees is changed forever with the death of their old CEO. The CEO worked so hard that he dies of a heart-attack at his desk, even though his wife had been telling him to take it easy. In his final moments, he puts his hand on the nameplate on his desk, implying that he’d been willing to put his life on the line for the company but also that this was everything he cared about. The writer is secretly quite proud of this scene.


Shut Up: Flower Boy Band

Then she gets a call from the producer. Great news: they finished casting and the role of the CEO is a perfect bit part for an idol who wants to get into acting. It’s a small but noticeable part, just right for this guy who’s careful about his acting career. The problem is, he’s 22 but can pass for 25. That shouldn’t be a problem, right? He comes with extra PPL sponsorship and it will get their ratings up.

Well, the writer dearly loves the heart-attack scene with the symbolism. She knows that the most common reason for heart-attacks among healthy males in their mid-twenties is… the use of drugs. This could work. Our CEO cares so much about the company that he snorts drugs to stay awake and fuel his confidence. His total drive is the reason why he made it to CEO at such a young age. But to nobody’s surprise, this gets vetoed by the idol’s management.


Beautiful Gong Shim

Now what? The writer could have the CEO get murdered but that would have major repercussions for the rest of the drama and require an almost complete rewrite. This death needs to be from natural causes or… an accident? What kind of lethal accident could you have in a cosmetics firm? He could fall down the stairs right into a vat of boiling wax. Or drown in perfume. Or develop a serious allergy to cosmetics preservatives and die of anaphylactic shock. As the ideas get ever more outlandish and borderline comedic, having the CEO be hit by a delivery truck seems almost… sensible? Inevitable.

This shows, I hope, that the issue isn’t the Truck of Doom. Truck is only a symptom of a deeper cause: the casting of actors who are too young for their roles on top of the creation of characters who are too young for the jobs they do.

However much we might love watching these actors onscreen, it causes huge problems for writers. When the most common causes of death in healthy men between 20 and 30 are suicide, drug abuse, violent crime, and traffic accidents, it’s no surprise that traffic accidents are used in K-dramas over and over again. If the characters had been older—one could argue the appropriate age for their job—there would be many more choices open to a writer and I think we should see the Truck of Doom less.


This is suicide! Or a one-way ticket to Joseon (Live Up to Your Name)

We do see writers who try to do different things. Who, for example, try to address a problematic drinking culture by carefully setting up a drunk-driving accident. A surgeon goes for company drinks, still gets behind the wheel of his car, picks up his girlfriend—who feels guilty about kissing another man—and crashes his car into a wall. Oh no, sorry, my mistake—they get hit by a truck.

Anyway, what I have noticed is that writers are starting to use traffic accidents now almost knowingly, pre-empting the audience’s reaction. This is causing another problem, however—it makes me laugh even harder.

Maybe we should just accept that the good old Truck of Doom is still the best way to go.

I rest my case.


A crash with a fire engine, a police car, an ambulance, and a taxi? Now you’re just being silly.

 
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Can't believe someone actually wrote a defense of Truck of Doom! I thought you guys were just joking in that thread!

Great defense though @cloggie! :)

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I never thought this day would come.

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Well, it started off as just joking and then I spent so much time thinking about it I decided to write it up - just to get it out of my head.

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I LOVE it and it is a perfectly sensible explanation, for the frequency of the TOD showing up. We can't have our hot chabeols and CEO's dying an unsexy death like anaphylactic shock or worse: clumsiness! The imagery is just better when they are mauled by the TOD. Quick and shocking.

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Live fast, die young.

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Hahaha... great that you wrote it! :)

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This is so funny, I laughed so hard but I definitely see your point

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when this theme was launched.. this is the precise contender for defense i was looking for.. i knew it someone would do the big honors! :) .. likey likey

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omg, I knew someone would do it!

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I know I'll love this just by the title but after I read it, I really love it xD
Didn't think it'll talk about how to make a believable death for a character not suited (age wise) for the role xD
Reminded me of King od Dramas. Oh the PPL, we must make this person do this and that! we must make it somehow believable as well! xD
good piece @cloggie 😊

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This was awesome and makes so much sense 😄

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This was SO fun to read! 😂 Great post!

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I saw the title and the picture—great pick by the way—pop up on my Twitter feed and I actually laughed out loud. I applaud you. 👏👏👏

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hahahaha....this one is funny and unique LOL.

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What a fun write up! I just resort to getting a good laugh or rolling my eyes at the TOD lol. Although most of the recent TOD scenes I've seen lately are just close calls...the ones where the guy swoops in at the last moment to save the girl! 😂 But sidewalks do make me nervous, especially when otp crosses them to meet up. Those get me all nervous thinking "it's coming!! TOD!!"

Funny sidenote: JBL viewers recently coined the Truck of Doom's Redemption in the show. Re: how it made it's cameo without the intention to write off a character!

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And ToD's cameo is also still going strong in INAR, it even got an extra scene by breaking down in the snow and getting fixed!

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TOD trying a new role as cupid in a romcom! Break down so no one can mess up by buddy trope, locked in together for a night. LITFON trope is of course much more popular than TOD, so TOD'S agent is trying to get them cast in sequential scenes.

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I especially liked it in the defendant. It became even more, there was a truck of redemption for the usual TOD and it got its own scene at the end. Loved it!

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I've been meaning to watch Defendant. Now it's gone right to the top of my To-Be-Watched list. ToD redemption, I've got to see that

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This was a very well written defense, and I enjoyed reading it! I have always had a soft spot for Truck of Doom as a well-worn element to be added to any drama. It was almost like the common thread through all genres, and that made me appreciate it more. But others rarely understand that argument, so I suspect I may borrow the logic of the poor writers who cannot justify death at a young age.

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Wow, this is great and the type over thinking I can get behind.

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padam padam's truck of doom was horrible and gave me many a nightmare.

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Just don't get in the phonebox!!! But yes, that one was bad.

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I was laughing until I got to the screenshot of Byung-hee. I'M STILL NOT OVER IT, OKAY.

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None of us are! OH. DEAR. GOD. WHYYYYYY?????

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Haha, this started as a joke but it is actually good! Congrats @cloggie Lots of people do die in traffic accidents, which is nothing to laugh about. But it had never occurred to me that dramas usually make young healthy characters exit the stage that way because it is efficient and, compared to other options, 'clean'.

However, there is one Truck of Doom I will never forgive and that is in Shut Up Flower Boy Band *sob* SPOILER ALERT: Or perhaps, to be the devil's advocate, it was actually done right because we didn't see ToD coming either (it was not a case of that slo-mo of impending doom). Nevertheless, in my personal heart of hearts any way of killing off my favourite character was unforgivable. 💔

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I think that's why I'm still traumatized, years later. SUFBB was one of the earlier dramas I saw, before I knew about the TOD, and I was completely blindsided. I still remember shrieking out loud when it happened, then crying for quite a while.

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I remember clicking the next episode immediately after it ended because I thought it was going to be a dream or in their imagination or...something. I was floored when it was real.

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Ehehehe - I didn't see it until your pointer. Many thanks!

@cloggie - this is great! A much, much better defence than any I'd ever thought of. You make such a good point, it's entirely possible that this is one of the safest/least controversial ways to kill a character being played by a young idol/actor whose company objects to any 'dirt' being associated with his/her name.

Also, which is the telephone booth drama? I thought of Nine, but that's a car not ToD.

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It's Padam Padam. As @Min also recognised (I'm glad I'm not the only one who was traumatised by that)

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In Padam Padam, it was mentioned that miracles come in three. But boy oh boy, I wouldn't want to be forced to repeat traumatic experiences over and over again until I finally understood what each one was trying to show and teach me.

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Hmm, seems like this is one show that I can scratch off my to-watch list.

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I think I'm right in saying that the main character in Padam Padam dies more often than Kim Nam-Gil in LUTYN, and the writer had to make him die 8 or 9 times.

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@cloggie - LOL only in Kdramas. ^^ Hahahahaha how can that even be?

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@greenfields, LUTYN is 'time travel by death' and they have to go back and forth a few times - but it's really good and only one of the deaths involved uri Truck

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@wishfultoki

Padam Padam is one of my favorite dramas, but I won't lie to you. There is a lot of pain and suffering, with some of that dreaded noble idiocy in the mix. I think that the performances (especially of Jung Woo-sung and Na Moon-Hee) help to lessen the blow. The acting is very moving. All that being said, I wouldn't blame you for staying away. Still, you could always take a risk and give it a try.
:)

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@wishfultoki,

I was nuts enough to check out SHUT UP FLOWER BOY BAND while watching BECAUSE THIS LIFE IS OUR FIRST -- the first show I'd seen Lee Min-ki in. Damn, that was depressing. But you're right. We didn't see the TOD coming, which is infinitely better than Inescapable, Impending Death On Wheels.

I've slipped my clutch when it comes to recalling which show had a pas de deux by two Trucks Of Doom. The target made it halfway across the road and evaded the first truck, only to cross the center line and get cut down by the second. Holy Whiplash, Batman! I never saw it coming.

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I hope you continued watching SUFBB because it's a really good show. In defence of Inescapable, Impending Death on Wheels... speaking as someone who was hit by a bus (I was in a car btw) you do feel like it is coming to you in slo-mo. But Byung-Hee didn't see ToD driving at lightning speed, so the angle of filming was correct (front, not side). It allowed his friends and us to see his smiling face one last time, to see him alive and happy rather than about to die *sob*

Wow, two ToDs! Something for Name that Drama? I think Gong Shim had two close encounters with ToD (or its relative Car of Doom) but Ahn Dan Tae was there to save her (as shown in the pic above).

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I know there was a Taiwanese drama where that happened, I think it was Sweet Relationship. Don't know if that is what you were thinking of.

In Gong Shim, I kept freaking out every time a character was near a road at all after the close calls. I kept thinking someone was going to die or almost die that way!

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@alynsilver,

Thanks for your suggestion. It was ANGEL EYES.

As for dawdling in the crosswalk, I freaked out in a similar fashion during an episode of LEGEND OF THE BLUE SEA. I was sure that a TOD was going to come roaring up to score triple or quadruple points for the ninnies who were practically begging to be run over in one episode. One of said ninnies was LMH's long-lost mom.

And Shin Min-ah had a couple of close calls that were repeated over and over during TOMORROW WITH YOU that drove me bonkers.

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@pakalanapikake LOL I remember that scene in Lobster! LMH was wearing a pink coat I think (I only remember because the scene freaked me out for no reason). I was so sure that ToD would roar by and trample his slow-moving mom. Poor innocent ToD.

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@wishfultoki,

@liquidsoap mentioned ANGEL EYES (below), and I realized that that was the drama. And it was mixed doubles -- a TOD and a Car of Doom.

I'll eventually get back to SUFBB because I've heard so much about the music.

About that slow-motion view of impending accidents: When I was a kid, I was riding in the car and happened to see a car hit one of the old-fashioned cast concrete lamp posts on a road in Massachusetts. As the thing keeled over, it seemed to fall in slow motion. It was the darnedest thing.

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Late reply, but when I was in high school lightning struck like maybe one foot in front of me. It seemed to strike in slow motion, and I remember thinking super slowly "oh crap" and slowly raising my hands to cover my ears. After my ears were covered, I heard the thunderclap and everything went back to normal time. It was the weirdest thing but I guess our brain can do odd things.

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@ Alyn February 6, 2018 at 6:30 PM

Holy crap! How many guardian angels did you send into early retirement?

Were you okay after that? Could you smell ozone?

Did the lightning strike the ground, or something else?

You must have been facing the point of discharge squarely because you didn't get fried. If you had been oriented 90-degrees to it (with your side facing the point of discharge), the distance between your feet could have formed enough of a gradient to electrocute you, IIRC. The juice enters through the near foot and exits out the far foot -- stopping your heart in the process. One of the few things I remember learning in physics class. It made quite an impression.

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Great defense! If I were the judge I'd probably say 'Not guilty' BUT SUFBB's ToD is something I cannot forget. Byung-Heeeee T_T

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A fun read ! I can accept your argument. :D

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Great defence @cloggie. From one ajumma to another, let's just say I first watched the Truck of Doom when it starred alongside Song Seung-heon and Song Hye Kyo (ooh and Won Bin). Emotional and psychological scarring, never could bring myself to watch those scenes again. Still get freaked out when some truck or bus screeches to a halt at the traffic junction.

But I think it's been so overused that I'm starting to blank out those Truck of Doom scenes -- did that for Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim (hi-five ajumma style) and Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho. Until Eun Tak's death scene in Goblin, that just brought back all the eww..

Still, I believe your defence will help my psyche heal. Thanks!

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Oh I was waiting for this one! But did you really have to remind me of SUFBB's Truck of Doom? Not Okay.

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Truck of doom thanks you for appreciating his efforts in ensuring plot movement.

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You just made my day @cloggie. This is such a fun read and the kind of reasoning I can get behind. Maybe we really should just enjoy ToD and be grateful the writers didn't make it even more outlandish than it is.

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I almost spewed my tea on the computer screen when I read the title of this post, so knew I had to read it.

I didn't really realize the TOD was used so much until Dramabeans did the trope post series. After that, I started to get nervous whenever there was a pedestrian scene in anticipation of a TOD incident. After the first TOD in Black, I decided to read the recaps first. That show seemed to have a running tally going.

Good post! Thank you for sharing @cloggie.

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Logged in just to support the spewing of tea. I know, I know, we probably shouldn't be laughing about ToDs but when she analyses it like this, can you blame us?

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Reading the title was enough to make me giggle. Great article, made me remember the one single time a Truck of Doom made me cry.

There's this scene in Angel Eyes where a person avoids a White Truck of Doom only to be run over by a car seconds later. It made laugh SO HARD my mother, who was watching and enjoying said drama, didn't want to talk to me for the rest of the day. I was legit laughing for 5 minutes straight. I'm a horrible person.

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@liquidsoap,

Thank you! I was trying to remember which show had two Vehicles of Doom. I watched ANGEL EYES a year or so ago. That had to be it.

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I haven't watched Angel Eyes, but even just your description of the accident made me laugh.

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I also laughed. Angel Eyes was so painfully overwrought that I began watching it as satire.

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I laughed and snorted, that was so funny.

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The Truck of Doom has gotten to the point where it is just ridiculously funny. It's not dramatic anymore and has absolutely no impact. Anytime a character is by a crosswalk or even the road I expect them to get hit at this point and just roll my eyes when they do.

I bet production companies have a pre-rendered 'person hit by a truck' CG they can just copy and paste into dramas at this point.

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or... maybe they go to the crossroad at thursday night on full moon knowing from urban legends the truck will make its´appearence. first they pour some soju on the ground, turn around three times, clap their hands once and then hop!behind the camera to wait for the perfect shot.

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I'm watching Who Are You this weekend and there are two trucks of doom in the first half. It's ridiculous. Just because one of them is a car doesn't make it any better. It's just one way in which this show is hilariously bad.

This is why I was convinced the Lee Min Ho's mother was going to be mown down in the crossing scene in Legend of the Blue Sea.

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I remember watching LOTBS on viki and everyone losing their mind in the comments :D I love this cliche because it's something every kdrama fan knows and dreads.

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In LEGEND OF THE BLUE SEA I was just waiting for LMH's long-lost mom to become permanently two-dimensional. I think PD-Nim was purposely torturing us. ;-)

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@TrinPie January 18, 2018 at 9:25 AM

ROFLMAO!!! I love it!

Virtual Roadkill.

No muss, no fuss, no bother!

And it won't attract roving zombies, stray pets that could become flattened fauna, or hungry bears.

Instead of calling 119, you just recycle the bytes.

What will they think of next?!

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actually sudden cardiac arrest and stroke cases are increasing. Because people just don´t sleep. average sleep hours in my region are around 5 and a half. they start their own company and work nonstop. it is more dangerous than it seems, because it causes iron deficiency and low oxygen levels in the brain. the body cannot renew the blood cells if you dont sleep especially with young people, high metabolism, 3 sleepless nights in row while working can be lethal. I bet it is similar for SK. but not exactly heart attack, more like shock /arrest. but also, of course, low oxygen levels, fatigue from anemia can cause carelessness, low concentration and unclear vision, so truck of doom is possible, too. Rather, a bus of doom though, because on normal city streets there are no trucks, they have spearate roads around the city.
if only characters (and people!) slept more, we could avoid so many accidents. (why are they even outside at night? go to bed!) not to mention driving accidents with sleepy drivers (it has raised to 20% of accidents for us! crazy! Like, what the hell are you doing, Truck Driver? You can kill a person if you´re up and working 24/7!!!!

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reading this at my 2nd sleepless night in a row was an adventure lol

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Where do you live, @redfox? Sounds like somewhere in US or UK?
I used to stay awake until late because if procrastination, reviewing some material for a final in the uni, reading books or -I must acknowledge- binging a K-drama. But lately, I can't do it anymore. Even if I go to bed past 11pm, I am tired the next day.
Whenever I have had the need to work until midnight, I am then destroyed the next day, because I finally sleep around 1am, after I have come home, have had shower and you know, the night routine, cleansing my face, brushing my teeth, chatting with relatives in the south, where is still early, ect.
So, you are much right, we all should learn to sleep more and achieve a deep sleep, which is the only one helping us really to repair the cells.
I will take even more care of it.

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She's in Estonia.

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it is true, I often stay up late, because I have to take care of granny, then come home, shower, wash clothes etc. but I have limited it so that I never get less than 6 and a half hours sleep. I do sleep rather soundly.

What else keeps people awake and distracted is the internet and their phones. they say the light of the smartphone screen is the kind of blue that makes people anxious and unable to sleep. the screen should be dimmed or looking at the phone 1h before sleep avoided. it also reduces our ability to concentrate and make decisions fast. no wonder drama characters just freeze and star when they see a truck coming toward them, when the last thing they did was look at their phones. Drama characters need a phone diet, then maybe the Death By Truck rate will decrease.

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LOL!!!!!!!!!!! Poor drama characters!
But it is true. This blue light affects our nervous system. And even after we go to bed and turn off all lights, after we have fallen asleep, even though our nervous system is still affected for the day.
You are right. Half an hour or an hour before going to sleep, we should not do computer stuffs or cellphones. Is it even possible? For me is very tough, i must recognize i am a little bit addicted to my smartphone. But the more we talk about it, the more i remember and I will try harder. Oh, by the way: I am 4 hours away by plane. I live in Germany.

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heh, good to know!

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We are in the same hour, for sure. Sometimes we can be the first to comment LOL 😂😂😂😂

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👍

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*spoilers for SUFFBB ahead*
To be honest, this is why I have no problem with Byung Hee dying in Shut Up: Flower Boy Band.
First of all, he was a cameo. So he has to get out somehow.
And what better way to do that, when he's a eccentric bad boy rocker, than to have him die and use his death as a catalyst for the rest of the drama? Usually I would get annoyed at a death for plot driving purposes and no other reason, but when you're a cameo, you don't really have much other choice. Also I felt like the death catalyst was handle very well and realistically considering the story and the characters involved.
Of course, I knew Min Ki was a cameo and that he died before finished episode 2, so I did have a heads up which certainly helped said Obligatory Truck of Doom, and my subsequent flinch.

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I... was under the impression that Lee Min Ki is a central characters in SUFFB. What with his famous guyliner and all. LOL. Imagine my surprise on reading 1. This post and then 2. Your post. How sad.

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I hope we're not spoiling it for you if you haven't seen it... I didn't know he was a cameo when I watched it. Maybe that's why it shocked me so much. Cameos are usually fleeting, but he was there for 2 whole episodes! His presence (and his guyliner), and the memory of him afterwards are central to the drama imho.

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I haven't seen it, but I don't intend to - and so these kinds of spoilers are completely okay. 'How sad' was for Lee Min Ki's character dying so early. I can only imagine the shock.

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You're not intending to?? Because the premise doesn't interest you or because you don't want to see him die? or?

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@sicarius - Sadly, its the premise. I've had enough of these stories from my younger days when I was more into manga, manhwa and J-doramas. The nearly 28 year old greenfields watches very few high school dramas. The less stereotypical 'teenage angst', the better.

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Ah well, fair enough, and ofc, I can't make you watch it hahaha
Although I want to say it has less stereotypical teenage angst than your typical high school drama, and that it's focus is actually on other things, and that it's very poignant... ;)

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Lucky you! I have no idea that Min Ki is just a cameo. That very unromantic scene between him and ToD kills my mood to continue watching the drama. Oh, how i wish SUFBB is a time-traveller one so that Min Ki can wake up in his neat apartment only to find there is a cat, and, of course, a new tenant.

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You should still watch SUFBB!!! The other guys are amazing. It gave me a new appreciation of Sung Joon. And I actually said something similar to you on my fan page while BTLIOF was on. LOL. http://www.dramabeans.com/members/ally-le/activity/296342/#acomment-296411

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Honestly, I know so many people who dropped it because of his death, but like Ally, I say you should still watch it.
I ended up loving Sung Joon's character a lot afterwards, and I thought the rest of the show was just as strong as the first two episodes.

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Based on how confident both of you in defense of Sung Joon and the drama… I've finally come to a decision. The case will be reopened :)

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Kekeke marvelous

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Apparently, I am the odd one out when it comes to the SUFBB TOD...
Well then...

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You're not alone, @sicarius! I purposely watched the first two episodes of SHUT UP FLOWER BOY BAND during BTLIOF to get a gander at LMK in a different role. It made a lot of sense to get him out of the picture that way.

What bothered me the most about Byung-hee's demise was that TOD was just an innocent passerby who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I can't help but wonder if the rocker would have survived the beating. He could well have been a dead man walking after that fight. But no one would think to question whether there might have been an earlier mortal injury after someone's been hit by a truck. I haven't seen the rest of the show, so don't know if any of that is addressed. One of these days I may get around to it. ;-)

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*yay* Just reading these comments, seems a lot of people still find it hard... although I'm generally more ok with character death than most people I guess.
I would highly recommend the rest of the show, although I know it wasn't some people's cup of tea, I really enjoyed it, and it remains one of my favourites.
*tries to wrack her brains to see if the beating was addressed later on* I think? it was? It's been a while so I can't remember... oops.

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At the time when I watched SUFBB, I didn't know who LMK is/was, so it really didn't bother me that he died so early. The show alone was great with or without him. Sung Joon pulled through...even though some of his projects later was not so good. One of the best things about the show was the OST! I loved it and still do. Once in awhile, I'll go on to YT to pull up my favorites to listen to.

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Yes! I agree.
Also, I do actually think Sung Joon is a good actor, however he just seems to pick not so good dramas sometimes. Which doesn't actually make him less good, cos sometimes he is the only good thing in those dramas, but yes.
The OST is great. Love me some rock music.

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No, I thought it was done well, although I knew it was coming.

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Oh yay! That makes three of us!

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Me too!

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I did a double take at the title before I clicked on the post. Thanks for the fun read!

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Was laughing so much, oh the poor, poor writer... Thanks for a great read!

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I woke up this morning to Red Notification Bell showing ridicilously high numbers and... my ToD defense up here! Thanks so much Dramabeans for posting it. That's made my day. What am I saying? It's made my month.

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that was awesome! you should be VERY proud. it made me laugh so much !

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A nice piece of work @cloggie Thanks for sending it in and entertaining us all. :)

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ToD is of my favorite tropes.

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awesome @cloggie, what an interesting way to look at our favorite way to get rid of someone in KDramas and how we take it as normal already.

It is so engrained in me that I will not step into the road when I see a white truck approaching whenever I visit Korea. :)

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It's not just white Trucks of Doom. I've seen blue ones -- and even an orange one. Plus the Dump Truck of Doom that dwarfs its petite little delivery cousin. ;-)

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Thanks for the post @cloggie but the TOD is getting sort of should I say mordenized, e.g in my golden life, the TOD was the key factor in changing Do kyung's life hence moving the plot forward.....

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Thanks for your impassioned defense of Truck of Doom, @cloggie!

As someone who viewed only sageuks at the start of her Kdrama-watching career, I was mystified by references to TOD. Like PPL, it is a character without a role in the hack-and-slash sagas I love to watch. But we do occasionally see TOD's real-life antecedent. In MOON LOVERS, Prince So aboard his Horse of Doom nearly ran down Hae-su in the street. When I recently watched DAMO, a little kid nearly got run down by a Horse of Doom. Did a little kid actually get run down in SIX FLYING DRAGONS? Those are the only instances that come to mind.

Forget about Oxcart of Doom. It moves too slowly to kill anyone. Its main function seems to be transporting criminals to the execution ground. Ox of Doom has also been the favored purveyor of death by dismemberment, although I once saw a couple of horses in that role (in PORTRAIT OF A BEAUTY, I think).

Because Beanies still bring up Beans Of Wisdom, here's a blast from the past. Scroll down to the comment by nchoe on REBEL: THIEF WHO STOLE THE PEOPLE, episode 6:

http://www.dramabeans.com/2017/02/beans-of-wisdom-from-the-future/

As for automotive mayhem, Cloggie's analysis is right on the money. What better way to ensure that a cameo stays a cameo? When the real-life mortality and morbidity statistics for young, healthy males involve unseemly causes such as drug overdoses and violent crime that no idol would want to be associated with, death by motor vehicle mishap is much more appetizing, and also has that nice aroma of random-yet-fated destiny. Staggering around drunk is a good way to get yourself killed, it's just a matter of when and where -- and who the poor sucker behind the wheel is. Toss in a birth secret, and you get a long-lost relative sending the deceased to the Happy Hunting Ground.

But even then, as MAN TO MAN taught us, getting hit by a TOD is not a sure-fire way to terminate a character.

You know, it just hit me that there may be a class of surreptitious PPL that I'd never considered before. I've recently seen so many funerals and visits to ashes that I can't help but wonder if some of the scenes at crematoria, cemeteries, and columbaria might not be very low-key spots for said institutions. Yikes. The mind boggles.

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There are so many ways to die in a sageuk that the ancestors of ToD have little work to do. Cliff of Non-Doom is actually the saviour of many characters.

Now what was that historical drama where Oxcart of Doom rolled down the hill and nearly killed the heroine, who thus ended up in the hero's arms?

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Oxcart of Doom rolls down a hill?! It sounds as if the ox were not hitched at the time. This sounds like something to look forward to. ;-)

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would be so funny is they where actually..imagine the cart rolling down hill with some confuses oxen flopping behind it, ready to take out any straglers that survived the cart. Death by flying ox..sounds almost like a Saeguk of it's own :)

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The genius Truck of Doom gets run over by the truck of doom on its way to meet Missed Connection and gets amnesia before discovering it has the rarest of all cancers that only afflicts wallpaper.

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hahahahahaha

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This is great!! @cloggie
I especially like your reasoning and use of statistics for the demographic of 18-40 year olds. It is true, having someone suddenly have a fatal illness is much less likely than a traffic accident, and if most of your characters are idols you have both their company’s image and the realm of possibility to maintain as a writer.

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You see, my problem is that I get sucked in by a cute premise, and don't realize at first that it is an idol lead until my sister tells me (usually with an eye roll, since I'm not as up to date on kpop as her)

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Lol this is genius!
Now I’m waiting for someone to defend the Subway PPL. You know maybe without it, the sword on the Goblin’s chest would have looked less flashy.

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Subway PPL have been insaaaaane in the last year!

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Thank you @cloggie for defending my name. I don’t’ frequent this site because most times it is heartbreaking to see that I am possibly the most hated if not most ridiculed plot device in Dramaland. The reactions of my appearance is usually met by grief as exhibited by @Lollypip over Byung-hee’s death or uncontrollable physical reaction as described by @liquidsoap. It is evident that I would never become any Beanie’s catnip. However recently I became hopeful that perhaps I would be a little less misunderstood when I came across the discussion about me between you, @WishfulToki, @greenfield, @redfox, and @kimbapnoona and other Beanies.

Early on in my career I knew that I had to reconcile with the fact that most likely I would be typecasted for the rest of my career. Mainly due to writers’ laziness and reasons as you have rightfully pointed out, I have had steady employment and the resulting continual stream enables me to move from a weather-exposed parking lot to a garage with an elevator with a panoramic view of the Han River. However my aging body is increasing feeling the wear and tear from this physically demanding work and I have never been completely comfortable with the continual forced skinship, I have been trying different roles like my recent appearance in Just Between Lovers delivered some cute interactions between the leads when Moon-soo helmed the wheel like a boss.

Cloggie, thank you once again for making me a little less misunderstood. You have allowed me, for a little while at least, the “Truck of Feeling Hopeful” for the future to come.

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I'm crying. I can sleep well tonight knowing that I've made the world a better place - at least for one motorised vehicle. Truck, I'm your fan.

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Dear ToD,
Though as a plot device you have often been overused, and therefore ridiculed, remember that you are a valuable plot device in world of dramas. Without you there would be no tension when our favorite characters step into that crosswalk. Without you, our leads would not overhear scheming relatives/coworkers plotting corporate takeovers during funerals. I could go on, but just know that without you the .mkjng would be so much less. Thank you for your dedication and service to creating so much pain.

I wish you luck as you try on new roles. However, please never fully drive away from your first calling. We need your Doom, because without you how would learn to appreciate the hope.

P.S. have you ever considered a partnership with Subway?

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Dear @egads,

Recently I have been inspired by the successful transition of my buddy Scooter for his pivotal role in Strongest Deliveryman so I am looking forward to my own breakout role. I really appreciate you recognizing and valuing my propensity for doom and remain thankful for all the opportunities I have had working with so many great actors especially in the realm of .mkjng.

A lucrative Subway sponsorship is perhaps beyond my reach since I am a Kdrama D-lister at best. But I am forever thankful to the company because I was discovered while working my areubaiteu delivering its sandwiches in my youth.

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I believe you will be able to transition to rom-coms soon as evidenced by your cameo in Just Between Lovers. The work you did with Moon-Soo at the wheel was exceptional.

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LOL

We both are thinking along the same lines. You can check out my post below, if you like.

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Hehe great trucking minds think alike 😜

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIk1O8l2czk

Dear Truck of Doom,

If it weren't for your dedicated efforts, emergency rooms in hospital dramas such as ROMANTIC DOCTOR, TEACHER KIM would be empty. Countless young surgeons and nurses would be deprived of valuable hands-on experience during their residencies. You can hold your head high, secure in the knowledge that you've been a major supporter of the healthcare and mortuary industries.

You also have rendered yeoman service in thinning the herd. Your Darwinian contribution to the improvement of the human gene pool is too often overlooked. Thanks to your efforts, pedestrians too slow, distracted, or drunk to pay attention when crossing the road -- or just plain unlucky -- make way for others who are more with it -- hopefully before the deceased have reproduced.

Your metaphysical significance is not to be overlooked. While sometimes your encounters with humans are planned with malice aforethought, more often you serve as an agent of fortune, a deliverer of karma, a vehicle of random fate. It's a tough task that is vastly misunderstood. Only a being possessing great dedication and strength of character could be equal to the demands of such a calling.

So thank you for keeping the wheels of dramaturgical progress moving. Without your contributions, many a plot would stall. Please continue to facilitate character transitions in a most expeditious manner.

Keep on truckin'.

PS: I am truly glad to learn that your profession has enabled you to come in out of the cold and snow banks and now affords you a nice view of the Han River. You deserve a cozy shelter during your off-duty hours.

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Long may you write, @PakalanaPikake!

We Beanies indeed have been through some awful drama moments together (many I need to take responsibility and apologize for.)

Thanks to your encouragement, I will keep my chrome heart shining (as well as my treasured set of truck nuts) in the sun.

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ROFLMAO!!! Truck nuts! I didn't see that one coming!

PS: Neil Young's song is an elegy to his first car, a 1948 hearse he called "Mort." ;-)

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Dear Truck of Doom (TOD)
Am watching Shopping King Louie and was wondering how you feel at such a lacklustre performance? Did you realise you hit the wrong person?
I can only assume you were willing to sacrifice your professionalism in service of plot. While that's commendable, I think you need to show more commitment to killing major characters instead of nameless extras.
Best wishes for the future.

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Time to upgrade the targeting system. ;-)

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Thank you @LeeT for your critique and I agree with your assessment. Around mid-2016 I did feel like I had hit a professional plateau right around when Shopping King Louie was in production.

My main frustration has always been that for as long as I had been working in the entertainment industry drama writers do not seem to care much about who I am or what I represent. In addition to being somewhat one-dimensional, my character has never gotten a growth arc it deserves.

Perhaps I should not have let my own personal frustration gotten the best of me because indeed my performances have suffered since. I have been trying my best to get myself out of the slump and have been working with a wonderful therapist who have lots of experience working with different modes of transportation.

Thank you for your well wishes and I hope to deliver in my future performances.

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I'm crying who did this marry me immediately!!!

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Thank you @liquidsoap. These are encouraging words since the life of doom is a lonely one. I have not had too much luck with online dating even with tailored sites like truckerfriendsdate.com. Most stop communication immediately once they hear what I do, and who can blame them? I am a serial killer even if it is just pretend.

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Dear Truck of Doom,

If anyone should be able to empathize with your plight, it would have to be other Automotive Acting Professionals. Could you make the rounds of open auditions for an occasional doom-free gig to meet new faces and keep your fluids circulating? (Or is it considered tacky to accept a lesser role if you're a certifiable TOD?)

I think it'd be darned cute if you were to date an ambulance. Or a hearse. They deal with death on a daily basis -- and you'd be supporting their careers even as you clear drama sets of surplus characters. If they're too conflicted that you're keeping them busy with late-night calls, then you might consider hanging out with a nice Hell's Angels hog. ;-)

I suspect that tow trucks see all kinds of mayhem and its aftermath. That might make for open-mindedness. Not to mention an erratic schedule.

Er, what kind of truck are you? If you're a flatbed or utility van, could you moonlight at a street market? You'd probably get to meet a lot of other trucks that way.

If all else fails, adopt a cute bulldog puppy, name him Mack, and take him for walks along the Han (or some other scenic recreation area open to vehicles of your stature).

If you speak Japanese, or even just have a thing for ramen, you could try meeting that sexy cargo hauler who starred in TAMPOPO. It sported an impressive pair of horns from a Texas longhorn for that rugged Chisholm Trail look. Git along, little dogie. ;-)

Be sure to get yourself out to the truckwash every week to rid yourself of unattractive winter road grime and deicer. Consider springing for detailing if you can swing it. Get yourself spruced up. If you look and feel like a million bucks, you'll emanate a pleasant, confident, and attractive vibe.

Valentine's Day is coming up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you meet a genial companion real soon. Hopefully on the set of your next show. ;-)

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That, @cloggie, was BRILLIANTwriting !!!
All hail the Truck'o'Doom !

but seriously, though, I had never actually thought of why it would make "sense" to have a truck kill a character. I mean, you can see that truck from a MILE away! and the whole time, you wonder: "WHY ISN'T ANYONE ELSE SEEING IT?!?!"

another vehicle or trope that has me rolling my eyes:
delivery bikes almost hitting our main girl E V E R Y T I M E !
*deep seated irritation*

Let's call it The Bike of Terror

Do Kdrama women NOT know how to cross the road? Do they have zero awareness of other people/vehicles while walking on sidewalks? Was there a different learning process when their parents raised them??? GOSH, it KILLS me!

Then there's always this outlandish twirling dance that our main Guy does to get her to safety from the very-noisy-delivery-biker-that-every-other-pedestrian-saw-from-a-mile-away ...

I hate it.
in every drama.
there has been no exception to my irritation for this specific trope. however, dear @cloggie, with the way you defended the Truck of Doom, I just might give the Bike of Terror a pass after all !!

thanks for this awesome contribution !

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Bike of Terror is the biggest shipper of OTP's.

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Liar Beanies 😉

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?

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The Bike of Doom made a cameo in "The Liar and his Lover", hence I replied "Liar Beanies" referring to fans of TLAHL

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Hehheh... that bike was actually Bike of Swoon not that of doom! :P

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oh right! 😉

Bike of Swoon,my apologies

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thanks for the clarification :-)
(I didn't watch that show)

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The Truck of Doom has a LOT more personality than the Bike of Terror.

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it's a really silly trope, I find. waaaay over-used. but yes, a shipper of OTPs for sure.

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LOL... 😂. I never thought of defending the truck, but hey! You did it soooooooo well!!!!
And yes, I go with it all the time, seeing these young people portraying a character too young for doing these jobs.
Someone now please raise up a defense for the "cult of youth" in korean mainstream television.

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Philosophical "thought experiments" for the win! Who would have known that it could be used to defend a plot device? What a write up! Welcome to the ranks of DB-published authors, @cloggie!

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I’d defend the truck of doom... if it hit Tilda by “accident”

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Random Tilda hate is my favourite thing ever.
I notice nobody has written a Tilda defense.
#rememberjohnny

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Truck of Doom speaking through Peridot's account:

Thank you so much @cloggie for your eloquent and beautifully though-out defense on my behalf. What with Cliff of Doom and other convenient agents of death or injury blaming me for taking all the available work away from them, and viewers blaming me for my unsubtle performances, it's hard not to let myself become overcome by a cloud of despair and self-blame.

I know that my presence is not always needed and that it would be better for dramas to have more organic, narrative flows. But what can I do when creativity and artistic license are stifled by the Big Ups?
I know that I am their fall guy, but I am also a reliable plot device. What can I do? I got little trucklings (of Doom in the making) to feed.

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this is gold! i love your thought pattern and i think you should start writing if you haven't already! scrips,books,screen plays etc.

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@cloggie "It made me wonder what it was about K-dramas that made the Truck of Doom so ubiquitous, to the point where I now shout, “Truck-o’-doom!”" My sister and I have done the same :)

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And I guess sometimes it happens in real life? This is so sad, but oh the irony of a drama pd going out via a taxi of doom. https://www.soompi.com/2018/01/12/boys-flowers-pd-passes-away-tragic-accident/

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Oh, this IS so, so sad. From that article, it seems Jeon Ki Sang may have been a "goose father", having sent his family to the US. He brought a LOT of joy to the world with his work. I hope his family can derive some comfort from that knowledge. What a loss!

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Wow @cloggie you did it!

ToD needs this for its image development package. I bet ToD's agency would now package this write up with some scenes from JBL,when Moon Soo (Won Jin-ah) drives a truck and makes us and Gang Doo (Lee JunHo) swoon.

so JBL don't use the truck for doom for the last 4 episodes,okay?

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The only truck allowed for JBL is an ice cream truck. And not a Doom one.

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ooohhh Ice Cream truck for our couple ;)

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Holy moly! I never considered the possibility of an Ice Cream Truck of Doom!

Would that make it a "Bad Humor" truck?!

[Cultural note for those outside the USA and anyone too young to be a Baby Boomer: http://www.goodhumor.com/article%5D

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I wonder if anyone submitted a defense for Time Skip?

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Not yet. Come, come...

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Oh now I'm tempted, but real life obligations loom.

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In that case, Time Dilation is your friend. But approaching the speed of light is such a hassle. ;-)

There's also Time Dilation's low-budget cousin, Slow Motion -- but it only emulates time slowing down -- and upgraded humans running fast. ;-)

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Great main image for this post! It really looks like Yook Sung-jae is delivering the defense for the Truck of Doom. Cloggie, you've made a convincing defense. There really isn't a good alternative to the Truck of Doom. It's here and ubiquitous because it works. I do wish that people would attempt to arrest these drivers who are truck-of-dooming people and then running off to goodness-knows-where. There are CCTVs and dashcams all over the place, but never in the spot where the ToD strikes...

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Can someone please defend poor Tilda??? Or that motorbike that keeps bringing couples together (motorbike is the biggest shipper out of us all)

On this article: I agree with the truck of doom, but why does it make me roll my eyes so? and when I describe a k-drama story out loud, it also makes others roll their eyes too when they hear about it. I just find it's a cheap loophole out.

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