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[2018 Year in Review] Take my tears


Thirty But Seventeen

By Jellybn

I am a selfish cryer. I only cry when it’s about me. If I am hurt emotionally or physically, the best remedy to calm down is to just cry. When I feel anxious or stressed out, my chest constricts and I may get an anxiety attack, but once the tears start rolling, I’m good.

Don’t worry, I don’t go crying or wailing around my neighborhood like K-drama heroines do. No, I do it in the privacy of my own room or while showering and most likely while I am alone. I might cry in front of my immediate family but that’s it. If I hear a sad story, I sympathize and empathize, but I just don’t cry. My heart feels for people in real life and on-screen, but my tear ducts close up. This year however, that dam broke and my selfish tears are no more. (Well, in regards to dramas. In real life that is still a different story.)


Hundred Million Stars From the Sky

2018 has been a tough year, personally. Just emotionally, I’m a mess. To escape a little from it all, I of course turned to dramas. Why not get away from real life an hour at a time? Since my life is not where I want it to be right now, I typically watch dramas that are fun and or funny to lift up my spirits. I tend to avoid dramas with hard topics that could relate to me. But, somehow, this year I ended up watching and loving so many dramas that have made me cry. Before 2018, I could count on one hand the movies and dramas that made me shed a tear. Now, I can give you a top ten list on dramas that made me cry just in 2018.

It all started with I’m Not a Robot. My favorite robot related drama! Going into this drama, I didn’t know I was going to love it so much, let alone that I was going to cry. Seriously, how could Min-kyu believe that human Ji-a was a robot?! When the time came for all the secrets to be revealed, the Santa Maria team couldn’t reveal it themselves. So instead Min-kyu found out by himself that the only people he considered to be his friends had lied to him. Oh, my poor heart! I shed a tear for him thinking of how lonely he felt and how the trust he handed out was broken. It’s hard when you hardly trust anyone, but you still decide to open up and then they let you down. However, he allowed them to tell him the truth and, in the end, the friendships were mended. That brought on the happy tears because not all relationships have to end, some can even be brought back to life.


I’m Not a Robot

Just Between Lovers had me bawling all over the final episode. I just wanted Moon-soo and Kang-doo to be together and healthy. However, the scene that really hit me hard was when Moon-soo thought her mother had drowned. There is not one drama that does not have a drunk scene or someone turning to alcohol to help them get through a heartbreak or job hunt. But alcoholism is real and when the people you love use it for their depression instead of seeking professional help, it really does hurt. You can’t do anything to help them until they decide to help themselves. I cried for her, myself, and all people who have a loved one with an addiction and the feeling of helplessness through it all.

I cried in happy moments too! Like when Sol, the cutest baby of 2018, called Dong-goo “appa” for the first time in Woohoo Waikiki. At the end of (and all throughout) My Ajusshi, when both Dong-hoon’s and Ji-an’s smiles were genuinely happy and the main OST played in the background for the first time sounding bright.

I also cried out of frustration. Like in Smart Prison Living, when some of the inmates’ stories where just so unfair. In Live, when the police officers went through a lot, but would get slandered in an instant in the media. In Hundred Million Stars From the Sky, when no one would tell Jin-kang the truth and things could have been alright if they just talked it all out together. When Lee Yul (aka Won-deuk) of 100 Days My Prince didn’t want to go perform the rain ceremony, but his father overrode him and didn’t even ask or care why he didn’t want to do it. When Tae-joo found out his dad was very shady and, after many events, decided to stay in an alternate world or possibly dead (I still haven’t figured out the ending) in Life On Mars.


Woohoo Waikiki

It probably looks like I spent most of my days huddled in front of the TV screen crying. Do not worry though, I actually felt good after I shed those tears. I now have a little understanding as to why some dramas are categorized as “healing” dramas. I turn a lot towards dramas because I want to be entertained and temporarily distracted from things that stress me out. But the thing is, after I am done with an episode, my problems are still there. They don’t just go away because I watch a drama or try to forget about them. I’m glad to say that although this year has been tough, relaxing and de-stressing with an episode at night has been helpful to my emotional well-being. After that hour of distraction, I can go face my problems head on and — for the most part — fix them.

One of my favorite dramas this year has been Thirty But Seventeen. Just like Seo-ri and Woo-jin, I definitely don’t feel my age and it’s something that I constantly find myself thinking about. However, its okay! Although I really want to say, “Don’t think, feel!”, I instead want to remind myself, “Let’s be happy!”


My Ajusshi

 
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For me, this year My Ajusshi takes the crown too. And Mother, which @pbnjelly513 didn't mention. I cried so much when Lee Hye-young's character died, so much with sadistic pleasure, that I rewatched those scenes three times, so that I could cry more.
And Jian's grandmother!! And when Jian broke down on the bridge because Doong ho was fighting for her!! Man! I cried buckets with her and I fell totally in love with him!
Me, I can cry anytime, for me and for others, so it is even easier to cry over a drama that it's well done. This year, My Ajusshi and Mother made the deal for me.

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I've heard so many good things about Mother and I really do want to see it, but maybe when the time is right. I think it is one of those dramas that I will have to watch slowly.

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Definitely slowly. I started to watch the Japanese version and couldn't even finish the first episode. I have heard it is slightly different, but never got any spoilers.
And the Korean version of mother, well... I would watch it again, but then again, also slowly. It is very very good, but it hurts a lot. Particularly because as a child I was also a victim of different types of abuse, and this kind of material makes me suffer even more. Nevertheless, it is so well done, so beautifully treated that... It is actually healing. That is the reason why I would watch it again. 😉
Fighting!! 👊

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My Ajusshi really was the best of this year!
Thank you Taraa! Fighting to you too!

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I am afraid my end of the year review about Thirty but Seventeen might not get published, since you summed it up in a couple of sentences while I needed a few hundred words! ;)

On a serious note, I applaud your courage in admitting that things are not going well. I opened up about a similar truth in my end of the year review last year, and I was touched by all the Beanie support I got back then. I would like to return the favor now and wish you the best for 2019. Keep watching K-dramas to heal yourself and never be afraid to reach out to me and other Beanies. We are here for you! 

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Thank you @turtuallysarcastic! For your kind words and support! I wish you a Happy 2019 as well!
Also, I would love to read your review on Thirty But Seventeen. I'm no good at writing long pieces on why I love a show, but if we could talk...then I would talk your ear off and you wouldn't get me to shut up, lol! I'm always in awe at the eloquence of Beanies:)

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Now, I'm the one who wanted to cry reading this.
Thank you for sharing this, @pbnjelly513. And fighting!! 😊😊

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Aww, don't cry @gadis! Everything is okay:) Fighting!

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I loved the leitmotiv of your article a lot. A structure using a 'tears' as a main origin makes this review a very nice and interesting read.

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Thank you @foglia! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it:)

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I can really relate about crying to calm down & only crying alone. With my mood swings, sometimes I just burst out crying when I shower before I know why. It’s never easy to tame down those emotions. Here I hope 2019 will be a better year for you & everyone! I always tell myself to do “whatever that makes me happy”. It’s easier said than done, but we needa at least try. 🙂

To be honest, I can’t really remember which kdramas made me cried this year. But my recent visit to the cinemas for A Star is Born was too memorable. It made me teared unknowingly even when I already knew the plot beforehand. I still listen to Shallow everyday (my local radio plays the song every few hours), & I still get goosebumps + teary every single time. It’s that impactful on me.

P.S I can’t wait to catch the Taiwanese remake of More than Blue in the cinemas! I’m actually curious how badly I will cry, haha! (though I haven’t watch the Korean original by Kwon Sangwoo & Lee Boyoung)

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Happy 2019 to you as well @llljr!

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A great write-up, @pbnjelly513! Crying is cathartic. It does help unload and, just like you said, face life head-on. Fighting!
I cry a lot, I'm an easy crier. I sometimes *want* to cry while watching a movie or a drama and I'm no longer shy about it. I actually seek out things that would make me cry. I cried quite a lot while watching 30 but 17, whereas Hundred Million Stars warranted maybe just a sniffle or two.

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Crying has been very cathartic for me this year and also writing about it and having people read it has been cathartic as well. Like I can let go of it now. Thanks for enjoying it:) Fighting!

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oh my gosh @pbnjelly513 you're completely right. 2018 is the year of crying. And Crying feels GREAT. (I'm not a sadist, I swear). I definitely cried at ALL the scenes you mentioned (not elegantly, at that). And what makes me happy is that you LITERALLY enumerated all my favorite dramas this year (are we connected? LOL)

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We are totally connected @justme! I feel that you and I have similar drama tastes, since we pretty much watch and enjoy the same things! I think we even started watching dramas around the same time. For me it was August 2016:)

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You're a TAD my sunbae in drama watching. I think I started with Goblin in January 2017. (Also, best wishes for 2019 chingu!)

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Ooo, I'm a sunbae! Yayyy! Lol:) I wish you the very best for 2019!

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Thank you @pbnjelly513 for your review! I also like to cry a bit in my dramas, but it’s little moments of struggle that usually get to me (like in Misaeng) rather than tragic misunderstandings, deaths and heartache. That is why I stay away from melodramas as a rule (except in sageuks - give me heartache there or give me death!).

Not to sound too greedy, but I am hopeful some of DB Staff will write their end-of-year reviews too. Or Editor’s Picks. Please? I love reading previous year posts to find shows I’ve missed. That’s how I came across Full House 2 this year, going through @gummimochi’s list of 2012 flavours. http://www.dramabeans.com/2012/12/a-variety-of-flavors-in-2012-year-in-review-part-3/

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Thanks for reading @wishfultoki! Misaeng was such a great show and a favorite of mine. I got my brother to watch it with me and he loved it! Now he doesn't want to watch anything else since he feels he's seen the best. I haven't seen to many sageuks, but I can see myself loving them.

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I know how your brother feels @pbnjelly513 - just last month I finally watched Misaeng and found myself thinking so many times "this is just the best I've seen!".
Also thanks for your musings about tears and dramas. I'm like you in that I cry when I'm alone - or with someone who I trust implicitly.

I'm sure I cried during many scenes of My Ahjussi, but I SOBBED watching most of Mother. Mainly because it brought up my own feelings of inadequacy as a mom, adoptive mom, non-custodial mom and everything that goes with it. That show was incredibly beautiful, and in many ways helped me let out my own tears of sadness and healing.
The latest show that made me cry was the last episode of Mr Sunshine. I cried all day after watching that - the power of people willing to fight for justice was beautifully done for me.

Anyway thanks for the great essay!

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Mother is on the forever growing watchlist, but I think I might wait a while before I get to it. Maybe watch it alongside a fluffy rom-com. Thanks for reading!

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Wonderful post.

The one that comes to mind that made me cry is Go Back Spouses. It was any scene with her mom. I'd be the same way if I could go back, she would never shake me off, lol.

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The way they portrayed the mother-daughter relationship was so beautiful. It was a great reminder to treat my mom well.

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Good moms are so easy to take for granted. They are just so steadfast.

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Go Back Spouses was sooo good! And I also teared up whenever the mom was on screen. If my mom is up for it, I would like to rewatch it with her! I think she will enjoy and it will be cathartic for her too.

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I loved when I and my mom shared a show (Gilmore Girls) or books (Harry Potter) as an adult.

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This was the drama also for me that made the tears flow. So many of the scenes made me reflect on the various relationships in my life. I related so much to Jang Na Ra’s character and the heartache she felt in missing her mother, in the struggles of her relationship with her husband and when she missed her son when she was in the past.

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It's nice when they can touch such personal feelings or put into words what you're feeling.

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Ahhhh! Thank you Dramabeans for posting my submission! I am honored and humbled that you decided to put it in your website. I am very grateful to this platform that allows me to share my thoughts on my life and my favorite dramas. Thank you Beanies for reading and leaving some really nice and thoughtful comments. I am not as active as I wish to be since I am still pretty shy in voicing my thoughts without a prompt, but I am one of those people that laughs out loud while reading posts and comments, and nods along, and upvotes almost everything. I'm glad to have met so many of you through the internet and wish to meet many more of you in the year to come!

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I hope you have a happier or at least easier year as you create the life that you really want @pbnjelly513.

My Ajusshi and JBL both had me crying several times. Oddly enough as I looked at the dramas I watched this year, Familiar Wife is the one that makes me cry every time I think about it because I loved the ending so much.

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Thank you @ndlessjoie! I hope you have a great 2019 as well!

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Wow, you saw all the best dramas of 2018. I cry in dramas much faster than in real life. I don’t even cry for my own traumas. So, I understand when you say it’s a healing thing to cry even when your problems are still there when you stop the drama, it just helps you face your issues again. Thank you for this! And thank you for mentioning LIVE and Prison Playbook. I watched both and cried through both!

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Thanks for reading @ally-le! I told myself I would only watch the good stuff this year, and for the most part I did which makes me happy. It mostly consisted of me waiting for Beanie reviews on shows I was -iffy on and watching them later or just trying my luck on a live show. Live and PP were so good! I'm constantly pushing them on to my brother, but he is busy with school. Maybe this Christmas vacation I'll keep trying, lol!

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I still have/want to watch Live... I hope to watch it before the end of 2018.

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@javinne, LIVE is in a three-way tie with JUST BETWEEN LOVERS and LIFE ON MARS for my top spot among the year's dramas. It is not a comfortable watch, but it is realistic and ultimately uplifting in a most gratifying way. The performances by the ensemble cast are excellent. And the music is terrific.

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Thanks, yes... It is even in Netflix (which I have now)... And I want to watch it. I just simply have had not enough time. Also, I know it is thaaaat good, and that is why I am taking my time to find the mood to watch it.
Imagine this: since the end of My Ajusshi I knew Misaeng was likewise good, but I couldn't manage to watch it until now (I finished it last week), and now after Misaeng, I feel I need some time before starting another great show. But it is on my list. Thanks a lot!!!
I also have to finish Mr. Sunshine... 😓😱😓😱😓

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@javinne,

Ah, you are so right. You have to be in the right headspace to watch certain dramas. I think that one of the virtues of live-watching (aside from the torture payoff for those who are masochists) is that it forces you to take time between each week's worth of episodes. There's something to be said for having breathing room in which to mull over the events and character arcs. But the wait can drive you nuts in the case of action and mystery shows. Whenever you get to it, enjoy. ;-)

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@javinne, I too, just finished Misaeng a few weeks ago - it is one of the best dramas of all time! (in my opinion) there are other dramas that are also good - but some reason Misaeng hit all the right notes - and I cried so many times in that show too.

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@stpauligurl i actually didn't cry so much with misaeng, but I felt every note, as if it was a symphony... The acting was so good, the plot, the pacing, the music... The truths...
I felt so identified with their struggles, so much that I couldn't really binge the show... I watch it slow, because it was hard. Also, I have two jobs now,, basically, so I am very busy.
But anyways, I loved it. Would watch it over again... It is really really really awesome! 🤗

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I am such a crybaby and to be honest even this post brought tears to my eyes while reading and picturing the scenes you chose.
I have no problem with dramas which make me cry because at the same time they make me grateful for what I have in my life and remind me to be a better and kinder person first of all to myself and then to all the people because life is like a battlefield and just god knows what they are going through. I just want to be like Park Dong Hoon and tell them “ It’s no big deal” ...❤️

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Awww, @marina, don't cry! It really is no big deal huh! Thank you for reading and I wish you the best for 2019!

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☺️ omg, that sentence IS such a bandage to the wounds on heart. And thank you for your precious moments spent on writing such a beautiful post❤️ I wish you the same dear.

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@pbnjelly513 Jeeeelllyyyyyyy!! *scoots over with my blankets and tissues and cookies*

You go, girl! Thank you for sharing your story, it’s deliciously inspiring. Sorry to hear that you’ve been having a rough time of it, I hope 2019 brings better things! 💖 You got this!

*quickly fans away the tears brought to my eyes from reading this post*

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Bamssss! Thank you for bringing all that stuff over @bammsie! I will use it all wisely, especially the blanket because it is getting cold. I wish you the very best for 2019 as well:) *Hugs*

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*squishy hugs* Take some cocoa, too!

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Thank you for your lovely essay, @pbnjelly513 Jellybn. Your comments on JUST BETWEEN LOVERS hit the nail on the head. The show went where few fear to tread -- all the way to the rehab. What a rare and refreshing plot twist character arc.

Some of my biggest frustrations with Kdramas are uncomfortably-realistic depictions of binge drinking and dysfunctional family dynamics. Most shows, perhaps mirroring real life, wimp out and don't take it to the next step. Maybe my beef is that they only show the addictive behaviors without the ensuing consequences, which admittedly can take decades to manifest. Or they fail to provide logical alternatives: ending the harmful behavior or relationship and getting mental health care. I'm looking at you, THIRD CHARM, which featured a protagonist saddled with a horrible family of origin, a self-centered female lead who by rights should have expired of cirrhosis, and more geographical cures than you could shake a stick at. In a similar vein, TEMPERATURE OF LOVE initially depicted chef On Jung-sun's admirable attempts to detach from his toxic parents, in particular Mommy Dearest. He was repeatedly undermined by high-handed scriptwriter Lee Hyun-soo, whose own parents were narcissistic jerks. The performances in both shows were notable for their veracity even as the scripts went sideways. The opportunity losses were what brought tears of frustration to my eyes.

Thank you again for the reminder of Junho's and Won Jin-a's terrific performances in JUST BETWEEN LOVERS. I awarded it 3 Beans, my highest encomium of 2018, in a three-way tie with LIVE and LIFE ON MARS.

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Thank you for reading @pakalanapikake!
I also saw Third Charm and Temperature of Love and like you I was frustrated. I understand that dramas try to depict different stories and sufferings in characters, but when they don't seek help or decide to stay the same for the sake of it, it does let you down and all you could think is with what could have been. That is why I really enjoyed Just Between Lovers in that at least we got to see something different happen in a kdrama.

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@pbnjelly513 your take on dramas this year is exactly how i felt. Tears and emotional attachment was the most memorable take away that i got out of this years drama as well. I'm also not very good at attaching myself to a drama and their characters and can never squeeze those tears out but so many of them, whether it was happiness or sadness, finally broke my icy heart. This was a very relatable post and you wrote it wonderfully.

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Thank you @inkcityxx! It feels nice to find someone similar to myself. Thanks for reading:)

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My tearducks are only allergic to Sageuks and none suited my taste this year, I barely sat through the first episode of TGP, and 100DMP just can't seem to hold my attention long enough for me to commit more than a few minutes to it.
This honor shall be granted to the C-dramas I've watched this year and the last decent historical from the drama gods: 7 Days Queen

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PS: @pbnjelly513
Great write up. 2019 will better of course, I want to say "Don't think, feel!" But then again I think you feel one too many things. I want to also say "Don't ever change" but I don't know how you'll take that, so I'll settle with a fist pump for you and a #Fighting in my cheerleader outfit!

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Thanks @ryanglass! *fist pumps back*
Seven Day Queen was amazing and I definitely enjoyed live watching it last year, which is probably when I started my drama crying. We need sageuks like that 2019!

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Yes we do! I have high hopes for The Man Who Becomes King, previews look like they mean real business...

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When I really need a good cry, I re-watch "My Ajusshi." I've been bawling for every episode. My heart wrenched.

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Where is 'My Ajusshi' available? When Drama Fever was killed off my access to their 'My Mister' disappeared along with it.

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I hope Netflix will pick it up one of these days. Until then you'd have to resort to Kissasian or something like that. I would do it for MA.

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Oh My Good .. that Thirty But Seventeen picture above. I bawled during that scene and the entire of episode!

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Thank you for sharing your piece. Prison Playbook was my favorite drama that I watched this year. My GOD it was such a great drama.. gotta rewatch it again soon. I was bawling my eyes out them they did my looney dirty :'( Also I watched I can speak and 1987 recently.. such wonderful tear jerkers.
Your writing makes me want to watch My Ahjussi. I really am in need of a good cry. Here's to hoping we all have a better 2019!

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There is nothing better than My Ajusshi if you are looking to cry and then laugh again. Please watch it.

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I am planning on watching it.. so sad it's not on netflix though :/

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'I'm Not A Robot' really did turn into *emotional torture porn* about halfway through. I'm used to getting tonal shifts in wacky K-comedies at the halfway mark but this one dragged the viewer down into a black pit of despair. And yes, I loved the series.

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"hundred million stars from the sky" is so different than the rest of the list. It is the only Korean drama that I watched while being aware that Its ending will completely break me. And it did... I cried few times while watching 30 but seventeen but atleast it had a happy end. Hundred million stars is like one of those wounds that just refuses to heal and you will forever feel it's pain.

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That first paragraph could totally be me writing it, tho not that well.
I'm a selfish cryer too. When others cry buckets watching certain scenes, i might only shed a tear or two, or at times, I just feel sad. This year crop of dramas managed to wring out a couple more tears than my usual tear per drama quota, and that's a good thing.

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I cried in Just Between lovers a looot, i mean... a LOT and 30 but 17 makes cry a few times. Such a beautiful drama! I really need to see My Ajusshi and maybe Woohoo Waikiki deserve a second chance.

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i'm currently watching waikiki !!

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