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[Theme of the Month] Hey, that’s me

Sometimes art imitates life in the strangest ways. Dramas usually serve as an escape from reality for me, but there have been several times that I’ve been watching a show and felt like a character and scenes overlapped with my life. I lived and worked in Korea for several years, so workplace dramas and editor characters in particular have a way of making me feel seen and working themselves into my heart. At times, it even felt like a drama and character took a page out of my life.

While I was watching Romance Is a Bonus Book, the passionate editor Hae-rin felt like a mirror version of me. She was dedicated and passionate about her job, but was a little less successful in love (at least for a little while). Then there’s Misaeng, with its depictions of office culture in Korea that were so close to some of my experiences that it was downright uncanny. So:

Tell us about the character or scenes that made you stop and say, “Hey, that’s me!” How did you feel seeing yourself represented on screen and which parts deviated from your life?

 
To submit:

  • Email your submissions to [email protected] If you have a registered Dramabeans account, include your handle so we can link to it.
  • Include at least 1 image, though more is preferred.
  • Suggested length: Between 500 and 1,000 words.
  • Deadline: We will post these on a rolling basis, so we’re taking submissions now. We will cut off accepting submissions on August 26. If you miss this month, join us for a new theme next month!

 
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Omg this is a great theme! I almost want to bemoan the fact that its the theme for the month of August 2019, the one month when I know I won't have the time for any writing. T_T But can't wait to read everyone's write-ups!

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As a closeted makjang fan, I easily saw myself in Hyun from Search Query: WWW... except I didn't have a puppy actor boyfriend, a stable job, and I don't beat people up.

This will be a fun Theme of the Month! I hope I can make a write-up and submit it on time...

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Jeffrey The Game is my Soulmate.

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Jk.
If I was actually gonna do this seriously it'd be one heck of a depressing write up because I find some of the unhealthiest characters relatable.
But idk. We'll see.

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Something immediately came to me - I actually might write for this theme! πŸ˜†

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Can relate so much to Lee Bo young from A Poem A Day. I also gave up my love for writing and poetry for a career in medicine. Can't wait for the writeups to come up... *squee* πŸ‘πŸ‘

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*edit... Woo Bo Young

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I knew who you meant! She was a great character. I think so many people identify with her because most of us go into professions that are stable and give up what we’re truly passionate about.

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I can see myself in Song Ji-won from "AoY," (in my 20s), and when I'm 70s, I feel like I'm Moon Jung-Ah from "Dear My Friends."

But now, I don't know myself well... :)

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Your 70s self is kind of depressing. While she was strong enough to pursue what she wanted, the impetus is sad. Isn't the dream a perfect married life? Her wind-up ( so to speak) is not an if so, then it's more like when, then. If I had to choose a Dear My Friends "when, then" I would choose Yoon Yeo Jung's character.

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Hopefully @sincerelytod does a tell all this month.

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that would be awesome. I recently saw TOD in DS:60 and... hmmm... we need to talk, @sincerelytod...

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Depends at what point of my life I'm at, but jang geu rae (misaeng), han seol (cheese in the trap), and for extraness, any shin sung rok character ever.
I can relate to the insecurities kim bok joo felt in WFKBJ, i can relate to how hard choi ae ra tried in fight might way. Basically, an insecure underdog who tries REALLY hard, but i have a tad of extra silliness to tie it all up.

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I honestly am shocked to see so many people mention Misaeng in this thread. It took me two times to be able to even watch that drama because I thought it was so abusive to the workers. I couldn't imagine how anyone would want to live their lives with such abuse every day. I thought maybe it was just some certain part of Korean culture that would allow that in an office environment. Apparently I am way off base and this sort of thing goes on all the time. I don't think I could take it. I'd be jumping off the tallest building in pretty short order.

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Its been a few months. But i relate to the fact that jang geu rae was treated like harshly and didnt get a chance to prove himself. He worked so hard to get where he got. It wasnt his initial dream but he moved on and persevered. I think many people can relate to that.

His coworker, the dude with long hair, dealt with a superior taking advantage of him. I can soooo relate to that. Or when kang ha neuls character dealt with no one acknowledging his hard work and him ot getti that the little things are super important. The abuse they faced is definitely hard to watch, only because it feels so dang real. I admit i had to take a break while i watched this show. The realness gets too hard at times.

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You said that so well!

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Oh yes! Can relate to not getting credit for work but definitely getting the discredit for work gone wrong.

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Misaeng broke my heart in so many ways and yet, I gladly recommended it to non-krama watchers.

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Misaeng is my number 1 Korean drama because of how dang good it is. There's literally nothing else I've watched that compares.

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Sadly it’s common. Maybe not the explicit abuse but definitely the battering of self worth, the struggle to be taken seriously, the unspoken rules of conduct, the ostracism if you don’t figure out your way in the pecking order quick enough.....ok now I’m depressed. But maybe it is an Asian thing ( writing from India)

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I just don't see how people do it. I really couldn't live like that day after day.

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They do it because otherwise they and their families don't eat. There's a lot you'll put up with to provide for your loved ones.

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I definitely think it is an Asian thing, just because of how Asian cultures focus so much on the group compared to the individual. People here in America complained about their jobs and co-workers and things, and heck, so do I. But so much of our complaints honestly don't compare to some of the stuff that goes on in a lot of Asian work places.

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Misaeng is an Extremely accurate portrayal of a lot of Korean work settings. There's definitely variation, and every field has it's own quirks, but working in Korea is not like here in the west. We are honestly so blessed in countries like America and Canada and Britain, etc. We honestly don't know how much.

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I watched this show "My neighbor Charles" with one segment about a young woman from Russia who is working for a Korean company. I think she is supposed to complete a year or three in Korea and then go to the Russian part. In the office, they decide that she needed to write her numbers ( which are not Korean or Russian numerals, mind you) in the way that they do in Korea because they couldn't understand them. She wrote her 9s with the curve like typeset. And they called her out like she was a kid. I thought about it as best I could from a non-western perspective and tried to imagine Korea as the center of the world or the empirical value, but, I just couldn't accept that that was something a company should nitpick about or denigrate someone about. I think it's episode 1 of the 2017/2018 season.

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That is a super common thing in Korea. The culture is set up that you're basically forced to be a hyper-critical perfectionist, of yourself and others. I lived there for a year as an ESL 'teacher' (I use air-quotes cause my Korean co-workers really did all of the work), and we had a semi-tropical storm come through one day. The students were given the day off, but the teachers still had to come in. (IN THE MIDDLE OF A TROPICAL STORM BUT WHATEVER.) No one called to let me know I could wait a bit for the rain to stop before coming in that morning, and I already knew by that point that Koreans are expected to show up rain or shine, the exception being your dead or both of your legs are broken or something (I had a horrendous Korean cold twice in a row earlier in the year and I was only allowed one sick day total), so I went ahead and walked to school in the rain. (Fuuuuun tiiiiiimes.) I got there and there was basically almost no one there. I think it was me, the vice principal, and maybe the caretaker or whatever. Well, at their next annual morning staff meeting, the vice principal used me as an excuse to chastise the entire Korean staff for not being as 'hardworking' as me. (Our VP was Super critical all the time.) My co-workers told me about it later, and I felt so bad they got chastised cause of me (see how the system works now?). I was also just kind of like 'I don't know what he's on about, because I wouldn't have come in if I had known I didn't have to.'

I had to walk to school in the rain of a semi-tropical storm a second not long after that as well, but I was wise by that time and waited till it wasn't raining as hard. (And I brought in an extra pair of pants that time, because my pants were soaked through both times.)

And you know what made it all even more fun? Both times, the Principal and Vice Principal decided to make the entire school staff clean one classroom together. One classroom. Probably 15 people. For an hour and a half to two hours.

We were finished within the first 30 minutes both times.

And here's the thing. I was fortunate. I got a really good school with a really good staff and two really awesome principals (at different times) and really awesome co-workers in the English department who cut me a LOT of slack. Some people are not as lucky as me.

So when I say us Westerners have it good, I really mean it. We have it sooooo good.

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My Ajusshi aired during a huge transitional period in my life: I was finishing up grad school and thinking about what came next. Cue lots of anxiety and melancholy and angst. I saw myself in all the characters on the show. We're all dealing with our own crap while trying to be happy and just live our lives.

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I like the idea of this month's theme, though I can't think of any character that really felt like me. I might actively avoid stories that could hit too close to home... Also I'm definitely an outlier for SK demographics and my life is kind of boring and not terribly kdrama-relevant.

I suppose some aspects of Cha Soo-hyun in Encounter felt very familiar. And some of the more frustrating parts of TaMi in Search:www... (though I lack both her looks and her gall). In terms of the day to day, I guess Healer's Ajumma might come closest (minus the knitting and better dressed).

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"Also I'm definitely an outlier for SK demographics and my life is kind of boring and not terribly kdrama-relevant."

It would be great if someone picked fourth rower, the 🐊, woori, or the little half brother from Jealousy Incarnate.

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This was supposed to be in reply to @charlieblue17. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

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Basically we will definitely have a Misaeng and My Ahjussi writeup this month. I consider myself mostly Jang Geu rae but there is also some Ahn Young Yi (when it comes to no longer being good at what you were better in), Han seol (for being extra paranoid) and Bok joo (for having regular slumps in life). Also maybe LSG's character in My Ajusshi not for the cheating aspect but you know trying to be positive even when one is unsettled.

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Ooh this would be great but also a very personal theme, since I identified with certain characters at certain points in my life.

Let’s say I saw myself in Key from DRINKING SOLO when he kept procrastinating from studying, and in Park Shin Hye’s FLOWER BOY NEXT DOOR character when she preferred to stay safely in her room.

And basically I’m Shin Jae Ha in PAGE TURNER. And Kang Ha Neul In MISAENG. (Lol, I’m not very likeable)

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I liked Shin Jae Ja on Page Turner....

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So did I lol! He wasn’t cute and fun like Ji Soo, but he was so very relatable. I think I need a rewatch.

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I liked all three of the main characters in the drama a lot actually. Maybe I should also rewatch.

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I immediately thought of Ji-Young from Individualist Ji-Young, and although it's not a drama, I love watching All the Butlers partly because I relate so much to Lee Sang-Yoon's experiences on the show hahaha. A bit nerdy, always saying some intellectual thing that either hits the nail on the head or flies over everyone's heads, and also generally being self-conscious abt the over-the-top variety shenanigans πŸ˜›

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The reason I registered on DB was because there was some bashing of Se-hee's habits and personality, and I identify with his way of living with order and rules, and also being considered unlikable in work and social situations.

But also, I pretty much already wrote about this before about Ajummha and others who don't leave their homes.

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Um excuse me you are super likeable and so was Se-hee. So, pshtaw.

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Awww, shucks. Personal and professional history tells me that not everyone thinks so.

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Although is that that their problem or ours? I'm gonna go with their's. πŸ˜‰

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Totally their problem. I once, even told a manager he needed to get a grip after he told me I was intimidating. Oh, and there was the time, while working retail on Christmas Eve, where I told the VP of the multi million dollar corporation that if he wasn't gonna buy anything, I didn't have time to chat. (I got a call from my boss later that the VP though it was funny, but my boss about died that I had the guts.)

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Pfahahahaha I love you egads.

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The world in general.can sit and spin. So boo. Boo to it all.

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See-hee was a beautiful character.

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OOoo, this is great, thanks stroofwafel for a fun idea! I've got a something or two in mind for this one. I'm looking forward to reading the entries. Happy August, beanies!

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When I was watching Search Query: WWW, there were a lot of instance that I thought Tami is exactly like me!!! I know that a lot of Beanies were frustrated with her but I fully understand her: for me logic >> love , it doesn't mean I have no feeling (in fact I am very passionate), but my logic always over power my feeling, also my career is always my 1st priority and main source of happiness...

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I think my life is a combination of characters. surely one could write a drama based on the happenings... but most often I just feel like an alien whose "people" have all gone back home and left me here, so maybe I am Do Min Jooooooooooooooooooon!!!!!!..... he didnΒ΄t. ok maybe not.

so has their been a heroine two bros are in love with? one starts to hate her but they become friends and one starts as enemy then falls in love and breaks up with his girlfriend for her but she still in love with the other brother? yet they all hang out together like buddies and cover each others backs... well if there is that is me. I know it is totally makjang but maybe life is makjang

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That has got to be a drama somewhere. Surely.

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I always find myself in the candy's before they are swooped up by some rich chaebol. Sooo....that means there's still hope,right? Where does one go to get swooped up by a rich chaebol?

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*another candy-pre-swooped would like to know where to be swooped*

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*a third candy pre-swooped looking for some swooping action, please and thanks*

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Well my username on here is Oh Hae Young...so ya'll already know which drama I'll be writing about ;)

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The closest I can come to this is something I posted back in 2017.
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/lordcobol/activity/191935/

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I think I read this two years ago! No wonder it sounded familiar.

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I guess my life is so mundane that i don't relate to any characters in kdramas. Their life is a freaking drama, mine, well let's just say a phone book might be more exciting. Lol.

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Oh wow I'm actually blank for this one. I don't think i can identify with any character instead there are fabulous female characters that I'd wish to be but that will be a different thing.

But looking forward to reading all the write ups ^^

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Maybe for next months theme we can write about the characters we wished we could be!!

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@fatcat007

That is not a bad thing. KDrama is not blessed with an abundance of well fleshed out female characters. So often we are left hanging our hats on women who are little more than 1 or 2 notes...but so rarely whole (at least not as I see them - part of a TL:DR discussion).

@leetennant did a great review "[2018 Year in Review] I’m not a potted plant" of the issues embedded in Kdrama women characters.

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So nobody's picking Byun Hyuk in 'Revolutionary Love'? ;-)

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For me it's just dance... And Park Se Wan character resonate with me so much

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I can identify so much with Jang Nara character in Go Back Couple. The disillusioned on marriage, the longing to youth long past :D Oh, the things i would've give to be able to go back to my uni days... I would drink more, play more and make mistakes i was too afraid to make when I was young. I would absolutely be the ahjumma among my friends. And I would also prob cry a bucket and end up going back because I would miss my child so much :D

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I've had the perfect thing in mind for this particular topic for ages, so I am 100% writing something up for this.

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One question, @stroopwafel. Does this have to be about one specific character or set of scenes, or can it encompass a character trope that's particularly relatable, for example?

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Hi OhSoEnthusiastic! It can also be about a character trope, as long as you're able to give examples of characters who had that particular trope. πŸ™‚

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Awesome! Thanks!

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LOL. I literally can't relate to anyone in Kdramaland. Mainly cuz everyone seems to have a romantic plotline. Alas, I do not.

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