[Hey, that’s me] Oh no! They killed Cloggie!
by Guest Beanie
On the Way to the Airport
Whenever I see a character on the screen that reminds me of myself, I’m immediately filled with dread. Not that there’s something terrible about me, but because of what’s likely to happen to this character in the upcoming episodes of the drama. Yes, you guessed it: Death.
Now, I totally understand it from a narrative point of view. After all, what kind of story could you tell about a happy, content, artistic middle-aged woman who lives by herself? There is no challenge in that, no drama, no need for character growth because I’ve already done all of that. In fact, you could argue that maybe dramas should treat middle-aged women the way society largely sees us: as people who are largely invisible.
Dal Ja’s Spring
What none of these stories tell you is that there’s a flipside to invisibility and that’s this: nobody watches you anymore and therefore you’re granted the ultimate freedom from societal norms. You can act however you want!
Beanies, this is something to look forward to! Freed from cultural restraints, a lot of women of a certain age tap in to a rich seam of creativity or spirituality. For example, a good friend of mine has just published her first poetry collection at the age of sixty.
So why do dramas see the need to kill us off?
I fully appreciate that someone has to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to keep the local serial killer employed but, in most cases, the older creative woman’s death seems to serve a different purpose. It’s to give a jolt to the other characters in the story. It could be to remind a female lead that unless she dates some guy, she could end up like the single woman next door who choked to death on a chicken bone. (I would like to point out that a quick chicken-bone death would be preferable over having to spend decades with some of the male characters that dramas like to serve up. Yes, there’s a reason why I live by myself.)
My Husband Oh Jak-doo
Alternatively, the single aunt can die to leave a niece a mountain in her will (local gayageum manufacturer optional) or the female knot-maker can die so that another character is distraught, leading to skinship between the OTP in the form of a comforting hug and now EVERYBODY KNOWS. You can see how that’s really worth a creative genius’s death. Alternatively, there’s always suicide after being possessed by an evil spirit, just so that the Important Evidence is hidden.
But this killing-spree isn’t necessary at all. There are better ways of getting women out of the way if that’s needed for the plot. And that brings me to one of my favourite dramas of last year: Twelve Nights. This is one of the more realistic dramas featuring people who have chosen to lead a creative life. It deals with the question of whether to pursue your creativity or make money; whether to sell-out or remain true to your creative vision and whether you should use your connections or do it all by yourself.
A scene with the writer who had turned out to be less commercially successful than she had hoped nearly moved me to tears when another character ended up begging for her work to be published. Yes, this drama hit close to home.
And then of course there was an older, single, creative woman, happily running a photography studio. Death seemed inevitable. And indeed, she collapsed and was rushed to hospital for the pure plot purpose of having our central couple not meet. I was very annoyed until (*minor spoiler*) it became clear that she wasn’t going to die, but that she’d collapsed as a side effect of the vaccinations she’d needed for her trip to the Serengeti. I loved it, drama, I really did. Especially as she actually came back from the Serengeti alive as well! And, as a side note, I also approved of her dress code.
Many viewers watched Twelve Nights as a romance and hated it. I watched it as a depiction of (often female) creativity, I saw myself in a number of different characters in that drama, and I loved it.
So K-dramaland, stop killing us! There are better solutions! We can go on the adventure of a lifetime to far-flung places instead.
In fact, that sounds pretty good – wait a second while I book some travel…
Dear My Friends
- [Hey, that’s me] Different name, same story
- [Hey, that’s me] The unfavored child
- [Theme of the Month] Hey, that’s me (again)
- [Hey, that’s me] And my dysfunctional family
- [Hey, that’s me] One-sided crush
- [Hey, that’s me] Fangirling inside the closet
- [Hey, that’s me] The plight of the storyteller
- [Hey, that’s me] A college admissions monster
- [Hey, that’s me] To all the women I’ve loved before
- [Hey, that’s me] Hell Joseon international
Tags: Theme of the Month