PRESIDENT AND FIRST TIGER
Each day of my life is like a different genre drama, but way less dramatic. I’m an internationally published photographer that loves writing, an opera fanatic that loves heavy metal, a video game nerd that loves reading, a film enthusiast that loves dramas, and a serial monogamist when it comes to my favorite actors. I believe that stories are universal and that a good story is always relevant, wherever that story may be – a high school where adults don’t exist, a hospital where doctors are too busy being in love to save lives, a bygone era where manes of glory reigned supreme, or even a world where a cross-dressing nun can realize her dreams of becoming an idol star. I love the idea that collective archetypes exist no matter the country, culture, or language – and that we all might share this same universal unconscious mind, rooted like a tree (with deep roots).
This is all fancy speak for what really drew me to Dramabeans; the chance to share my love of peddling drama crack along with my love of sharing discourse of all things big or small, swoon-worthy or snark-worthy, and any and all things related to Rain. (Twitter @headsno2)
“Laptops not allowed.” “Room-hopping not allowed.”
Trapped in a dormitory with no other choices for rebellion, it was only natural for me and my friends to marathon k-dramas in secret. After all, what better way is there to protest oppression than to sneak into a friend’s room at night and watch a sad girl trip over her heels while a hot-headed car company CEO takes an illegal U-turn to give her a ride back to the city?
Rebellion. That was my excuse in high school. In college, it was stress. After that, I figured excuses were for wusses. Plus, if you don’t need a reason to love somebody, why do you need an excuse to love k-dramas? So when some folks said, “Don’t watch Nail Shop Paris, it’s such a crappy drama,” I went ahead and watched it. When my conscience said, “Don’t make stupid jokes about Song Jae-rim,” I just chuckled as I pressed the “SUBMIT COMMENT” button. Repeatedly.
And now I’m here talking to you about dramas and reading everyone’s comments about dramas and wishing I could call up our dorm manager and say, “You should’ve banned Dramabeans too so I’d find them sooner. But thanks for banning laptops.”
I hail from a famously long lineage of k-drama lovers and went through the standard rigorous training in my early years in both pop and drama culture. I memorized lists of actors and actresses, wrote essays on themes and metaphors, and took electives in puns, meta, and boy band names. Other kinds of coursework simply seemed irrelevant.
I spend more time watching and writing about Korean pop culture than I do with those other things called food/sleep/work/life. I’m ecstatic that there’s a place that continually feeds my once guilty pleasure.
I started off in the k-drama realm as a tween, but traveled to other galaxies since then, and made a pit stop at sitcoms and variety shows. It’s nice and cozy here, so I think I’ll stay and share with you about how they can enhance your k-entertainment experience.
The origin of the name is simple – I love gummy worms and mochi. The name is gummimochi, but you can call me gummi. If you find your stash missing, you can blame it on my minions.
A longtime k-drama fan, I wax nostalgic for the days of running to the video store each week in anticipation of newly released episodes. A part of me will forever be stuck in the ‘90s, when Seo Taiji and Choi Bool-am stole pieces of my heart (and never gave them back). My body’s not so young, but my soul’s even older: Answer Me 1997 was the drama for my age group, yet Answer Me 1994 resonated with me more.
I only catch a handful of dramas a year these days, but I love to keep up on entertainment news (Korean or otherwise), and it is truly a joy to contribute in a very minor way to Dramabeans!
My drama story begins with weekly visits to the Korean supermarket with my grandma to borrow the next two VHS episodes of the current hot drama. It was during that critical period in my childhood that my brain had formed an irreversible affinity for dramas. Thanks, halmoni. I owe it all to you.
After a turbulent time of denial and resistance, I eventually came to terms with my addiction to dramas, realizing that I appreciated it too much — the cringeworthy, the cute, the humor, the surprising insight, the OSTs, the slickness, the pretty, the failures — to let it go (cue: Frozen sing-along). I mastered the arts of procrastination and multi-tasking to build my drama history in secret hopes that one day, my bank of dramaland knowledge would come to use. By chance, I came upon Dramabeans, became an avid follower, and then somehow magically convinced the overlords to invite me into their recapping madness. Thank you, English teachers, for giving me the tools to write
Apart from dramaland, my experience and knowledge of the motherland comes from my k-pop phase, stories from my grandma, history lessons from my father, and nagging from my mother. I am grateful to be a part of this community and take a break from life to share my thoughts on the multidimensional world of k-dramas. Thank you, jb and gf, from the bottom of my drama-addicted heart.
My whole life I’ve been addicted to self-teaching myself hobbies and spending at least some of my free time learning, and ultimately that’s what led me to the world of Korean dramas. I was actually learning Japanese, and in my search for quality Japanese media I just kept on finding Korean TV and music everywhere I looked (which I found incredibly annoying at the time). I resisted for months, but finally I caved and watched my first k-drama. What ensued wasn’t pretty. Every night was an all-nighter, and I sat there hour after hour fully aware of the addict I had become, but powerless to stop myself. I even quit Japanese and started learning Korean instead (which is a shame since I had already learned 1200 kanji).
Thankfully I’m a much healthier drama watcher now (well…most of the time) but enthusiasm hasn’t waned, and having an opportunity to contribute to the community is a lot of fun. It also encourages me to draw more, and that’s something I very much need! I already waste far too much time playing video games and learning skills I’m never going to use, but now at least I can tell myself that watching dramas is ultimately productive. Right?
While I came somewhat later in life to k-dramas, I’m no stranger to the entertainment industry. I’ve been involved in the theater since I was very young (mostly onstage), studied musical theater in college, and have had the privilege of performing onstage with a number of well-known American actors. I have a bit of directing and other behind-the-scenes experience, but my first love is performance. Whether it be onstage, on television, or in the movies, there’s nothing better to me than a very well-written and well-portrayed character, so it’s no surprise that k-dramas grabbed me with their colorful characters and talented actors and singers.
I’ve never thought of myself as a writer, so I try to make up in enthusiasm what I lack in technical writing skill, and I hope that the joy I find in k-dramas speaks for me when I can’t find the words to say exactly what I’m thinking. Hopefully I’ll get better over time, and I’m thrilled to have a chance to write here about one of my favorite topics!
My username is simple: I named myself after my two dachshunds, Lolly and Pippin. I write the bulk of my recaps with them in my lap — they’re wonderful assistants! You can also find me on Twitter at @LollyPipKD, usually grumbling about how hard it is to write recaps while truthfully loving every minute of it.
The “o” in my name stands for “obsessive,” which explains how a simple foray into k-dramas (Boys Over Flowers: The Gateway Drug) has since become an all-consuming passion. I spent many hours reading Dramabeans in my endless pursuit to unlock all of dramaland’s secrets, so I’m honored to now have the opportunity to spend hours writing for the site that played such a major role in my drama obsession.
Before my life was overtaken by all things k-drama, I was busy analyzing the cultural ramifications of WW1, crying at the beauty in a Cubist painting, and convincing myself it’s totally feasible to move to Paris and subsist on nothing but croque-madames and Nutella crepes. Now I’m busy analyzing the romantic ramifications of piggyback rides, crying at the beauty in Kim Jae-wook’s cheekbones, and accepting that my main motivation to visit Korea is try every dish featured on 1N2D.
You can sometimes find me on Twitter: @ODilettante, although I’m not always sure what I’m doing there.
I’m just a dude who loves dramas. I only discovered this a few years ago (the love of dramas, not my gender), when I was in college studying mathematics and literary criticism that took itself much too seriously. Dramas rescued me from the same fate.
As a child I was taught a deep love of Jane Austen, followed by the classic ’90s romantic comedies starring the likes of Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Sandra Bullock – as it turned out, many Korean dramas felt like a continuation or evolution of these stories, drawing on some of the same tropes and archetypes. That may explain why, though I knew almost nothing of Korean history or culture, I felt a deep and immediate connection to these new tales of love and courtship, ambition and revenge, and the occasional coma (Secret Garden, meet While You Were Sleeping). Dramabeans became my guide to the wonderful, wacky land of Korean dramas, and I’m incredibly lucky to have been accepted as a minion. I look forward to sharing with you my weakness for contract relationships, my scorn for noble idiocy, and my love of everything Hong Sisters. Happy viewing!
It all started with You’re Beautiful… and since I know no moderation, I take a thing and run — or in this case, recap. Until then, books and I had been inseparable my whole life, and my sudden all-drama diet launched an existential crisis: If I didn’t read, who was I? What had dramas done to me?
Like a sensible addict, I came to terms with it through immersion treatment. A billion dramas (and bowls of ddukbokki) later, I’m still here, my sense of self secure and excitement undimmed. I might laugh at bad science, bad wigs, and trucks of doom, but a well-drawn character or a heartfelt relationship will have me in raptures. And don’t even speak to me about bromance. Ah, sweet pain!
I will probably never give up literature: Elinor Dashwood is my hero, although it’s Ella (of Ella Enchanted) I want for my best friend. When I’m not watching dramas, I read about them, I compose limericks, titter at things only I find funny, collect kindred spirits, and generally make a good show of British eccentricity. I also never get enough sleep.
Once upon a time in a beautiful land in the real universe, a tiny peanut-looking baby was born to two loving parents. They nurtured it with abundant care, yummy ddeokbokki, and accordingly appropriate amounts of piano lessons, soccer practices, and Korean language classes. But instead of growing up to be a famous pianist or the next Mia Hamm as might have been expected, this little baby grew up to be a tineybeanie, one dedicated drama addict, committed to spreading the joy and love of Korean pop culture everywhere. Then one day, she found Dramabeans, a place for a wonderful community of people who understood her squeals of delight for dimple-cheeked flower boys and gwiyomi aegyo. And then she knew she had found a true home for her passion, and a temporary portal to Dramaland. So now, she spends some of her days trying to give back, as a herald of sometimes good and sometimes bad news that comes to Dramaland through DB. The End.
An unabashed film and TV junkie, a graduate of film school, a survivor of the brutal Hollywood assistant life, and a lover of puppies more than people. Puppies never let me down. Clearly, the silver screen has been seminal in shaping me into the sleep-deprived, Vitamin D-deficient, type A (of the friendly ilk!) dreamer/writer/petite feminista/[k]drama queen that I am today.
I knew k-dramas were special when Autumn Love Story made my little sister soak her favorite blanket with snot and tears. It was gross, but that soggy blanket of goo epitomized the power of k-dramas and their ability to tug at your heartstrings. Admittedly, k-dramas also made me proud of my heritage, and I still beam with pride whenever I see people appreciate the simplicity of a good bibimbap, swear by their CC cushion, study the rich history, learn Hangul, and of course, rave about their k-drama obsession.
Here’s to good stories, complex characters, and thoughtful discourse!
My favorite Korean dramas are the ones where: (1) pompous rich men unintentionally fall for jaded poor girls without verbal filters, (2) passionate political revolutionaries fall for the misguided members of the oppressive elite society, and (3) strong-willed, independent ladies take control of their lives, and maybe pick up a pretty-faced, laid-back, all-supportive man along the way.
I’ve heard every grievance about Korean dramas—that they’re contrived, they’re immature, they’re positively formulaic, that the stories are so ridiculous that I should stop watching them or I’ll never settle for an actual human relationship (which may, at this point, be true). But as drama-lovers like you and I know, dramas aren’t watched for the realism; they’re watched for the emotions, and the journey, and reminder of our collective community. Hanshimi, which means something between “pathetic” and “pitiful,” is the (hopefully) endearing nickname bestowed upon me by my parents, christened due to my stubbornly unrealistic expectations of life. (Un)fortunately, I refused to give in; Delightful Girl Chun-hyang had already gripped my heart back in 2005.
In my spare time, I tend to my life in college as an economics and environmental studies major, foodie blog across Boston, work on a novel, learn foreign languages, and bury myself in art history. Find me on Tumblr or WordPress.
I learned about Korean dramas from my father. He’s my guru, and I’m still a novice in comparison. I love the way Korean dramas tell a complete story, and enjoy well-written characters. I prefer actors who can act over those with just a typical pretty face, and I tend to get overly attached to tertiary characters. I also love spoilers… it’s weird, I know.
Back in 2009, I stumbled upon Dramabeans, and remember scrolling through post after post and laughing while reading recaps. I love the community this site fosters, and I’m ecstatic to be joining this wonderful group as a minion. Hopefully, my recaps can contribute a little in spreading the love.
Besides watching Korean dramas, I also love Korean variety shows and movies. Aside from television, I love sleep, food, comics, and books. I’m also a webtoon/manhwa/manga junkie. You can occasionally find me elsewhere
You know that person who’s completely wrong for you, but for some inexplicable reason, feels right? The one that your parents don’t approve of and your friends judge you for, but it doesn’t matter as long as you love each other? Or the one that you finally break away from, swearing it’s the last time, only to call them in the middle of the night, bawling your eyes out and promising you’ll never leave again? Well, k-dramas are my forbidden person.
It all started when I came to the horrible realization that Netflix was running out of movies for me to watch. Branching out, I stumbled across To the Beautiful You. After that, we were inseparable (I had a brief love triangle going on with Bollywood, but dramas eventually won me over). When I found Dramabeans, I knew I’d finally found a home for my new passion.
I love the plucky heroines and the exasperated heroes who try to love them. The first loves, the fated loves, the bromance, the big reveals, and the laughter that makes us forget we were sobbing 3 minutes ago. I know we weren’t supposed to happen, k-dramas and I. But, no matter how much I might try to stay away, I have a feeling I’ll always come back. What can I say — it’s love!
As for the name, clowns and tricksters have always been my favorite characters in stories. They provide honest perspectives in an entertaining fashion. Something I’ll aspire to do.
My initial love affair with Korean dramas and pop culture started in the late ’90s when I was a teenager growing up in K-town, LA. My parents were always hardcore k-drama watchers, but I didn’t get into it until I discovered Propose, through which I fell hard for Ryu Shi-won and Kim Hee-sun (my original OTP!). I was hooked from then on — I bought the Propose OST, tuned into all their projects that came after, discovered H.O.T. and the world of k-pop, and the rest is history.
After a hiatus due to first jobs and graduate school, I returned to the world of k-dramas through the so-bad-it’s-good Boys Over Flowers. Since then, I’ve been tuning in when I can — meaning I spend an inordinate amount of time huddled underneath the covers with my phone and headphones after my family has gone to bed, catching up on missed episodes through the wee hours of the night. It’s an honor to join the Dramabeans team and share the k-drama love with you all, as it somewhat legitimizes all the time I’ve spent glued to the screen.
If there’s one thing I learned from reading books, it’s that the mourning period that comes right after is legit death. Turns out, this also applies to dramas. I cried for weeks after I Hear Your Voice ended and even re-watched the entire show twi—okay, three times. And for that, my friends think I’m crazy, but I just like to think I’m in a committed relationship with every drama I watch (so… yes, crazy). Each time one leaves, I’m heartbroken.
It’s always been like that for me with a good, juicy story, but the effect from k-dramas seemed to be a lot stronger than I was used to. Even with all the usual tropes and frustrations, I believe there’s something beautifully different about the viewing experience, so it’s always been tough to let them go. That’s where Dramabeans came in. Reading the recaps after the end of a show never failed to lift my spirits and give me the courage to find something new, and I can’t thank the DB overlords enough. I also thank my mom for initiating my drama addiction when I was just a wee tyke. That’s right, Mama—you only have yourself to blame.
Outside of Dramaland, you may find me marathoning horror films or writing my own stories. I blog every now and then, but it’s mostly just fangirl gibberish.
As a self-proclaimed professional couch potato, I’m pretty passionate about my career, and it’s precisely this passion that brought me to Korean dramas years ago. What better way to spend hours in bed than endlessly watching dramas, pining over the pitiful second lead and shaking my fist at the infuriatingly entitled villain? I don’t mind tropes when they’re done with a unique twist, and as my username might suggest, I’m a big fan of romantic comedies because I know they always end in happily-ever-afters. I’ve lurked around Dramabeans since I was a tiny middle-schooler, so I’ve been a part of this community for a while now, and I’m excited to contribute from the other side.
Apart from watching dramas and ranting about them, I spend a lot of time sleeping and eating like most couch potatoes do. I also attend school regularly, but being a student is more of a side job to this whole drama-watching couch-potato lifestyle.
It’s become my mission in life to convert every person I meet into a Korean drama fan. I truly believe that no matter who you are, or what your interests, there is a Korean drama for you. (Unless you’re a cyborg, then frankly I give up. Just kidding, I have one in mind for you too.)
Even people who are initially very resistant to the idea of Korean dramas find that these shows have an ability to touch their hearts. Because what Korean dramas lack in — be it logic, believability, or yes, sometimes even plot — they always make up for with plenty of heartwarming moments.
People are often very surprised when I take out my master spreadsheet of Korean dramas, organized in many different categories and used primarily for the purpose of recommending dramas to newbies. It’s been the subject of relentless teasing by friends and family, but what they can’t always see are the many years of tears, love, and laughter housed in that single Excel file. Each title is a lesson in compassion, loss, and the shared loneliness of the human experience. It’s my endless hope that everyone can experience the many forms of love that Korean dramas have never failed to gift to me.
A friend I made over books (with dragons) once wrote a very persuasive email trying to get me to watch this Korean drama called Coffee Prince. The gender-bender trope used to leave me with a bad taste in the mouth, so despite being intrigued, I passed. Refusing to give up, she then began to target my mushy subconscious with itty bitty spoilers from You’re Beautiful until, at last, I gave in. Ended up marathoning both and forging a lasting bond with heroines with backbones of steel.
I never knew I needed k-dramas in my life, until I was exhausting my bandwidth trying to cram in all the shows I needed to catch up on to call myself any kind of a fan. The men were crazy fascinating, but the women! I loved every insane, clumsy, funny, self-deprecating, brilliant, conflicted bone in their bodies. They had entire arcs devoted to their development! Who knew that was even possible outside “chick flicks?” The women talked to each other too! About things other than men! It boggled the mind. It’s not that I didn’t notice the abundance of tropes (problematic or squee-inducing) in the industry, but I had never seen creators of TV shows be so self-aware that they often ended up subverting and making fun of the same clichés that fueled their writing.
In short, I deeply love dramas. I love the men who are sometimes arrogant bullies needing to be taken down a notch by karma, i.e. the heroine. I love the men who are supportive, funny, romantic, and not ashamed to shed a manly tear or two between the very plot-relevant shower scenes. I love the sheer variety of characters onscreen, and the brilliant writers who create them.
So, now when people ask me what my interests are, the answer is usually: Magic and time-travel in k-dramas, science fiction and fantasy in books, romance in k-dramas, comics about superheroes, crime capers in k-dramas, sketching badly, fictionalized history in k-dramas, playing Portal/Fez/Saints Row/Borderlands, and just life… in k-dramas. You can find me on Twitter under my nom de plume, @festerfaster, which was inspired by my great love for Uncle Fester of The Addams Family (voiced by Rip Taylor) and the years I spent mishearing his name as Faster.
I’ve moved around so much in my life that by this point I feel like a citizen of the world (regardless of what it says on my multiple passports). Still, what’s remained constant has been my love of good stories, and my compulsion to use writing to understand the world, whether in verse or prose. I’ve been struggling with serious illness for over a decade, and during a particularly rough stretch of insomnia, I discovered my first Korean drama, Coffee Prince, and was instantly hooked. My new addiction didn’t help with the insomnia, but it certainly made my chronic pain more bearable. I loved the women-centric stories: strong-willed heroines and swoon-worthy yet flawed heroes; the focus on character development and relationships; the gorgeous cinematography and sweeping OSTs that take romance to another level. What’s always touched me the most about k-dramas, though, is the way they depict love — not just between lovers, but between parents and children, between friends, between families that were found rather than born.
It wasn’t long before my love for Korean dramas turned into an itch to write about them. I’ve now watched too many dramas to count and gotten my mom, little sister, grandmother, and even my type-A engineer dad to watch them too. I’ve translated my international soul and my love for languages into a degree in Diaspora and Transnational Studies (a legitimate reason for studying Hangul, Mom and Dad!), and now I do serious writing too, but k-dramas are still where my blogging heart lives. I love that the warmth and feels I’ve gotten from Korean dramas are just as much from Dramabeans and the online community as from the shows themselves. I’ve gotten so much healing and enjoyment from this site and from dramas over the years, that it’s great to be part of the team now and give some love back.
You can find me on Twitter @laica_k or on my blog, waxing semi-poetic about dramas.
I found my way to k-dramas in 2012 through one of my four anime-loving sons. His discovery of k-pop eventually led to my gateway drama, You’re Beautiful. Our whole family watched that drama together and it is one of my favorite memories. Since then, I have almost abandoned all other programming to devote myself to the viewing of k-dramas. One quality that hooked me in the beginning was the format of limited episodes. No more beloved TV shows canceled!
The k-drama industry impresses me with its ability to produce so much content and employ so many talented people. There is always new programming to look forward to, with actors I want to see again, and I usually discover a new face along the way that sends me off to watch yet another drama. Early in my k-drama journey, I discovered Dramabeans and immersed myself in recaps to make sense of my new pastime. It’s such an honor to become a minion for the Dramabeans community; I can hardly believe it. Now I get to watch k-dramas and call it “research.”
My name, TeriYaki, is actually a play on my real name. I’m a former lab rat who once worked in research for an oil company. Now that my kids are almost all grown up, I’m excited to have the chance to explore new opportunities.
For all my addiction to k-dramas has proved to be an effective distraction to my real-life responsibilities, they were also the first constant in my life. Whether we were in LA, northern Virginia, Bangkok, or Tokyo, we would be borrowing VHS tapes by the bag for the week (this was the ’90s and early ’00s). As a novice watcher with little knowledge and bargaining skills, I was subject to my parents’ whims, which meant a lot of sageuks and family weekenders (Wang Gun and Who Is My Love will forever hold special places in my heart). And then 2004 happened.
My barely tween heart couldn’t get enough of the shouty, hold-hand-to-heart men of Lovers in Paris, nor the three-bears-singing, pigtailed heroine of Full House. All it took was one hit, and I was addicted. Since that fateful summer more than a decade ago, I’ve devoured more dramas than I care to count, and outlasted more variety programs than I wish to recall. I was content to bask in the glow of each episode of the drama du jour, but there was a gaping hole that no arrogant-second-generation-chaebol-due-for-a-comeuppance could fill. I was missing that sense of community where I could share my squeals, my heartache, and relish in the knowledge that I wasn’t alone in my drama-driven emotional tribulations (the angst, it’s real); so when I found Dramabeans in 2008, I couldn’t get enough of this platform for appreciating the specialness that is k-drama.
Nearly ten years on, and now a proud member of the Dramabeans team, I can only hope that others find the community here that I have. Come hither all, we have cookies and dimples galore!
TO BECOME A DRAMABEANS MINION:
We’re not taking any new writers at this time.
We do occasionally open up applications for potential recappers, which we will announce on the site. Thanks for your interest!