Dramabeans: The Book

Why do dramas do that?

If ever there were a question that characterized the seven years we’ve been running this site, that would be the one. What’s with the back hugging? Do Koreans really drink so much soju? Wrist grabs: EXPLAIN!

Those kinds of questions get asked daily around here, which is what initially spawned our Pop Culture and Glossary series of posts. We quickly realized we could fill pages and pages of material…. So why don’t we? we wondered.

And thus Dramabeans: The Book was born.

Check out Part 1 below:

Why Do Dramas Do That? Part 1

Korean television dramas aren’t just for Korea anymoreโ€”their popularity has exploded across the globe, picking up rabid followings and spawning addictions worldwide. Maybe it’s the glossy production value or the fast-paced, addictive storytelling of dramas like Boys Over Flowers, Coffee Prince, or Secret Garden. Maybe it’s the family bonds that pluck the heartstrings, or it’s the pathos of a hard-won love that rings true with its universality.

Yet for all the universal themes at play, inevitably things will get lost in translation. Like why heroines always get swindled out of house and home, or why heroes will fight tooth and nail to win their beloveds, only to send them away “for their own good.” Or perhaps it’s the language itself that doesn’t quite clear the cultural gapโ€”why does nobody call each other by name? Why is everyone always encouraging each other to go “fighting”?

The authors of Dramabeans explore these questions and more, taking their trademark irreverence to Why Do Dramas Do That? Part 1, where they answer those questions and explore the most common tropes that arise from drama to drama. A must-read for anybody who’s ever fallen headlong into a drama addiction, puzzled over a story turn, or wondered, “Why do dramas do that?”

Some of the questions addressed:

  • What’s a Hallyu and is it contagious?
  • Why do Korean dramas insist on the live-shoot? Don’t people get tired?
  • Why does makjang get such a bad rap?
  • Why do guys love being called oppa so much?
  • Is a noona-killer a good thing or a bad thing?
  • Why do people always say fighting?
  • Can’t a Cheongdam-dong daughter-in-law and a Hongdae club rat just get along?
  • Why is everyone in a drama obsessed with a first love?
  • Loving your brother from another mother: Is it ever safe?
  • Why do diametric opposites attract?
  • Back-hugs and pining hearts: Is unrequited love still love?

And more!





30 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Jen

    Aw this would be sweet if this were a real book I’d keep it on my desk forever. Hope there will be a book copy in the future ๐Ÿ˜€ meanwhile, I’ll probably buy the smash words one

  2. ilikemangos

    I still would have bought this if you guys made this more expensive!
    Anywho, read it. loved it.


    • 2.1 camille

      for those who frequent DRAMABEANS we should all buy this book, just to show our support for the excellent work they have done throughout the years to keep us informed and entertained and in my case, an alternative to feed my korean drama addiction. sometimes i do hv a slow internet connection or for one reason or another, i just read the recaps either to understand the story more or to skip from watching the drama itself, coz some are not that good, so it saves me time. blah blah blah. Let’s buy the book! show our support.

  3. Saya

    I hope when all three parts are out that there is some kind of paper copy bind-up!

    I really enjoyed it (and gave it a detailed review on Amazon UK, mirrored on US), I hope it’s a successful venture for you guys, and that we see more books even beyond this series in the future.


  4. Kristy

    those questions!

  5. joyce

    bought it! loved it!

  6. Lightrain

    I really enjoyed the book! Can’t wait until parts 2 & 3! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. postcronicita

    I would love a hard copy!

    You could publish using CreateSpace. There are some options you pay for, but it’s generally free, and you get paid royalties based on your sales on Amazon.
    It’s about as much hassle as the KDP platform (which I’m guessing you’re using now) so not that much ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. sara loves k-everything

    great Idea you guys are doing very well ..

    mmm I think most repeated things like back hugging , head-on-sholder and so on …happens because people LOVE them ..I mean it’s very clear that everone loves those moves so they do them all the time …

    and I think the reason why k-dramas are very popular is the real true love that you can’t find it anywhere else I mean the love in korea is very pure and true ( not like American love movies which only consests of sexual things ) also I think alot of love k-stories says that look does not matter when most of the times the lead actor loves the ugly gir
    and it’s also about the family relationships and the warmeth about it k-dramas fouce alot on the imprtance of parents hard work and frienships and so on nn and all made beautifully

    and l and also think the one of the reasons behind k-dramas success is the great acting of most k-actors I mean srsly there is no BAD k-actors , some of them are not that good but not bad

    yeah that’s my opinion … thank you for your hard work

  9. dals

    Girlfriday and Javabeans NEVER disappoint.

    I absolutely love getting a blow-by-blow account of the dramas I love and they are absolutely spot-on and find their comments absolutely hilarious! Oh, if only I could be half as witty as you two…

    Keep up the good work ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. 10 crizzyville

    yey! I just bought your ebook and it’s the first ever ebook I purchased online. I’m pretty sure I will enjoy reading it. Looking forward to the next installments! Thanks for your hard work ladies!

  11. 11 jademwong

    I would have easily paid more for this book as a physical version. I’m not a fan of e-books, so I’m just going to hope that when all the versions come out, you guys will publish a physical version ^_^

  12. 12 Eve

    I noticed on Amazon, the book shows in kindle version. Can I view this book in IPAD? Thx

    • 12.1 Beez

      Yes. But first download the app called Kindle reader from the Apple app store.

  13. 13 Raine

    I read the book and found a few tasty morsels in there. I loved the feeling of enlightenment! I was also surprised at how much I (a person of non-Korean background) already knew and had learned just by consuming, haunting k-drama websites and doing my own research. It’s part of the reason I love K-drama, it keeps me learning while entertaining me. It also brought me to this site!

    I also enjoyed the tone of your book, the easy read and the organization. It was/is a wonderful idea and I’m glad you two wrote it and put your valuable time into it. I’m sure some alcohol went into its efforts as well….hehe.

    Cheers to JB and GF!

  14. 14 Pandoraylam

    Eh..guys? Girlfriday, Javabeans, I think the book is no longer available in Amazon. I keep trying to find any kind of ‘buy-bottom’ but I can’t. I’m just going to Smashwords instead, but I wanted to warn you girls about this ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. 15 Tanuki-chan

    This book is absolutely recommendable. Bought it and love it! I laughed so hard sometimes, particularly when recognizing stuff that I’ve also watched. ๐Ÿ™‚

    There is one question though that puzzles me ever since, and that’s not covered in the book: Why are Korean dramas age restricted to 15+ ? There’s no blood & gore, no sex, just the occasional miniskirt and up to 3 kisses max. per 20 episodes. So why are they 15+ ?

  16. 16 LanniLan

    I brought this book today. It was so great I devoured it within 2 hours!!!

    I love reading things that are both informative and funny. It just makes the reading experience more enjoyable and profound.

    Thanks for the hard work!!

    I am looking forward to buying part 2 and part 3 of the series ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. 17 Helenya

    Hope no. 2 is not getting too blocked by all the drama(s).
    Can you include sauna culture; tofu after prison-police; that repeated licking finger tapping nose thing; abreviations like CF, M&A, etc; how the poor candy girl manages to have a new outfit in every shot; charnel(?) houses/memorials for the dead; different types of booze and how no one seems to end up with acute alcohol poisoning; why there is so much beating of your children with the sticks and the brooms (watched Personal Taste, and Dr Daddy took to his adult son with a golf club – chincha, I mean, where’s the prison time, loss of medical registration, etc etc??); couple’s matching shirt shoes rings every-things; the whole small face and dark skin thang; what are rice cakes? What are those totes cool outdoor wooden platform table thingeys called (and how do I get one)? Etc
    Fighting GirlFriday and Javabeans!

  18. 18 Helenya

    Oh and the throwing of the water in the face – by every kdrama mother-in-law at the prospective daughter-in-law ever. And throwing rice (?or is it salt) at people’s face like Kim Sam Soon’s mother to Sam Shik, and Na Doo-Rim’s granny to the fortune telling dude in Bride of the Century

  19. 19 Beez

    Suggestions for book #2

    What’s up with the i.v.? What’s in it? Why do women need it but not men? Do some characters keep them on hand at home? Is this a common thing in real life or just a kdrama affectation?

    And what type of “fever” is it that everyone gets out of the blue (or with bad news or stress or strenuous work) that magically disappears by the next morning?

    What determines if that fever needs an i.v.?

    I started watching kdramas in the late summer last year and now when somebody gets bad news, I shout “better get that i.v., girl!”

    More often than not, it makes an appearance in that character’s very next scene.

    And thanks for Book #1, just read it.

  20. 20 Beez

    Oh yeah –
    that wooden block pillow – is it comfortable? Is sleeping on the floor preferable to a bed? (No backaches? Then why do we (Americans) get them?

    Bathrooms with no contained showers – how do they keep the stuff in the bathroom from getting wet? e.g. toilet paper, vanity stands holding lotions, extra towels, etc.

    Why go Koreans eat rice with a spoon instead of chopsticks?

    Am I seeing correctly that dishes on the table are communal except for soup and rice?

    And please, PLEASE, somebody tell me if the sleeping in clothes (sometimes even coats) is a dramaland thing or real life thing?

    Marriage proposals – why do I hear a guy say “let’s get married” and the girl agrees, but later, they go through the same conversation as if it’s his first time asking her?

  21. 21 Branice

    GF & DB u rock.

    y do heroes and heroines say hurtful things in the name of protecting the other.
    i just cant stand it.

  22. 22 Moda Model

    read it. loved it. You could publish using CreateSpace. There are some options you pay for,


  23. 23 Kimuchi

    This is so awesome! I used to be on this site all the time (just recently rediscovered dramas again) and I loved both of your writing styles! Congrats and hope there will be more soon!

  24. 24 IrisRose

    I love part 1. Thank you. I am learning so much. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. 25 UmaiaMalika

    I’m starting to watch Kdrama now… my first was “Stairway to heaven”, I liked it but the ending killed me.

    I recently saw “Boys over flowers” and I’m now seeing “To the beautiful you”.

    I’m writing because I wanna say how much I love this page and the comments make me laugh. keep the good work, you guys are the best.

    P.S.: Can you guys recommend me any kdrama that has the same vibe as “BOF” and “THBY”, you school and an intense relationship between the main characters and of course one were any of the protagonist nor the likable characters die?

    • 25.1 mary

      Watch Dream High. It’s set in a school for idols. Dream High is ♥

      If you want more of the fun cross-dressing shenanigans after TTBY, try You’re Beautiful. It’s not exactly set in a school (the girl pretends to be an idol to fill in for her twin brother) but it’s also a fun show.

  26. 26 rentenmann

    I bought this book as soon as I knew it existed. I still love reading it (I think I’m on my 4th or 5th time through). Good job, and I look forward to more!

  27. 27 rukia

    I love your book and the extended glossary section on this website!
    I really hope that you write another book… there’s so much more to learn!
    and even more… Thank you ginournous amounts for this wonderful space!!!

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