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[Changing Tastes] Rom-coms without the rose-colored glasses


Witch’s Romance

Rom-coms are dramaland’s bread’n’butter and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. That’s what originally made me a drama addict, thanks to a love of shoujo stories that require lots of hilarious misunderstandings, awkward situations, and, of course, romance! The more ridiculous and trope-filled these stories are, the better. Give me contract relationships, forced cohabitation, secret identities, drunken piggy back rides, accidental kisses, a dreamy jerk-with-a-heart-of-gold and the spunky Candy that changes his life. That’s all I really need to be happy.

Or so I thought.

Dramabeans ruined rom-coms for me. Wait. Let me rephrase that in a way that won’t get me fired: Being required to critically examine every second of a romantic comedy made me realize there are certain bothersome aspects that I could no longer blithely ignore because, when recapping, you can’t just skip over the parts that you don’t like.


Trot Lovers

Something about the trajectory of going from Sly and Single Again, to Witch’s Romance, to Trot Lovers, and then to My Secret Hotel gradually awakened a nagging sensation that maybe I’m not the rom-com fan I once thought I was. That’s not to say there wasn’t anything redeemable or enjoyable about those various dramas — in fact, I’m rather fond of Witch’s Romance, although I’ve blocked Ji-yeon’s ex from my memory. But I still have flashbacks to the agonizing struggle of trying to think of something positive to say about Trot Lovers, aka the show that nearly broke me.

It turns out, the main romance (usually the primary draw in a rom-com) is actually the last piece of the puzzle to interest me. If a couple is relatable and charismatic, it can make a mediocre drama a bit more watchable — but I also need a decent plot, and motivations that make sense, and second-leads that are more than caricatures of the Evil Conniving Bitch and Adorable Puppy Beta Male.


My Secret Hotel

In retrospect, I’ve realized the reason why frequently I love rom-coms is largely thanks to the minor characters that steal my heart and my attention. I’m not just talking about Second-lead Syndrome (of which I’m highly susceptible). I’m talking about those characters that could be classified as third lead, or even less. I love those tertiary characters that have their own full and complete stories, and they often end up being the only reason I’ll finish a show, skimming over whatever madness might be happening with the main leads.

For example, in You’re Beautiful, my heart was rooting for the sweet and goofy Jeremy, over the prickly lead Tae-kyung or the perfect second-lead Shin-woo. Rooftop Prince was a mess (with the most bumbling villains ever), but I’m still in love with the Joseon ducklings who could make me forget about any plot issues and instead giggle along as they adapt to a new time period, all the while still fulfilling their duties in support of their prince.


Flower Boy Ramyun Shop

The main romance angst in a rom-com is easy to ignore when it barely registers with my heart. I managed to avoid the shipping wars in Answer Me 1994 by remaining loyal to my beloved Haitai — plus I found Samcheonpo and Yoon-jin’s relationship more compelling than all of the other romances. Wild Romance is all about the quirky Dong-ah and her awkward relationship with Robot Manager Kim. Who cares about the love triangle in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop when you have the cute bromance of Ba-wool and Hyun-woo?

Even with shows that have a compelling main romance, I find myself being more pulled into minor arcs that can make me forget there’s a bigger story going on. I love Flower Boy Next Door and have no quibble with the primary relationship, but I blame Webtoon Editor and Dong-hoon for turning this drama into one of my all-time faves. Their relationship was built on practicality and mutual respect, without any major hand-wringing angst, and they’ve since become my top OTP. (Then again, maybe that’s because I never seem to get enough sleep and so I’d totally swoon if a guy told me that the dark circles under my eyes are the main point of attraction.)


Flower Boy Next Door

Part of me wishes there were more rom-coms about thoughtful, dependable guys in loving and supportive relationships with their sassy and confident girlfriends. Another part of me grudgingly admits that this probably wouldn’t be quite as compelling viewing as the usual mercurial chaebol-Candy rom-com fare.

But maybe I’m not giving dramaland enough credit. It seems like we’re going through a time of transition, where the typical tsundere lead is gradually being replaced with the “beta male” who is more than willing to shed any pretense, happy to dive into a relationship without fear of how it will supposedly damage his reputation (as a chaebol or pop star or hot-shot lawyer or [fill in the blank]).

While I’m pleased that dramaland is perhaps evolving and re-envisioning the personality traits of its leads, I still need more than fluffy romance. I tried so hard to give Strong Woman Do Bong-soon a chance, but no matter how adorable Min-hyuk was with his heart-eyes for Bong-soon, I couldn’t overlook the terrible script that did utter disservice to the rest of the characters. A few years ago I’d be able to gloss over any issues I had with a show and just focus on the cracktastic cuteness, but I’ve since become hyper-aware of how much those minor characters mean to me and how disappointed I am when they’re used more as props and jokes rather than characters in their own right.


Rooftop Prince

I think this is why I love shows that feature an ensemble cast. There’s more depth to be had when the burden of plot and character growth is carried by more than just the main couple. This is also likely why I now enjoy the slice-of-life genre. As I grow older, I’m discovering that romance is just one small part of life rather than the end-all be-all. Work, friendship, and family are also vitally important. I’m always pleasantly surprised when a show focuses on joys of platonic friendships instead of forever teasing the push-and-pull of inevitable coupledom.

So, yes, my drama tastes have changed. In contrast to the screwball rom-coms that first drew me to dramaland, these days I long for relatable heroes and heroines who have a greater purpose than simply getting together, a supporting cast that isn’t solely constrained by their interaction with the leads, a plot that attempts to be believable, and comedy that isn’t completely tone-deaf. Where I once used to be a completist (because the only way to experience “happily ever after” is by sprinting to that final episode), I’m now apt to drop any show that isn’t living up to my expectations. With so many dramas clamoring for my attention every month, why bother with something that no longer brings me joy?


Sly and Single Again

 
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Reading recaps and actively commenting on them have turned me into that person who tells my friends "yes I like ____ show but *goes on to list 100 reasons about why it's flawed". My friends can only nod to patronise me, ignore my comments and then continue watching it, flaws and all anyway, LOL.

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Agree. I might only be watching kdramas for months (casual watcher before) but bec of db I tend to scrutinize dramas and share my (unwelcome) thoughts to my friends and they just gloss over my nagging and continue watching anyway. (I don't share my criticism to anyone though, just close kdrama friends, one or two, bec otherwise people don't tell me anything anymore for fear of my judgment lol

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Dear Lezahand KayeDrama, how are you?.

Personally for me, Drama watching goes in phases. My first Drama was "Gu Family Book". At that time I loved it to bits, now it feels edulcorated to say the least. My second Drama was "My Girlfriend is a Gumiho" which I loved even to the point of depression after finishing it (its story was so beautifully delivered, and in contrast we are going through a specially bleak part of our history). Now I see lots of defects in it, from edition ones to shortcomings in logic (but I still love it). What was catching my attention back then?, first was the good naturedness of K-Dramas; second they painted wonderful, alien worlds and situations... when life gets tough you sometimes need some good 'ol evasion in order to breathe.

The roundest show I ever saw was "Flowers for My Life" (a lovely reflection on death and its meaning) and, believe it or not, an edited version of Orange Marmalade (A reflection on discrimination, but only saw the present part and excluded the episode before the the Joseon arch).

Why I loved them so much?.

Because for all the flaws of Orange Marmalade (none from "Flowers"), both were shows with a message to deliver.

I am nitpicky, I need the shows to have a heart first, a good delivery second and great characters third (a good delivery and good characters almost fall in that adage: form and content are both part of the message). At this moment I need to feel uplifted, almost as if seeing a Drama and reflecting about it opens a door to become a better person.

So if all the wackiness in a Show serves a purpose, then THAT I can forgive.

Hope to read you soon!.

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@fgb4877 Ditto with the reasons you enumerated in why Kdramas catch attention: they're good-natured. Believe it or not I got hooked into kdramas when I saw, like, 5 mins of YFAS's elevator scene, on subbed version in a bus. I've been a casually watcher as far as I can remember but that 5 min JJH-KSH scene for me was so fresh, hilarious and vibrant. I discovered db then and got kdramas based on what beanies talk about then I got into a drama slump but Goblin pulled me out of the void.. And Goblin dealing with life, death and everything in between just touched me to the core.. So uplifting, yet devastating at the same time.. And yes, it inspires you want to be a better person

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"And yes, it inspires you want to be a better person." This is the rule for my favorite movies and I recently realized it with dramas too. Thank you, it is rarely said.

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I am the half of you. I used to enjoy the story, even complaining inside of me that some behaviors were unrealistic, but believen in the romance and all, until i discover dramabeans, LOL... Now i am sometimes a cynic, paying attention to the music, production, secuence, etc... And i am not satisfied with simple Stuffs. I hate some tropes more than the other, i realize if it is at least original (to me), and maaaaaany times i keep on watching because of the compeling secondary characters.

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ive found myself to be the same way too

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Aww I can relate to that, most of the time I get too attached with the minor characters than the leads and also makes me stay to watch the drama until the end especially when I lost the interest with the main leads story or whatnot.

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That is so true. As much as I like the main leads, in certain shows, I'm always more interested in those minor characters and how their story ends. Once I get attached to these characters, even if everything is going downhill, I have to finish it to the end since I love these third-leads/tertiary characters so much.

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I too have learned to drop a show that no longer interest me. There is not enough hours in a lifetime so why spend it watching something you do not like, right?

I also love Jeremy! My poor, sweet and adorable Jeremy. I liked Tae Kyung for Mi Nam but Jeremy was there being all puppy-like. So I was cheering him on despite knowing his love will be unrequited.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts odilletante.

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I have been doing that more and more lately. Of the last 10 or so shows I started, I don't think I finished but 3 of them (including currently running ones). I have less and less patience with all the "filler fluff" that adds nothing to the story or the plot. And when it gets to the point where 20% of an episode is filled up with various characters doing nothing but asking if they are eating well, you know the writer has totally run out of ideas.

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Right? I totally forgot how much I loved that couple.

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Wow. I relate into this. I maybe a kdrama fan but I never watch all the shows that premiere just because it's a kdrama. Maybe when I'm still young I could be like that, but as I grew up and was introduced to recaps/reviews, they had opened my eyes into various things.

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Recaps and Reviews cuts a lot of corners in the Selection Department ;) .

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The first time I watched "Best (or Greatest) Love" I shipped the doctor second lead SO HARD! (I was fairly new to K-Dramas at the time. It was the first show I'd ever seen Cha Seung-Won and he seemed so (excuse me, rapid fans) greasy. I have since come to love him. And I rewatched it recently and found I liked his character now and was happy he "got the girl." HOWEVER, I still get 2nd lead syndrome a lot of the time. I can't understand the attraction of a cold, conceited, vain lead over a sweet 2nd lead. (And in my romance novel--spoiler alert--the 2nd lead gets the girl and the happy ending, and the snotty lead gets the villainess.)

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Never had potato seemed this much disgusting to me lol. I felt like he was being borderline cheesy, too makjang, over the top with all the tantrums and antics? I didn't enjoy his character either.

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Personally I found him hilarious (albeit over the top). It was not the actor's fault, Hong Sisters tends to gravitate to extreme characters. I (mostly) like their writing style, but it is an acquired taste.

Hope they make a good Drama. Their source material for the upcoming one (Journey to the West) seems very in tune with their style.

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Aw, Cha Seung Won. I thought he looked greasy until I actually watched him in a show, Best Love! He's great.

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Yeah I preferred the other guy too

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Greatest Love was the first time I saw Cha Seung-won too, and I found him so hilarious. I almost never root for the second lead male because I always feel like it's creepy that they can't take no for an answer and I hate that the female lead keeps giving him hope. I don't like a lot of second leads in general anyway because they act purposely oblivious that the girl doesn't like them.

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I'm with you on this 100%. I usually have whatever the reverse of SLS is. Second leads creep me out most of the time because they won't go away even when it's obvious the girl doesn't prefer them.

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That's what I don't get about SLS...how can one ship the second lead withe the girl if she clearly doesn't like him, or she likes more the main lead?!?
I understand prefering him to the main lead as a person/character, but not the ship, ahaha! ?

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Yes! Best Love's second male lead was lovely but overall I'm not into them, it just becomes uncomfortable and I have to switch off from them, for my sake and theirs.

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City Hall was my first Cha Seung-won drama. Watched it b/c of Kim Suna. Loved that romcom!

I love kdrama romcoms, but not the usual overmentioned ones lol

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I'm glad that I don't have to analyze the show's I'm watching because I'm afraid it would ruin my enjoyment of good escapist rom-coms also. Although, I can sit back and enjoy "light and fluffy", I still have to have the plot make sense and have a coherent plotline. As an example, Strong Woman was cheesy and fluffy and cute, but it was also nonsense plotwise, so my enjoyment DID suffer. I hope I never get too jaded or cynical to enjoy a good rom-com, though. But I definitely have expanded my net and found myself enjoying dramas that I wouldn't have glanced at in the beginning or feel like I would have found boring in my early days. And I am more discerning in my romance choices. I still have a hard time dropping anything I've gotten pretty far into, though. If it's the first 3 episodes, no problem. But over halfway into a show, I feel like I've invested too much time to quit. LOL!

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*shows - That was autocorrect adding the apostrophe. Just so any grammar police -like me - don't think I'm a moron. ;)

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Strong Woman's plot was super strange. I stuck around though because I am powerless to Bo-Young and Hyung-Sik's adorable faces. Sigh used against me.
I was actually interested in Bong-Soon's parents relationship. I wish they explored that better. Also more of her twin relationship.
Yeap first 3 episodes you can still run away. :)

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Half of this is me. All the rom-coms listed here are my favorites, and unlike @odilettante , I still gloss over the injustice done to the script & support characters.
I still like Strong woman do bong soon because of min-min & bong-bong lol, I know that rest of the parts were horrible & unnecessary, but I still like it.

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wow, this is exactly how I feel now about dramas.... you read my mind.

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I can definitely relate to taking off the rose-colored glasses when it comes to k-dramas. I've always looked for a plot that makes sense and good acting but I was a lot more forgiving as long as there were enough fluff and cuteness and guilty pleasure tropes.

But now like most everyone, I've grown more analytical about what I watch and what just doesn't make the cut. This is a change I've welcomed because it makes my drama watching a lot more enjoyable. And I save a lot of time by dumping dramas that don't fit the bill and moving on to better things that deserve my attention because they put in the work and it shows.

I usually have a 5-episode rule, because some of the best dramas out there can sometimes have slow starts. If I've made it to the 5th episode and I don't feel a bit of intrigue or there's nothing compelling me to move forward then I'm not invested and I drop.

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I love this, odilletante! The shows with strong supporting characters keep me watching too. I attribute it to being spoiled early in my kdrama life by Kim Sam Soon (Chef and Sis! The Aunt-Secretary! Assistant Baker and the dishwasher, the gang of waitresses, the two Moms). Rom-coms are still my fave and the ones that make me stick are those with fleshed-out stories and characters for the folks who aren't the 4 leads (I call them tertiary too). And for me SWDBS was shameful in that light, sadly wasting everyone but Bong-Min. Yecch!
(I hated the Polar Bear in Witch's Romance as well but remembering the bromance between Yoon Hyun Min and PSJ makes me forget him!)

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Can you be the King of Bromance? I think Park Seo Joon might be that or at least a Prince of Bromance. That guy has chemistry and is endearing with all his guys. <3

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Ba-wool and Hyun-woo were the only reasons I could watch FBRS. That drama kick-started my immense dislike for Jung Il-woo, I hated his character with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns and watched all his scenes in fast forward. I also agree about SWDBS, I thought the OTP was cute, my indifference to Park Hyung-sik notwithstanding, but the drama itself was so mind-numbingly stupid and badly-written I couldn't enjoy the show. I still regret spending so much time watching that show and hoping for something to happen with me. I finished My Secret Hotel because of my unshakable love for Yoo Inna and the amazing first few episodes, as we moved towards the end I was irritated at all the wasted potential of this drama.

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SWDBS could have been so much more, but it was made to be a farce. That would have been fine if it had been entertaining and funny, but it wasn't, especially after the 2nd viewing of the villains and the lookalike Team Manager, who were given so little to do except look ridiculous.

I was so happy with the beginning of My Secret Hotel, and so miffed at the way they totally did NOT properly develop or pace either the romance or the murder investigation. Every character felt flat and silly at the end. I know why they left it to the 2nd writer to do his/her best, but the poor writer could have done with some help in filling up the episodes.

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"..I was irritated at all the wasted potential of this drama."
I think that's the universal concern right? We want to root for all the dramas. We are actively wanting it be amazing and we can feel irritated, let down, betrayed, and a whole host of emotions when we see the wasted potential. You could have been great, you could have been a contender (insert drama here).

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You lost me at Bong-Soon having a terrible script ;) But this is why dramaland is great. We can all watch what we love and avoid what we don't love.

Also, one thing we agree on is Haitai forever! (And life is too short for shipping wars ?)

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I really feel you on this. What makes a couple compelling, to me, is the way they relate to the other people in their lives - not just each other. Like if I were to start dating someone myself, I wouldn't feel like I really knew them until I'd met their friends and family and saw how they were in context. Same goes for dramaland - show me characters who have fully fleshed-out backgrounds, histories and flaws and I will ship them so much more.

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::claps::
Exactly I want them to meet your best friend, have your sister drop by or to call home and check in with your mom.

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How apt! I just commented something about this in Heads' post and here you are doing a whole post about it! I can so relate! ^^

Like you my tastes for romcoms have changed, mine more so as I got older. Before, an automatic rom-com tag for a drama was a go with all the squeals to accompany it. Now though I've become more discerning and it's getting harder for me to get the squeee feeling. Quite sad really. Maybe it's also because of the use of the same tropes and the inability of some dramas to put a fresh spin on them, like I can no longer be surprised.

Now I want more character developments, not just candy girl + chaebol tsundere = love and that's it. Heroes and heroines with personalities that seem like people I'd know in real life. More substance, less fluff. I can watch a drama with the same tropes but now the execution matters to me a lot.

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I totally agree with this drama changing taste. In the beginning I used to watch any rom-com as far as the romance was compelling and ignore the annoying 2nd or 3rd leads, dated cliché, or irrational events (e.g. Spy Myung Wul). But nowadays I became really picky with my drama watching. I recently dropped both Strong Woman DBS and Suspicious Partner in the middle (both because of annoying/unethical side stories and over-stupid cops/prosecutors/ lawyers). As for the 2nd lead syndrome, I barley fall for 2nd lead (except My Girl and Reply 88 where I really thought the girl picked the wrong man), but I still care about the 2nd and 3rd lead stories. I want them to have a compelling story line too. I stop watching a drama if the 2nd lead boy/girl show stupid/obsessive behavior while the 1st lead is not interested at all! I mean how can they have zero self-steam and follow someone who is interested in someone else?!

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No matter how compelling the main OTP and interesting the love triangle/square may be, great side characters are necessary to sustain 16+ hours of entertaining watch for me as well. With already so many intriguing characters in the shows, I still want to know more about the rookie cop in the Forest of Secrets and learn more flirting tips from the nanny of Seven Day Queen. I want to have Bok-ju's two loyal girlfriends and my own Crude Play to get through life together.

Hoya's Joon-hee made Reply 1997 more unforgettable and heartbreaking love story for me. Who knew that Dong Ha's spoiled chaebol character in Chief Kim would be such a scene stealer (against Namgung Min of all people!) and how he can make so many of us rooting for a serial killer in Suspicious Partner!

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Nanny of Seven Day Queen is such a GOLD character. How can the evil aunt from Goblin can be so lovely here. I want this woman get recognition for her versatile acting.

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OMG. Only now did I realize that Chaekyung's supportive nanny is Euntak's evil aunt. 180 degree change! And to think they are both characters are addressed as 이모 (imo) if I heard it right haha

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@kimbapnoona Dong Ha is SOOOO good in Suspicious Partners. I haven't liked a Bad Guy this much in a whiiiiile !

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@kethysk Liking a bad guy you said? You should see Lee Dong-gun in 7DQ. He's the most compelling baddie ?

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@kayedrama if only I liked Sageuk Kdramas...
thanks for the recommendation though !
:-)

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Side characters are a joy. They make the world real. Whether they last one episode or the whole season if i have more questions about them then BRAVO writers/actors you made them come alive.

I wanted more Crude Play. Why can't we have a Crude Play spin off? I would love to watch them build their talents, created their new album and go on tour. They were all interesting, charismatic, and loved each other. Sigh.
I loved that Bok-ju had two lady best friends. They don't usually have that many ladies on scene consistently that are also important characters. I would like to see an adorable mini drama of these two...heck even a little comic.
I just finished Reply 1997. Amazing. Joon-hee was the most romantic character and he was super insightful. Double Sigh.

Shout Out To Ji Soo in WFKBJ
He just seemed so chill as the coworker at the warehouse.

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This is such a timely article. I've been watching dramas off and on for about 8 years and it is so interesting to compare the old me who looked past flaws and HAD to finish every drama to the new more critical (to a point) me. I think that is why my drama watching has tapered off a bit in the recent years. Yes life has gotten in the way, but seeing the same tropes, in basically the same story gets old. I do still watch my rom-coms because I do love them, but I do have mentally prepare myself now. It's not the case for every drama, but a lot of them.

Also, I never really experience second lead syndrome. I guess because I go in knowing the endgame I never really change my mind from that couple. I may not like the behavior of the male lead (because it is ALWAYS the male lead who is a jerk), but I buy into it because I know he will change and grow.

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I think i can't enjoy korean rom com in general because their story is so manufacture, like they copy paste their previous love story, the only change they make is the star they picked.

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@odilettante oh I am SO GLAD that someone else feels that way about the 2ndary couple in Flower Boy Next Door !!!! I rewatched their scenes soooo many times and it's actually where I fell in love with both actors, especially Kim Seul-Gi !

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Just in that screenshot up here, they are SO cute!!!!

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Why, Odilettante, you wrote exactly about the topic I wanted to write for this month? And you did it so well, that I feel small? ?
Yet, I feel happy you said it, you said it way better than me, and that is good. ?
I also "love shows that feature an ensemble cast". I love when the cast is fun and realistic. I love when there are children or even pets, which are actually rare in dramaland. ?
There was once this drama: super daddy yeol, or something like that... awful pairing, I really hated the female main lead, the male was not way better, but I found the little girl endearing and there was a dog. ?
I still did not watch it all, but the few whatever I watched, was because of the girl and the dog?, and a couple of characters more.
In the case of SWDBS ?... I got entangled by Min-min, but I recognised the mess, and just skipped most killer, gansters and monk scenes. With that pair, what a gem would had been if they would have had a nice group of secondary characters! But anyway, of those I think (and I am happy to know) there are always few one can watch and rewatch (shopping king Louis, oh my venus, sassy go go, and more).

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I agree with shopping king louis. I recommend for everyone who wants a rom com done right that doesn't get melo with endearing side characters and also references to other shows

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hahah Pets are always a plus.
The dog in WFKBJ stick out because I don't remember them really explaining why there was a dog.
Remember the dog from SWDBS that they would forget to feed?
I forget a lot of details but these dog's lives I'm still wondering about.

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LOL!! In "Protect the Boss" there was also a dog!
And yes, I am such a pet sucker!
i wish Kdramas would use more of them!!

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Dong-ah and Robot Manager Kim were the best part of Wild Romance, just as the crayon crew were the best part of Rooftop Prince. I love friendships and ensemble dramas, but only if the characters are decent, the show has some sort of trajectory or theme, and the silly bits do not repeatedly deviate from the plot. There is nothing worse than an annoying side character whose scenes are complete filler. Also, I think writers are more willing to take risks with side characters, for better or worse.

Perhaps the reason some side characters are more interesting than the main characters is that too many romances overindulge in stale fluff. W is a good example. The plot, character development, and everything else ceased when the couple entered cutesy couple mode. The couple in Oh My Venus were more human, but they needed a plot that actually suited them. Strong Woman Do Bong was basically a string of cute music videos and questionable comedy sketches in search of a storyline. Too many romantic comedies or dramas have trouble allowing the characters and plot to develop together in a way that remains interesting from beginning to end. Too often, the plot drives the characters or vice versa. In many cases, romantic cliches drive both. To me, romance is the cherry on top of a sundae, but too many dramas serve the cherry alone.

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Love an ensemble cast. One of the best Dramas I saw was "Bottom of the 9th with 2 Outs" (2007). It was excellent and loved the lead couple, but odd couples like the failed worker at the editorial and the call center lady made my day. Why?, because they shared an affinity based on loneliness. It was kind of lovely see these two persons find comfort in their (for lack of a better word) friendship.

It added a layer of reality.

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I've watched a few hundred kdramas till date. Even with changing tastes, i still find myself watching almost everything from rom com to thriller to medical, sometimes melo but i try to avoid outright melo and gore if i can.

I think the only real preference change I have is that i wish almost all dramas to be shorter. Most dramas are in need of at least a quarter or a third of episode cut. Very few shows have the right fit of episode count for the content they had. Till date the only extension i welcomed was the 1 episode extension in i hear my voice, so that i could breathe. Only six flying dragon felt like it could do with an extension. Tunnel, signal, circle are around the right fit for their episode count.

Imagine how much better strong woman do bong soon would be if it's 12 episodes instead of 16? No need for gangsters and fake monk and delinquent students. Saim dang would probably increase in rating if it's 20 or 16 instead of 30. Characters will not do stupid things out of character just to prolong into episode count, like suspicious partner. No need for noble idiocy just to make up the time. Even goblin that i loved would not meander so much with mournful eyes and long moments if they just keep to the 1h timeframe. Reply 1988 would not be so slow at some times. Even oh hae young again would not slow down in pacing if they didn't have the 2 episode extension. My beloved Goong would not drag in the second half with mopey idiocy and misunderstanding and inaction. I believe even the best hit is ditching the mokumentary drama variety mode for only rom com romance recently because it has run out of ideas to fit 16 episodes.

On a side note, a desire for a shorter episode count is also what led me to try other genres and topics last year and this year, dramas that i may not have watched due to lack of time were they 16 episodes, and thus missed out on those gems. Like age of youth, this week my wife is having an affair, solomon's perjury. Even circle that i had been looking forward to since it's premiere, I believe it would not be so amazing had it not been 12 episodes but 16.
I wish dramaland would have more dramas with shorter episodes so that more interesting topics and genres can have a tryout without being stretched for filler content just for the episode count.
Just my two cents worth :)

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I forgot about my only love song, 10h drama! It has some angst but it's over so fast because the drama is shorter, lol

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So sorry, typed too fast, suspicious partner should be at noble idiocy.

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So sorry for the mistake, typed it on hp, space constraint for proof reading.

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That's a great point.
I'd actually love to push it a little further. If we're going to stick to the usual only one season format them I propose that a show/writers be given the amount of episodes the story the want to tell needs.
This story needs 10 episodes done.
This one needs 14, 28, 8, or 30.
Yeah I know it's probably too radical for primetime maybe cable can take it up?

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We can only hope :)
The writers will need to write the full script then? Then maybe actors will be able to pick better scripts too *cough* doctor stranger *cough*

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Sigh from your comments to their ears.
Full scripts c'moonnn writers.
ok ok how about really strong and structured outlines of full plot and characters?

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Maybe this is unpopular opinion, but was I the only one who did not really like Goblin? I found it really slow and dragging. Although I would watch Gong Yoo's face for 100 hours lol

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You named two of my favorite non-lead couples - webtoon editor+dong hoon and Dong-ah and the manager. I'm with you on needing rom-coms to be more than just the romantic comedy, which totally doesn't seem to make sense.

And having interesting secondary and tertiary characters are important. I would feel sad for the hero/heroine if all the people around them are either boring or evil. That would be a depressing world to live in!

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I became way more critical aft reading dramabeans too but this is good because now I don't waste my time on shows which aren't as substantial (yes I'm looking at u ruler u have all my biases in kdrama and kpop in one show but I still can't watch u) but occasionally ensemble casts draw me to finish a drama even if the main leads are dragging the story down (suspicious partner!! I'm only watching for eunhyuk and the rest of the adorable law firm family)

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I love rom coms. But my complaint about them is that they usually evolve into angst and melodrama, like what's happening now with Suspicious Partners and Fighy My Way. I want a fluffy rom com with minimal separations, no love triangles and love squares or birth secrets. The one that fit the bill lately is Strong Woman which I adore. I agree the writing is lacking but things are resolved quickly, no unnecessary misunderstanding or noble idiocy. No annoying second female bitches and their idiotic schemes. It rested solely on the otp chemistry. I'm a sucker for rom coms and will always watch if I like the otp.

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Have you watched shopping king Louis? I was surprised myself, it's relatively angst free and the side characters are are hilarious. The second half in my opinion is actually better which is definitely different from other Korean dramas I have watched.

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Seconding this!

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I was going to third it, then remember they also separated for a short while due to misunderstanding, lol

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Speaking of romcoms, can somebody suggest anything similar to Last Scandal or Can We Love?

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I relate to this 100% hence why I loved let's eat series, drinking solo and age of youth so much is that they have amazing side characters. Shopping king Louis is another one but not as slice of life as the others. The reply series are another one which puts focus on everyone so even with the husband hunting the other storylines are interesting.

One of the things I dislike about some kdramas is their heavy focus on the main couple and when it's not them on screen everything else is just flat. It's especially obvious when they're going through angsty moment and there isn't that side factor that can pull me through to the end of the drama. An example of this would be you who came from the stars which I loved but by the end yoo in na's character was nonexistent. I end up either dropping it or putting it on hold.

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"I tried so hard to give Strong Woman Do Bong-soon a chance, but no matter how adorable Min-hyuk was with his heart-eyes for Bong-soon, I couldn’t overlook the terrible script that did utter disservice to the rest of the characters. A few years ago I’d be able to gloss over any issues I had with a show and just focus on the cracktastic cuteness, but I’ve since become hyper-aware of how much those minor characters mean to me and how disappointed I am when they’re used more as props and jokes rather than characters in their own right."

THIS exactly. This is exactly my thoughts. My tastes have also changed from rom-coms. I used to just enjoy the fluffiness and cuteness but I have become a lot more critical over the years and just can't do that anymore. I can't turn my brain off to the poorly written characters, lazy cliches, poor writing, and fabricated drama that wouldn't be an issue in the real world anymore. Strong Woman is on my list for top worst kdramas. However, if I watched this a few years ago I would have loved it.

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oh be still my beating heart...
it's like you screencapped a scene from my own drama viewing and put it onto a blog for all to see...(does this sort of work??? meeehhhh)

i agree with you on a lot of points. as much as I love rom-com I need something more than just the OTP to keep me watching. i can get OTP fatigue...hahaha. i, like you, also adored Jeremy in you're beautiful. I've found that i can no longer return to it. it's on my "cannot watch anymore" list because it's a bit ridiculous to me now.

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"Dramabeans ruined rom-coms for me. Wait. Let me rephrase that in a way that won’t get me fired" -Nicely done here- LOL

I enjoyed reading you! And I agree about almost everything you said.

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@odilettante You literally read my mind, I recently marathoned both FBND, FBRS and I din't find anything interesting except the stories of the side characters you mentioned, I can name numerous rom-coms where I watched the drama till the end only for those side characters, I even re-watch few shows like I recently did that for Lucky Romance only for Dal-Nim and her cafe sasangnim...

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This is me. I went from heart eyes over rom-coms to near-avoidance of any drama labeled as a rom-com. I guess my tastes are a little more exacting nowadays. I want less noble idoicy, less crying, less damsel-in-distress syndrome, less jerky leads... To be honest, I've kind of given up hope that there will be more practical, more relatable romantic comedies.

These high expectations have also passed on to other drama types. For instance, many Beanies adored Circle. I was disappointed. All the crying. A show of "genius" characters doing the dumbest things. The superfluous comedy. The plot was what saved the show for me. I enjoyed watching the future and past storylines weave together to unfold the mystery. I was a little miffed that I didn't have a clear answer on Byul's identity by the end but okay. I can live with that. I think if the acting had been subtler, I could lend my voice to the praise of this drama. That is the latest example of my high expectations being simply too stringent for a drama I would have likely fawned over years ago.

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Saw Park Seo Joon so I just had to click it! Haha

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It's truuueee why is it that my favorite characters are almost always like third person over there or like best friend with barely any lines?? Like Sassy Go Go I loved Eunji's best friend more than the leads themselves (didn't ship, just loved), and Boys Over Flowers I skipped all of the leads' parts and only watched for Soeulmates (LOVE), and WooU>samdong/taecyun (whatshisname haha)+hyemi...

Man I wish they all had more lines in their dramas. Especially in Sassy Go Go because he almost literally had no part whatsoever except that he's the best haha

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" I couldn’t overlook the terrible script that did utter disservice to the rest of the characters"
Woww!! So me!!! Beyond the cuteness of the couple, I couldn't find a compelling plot to keep me hooked on till the end or to make me watch it again!! They started off beautifully with a life saviour secret, but that trope was not used as effectively!!! Thank God I found one who thinks as me!!

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It sounds you grew up lol, I have very different tastes as 16yr old versus the 23 yr old me so this resonates with me. But it also sounds like you would enjoy Taiwanese shows, they invest a lot more time with family and friends surrounding the main characters. Search for the old taiwanese shows, those are gold

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