[2017 Year in Review] How Carpe Diem became my favorite club
by Guest Beanie
This post is about how Dramabeans’ weekly What We’re Watching posts changed my drama-watching habits. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. And if you do login every week to comment, hurrah! You have kept a journal of your watching activity this year. You now have a log of your 2017 K-drama journey.
I actually did research for this. The records show that my viewing habits took a change of direction in 2017. Previously, I was a hardcore binge-watcher (and still am at heart)—I had one or two ongoing dramas, and then gleefully marathoned older dramas in the meantime. But slowly I started to watch mainly currently airing dramas. I was also ending grad school and struggling to enter the real world. Maybe I grew up. All I know is that I don’t have the energy to marathon every weekend anymore. On the upside, I have joined in discussions more.
Hwarang had me pulling my hair out every week (and wishing I could pull out some horrible wigs too), but the comments section was so much fun that I would never have dropped it in spite of swearing every week that I would. Because This Life Is Our First made me write essay-long comments. I spent hours reading and replying to comments until fatigue set in around Episode 12 and I just couldn’t handle all the scenes that screamed for analysis.
Looking back through my What We’re Watching entries, I realize that for most of the year, I was fighting against a disenchantment with K-drama. I started out enthusiastic about dramas and then began to find flaws until it made watching them a chore. I grumbled about Goblin and a certain Goryeo flashback scene. I wanted Ah-ro to be shot with an arrow once and for all. I wanted The Liar and His Lover to have more music-making, and I complained that Man to Man left me cold. I dropped Fight My Way because the second leads got on my nerves. I raved about School 2017 until it decided to focus on romance and forgot about the other characters and their struggles.
And somewhere in the middle I fell into the Slump. I turned to Chinese dramas in despair. Even The Best Hit, which finally dragged me out of my misery, was not perfect. Eventually, I have come to the conclusion that expecting perfection is not realistic and that I should savor the good bits a show gives me when it does, and to the fullest. Carpe diem. So thank you, Hyun-Jae and Handphone, for the hilarious fish-out-of-water antics. I won’t lose hope, and if a drama ever leaves me feeling fully satisfied, so much the better.
The Best Hit
And great dramas do come along once in a while. What We’re Watching allowed me to find dramas I had overlooked, that when given the opportunity, won my heart completely. I usually stay away from reincarnation stories, but I noticed that Chicago Typewriter received much love by Beanies whose taste I respect. I asked around. Armed with the advice that Episodes 1-8 may be confusing, I sat down determined to persevere. In the end I loved it, and oh the thrill, I got to relive my binge-watching days and laugh and cry and download the OST because it was just too amazing.
So nowadays if I want a recommendation, I ask in What We’re Watching comments if something is worth starting, and even better—I get answers! I have watched Misaeng and Answer Me 1988 purely due to the recommendation of fellow Beanies in What We’re Watching. The other side of the coin, of course, is that What We’re Watching helps me avoid lemons. This is a vital function. It was useful—and wickedly amusing on my part—to read frustrated reviews by recappers and Beanies over certain dramas (yo, Manhole!). So I simply stayed away. I felt I could do a similar service to other Beanies with my comments. Why suffer needlessly, right?
Above all, What We’re Watching has allowed me to share my love for certain shows. I promoted Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People because of its incredible music and acting (Mori fan club member here). I kept trying to convince others to watch Chief Kim and join the puny ranks of Beanies in the discussion thread. I remember that we were few, maybe thirty at most. We were a small but happy group that didn’t dig too deep and mostly laughed together over the funny and the bromance.
I loved the drama, but the discussion thread made it extra special. I really felt like part of a club. And we continued to promote Chief Kim for the rest of the year. I think if we did a recount now, there are probably many more Beanies who have tried this delicious show. I hope they enjoyed it as much as Junho enjoyed his food.
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- [2017 Year in Review] Beanie Awards: Vote for your favorite dramas of the year!
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- [2017 Year in Review] Part 1: The Bean Count
- [Theme of the Month] Tell us about your year in dramas