[Dramas and food] From rants to royalty
by Guest Beanie
When I think about the words “dramas” and “food,” one thing springs to mind. A little event on the fourteenth of September 2017 that would lead to me being crowned the queen of a virtual queendom. My coronation took place after almost two years of inside jokes on Dramabeans, at least three hauntings, and probably the most successful word of mouth advertising I have ever personally started, or experienced.
In September 2017, the 11th episode of Strongest Deliveryman aired and there was a horrifying and memorable scene: a sort of makeover. The female lead, played by Chae Soo-bin, is a Tomboy Candy™ who gets drunk, dresses up real pretty, and sets out to go find her love interest to seduce him.
On her way out, she walks past three tertiary characters who happen to all be eating a pale green popsicle. They, of course, are in shock. Because the Tomboy is not only wearing heels, but a dress! And lipstick! So she’s like, hot now! Because… she’s wearing a dress? In reaction, these three characters drop their popsicles on the ground out of shock.
The name of this popsicle is actually never said in the drama, nor do you ever see the packaging. But since these popsicles are in every convenience store and supermarket in the entirety of South Korea, the blatant naming of this PPL (because that’s what it is) is unnecessary to Korean viewers. But what is this popsicle, and why is this scene so offensive?
If you’re not already in the know, let me introduce you to the Melona Bar, a honeydew-flavoured ice cream stick made by the corporation Binggrae. And no, do not turn your nose up at the flavour honeydew, because not only is that fruit completely underrated and amazing, but these ice lollies might as well be my ambrosia, if I were a Greek Goddess.
I love them. I could eat an entire box of them in one day. They’re addictive and refreshing and scrumdiddlydumtious. BUT–the show dropped not one, not two, but three of them.
On the ground.
For the sake of a drunk makeover scene and some bloody product placement.
*Pause whilst I take in a deep calming breath.*
To witness the dropping of any ice cream on the ground is a tragic, heart-breaking experience especially if you love food (like I do), and don’t like wasting it (like I don’t), and if you really frakking love ice cream, (like I do).
To witness the dropping of three of your all-time favourite ice cream bars on the ground is, at worst earth-shattering, at least definitely enraging.
The most obvious thing to do in reaction to this outrageous happenstance was, of course, rant about it on Dramabeans. So that’s exactly what I did. This rant, ending with the
command plea for everyone to go try these Melonas, gained traction. A significant, surprising, ridiculous amount of traction.
It’s very hard to explain in words what exactly happened and the hilarity of it all but basically, Melonas blew up. It started small, with just a few curious people who went to their nearest Asian mart to find them. Then people who had previously known about them were reminded of them. Before I got my head around what was happening, everyone shared their Melona stories on the wall.
It felt like every other day a Beanie was asking: a) what is Melona, b) where is Melona and yes, even, *Drax voice* c) why is Melona. There were a myriad of other questions: does it come in any other flavours because I don’t really like melon? *heretics* *coughs* Is it shippable? What stores have it in X part of Y country? How many Melonas can one Beanie eat in a minute? Is Melona + Ramen + Dramas the best combination? (The answer is yes.)
One Beanie went to nine different stores just to try and find them. Another Beanie got their whole family into them and keeps them regularly in the freezer. Beanies were even getting their own superfluous tertiary characters into them, like the manager of their local grocery store. Once, a Beanie flew all the way to another country for a concert and was even given a freezer box filled with Melonas to take back to their Melona-less home country.
Posting about Melona on the fanwall suddenly became one of those things you did. Even people who didn’t know why they were doing it went out, bought a Melona and talked about it.
This meant I got tagged in posts. A lot. Because apparently it was all my fault. There’s also a rumour that I am a secret advertising bot working for Binggrae for the expansion of their Melon Flavoured Popsicle Conglomerate. You’re not authorised to know that information so I will neither confirm nor deny.)
It’s one thing to start a trend. It’s quite another to have people think of you whenever Melonas turn up in dramas; even going to the lengths of shipping ice lollies just because you said they should try one.
What started off as a small fad turned into a running joke that saw me crowned queen of an online, ever-expanding trend empire known as Melonia, and still explaining to people 20 months later what the heck a Melona is. I went from “Oh hey, I did that” to “I DID that?!”
In case you hadn’t got the gist yet: Melona bars are delightful; they should never, ever be dropped on the ground, and if you haven’t had one, I suggest you go try one–right now. Or as soon as you can find a supermarket that carries them.
I am sensing some resistance still. It’s okay, I get it. Not everyone likes honeydew melons. You know what? Melona comes in mango, strawberry, and banana as well, because it wouldn’t be a Korean ice popsicle if it didn’t come in what tastes suspiciously like that really famous Korean banana milk. That means there is a flavour for everyone.
And the hauntings?
There is actually a fifth flavour of Melona. The coconut Melona. Now, I love coconut flavoured things. I love Melonas. A coconut Melona would be an other worldly experience. This flavour though is apparently impossible to find outside of the United States of America. I, dearest friends, fellow beanies, and loyal subjects to the Crown of Melonia, live in New Zealand. I have been to South Korea, twice. And yet, no coconut Melonas. None. Zilch. Nada.
I have however dreamt about them, three times in fact. I think the Powers That Be are playing a practical joke on me: “You know what would be funny? If the Queen of Melonia could never find a coconut one. But she can dream about them instead.”
Next time I’m in the States, guess what will be first on my to do list.
Thus, my real answer to this month’s question, “How have dramas influenced your relationship to food?”
“Well anywhere between fifteen and thirty people think of me now when they eat a melon flavoured popsicle, so I guess that’s something… Oh also, I’m a queen.”
P.S. they are #JunhoApproved.
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Tags: Theme of the Month