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K-drama problems: To share or not to share

To share or not to share, that is the question. Indoctrinating a friend or loved one into the world of Korean dramas is not something to take lightly. It’s not exactly hazing and it’s not exactly a ceremonial rite, but there’s certainly a lot to take into consideration.

As with Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility, so before you start strategically recommending shows and sharing your feels, let’s think about the power we are wielding. K-dramas, after all, are like nothing else — and that’s why we love them.

I was lucky enough to discover K-dramas at the same time as a dear friend, so rather than one person pulling the other, we kind of pulled each other in (under?). And it was fun. We’d share knowledge, share shows, and share giggles. In fact, K-dramas are one of those things that it’s hard not to share. Even before I started writing about them, it was mission impossible for me not to wax poetic to everyone around me about “my shows.” (And yeah, I still do it.)

But, perhaps because my journey into K-dramas was less of a journey and more of a mad leap off a glorious cliff, I quickly developed reservations about bringing other friends and family into the fold. Those that were already there? Chingus for life. But bringing in a newbie? That’s where I have some qualms.

As much as I feel the drive to share dramas with others, I feel the same amount of force stopping me. I once told a friend, after giddily explaining a then-favorite show’s plot, “I’d make you watch it, but I don’t want to ruin your life.” My exact words.

Why ruin? K-dramas are one of my favorite pleasures, and those are normally things we like to share, and that are easy to share, whether it’s a great new recipe, a song, a lunch spot, or anything else. There are a few reasons behind my hesitation, and the first has to do with the absolute vortex that is dramaland. Jump in, and you might never come out. In this respect, it’s just out of courtesy for my friend’s relationships, social life, and ability to live a normal life that I think twice before roping her in.

Another big reason is that there’s a bit of a learning curve, especially if you’re new to Korean culture and media. I didn’t realize it at the time, and it wasn’t until I was a good dozen dramas into my drama career that I realized how different it was from anything I was used to. I’m not just talking about kimchi fridges and banchan for breakfast — it’s the storytelling, too. From the way the story is told and the format it takes, to the things, words, and moments dramas cares about — there’s no denying dramaland is a unique place.

If dramaland ruins you, then it’s surely a beautiful ruin. But yeah, you’ll be ruined. For one, you’ll lose all your spare time. SO MANY SHOWS TO WATCH. You’ll also start to change, because it’s hard not to be affected by the aesthetics, the syntax, and the shape of the K-drama world. Most of it will be good: winning spunk and perseverance, thinking twice before jumping to defend yourself when wronged, great fashion, and an appreciation of whimsy. But, some of it won’t be so good: you might develop unrealistic expectations towards potential love interests, oncoming traffic, and become fascinated with building rooftops (just to name a few of the real-life impacts).

While I can find a lot of reasons to talk myself out of getting a friend into dramas, on the other hand, many of my fondest drama watching moments have come from watching and sharing them.

A long wait in an airport spent watching T.O.P.’s mini drama Secret Message. A lunch hour fruitfully spent watching Gu Family Book and falling in love with Choi Jin-hyuk. Spending a precious hour of vacation watching the latest Memories of the Alhambra episode — because when it was good it was good.

Does the joy of watching and sharing shows with friends and loved ones counter the knowledge of the havoc you’re about to wreak on their lives? I’m not sure. But if I’m honest, I think a part of my hesitation to share K-dramas with some people in my life is something we devotees don’t often like to think about: what if they don’t like it?

While my first reaction is to brush that ridiculous thought away like an obnoxious but harmless gnat, it really is a consideration. And I’m sorry to admit I’ve experienced this a bit. My mom and I tend to have similar taste in stories, so when I wanted to introduce her to dramaland, I thought that Splish Splash Love would be a great starting point. Short, cute, not overwhelming, but still full of K-drama sparkle. There’s beautiful faces, jumping into puddles, hijinks, comedy, and some lovely history too. How can it not be a win? Well, she watched it, but she was none too impressed.

Then it kinda happened with my brother, too (are you seeing a pattern?). I thought I won the battle once I got him to promise to watch City Hunter with me. Come on, how can you not like City Hunter, right? It has everything you can ask for. Action, intrigue, drama, romance, some great fight scenes, and some hilarious Lee Min-ho moments. Heck, I still call beans “the meat from the ground” to this day, and I got that from City Hunter! But I digress. Now, don’t get me wrong, he watched it, and he might have even liked it… but he didn’t think it was as great as I did. And he didn’t take a nose dive into K-dramas after that, either.

I guess if I really think about it, it makes sense. TV shows (especially recent American ones) are slick and edgy, and they often seek to push boundaries as a way to make something successful, evocative, and unforgettable. Sure, if you’re used to this kind of TV, K-dramas may be weird, and maybe even a bit silly. They’ll look wholesome, dotty, and take a long time to tell their stories in comparison. But you know what? Those are all the reasons why I love them.

A final possibility is that I’m holding back the world of dramaland from others because I want to keep it all for myself, kind of like I would do with a box of dark chocolate truffles right about now. They are mine, and I want to enjoy them without having to explain, justify, or translate. Indeed, there’s something to be said for keeping something you love close to your heart, especially when you suspect that others around you won’t share your high level of appreciation. Maybe that’s just being selfish, but there it is.

Whether it’s courtesy for another person’s time/sanity, reservations about taste or what another person enjoys, or protecting something you hold dear, sharing K-dramas isn’t as easy as pressing the play button. Do you share K-dramas with abandon, or are you more choicy about who you pull in, or which drama you might use to lure someone? Maybe you keep your dramas to yourself, and go around happily clueless about the non-K-drama shows everyone else is watching (ahem). While K-dramas might not be for everyone, and sharing them can be a tricky business, there are a lot of people out there that adore them shamelessly and wholeheartedly. Like us.

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I don't ever think to share my love of kdramas unless someone asks. I think it is mostly because I watch a great deal of television generally, so treat kdramas as such, they are not more special to me then my American TV shows, they are just in Korean. When someone asks me for a TV recommendation I ask what genre, how do they in take their TV, and if they like foreign television. I work from there. I have friends who like kdramas and we watch it together. I also have friends who like American shows and we'll watch those. So this is an interesting take to me. I also want to add I didn't like City Hunter, in fact I think it it is one of the worst kdramas, if I were to recommend an action drama it would probably be Bad Guys. Not to bash your taste or anything, but there are better action dramas. This is said with love ❤️ and joy.

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I didn't like City Hunter neither. I really liked the manga and the anime version. I loved Ryo Saeba's character, so the Korean version was really disapointing. They took off his gun! It's like they decided to take off Robin Hood's bow! I like Park Min Young but for it was her weakest role, she never was convincing as President bodyguard...

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So agree about Park Min Young.

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I also didn't like City Hunter!!!! Feels good to say it lol
I never understood why people like it so much, the show took itself too seriously and at the same time was too over the top. I didn't even manage to finish it.

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Was city hunter THAT bad? Maybe it didn't age well. I remember loving it when it first came out. Maybe it was the first of its kind and then maybe it kinda lost its pizzaz along the way. Was it overly dramatic? YES. Did it sometimes not make sense? Absofreakinglutely. Was PMY good in it? well, meh. But did I find the story/back story/premise actually compelling? YES. Actually, maybe I still LOVE city hunter. I understand people not LOVING it. but not even liking it? That makes me sad but its probably more accurate.

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Lmao, it's okay we disagree. I didn't mean to make you sad. I just genuinely thought it was bad and not in a so bad it was good way, just plain bad. You keep loving it and don't let my negativity get in the way of that. 😊

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It is okay that we disagree. Maybe I'll give bad guys a try on of these days.

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I had been neck-deep in Kdramas until some years ago, when i was a student. Used to follow dramabeans so dedicatedly and had enough time for it all. At the same time I also used to watch many English sitcoms and movies. I had time for it then. Then I had to cut my self off Kdramas because they were consuming much more time and I was finding it difficult to get off my computer. The same feeling was shared by many of my friends. So I took a break, stopped watching them altogether. Now I am hesitant to start binge-watching again, coz it is kind of a vicious cycle.
As for many of my friends and relatives, I find that mostly girls are heavily invested in Kdramas. I tried to rope in the boys, but they tried to brush it off as silly. As you said I thought City Hunter would be impressive to boys. But they may have liked it, but not impressed enough to dive in. Hence I am a little hesitant to suggest Kdramas to a newbie.

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There are ALOT more options now for guys who don’t care for romantic or melo genres. A good gateway drama for guys is Life on Mars or Bad Guys: Vile City.

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How about Signal? Or maybe Kingdom?

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They are mine, and I want to enjoy them without having to explain, justify, or translate.

This sentence defined my whole reservation for bringing people in my real life to this rabbit hole madness. The biggest reason, at first, was my knee-jerk reaction of not wanting to be judged solely by the entertainment and stories I enjoyed. (I just realized there's a reason I don't advertise my love for fantasy novels either.)

I'm not exactly hiding my love for kdrama (and kpop too for the matter). My friends and family know, but I don't exactly talked at length about it either. They probably think I only watched it casually instead of waxing poetic and writing thousands words essay after each series ended. So mostly, I'm all cool when suddenly one of them found themselves getting pulled into the rabbit hole. I recommended one or two titles when they asked for it and shared a bit of my thought on why those were a good show. But nothing more. And then when they are already deep inside, they would find out that actually I'm one of those "crazy inner people" and nothing like my usually calm and rational self. Sometimes I feel like living a double identities, I swear. Thankfully there's my sister who knows me well and is just as crazy about staying in this rabbit hole as me. 😉

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Sometimes I feel like living a double identities, I swear.

I'm totally Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I like to think I've left caring about what other people think of me behind in high school, but I think we all fear being judged. I shudder at the thought of someone in my real life finding me on Dramabeans.

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I know EXACTLY what you mean. This is my safe space and I don’t want to be judged or laughed at or chided for all the time I spend on kdramas.

And yeah I’m an adult, I have a job, a husband and a freaking kid but yet I still get affected when people judge me for what they may feel is “a waste of time”.

So yeah. I feeeelll you. ❤️

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Same! ❤️

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I'm a closet fan with friends and loved ones who I know do not watch K-dramas. They know I do nothing but watch television but never have I specified what television nor have they caught on I don't know what they're talking about when they talk about the shows they're watching.

Then I have friends who watch K-dramas, but they're casual watchers who don't know actors' real names and sometimes don't even know the name of the drama they're watching, so I don't fangirl with them. As someone who watches dramas for actors and have their birth years memorized, I don't know how they live like that.

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With my friends & loved ones, they’ll ask me stuff like:
WTF? is that Chinese? Why are yo-”
Me: NO, THIS ONE’S KOREAN.

Few episodes later:
“So why are they always screaming.” Me: REAL TALK, I’M NOT SURE.

Then they’ll go away and come back during another episode, ask a few more questions and eventually some will sit and join me out of deepened curiosity and end up sucked in when I explain the plot to them and get them caught up. It doesn’t always translate to the person getting into kdramas though but it’s interesting how easily they can capture interest when people give them a chance.

I remember my dad and even some of my brothers getting into more romance themed kdramas I was watching after they got over the initial culture shock and having to read subtitles.

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I like reading romance novels and YA, and I like those in my dramas too, but dont always like to tell people. Both of those genres are so often almost casually put down.
I see alot of "For a" or "fluff" put in as qualifiers when people talk about either in a positive light. I see it in front of dramas too...from fans of dramas.
So, for the most part I keep them to myself.

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Several years ago I recommended korean dramas to a worker, who had serious insomnia and said she was tired of watching animal shows on National Geographic. She fell hard for the stories and great character arcs, and was soon marathoning shows, (and getting less sleep) while I was holding myself to 1 episode per day. I'm more careful these days, lest I send anyone else into sleep deprivation mode.

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"A final possibility is that I’m holding back the world of dramaland from others because I want to keep it all for myself, kind of like I would do with a box of dark chocolate truffles right about now. They are mine, and I want to enjoy them without having to explain, justify, or translate. Indeed, there’s something to be said for keeping something you love close to your heart, especially when you suspect that others around you won’t share your high level of appreciation. Maybe that’s just being selfish, but there it is."

This is the exact reason why I never reveal my most favorite shows to my kdrama-fan friends. I suggest lots of shows to them based on my personal enjoyment or theirs, but I'm not gonna tell them which one is my favorite upfront. If they stumble upon it and love it as much as I do, good for them and me both! If they don't, and tell me their problem with it, I can easily just acknowledge and brush it off. But I'm not setting myself and my beloved show up for criticism beforehand. Maybe that's just being selfish, but there it is.

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Yeah.... I hate it when I mention my favourtie show and then someone says- omg- boring etc etc. then I feel like I need to back pedal and try again.

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Interestingly I’m more than happy to share my love for Kdramas with anyone... but.... very few know just how far down the rabbit hole I’ve fallen and how far it managed to intertwine with my life.
Doctor by day, Secretly blogging about (medical) kdramas at night.... it’s like an alter ego I had for a while. 😅

And I blame Dramabeans for being the enabler!

But 100% I will never ever regret my leap off the cliff because of the friends I’ve made here on DB. I’ve gone travelling to Korea with one, watched a fan meeting with 4 and had endless drama discussions here and on KakaoTalk too....

So yeah. Loud and proud about my love for KDramas but I’m quieter about my love for DB, simply because well I’m selfish and kind of think this little wonderful world here is too special and for now I’m keeping you guys all to myself! (Insert evil laugh... muhahaha!) ❤️😘🥰😍

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Same here. Although, everyone knows that I watch kdramas at work, they have no idea I write about it here and on my own blog. I have my kdrama watching group, of course, and we text each other frequently, but none of them are as far in as I am. And DB is a special place. Hardly anyone knows I’m active here!

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I show kdramas to just 2 people. One got into them; the other said "that didn't suck" but showed no further interest.

But meanwhile...

unrealistic expectations towards potential love interests, oncoming traffic

:)

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watching the latest Memories of the Alhambra episode — because when it was good it was good.

Shh.... Yes,it was, but there are people you don't want to let hear you say that. Jeffrey might come after you :)

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I confess that I introduced kdramas to people just to have someone to talk about them with but it recently backfired a bit when one of my friends got REALLY into them and it basically took over her life (then she got sucked into kpop and I was like WHAT HAVE I DONE - just kidding....sort of)

I’ve been watching dramas for 10 years and she’s already watched more than me, I was shook!!

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People know I watch kdramas but I’ve been hesitant to convince them to start watching. Those I successfully persuaded didn’t like it enough watch another series. I guess it’s not for everyone, plus some people hate subtitles.

As @missvictrix said there’s the learning curve. The culture was so different. I found the dramas kinda cheesy in the beginning and I had to get used to stuff like piggy backs, wrist grabs, hitting, candy girls, kneeling to ask for forgiveness, etc. But I found it irresistible and boy, did I binge-watch!!!

Then there are the closet kdrama fans who told me not to tell our friends that they’re deep in the rabbit hole.

Unlike most of you, I don’t have people to discuss the dramas and fandom with. That’s why DB means so much to me!

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Almost everyone knows that I like those "Asians films" but only one of my friend is interested but only if watching together but because we live in different cities it hard to come. So far she watched and loved Kill Me, Heal Me and Goblin, with Kill Me, Heal Me being her favourite. I don't feel the need to introduce people to kdramas really, maybe because I prefer English subs.

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Not related, I know...

@bbstl @katakwasabi @pakalanapikake @ally-le @hebang @msrabbit @leetennant @egads

Describe your favourite actor in four words.

Gong Yoo, HANDS, LEGS, CREEPY SWORD
Hyun bin, SMILE, DIMPLES, CREEPY SWORD
SSR, COLD, CHARMING, EXTRA, SHIPWRECK
Joo Ji hoon, TALL, LEGS, ZOMBIE, TRAINWRECK

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Awwww,I only need one word for Hyun Bin . . . DREAMY

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I have only two words for my eternal oppa, Ji Sung: SO GOOD

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So Ji Sub - smile
Jang Hyuk - smile (and all the other kinds of sort of smiles)
Hyun Bin - smile
Gong Yoo - smile

Hmmm... I’m seeing a pattern here

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I have a friend who literally told me this - He hates film and TV that causes him to have EMOTIONS. (He said 'emotions' as though it was the name of a disease). He's also repelled by stories of characters who are struggling. And don't even try to make him watch romance! What can you do with such people? He hasn't just shut himself off from the K-drama universe, there's no other form of storytelling left for him either. I don't think his attempt to sit down and read a proper novel lasted a week.

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My family lost me to kdramas 3 years ago... After this initial period of madness and binge watching, I am trying to be more reasonable with my time. And no, I don't share my love for Asian dramas with anyone around me - it just aggravates them.

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The film 'Parasite' has allowed me to broach the subject of Korean TV to people who otherwise would have had little interest. That film is a good foot-in-the-door. There's also the recent American film 'The Farewell' that's a good starting point for discussing Asian drama. Usually if you try to mention Asian film people's sole point of reference is 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' from twenty years ago.

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I feel all the reservations everyone has expressed here about sharing my love for k dramas (and music), with the additional one that I am Korean American myself, so when people just "don't get it" or express dislike, it feels personal (and more so than when I say I like anything else that other people aren't into or don't know about).

That's because there is often just a barely concealed (or not concealed at all) racism or nationalism in others' attitudes - usually not intentional, but hurtful nonetheless, especially when it's from friends.

So I may mention in passing that I am watching a Korean show or listen to a Korean artist when the subject of what we are watching/listening to comes up, but only briefly. I don't try to get others into it, usually.

It's strange that such an important part of my imaginative and cultural life has to live underground, essentially - but apparently it's that way for a lot of you all! Thank goodness for Beanies and Dramabeans!

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It is sad that Kdramas are so dismissed. Even the way Netflix categorizes many of them--"Soapy East Asian Romances"--gets my back up. It perpetuates misunderstanding.
On the other side of racism or nationalism, I am not of Asian descent and so it was so eye opening to come into the wall of my own stereotypes and preconceived notions. It has also been fascinating to see my own cultural norms as social constructs and not "the way things are". As a sociology major it has been tremendously exciting.
For these reasons everyone would benefit from watching entertainment outside there own cultural norm.
I do worry that I may come out with new cultural stereotypes though; I have to remind myself that just as the TV in my country does not represent everyone in my country the same is true for Kdramas.

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"I do worry that I may come out with new cultural stereotypes though; I have to remind myself that just as the TV in my country does not represent everyone in my country the same is true for Kdramas."

You are absolutely right. I think anyone past childhood can usually understand that dramas from our own countries do not represent real life - that it is exaggerated for entertainment purposes, whatever the genre. But for some reason, it's harder to understand that about other countries'/cultures' media.

And now you have me really curious as to what "stereotypes and preconceived notions" have been overturned for you!

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Oh, boy it is embarrassing to look back on them. The biggest one that I didn't even realize I had picked up deals with emotions. The portrayals of characters in books and movies I had consumed were all of the stoic, wise variety such as Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid. So it was a shock to see the drama characters (particularly men) showing strong emotions, including crying.
This last is interesting because in my culture you do not see a man crying on tv unless he is suffering the worst thing you can imagine (and then it is a the macho tears-in-eyes only) or he is somehow identified as less than a man. It has even gotten to the point where women are not supposed to cry either (if they are to be admired as a character). There is such a stifling of certain emotions. So it was freeing to see emotions in wide ranges (albeit sometimes for effect) represented.

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For me, watching movies or dramas from other cultures is both eye-opening and freeing in that I get to see people that I have mentally slotted into narrow and reductive roles (because of stereotypes I unconsciously absorbed) acting in the full range of human characteristics - as of course, they/we do. *Forehead slap!

(It reminds me of when an older Pakistani man I knew told me of when he immigrated to England in the 1960s: he was so shocked to see white Englishmen working as rubbish collectors. It had simply never occurred to him, coming from his country at that time, that whites would do any sort of physical labor jobs which would be considered "menial." He laughed at himself when telling me this.)

You've taken it a step further by turning it around as a lens with which to view your own culture. I guess that's what a good sociologist would do!

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@jamieopso Wow, I couldn't have expressed it better than this:

For me, watching movies or dramas from other cultures is both eye-opening and freeing in that I get to see people that I have mentally slotted into narrow and reductive roles (because of stereotypes I unconsciously absorbed) acting in the full range of human characteristics - as of course, they/we do. *Forehead slap!

It is humanizing for me too. Thank you for sharing the story of the Pakistani man's realization. It is a human challenge to be free from biases and prejudices.

I am American but I grew up outside my native country and it was always a shock to discover how my family was perceived because of our country of origin. My parents made sure that we did our best to be good examples (often against stereotype) and treat everyone with courtesy and humanity. But darn, those stereotypes and biases are stubborn; we are like fish who are not aware they are swimming in water (until they are out of it).

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I explain to friends in America, Kdrama are like American TV in the 60’s but better dialogue (writing). They don’t like to show violence or sex and the good guy usually wins. Best to have an iPad if you need subs.
The only thing I’m surprised about is when Korean mothers start hitting their daughters.

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Ah those are the reasons I started watching kdramas, and stopped watching American tv, that and the feels. Kdramas make me laugh and cry like no other fiction does. I simply adore them. Was so tired of the dark and gritty in American tv. I love the idea of good guys winning. There are of course some problematic things I wish didn't exist in Kdramas. But then which fiction doesn't. I honestly relate to Kdramas the most.

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I almost never recommend. I do tell my friends casually that I watch Asian dramas but don’t get into details. Over a period of time one friend got curious and she tried kdrama from Netflix and then she started asking for recommendations.
Even when people ask for what dramas I watched I only mention ‘Stranger/Forest of secrets’ and ‘Secret Affair’. Somehow I feel they won’t get it or worse they would be critical of shows I loved. Not that I care, but I just don’t want to have that conversation about what I enjoy in kdrama. For any conversation about kdrama I just want to come back to this community.

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Another good recommendation is 'My wife is having an affair this week' which on Netflix goes by the VERY unfortunate (and very random) title 'Listen to Love', I believe. Its basically a K-drama tutorial on what to expect. Just tell 'em, it stars the guy from 'Parasite'.

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Lol! I love this drama and have seen it multiple times. But I am curious as to why you think it's a "K-drama tutorial on what to expect?"

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Oh, because it combines (almost) everything we love in K-drama. Gut wrenching drama with absurdist comedy with smart dialog with movie-quality cinematography with smart pop culture references with stunning plot twists. Mentioning 'Parasite' again, U.S. critics seemed amazed that comedy, tragedy, character studies and social commentary could all fit into a single package.

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Wow! You are absolutely correct. Too bad that drama is so underrated. Talking about "that guy from Parasite," Lee Seon Kyun in Pasta was my gateway to this madness, and I actually have Netflix to thank/curse for that.

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I tried sharing my love of kdrama to my friends especially since Netflix on my region really stepping up on their kdrama inventory. Alas, no fish took the bite even after I tried to match my recommendation with their preferred genres. They find the completely different drama rhythm and style, combine with the cultural shock, is too much for them.

I have now learned to keep my love (aka obsession) on kdrama under wrap and just unleash it in here. For the umpteenth time, I'm thankful for this site and the beanies.

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Korean and other east asian dramas have become my life. Kdramas have often made me lose my precious hours of sleep. I swear it's like an addiction, an unhealthy obsession. But I'm trying to cut back on some dramas so that it doesn't take up most of my time. I'm very selective with my dramas nowadays.
My family and only a few close friends know about my addiction to kdramas. My cousin who had initially introduced me to dramaland doesn't watch them anymore so I'm the only who watches now. I did recommend kdramas to a friend of mine and while she loves watching them now and then, she is not as invested as I am.
I do not openly share my love for kdramas with others. If I do mention it casually, I first gauge their reaction and interest before recommending.

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*only one who watches now

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What Korean dramas have that American don't are the emotions. They know how to hit in the right spot. And I need my shows with emotions. I want to feel these people aren't otherworldly (well except for superhero and aliens) but what makes them one of us is the emotions they contain. So I don't like a randomly thrown crying scene or confession scene that has no progress or story behind it where I saw the protagonist or antagonist's emotions. I have, like many other here, tried to bring some family and friends to kdramas. But again I guess the edgy, story and plot focused American or Uk series win over kdramas. They definitely make intelligent shows and tackle different subjects. Still they aren't for me. And as I have made myself understood that they may not like kdramas or go down the rabbithole, I hope they understand my choice too which unfortunately some still mock. Again, I don't want to explain. I did have 2 friends hooked to kdramas but one of them keeps falling out of there and the other appreciates c dramas more because she only watches historicals or basic light fluff. Yet again, my drama choices don't match theirs. So DB My Love, You Are My Only Place 😂

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I think to myself if I can't feel the emotions is there even a point to fiction. That's why kdramas appeals to me.

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I think that's why I dont watch alot of American tv, it is slick and pretty for the most part but the emotional investment I feel is nowhere close to kdramas. I have also learned to be wary of long running shows, they tend to drag out and they lose alot by trying to keep things static and unchanging season after season.

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I so agree with the point about emotions. I connect to K-dramas in a way that I never did with American TV. When I discovered K-dramas, I was so completely amazed that my ideal form of television actually existed in real life.

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You have hit the nail on the head.
I connect to Kdramas because of the emotions too and the focus and exploration of relationships that (excepting certain drama tropes *ahem) ring true and are relatable across language and cultural differences.
I want to get to the place when I can accept that my family may never fall into the rabbit hole with me and that is ok and that I feel no embarrassment for enjoying what I like.

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Have you tried to get someone interested but chose the *wrong genre* for their first watch? A person who'd appreciate 'Forest of Secrets' might have a negative reaction to 'Go Go Waikiki'. Someone who would appreciate 'Because This Is Our First Life' might hate 'Healer'. My sister once asking me what sorts of shows these K-dramas are. I started out "Well, there are ghost stores and..." but she cut me off "Ghost stories? Oh, no no."

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My closest friends know I like watching Korean dramas, but they have no interest in watching themselves nor do they have time to. I like to do my first watches with my husband but tend to rewatch my favorites by myself. What no one, not even my own husband, knows is the extent of my obsession. No one in my real life knows that I and a couple others run my My Ajusshi fan site, and I hope no one ever will. It just feels too embarrassing.

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I talk about my love for kdramas with my friends but it definitely isn't anything I want to share. Occasionally, (i.e., once) I suggested Vagabond to a friend who was really into the Jason Bourne movies. I was describing the show and he was like "wow, that sounds interesting, where can I watch it?" He later refused to watch it because it was Korean, smh.

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My love language is sharing--food, dramas, quotes, trivia, my faith--whatever is important to me. So this question, "to share or not to share" is one that torments me endlessly.
Thank you@missvictrix for writing this. It helps to know I am not the only one.

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I have been watching K-dramas since March of 2018, and the only people who know about it is you guys here on DB. My family, friends, and aquaintances in real life have no idea. I’ve thought often about introducing them to my parents, but I have yet to get up the courage. It could really go either way with them. They could actually like them, or they could not get it at all. I really don’t know which way it would swing. I was once tempted to share with a friend, but she is in school and my line of thinking was, “What if she gets addicted and her grades go down? Then I would feel like its my fault.” So I never brought it up.

I definitely relate to the points you made, @missvictrix. Part of me wants to share, but the other part wants to just keep K-dramas as my secret treasure.

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My whole family knows I watch kdrama.
I have successfully got my sister and mother to watch them. My mother is now on her fourth and very much hooked.
When I was traveling in the States two years ago I made one of the friends I was staying with watch one with me. She enjoyed it. Was hooked from a single episode. I don't know if she continued watching after I left but my job was done anyway.
My BFF in the states actually wants to watch some of the ones I've told her about and sounded even more interested now that they're on pinterest.
I've sent recommendation lists to several people.
I was once staying with a girl for a week during a course in Auckland, and I accidentally got her hooked on BOF and she stayed up all night watching it. That wasn't on purpose...
I got my dongsaeng (not blood related) in Australia into Kdramas and two of her favourite kpop groups.

In other K-Ent spheres, I have successfully managed to find at least one Korean musician each that my parents like, and just the other week I recommended some Korean rap to some visitors. They of course have no understanding of the Korean entertainment industry, but honestly that just makes it easier.

@burgundy lived across the road from me for a long time and we were friends for years, and then she found out I watched kdramas and lost her shit. It was amazing. Having someone irl to share it with makes it that much more fun.

Still, I'm careful about what I recommend people. Now that I've been watching dramas for almost five years I think I have a decent enough library to pull recommendations from for people. I also try very hard to think of what the other person would like (and are able to tolerate), both in the music and dramas I share. I also take into consideration the language barrier, and even have a starter document to send to people to read before watching. You never realise how much Korean you've picked up on till you watch something with a newbie and then wonder if you should explain banmal vs jondaemal and the noona oppa unnie hyung thing now, or just let them figure it out.

So far I've had a good success rate. And I don't mind sharing. Watching my mother get addicted to Healer is fun. Have my friend send my live commentary on kpop MVS is fun.
And lot of people I've told about my excursions into K-Ent often have little to no knowledge that Korea even has a television industry. And those people are often quite open to suggestions, which is nice. Only occasionally have I had people be dismissive about it, at least that I can remember, so that's nice.

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... brain fart
*netflix not pinterest.

*you ok Sic?*
*uh... debatable*

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I need to be more like you@sicarius. Many times I want to share so much that I don't take into account the barriers to enjoyment or the fact that the person with whom I am sharing the Kdrama may not even like it.

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Some of the best parts about watching dramas is being able to watch them with loved ones - you end up talking about love, family, and relationships in a way that might not have been triggered before. A lot of times I will rewatch my favorite dramas because of the fuzzy warm memories and great commentary that went on while watching them with my family or friends. That's why I love to share my shows if I feel comfortable doing so!! On one hand I sometimes feel left out when all my friends talk about are American shows since I don't watch those (and it can get annoying when they're like 'you only watch shows with Asians in them') but I've learned to be more openly proud about my passion, because honestly I think they're missing out. Loved reading this post and everyone's comments because this community is so special in making our feelings valid!

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Kdrama's are not "edgy" in the sense that they do not parrot the latest flavor of the day - the faux courage of actors and writers 'bravely' standing up for whatever cause is currently popular. But I find that they are often much deeper than their American counterparts- They can often dig into much more vital questions: GOBLIN was a great story but it was also a profound meditation on Life, Death and Love- It has no equivalent in any American show.

When I explain Kdramas the way I put it is that there is almost never a second season because a Kdrama is essentially a televised novel- and it has an ending as well as a beginning. But that is precisely why a Kdrama is a much richer experience. It is actually a story in the fullest sense of the word.

When someone is interested I recommend more than one show. And I explain that almost always the first two episodes are there to paint the background and provide the setting for the story that is yet to unfold.

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YES. this is such a problem. I am very self conscious about my entertainment preferences, and I also like to keep them to myself, as this special part of who I am.

Some my family members are very progressive/intellectuals, and their idea of Asian shows was that they were backward, conservative, makjang, misogynistic, etc. I once told some of my cousins I was into Kdramas, and they asked me to explain what I liked about them that was different from Western shows. I panicked said, "Oh, well... they're speaking a different language..." and that was all I could come up with. This was not a good look, and probably just solidified their position that girls who are into kdramas aren't very bright.

So I've tried to do more thought since then about what I actually like about dramas. And I wonder, if I grew up in Asia, would I have gotten so into dramas and k-pop? Would I think of it as something for ahjummas or ditzes? Would I be watching different content, maybe indie stuff or bbc crime shows? But from an American perspective, kdramas became a novel thing to me. I wasn't used to seeing solely Asian people on tv. I loved that the characters' actions and the storylines felt more familiar to my value system, even though the tropes got overdone. It was fun to learn about another culture and society through their entertainment and compare that to the reality I live in.

Now with this whole "Asians breaking into Western entertainment" scene going on too, I was a little shook by how things like k-pop were becoming more mainstream. It was like suddenly having a secret stash exposed and being forced to share it with everyone. This whole east-west clash is happening, and it's a beautiful thing that makes me feel less "other" but also strangely has me questioning my identity as asian-american.

I hope it wasn't weird to bring race/ethnicity into the discussion, bc the cultural differences combined with the fangirl-stereotype is why I can get scared to share my love for east- asian entertainment. But so many people have their own little quirks and insecurities about what they love. When some of my friends try to get me into anime or rock music, I'm not always interested either. Maybe I'm just too head-deep in dramas that I don't want to get into anything else! I wish that everyone who is a fan of something, whether it's gaming, live streaming, or reality tv, can embrace their guilty pleasures without shame!

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Most of the people I shared Kdramas with have sadly passed away.
I'm not one that will go all out for most Kdramas, there are a lot of them I've started, but just couldn't get into: Memories of the Alhambra; the Abyss; When the Camellia Blooms; Black; Cheese in the Trap; Coffee Prince; Doctor Stranger; Kill Me Heal Me; and Romantic Doctor: Teacher Kim. On the other side of the coin I have watched some that I was pleasantly surprised at, Love Affairs in the Afternoon; Confession; Splash Splash Love; Marriage Contract; Behind the White Tower; and Page Turner. Then there are the Korean movies, The Beauty Inside; A Hard Day; Northern Limit Line; Castaway on the Moon; Will You Be There; Over the Border; and Obsessed. Finally my very favorites--the ones that I would recommend to anyone, and that I've watched over and over, Road No. 1; The Princess' Man; A Werewolf Boy; and Sungkyunkwan Scandal. It is so much fun when you find a fiend that shares your love of Kdrama, one you can discuss the actors, plots, and endings with, but I find those sorts of people few and far between. So mainly I keep my love of Kdrama to myself, and enjoy them in the solitude of my own mind.

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Thanks @missvictrix , I love it and yes let's keep the box of dark chocolate truffles for ourselves until you find someone who will truly appreciate it

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I have only shared with one other person.. and I made the right choice because although we live half a continent away from each other, we giggle over messenger about our favorite moments. We both grew up in what I would identify as a cult, and were not allowed to have your normal teenage crushes on boys/stars/idols, so we are doing it now (well into our 30s) and loving every minute of it. It is a fun thing to share with the right person.

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