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A contract romance: You, your drama, and the suspension of disbelief

Each time you start a drama, it’s like a contract between you and the story. The drama says, “If you’re willing to suspend your disbelief and join me for the ride, I’m going to weave a story for you to enjoy.” Then, it’s up to you to decide if you’re going to agree. Are you willing and able to turn off that criticism, and even cynicism, and hop on the magic carpet?

I haven’t met a drama that didn’t ask me to suspend even just a small amount of my disbelief. Sometimes it’s a minor request — there are only moments or instances in the drama that I’ll have to “believe” my way through. Sometimes, though, dramas ask us to suspend a whole lot more of that disbelief, whether it’s a wild premise, or a story that just defies logic and reason. But regardless of how big the ask is, what better give and take is there than to put your inner skeptic on hold and just enjoy?

Enjoyment is actually the reason the suspension of disbelief exists. It’s been a transaction between story (or writer, if you will) and the audience for centuries, but it didn’t become an official term until the 1800s. Here, the Romantic era poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth talked about “the suspension of disbelief” and suggested that if an author’s work had enough “human interest and a semblance of truth” that other more fantastical or unbelievable elements would be forgiven.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is the basis for a lot of thoughts around storytelling in general — much like a favorite concept that goes along the lines of: if you have strong and well-drawn characters, the audience/reader will be able to forgive everything else. The argument works for Romantic poetry as much as it works for dear old dramaland. And in a way, dramaland often helps us exercise this disbelief muscle on an episode-by-episode basis.

What are some of the specific ways that dramas require the suspension of disbelief? Well, in the broadest sense, many dramas ask us to accept fantastical or unexplainable plots. A hero playing a cutting edge video game finds that it slowly takes over his reality. A heroine falls in a rain puddle and is transported centuries into the past. An unhappy middle-aged couple wake up one day back in their college heyday, able to make different choices.

It’s pretty easy to suspend disbelief for premises like these, right? They’re given to us upfront as the thesis of our story and we know it’s going to require us to believe something fantastical, supernatural, or metaphysical. We can take it, or leave it. Or perhaps more accurately: believe it, or leave it.

For instance, if you can’t bring yourself to believe that there’s a gate between two very real parallel universes, and that characters can sometimes pass between these worlds, you might find The King: Eternal Monarch a little too far-fetched. If you can’t imagine a world where AI is really able to take on the thoughts, emotions, and persona of a human, A Piece of Your Mind might not be the drama for you.

This idea of accepting a fantastical premise is basically the same argument behind the entire fantasy genre that we know today, and the suspension of disbelief works so effortlessly here (and is so easy for us to accept) because that’s how Coleridge, Wordsworth, and the rest meant it to function. A poem (or K-drama!) might be brimming with wild, gothic elements, but because it’s got enough human interest — i.e., enough emotions and situations that we can relate to — we can in turn accept the fantastical concept.

Today, somewhat unfortunately, the term “the suspension of disbelief” has taken on a more complicated and post-modern meaning. Something more like this: I’m putting my brain on hold to be able to enjoy this story. That’s not only very different from how the concept was originally drawn up, but it’s also a little bit depressing. What if I don’t want to put my brain on hold? Can’t I enjoy a story anyway? There has to be a better way to think about the suspension of disbelief — one that doesn’t make the audience feel like the contract between them and the story means forfeiting logic and reason.

Another term Coleridge used for the suspension of disbelief was “poetic faith,” and I like this a whole lot more. I guess faith sounds better than disbelief — and poetic faith? Who doesn’t want to have that? It sounds like a superpower (and it feels like one sometimes, too). Let’s talk about why poetic faith might be a better way to understand how (and why) we accept unrealistic or implausible elements in stories.

We’ve talked about why it’s so easy to accept entire story concepts that require the suspension of disbelief, but why does that get so much harder when we change the scale? How come a story about time travel is all well and good, but a story where someone just so happens to find an old letter, unearth a random secret in someone’s top drawer, or overhear someone else’s oh-so-crucial conversation, gives us a huge moment of pause?

We, as viewers, are amazingly tough on situations like this. Why is that? It’s because they are circumstances and situations that we can’t easily see happening. They rely on chance (or even deus ex machina), and our brains, reacting from our place of experience with real life, won’t give it a chance. So we baulk.

Here’s an example of how that played out for me recently in a scene from When My Love Blooms (it’s a bit long, so buckle up). Our hero is reminiscing on a romantic and treasured memory where he protected his girl from an onslaught of falling books. My brain’s first thought: the chances of a bookshelf in a bookstore collapsing and falling all over the place are pretty slim, but this is a beautiful moment, so I shall momentarily accept that this occurred.

Later, when we revisit the scene, we learn that the heroine, though protected, got a fingertip slammed by one of those books. This resulted in a unique scar on her fingernail. My brain’s next thought? No, that’s not how it works. I’ve injured a fingernail many a time, and seen others do it as well, and what happens is not a pretty little bruise on your nail bed. No, says my brain. You either kill the nail right at the root and it turns black and falls off, eventually growing back, or your nail has a minor mark/injury that grows out in a matter of weeks, since that is what nails do. And just like that, what I’ve witnessed in this scene is rejected by my brain.

Do you see what just happened, though? My rational (okay, semi-rational) brain just took all the beauty and romance (in the capital R sense of romance) in this scene and effectively killed it. Instead, I’m left with a story I don’t trust, and an extremely cynical taste in my mouth. Why did I bother?

This was just one rather minute example, but if you think back to any drama you’ve watched, I’m sure you can come up with a similar situation. It doesn’t have to be a construct for a recognition scene like this nail bruise was (our hero recognizing the masked pianist by that very scar). Instead, it can be a broader part of the story — like the alarming frequency of head/brain injuries in a drama like Chocolate, for instance. In this drama our hero was, of course, a neurosurgeon, so these injuries had to exist around him as a part of his world.

But while these “unbelievable” elements might be implausible, they’re also carefully chosen and built for their stories. Why are we so intent on calling them out, as if we’ll get some sort of prize for being smarter than the story? Maybe what we’re really doing is just killing the magic.

That’s why I like the idea of having poetic faith. And exercising that faith towards the story. Rather than huffing and puffing my way through a drama, I like to remind myself that the story was built that way for a reason: it’s telling a story. That bruise is on a pianist’s fingernail because it enables our hero to recognize his long lost love by her scars — and what a beautiful moment, and metaphor, is that?

Why ruin that moment — and so many others like it — by demanding stories to be just like real life? That’s never been the intention of storytelling. Instead, stories take experiences that we can all relate to, and distill them into something complete, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. If I wanted a drama that was just like everyday life — well, I wouldn’t, because that’s not the purpose.

Perhaps my conclusion is this: yes, dramas sometimes ask us to accept crazy things. But mostly, what they’re really asking is for us to enjoy them. Believe in them when they’re unbelievable. Soak up the serendipity and interconnectedness. Hop on that magic carpet.

That contract between you and the story that we talked about at the opening of this piece — what if that contract was actually a contract romance between you and the story? What if the story was trying to win your heart the whole time, just because? And you know what happens at the end of every contract romance story as well as I do. You fall in love despite yourself, despite the obstacles — and most importantly in this case, despite any flaws in fact or logic.

 
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thank you @missvictrix! i believe having 'poetic faith' is an unspoken practice that many of us drama fans (as a whole, even across other languages) uphold or subscribe to internally, but has just never been as articulated well enough until now. when i immerse myself into a drama, i immerse myself into its world and its possibilities; i.e. as i watch, i believe it is possible that a world like Memorist's exists; and even that of A Piece of Your Mind, and many others.

yes - i also find myself questioning some details (the fingernail backstory being one), some decisions (e.g. in Find Me In Your Memory, the police turned on their sirens as they approached the location of an escaped criminal. why not... turn it off so as not to alert him? the only reason he didn't run was cos he wanted to fulfil something). but for the most part, i'll laugh about it, keep it at the back of my head and move on.

may we all continue to keep the poetic faith and truly enjoy the many, many more stories that are soon to unfold on our screens!

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So i'm willing to suspend my belief for loads of things. I really am -- but it's my hugest pet peeve when a drama makes me suspend my belief that this people actress is plain or her character gained weight.

There. I said it.

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*beautiful actress

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Like Sam Soon. Anytime her looks or weight were mentioned I did have to suspend my belief. I know the actress gained weight but I kept thinking how pretty she is and she has a great figure.

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Yes! She was being harassed by everyone for her weight, age. I really wanted her to love herself and tell those people to respect her.

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Abyss.

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Oh no, I came back to life looking like Park Bo young! What a terrible thing that is 😂

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Yes how dare you look like the embodiment of cute & out perform the tallest person in sight?! Terrible, just terrible

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Or when the hero consistently belittles the heroine and calls her names - "short", "like a chicken", "short legs", to name a few. Full House. That awful, awful guy played by Rain. Seriously? Do they want me to believe she's the ugliest creature to walk the earth ever? When, in fact, she's so pretty?

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The reason I HATED Heart to Heart and am still amazed that people loved that show. He kept calling her ugly and unattractive up to the last episode. Ugh, I hated that show and that horrible male lead and that female lead who looked up with puppy eyes to the man who trampled her with every word.

Ok I know the thread is talking about pretty actresses being called ugly and they did their best in HtH not to make her very pretty, sorry I couldn't help myself from suddenly exploding!

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Full House was my first ever Korean drama. I was so shocked at his verbal abuse of her. He was so derogatory the way he sneered at her. I hated him so much. He yelled at her and treated her so badly, and I don't get how she could love someone who called her such awful names. The Heart to Heart ML sounds awful, too.

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I watched FH some time after My Name is Kim SamSoon and that kind of male lead had become a type by then! MNiKSS ml shocked me to the core. I always imagined KSS was either a masochist or she derived a devilish excitement from possessing him!

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I think there can be 2 planes of discussion here.

First, on the "macro" level of the story's premise and setting. If the "macro" story is about time travel, parallel worlds, communicating with ppl frm different time periods etc, this is a fictitious world / setting built up on the "macro" level. Often, I don't think there is much controversy in relation to such broad macro premises.

But there is also a different plane of discussion on the "micro" level, and this is where I think invites more controversy and discussion about "suspension of belief". Whilst there can be fictitious settings, there needs to be a lot of careful thought to build these up in a way that is "logical" even in that fictitious world. Or even in such fictitious settings, these are, after all, human beings in such fictitious worlds, so viewers would perhaps have subconscious "expectations" of what should be logical for something to happen or not happen, what a human being would usually do or react in those situations, even in those fictitious settings.

This leads me to think - on this "micro" level, isn't "suspension of belief" then often a sign of weak writing, or to a lesser extent, acting?

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In my opinion? Yes.

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Yes, and yes to this. I have always said a story has to make sense ithin itself. It doesn't have to make sense in the "real" world but it must make sense in the fictional universe it has created. It is weak writing. Case in point Rugal that our dear @missvictrix is subbing. I was fine with the bionic arms, eyes, and body organs, but zombies was far and away too much. It didn't make sense, jumped the shark, and was also weak writing.

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not subbing, recapping.

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That is exactly what I was going to say. The acting has a large impact on those smaller hard to believe points. At least for me.

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So true, I can forgive a lot at the macro level because I know that is just the backdrop for the real story the actors and writer are trying to say. Like a set in a school play. While a good backdrop adds a lot to the play a lot of times I’m more focused on the story the actors and writer as lay out. I often run into problems with dramas where the actors and/or writers tries to manipulate my emotions. Unnecessary crying or inconsistent behavior by a character or too much coincidental occurrences show weak writing or acting. A pet peeve of mine is female leads crying beautifully or male leads yelling to show emotion.

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A cannot agree more! Suspension of disbelief is different than excusing the bad writing. A fictional world which respects the rules it creates (and follows) is a good kind of suspension of disbelief. However, a convenient plot devises because a writer could not be bothered to think is inexcusable.

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Hi @missvictrix I love what you write but this did make me pause. I do think almost all the avid drama watchers do know there is suspension of disbelief. Every drama carries that, in fact I almost would say, that is exactly why we enjoy watching entertainment. At least to me, I am a bit less inclined to watch 16 episode - real drama Vs a 16 episode of fantasy, supernatural, scifi and perhaps melodrama.

But I do think even the suspension of disbelief requires basic logic, few rules so within that universe, things make sense and more importantly, great characters that feel real that can make you really smile or giggle or make you feel warm and just make you cry ...

I think dramas get flack not for suspension of disbelief but for illogical storytelling.

You gave an example of when love blooms, I actually love the college characters so much that I would not even notice that. I would happily swoon. But if I did not like those characters much, I felt actors were not bringing in the feeling, then yes, i would roll my eyes at the nail.

I am inclined to believe it more to do with story telling & characters than anything else.

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But I do think even the suspension of disbelief requires basic logic, few rules so within that universe, things make sense

I agree with this. PEGASUS MARKET was totally wacko but it had its own wacko logic. The drama knew exactly what it was doing, and had heart and lessons for the real world to boot.

In contrast, EXTRAORDINARY YOU started out with the promise of a satire on bad writers, only to forget the satire and fall into bad writing itself in the second part. I still enjoyed it, but less and less as we got to the ending. Sadly, this is becoming a pattern for me. My lack of poetic faith is disturbing.

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The general rule is that it doesn't matter how whacko the universe or premise created is as long as it has internal logic. Even universes of our imaginations need rules. So we can easily accept that e.g. we found a magic ring in the sands of Egypt that can transport us to other planets in our galaxy along a network that was built by parasitic aliens who took human hosts as slaves - as long as the rules relating to those aliens and using that ring are clear and consistent. Which, for those of us who watched Stargate SG1, was one of that show's greatest strengths.

I think this is what @muggleping above is talking about with the 'micro' and 'macro' levels. On a macro level anything can be handwaved as long as the micro level is meticulous. If it isn't, then that's when your suspension of disbelief crumbles.

Korean drama writers are notorious for breaking the laws of their own constructed universes - usually in episode 16 when they're forced to make a happy ending magically appear. And it is a problem for me - a big one.

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Worldbuilding 101 honestly.

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Or for fanservice.
Don't sacrifice character, thematic or metaphysical integrity for anything I say, or your story becomes meaningless.
And suddenly LT, I love the ending of Extracurricular even more.

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Though I ABSOLUTELY agree on the requirement of basic logic, and cohesive universe, I get the most suspension of disbelief on current-day dramas. I never feel too angry, nor do I roll my eyes often with Sageuks. Though I do when the setting is present day, modern dramas (be it melodrama, fantasy, thriller or comedy). I dunno.

Maybe Sageuk (since that era is in the past), already has rules that the writers cannot avoid. Though there are a few exceptions like Moon Embracing the Sun or Gu Family Book (that ending leaves me mad, and what about the so-called book that never appeared???).

But, overall, they stay true to its story, and most of the amazing dramas I've watched were Sageuk. Amazing from the beginning to the end, with very few few flaws (e.g. Jumong, Queen Seon-deok, Yi San, The Princess' Man, Chuno, Jewel in the Palace).

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Beautiful writeup @missvictrix!

I want to enjoy a drama as is. My trouble is I need a story to make narrative sense and told in a manner that makes sense. I can accept fantasy as long as the story is cohesive and the world building does not collapse on itself. My favourite dramas include Perfume, Go Back Spouses and The Last Empress while my favourite books are the Harry Potter series. All of the dramas have a fantasy element but also all of them imo made narrative sense and the characters were fledge out well to make the fantasy work. I readily accept everything because of how the drama was told made sense and it was consistent. The fantasy elements just worked in them.

On the other hand...I disliked MoA because it was inconsistent. The world building was solid until a character suddenly died with no explanation until the end. To make it worse, the lead survive a fall from the top floor, his body slammed on the stair railings and slammend on the cold tile floor. That irked me. And unfortunately it was never told why and how some died while the main lead always survive.

The same is happening with Eternal Monarch. The world building is so loose, it's hard to even suspend my belief when watching. Loopholes will always be there, but too many loopholes is hard to cover up. Despite that, I'm enjoying EM, I still want to watch future eps, with hopes it gets better and better.

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THE KING is currently testing my patience because it presents itself as a smart story full of interesting clues, but it raises more questions than gives answers. It's one thing to ask the audience to suspend their belief. It's another to ask the audience to fill in gaps in the storytelling and do the writer's work for her.

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To be fair... Are you surprised?

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I dug my own grave. Don't rub it in. XD

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I agree with everything you wrote about EM. There's just too many gaps and too many questions with no answes and loads of guess work going on. Huhu

Never leave me toki! We are in this together! Fighting!!!

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I had the SAME thoughts throughout watching Extraordinary You, Hotel Del Luna, Lobster & Goblin.
@sicarius calls it roadside viewer maintenance 🤭. Those plot holes aren't pot holes, but rather chasms that make dramas lose their charms.

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Well, Forest had a scene where the gallant hero lovingly fills a series of potholes on a country path. I thought it was the most bizarre thing I had ever seen. He filled up the holes - get this - in the middle of the night. In the forest. Alone. With a silly smile on his face. Months after it ended, I have finally understood what that scene meant. The show was drawing a parallel between potholes and plotholes, literally filling up the plot holes, and blatantly rubbing it in my face.

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OMFG. catch me wheezing 🤣🤣🤣

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*cackling*

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Great write-up! @missvictrix

This is something I struggle with a lot, because I'm watching the show to relax or as a distraction, I'm unable to overlook issues with the writing or acting and so I stop watching. I do try hard to go into a new show with low expectations and give the writer time to set up the story and characters. Sometimes I feel like we are given too much information before the drama airs and by then I've already got an idea of how the story will go.

One common trope is the childhood lovers, I know it's a ruse to get the main couple together in spite of all the obstacles in their way and I try hard to accept and enjoy the show. But, a 30+ adult losing their mind over a first encounter that happened at 6? I just don't get it.
I can only think of just between lovers and 30 but 17 where the childhood connection was introduced in the beginning and I was able to accept that easily.

Another thing I have realised recently is that I struggle with romantic dramas set in parallel worlds, different countries, between aliens and humans. I start with an open mind and the first few episodes are great, but then as the main leads realise the obstacle is too great, I'm unable to deal with the angst that follows and grow less confident that the writer will be able to resolve this.
One exception is Queen In-Hyun's man which I enjoyed a lot and I wanted to believe that somehow the artefacts left behind in the past could be used to leave a message in the future.

One drama I've started recently is Good Casting and whilst I love the cast, I'm trying hard to have faith and keep going. I just can't help but think, these people are the worst spies in the world, have they seen a 007 movie before?

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I think Good Casting is a parody of spy shows, but there is just something missing. I think it would be great if it broke the 4th wall,like The Producers, as a documentary style comedy show?

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Love QIHM. The universe is telling me I need to rewatch 🙃

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You know me too well! Of course after writing the post at 3am, I started watching QIHM!

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Hehe 😃😄

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Waaah I wanna do a rewatch too!

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Come join us! I'll tag you here, discord wherever.

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@maybemaknae @ayaan will join you both soon in the rewatch!

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QIHM is the BEST time-travel romance drama ever in Kdramaland. I think its format does help; having only 12 hours of story [45mins for each episode] not much fillers are needed, and the logic for the time travel device was explained quite well. The scriptwriter Song Jae-jung's later works [W-Two Worlds & Memories of the Alhambra] however, could not re-live the magic. While the openings were enticing, the story became a horrible train wreck midway till the end. My guess is Song is struggling to write a cohesive story after she parted ways with her assistant writer, Kim Yoon-joo, who is very keen about echoing details.

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Yes as I'm rewatching it now, I'm enjoying how we are introduced to the characters in the past and how clearly it has been mapped out. There aren't any filler scenes and I like how the episodes are filmed/edited. I didn't watch W or Memories ofAlhambra, so will definitely keep those off the watch list.

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This is an excellent piece of luxuriant pontification totally applicable to religious transcendental experiences where “poetic faith” is required to suspend disbelief so one can engage in divine romance in virtual reality without border and expanse of space.

In that momentary world, you are free to manipulate reality.

“You fall in love despite yourself, despite the obstacles — and most importantly in this case, despite any flaws in fact or logic.”

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Thanks for this article on suspension of disbelief & poetic faith. It helped solidify my rating & feelings for APOYM.
__I feel like I'll be able to enjoy some dramas more from now on.

Re When My Love Blooms - I currently have a bruised nail from over a year ago & have a discernible shadow of a bruise that my foot fell victim to in a bicycle wheel 15 years ago, so when the show had that moment I found it so relatable. My usual cynicism didn't show up lol. I didn't catch the beauty of the metaphor of him recognizing her by her scars, I was just relieved finally oxidation seemed to exist somewhere in dramaland.

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2/3

Why are we so intent on calling them out, as if we’ll get some sort of prize for being smarter than the story?

Because we're smart & hope the story is too. It ties into our experience, knowledge & common sense as audience - the belief that we shouldn't need to turn off our brain for good entertainment.
Because we all like to believe what we like can be upheld to a certain standards, most of which are easily achievable.
Our parameters of possibilities may be different, but we hope those for common sense can find a mutual common ground.

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3/3
The difference between easy acceptance of fantasy elements vs those situated in reality - IT IS THAT ITS SUPPOSED TO BE REAL LIFE. Something possible irl, maybe a more beautified scenario of it. We accept certain situations because somewhere we've seen or heard of something similar happening, so they seem plausible & our hidden romantic can hope for the same happening to us too.
However with fantasy the set up is unbelievable from the get go, there's never any hope therefore never any disappointment. It is not rooted in real life, it exists as materialisation of someone's imagination.

Why suspend disbelief for fantasy & not have poetic faith in reality based stories? It's because they aren't magical realism. Even the writers of the genre had to come up with a different word for the type of stories that required suspension of disbelief of magical elements existing as normal parts of reality.

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Nice write up @missvictrix!

To go back to J.R.R Tolkien's essay on fairy stories, the reason why we turn to fantasy (and I'd argue this applies to any story), is because it offers Escape, Consolation, and Recovery, if I remember correctly. This means that we can escape to a different world, console ourselves by dreaming of things we don't have (usually), and come back to the "real world" with fresh perspectives.

If I apply this to dramas, they generally offer Escape and Consolation very well, but falter at Recovery. If I can't relate to the characters or I can't find logic that is applicable in my world, then I don't get to Recovery, and I finish the drama with that unsatisfied feeling.

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I put my poetic faith on a Piece of your Memory.
I decided I was watching a poem.
Lots of things didn't make sense to my rational brain.
Even so, I enjoyed the poetry.

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My equivalent of MissVictix's bruise moment came in A Piece of Your Mind.

I could (just about) accept that they'd created that AI.

But - then they balanced the device on its edge on the railing of the bridge over the motorway and my mind exploded! (even though it was a super-cute moment with our leads sharing the headphones) I thought: you wouldn't do that! You spend months working on that and now you're not even holding it? It's going to fall and break and erase what you've created! For a short second I thought that was going to be the point of that moment and waited for the device to topple over (which it didn't).

It completely took me out of the moment.

We like stories because it shows us how people behave under unusual circumstances. Therefore we suspend disbelief and accept the unusual set-up that the writer has created. But if it's the people's subsequent behaviour that's weird (unless that's part of the set-up) and it's full of coincidences and stupid actions, we feel cheated.

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Hmmm we have to be careful not to excuse blatant writing flaws in the name of poetic faith though.
Then it becomes what I call Viewer Roadside Maintenance; ignoring or excusing the flaws in canon by coming up with your own reasoning of why or how something works, a reason not justified by canon.
There’s a few steps in between that ofc, as not all poetic faith is VRM, nor leads to it, but let’s break this down a bit farther.

Your story, both in fantasy worlds and “modern” worlds, has to obey the rules of that world.
Of course, different “worlds” or genres, demand different rules.
If your story is deliberately nonsense or satire, then you can get away with more, but this is rarely the case.
In fantasy, your fantastical elements, both big and small still need to make sense within your realm.
If they don’t, your worldbuilding breaks down and people are drawn out of the story; not because they didn’t have enough poetic faith, but because your worldbuilding broke down.

It’s not the job of the viewer to fix the holes in canon. And I would argue it’s not the job of the viewer to immerse themselves; it’s the job of the story to do the immersing.

Take action for example.
Our brains know when a human action is implausible, or impossible. It recognises when an action is unnatural, and when the consequences of the action are unnatural. And the more unnatural an action is, the less stakes there are.
If there are no stakes, then we don’t care about what is happening on screen. And if we don’t care about what is happening on screen, well… why keep watching? And well… why do it that way in the first place?
There are exceptions to this rule, and also certain styles of directing action, specifically in SE Asia, that rely on the fantastical: that is not what I’m talking about.
What I’m talking about is why should I care about Dal Geon’s character or motivation in Vagabond at all, about his mission, about the stakes of that mission or the gravity of any situation in that show, if the action is so absurd, so unnatural, he should be dead three times over before the end of the first episode?
There are supposed to be stakes to that drama. There are supposed to be serious motivations and consequences. But you just end up not caring, because he falls three stories onto a truck, gets dragged by said truck for many miles, and then gets thrown out of the truck’s windscreen and down another two stories, and then gets up and walks away.
Now if that was a comedy, satirical action show, it might be a different case; but it’s not. It’s a show that very much takes itself seriously and asks us to take it seriously too.
But how can I?
There are no stakes, and no tension, and therefore no immersion. I have no reason now to be invested at all.

I haven’t seen When My Love Blooms, and I know that it wasn’t nearly as immersion breaking for everyone, but to me that’s a perfect example of- if this thing is going to break immersion- why not...

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... why not just give the pianist a different scar, in a more realistic place, not on a nail, that is just as likely in a falling bookcase accident (corners are sharp- I have a scar on my foot from where I hit it on the edge of a bench when I was a child), and then you are not pulled out of the story.
It’s not our fault when something like that is implausible. You could just write it differently and more realistically and then the issue with immersion is lessened if not eliminated. It’s not hard to give someone a realistic injury and also still maintain your thematic depth.
Realism in the micro, as was said above is necessary for immersion.

And is it not the job of the story to be as immersive as possible?
If you have a choice between hitting someone in the femoral artery (death in less than 2 minutes) or hitting someone in the gut (much more survivable) why should it be on the viewer to excuse the very unrealistic former occurrence, when you could’ve just done the latter occurrence and it would not upset the story at all.
A lot of these micro flaws are actually very fixable.

So why not just hold yourself to a higher writing standard, and fix as many as possible? Why should the viewer have to be pulled out of a show time and time again?

Of course, we all have different levels of when that immersion breaks, and I’m hardly the best person to use as an example, since my brain literally never switches off the analytical side of itself, even in sleep. I also think that there are different levels to these immersion breaks, and some are much easier to cover with poetic faith than others.
And then that, as has also already been mentioned, becomes a matter of how the rest of the writing holds up.

I am of the opinion that character is one of if not the most important part of storytelling. Why? Because it is how the consumer relates and connects to the story. Character, and theme.
Everything else comes secondary.
But if you don’t have strong enough character and theme, then these little micro flaws become a lot more clearer, a lot more jarring, and they break immersion a heck of a lot more.

Forgetting a briefcase in Just Between Lovers matters very little because it’s a character driven show, I can even forgive some of the major plot holes in Lookout, because Do Han is such an impeccable and heart-breaking character study, but Arthdal trying to be both historical fantasy and epic fantasy is just as jarring as its backwards execution of its main characters to the point where neither are easily ignored, and Memories of Alhambra breaking the rules of its own game denies the story any semblance of self-respect and the viewer of investment, since it clearly doesn’t care about its characters, let alone its plot.

It’s a scale right. And is usually always dependent on the wider context of the quality of the story as well.
Some are blatant plot holes, out of character moments, thematic or metaphysical suicide,...

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... illogicalness that tears you from the show with nothing to hang on to, no care for its story or its characters. Others have straight up fish cults in them and yet you excuse them because they know they’re absurd, they don’t take themselves seriously, and probably by some miracle if we’re being perfectly honest, it still all works thematically and within character, and that’s really why we stay.

As for this,
“Why are we so intent on calling them out.”
Because sometimes, it’s the only way to get through a less than average drama. And it’s fun. I mean what.
and also because some of us have brains that subconsciously pick things apart even when we are just watching to unwind and switch off and can’t do anything about it

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If we take this analogy, and say that these stories are trying to win our hearts, and we must put our trust in it, then it should first establish its world so that I know what I'm placing my faith in.

Logic and faith can and should go hand in hand.
I'm not going to trust a man I just met just because he wants to sweep me off my feet and take me to Cuba. What if he tells me that mermaids live there and I find out they DON'T AM I SUPPOSED TO JUST TAKE THAT? NOOOOO T_T

*ahem*

The beautiful thing about making your own world up is that you CAN make your own rules. And yes, we do have the choice to accept those rules - to believe, or leave. But once those rules are in place, it is not unreasonable to want those rules to be consistent. In fact, it is born out of a desire TO care for something. If we were apathetic towards a world's rules, it wouldn't matter if it made sense or not. But because we want to enjoy the story, it can't contradict itself, because then we don't know what is it we're supposed to be trusting.

(Mermaids? NO MERMAIDS? Which one?)

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In being intent on calling a drama out, we are doing what we should do in any healthy relationship : not blindly accepting the bad things our loved one does just because we care about them, because they could be so much more, and we also deserve more.

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Yeah shockingly I rant so much because I care about good storytelling, who knew ;)

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@sicarius After staring contemplatively at the sky for six hours, reflecting on how my entire worldview has been shattered, I'll get back to you on that.

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Take your time, let me know if you need a cookie to help with the existentialism.

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Sometimes this all still falls into personal preferences though. There is a popular book series that I ended up hate reading, not a good look on me as I tend to rant, that some friends love. They loved the story, the writing, and it is tied up for some of them with a happy time in their life.
I disliked the main lead and thought that the writer completely broke the rules of her world. I've expressed this many times they know how I feel. This series came out years ago and it was recently brought back up again and while they were happily reminiscing I had to rant. Ugh. I felt so bad after I did it. This is something that brought them joy and there was no reason for me to step on that. Plus, I have many things I love and will happily overlook its flaws.
Like the HP series. When it came out I was 18 and still fell in love with it and it is tied up with some very happy memories. In recent years I've seen more and more, probably viable criticisms towards it, but sometimes I read them and I just want to tell them to get out of my happy place. I love it quirks, warts, and all.

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@bcampbell1662 Oh, absolutely! In defending the reasoning behind having a critical eye, I in no way am trying to dismiss the personal aspect of it all, in which we as individuals figure out what we can and cannot accept in the story, as well as what redeeming qualities there are that convince us to continue (or not!)

One of my favorite series of all time is Star Wars, and I pretty much only like the original trilogy and think it has the most value of any of the films released. Yet I know it has worldbuilding problems and the Force is kinda inconsistent and vague, yet I forgive this things because I love its tale of forgiveness, family, and hope. It’s also tied in with nostalgia for me, because I would watch it with my dad when I was a wee one, and I always loved spending time with him.

There are /I>so many individual reasons for loving, leaving, or taking a story that can involve the actual story itself and the elements that make it up, as well as external factors and what we are going through in life. I’m not trying to discredit any of it, or the desire to accept the magic that a story wants to provide, even in a flawed execution. And I agree with you, even as specifically as on the Harry Potter series. I didn’t even really connect with the main characters when I first read the stories, but I remember such exciting discussions and bright eyes and the innocent fervor of my friends as they wanted to talk about it, and it makes me embrace it for what it is. Tis quite like a relationship in that way, too - we also must give grace and love each other even with our faults. But I also think we can call each other out, and challenge each other to be better, too. 😂 Stop leaving the dang toilet seat up! The key, I think, is to continue doing it with kindness.. and maybe some snark too, you know, just to make it fun? 😁

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@bammsie maybe a lot of snark, or maybe just make sure that there's a bammy around to balance out your's truly: the killjoy ;)

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@sicarius thank you, dear~

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@bcampbell1662 Ah! I’ve already talked your ear off, but as much as @sicarius is playfully making fun of herself and as much as I shall soon respond to her with an appropriately-timed emoji,

she raised a point that I forgot to add!

That, as much as those who are entitled to accept something because they find good in it, like your friends with the popular book series, there are also ones who will not/cannot, for their own reasons, like you! And that is not to say that if we have more critical views that we use them to rain on someone else’s parade, but just that I think that they are so incredibly valuable, too.

And Sica - 😛

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@bammsie I agree. I think critique is important. But while I dont think Scarius is being a killjoy I one hundred percent was about that book, lol.
Take something like Because This Life is My First. It was a show that many of us loved until many didnt. The heroine's actions in the last quarter ruined this show for many people. Are their criticisms viable? Yes. Do I agree with all of them? No. If I remember correctly many see it as flat out character assasination and it ruined the story. To them it was a writing error, to me it wasnt.
That's what I meant to say about some of it still being subjective.
I dont know if it is because of the director or the actor just overacting, but every time one of the characters that WDH is playing in The Eternal Monarch comes on the screen he takes me out of the story for a moment. But I'm actually enjoying this right now though it is taking a lot of poetic faith so I let it go. Some though like his portrayal a lot and if it was toned down they might not think it was as well done.

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@bcampbell1662 Oh, I’ve had my fair share of being a killjoy! I remember being straight into a rant about a song and realizing that I was murdering it for my friend. Felt so bad - not for having the opinion, but for wielding it in a way that was thoughtless when taking her into account.

And yes, personal preferences/interpretations most definitely still exist. :)

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There are NO MERMAIDS IN CUBA? My life is a lie, Bammy.

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I weep, I mourn for what might have been.

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I feel like I'm the person always seeing how the plot is full of flaws. But I have no problem accepting time travel/ magical artifacts. I do not think this as me suspending my disbelief, but more me accepting the premise of the story. However, when it comes to illogical decisions or actions from the characters, the way I see it, is mostly a result of clumsy writing. I feel that I am totally justified to feel cheated to an otherwise reasonable story.
I still remember an example where police officers chase a suspect up the stairs only to find that he escaped through the front door. Seriously? All the police had to do was seal the exits and search. Better writing might have the suspect jumping from one rooftop to another (provided it is doable - not jumping from a roof to a moving car as the character in the drama Rugal did - that would after all defy physics, right?) if the idea is for the suspect to escape.

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Agree with how you put it: when I start watching a fantasy drama (or most dramas, to be honest), I simply accept the premise of the story. Suspension of disbelief occurs when my brain starts spotting inconsistencies in this premise, but I still want to bear with it. Usually, suspension of disbelief fails when the drama starts pilling up inconsistencies and I end up feeling cheated by it (*side-eye to Memories of the Alhambra)

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Thank you @missvictrix for a lovely piece of writing.

It made me wonder sometimes, why I couldn't enjoy some stories while other Beanies seemed to be enjoying it so much, but at the same time enjoyed stories that others didn't enjoy that much. I thought it was about different preferences at that moment in time, and I still think that is partly true.

However, I just came to my own quite abrupt conclusion a moment ago after I finished reading your piece. I think I understand your points and for the most parts agree on those. However, I think my take is a bit different.

The way I have been enjoying the King, I think, is that same way I enjoyed Chocolate, Live Up to Your Name, etc. Some of these shows are classified as melodrama, fantasy, slice-of-life, etc. That being said, I recognized that there is one thing that had been shared in common while I was watching them - and it was on me not on them: it's not about the suspension of disbelief per se or even poetic faith, for me it's 'giving that (though) very little possibility a chance that it might happen in real life' sort of thing. We all, I think, second-guess many things we did in the past. I always wonder what could have happened had I made different choices. The truth is that it might have been better, as well as it might have been worse. It's true that it's easy to think of other people's grass as greener than ours, but it's also true that theirs might be less green too. Though the possibility was very little, it's still possible that in Chocolate, Cha-young would still be able to nail the dishes regardless of her lost sense of smell and taste. Even with the possibility less than 0.000000000000001, there might still be a chance that the story between Cha-young and Dr. Lee Kang in Chocolate might have really happened there, as well as in real life, and now they're living happily ever after somewhere only they know. It's not the belief in the author or poetic faith for me per se, but the fact that though the chance is extremely little, that thing might still be true/ exist sometime/somewhere.

I think I have been trough a lot in life. Regardless of that, it doesn't mean (and it's quite mean) to assume that everything that hasn't happened to me, hadn't had happened - isn't happening - or won't happen to me or to anyone else. (Give me that door portal between universes!) Let's just say that I think it's nice to give these 'plot holes' 'the benefit of doubt' (Eternal King: Why oh why do you have to be that much so in love with Tae-Eun in front of everyone, and why did you always use those cheesy lines everyone was so uncomfortable with but me LoL?), not because they're illogical and we just want to enjoy everything, but because though there is slim chance that that sort of thing may happen or be able to happen, there is still a chance.

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Scarlet Heart Ryo is badly stitches drama that need mental gymnastics to fill the gap in the story.

Plot hole is not suspension of disbelief and I hope drama doesn't make story look smart or character looks smart but provided the opposite solutions.

Examples : problem happened.
Main character solved it with unnecessary complex stuff so we can see that they are smart resulted with the worst outcome when simple solution provider by the antagonist is better. Supporting characters applauded the main character and show how smart they are. Audience is not that stupid.

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Beautiful said, and Ive been thinking about this a lot lately. I am willing to accept the story, but how far do I have to accept the elements of the story? Am I watching because my favorite actress is in this drama (Chocolate - I just could not get into it, Ha Ji-won) or is it because the story is interesting and keep me going (Itaewon Class - well, the first 8 episodes)?

But there is another thing too. It seems like every drama theses days is about this clues and we have to fill the gaps in the end. It seems that it is really hard to find a simple drama these days , one that I dont have to wait 16 episodes to put the pieces together (Melo is my nature). As a viewer, I dont want every drama to be about finding the answers in the last episode (Watcher).

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I have no issue with fantasy (time travel, pararel worlds, aliens, angel, grimp reaper, ghosts, etc.) or SF (AI, game, etc.) because the story is clear from the beginning, it takes place in an imaginary world. After I need the rules to be clear and not changing to fit bad writing.

Now, sometimes I have no problem to immerse myself in the imaginary world because of how the story is told, the characters's development, the cinematography, the OST, the acting, etc. and sometimes it doesn't work at all because one of these things or I imagine the drama will be about something and the writer was thinking about something else. For example, what @wishfultoki said about Extraordinary You. For me, this drama never had for goal to be a parody but a story about changing fate (with a lot of reference as Heidegger’s “Being and Time"). The first episodes were there to set the scene of the manhwa and yes played with the famous clichés but for me, at the end, it was Danoh's story and how she will be able to change her fate. So I wasn't disapointed by the story. In the contrary, Welcome was about loneliness, pets, etc. and I couldn't see that because my mind was focused about the fact the FL was falling in love with her cat (so I dropped it).

Now, dramas ask a lot with all the coincidences, truck of doom, etc. sometimes it's details and viewers react differently and sometimes is very big and you really wonder what the writers are smoking.

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I also thought EXTRAORDINARY YOU would be about changing one's fate, but that went hand in hand with the ability to understand how our characters interacted with the Writer, which in Dan-oh's case was very satirical at first. When she lost her spunk and things started to happen just because the Writer wanted it (Haru's first disappearance), I started to despair that they could actually change their fate. I don't know much about philosophy or Heidegger so, if the show was aiming at something deep, I couldn't read in between the lines without help. In my view the characters were never able to change their fate, so I didn't get the point of the whole show.

I realise I have a longstanding issue with the way Fate works in dramas. I may be misunderstanding something about Korean culture. Sometimes it works for me because the characters work hard to achieve or fight their Fate, as predicted by some omen or prophecy (it works especially in sageuks for me). Sometimes its totally gratuitous, based on those absurd coincidences you mention, and in spite of their best efforts.

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Interesting. In the early days of my drama watching, I accepted everything and let the drama take me wherever that may be. However, times have changed and whenever that suspension of disbelief has been challenged, I tend to drop the drama.

Maybe it's time to take the poetic faith, hoping that I'll enjoy the drama more with this route.

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First of all, I had these kind of conflicts from time to time while watching a drama in depth. Through this article,I came to know about Poetic Faith and I'm so grateful for it.

What I believe is difference betweem poems and stories is; poems have a side which could be called is its freedom.  Because while reading poems, the readers tend to try to understand the meaning first because poems are more compact and we tend to read without paraphrasing the words which it is the essence of reading poems, in my opinion. And what happen after this is just a matter of perspective and how we react to the poems. But for me, reading a poem in the first place means that I'm trying to accept the thoughts from the poet's perspective regardless of how it is not relevant or realistic to my real life. This is how I understand the poetic faith from my point of view.

 Nevertheless, I believe we all live our lives with rational opinions to some extent.  Things are meant to get complicated if we infuse rational opinions in a story, in my opinion. As @missvictrix says in this piece, all we need is to accept what a story is trying to exhibit us as we do while reading poems. But here in movies or dramas , there are casts, actions and scenes which I can see with my eyes, too, together with the voices to some extent. So, I tend to have disbalance between what I should see according to the writer's purpose and what I am actually seeing since there is a whole lot of presence for trying to understand with our imagination. Which is why acting, chemistry between casts, directing, scripts, background music and many other things in the production are also sharing important duties to make a story stay true in accordance with the purpose.  But, to be honest, the conflicts only happen when I invest deeply trying to understand the meaning since many dramas don't even try to make me invest thoughts by just being light and fluffy or even blatantly silly for me. No disregards.

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When I feel partial to a drama, I tend to hope that the logical errors and inconsistencies are cleared up later and it was just a fake out on the writer's part. I can't think of a particular drama at the moment, but sometimes the "error" has a backstory and it makes sense through flashbacks later on. When I fell REALLY partial to a drama this helps me forget the inconsistency as the show goes on, even though there is no explanation given whatsoever.

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Feel the same too! My Country is a good example: loved that show, in spite of the inconsistencies and that most of the time characters took all the wrong decisions

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My Country was saved by a good PD and fantastic performances from the leads and the older supporting actors.

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MY COUNTRY was actually quite logical to me, because even if the characters made wrong decisions those were in line with their principles and way of thinking. The only issue with MY COUNTRY for me was assuming the audience knew their history very well, so skipping parts of the story that needed to be shown. The actors made it work, as @mei123db says.

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What a great write-up! I think it's important to remind ourselves why and how we enjoy the content we consume, as well as how it was intended to be enjoyed. It's easy for someone with a rational brain to get so wrapped up in elements that seem unrealistic, that you miss or fail to enjoy other parts of a story that are wonderful.

I do think writers need to be careful whenand why they include elements that may request such "poetic faith", as they need to take into account some aspects of their story will overshadow others depending on how they present it, although of course they can never account for all viewers. But as a kdrama writer, the viewing experience and the ride you take your viewer on is important. You need to build trust with the viewer that they will come out at the other end unscathed.

You won't convince someone to hop on that magic carpet ride if the carpet has a bunch of holes in it to begin with.

That said, I'm usually very forgiving when it comes to poetic faith. I can enjoy a drama even when it defies the laws of physics in order to make a point, or when people behave in ways that I wouldnt. I can even put up with stories that rely on countless coincidences to induce drama, though when they go too far I might accuse the writer of getting lazy with her writing.

My biggest pet peeve, however, is character inconsistency. If a character is irrational and behaves in ways that I can't imagine any rational person would, I am willing to accept that this is their personality. However, if a character is consistent throughout the first half of the drama and then suddenly starts behaving inexplicably in order to move the Plot along, I get frustrated. Poetic faith is acceptable for external circumstances because we understand the need for certai metaphors. But when poetic faith messes with the characters we are supposed to follow, it becomes more of an issue. The story becomes so unrelatable that a barrier gets set up between the viewer and the characters and you get ejected from the story. It becomes much harder to get immersed again when the people no longer feel like people, because then why would we care?

Of course, everything depends on the storytelling. If something unrealistic or outrageous feels like it was included intentionally to convey a certain situation, a joke, an issue, a state of mind or emotion, or to elicit a specific reaction from the viewer, it is a lot easier to be forgiving than when the writer asks for poetic faith that doesn't make narrative sense simply because they have written themselves into a corner.

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"My biggest pet peeve, however, is character inconsistency(...)" This whole paragraph explains my problem with "W" and why I just cant finish it. Yes, there are other dramas with this problem, but W is just so popular with everybody that I cant accept that I dont like it myself.

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I’ll happily accept almost any scenario - like, okay, you’ve been in a coma for 13 years but you’ve suddenly made a full recovery, ten seconds of physio and you’re fine, sure why not? That drama isn’t telling a medical story, so all it needs to do is give us the set up and away we go.

On the other hand, if a drama is trying to tell me that a character is (for instance) super smart or deeply in love or whatever but I see no evidence of that in the way they behave - e.g I am supposed to be a gifted prosecutor and I know a Very Bad Man is trying to kill me so I’ll just go for a walk down this secluded dark road by myself without telling anyone because I feel like going for a walk - then that really takes me out of the story.

So, basically like everyone else has said - bad storytelling interferes with my ability to keep the faith!

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This is beautifully written, @missvictrix!
Really like the concept of poetic faith. The human mind needs stories to make sense of life - books, tales, movies, dramas, videogames, even reality shows. All of them tell us stories in different formats, and most people are more than happy to embrace them.
As you say, the question is not about having to shut off your brain to accept fantastic elements, it's about the story being consisten with its' premise.
Personally, I love fantasy, and I can even deal with loads of inconsistencies, deus ex-machina and over the topness, if from the start my expectations about the drama are adequately set. But I tend to overreact and hate a drama if it falls short to my expectations. It's unfair, but there it is

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All is fair in drama love and drama hatin', I'd say :)

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Suspension of disbelief works for the stated premise of a series, but the story and the world the writer creates musts fully support the premise. For example, in an afterlife drama, Hotel De Luna created its own world with clear rules and consistent enforcement of them. In Hi, Bye Mama, there was the premise but a story filled with so many plot holes that in the end had viewers having more questions than answers.

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My main issue with many kdramas is not issue like the fingernail scar, but the fact that far too often the drama has people doing or saying things that real people simply don't do or say. Those "who in hell would ever actually do that" moments.

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Beautifully written. I love the fantasy genre. It makes even more invested in the story as we dont know the rules of those worlds.We dont what would happen next and always keep us on the edge of the seat. Most of the times we just wave off the illogical things hapenning and enjoy the show. But when the scenes plays
,somewhere back in our mind we do question how did all of this started, how the characters gonna be affected by this etc and can we get all of the answers at the end of the drama.

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I used to be kinder when it came to suspending my disbelief over a climactic moment in Korean dramas. As long as I liked the leads, I would close an eye to the implausibility of a scene. But, lately it is beginning to grate on me...

Take Forest, for instance. It tested my patience beyond the limits of human endurance. I was in a perpetual state of suspension of disbelief episode after episode, week after week. At the end of 16 episodes, the inevitable happened, my mind snapped, and I have never been the same.

To have suspension of disbelief work in a drama, you need a strong, charismatic lead, someone who narrows his eyes at the world and sneers, "So what? I'm over the top, but I'm so good at it you can't help but adore me!" Lee Hyuk! Who else can make me watch a crazy, wacko, bizarre story week after week, and still come back for more?

But if the lead is weak, bland and insipid, it's not going to work. You need ATTITUDE to carry off that sass. Think Lee Hyuk snarling and breathing fire and smoking hot in his brown leather coat, bursting out of the shadows with guns blazing. Hyun bin, his face weary and bloodied, desperately wielding his sword against an enemy that only he can see. You scream for them, you root for them, you cry for them, because they make it so real. SSR and Hyun bin. Two terrific actors with presence and that undefinable IT factor, that sets them apart from other mediocre actors. And if you have IT, you can make me believe just about anything. I want to believe. Make me believe.

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"To have suspension of disbelief work in a drama, you need a strong, charismatic lead(s) . . . " this is why Crash Landing on You is so popular: viewers set aside the premise and plot to just enjoy the chemistry between the leads and the supporting cast.

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I know, right. Like Secret Garden. The body swap troupe is something I dislike. I put off watching it for years. But when I watched it, I really, really liked it. Hyun bin and Ha Ji Won were just so good, and the lines were so great. Whereas Big was just a big fail for me.

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Haha, I actually loved the body swap, and the fact that it was brought on by a crazy concoction and lighting made it all the more hilarious and ridiculous. It's like Freaky Friday. You don't question why the lighting can do that LOL.

By the way, there are lots of potholes in my neighborhood so can you send Oppa around? I can't promise I won't fall for him. It's so romantic to watch someone fixing the road for you.

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What nearly tipped me over the edge was that dumb smile he had, fixed on his face throughout. Just thinking about it makes me flail. AAAAAAAAAA

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Recently in K-dramaworld I was less upset by the concept of a cat turning human (pure fairy tale) than by a speech mimic electronic box gaining sentience. I was given no foundation to believe a box could gain sentience so the people just seemed neurotic talking to it. It would have taken them 5 minutes in the premiere for them to lay the foundation of 'this is a world where fantastical machines get made' but they didn't to it. It's ironic that the actress in 'A Piece Of Your Mind' was also in 'I'm Not A Robot'. The latter required much more suspension of disbelief but they had laid the foundation for it so you went with it.

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A Piece of Your Mind was pretty clear. Ha Won had a society about AI and other things. They just pushed the principle farer. It was a SF part of the drama but the way they made was really nice. But NO character fell in love with the tiny box and stopped to live a normal life for it. At the opposite, the tiny box helped them to heal and have a normal life. In Meow, the issue never was the cat becoming an human but the FL falling in love with her pet and having a love relationship when he never became a complete human.

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this just might be your best article yet! i so agree with you that it is ok to suspend your belief and just go with the story and love it! my everyday life is quite difficult so i welcome things that help me get away from it and into a lovely world different than mine. thank you so much for putting all this into words!

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I believe that a mark in the nail bed that doesn't go away is a sign of cancer (I think skin cancer)
so they could have really gone to town and added the big C plot. (tho I'm assuming they didn't since it wasn't mentioned here. i've not seen it. )
so you can just imagine that as the sequel :)

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She is lucky the books falling on her head did not give her amnesia.

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I just want to point out:
Plotholes ≠ Audience unwillingness to suspend the disbelief or maintain poetic faith.

We as Kdrama audience are extremely generous when it comes to suspending the disbelief. It's just when the plot absolutely makes no sense is when you question the drama's (and your own) sanity.

Also, if anyone wants to get a good laugh at "suspension of disbelief", watch drama on Viki with comments turned on. It hilarious! Some recent gems I read are, "Peripheral vision does not exist in kdrama" or "How much lawyers make? Why are you asking it someone? Search the internet!" or "New kdrama phenomenon: bookcase earthquake. Be prepared! Store Jinyoung in you emergency trunk kit at all times!"

My favorite Viki quote has nothing to do with suspension of disbelief, but actually quite the opposite, "Is someone cutting onions here!?!?"

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I havent read a non-disease related article in a long time and this was so refreshing! 💜

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I really don't have anything smart to add. But this piece of writing was so beautiful I was actually touched at the end. Damn right I fall in love with k-dramas at the end. And yes a little poetic faith can really lead us to enjoying a drama better, because instead of using our time questioning specific moments (which might make us feel smarter than the story) we could use it to notice tiny things that spark a little joy the show just did beautifully. So thank you :)

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Have you ever watched a sci-fi movie with someone who sits happily watching monsters and flying saucers and magical powers, then in one small scene they blurt out "That would never happen!" Its always the small stuff that gets you. Sharing universes with manhua characters - no problem with that. Noticing that nobody paid for the restaurant meal - What are they doing?????!!!!!

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I have a nail injury from a hiking fall around 15 yrs ago. A wood splinter embedded in my thumbnail, had a minor (painful) procedure done to remove it immediately after but until now, an ugly dark brown streak from the tip downwards on my thumbnail is still there. I guess the nail cells have some sort of memory? Or is it a nail scar? I dunno. But yeah.

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