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K-drama problems: Stirring the emotional pot

Ah, dramas. They sure make us feel things, don’t they? Sometimes they’re good feelings, like belly laughs and swoons. Sometimes they’re the sucker punch of a fantastic twist, or the empathy of sharing heartbreaks and losses with our protagonists. Drama feelings even go outside of the world of the drama, and make us react in strong ways to things like storytelling, plot, plot holes, and anything that might fall into said hole. But, regardless of what we’re reacting to, we are feeling. So the drama is doing its job.

Dramas can conjure up all sorts of emotions in us, and I like to think of it in two ways. The first way is with the emotions intrinsic to the story. Oh My Baby made me feel that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when Jang Nara is told how small her chances are of having a baby. The early flirtations between Jung Hae-in and Han Ji-min in One Spring Night gave me butterflies. And watching Chae Soo-bin in A Piece of Your Mind grieve for her parents and her fire-torn house put the same horrible lump in my throat.

These emotions are precisely what the drama intends me to feel, and boy, am I feeling them. In fact, I’m feeling them so much that it takes some effort for me to sit back and realize: it’s such a great feat of storytelling to be able to evoke emotions in people universally — to get them to connect with the world of a story so deeply that they feel feelings right along with the protagonists.

Take a drama like A Couple’s World, for instance. It’s the perfect example of a story that created in-world drama that had you following and feeling every single moment of the (vicious) emotional roller coaster ride. It was a master at evoking a strong emotional response in its audience as they got caught up in the story’s world.

But there’s a second way dramas stir the emotional pot. The first was how we’re affected by the world of the story, but the second is how our internal world is affected by the story. That is, what does the drama wake up in us that no one else knows about?

A writer, when tackling a plot, knows the emotions they want to evoke in their reader; they are quantifiable and definable. But what a storyteller can’t prepare for is what a drama might wake up in you. This is a total wild card, because while the drama can’t know your secrets, your fears, or your hopes and dreams, sometimes it can hit on them — and who knows how you’ll respond. Will you cry? Will you be found madly screencapping a beautiful moment? Or will you — gasp — turn off the drama because of the very nerve it hit?

How we react to stories is amazingly automatic. Sometimes we can’t even predict it ourselves. One straight-forward way this happens is when a drama’s story “hits home,” as we like to say. That means the story we’re experiencing vicariously hits on an emotion we’re feeling in our own life, and there’s something so powerful, comforting, and purgative about experiencing emotions alongside of a story — and airing yours out at the same time.

It’s the difference between crying over a heroine losing a loved one because it’s a universally heartbreaking event — and crying over a heroine losing a loved one because you yourself are processing the same emotions in your own life. Feeling emotions based in the world of the drama are one thing, but feeling emotions in real life because of the drama is even stronger.

I’m sure we all have enough dramas under our belts to know what it feels like when a drama wakes up your own set of emotions. Sometimes it’s simple — maybe you’re going through a breakup, so a drama like Oh Hae-young Again rings twice as strong as our heroine deals with hers. Maybe your family is going through a health crisis, and then *boom* the drama you’re watching has anything from an urgent organ transplant need, to someone waiting for a life-altering diagnosis (cue everything from Hospital Playlist to Mystic Pop-up Bar), and it calls up all the emotions you’re feeling in real life.

Sometimes dramas can call up our emotions even when the plot doesn’t echo real life, though. Sometimes witnessing things on screen can magnify our own emotions. I know for me, when my family was going through a tough season, I literally could not watch anything with a pinch of violence or blood. Violence and blood didn’t have a thing to do with what I was going through, but it somehow fed whatever turmoil was going on inside.

There’s a lot to unpack when we’re talking about dramas making us feel feelings, and it goes back to the territory of Greek Tragedy, catharsis, and vying philosophical standpoints (who knows, we just might head there next!), but in the meantime, here’s a question to ponder: does a story that “hits home” make you more or less likely to watch it?

We’ve looked at how dramas and stories can wake up our own emotions and hardships, and often shed some light on where we’re struggling. But interestingly, this equation works in reverse, too. A drama can stir our feelings, but instead of drawing attention to tension and conflict, it can deliver positive and affirming emotions instead. Because, did you ever get exactly what you needed from a drama when you were watching it? It’s like the story knows what you need to hear, and then gives it to you.

It can be simple, and usually is — a string of dialogue that encourages or comforts you, like some of the beautiful moments in Chocolate, perhaps. Or, a drama might give you some insight on something you’re experiencing in real life. For instance, I’m loving the deeper philosophical moments that are getting dropped in Will You Have Dinner With Me, like the line about how, “Happiness has eyes, but unhappiness doesn’t.” But it doesn’t have to be words or philosophies — you can even feel encouraged by simply engaging with the story of a long-suffering of a heroine who’s fighting to get her full-time job, or write her script, or pay off her debt once and for all. Or anything else.

It doesn’t have to make sense on paper. The strange and mysterious power of stories to speak to us is pretty wild. You don’t even have to look for it. It will find you.

Since dramas stir our emotional pots in so many different ways, it makes sense that certain seasons of our lives call for certain stories. Or, that sometimes what we brush off as, “I’m not in the mood,” actually means that the story isn’t right for us at that moment because of the emotions that it will conjure.

But what’s wrong with that? Stories affect us on so many planes — sometimes we don’t give them enough credit for their power. After all, they can do everything from make us blissfully happy, to give us gray hairs. They can make us laugh, make us cry, or even make us laugh so hard that we wind up crying. But, no matter how you’re reacting to the world of the story, there’s always the same constant: stories make us feel.

Thank you @wishfultoki for sharing the idea for this article. I only hope you can still recognize it after I took it and ran off into the night as if loan sharks were chasing me and my life was on the line.

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Oh this hits on all the right points! ❤️❤️

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This was a very good read! Thanks @missvictrix and @wishfultoki !

On the question of whether a story that “hits home” makes me more or less likely to watch it...

I've read psychology and scientific articles that say that people remember negative emotions, experiences and events more strongly and in more detail, even for those people who maintain positive outlooks in life.

So for me, it's often the dramas whereby a character is going through the same unpleasant experiences as me, that I relate significantly more to, rather than happy events in those dramas. In this context, I'm more likely to continue watching the drama, precisely because sometimes when you're stuck in a rut in real life, or getting too caught up in your own negative emotions in real life, that seeing how other people (i.e. those characters in the dramas) go about handling them gives me fresh perspectives and even pulls me out of my self-wallowing funk many times. And dramas also give me faith and hope that even if times are difficult in this current moment, and it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, there will always be that light.

And even when I feel like a particular character (especially a female one, since I'm female too) is different from me, that doesn't necessarily mean I relate lesser to her too. In fact, I've realized over the years of drama-watching that when there are traits in those characters which are different from mine, but which I think I "should" in fact be having in my constant introspection of myself and wanting to correct certain behaviours or traits of myself, I actually draw a lot of lessons from them. Case in point -- "Because This Life is Our First" helped me a lot through a difficult point in my life, seeing how the female lead faltered, yet she was able to feel hurt, but ultimately recover and set healthy boundaries for herself etc.

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I always love your essays, thanks a lot @missvictrix!
The emotions are one of the biggest reasons, why I fell into the drama hole. I've watched my first drama around 4 years ago when my boyfriend went to Korea to work there and I just wanted to know a little bit more about a country I knew almost nothing about.
At first I missed my boyfriend so much that I didn't know how to handle it, and so the dramas became my gateway to my emotions. Whenever something bad happened to the leads I would cry so much for them but also for me. My most emotional connection at this point was with ”Oh Hae Young Again“. Oh Hae Young was an emotional mess throughout the first half ot the drama – just like me at this point. For a long time I was afraid of people since I was bullied a lot before I moved to another city to study. So I could feel Oh Hae Young’s low self-esteem and her desire to be loved by someone. Eventually, her journey in the drama had me manage my own very low self-esteem.
There are more dramas that stirred emotions I wouldn't want to deal with otherwise. So I can actually say, my drama experience in the last 4 years made me grow as a person. My boyfriend still works in Korea, however, I'm not an emotional mess anymore ;-) But I still enjoy how dramas evoke feelings with their storytelling.

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Hi, Unnie!
Long time.
I understand why you liked Oh Hae young so much!!
For me, it is very similar with different characters in My Ajusshi.
But it's a drama I can simply rewatch, because I need the right mood for it.
Right now I am watching Oh my Baby and late to the party: the nodku flower. Both very good in different ways.
Changing the topic: I have moved closer to your Gegend. We could possibly meet again!!!!!! 🙂🙋

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Hi Javinne! 🙋🏻‍♀️It's been really a long time.
I'm still thankful that you watched Oh Hae Young for me 😉
I was thinking about watching Nokdu Flower, since I'm in the mood for a good sageuk. Would you recommend it?
Oh, and I would love to meet you again! Where do you live now?

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I am now living in Köln (Porz Eil, eigentlich), and the Nokdu flower is very.... very sad, I am afraid... I am watching it for my sister and therapist (we are watching together),'that's why😅😅😅😅

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That's really right around the corner! Do you still have the same phone number? I will write you on WhatsApp then.

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NOKDU FLOWER is amazing, but not a light watch. It's like a masterful prequel to MR. SUNSHINE.

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That sounds like the sageuk I want to watch! I will definitely check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

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Totally.... And I stopped for 15 days or more, because I didn't have internet, and now it is so hard to come back to watch it....!
Mr. Sunshine killed my heart! It took me free days to watch the last episode because I was sobbing like a teenager.
But I understand why you need to watch these shows.
You can't read comedy all the time... That's why...

@swunnie I still have the same number.

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‘ Feeling emotions based in the world of the drama are one thing, but feeling emotions in real life because of the drama is even stronger.’
THIS.
Sometimes, a character in a drama will guide us a way to tackle emotions in real life, through a drama completely irrelevant of our lives.
No matter how different the settings are, a person is still a person with multiple facets with different layers.
if we are lucky enough, we will find a side of our facet in a character and that’s it, we’ll share the emotions with the character.
I think that’s why storytelling is so powerful. Thank you for this insightful article.

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"That is, what does the drama wake up in us that no one else knows about?"
Oh indeed, what do they wake up that no one else will ever know about...

"here’s a question to ponder: does a story that “hits home” make you more or less likely to watch it?"
- This really depends on what is hitting home for me.
Often I'm in the middle of something by the time anything hits home, and I think it'd be more likely to make me keep going the majority of the time. For example, sometimes something connects from the very beginning and I keep going because of that one specific thing, but not always to the conclusion I desire.
But another layer to something "hitting home" might be more of a trigger moment. Yeah it hits home, but uh... external factors mean that's not always a good thing. Is this what I need right now? And then it's back to something being a mood-breaker, as it were; there are those that can hit a deep nerve, in a good way and in a bad way, or that can just hit home in an abstract, comforting way.

I want to add another level to the #2 stories:
Those that produce visceral reactions, either negative or positive, something beyond just mere emotion, spiritual if you will. There aren't many of these for me, and I'm not going to give examples right now (some of you can probably guess), but oh boy do they exist.

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"Stories affect us on so many planes — sometimes we don’t give them enough credit for their power."
Ahhh noo stories have so much power; that's why I love them so much.

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Stories help us make sense of the world and ourselves. Stories are a basic human need and a welcome diversion when real life is just too much.

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Stories are and do many things, of which I would love to expand upon farther, perhaps for a long time...
But I have to go to bed ^-^

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Love your essays, as always. Thanks for sharing!

This weekend I binged Go back couple and yes, it was as fantastic as everyone was telling me. But it was specially painful (but in a good way, is such a thing exists) watching JinJoo reaction to being reunited with her mum. Jang Nara and Kim Mi Kyung share that bond and express so well the feeling. The way JinJoo holds her mum is just the way I would hold mine if given the chance to go back in time to be with her one day.

It was so real. Writer-nim knew how to do it. Actors new how to express the feeling and the directing was perfect.

And tears appear as I write this.

This is what dramas do.

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Such a beautiful essay, @missvictrix!
"A drama can stir our feelings, but instead of drawing attention to tension and conflict, it can deliver positive and affirming emotions instead." This!

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The last drama I related to, so deeply that I might as well have supplanted myself into it's world was Cheese In The Trap. Yes, that famous Cheese.

I related too much with Hong Seoul. I had just started university and was caving under the pressure of keeping up with the fast pace( I'm a slow learner, especially in mathematics), I felt like an elementary student tossed into the world of adult learning. I couldn't cope with the unfamiliar world. I hated the course I was studying and I was absolutely lost! Everybody at home thought I was doing well, expected it even, because I was supposedly a 'brilliant' child. My classmates also saw that facade, that of a smiling, cheery, hardworking girl. I was the farthest from it. Quickly, I sank into depression.

It didn't help that my family was going through turmoil, money problems, separation and were constantly fighting. I had more or less become the peacemaker, unintentionally.

So watching Hong Seoul struggle to keep up a bright face and hold several jobs to support herself was inspiring. She was a different kind of candy in that, she was doing this for herself, not for a sick loved one but for her own tuition. I wished I could work but the school system discouraged that due to the schedule, I left home at 7:00am and came back at 9:00pm everyday.
Our temperaments were similar as well: just like Hong Seoul, I hated confrontation and really went out of my way to avoid disagreements. Not out of fear, but because I disliked the attention it brought, I'd rather just get along with everyone.

It was episode three, the one with the group project, that confirmed I had finally found my own type of heroine portrayed in a drama and then the rest, her flailiiness, internal thoughts that were difficult to just spit out and her desire to just live a drama-free life with moderate success sealed it.
For me, one of the most important scene in the whole show was also it's most overlooked, it was just said in passing and the show never really probed it deeper and just dropped the thread( among the many casualties of the show's derailment). The scene was when Hong Seoul went for career counseling. She was asked what her dreams were. What did she hope to achieve? Which company would she like to work in? Hong Seoul couldn't answer .Afterwards, she pondered the questions, asking herself where she was going. She'd been so focused on just staying afloat and surviving, she never really gave much thought to her aspirations. What were her ambitions? Where did she see herself 5 years later? 10 years even? It was then she realized that she didn't even have the answer to those questions.

That was it! That was my eureka moment. I stayed to the end, following her on this journey of self-discovery( as I thought at time), to see where it would lead, even as she navigated the craziness of psychos that had just populated her world. Unfortunately, we all know how that ended. The questions never really got answered, they were...

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...*continued*...

Unfortunately, we all know how that ended. The questions never really got answered, they were almost forgotten. And that was my first heartbreak( this is not hyperbole). I felt it viscerally, like a dream had just been brutally destroyed in front of me. I was numb for days, kept muttering to myself, "so this is what heartbreak feels like?".
I now know why I reacted so strongly, it was because I was desperately living through Hong Seoul: her breakthrough would illuminate mine, granting me clarity, I would share in her victories and, if I could just hang in there, things would get better. I desperately needed someone to pull me close, let me cry my heart out and tell me it was okay to not know what to do next. That it was okay to be lost for a while.

Sorry this got too long. I still have soooooo much to stay whenever I start talking about CITT. Thank you @missvictrix, your articles are always amazing!.

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Nice read ❤ This is exactly the reason why a lot of us have a hard time letting go of koreandramas or the act of drama watching itself. Every drama is a new experience. I wouldn't trade anything else for it.

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@missvictrix What a thoughtful and insightful essay. Thank you for sharing, @wishfultoki.

I can't watch a drama without thinking of the pandemic nowadays. When Lee Gon donned a black mask, my heart sank, because it was a jarring and unwelcome reminder of the new reality, so scary and unfamiliar. I watch characters talking, interacting, hugging, kissing, breathing in each other's air, and I cringe and mutter, "Social distancing."

"The World of the Married" is the first drama to ever make me feel so raw. Rage. Pain. Fear. Disbelief. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. It dug deep into me and resonated with me. And then there was "Forest" which stirred my emotional pot so bad it messed with my head permanently. It was so awful that it made me want to reach into my screen, and throttle the FL. Now, THAT was a first for me.

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Agree with 'World of the Married' drama part. That drama was just on another level with the emotions. i come from a dysfunctional family similar to the setup of this drama. Though not that melodramatic, but some scenes really hit home. I swear after finishing the drama for whole week i kept thinking about the show.

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I have no credit whatsoever. I merely told @missvictrix that "several beanies were crying on the fanwall today, for different reasons", and she took that idea and spun something more beautiful and moving than I ever imagined. Thank you for another great essay missvictrix! :)

And yes, I am currently watching HOSPITAL PLAYLIST. I don't usually watch medical dramas, but this one is stirring the emotional pot very well indeed. It isn't dragging out powerful moments and leaving me exhausted, like other dramas that try to force feelings out of me or for too long. The balance is just right, so far.

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This was beautiful. Whenever I talk about tv shows I am watching I was say "I'm about to go watch my stories." I love storytelling in all of its forms whether reading, listening, or watching. Storytelling is one of the few ways humans get to read other people's mind, it is one of the few ways we get to disappear so to speak into something else, and a way to invoke strong emotion without it necesaarily being personal. 😍

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❤️❤️

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Drama writers have tools (tropes) to craft a story, but it takes a good director to stage the appropriate mood, setting and action to get the emotional responses from the actors. It is the convergence of these elements that give unexpected scenes which spark an emotional response.
We have seen many shows having the same premise and theme, but with vast differences in execution and performance. Some have such weak scripts, the cast cannot salvage it. Some have such strong chemistry from the leads, the script becomes secondary. It is still rare for a drama to hit on all cylinders.

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Hotel Del Luna did that for me. The fact that even when wishes and dreams were different, Gu Chan-sung had to choose multiple times to let go of Jang Man-wol and her acceptance of it broke me. The scene where she pours off the new wine from the balcony moved me to tears. Made me realize that 'Happily ever afters' need not be actually 'ever afters' long as drilled in our minds. I continued with this drama till the end though.
The drama I couldn't watch at the end was When the weather was nice. I just couldn't handle the grief of Hae-won's aunt and the atonement she created for herself. Her character was the one I had grown to love in the drama and I hated to see her break down. I just read the reviews here for the last episode after a while.

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'Black Dog' was a series I couldn't watch because its realities were too real to me, a series I'd no doubt greatly enjoy if I could just get past that 'personal' issue. Compare that to 'My Ajusshi/Mister' which was no less real to me, no less bleak, but I could run on a perpetual loop.

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I get this! Blackdog was an enjoyable watch for me, because the reality reminded me of myself a few years back. On the other hand, I have tried to watch Misaeng multiple times for the past few years, but it has always felt too real. Maybe I wouldve thought the same about blackdog had it come a few years earlier. Maybe it's finally the right time for me to finish Misaeng...

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Nice article, @missvictrix. CSB is a really talented actress. Probably one of a few actresses that can do comedy, drama and villainous roles very well. I remember first seeing her as mean girl Soo Ah in Sassy Go Go and she managed to bring depth to the character and make her relatable. In a way, the character also reminded me of myself as I grew up with a strict mom who demands the best.

I watched Misaeng around the time that I was contemplating of resigning from work. Seeing Manager Oh inspired me and made me want to persevere. Here's comes someone who refuses to take bull from his higher ups and tried his best to work with dignity and integrity at all times.

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Yes to all of the Chae Soobin love! Kwon Sooah could not have been depicted better. I don't know how she does it, but Chae Soobin hits the right spot for me almost every single time.

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lol. can you tell me the drama where she hits the right spot as you say? are you sure, it is Chae soo bin and not someone else? not Kim Go Eun? Kim tae Ri or Kim yoo Jung but Chae Soo Bin, the worst actress in the K drama land?

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Nope, pretty sure she means Chae Soo-bin, one of the finest actresses of her generation :)

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Chae Soo-bin is love. She was really wonderful in A Piece of Your Mind. Her Han Seo-woo is one of my favorites female lead characters ever.

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Han Seowoo is an amazing character and I love her to pieces. I love how she was an extremely kind and empathic person, who also took the time to be introspective about her flaws and insecurities. I felt like the writer, director and the actress wanted it to be so we could really understand her and have a look inside her thoughts, and also made sure she never felt like she was less developed, less important or lesser in any way than the male lead while still feeling absolutely human and real. I could go on forever about Han Seowoo but nobody signed up for that...

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I signed up for that.
That show has all my feels for this year.
That entire show was just feelings on paper. A televisual poem.
And I loved both leads so much, they were both so normal and so believably flawed.
APOYM being so underrated and unloved is this year's tragedy.

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am i correct? are talking about CSB, as in Chae Soo Bin? OMG. She is the worst actress in the K drama land, no charisma, bland actress, emotion less. JIN Se Yeon is a much better actress than Chae So Bin.

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Thats the reason why A piece of mind had 1% rating because of Her. Poor Jung hae In. Chae Soo Bin is a mediocre actress. Not sutable for lead roles. She better stick to supporting roles.
all of her draman where she was the lead, had low ratings. - no super low ratings. as in hitting rock bottom.
imagine a piece of your mind being the lowesr TVN dram in Monday and Tuesday slot. so embarassing.

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For me a good drama will always be a drama which connected with me from beginning till the end.

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Great post. It provoked my pondering about being long time (11 years) Kdrama addict. For Korean viewers it’s natural to watch their own shows, but for an international crowd to grow to millions around the globe - it’s a phenomenon worth studying and dissecting. Have you ever come across J-drama, C-drama, T-drama addict? Is there even such a term? Don’t get me wrong, I and many others enjoy good dramas from all these countries. But does it ever turn into a long time attachment? Does it invoke as strong emotions, feelings of happiness and frustration as Kdramas inflict on its faithful?
The C-drama Untamed is an exclusion not only due to the right casting, but also because it based on one of the best novels. They couldn’t go wrong with it even if they tried.

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Speaking of novels and script writing. Korean drama industry didn’t have the Chinese advantage of hundreds of years of great poetry, philosophical works, and, later, great novels. The famous authors and books that either were already published in 60s,70s, fantasy works, or the treasure trove of newer internet novels. Most C-dramas use such great generational works they make into drama scripts. And they still butcher it and fail to produce intelligent, thought provoking entertainment, most of the time. That is why I think Korean script writers are so important and renowned in their country, the country that was too poor, uneducated, and always under foreign occupation/influence to produce world recognized national literature. Now, the Korean drama industry made writing TV dramas (movies not so much) scripts into a literacy art they can be proud of. The variety of such scripts, in combination with Korean hard working, great looking, and humble (opposite of spoiled, undeserving Hollywood rich morons, who make one good movie in 5 years, or even a decade, and then simply milk its popularity) actors, directors, and tech staff made the Kdrama into global phenomenon it has become today.

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This is a beautifully written piece and exactly why I keep coming back to kdrama -and televisoon by extension.

The way certain shows have made me feel cannot be described. I don't know to which degree it is intentional, as sometimes even I didn't know what I really needed until a show catches me by surprise. It seems wild to me that people would know exactly which spot to hit. I guess there are just so many universal feelings and experiences that if you keep looking, you will find a drama that captures exactly what you needed at that moment in time.

Shoutout to i am not a robot, a piece of your mind and sassy gogo (chae soobin is the goddess of my heart really) but also my ajussi, blackdog and 30/17. I dont know if the drama teams knew exactly what they were doing, but thank you for making my heart sing.

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I'm not sure I can cope with this comment not including a reference to BOKSOO.
RUOK?

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Boksoo was amazing and made me feel warm and fuzzy and happy and bright inside and is the medicine everyone needs on a sad day but the drama didnt stir up the kind of feelings the other 6 i mentioned did. It didn't hit as deep.

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That said, still my favorite drama of 2019. I stand by this.

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This is one great article.

Really enjoyed it. It has a great perspective I never thought about before. And it's totally true too❤️❤️@[email protected]

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i am amazed at how well you guys write my feelings down and make sense of them! you are awesome writers!

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Really great and thought-provoking essay! I'm reminded of when I was finishing up high school, School 2013 was one of the first dramas I live-watched. My school life was nothing remotely like the drama (thank god) but I related in a lot of the struggles and pressures- there was a lot of ugly crying but it was very cathartic

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I was just talking about this on a different blog, too. Oh My Baby brought me to tears at least once in each of the first 4 episodes, because it was hitting all the feelings I'd had about my own infertility issues. It did a great job of making me feel all the yearning and helplessness again. For me that just made the show better, because while it was a hard period in my life it's something in my rear view mirror and I now have two beautiful daughters. However, I have two close friends who are in their late 30s turning 40 who have never married or had children and are in a serious phase of mourning, because the window is closing for good on the opportunity for biological children. This is not a show I'd recommend for them, since it's too close, too fresh a wound. Timing.

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Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test? I'm nothing but a mass of empathic emotions, so I'm' told - but I already knew that.
And I already knew why I love kdramas - because of emotions it makes me feel. I can watch a favorite drama over and over until the emotion is gone, then I can't watch it anymore.
Why do I love music and cry with every beautiful OST? (Especially the c-drama OSTS.) John Thompson back in the early 1900s explained in his piano method book "Music is the language of emotion". So is good writing, so are good dramas (unless you're a Marvel fan of movies that are void of emotion (imo!).
The interesting thing is I did not watch one, not even one of the dramas you mentioned you watched. I have my own reasons for watching or not watching what I watch, all depending on the "feels".

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I have a friend two thinks films and TV that make him feel those pesky 'emotions' are somehow trying to 'trick' him and he doesn't like it. I joked that he's one backward baseball cap and outdoor BBQ grill away from being a typical American male.

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Stories that hits home motivates me to watch the drama until the end. I love dramas that depict personal and family struggles. I always try to look for lessons on each memorable dramas I have loved and watched. I hold Reply 1988 dear to my heart because I can relate to Dukseon's family struggles. It was the first drama who took me to roller coaster ride of emotions. It reminds me of my parent's youth and longs for the time when life was plain and simple

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It was never a pleasant surprise to have a drama suddenly hit my hidden nerve (that I never even knew I have) and turn me into hating it with all my heart. It's even more exasperating when the said dramas didn't have any resemblance to my own life at all. It forced me to reconsider what aspect it has that anger me so much. I'm still questioning myself why I still hold a grudge over Hi Bye Mama despite its overall good quality, while many other dramas with questionable plot holes get my forgiveness not long after it finished.

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Maybe because you loved the drama and it hit a nerve that you could not forgive? BTLIOF did that to me. I also give a pass to more mediocre shows because I'm not that invested, but if a show has my heart and "betrays" me in the end, I may end up hating it or doing my best to forget it.

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Boy, BTLIOF hit me where it truly hurts just with one seemingly innocent remark from Ji-ho in the last eps about her not going to visit her husband's family anymore. It instantly dropped from my top 10 list of favorite drama to the bottom of my unforgivable-drama-I-regret-watching list.

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**Vagabond Series Moral lessons** Off Topic

*Don't Fear
*You can survive a plane crash if you are in the pilot seat while the plane is diving down *there's a secret side door*
*you can go to a nation you've never been before and start monkey kingily parkouring its streets knowing the right way to go without asking
*You can jump off a two storey building onto a moving truck unscathed
*You can also fall off a cliff face first not into the water but on Rocky parts with NO broken bones but just some bicycle scars on you...
*Always sit beside a drunken girl for they will always kiss you and say "you are mine"
*Even If you are a barber you can break into the presidential Villa successfully and the security agents will be told to leave you alone...
*If An assassin comes into your room guns blazing first, pls come out for he'll have a dialogue with you first and then get killed in the process
*Even if you are in the Paul Walker (R.I.P) type accident you'll only come out with a scratch and a drunken master walk and profused breathing
*Always come from an interrogation and directly go to the secret church and immediately call the one person you are being asked about, *don't worry, you won't get caught*
*Even if you were sent the likes of Julio Santana to assassinate you he'll surely run out of bullets trying to get you and in the end later in the process Becoming your Friend...
*You can get stabbed in the thigh deep and still walk like you weren't...
*Lastly
*Remember
*YOU ARE IMMORTAL!!!

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