49

[2020 Year in Review] My 2020 dramas as comfort food

Ah, 2020. This year has been frustrating, stressful and, at times, really freaking scary. And though I worry for any and all drama cast and staff members working during the COVID madness, I’m thankful for them. I’ve always had dramas to turn to, and this year was no different. Whether they were squeeworthy or maddening, satisfying or disappointing, these dramas gave me the sense of normalcy that’s kept me sane.

My theme this year is comparing my list of dramas to some of my favorite comfort foods. Because *sigh* it’s been a long year, and I’ve stress-eaten, I’ve stress-binge-watched, I’ve stress-eaten-and-binge-watched — you get the picture. And if there’s anything better than a nice warm meal, it’s an hour of a good rom-com. Or, in some cases, a really bad rom-com (but we’ll get to that later). These aren’t all the shows I’ve seen in 2020, but they’re the ones I felt the need to write about. So here we go!

Chocolate – Obviously, chocolate


This wasn’t exactly an amazing show, but there was always something warm and inviting about it. Once we got past some of the more dramatic episodes and we settled into the quiet hospice setting, everything fell into place. I loved the main couple, the staff, the patients, and how they all found ways to connect through food and love. The ending left me a bit puzzled, but it wasn’t enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth; I still think of Chocolate fondly.

Crash Landing on You – Fancy ramyun


Every year, there’s at least one drama that gives you everything you want and more. For me, that was Crash Landing. Whenever I’d sit down to watch another episode, I’d think to myself, “Ah, this is why I love K-dramas.” I could never really explain why I liked Crash Landing, just as I could never explain why I like ramyun. It’s just so good.

Itaewon Class – A cup (or two) of coffee


I could’ve gone with the bar theme, but I don’t really drink alcohol. I do drink coffee, and I drank quite a lot of it when I binge-watched Itaewon Class. In one weekend. And in that one weekend, I decided that it was my favorite drama of the year. I don’t know if it was because I watched it at the right time or because my love for Park Seo-joon was stronger than ever — but boy, did it strike a chord within me. I wanna watch it again just thinking about it.

Hi Bye, Mama! – Fresh baked cookies


Hi Bye, Mama! is the type of show I probably would’ve dropped had I not been recapping it. I thought it was way too depressing, especially going into the second half. But that’s the great thing about recapping; it forces you to power through. I’m glad I did power through, otherwise I would’ve missed out on a lovely story about family and loss and healing. Definitely flawed, but lovely nonetheless.

Kingdom 2 – Classic popcorn


Gahhh, I could watch Kingdom forever and ever. It is the perfect late night watch, being all kinds of epic and scary and downright AMAZING. Admittedly, I’ve watched both seasons at least five times (each), and I still haven’t gotten bored of it. The history behind the zombies is dark and fascinating, making me want to know everything about this world and the characters in it.

The King: Eternal Monarch – A whole bag of salt and vinegar chips


Why chips? Because they’re not super good for you, but they’re super addicting. The King pretty much stomped on all my expectations for it, making it my biggest disappointment of the year. At the same time, once I knew what I’d gotten myself into, I had a lot of fun with it. Around Episodes 13 and 14, the story even got cool, which was a plus. Usually dramas have strong beginnings and meh endings, and this was the complete opposite.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay – A mountain of rice


Before I watched Itaewon Class, It’s Okay was definitely my top favorite. It’s still a close second, because this drama took me places. I was in love with the fairy tale aesthetic, the dark fairy tale princess and her naive prince. And having that aesthetic meld with the characters’ harsh reality — perfection. The, uh, twist near the end was not perfection, but I was willing to forgive.

Record of Youth – Unseasoned porridge


I finished this entire drama and I don’t know how or why. I mean, it was fine. It had its cute moments, its gratifying moments… But that’s all it was, was fine. The main pull for me was Park Bo-gum’s journey as an actor, and that storyline got resolved, like, midway. After that, the story didn’t know what to do with itself and just ended. Not the goodbye I wanted for Bogummy, that’s for sure.

Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol – Cotton candy (melted by my tears)


You know, I had a whole rant planned for this section, but it’s not even worth it. Do Do Sol Sol, I loved you, and you betrayed me. That’s all there is to it.

Start-Up – Corn dogs


I was sure to love Start-Up, as Park Hye-ryun is one of my favorite screenwriters.  Her last few projects (The Lee Jong-seok Trilogy) were all fantasy, so this was a nice departure. It still had her magic touch, but it also brought back the realness and sweetness that was in Dream High. Though this did start some crazy fan wars, I appreciated the second male lead having the childhood backstory while the first male lead got to start on a clean slate.

~

Speaking of a clean slate, I’m looking forward to that new beginning in 2021. I happily bid 2020 adieu, while still remembering the dramas that came with it. Not only am I thankful to have dramas, but to also have Dramabeans as a home away from home. Everyone stay safe and happy; hope your next drama watch is a good one!

RELATED POSTS

Tags: , ,

49

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for a great article @sailorjumun!
I agree with your assessment on the dramas we both watched - CLOY, Kingdom, IOTNOB, DoDo, RoY and Start Up.
I hated DoDo's ending. An absolute betrayal indeed. And PBG deserved a better drama than the bland RoY.

10
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think the writers must have been on some sleeping meds cause ROY was boring. PBG saved what he could. It had so much potential then, nothing.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you sailorjumun for the article. I agree with many of your points.

I love Chocolate too. It's super melodramatic, but I found peace while watching it. There are many great life lessons in the story, and the slow-burn romance was exactly what I signed up for. The cooking scenes by Ha Ji-won are all amazing. I'm think about rewatching this one sometime soon.

I also love Start-Up, The King and DoDo. I'm lucky as I stopped watching Do Do at the end of ep 13 and I think I did the right decision. Though I really wanted to finish this one as sometimes it felt like it was an incomplete watch, but I came to the conclusion that I'd rather have it as a fond memory than risking it become by all-time betrayal.

For me, however, I found Crash Landing quite bland because of some reason. It was fun while I was watching it, but I couldn't remember anything or do I have any fond feelings about it after it has finished its run. For Hi, Bye Mama I even stopped watching somewhere mid-airing. I didn't know why either, but I guess my main reason was because I couldn't stand the new wife who looked so depressed all the time.

7
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

i'm still amazed that a whole year has passed and all i remember is Pre-Covid days, before the end of January...

and now, i'm waiting for January 20, 2021...

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, the afternoon of January 20, 2021 when many of us will breathe a sigh of relief.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Very good assessment, @sailorjumun! I agree with RoY - they could have done better and DoDo's ending was a big letdown. I think RoY would be chips for me - you know it's not good but you keep coming back.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

DoDo reminded me of BIG ending. I still get upset thinking about that one.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

START UP = Corndogs. perfect. I loved the show, even though it wasn't perfect.

And I loved the first twelve episodes of DO DO SOL SOL as well- and have never felt so angry with with a show. It really was a betrayal- not just something that felt like one.

In contrast I loved DO YOU LIKE BRAHMS? even when it put us through the emotional ringer- If I were picking a food for this one it would probably be one of those warm stews that we see so often on these shows.

I'LL SEE YOU ON A BEAUTIFUL DAY- Fried chicken- I have actually had Korean fried chicken and it is as good as advertised. A wonderful, satisfying and filling meal, just like the show.

MY UNFAMILIAR FAMILY- Bulgogi- if you have seen the show and have had Bulgogi you will know exactly what I mean.

STOVE LEAGUE- Kimchi Pancakes.

16
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

This, perfect.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

As usual, I agree with your choices while perhaps adding a wee glass of scotch as a side to the Hot Stove kimchi pancakes. Decided to move My Unfamiliar Family to the top of my watch list based on your recommendation. Fingers crossed that 2021 brings much enjoyment to Beanies around the world!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

"I’ve stress-eaten, I’ve stress-binge-watched, I’ve stress-eaten-and-binge-watched — you get the picture." Haha true! Nice article SailorJumun! :D

8
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I laughed. Record of Youth is unseasoned porridge!

13
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Such a perfect description! I love PBG (as i do porridge) but no one likes a boring story (or unseasoned porridge).

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks, sailorjumon. Spot on the food metaphors. From which show is the last greetings photo from?

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's Okay to Not Be Okay

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great article about this year's K-drama foods.

@sailorjumun, you didn't mentioned Dinner Mate/Will You Have Dinner with Me and United to Accomplish One Thing/Chip-In because that's my honorable mentions. Both shows contained some varieties of any dinner foods (e.g. chickens, soups).

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

IOTNBO is my favorite drama of the year and a close second (or on the same level) for me as Weightlifting Fairy.

My favorites of 2020:
IOTNBO ❤️❤️❤️❤️ (10/10)
Do Do Sol La La Sol (first half) (8/10 -.+1 for Lee Jae Wook)
Tale of the Nine Tailed Fox (8.5/10)
Start Up (on the fence with this one but I still liked it) (7.5/10)
School Nurse Files (10/10 - one of my favorite Kdramas of all time as well. I loved it so much. Best male lead and best students with acne and lgbt representation)

Older kdramas that I discovered this year:
Angels Last Mission - Loved it!
Because this is my first life - Loved it!
18 Again - Loved it!
Beauty inside - dropped it!

The only Kdrama of 2020 I dropped was Record of Youth cause it sucked. Omg. I just couldn't.

I'm going back to Weightlifting Fairy because that is literally the perfect Kdrama for me. The world I was promised when I entered this realm.

4
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Loved BTIMFL and dropped TBI? An intellectual. 100% approved by this Min-ki fan. Welcome to the snail kitty club, pal.

Completely unrelated: *whispers* You should try Into the Ring!

3
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved BTIMFL. However, I have one quibble with the show - I wish she had told him she's going somewhere and she needs a break before going incognito!

Thanks for the recommendation. I read the plot. I love prickly male leads - idk why. Or maybe I do know why.
I shall watch it for sure.

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

You have placed your finger directly on the one flaw in BTIMFL. My hypothesis is that the writer simply couldn't keep up such amazing writing for an entire 16 episodes and simply went back to a common trope to fill the last two episodes. It would have been smarter to give more time to the other two couples instead. But aside from that a great show.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

It was so disappointing cause that was during the end of the show and everything was going so well. Still a 10/10

The show made me a fan of Lee Min Ki!

1

@raunakrjb 🤭 Then if you end up watching Into the Ring and enjoy it and Nana's performance, join me in my unbridled excitement for his drama with Nana next year! Weeee!

I mean... Oh, I'm just waiting for it to be disappointing... *sob*

1

I agree with recommendation of INTO THE RING.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

My love for Bogummy wasn’t strong enough to push through till the end with RoY. See you after two years Bogummy! Dodo certainly betrayed us all and that ending puts it below than The King, or maybe they’re at the same ranking (?) 😅 for me.

Thanks for this review @sailorjumun!

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

As Rang said in 9Tails, "I tried everything. I tried listening to ballad songs, binge-watched dramas, and tried eating spicy food. Maybe I should change my hair colour," or words to that effect, which pretty much sums 2020 up for me. @sailorjumun you "got it" perfectly. What was there to do, but eat and binge watch, and what a great feast there was too.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

As someone who hasn't seen DoDo but saw all the disappointment in the comments can someone enlighten me or link to some summary what went so terribly wrong there?
You guys really sparked my interest.

3
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

You can read the review of the last episode.

But in resume, there were different issues : the ML was a minor at the beginning, he was sick, everybody thought he was dead during 5 years and he came back like nothing for the last minutes of the drama :)

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's also worth mentioning that him doing this coloured the rest of his actions in a different light, and suddenly he wasn't a swoon-worthy romantic lead, he was a compulsive liar with a serious need for therapy.

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Exactly. The last episode utterly destroyed the character of the male lead. Utterly. Beyond redemption.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah, he always lied and ran away...

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

You pose interesting questions. As a crime genre guy it seems to me you are asking for a DO DO autopsy. I don’t know where you can find that. Perhaps there should be a OFFICE OF KDRAMA MEDICAL EXAMINER to examine the cause of death to a kdrama.
I am a DO DO “survivor”. My take on what went wrong in DO DO is probably different from a lot of other people. I think most people would agree the end was a disaster.
So should Writer-nim be charged with manslaughter or premeditated murder (homicide)?

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

There's a good blog post in this
GUILTY of Crimes Against Dramaland

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for the food theme drama comparisons Sailorjumon :)
You're spot on with CLOY & The King though I will add some scorched rice in the mountain of rice for IOTNBO :P

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm hungry now!

Personally, I was disapointed by the big dramas like CLOY, TKEM, ROY, It's Okay or IC. They were all promising and started pretty well. But they rested a lot on their actors and not on the script. Maybe I was expecting too much.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Everything you said! Plus add in HYENA and INTO THE RING and we are in Total Agreement!

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hyena = Flamin' Hot Crunchy Cheetos!

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Everyone's forgotten about the mildly pleasant 'Diary of a prosecutor' (War of prosecutors) which started mid-December and ended February. And the puppy protagonist in 'Psychopath Diary'. And the pure joy of 'Into the Ring' (Memorials). It seems posters only focus on Netflix shows these days.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

My one big takeaway from Pandemic 2020 is that so many people finally crossed the wilderness called their kitchen to actually learn to cook.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Well done and written my friend.
I began blogging recently and reawlized that lot of bloggers merely rework old content but add very little of
benefit. It's fantastic to see a useful article of some actual value to your
followers and myself.
It is on the list of creteria I need to replicate as a new blogger.

Reader engagement and maerial value are king.
Many good thoughts; you've absolutely managed to get on my list of writers to watch!

Keep up the fantastic work!
Cheers,
Sibyl

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Like you, Kdramas in this bizarre and scary 2020, have provided a safe harbor to escape the chaos, ugliness and sadness. The dramas comforted just by the mere sound of the familiar Korean language, just by the appearance of the studly young Korean actor who allowed a brief walk into fantasy, just by allowing my familiar scorn at screaming banchee mother-in-laws, jealous bullying females, bellowing CEOs and more. I was drawn to positivity and warmth and goodness in plots which could temporarily transport me to a different reality. And when the episode was completed, its residue supported my re-entry Into our world’s reality. I have been tremendously grateful to Kdramas this 2020.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you, @sailorjumun for your fresh take on your (mostly) favorite 2020 dramas. I thought I’d watch so many during Covid but it turns out I just ate actual junk food instead ☹️

I’m trying to think of a food that is as bland and then awful as Brahms was for me. Is there a food that’s actually depressing?

Dodo was kind of like enjoying a good meal and then getting food poisoning immediately after.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hmmm...

Penthouse as super hot Tteokbokki. Or is that super hot chicken feet, eaten without Protective gloves?

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

"Do Do Sol Sol, I loved you, and you betrayed me. "

I second this.

I still feel betrayed from watching it. I think the show must end in 12 episodes instead of 16.

The Tale of Nine-Tailed Fox can be described with tteokbokki that lost its spiciness. You still eat it but just because you can't throw it away.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks so much for the review! While I didn't watch a lot of these shows yet, some are saved for 2021 and some I put in the coffers of the past. The King, that is. But I do agree with what SailorJumun said, it did get better as i progressed and at least was a fun ride (mostly because of Woo Do-hwan and Kim Kyung-nam).

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

The King: Eternal Monarch just reminded me of bubble tea and fried chicken. Figuratively a sum-up of my feelings while watching the drama too -- all the stuff which are not good for my (mental) health. Tsk.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

What an interesting comparison @sailorjumun, the DoDo = Cotton Candy (melted by my tears) is spot on, although for me it'll be a cotton candy melted by a sudden roof leaks. I am intrigued by Start-Up, haven't watched it yet amid the recommendations, hope it'll be good but yeah, only a few drama can fail the watchers like DoDo, so fingers crossed for Start-Up!

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great article. I whole heartedly agree with about Record of Youth and It’s okay to not be okay.
Record of youth looked perfect on paper but it turned out be bland and boring. I had few spices missing.
It’s okay to not be okay was a filling drama that left you satisfied.
I would add Tale of nine tailed as bag of chips. It was highly addictive and you could not stop with just one fox. It was uneven drama with plot holes but I enjoyed it completely.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

From the above mentioned, I watched CLOY, Kingdom 2 and IOTNBO, all of which I enjoyed immensely although I have yet to watch the last 2 ep of IOTNBO. Idk how I got that habit, I literally watched the last ep of The Guest a year later because I though hwapyung would die. Lmao. he didn't!

Other dramas I watched this year:
Chip In- one of my favorites. It has mystery, suspense, some sleuthing. A classic whodunit.

Flower of Evil -admittedly I only watched ep1 but I plan to pick this up again because it reminds of Netflix's You.

Missing: the other side -great acting from all casts especially Go soo. I also fell in love with Thomas 💙

Tale of Nine Tailed -Lee dong wook and jo boa look good together. I stopped halfway because it got too cheesy. I may or may not pick it up again depending on my mood lol

Search -I say the writer really tried, but there's only so much you can do if you have no background in medicine or microbiology at least. I do, so it got frustrating for me.

Stranger 2- hands down, one of the best dramas I watched this yr. bae doona plus Cho seung woo are perfect 👌

Kairos -I'm watching it atm. It's great. Basically a mix of God's gift and Signal which are 2 good dramas imo.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *