[Staff Spotlight] Get to know DaebakGrits
Explain your username (and/or avatar).
When I created my Dramabeans username, I wanted a name that hinted at my love of K-dramas (Daebak) while also alluding to something personal and/or unique to me. I’m not sure why, but grits, a dish that is popular in the Southern United States and where I’m from, popped into my head. I liked the combination because it felt…quirky, and I’m a fan of quirky.
What is the first drama that you watched (or the first drama that made an impression)?
The first K-drama I remember watching was Full House, back before DramaFever and other official streaming services made it easier to access Korean content. I still have the (most likely) bootleg region-free DVDs I ordered off eBay because I was home from college and my parents’ dial-up internet made it impossible to torrent anything during summer break. After watching Full House, I was a goner, and I’ve been watching Korean dramas ever since.
Name a job or two that you’ve had in the past.
Over the years, I’ve worked as a bookstore cashier, an inventory specialist at an electronics store, an assistant reference librarian, and as a content writer for an educational video game that flopped before it ever saw the light of day. I’m currently an administrative assistant at a university.
Have you ever lived a moment that you thought belonged in a drama?
You know the scene where the leading lady goes on a series of blind dates and there’s a montage of men saying things so outrageously off-putting that you can’t believe those men actually exist? Well I went on a date with one of them. It began when an over-thirty Justin Bieber wannabe showed up smelling like a cologne bath and was loudly indecisive when faced with a simple ten-item ramen menu. After we were seated and he’d picked out all the pork slices from his ramen and placed it on our shared appetizer plate, he revealed that he preferred to date women much younger than me because women my age (28 at the time) usually have a “long checklist of items” they want to tick off before dating a man, simultaneously insulting my age and revealing that he prefers young women with low standards. At one point he also asked me which of my close male friends secretly wanted to sleep with me. Sadly there was no suave CEO sitting at a nearby table to rescue me from the man-child, just a college kid doing his best to pretend he was studying.
What’s your favorite drama you recapped?
I’ve only recapped Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha and Inspector Koo so far, but Inspector Koo is my favorite of the two. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha was a cute and enjoyable show to watch, but for the most part it was a simple rom-com. I absolutely fell in love with its dark humor and artful cinematography of Inspector Koo, though, and even when I felt that it lost its way, I still had a lot to comment on and analyze.
What drama genres do you especially like?
I think I most consistently enjoy slice-of-life dramas, like Hospital Playlist and Smart Prison Living. I’m also a sucker for modern day rom-coms (Crash Landing on You and Strong Woman Do Bong-soon) or romantic suspense dramas (Flower of Evil, City Hunter, and Vincenzo), but they can sometimes be hit-or-miss for me. I never know if they will have me squealing in delight or rolling my eyes at the excessive cheesiness.
What drama genres do you especially dislike?
I’ve never really gotten into makjangs; I’m just not terribly interested in a lot of backstabbing and soap-opera-level plot twists. I can definitely see the appeal, but more often than not, they leave me wanting to throw objects at the television whenever the one likable character dies.
Is there a drama character you’ve ever strongly identified with, and why?
I identify a lot with Bok-ju from Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju, which is why I chose her for my avatar photo. Not only do we share some of the same hobbies — eating and weightlifting — but I also understand what it’s like to feel awkward in my own body. I’ve always been tall for a woman, and when I was growing up, I towered over most of the boys and all of the girls. So for a long time, I struggled to feel feminine because my height made me perceive myself as “manly” when I stood next to other girls.
What drama character would you want to be?
I want to be the lead female’s bestie, the one who shows up with fried chicken and beer when she needs cheering up and then drags her to the gym the next day when she feels guilty about all the calories. And after she has a meet-cute with some overbearing CEO or idol, I’m nearby to swoop in and steal the heart of the lead male’s equally attractive best friend/driver/bodyguard. All the romance without the unnecessary drama of meddlesome parents and exes, please and thank you!
What was your major in school?
I majored in English with a minor in secondary education. I had every intention of being a high school English teacher…right up until my last semester, when I did my student teaching and realized just how terrifying a room of 30-plus teenagers could be.
What’s a random skill you have?
I craft my own costumes for cosplay and Halloween. I’ve picked up a lot of skills as a result of this hobby: sewing, painting, sculpting, LED wiring and coding, and 3D printing. Lately, though, because cosplay takes up so much time, money, and space, I’ve been utilizing those skills to create miniatures and book nooks. I’m currently working on a recreation of the band practice room from Hospital Playlist, and I have a few more K-drama themed projects in mind!
Favorite non-Korean movie and/or TV show?
Little Miss Sunshine is my favorite non-Korean movie because the dialogue and situational comedy are hilarious without feeling contrived, even when the family finds themselves pulled over by the police with a dead body in the back of their VW bus. My favorite non-Korean television show is probably Futurama because I’ve watched it so many times that it makes for great background noise while I’m working on my hobbies.
Which Hallyu celebrity would you actually want to meet and spend an hour with?
I’d pick Hwang In-yub. For most Hallyu stars, it’s hard to separate the actor/actress from the roles that they play and get a sense of their real personalities, especially since most of them have strategically curated social media accounts. In-yub, however, used to have a picture of Ditto as his IG profile picture, so even if we have nothing else in common, he and I could spend the hour geeking out over Pokemon together.
Which of the 7 deadly sins would be your undoing? (Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, or sloth.)
I’m going to have to say…gluttony. In general, I have a fairly healthy relationship with food, but sweets are my downfall. If you put a plate of cookies in front of me, I will eat them until they’re gone and then lick the plate for crumbs.
Your favorite drama has an unholy alliance with your most hated drama and produces a mutant baby drama. Describe the plot.
Hospital Playlist (favorite) meets The K2 (most hated): After her husband dies, Jung Rosa refuses to hand over Yulje Hospital to the power hungry Joo Jong-soo, who poses a threat not only to her seat as the hospital director but to her family. With her oldest children all safely in hiding, posing as priests and nuns (al la Sister Act), only her beloved youngest son, Doctor Ahn Jung-won, is left defensively out in the open, refusing to leave behind his young patients. So Rosa hires the blank-faced Jang Gyu-wool, a military doctor who has killed as many lives as she has saved, to go undercover as a resident at Yulje Hospital and protect her son. But what happens when Jung-won’s tender smiles start to thaw Gyu-wool’s cold heart. Will she be able to keep him safe, or will he be a distraction when the bullets start flying?
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