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[Drama chat] What are your controversial, unpopular K-drama opinions?


Ready to make some ~drama~? The DB team had a lot of fun answering this question in our recent staff AMA post, and now it’s your turn to share. Because who has existed in dramaland for longer than ten minutes and not formed strong opinions about what dramas should and shouldn’t do? Without further ado…

What are your controversial, unpopular K-drama opinions?

 
Let the chatting begin!
 
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Low traffic day? 😂 Don't do it!😂

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Don't worry. A loading lag might be headed towards dramabeans today :)

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Exactly :)

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😂😂😂

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I would like dramas to stop me from disengaging from the process because they do one or all of these things:

Using the casual head slap as a form of affectionate disciplining in the home or as part of work based bullying. I know it’s just acting and it’s highly unlikely that the actors are getting hit but it just makes me think of acquired brain injury. I have only heard one character in a drama call it out as something that shouldn’t be done.

Casually displaying gender politics by portraying jealous male second leads as cute and then displaying a short lived controlling behaviour before gracefully bowing out whilst the second female lead’s behaviour is usually really dangerous or vindictive so much so they have so much further to travel to be forgiven.

Using noble idiocy as a means of stretching out a drama and instead just have adults talk. Issues can be hard to address and lead to some compromises or difficult decisions like long distance relationships. This can be a more engaging watch than watching the characters moping for a couple of episodes and then having to do an airport or another part of the country trip to reunite and have the delayed conversation at that point anyway.

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The theme is "unpopular" opinion :p

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🤣🤣

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Yeah, those opinions must be out there. Personally, I think Subway makes great food and more people should eat there.

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The thing with PPL for me is it’s never about whether the product is good or not. I was researching fridges with drop down doors for easy access to the drinks and the ones with the see through doors and no one mentioned anything about the fridge in the drama they just went to get a drink.

I also wondered about Korean tap water as they had a spate of dramas where people were pouring their drinking water from a jug on the counter. I couldn't work out if it was a public health campaign for increasing body temperature water consumption or to say ‘our water is so great don't waste your money on expensive filtered water’.

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re: water in Korea

So I lived in Korea for a few years and that's actually a thing- I knew some people who would always just buy big jugs of filtered water. I never did, but I think because a lot of apartment buildings are getting older the water is really hard. We had built in water filters at the sinks that we were supposed to change out every few months.

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@dramasfoundbychance ok, now you’re talking! THAT is a controversial kdrama opinion! I think? 🤣🤣🤣

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As drama fans we plainly have a duty to buy from the companies who so selflessly support the production of our entertainment. Fortunately, in my case, this duty is always a pleasure.

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Oh my gosh that's hilarious. I have also come to love Subway... but I will admit I boycotted it for years when its presence was in almost every drama on the airtime ahaha

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I would like to upvote this 100 times 🤷‍♀️

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Given how popular this post was, I call for a Part 2?! Or a "Popular" opinions post.

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I cannot believe that I forgot PPL lines being included in the script. The actors should be driving, wearing, vacuuming, eating without commenting on the product. The only exception is where it is a well known traditional dish where there are distinct options so it’s not a brand but is promoting the dish. E.g. sauce on the side or mixed in or egg mixed in or left on top of ramen. These are genuine reasons for making or breaking friendships as they can ruin a meal and happen in real life. All countries have a variation on this theme so everyone will relate to it. In all other cases the product should be visible on screen so we can see the name but that is all. Especially, annoying is when people are on their own and then comment out loud on how soft their skin is after applying the lotion or how lovely it smells.

Current offender to be name and shamed is Kopiko which has become the new Subway.

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What, you don't like everyone mentioning how delicious this mix coffee is and they prefer it to anything else?

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I almost bought some Kopiko to try recently!!🤣🐑

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I'm okay with all PPL EXCEPT the ones for cars that have the characters taking their eyes off the road even longer than they already do.

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I have a preference for pretty boys so the abundance of flower boys being so popular in the dramas is great for me so it is disappointing when they are naturally gorgeous to be let down by make up. I can’t bear to see a very bright lipstick or the foundation not being thick enough to cover the 6 o’clock shadow creeping in because they took so long to film the shot.

The wrong foundation being used to make the actors look really pale or a strange yellow or brown that is clearly not their natural skin tone. If it’s down to the lighting then if I can see it so could the people on the set. It just makes me wonder whether they were using apprentices or the make up budget was too small as we all know the Korean make up market is extensive so there is no need for top actors to be made to look ridiculous.

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"I can’t bear to see a very bright lipstick".

TOTALLY agree.

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OMG, I TOTALLY agree about the lipstick and too-thick foundation. There's often too much makeup on the women, too, but it's not *quite* as distracting than when on a pretty actor.

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Here i was thinking the k-actors make up are tons better n usually more natural looking than my local ones!
One thing that drives me crazy is the half lipstick on women. Maybe it’s a trend, maybe it’s fashion, but i just don’t like it.

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The lipstick is a fashion thing as I noticed it started happening randomly can’t remember if it was current or earlier dramas but it doesn’t seem so frequent so I think/hope it’s not a thing any more.

I agree the make up was amazing but then a trend of ridiculous in your face make up came in and the bright lipstick was part of that

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I think the trend was a few years ago, there’s not as much of it now @reply1988

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Hahahaha. Yes, wrong makeup can ruin my mood completely. I think one case happened while I was watching Lovestruck in the City. JCW’s makeup was one factor that ruined my watching experience and I dropped it.

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I too am not a fan of bright lipsticks that distract from the role for the male actors.

I also think because, unlike in Hollywood, actors have to o their own makeup/hire their own team. For bigger stars, they can afford it. But the ones who don't suffer because I notice the supporting actor's makeup isn't properly applied or their flaws are visible but I kinda think
it's cute.

Same with their clothing, I feel bad for lesser popular stars because their clothing budget seems cheaper/less fashionable. It's interesting that Kdramas don't provide their own wardrobe to their actors.

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THANK YOU for saying this. The head slap thing has irritated me for YEARS. I see it in Japanese shows too and each time, I flinch.

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Yes it’s unacceptable and unnecessary. I saw you were talking about it in 2017; it’s so wrong it is still a short hand way of showing how little respect the person has for the one they are slapping🥺. It looks like head slaps, the throwing of the glass of water and envelopes of money will always be with us.

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I think a literal opposite of what you just posted would be considered unpopular :D

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Do away with the way noble idiocy is done. It should be used to move the story forward and not to extend the episodes, watch moping actors or waste away precious screentime that would have been utilized for other tangential plots.

Can we have someone who isn't the amongst the leads get the lead actor or actress.

Stop saving all the action for the last episodes especially when we have villains to take down. Imitate the few shows who veered away from it and still came out victorious and interesting.

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I agree with the last ten minute wrap being removed as an option in any drama.

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I hate shower scenes. I do not get why kdramas keep adding them as a fan service when the scene has got nothing to do with the plot. I get the actor is hot, but I am here for the expressions, feelings and story. Sell the story, not the actors' body.

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🤨. No writer or PD must see this. I'm filing a motion to dismiss, overrule, anything... anything to keep the hawt onscreen🤭

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Same here. I actually feel secondhand embarrassment whenever I see those scenes.

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Agreed! Sure, I want to revel in the pretty... but I don't appreciate shower scenes where I'm being blatantly pandered to and *told* to ogle.

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It din't used to bother me, but more and more recently (probably since I got married, lol) I also feel waves of second-hand embarrassment for the poor actors. I don't mind it if it serves the plot and doesn't show any real nudity... but the random showering guys in particular has become rather odd to me.

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I don't really care about it. I see them as a way to balance the miniskirts or minishorts and high heels that the actresses have to wear in Summer as in Winter.

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Yes, short skirts/shorts need to go away. I do not understand how in SK it is fine for FL to show legs, but has to be modest about upper body 🙄🙄

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😂😂😂. One of the mysteries I don't bother about anymore. No matter how conservative SK is with respects to grooming, how the short skirts came to stay baffles me. Whoever and whatever set the trend did a good job one-upping Korea's dress conservatism.

For the fun part. You can use tops and any other piece of clothing to predict the weather and season in South Korea, but you see those short skirts, they're an all year round thing, never use them as a guide.

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I wonder if the short skirt is just the norm in show biz industry but not so much in common man's life because wearing it in a bus or train ride will be very uncomfortable.

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@emsel it's common in the school uniforms as well. Thats what I can infer from the kdramas I've seen though. I don't know if it transcends into real life. Perhaps it might, just a little bit.
With a little scrolling on Google what I gathered was that this trend kind of gained added footing thanks to k-pop idols who had such attires as their fashion style. I could see why it's really ingrained as a culture now. I stand to be corrected.

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It is a norm. A few years ago their president made a rule banning it. But as there has been not much difference in the skirts in dramas maybe it was a rule specific to somewhere.

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Just randomly dropping in here because I know the answer. I've been living in South Korea for more than a year now and can confirm that some do, in fact, wear short shorts and miniskirts well into late Autumn/Early winter. (I get second hand shivers just looking at them)
But there is also the other end of the spectrum; girls who don't let go of the bulky sweatshirts and sweatpants even during the burning summer.
I gave up trying to decipher it.

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I'm in the opposite mindset. I don't mind it. For me, tailoring is essential. Law Cafe does a great job with clothing that suits LSY's body frame while showcasing her beauty.

I also think it depends on the role, but it's nice to see FL's who can be attractive and confident in how they dress.

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It depends on the roles and the characters of the FL. In Law Café, her style is half of her character like in Hotel del Luna, It's Okay to Not Be Okay, Why Her?, etc.

But in some cases, the FL is not particulary interested in clothes and she's still wearing a miniskirt in the middle of the night in Winter.

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@kurama For sure! It depends on the role/vibe of their show.

I feel bad for actresses who wear revealing clothing even if it's unnecessary. Random thought, but in Alice the PD was gross for constantly shooting one of the idol girl's butt. It was creepy, and that type of area where the male PD oogles at their FL's needs to go away.

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Agreed I know we are all adults but seriously I find it unnecessary to have males or females flaunting their bodies as part of the package unless it makes sense for the role.

In Love in contract the female lead is wearing less and less to the point she did an in the face high kick whilst wearing a skirt and because it was so short it did not prevent her being able to do this.

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What?! Shower scenes are ABSolutely relevant to the plot!

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Shower scenes are crucial plot elements and there is so much to discern. I can go on, but here is a shortlist.
1) The first one to remove clothes and shower is the ML. This reduces the risk of 2ML.
2) It’s in those shower scenes we look for scars/fire burns etc which reveal clues about the ML’s past. Was he abused? Does he have a fire trauma?
3) Also, characters with tattoos give us clues during shower scene - ah, snake tattoo - he is a villain. Dude, he is a cheater. So much to infer.
4) This is crucial - they way the lead showers can give us a lot of insight into his personality. Is he brooding, is he thoughtful, is he lonely, is he troubled. There is whole lot to unpack here.
5) When a ML showers we know he is clean and follows good hygiene. Like who wants to root for a ML who isn’t clean?

p.s. also, it can (debatable) motivate one to hit the gym. Health is wealth.

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Also, where else is our poor ML supposed to go for a good therapeutic cry and release a few slow, manly tears of not the shower?
Did I make that up? I haven't watched a lot of dramas this year and it feels like that used to happen.

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Brooding shower is a thing! (Crying hasn’t happened in recent times). Showers can be emotional! 🙃

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You didn't make it up. There's a very brief crying-in-the-shower scene in Just Between Lovers and it's the only drama I can recall where it's actually integrated into the storyline and does some exposition of character rather than abs. It also doesn't show very much of the actor's body, for better or worse depending on your point of view. More recent dramas seem to just unashamedly paste in a shower in the first episode or two for no reason other than #1 on @mayhemf's list, to let you know this is the ML (for example, Love in Contract. I have absolutely no problem with that 😈, but I do appreciate when there's at least minimal effort to make the shower fit naturally into the plot.

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Lol. I did see LiC shower scene.
Unrelated yet related - LDW broods beautifully in shower.
As someone who thinks and has many revelations while showering I appreciate thoughtfully inserted shower scenes.

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lol now I want to go find that Just Betwen Lovers shower scene because I don't remember it but I love that show.

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@cozybooks Episode 10. It's very short, though. There's also a sauna scene with both Junho and Lee Ki-woo in episode 8, but I found it off-putting. Don't ask me to explain why I'm shower-positive but sauna-averse. 😆 If it was meant to mislead us about which is the ML and which is the SML, it didn't work.

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Thanks!

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The shower scene in Love in Contract was too brief. Also, I felt it was out of place in the show's context. Also, it was weird for me as a fan to see that scene, I was like "Omg, I can't see you as sexy its too much for me." LOL.

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I thought the shower scene in the first episode of Love Is For Suckers was well done - it was like the start of a getting suited up montage for a super hero movie (which I’m sure was deliberate). I appreciated it 😎 and it made me think of this thread 😄

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@beffels LMAO! I cracked up when that scene came and thought of this discussion. Funny that the ML didn’t even shower. Like there was no water. (Did you see any?) It was a post shower warrior pose and a 360 deg fan service on abs and ….

Solid scene :) And it did move the plot forward! Lol

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@mayhemf there…may have been water? Lol all I know is there were abs 🤭🤭🤭 maybe I should go and check for research purposes 😂

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Loving this campaign to keep shower scenes relevant as there are no other ways to reveal the above🤣

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Except for #3, I do not think others are even remotely valid. For #3 too, there are a lot of ways to get the hint across, so shower is not necessary.

I watch dramas to get distracted from real world and for entertainment, so adding nonsensical shower scenes (unless it is a rom-com and the ML/FL slip and fall into other's arm to get lovey dovey scenes) gets me annoyed because I am not in the mood for ogling/horny.

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You need a cleverly done shower scene, like Vincenzo! That was the best shower scene but there is no other contender cos I can’t remember any. I’m just sorry that these actors/actresses have to starve to get the hot on screen body.

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lol you crack me up :) And actually have a few great points. I don't mind it if they're doing it to specifically show something... but the wide pan around their abs will continue to strike me as unnecessary (until it does motivate me to hit the gym lol)

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6) It tells us he has enough money to have a shower, unless we're watching Vincenzo where we learn he might not have money since the shower is cold and the water stops.

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This is the most hilarious comment/thread I've read on here!!

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The shower scenes are so absurd that it is part of the drama-experience for me.
And there are so case where they manage to integrate the fan service in the plot such as in It's ok not to be ok with the travelling on Kim Soo Hyun torso.
I funny agree that showers often bring nothing to the plot, however I find it refreshing to have the male objectified as the female are in occident. (I am wel laware that it is more a kind of regression than a real societal progress though)

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As someone who grew up watching Indian movies in 90's/2000's it always bothered me how women were objectified and the pressure to 'look good' was so high on the women. Like, they needed to look good in bikinis, sari's, skirts etc.. And men got away with a paunch and sagging faces. So it was really refreshing for me (when i moved to kdramas) to see that men had to equally work hard to please the women audience.. ; ) I am not justifying anything. I am enjoying some good hot bodies taking shower for now. As long as they enjoy working out and taking of their clothes and don't mind being appreciated by female/male fans ; )
Abs are art and need to be appreciated.. lol.

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I appreciate that this is a lighthearted discussion, so I know I’m taking it way too seriously and being a negative Nancy here, but as a woman from an Asian culture (with standards of beauty I’ve never been able to meet), the last thing I want is for men to be subjected to the same thing.😔

I hate that we now have more people in the world feeling inadequate/not-good-enough/self-loathing because of the way they look, and I hate that in preparation for these shower scenes, they have to dehydrate themselves and deprive themselves of food (when eating is one of the pleasures celebrated by their culture). It just makes me sad. I’d rather never see another topless man again, than have one more person go through that, even for a short period of time.

I guess I’ve been around enough people with eating disorders and the whole range of disordered eating patterns to last me several lifetimes. I’m all for people eating healthily and being active, but I hate that weight can be used to judge people’s character when it’s really a result of many different factors (genetics being one of them!).

Sorry for my wee rant - I’m happy for others to disagree. It just happens to be one of the things I find deeply depressing. I also appreciate that I’m part of the problem when I consume the media that perpetuates these standards.😭

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Yes I think the same thing and unfortunately whether it’s adverts or dramas half naked bodies male or female we can’t protest unless we don't watch the dramas at all as its hard to know which ones will have it and which won’t.

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You and some others (in the past week) made me aware of these problems for the first time in my life. Tbh, I’ve never met anyone with eating disorders, and guilt that is associated with eating certain things is very new to me. I don’t want to appear ignorant, but perhaps I look like that. I just learnt that it is triggering for somebody for the first time around last week, and I appreciated my new knowledge.

Anyway, I hate the fact that women are normally objectified by their look.. so I always feel uneasy when looking at men showering because I feel like they are being objectified. But I don’t feel bad for them because they know what and why they are doing this. In other words, they get something in return from their good looks. So unless they are forced to do so, I don’t have any problem with it.

I like to watch beautiful people in my dramas; but as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I don’t believe there are any objective standards for beauty (irl). But this is the first time I heard of something so absurd as weight can be used to judge a person’s character. That sounds very nonsensical to me. I wonder do people think that much of their look? And are people really happy because someone likes them because of their look? I mean that’s very superficial. I hope this doesn’t contain any triggers, but in case there is, please do let me know kindly.

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I understand your concern, and I am also saddened by the reliance on beauty.

Drama are an escapade, but it would not be possible to remove everything that can trigger anyone.

As @mmmmm said "I don’t feel bad for them because they know what and why they are doing this." Showers in kdrama are part of a game. And I do hope that all actors play willfully.

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I'm glad you posted this, too, just to keep everyone grounded :) and thanks for recognizing too that a lot of the conversation is just trying to be lighthearted; I for one also hate to subject others to unfair standards/expecations about body image. Health is wealth! Just take care of yourself :)

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Oh @mmmmm, it makes me so happy that you’ve not been exposed to these things!😅 That gives me hope that there are places in the world where someone can grow up without feeling those pressures and prejudices!

You make a good point that people get something in return for their good looks and to varying degrees know what they’re getting into. But I think your point about people not being forced is perhaps a bit more nuanced. I suppose I’m not sure how much choice some actors genuinely have. I know that there have been (Hollywood) actors who only recently spoke out about how they felt they *had* to do nude scenes earlier on in their careers, before they had enough clout to say no. Things are changing (and there are now intimacy coordinators on the set of some Hollywood productions!), but I’d actually be very interested to know, for example, how many actors would opt to do a shower scene if it was up to them. Maybe most of them would, but I was struck by one of the promo videos that Shin Seung Ho was in (for Alchemy of Souls) where he said he wouldn’t go back to being a model because he couldn’t eat back then.😢

Anyhow, I guess I can’t help but lament the fact that a person’s opportunities and success in the industry can be limited by their physical attributes despite their talent. (Is this less of an obstacle for men?) And the link to character is society-wide and often unspoken - like how it’s usually larger characters who are used as shorthand for lazy, gluttonous, lacking in determination and self-discipline, etc. In the news, you’ll often see cuts to images of larger people on topics about unemployment, for example. It’s rubbish, but being within a certain size range that society deems acceptable makes one’s life easier, basically.

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Lol I totally relate with shower scenes being a "sign of a kdrama" type thing. When they had one first thing in Love in Contract I just had this total feeling of "yep, I'm watching a kdrama. It'll probably turn out to be a good kdrama, too. They know the genre."

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I don’t find Soo-young’s character in Run On charming at all. I feel quite the contrary.

I don’t like piggy ride and shoelace tying scenes. I don’t find them romantic.

Can SMLs and SFLs have a good match or a happy life in the end? 🥲 I feel like they have their own lives, too, and they don’t have to die or pining for the ML or FL for the rest of their lives. People move on, I think I’d like better fates for these characters.

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I agree the 25 + year long unrequited love needs to go. Surely there is 1% or less potential for this to happen in real life yet 90% of dramas have the second leads having their love from childhood to adulthood and then once rejected continue to either have short term unsuccessful relationships or go on to have a monk like existence because that person is their soul mate and they won’t give up. I like the relationships where they have gone on to marry others and have happy enough love life but only if that relationship ends do they reconsider going back to the first love/never declared love etc. If this happens I would prefer for them to then become the lead couple and get together rather than become a bitter second lead.

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It does crack me up when it's a totally different drama and there's really NOTHING about it that would lead the leads to know each other when they were young... and then they throw it in around ep 10 or 11 just for kicks it seems.

I don't mind it if that's a part of the premise of the show, known early on and worked into the plot. But when it's tossed in late in the game it just feels so out of place ahaha

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I agree to everything, except for Soo Young's character in Run On. It was my first drama of hers so without any prejudice of liking her as an actress, I can say her character was well written well. She had to fight against misogynistic people and I liked that she put romance in the backdrawer to focus on her more pressing issues.

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I'm with the OP that 'charming' doesn't really describe her, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching her. That's one of the things I like about fiction: I can relax and enjoy watching people I'd run a mile from in real life.

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Me too! I find the shoelace-tying especially jarring. I mean, unless the character is injured, carrying lots of heavy things they can’t put down, or heavily pregnant, and therefore unable to tie their own shoelaces, this way of showing you care about someone is not for me. However, I wonder whether it’s somehow related to showing respect by touching another person’s feet?

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I really don’t know. Actually, in my culture, as feet is the lowest part of one’s body, using feet to do things (eg, pointing direction, laying your feet on the seat next to you) is seen as utterly rude and unacceptable. As it’s also a cultural thing here that younger ones pay respect to older people, there would never be a case of an older person bowing down to tie shoelace for the younger one unless the latter is very young. So whenever I see an older character (be it a grandmother, the older ML, etc) bows down and ties shoelace for a younger person, I feel a little bit uneasy. But as I know it’s cultural, I just assumed it’s normal there but I can’t feel any love expressed in such action the same way Koreans do, I think.

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I know what you mean! Coming from India, anyone older than you (or a random stranger or colleague) touching your feet makes me uncomfortable too.

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Have you ever seen "How I met your mother? ". They do an interesting take on the shoelace typing scene. (It is with the boats boats girl)

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Oh, I haven’t but now I’m intrigued!!

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I don't believe that we always need characters' personal growth. People criticizing a character for not having a growth arc is weird to me. I don't have a problem with a character not changing at all if they don't have fundamental flaws.

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I think that was part of the backlash from SITR, but SYJ's character had flaws but did not or could not change.

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Do you mean people unconsciously expect the characters to grow, so they were disappointed that her character didn't improve? Hmm.. I haven't thought about this at all. Maybe you're right.

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I think so. It is mentioned a lot in the comments that the character didn't have any growth.

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I felt terrible after the show ended, too, actually. I thought to myself why did I have to spend 16 hours of my life watching someone who didn't grow at all during the time span of the story.

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I haven't watched it but you are probably right.

Also I didn't mean no flaw at all. Everybody has flaws. And I'm ok with characters not understanding or changing their ordinary flaws.

I remember one of the beanies (maybe @pakalanapikake? I don't remember exactly) did an extensive post on this subject which was fascinating. But I haven't been able to find it unfortunately.

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What is SITR? I am trying to think which serial it is but cannot place it.

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Something in the Rain

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Ah. I somehow still think of it as Pretty Noona who buys me food

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I agree with your statement, some people are just really stubborn and are set in their ways.. A lot of times the things we want people to out grow are usually the habits we find annoying about them.. It takes time for someone who hasn't been receptive to love to show affection themselves. A lot of times as well, if the person doesn't view it as a seeious problem they will never see the need to change, maybe to them it isn't such a big deal... (I'm talking more along the lines of emotional traits) but for example, I would have been okay without the redemption of the male lawyer from EAW. He's always been that way and he didn't see the need to change. But once you start harming others or effecting others lives, I think that's when they should insert a personal growth arc...

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Agreed but I also think it depends on the plot of the drama. Some of them do need that arc and some don't. Some pretend to have it while doing nothing to the character.

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Of course it depends on the plot. I just don't think every drama and every character needs it.

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I think this is such a great point! I can appreciate why it feels narratively unsatisfying to us as viewers, but realistically, people don’t always grow/change their ways, and that should be OK. There are consequences to that, of course, but always having a growth arc seems to imply/require a homogeneity of character that strikes me as kind of boring.

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I don't mind a character not changing too much even if they HAVE fundamental flaws. It really all depends on the story itself and what I feel the needs/goals for that story are. Side characters especially I'm more lenient with, and main characters too I don't mind if they continue to struggle with imperfections, trials, etc whatever it is.

The one exception to this is that I really struggle in a drama when I don't feel like I can root for the main leads. If I'm following a morally grey or evil character who has morally bad goals for the show and is doing morally terrible things, and there's nobody I can really support as a moral root in the story, then I just struggle to watch it period.

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case in point I really struggled with IONTBO. I didn't care about the gorgeous shots or the plot... she as a character bothered me enough in the first few episodes with the way she treated people (ML in particular) that I just struggled rooting for her at all and lost interest. If I had seen more clearly and more early on something relatable, more desire to seek to treat people well/morally good goals, then I think I might have stuck around and really loved the show.

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I personally felt that IOTNBO was just a standard kdrama romcom in an excruciatingly beautiful wrapper. Basically just the same story ever told but with pretensions.

The show started off pretending the female lead was this complex non-conformist, with society condemning her for her determination to be different by branding her with titles like 'sociopath'. And it then reduced her to a damsel in distress wanting a prince to rescue her and her personality to entitled antics. It was very disappointing, especially when the show was so well produced.

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She did push a man down the stairs and kidnapped a vulnerable patient so not such a silly brand perhaps.

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I dropped IONTBO when show started to pretend instead of a dangerous narcissist she was just a victim of circunstance. I don't care if all characters are morally gray, the show itself has to have some kind of acknowledgement of that. Don't call them messed up heroes if they behave as villains.

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I simply can't watch the show that you are describing. I hate villains as leads shows, and I don't care if they change by the end or not.

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And some characters even with a fundamental flaw can not grow. A sometimes prefer and old school villain. (If Voldemort start introspection and repenting the fun is lost)

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I don't get why people talk bad about makjang. Makjang element is not always a bad thing. Makjang when done right is quite addicting lol....

But if it's too to the point too much are not make any sense it's when we can draw the line.

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Agreed. People need to read Javaneans' precise explanations on makjang. It has evolved into a bad trait on db but it is not.

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This sounds interesting.

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Do you have the link to Javabeans explanation on Makjang or is it just throughout her writing? Thanks!

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It may be in their Dramabeans ebook, Why Do Dramas Do That. I vaguely remember the topic coming up in years past but can't find a specific post.

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Thanks so much for looking! I didn't know there was an ebook.

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She had written a lot on this subject but it was throughout her writing,
and mostly buried deep in the site. I didn't find any specific posts by searching.

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Thanks so much for looking!!! It seems like it would have been a great read---maybe I'll find something deep in the site.

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https://www.dramabeans.com/2011/12/flower-boy-ramyun-shop-episode-14/

Here's one explanation, in the recappper's comments section.

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Thanks so much! So funny to read since Flower Boy Ramyun Shop is one of my favorites! Must be the Makjang send up!!

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I totally agree with this. Makjang done in an appropriate story can be fabulous. The 2019 drama GRACEFUL FAMILY is a textbook example of this. For anyone who has not seen it- do.

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My husband and I watched it on your recommendation. You are right that Graceful Family is well worth watching with makjang done to right degree. It's when it gets done to the extreme like in The Last Empress that it becomes a turnoff. (I could not finish this Jang Nara drama. Too over-the-top.)

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People always look down on makjang, but in my opinion, Penthouse and Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) absolutely deserve their high ratings. Makjang writers have a skill to make a large audience tune in.

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Really, if we look at the ratings game, the Korean viewership really seems to prefer makjang to many other genres :)

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Because makjang is quite addicting especially with crazy character ...

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I am very open to all kinds of tropes as I think that that is part of the recipe that makes K-dramas so good. However, the need to make the OTP virginal and/or innocent makes me crazy. It is really exemplified in Secretary Kim with his phobia to kissing and her overwork that kept her from dating all the way to 30. It took centuries for My Love From the Other Star character to keep from fainting at the mere touch of a kiss. In Bossom Steal the Fate you have the main female character portrayed as a married virgin. Now, these are really great dramas, I just find it a limiting contrivance.

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The part that bothers me about this particular arc is the seeming shock that comes after the female lead receives a kiss. Don't tell me you don't know what a kiss is all about. Even if it's your first time, don't give me that stunned, wow!-so-this-is-how-it-is look. It's cringy😂. It's more annoying when the FL is clearly written as not innocent and a non-virgin. It's not it at all.
Just a random addition, you see that slow-mo that is meant to display the aura of an actor or actress...once or twice is enough. Beyond that, it becomes a recipe for eyerolling.

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Agreed the delay in closing eyes when the first kiss occurs is annoying as it implies it is not wanted. It is also annoying when the person usually a man leans in and the other person closes their eyes only to be told off for having a warped mind as the person was just removing something from their face or putting on the seatbelt.

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The latter : This gives off the romantic touch if it is that they've defined their relationship as a romantic one. That's how you tease each other and it's sweet🤤.

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I don't think you chose the good examples. In Secretary, he has a trauma, in My Love he became sick when he kissed and in Bossam it was a sageuk and she was a princess.

But I agree with it. It's why I'm not a super fan of college KDrama. The romance is like the highschool drama except they can drink alcohol. The only one who did more realistic was Nevertheless but the romance was toxic...

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Wow, you just named something about college dramas that bothered me but I could never articulate. I know all societies are different, but it’s hard to suspend disbelief when you see college students (including guys in their mid- to late-twenties who’ve returned from military service) still acting like young teens except with all the social issues/scenarios that come with drinking.

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I'll actually be a voice from the other side: as someone who really values being a virgin before marriage, I look to kdramas as a great source of content where I feel like they focus a lot on the development of a relationship without the need for sex before marriage.

I totally agree about the wide eyes "don't know what to do with a kiss" sentiment, however. I just enjoy that by and large, kdramas tend to find a happy medium where characters can get to know each other and flirt and be sensual without becoming sexual (and if it does lean that way, then it's generally done off screen)

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For me, it isn't really only about if they are virgins before marriage, it is that the need for the characters to be so virginal ends up limiting us viewers to stories that are mostly about the very young with most stories focusing on characters around the age of 30. I would love to see some stories that focus on older characters and second/third chance relationships especially now that so many of my favorite actors are a betting up there in years.

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YES!! To all of this!! I'm not saying we need to see bed scenes of Western quality, but characters who are experienced somewhat or have lust or physical attraction to their partners. More sexual tension!!

We can have our actors have the hots for one another or feel turned on as normal feelings in romances (I'm talking for adults!!).

Also, I wish we would get more hugging and intimacy in romance shows. I don't want to see kissing, but skin-ship through fixing or touching their hair/ears. I think Law Cafe does this aspect very well. I find those scenes very heart-fluttering because it feels natural to what a real couple does.

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The thing which frustrates me the most is the current pick and mix approach when making rom coms these days so it’s unclear whether it is appropriate viewing if you don’t like horror or action/thriller elements.
Random events like falling bodies/trucks of doom or for those who are sensitive to it pet deaths, come out of no where so there is no way to avoid them. School bully scenes are excessively graphic and frequent.

*Biggest gripe can’t believe just remembering now.

The lack of realistic portrayals of the treatment available for mental health. Either show mental health as enduring with unhealthy coping strategies like self medicating with alcohol/over the counter medication misuse, self harm, aggression or relationship breakdown or show treatment being available but person choosing not to use it for fear of labelling or not accepting they have a problem. What we don’t want is the continued implication that toxic relationships, serious trauma or mental health conditions can be cured with a kiss and cuddle, brief details of the cause of death/abandonment or an alternative explanation to the one you had made up for yourself and all the symptoms will magically disappear.

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Lots to unpack! One of the dramas that people love that perplexes me is Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. I enjoyed watching it but was so uncomfortable by the mix of serial killer and rom com plot. This is especially since the the serial killer dressed the women in a wedding clothes. Many dramas have serial killer/stalker plots. I'm not liking that! Darker plots are truly ascendant and mixing it with rom-com elements is tricky for us viewers! As for mental health, I do find it troubling how many dramas make the cure of mental illness and addiction be finding true love. But, it is a drama made for entertainment so I'm not sure how entertaining it would be if the plot simply was someone getting appropriate mental health treatment. It's Okay That's Love is one of the few that does address this. I would add that I'm not completely comfortable with the portrayal of characters that are on the spectrum. Even Attorney Woo annoyed me a bit in this area. But, still, it is entertainment and entertainment needs to remove me from real life, not take me to real life. So, I'm mostly forgiving, but I do often wait to see if the plot will be too upsetting to me.

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They don’t have to show the therapy sessions like they did in Be Melo but they could have a sentence like in If you wish upon me where he says ‘let’s go to the hospital’. It would have been great once she had the conversation that helped her feel better about her parents to then go to the hospital to process the years of being pimped and having to rely on two boys to be her emotional support when she was a child because the main carer in the residential unit was a cold and detached woman.

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I haven't seen either show. Therapy is really accepted where I live, but I do understand that it is not so accepted in other places which is how I view this. Did you watch "You Raise Me Up". This kinda gets right to what bothers you. It is both a good and uncomfortable watch!

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I think I tried but is it the Japanese drama re a man with issues who ends up going for treatment with his first love/ex girlfriend? I started it but it was not my style of humour so I don't think I made it past the first episode.

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That drama rivalled Well-intended Love for medical ethics violations. Somewhere round about ep 2 Hani's character should have said "I know you personally so I'm going to have to refer you to a colleague".

Tbf, I think every drama I have watched that had a hospital scene also had some sort of violation of good practice (I don't watch full-on hospital dramas so I don't know what they are like).

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You Raise Me Up with Yoon She Yoon--Perhaps that is the Korean version of the same drama?

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Yes that’s the one but for some reason I think I saw a Japanese version.

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I felt the same about Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. The juxtaposition of the slapstick gangsters with the serial killer was also weird.

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RE Strong Woman - I too found the mix a bit jarring. I loved so much about that drama. Much of it was hilarious, and most of the leads got the funny tone just right. I loved the all brawn-no brain superhero woman for a change. But the whole serial killer theme was off - tho I guess having a super woman take down the misygonist serial killer could make some sense. But it is one reason why I don't re-watch this drama very often.

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STDBS had serious conflicting tonal issues, which is one of the reasons I don't like it. I really struggled more though with the characters themselves, who I found to be quite juvenile and frankly a bit offensive at times.

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So glad to find out I'm not the only one who felt this way!! The juxtaposition between silly romcom hijinks, poop jokes, and a deranged man imprisoning and tormenting women was not in the least entertaining to me. Still don't quite get the popularity of this show.

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I don’t mind, and often like, being misled by previews (and cliffhangers). I get a kick out of expecting something and having it turned on its head in the next episodes. It adds to the special entertainment of kdrama for me, that there probably will be twists and surprises.

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same, I enjoy it when it's done well. The only thing I don't like is if they totally set it up in the preview like something I've been anticipating for forever will happen in the next episode, only for it to really have been a throwaway not even a turned on it's head scene.

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