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[Drama chat] That drama thing you’ll always defend

Whether you love to hate it, hate to love it, or just plain love it, there’s always that one “drama thing” that you’ll always defend. Call it a trope, an archetype, a plot device, or by any other name — it doesn’t matter — we know them well. The drunken piggyback. The broken shoe. The way characters will stand on opposite sides of a highway and just gaze at each other. And no matter what that drama thing is — no matter how serious or silly — you’ll defend it to the grave.

At present, mine is the “sudden shards of broken glass” plot moment. It’s a device that’s old as dirt, but I love it every time. It’s mostly a way for a tsundere or uptight hero to show his protectiveness towards the woman who’s just dropped something and is in a Very Dangerous Position. And, of course, it’s also used as a romantic turning point, as we’ve so recently seen in King the Land (which took the shards of glass trope up to level 11).

One of my favorite shards of glass moments, though — and perhaps one of the earliest — was in I’m Sorry, I Love You. Despite hating her outwardly, So Ji-sub can’t help but protect his estranged mother when she’s surrounded by shards of a broken dish. This was a fabulously classic melo that used the scene well, but I also love that this trope is about a display of care and protectiveness that doesn’t have to be about romance exclusively.

Is the shards of glass moment a little bit forced? Ridiculous? Reliant upon woman who can’t seem to hold onto their drinking glasses? Yes. But also, it’s totally fun in that it takes a mundane real-life occurrence and injects its drama magic in there. And that is what it’s all about, Beanies.
 

What’s that one drama thing you’ll always defend?

 
Let the chatting begin!
 
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Talking about my favorite shards of glass moment, the one I like a lot is from 2521. It’s not like super romantic. But it was such an impactful scene for me. That moment of care he showed without making a big deal out of it. And it was so funny Moon Ji-ung was sitting in a chair, arms raised waiting to be picked up too.

About what I will defend. Hmmm. I think it’s either a back hug or standing behind one’s back, say in a crowded bus. There is something about this that makes me feel like ‘I got your back’. The back hug also to me feels more safe and comforting than an embrace. It gives you that safe space to be your self. Especially having someone stand behind you in a crowded place is a big YES for me. It’s gets me every single time.

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I immediately thought of that 25,21 moment too as that was on point re romance and so funny re Jiung.
I love a good back hug or protection on a crowded bus etc.

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Bus... and the close proximity because its crowded... 🪭☺️🪭

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Love that’s scene in R88. He was so good in covering for her until, she rips off his shirt. I just love this scene. It turns from super hot to hilarious.

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🫘 Beansprout 🌱 to you for reminding me of that iconic scene! Now I’ll be thinking about shirtless Ryu Joon-yeol all day 😁

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👏Superb use of a 🫘Beansprout🌱 award

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Oh, another one in the bus: when the Poor Heroine is teaching the Super Rich Hero how to ride a bus 😁

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And They don’t even know they have to swipe a card to enter the bus. Lol. And are wowed by this experience. I love it too.
If I were a chaebol I would totally not know how to ride a bus 😇

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I struggle trying to ride a bus. Which is the main reason why I try to avoid buses. Is there still hope for me becoming a super rich chaebol?

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I also immediately thought of Twenty Five Twenty One
There were so many impactful scenes from that show. I still miss it.

Speaking of Twenty Five Twenty One, I was most pleased with the anti trope. The scene where Na Hee-Doo trips and breaks her flip flops. It looks like she's ready for the standard piggy back ride as she looks like she's going to jump on Baek Yi-Jin's back. Nope. I love how they turned that around and created a different and even more iconic moment for that not yet couple.

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I think I will go for the moment when someone is in need of an umbrella and one appears as if by magic often when they are already wet. Sometimes they are desperately sad and the person comes to say we are in this together so let me be your cover for now. I was reminded of the scene in My Holo love where he used his hands to cover her head but because he is a hologram it didn’t make a difference but it was a great example of ‘it’s the thought that counts’. I am loving the use of big umbrellas or bright colours and I am sure one of the dramas it was an invention that had a button that turned it clear so you could see the sky.

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The first time I recognized this use of umbrellas for the trope that it is was in Splish Splash Love, and didn’t mind its use one bit. So cute. ☔️

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I discovered SSL by serendipity. I love it too.

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Aww I enjoy this one too!! I think the first time I saw it was in Legend of the Blue Sea. It was a beautiful moment. I liked the scene in My Holo Love, too.

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The umbrella was from “I’m Not a Robot.” One of Ji-ah’s inventions. And now I’ll have to rewatch that scene.

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I was convinced it was from that but told myself she only invented that one item that kept the two people connected when far apart I think it was a lamp that reflected their heart beat or something.

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One of my favourites is from TWENTY FIVE, TWENTY ONE when Hee-do unabashedly stalks Yoo-rim. She’s on the rooftop watching Yoo-rim run in the rain and drops the umbrella, when Yoo-rim looks around and doesn’t see anyone, she still shouts thanking the stranger. Hee-do’s reaction was super cute especially seeing her blushing and fangirling!

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And you get an excuse to use ALL the cool umbrellas! And umbrellas are cool by default!

My favourite is still the Jester Skull Umbrella from IT'S OK TO BE NOT OK for Reasons™, which doesn't get used in a scene like this (although it should've been, alas) but it is still the best umbrella for Style so idc.

The INAR umbrella scene is class though~ thematic points for dayyyss

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Sigh. I’ll probably always defend a sweetly tender childhood connection trope.

They can be done a bit too OTT (I’d put Secretary Kim in this camp), but when they’re adorably nostalgic like Once Upon a Small Town (with two competing childhood claims!) or even 100 Days My Prince, they can add a lot of sweetness and squee-icity to a plot.

I am willing to fall for it almost every time.

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I agree when it’s done right it adds to the story; I loved it in 100 days my prince and Weightlifting fairy.

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I also like a childhood connection trope!! Not to harp on the same subject, but... Into the Ring did this really well (bet you didn't see that coming😅). I think you also commented somewhere else about that one too, Seon-ha.

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I like the childhood connections. I like that it gives this element of fate or destiny.

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Yes!!!!!

Long live the Childhood Connection Trope. Okay, not all of them, some of them are done TERRIBLY, but like many/most tropes, it's not the trope itself that is inherently bad, it's the execution thereof. Storytelling lives and breathes off tropes.

When it's done badly yes, it's OTT, contrived, and forced for emotional check points, and can become disingenuous, campy and eyeroll worthy.

When it is done well, it can be on of the BEST thematically juicy narrative tools ever.
HEALER, THIRTY BUT SEVENTEEN, and YOU ARE MY SPRING are my favourite examples of this trope and are all shows that do it exceptionally well and that I will defend till the day I die.
Just Between Lovers and Tree With Deep Roots are good also.
Come and Hug Me, My Strange Hero, Link (I mean you can't have a show called LINK and then complain about it using past CONNECTIONS thematically asdfghjkl) in the seconds category.

The key to this trope is not just HAVING it but using it it within the story to elevate the story.

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Oooh la la a tragicomic html italics typo lol

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I don’t know how comforted I am that this happened to you just now. It happens to me all..the..time.

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Oh, Lord Typo, my ex lover, plagues us all eternally, you have my utmost commiseration.

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Yes ABSOLUTELY - it's not necessarily the trope, it's in the execution of said trope!!

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Cohabitation! I absolutely love this trope! From DREAM HIGH S1 to ANSWER ME 1994 to PINOCCHIO to AGE OF YOUTH to WELCOME TO WAIKIKI to HAPPINESS to the current HEARTBEAT and plenty plenty more. This is my catnip. I also like close neighbours that are practically family, ANSWER ME 1988 & LET’S EAT S1-S3.

With cohabitation, there isn’t a need to manufacture the characters interaction since they all live together. There also isn’t a power imbalance (usually). It’s one of my pet peeves with office romance, the romantic relationship is almost always between a boss and employee. Also as it’s a workplace, there is sometimes these forced and contrived scenarios so as to give the couple more screen time together.

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Me too, Linarrick! I'm especially liking how things have been going in HeartBeat with this trope 😊

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Yeah, I have a soft spot for cohabitation hijinks, or any other plot device that forces two seemingly incompatible characters into extended close proximity.

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You said it better than I could! Yeah I’m always a sucker for opposites attract, it’s probably why I watch so much Kdrama! So when two polar opposite characters have to live together, it’s a match made in chaotic heaven

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Yes, I like this too! Because This Life is Our First, CLOY, Romance is a Bonus Book, Shopping King Louis. I loved the scene in CLOY when Yoon Se Ri is trying to be strong but Ri Jeong Hyeok returns home after dark and she starts to hit him with a vase and then finally gives in to her fear, and he puts out the candle for her privacy in the small house. The neighbors setting in Fight My Way, Dali and Gamjatang, and Answer Me 1988 are also wonderful.

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Yes to all the dramas you mentioned! I can’t believe I forgot FIGHT MY WAY, I just rewatched it! One of the benefits of a close proximity living situation, is the natural ease in which the characters interact. I remember the first episode had our two leads, who were still platonic friends, holding hands. It was so sweet to watch!

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Shout out to BRAIN WORKS for ond of the best office romances.

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I have to watch BRAIN WORKS then! Thanks for the rec!

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Yes, I love Cohabition too. It creates some truly organic moments that seldom seem forced.

However, when two gorgeous people cohabit with each other, are in love, and don't, ahem, go, *cough* all the way, I find it too unrealistic.

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Tropes I don't like - incredibly attractive, irrationally chaste 30 year olds spending lots of time in close proximity with each other not doing anything.

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I’m blanking and only remember one drama with attractive leads who sorta cohabitat / are close neighbours and actually *ahem* do the deed…
(It’s heavily implied but it counts!)

ANOTHER OH HAE-YOUNG
There are also plenty of kisses too 😉

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Some did it well. Strong Woman comes to mind, once the pair came together, they literally could not keep hands off each other, shown very realistically. Our Beloved Summer did this very very well too. Chinese dramas do this better I feel.

Even worse is when they do it once, and then never do it again, or even talk about it, or pretend it never happened...like how...lol!!

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Back to the dramas I just named @linarrick ! Fight My Way, that was a hot scene, him pulling her legs so she was lying down. Romance is a Bonus Book, he closed the door commenting he didn't need pjs, and later their romantic day together when he took a day off to console her. And Dali - hilarious conversation on the balcony, well if you're not ready...!

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Hooray for cohabitation and neighbours tropes!!
Many of my favorite dramas show some of these situations.

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I'm very forgiving of tropes in general (they're the hallmarks of the genre and give K-dramas their flavor!!), but I have a few favorites that I'm always willing to defend. HeartBeat is actually doing a FEW of my favorite things right now. Along with the intertwined past lives/reincarnation theme, last week's episodes also did one of my favorite things: nursing the other half of the OTP back to health after they suddenly fall ill with a fever. It's a way to demonstrate caring and consideration for the other person, along with an opportunity for tender moments of washcloth pressing 😊

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Ooohh…the damp washcloth that heals all!! Love, love that one.

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ML tying the shoelace of the FL

This was a topic of discussion in a thread some time ago. I didn’t defend it back then, but since we have a dedicated topic right here, I figured why not share my thoughts on this.

Okay, some beanies find this gesture incredulous. Maybe it is, but if it was done towards you, you’d think that it is actually plausible. My boyfriend has done that towards me a number of times (don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a Princess complex 😆. He was just always quick to spot my untied shoelace + his love language is acts of service, so… there…), so for me, a guy tying a girl’s shoelace in kdrama is pretty realistic.

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That's really sweet, Minka!! Have you seen Sh**ting Stars? There's a scene where the ML tries to find a way to do this in order to woo the FL - it's very funny 😁

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Yes, I’ve seen Sh**ting Stars. That tying of the shoelaces together was so funny. 😂 I did not expect it.

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I love that scene in Shooting Stars. The long planned build-up to it by Tae-sung and his manager. Tae-sung's epic stride towards her in full-on star/hero mode. Completely undercut then by her doing her nut at him.

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…his love language is acts of service…

Lucky you 🙃!

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My first Kdrama was "Hi! School love On" and this was the action that I swooned over more than any other romantic gesture (Well, I do equally like the umbrella scenes as pointed out by @reply1988).

I live in a patriarchial country and touching/massaging a female's feet (unless the female is a mother/daughter who is less than 10 yrs old/teacher) is considered a shameful act for the males. This is one of the reasons, I love this "Kdrama only thing"

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Yes! I especially enjoyed the inversion of this in Do You Like Brahms - Kim Min Jae's character offered to tie Park Eun Bin's character's shoelace and she said no thanks because that's how they fall in love in dramas! 😄

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I love cohabitation and relationship/marriage contracts, but I especially love anything that hints at fate/destiny. Dramas are escapism for me, so it's all fantasy. Childhood/past life connections, couples who seem to be drawn together in spite of themselves or those around them, etc.

As for broken glass, Fireworks of My Heart just had a good one :)

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Noble Idiocy! When it's not noble idiocy at all.

It gets a bad rep but sometimes it's not idiotic, it's just noble! If the character is doing something for the benefit of another because they have good reason to believe it's in their best interest, they are being selfless and doing the right thing for both of them.

And amnesia! :P

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Uuh, I adore amnesia! :D

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I was thinking I was gonna write noble idiocy haha

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Hm, I love it when there is a sound of pounding heart (sometimes accompanied by the character's hand on their chest) after a sudden physical proximity between the leads, especially when it happens earlier on in the story and is presented as a first signal to the viewers that the one who's heart is pounding (more often the ML) is starting to fall for the other one. It may be cheesy and totally on-your-nose, but it always gives me butterflies.

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Me too! Cheesy but I love it.

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getting sick after being soaked in rain. totally plausible and pretty unavoidable if it is a bit chilly and you cannot change your clothes. nothing brings on a cold like wet clothes.

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Exactly.

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this is how asian kids are raised -- being scolded by our mothers for being out in the rain and getting all wet. "You're going to catch a cold!" they'd tell us.

my daughter's preschool classmate told me (her mother is a doctor) as i'm trying to put my daughter's coat on her, as it was raining outside - "you can't catch a cold from rain, you catch a cold from a VIRUS". i laffed when i started watching Kdramas, because it's a very real thing in those stories (Lee Min Ho getting sick after waiting out in the rain all night in Boys Over Flowers)...
: D

also, the touching of your tongue then your nose repeatedly to ward off cramping! my mother taught me that also!

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I love characters unexpectedly being forced into close physical proximity (narrow alley, closet, etc.), and epically shot slow mo kiss scenes with 6 different camera angles.

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I think, @sicarius will be happy to elaborate on the directorial choice for filming kiss scenes from 4 or more different camera angles. She has a case study file link somewhere in DB.

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Yeah... I wouldn't always defend them though... Lmao. Quite the opposite a lot of the time.
Hey if they were always 6 GOOD camera angles, that would be a different story... 🤭

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1n5C_hESjkq-zBdcWnadoudapZddmswcM0lngsmeg2M0/edit?usp=drivesdk

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Wow, you went hard on science with this project! Respect))) Does that mean that if a certain kiss isn't featured in this list then it's good enough then?

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Er no... Man, just cutting and pasting the disclaimer all over the place at the moment, huh lmao 🤣🤣

"I only started doing these upon the advent of Sh☠️tposting, which started with Memories of the Alhambra at the end of 2018.
They are since random and whenever I feel like it, and do not happen for every kiss scene deserving of them, good or bad and I've yet to go back to do any that aired before that.
Like sh☠️tposting, I just follow the sh☠️tposting dopamine wherever it leads me.

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@sicarius, ah, I see. Still an interesting list, esp drama choices. NOKDU entry gave me a great laugh, I recall being pretty frustrated with that one too))) Thankfully they improved later on...

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Messed up characters deserve love too. I will stand on this hill for as long as my - hopefully - immortal soul exists. Healthy relationships between 100% perfectly fine individuals belong to real life (even tho I believe it's an utopic dream that cannot be truly reached), while in fiction I can and will have as much of angst, trouble, trauma, obsession and overall toxicy as I want. As a deeply messed up yet equally deeply romantic person I need some futile hope in that department to keep me going, you know)))

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I love this response because I do get frustrated when a drama begins, and people are already attacking one of the protagonists or couple for being flawed, "toxic," and everything in between. But most of the time, unless it's just a terrible, poorly written drama all the way through (which is rare), it's *supposed* to be the case that the characters have issues and problems that they need to first, learn they possess, and then second, get over in a way that mimics real-life growth at least somewhat, meaning that it won't necessarily be linear. Perfect characters are not only boring and flat, and make for very dull drama.

The last time I remember this happening was after the first two episodes of "Sunbae, Don't Put on that Lipstick" because the ML wiped lipstick off the FL's mouth. Some viewers immediately trashed him and the show as being controlling/advocating for controlling relationships when the fact was that the whole point of that scene was to show a) that the FL--and by extension, the writers--recognized immediately that this was unacceptable and told him so and b) that the ML had some things to learn about relationships and that he would learn them over the course of the show. By the end, he was a great boyfriend, they had a healthy relationship, and the show closed on a positive note. But to get there, the ML had to initially be problematic and flawed in at least one area, or there would have been no story at all.

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This! Character development is a thing, often it's actually the main drive moving story forward, we can't just do away with this because we want everything and everyone be perfect since the get-go. Low starting point is absolutely necessarily for hero's journey in most cases. Not to mention painfully low relatability of 100% faultless heroes... Of course, everyone has their own breaking point, and I too sometimes drop characters, ships and even shows as a whole because I just cannot forgive certain things nor accept any potential redemption for them, but that's an exception, not the general rule.

Another thing that always leaves me speechless is loud demands for "get therapy instead!" in romance shows. Like isn't OTP falling in love precisely what we're here for? It just doesn't make sense if in romance-centered story romance gets sidelined or totally ripped in the bud in favor of personal healing and leads seeking happiness separately. Wtf. That's like a totally different genre, no? I personally don't watch romcoms for "being single is the greatest thing ever" message... Love may not be the substitute for therapy if hero desperately needs one, but therapy isn't exactly an adequate substitute for love either. Especially if character's issue is them being freaking lonely and wanting to love and be loved. How therapy and "find happiness within yourself" mantra are supposed to help them with that? We, humans, are unfortunately social animals, making the need of love in one form or another a basic need. And for most people this includes romance too. Romantic fiction exists to scratch that itch for love starved people, preaching medical advice here can only be secondary message at best, never the main one.

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So much yes, especially about the therapy thing.

I completely respect when viewers decide they just can't handle a specific character or couple's dynamics, and certainly, there are many times when a writer ends up sending a troubling message they did not intend, and it makes sense for viewers to call them on it.

But generally speaking, romantic love *can* and often *is* incredibly healing, healthy, and pleasurable for people. Simply put, it's one of the greatest joys of life to fall and be in love with someone who makes us feel good more often than we feel bad (because in every relationship, there are going to be bad or sad moments). That's precisely why there is so much media about it! We don't need to cheapen or invalidate that experience as antithetical to a character (or real-life person) achieving true emotional growth and feeling happier in their own skin and out in the world.

Certainly, being alone, working on yourself, and going to therapy have their place, too, but again, unless the writing is really lacking, that place doesn't have to be in a romance in order for that romance to be worth watching and rooting for.

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In HIGH SOCIETY SFL encouraged FL to fall in love and date because "good romance makes you see the world in a more positive light". She was surely onto something with that wisdom)))

I think it's @hacja who always rightfully argues that self-improvement in any form and being in relationship aren't and should not be mutually exclusive things whether in fiction or real life. I'd also add that while therapy is generally accessible to many nowadays, romance is a bit more of a luxury because you cannot just get it in the nearby clinic whenever you want as long as you can pay the bill. Well, in a certain - almost worldwide illegal - industry you sorta can, but I wouldn't call what they sell a romance... "True love is hard to find" indeed, not to mention how much work it takes to sustain it. Pretty sure this "rare treasure" aspect adds to the aforementioned media exposure too, less mundane things are simply more exciting to discuss. But hey, high demand and the genre never truly going out of fashion speak for themselves!

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Amen!!

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I think most people who call on therapy as a necessary element of the story are referring to the foundation of the romantic relationship; is it about one partner ‘needing’ the other partner to be a coping mechanism in their life or do they ‘want’ the partner in themselves just to be a part of their life.

In Be melodramatic everyone could see she was not coping in a healthy way even though friends and family kept her alive, seemingly happy and competent in her job. She needed therapy because she could not let her boyfriend go and without it would not be able to ‘see’ anyone else. Once she has reached an appropriate point in her mourning she will be available to join a new relationship which we saw on the horizon but it’ was a matter of timing.

Often the lead is dealing with something that has impacted on their mental health such as long term abuse, or a traumatic event like a car accident which has led to them using unhealthy coping mechanisms and the drama uses the message that a relationship can take away the symptoms. We would find it ridiculous if someone had a broken leg and they were given a crutch and some pain killers so they could walk and that was seen as an appropriate treatment approach in itself. In most K drama storylines therapy would be the operation, crutch and pain killers; an appropriate short term tool needed to recover fully. The relationship would then be shown as the two leads experiencing the joy of walking unaided alongside each other dealing with the short term twisted ankles or tripping up that are a normal part of life.

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Kdrama obsession with heavy mental trauma is such a tropey gimmick at this point that I don't even know if we should ever take it seriously. Very rarely it's there to actually talk about psychology and all that stuff and not just to move the plot forward in some scenes only to be conveniently dropped afterwards. Fantasy element, plot device, whatever))) But somehow with other obviously ridiculous tropes, including the ones rooted in serious real life topics (like serial killers), viewers are much more inclined to be forgiving with "let's not overthink it and just enjoy the ride" mindset. Someone should do a thesis about this)))

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Assassins deserve to fall in love, I agree 🤭

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Nothing like a bit of murder to spice the relationship up)))

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Precisely.

Now, if only dramas would let their weirdo melo-com FLs ACTUAL kill someone for once and not just fake it out... Stop chickening out! 🤣

Where else will we assassin's get our representation. 🤭

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There's this recent short cdrama where leads are actual assassins that fall in love, get married etc... Titled KILLER IS ALSO ROMANTIC or something like that. Heard it's pretty good - actually passionate in both killing and romance. Maybe this will suffice?

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Ooooh interesting.
Hummmm I will run it through my Cdrama Shifu filter system to see what they've heard about it first~ 😂

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@sicarius, good luck! Pls inform me how it goes.

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Turns out my Cdrama Shifu filter has already recommended this to me (lol) I just forgot... and didn't put 2 and 2 together to get anything when I saw the title... 😅

I'll update when and if I get round to watching it now... 🤣

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Does happen in movies, just not dramas, I suppose. Kill BokSoon was a fun watch.

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@hebang
But you expect it in something like Bok Soon or The Villainess; it's the premise afterall, and more obviously the genre.

In something like Link or the One and Only, it adds a kind of unexpected layer of dark comedy or macabre to what is otherwise not outwardly billed as that- it makes them more fun, in a darker way, and opens up opportunity to explore, well, I guess, death, in unique ways... alas neither of those shows delivered on their macabre/dark comedy undertones, their murderous female leads, nor alas, anything else... ach well. 😭

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Bok Soon could easily be expanded into a series, don’t you think?

A teenage lifetaker split between light and darkness developing into an internationally renowned assassin, male lead with unrequited love, a perfectly sappy but fitting song, fill out with some interesting assassination scenarios…what do you think?

Or to go for some serious social satire, … did you ever see Serial Mom? That in a Korean societal context…

Btw, I really truly wanted more from The Fridge -can’t believe they just dropped it.

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@hebang

I didn't actually get round to watching Boksoon (yet???) but from your summary, definitely. Sounds like any number of assassin premises that already exist and that I've toyed with myself lmao. (I also haven't seen Serial Mom).

But I still want more of "those weird" shows to stop chickening out of being weird and dark. Commit to the bit, Dramaland 🤣. (It's always bad a problem with that though)

Yes, I also still dream about what The Fridge could've been. 😭😭😭
Viva la Fridge.

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Totally agreed. Even Jabba the Hutt deserved to fall in love. I mean, can you imagine how fantastic that alternative future might have been?

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Maybe he did, it's not like we knew him for long and well enough to judge... Cannot say I'm very sad of missing on that epic love story though.

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Boy do I have news for you two...
It's canon that he has a son.
So. Take that information and do with it whatever you want...

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Also the Hutts are a really big galaxy wide *family* run crime space cartel...

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@sicarius, wow, there's always someone for everyone indeed. Wish I could say that this eye-opening revelation made my own romantic prospects look a bit less bleak in comparison, but visuals were never the problem, unfortunately... Thanks for the info anyway)))

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🤣🤣🤣
Hey, not a problem~

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I agree that one of the wonderful things about fiction is that you can experience lots of things vicariously, like hot, screwed-up romantic partners or smiting your enemies with abandon, that wouldn't work so well in real life.

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There's always this argument against hot, screwed-up romantic partners in fiction that consumers may be unable to distinguish between fiction and reality int he end. Well, that's what critical thinking - and age rating - is for. Some people don't learn even after experiencing crap firsthand, should we totally avoid them as a potential bad influence too? Sounds ostracize-ish to me.

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A thousand times this!!!

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The trope I love (and kindof hate myself for loving) is the one where one half of a couple gets hurt or sick (fever, truck-of-doom accident, sprained ankle--I don't care) and the other half of the couple, who, up to this point, has either been in denial about their feelings or trying hard to suppress them, can't hide their love and concern.

There are a million great examples of this trope as it appears in basically every romantic drama I've ever watched, but the one that comes readily to mind is "Call it Love." It's a bit of a reverse trope moment because the FL is the one who is both hurt and trying to fight her feelings, and the ML is already aware of and expressing his feelings, so his ML emotional reaction is not a surprise. But it's still cathartic and so moving when he's by her bedside, looking tormented at the thought of her being in pain, and she briefly clasps his hand as he's pushing back her hair. It also represents a shift in their relationship towards acknowledging the reality that their feelings are mutual. The whole scene encapsulates everything I love both about this trope and "Call in Love."

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You better believe that I didn’t miss one beat…and went straight over to watch that scene from Call It Love again. For those who want to get there faster, it’s at about minute 7 of episode 10 😉

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1. People who stand up/ speak up for others. Not only in Kdramas, I think this is something that is so hard to do so when someone does it, there seems to be some aura from that person.

2. People who are good to a fault. No matter what anyone says, people like this are extremely cool in my book. Because it is such a difficult thing to be when you grow older.

3. Ex who respects your decision to breakup but still wishes you the best. Reason justifying this is the same as 2.: it’s just so difficult to do, and it says a lot about the ex.

4. When characters take the high road.

5. MLs whose love language is acts of service ♥️.

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This is a GREAT list!!!❤️

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Super! It’s lovely! I think I smiled every after reading each entry.

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Number 2!!!👏👏👏

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Just the one thing that I always look for in a drama. It's just so hopeful- a ray of sunshine in this miserable world. Imagine to have this kind of people more. Like Han Jung Won in Twinkle-Twinkle, Kim Jae Hyeok in Prison Playbook, Park Dong Hoon in My Mister, and Shin Sung Han in Divorce Attorney Shin. Who can not like these beautiful people? They might not always have an easy life due to their hard choices, but when they get support even from someone not significant, I feel like shouting, 'Yes!'

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So many are already mentioned!
To add:
- grabbing the hand and running together, preferably in rain 😆
- when ML ties Fl's hair 😊

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I adore when ML dries FL's hair (wet hair with a towel). My example is Tale of the Nine Tailed 1938 when Rang dried Yeo-hee's hair after they were in the rain.

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There's something about back hug that gets to me. The lingering feeling, earnest plea, or secret promise that speaks volume. I particularly like Han Tae Sul in STM backhugging Soe Hae. I could feel his desperation at that moment. Another instance Taek to Deok Sun in Reply 88.

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lingering feeling, earnest plea

Aww… 🥺
I remember the rooftop couple in Because This Life Is Our First when they broke up.

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Tragic ending in sageuks.
If a historical figure died tragically, it becomes a part of their legacy. Despite the sadness, the tragedy can also be memorable, emotional, logical, realistic, etc.

I've noticed that there are actually more sageuks with happy endings than tragic ones. So, I don't quite understand why people tend to associate sageuks with tragic endings.
https://thetalkingcupboard.com/resources/sageuk-timeline/

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@kiara, I did not appreciate tragedy as a genre until I started watching kdramas. Sometimes a tragic ending is the most fitting ending. A well done tragic ending leaves a lasting impression.

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I love a good tragic ending, as long as it feels like either the logical outcome of a character's flawed choices or comes from the protagonist's willingness to sacrifice their own life/happiness for some greater good. I'm also fine with unhappy endings used to highlight the destructiveness of specific social systems or ideologies. I don't care for "tragic" endings where a writer just suddenly starts randomly killing off characters for no good reason.

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Yes! Forced ending (either happy or tragic) that does not fit with the logic of the story is one of my biggest pet peeves.

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Oh no, not the "sacrifice for some greater good" AGAIN! *runs away screaming and weeping* If we're gonna have year-end award, this one totally goes into my "most hated trope of 2023" category.

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I agree that this can sometimes be an extreme form of noble idiocy and hence, really annoying,(looking at you, The Rise of Phoenixes), but I am a sucker for characters willing to sacrifice their own safety and happiness for the people they love.

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It's not the noble idiocy element that makes my blood boil at this trope lately, it's the sheer unfairness of such sacrifice even being needed in the first place. Usually coupled with a total lack of satisfying payoff afterwards. Hero just gives his all for the sake of those who neither deserve nor appreciate that... All while writing preaches and praises such heroic selflessness with the subtlety of a hammer. I freaking HATE that. Make it look like it was truly worth it at least if the trope is unavoidable!

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I do not like tragic ending in any shape or form, period, unless I am going into it wide eyes open. My tragedies watches have to be Oscar worthy (or true stories). TV dramas should give me hope and feels.

Having said that, I love noble idiocy (as long as it does not interfere with happy endings). As @wonhwa said, there is something about people willing to sacrifice themselves for people they love. However, it should make sense.

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Yes, I hate the unexpected tragic ending. Everything is moving along sensibly and happily then boom, main character dies or child dies or... Ugh!! If I'm in the mood for a tragedy I'll watch one but don't pull one out of thin air just because the writer decided to add surprise emotional impact. Dramas or movies or books etc. that are billed as one genre then toss in another annoy me!
I mostly watch Kdramas as an escape from everyday stressors so don't hit me with an upsetting storyline unless I go in expecting one.

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Eating together. Preferably as a whole family, with full table of Korean dishes. 😋

...and rameyon... in all meanings ☺️

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The drama thing I am always ready to defend is the total lack of irony in the storytelling. Sometimes I feel that current Western storytelling has too much irony, cynicism, and self awareness, so I find the lack of the above in the classic kdramas truly refreshing. If I want to experience a cathartic moment, I have to fully embrace the melodrama. That's one of the lessons kdrama watching has taught me.
Years ago I would never consider watching a melo like "I'm Sorry I Love You." Now I am not afraid to weep for Mu Hyeok and his mother.

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I love this, too - the sincerity and earnestness in K-drama storytelling. ❤️ Irony, cynicism, and too much self-awareness can feel cold and jaded.

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I totally agree - I adore a really well crafted melodrama that leans into its emotional content rather than running away from it.

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Sincerity is its own Strength 💯

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The unexpected kiss, especially what I like to call as "Grab, pull, twist and kiss".

My heart would always thump out of my chest whenever the ML suddenly grabs the hand of a leaving FL, pulls her with a slight twist onto him and kisses her.

I was first introduced to this in "Love Rain" where Jang Geun Suk kisses Yoona in front of a fountain, but I do not know if it is a Kdrama thing because in "Amazing Spiderman 2", spiderman (Andrew Garfield) uses his spiddy web to pull in Gwen (Emma Stone) for a hot kiss. These two scenes forever live rent free in my head 😍

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This

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As a good feminist, I know I’m supposed to hate it when the man grabs a woman by the waist or wrist for an unexpected kiss, or backs her up against a wall and gets “up close and personal.” I know I should be outraged about him not first asking for her consent. I know. I KNOW! But the devil sitting on my other shoulder keeps whispering to me that it’s really, really sexy, and I find I can’t keep myself from agreeing… 😈

One of my favorite romcoms, 1% of Something, has a male lead who’s very aggressive in pursuing the rather timid female lead, even when she appears to be uncomfortable or reluctant. I don’t know why I keep rewatching those scenes instead of posting angry rants about them on Dramabeans. Or wishing I was in the FL’s place.

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The kiss in front of the fountain in Love Rain is for me at least one of the best kisses in kdramas. But I think ML warns FL that he's going to do it, so it is not a complete ambush...

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I'm not sure about my phrasing but certain types of jealousy? Haha
I like when the characters fall for the other character despite themselves and they unknowingly act jealous. Sometimes, often times, the character really don't even register they like or are interested in the other person that way but they still can't help themselves haha

I know Lee Seung Gi dramas best so his characters come to mind. I think he's done many versions of jealousy without it being creepy, dangerous, or overbearing.

Recently, Heartbeat featured some unconscious jealousy.

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Or displays of jealousy when a time-traveling couple pairs up with someone else in the alternate timeline. I’m thinking of Familiar Wife and Go Back Couple.

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I like the bickering.

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And when Heroine puts down His Chaebol Highness. 🙂

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Yessss! LOL!

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The drama thing I will always defend is the friends or family members who go straight for freebies, repeatedly, and completely matter-of-factly, not even shamefully or shamelessly.

No, it is not a trope that I love, but I know so many people like this that it is totally believable to me.

Over the years I have seen so many comments on this trope, people saying it is exaggerated to the point of taking them out of the story. But I, maybe unfortunately, have seen it so much in my life that my only reaction is "Huh, are you my cousin's doppelganger?” and move on.

To clarify, I don't defend the trope and the character. I defend the writer who has written it, because to me it is just a normal if irritating part of life.

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🙋🏻‍♀️ I might be this person… 😅

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See, it is quite normal.

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I always collect the freebies each hotel gives everyday (e.g., shampoo, conditioner in small plastic bottles). I used to think this is not a good thing to do, but somehow I grew to think it’s ok as I can use these myself or give these to my relatives for them to use during their trips.

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We are paying for these items though they may not be included in the bill. I don't think it's wrong because people providing such services do include them in their profit/loss balance sheet. So, it is indirectly not free.

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Exactly. I don't think this is in the same category. This is completely fair and right.

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As I see it, the freebies in hotels where you are staying are given to you, you can do anything you like with them, so that is really not under the same category even if some people give the side eye even to that.

What I have seen kdrama fans complain about are characters taking too many from freebies that are placed in one place for all to take, where most people would take only one or two.

But there are people like that. I have seen people even complain that they couldn't take more. Therefore even if the characters are depicted as caricatures it doesn't faze me at all.

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Oh ok! I used to think that it was a bit stingy to collect all these items knowing that they would give me a new set of them the following day when they make up the room. But I had a new thought.

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I have grown to LOVE the confession. I used to find them a bit bizarre, probably because they’re not common in the culture I live in and seem almost too much, but I cannot help but respect the courage, honesty and vulnerability of someone being very clear about their feelings. For most of my life, I believed myself to be more of an acts of service sort, but as I get older, verbal communication is what floats my boat. Not empty promises or false compliments, mind, but articulating one’s thoughts and feelings in words, even when it’s hard is what makes someone very attractive in my books.

My only caveat is that I don’t like confessions towards people already in a relationship. I believe you should keep your feelings to yourself in those case (I know I might be in the minority on this, though). I also don’t like confessions with expectations - they should be given like true gifts with no obligation for reciprocation.🎁

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❤️ I really enjoyed reading your explanation, Dramadillo!

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I actually felt my heart flutter at this description…good work, @mellowarmadillo 🥰

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This is such a fun topic!!! Love it missvictrix!
I didn't even realize 'trope' was my thing until I saw K-dramas. Imagine my surprise when I realized I am one 'tropey' girl. Give me the tropes peoples! I loved them in my romance books, and I love them in my K-dramas :D
Trope #1 Angst filled hero : This remains my favorirte trope of all times. I love the journey of a hero who overcomes issues - family, trust, fear, trauma - bring them on. Enters our heroine, and fun begins! That right there is the story for me. I think this speaks to the power of human connection and healing.
Trope #2 Female leads dissing the high and mighty male leads: And he realizes he is being brought a peg down, but there is not much he can do haha! LOL! Turns out, that is the part of her charm that claims his heart right? That's one thing I have been liking about KTL.
Trope #3 Grab and pull kiss : I never though I would ever say this, but boy this is hot (as long as it's done between the people who love each other; stalkers not welcome. Sorry, that icky Hwarang kiss needs to be excluded from this list).
Trope #4 Friends to lovers: I should be hating this trope because it stereotypes male female relationship and places it in one narrow box. Yet, I have been loving this trope in K-dramas. That silent love from far, the respectful distance, the deliberate avoidance of physical touch, that look of anticipation followed by disappointment.....
Act of service: Especially when the ML wraps his jacket around FL shoulders, I swear you can see stars in my eyes.

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Yes to angsty MLs! We love them troubled boys, there's something deliciously Byronic in them...

I think it's even better when ML wraps HIMSELF around FL to keep her warm, but jackets work too, esp big leather/denim ones. Sadly I've never experienced this trope myself - from receiving end at least, my female friends often comment that I'd make a dream guy with my looks and chivalric tendencies lol - but I always wanted to, it's very high on my wishlist)))

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Hahaha! That draping is on another level. The back hug in Happiness....swooon.

I don't think I saw jacket draping before K-dramas and I was like, what? I missed this my whole life!! And I have a super caring and observant husband but don't think it ever occured to him to drape his jacket around me haha! To be fair I would be the first one to be wrapped up always anyway, still... It makes sense because scientifically women feel the chill more intesely than men. If this is a cultural norm and not just a K drama thing, then Korean men, you are doing good!

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Hmm, I don't think it's a cultural thing, maybe a generational one since back then etiquette was a little more traditional than nowadays? My grandparents got together this exact way, tho it was for sunburn-preventing purposes on a hot summer day instead of warming up classics. And I've seen other couples doing that without anyone finding the gesture strange, if a bit rare and worthy of vocal appreciation. It's just my terrible love luck... *sigh*

Apparently there is this whole textbook of little feminine tricks deliberately used to inspire such caring protectiveness in men that every other girl around me seems to know by heart since diaper age or so. And only I somehow missed the memo completely, thus attracting mostly... different kind of guys, not the gallant one. All the decent mannered men I personally know are either hopelessly taken or my close relatives. Usually both)))

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Lots of examples of the ML placing his jacket over the FL in old Hollywood movies as well as Kdramas.

Why is it that whenever someone finds someone has fallen asleep at a desk, they invariably cover them with a jacket or blanket? Much kinder to walk/carry them over to the bed or a sofa so they don’t wake up with an awful backache!

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@babylilo Yes, that I can recall, but mostly in very old movies and usually long coats. Or if the FL was sick, wet, her dress torn etc. But I don't recall seeing it as much n recent times.

The 'carrying to bed or sofa' part is also another awesome trope I adore! It's SOOOOO romatic, sigh! Though completely illiogical. Quite a few would need chiropractors on the sets if done regularly lol! No matter how much they work out, carrying a 50+ kg weight is not a joke, especially considering the retakes. Poor men. I can even see in their contract - do I have to carry weights bridal style?

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There's this famous LONG stairwell (~200 steps) that is a hot tourist spot where I live and common tradition calls for couples to climb it together with man carrying his woman bridal style all the way up from the very bottom... Yeah, no kidding. TONS of people do that, esp during prom season and as a part of wedding photoshoots. Mind you, girls here usually are not as tiny as k-actresses... The funniest thing is that some actually succeed while others last long enough to brag about it anyway, so it IS possible. I've seen many such heroics myself, tho never with a 100% win))) Poor men indeed, being macho strains your back^^

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@gikata Have you watched the Indian movie Chennai Express?

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