Beanie level: Rooftop room dweller

Hello again friends!

We shared with you last week the first part of our representation special, which focused on race and identity. If you missed it, it’s here!

We’re excited to share with you the second part today, which delves into issues of sexism and bodies, as well as a concluding discussion on where we see dramaland heading, how to exist in the fandom, and our hopes for the future on both fronts.

Catch the episode below, and also be sure to take a look at our extended shownotes, which contain detailed timestamps, references, and follow-up thoughts that we didn’t cover in the recording. (I’m also putting the timestamps into the comments below, so you can take a quick look at what we cover in detail!)

As I’ve been saying a lot for the last few weeks, please share our work as widely as you can. Part of why we felt we really had to do this is because we didn’t hear anyone else having this conversation, and the silence was at times deafening. Doing something this rigorous has been a huge undertaking for us, and we’re really grateful for the support and feedback we’ve received from the community. Thank you!

Tell us what you think of the episode, and if there’s anything we missed! We always welcome your thoughts!

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    TIME STAMPS

    Part 1: Sexism
    00:03:00 The infantilization and/or sexualization of young female leads
    00:03:32 Kim Yoo-jung & Ji Chang-wook in Backstreet Rookie
    00:04:35 Kim So-hyun & Yoon Doo-joon in Radio Romance
    00:05:30 The ickiness of waiting for child actresses to “turn legal”
    00:09:47 Jung Eun-ji & the creepy second male lead in Reply 1997
    00:22:05 Park Shin-hye & Kim Rae-won in Doctors
    00:23:42 Drama representations vs. real-life relationships
    00:30:14 Kim Go-eun and Gong Yoo in Goblin
    00:37:20 But why are we often okay with noona romances with high school male leads?

    Part 2: Body Image
    00:43:20 Beauty standards and fat-shaming in Korean entertainment
    00:46:52 Kim Sun-ah in My Name is Kim Sam-soon
    00:51:00 Shin Min-ah in Oh My Venus
    00:54:45 Ha Jae-sook in Perfume
    00:57:55 My ID is Gangnam Beauty
    01:02:56 Eating disorders, Seo In-guk’s struggle
    01:05:11 Birth of a Beauty
    01:05:52 Lee Young-ja in Hello Counselor

    Part 3: Ableism
    01:11:00 Fox Bride Star/Where Stars Land
    01:19:50 The Secret Life of My Secretary
    01:22:50 The Beauty Inside
    01:24:35 Trauma and mental illness

    Concluding thoughts
    01:28:00 What makes a drama “too problematic to watch”?
    01:32:00 The importance of creating space in fandom for these conversations
    01:34:30 Who we valorize on TV, and how that affects society, and who’s responsible
    01:40:47 Context, change, and conclusions

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      I’ve been looking forward to this! Thank you.

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        Thank *you*! We’d love to hear your thoughts when you finish!

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      This is a very ambitious and very impressive undertaking! Thank you guys as always!

      Also, Saya, I’m so sad to hear that you’re done writing for DB! 🙁 From INAR to You Who Forgot Poetry to The Lies Within, your recaps have always been so memorable to me! I love that you often view shows in a slightly different light than I do, which makes it more interesting to read, and you explain your thoughts so well and in such a captivating way. The best recappers (and writers in general) make me think, “Huh, I never considered that”, and I just love reading different perspectives from fellow drama fans. I’m going to miss your writing so much! But I’m glad that Dramas Over Flowers is still going strong so I’ll still get to hear plenty of your voice (literally and figuratively, hehe)! I know you’re active on twitter but every time I try getting into the twitter game I just end up disliking it more, and I really don’t find the platform conducive to meaty discussion, so I’ll definitely be frequenting the DOF website more often! What can I say, I’m an old internet soul who still prefers long-format blogging and forums. And, of course, I hope to still see you around DB as an average Beanie like the rest of us!

      Speaking of former DB writers, are you guys still in touch with helcat? I loved when you had her as a guest on the podcast last year (that accent!) and I have fond memories of her Life on Mars recaps!

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        Oh god, that wall of text… I definitely need to learn paragraph spacing. Sorry!

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I posted this as a comment on the Backstreet Rookie finale thread and wanted to also cross-post here:

Before we close this chapter and forget about it, I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you all.

I appreciate that this ended as a heartwarming and memorable drama for some, but I want it also to be understood why the Dal-shik aspect of this drama was a real injury to our values, especially at this time. I wrote an essay about how these representations contribute to real-life harm here: Diversity in Dramaland: K-dramas and Racial Stereotypes. The Dramas Over Flowers podcast (which I co-host) also spent weeks researching and producing a special episode called Representation in Dramaland: Race and Identity. I ask anyone unfamiliar with this side of the conversation to please take some time to check these out.

I\’m not asking you to stop watching or loving this drama or any other, I just want us to be able to put our reflexive reactions aside and listen to how some things affect other people differently, and how we all have the right to ask for safety from harmful stereotyping. I would love us to be able to have an open and honest conversation about this within our fandom without the people who are harmed by this being driven away, especially here on Dramabeans.

That brings me to my last point. I appreciate the effort that missvictrix has put into pointing out that Dal-shik was racially problematic, but there is still little to discuss why that was so. Moreover, what I and many other readers really needed to see was Dramabeans as an institution taking a clear, anti-racist editorial stance. The Dramabeans community is international and multiracial, and the editorial silence on this topic sends a message that DB is either unaware of how it is harmful, or it doesn\’t care. The lack of a clearly defined position of anti-racism has made a section of the community feel unheard, and even at times, unwelcome.

I love K-dramas. I love Dramabeans. I have given Dramabeans my best work and poured into it countless hours in the last six years that I have been a writer here, and even more before that as a reader and regular commenter. Though my time as a writer has come to an end, I want to see DB continue to succeed, and I want DB to be a welcoming and inclusive space for every member of the fandom, especially its most marginalised. However, that\’s not something that can or will happen without intentional effort.

I think there are three things that would help immediately:

1) Community moderators. It\’s difficult for a single person to manage the job of moderating discussions. A moderator is someone who can actively step in to facilitate a discussion and, when needed, de-escalate and remind members to mind their manners, while still allowing the conversation to continue. They are also the first points of contact for anyone in the community who wants to raise a concern.

With a really active and dedicated commenting community, it would be great to recruit volunteers from that very same source. Beanies who love this space the most would make fantastic moderators. You can do a recruitment call just like you do for writers, appoint 3-5 people and give them access to the comments dashboard so they can do the job efficiently and as needed. They would answer to the editor, and hopefully that lessens the burden on staff and leaves them free to concentrate on their other work.

2) When a drama appears that has problematic elements, please don\’t leave it to become an elephant in the room! I\’d like to see issues addressed at an editorial level, if not with an article that discusses it, then at least by opening a dedicated space to facilitate that discussion. Dramabeans has done so in the past when javabeans and girlfriday tackled some difficult topics (i.e. the PSH rape scandal), but we\’ve yet to have a good editorial-level discussion on race portrayals and racism, ableism, transphobia, more complex forms of sexism, and other types of representation problems. We\’ve had missed opportunities in the past (see: Man Who Dies to Live) which show what happens when the editorial ball is dropped, and I don\’t think anyone wants to see a repeat of those experiences.

3) Open a dedicated channel for readers and staff to give feedback and suggestions. DB management would not be bound to take action on any matter, but it\’s a mechanism that can hopefully allow some community-driven problem-solving, and help lessen the burden on editorial staff.

I also want to make it clear that being critical doesn\’t mean we don\’t or can\’t love things. Part of showing that love is discussing its problems. And as an endeavour whose mission statement is to deconstruct K-dramas, nobody is better placed than Dramabeans to host that conversation.

Ultimately, taking actions like these will help make Dramabeans a better place for everyone, and I sincerely hope you\’ll take this feedback into consideration.

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Dear friends, if you ever want to find me when I\’m not on DB, come and make friends with me on twitter (handle: notnowsaya). I\’ll also generally be writing on http://www.dramasoverflowers.net, along with my podpals @laica and @festerfaster, and of course, still podcasting.

If that\’s too much human contact for you and you\’d rather commune over books, I\’m also on Goodreads, trying to find the perfect romance and/or YA high fantasy.

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hello hello,

we watched INDIAN MATCHMAKING

and we had a loooooot to say

check out our WEEKEND DRAMA REPORT: INDIAN MATCHMAKING EDITION.

Did you guys watch it? What did you think?

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    akshay is indeed a wet-wipe of a man.

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      is he even a man, or is he just a limp wet-wipe?

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        I wanted to scream when the girl he met (I’m sorry to her, I can’t remember her name!) asked him to tell her something about himself and he said, “You’re putting me on the spot, I don’t know what to say.”

        the SECOND-HAND EMBARRASSMENT… my dude, you really couldn’t think of a single thing to say about YOURSELF??? he needs some hobbies, not a wife.

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          he needs a personality, not a wife, and wow, now you’ve reminded me of that moment O____O

          seriously though, there were points when I wondered – seeing his mum – whether he was just a little bit broken from a lifetime of her control and unsubtle manipulation. Or whether that was exactly how he liked it and I was giving him too much credit. Either way, he’s an ultimate cautionary tale in how not to human.

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    Wait so Ashkay’s marriage didn’t work out?!

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      nope, apparently the theory is that it was all an elaborate fake!

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    Also, I really thought Pradhyuman was either gay or bisexual. Hmmmm…

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      You know, despite what seem like obvious signs, he doesn’t come off gay to me, just a rich dandy who puts too much stock in aesthetics – maybe my gaydar is broken though, so who knows!

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        I got subtle gay vibes, but I felt like he could go either way. Apparently he took to instagram to debunk that though… Either way, he just came across as kind of obnoxious, and clearly not in the right space to get married and inflict himself on some poor woman 💀

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          preach, my friend. I wanted to smack him and akshay both so bad, and I mean *Asian*-smack XD

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          Also, he was far too in love with himself to have emotion to spare for anyone else.

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Dear my beanies,

When we decided to take these topics on, we weren’t 100% sure exactly how we were going to tackle them, what we would end up talking about, or even at what personal cost it would come. We only knew that we had to call out the wrong that we saw, and we had to contextualise it so that even someone with no exposure to the race and identity conversation could understand where the distress came from, and how it has a real-life impact that can’t be underestimated.

In case you missed it, here is our opening essay on the topic: Diversity in Dramaland: K-dramas and Racial Stereotypes.

Here are detailed and extended shownotes for the podcast episode, which include all our references, links to further reading, and additional thoughts: Representation in Dramaland: Race and Identity

A lot of times, I feel like the friends who engage with my posts are the choir – you already feel how I feel. But what we hope even more is for this conversation to reach beyond us, to people who haven’t thought about it before, who perhaps haven’t been personally affected by it, or who’ve stood on the other side of the argument. We hear you, and we know it’s hard to accept flaws in things you love, but we want you to know that we love them too. We wouldn’t spend weeks and hours writing, planning, producing, recording, editing, and publicising something if it didn’t mean a great deal to us – and if this community didn’t mean a great deal to us.

Please listen. Share. Talk to each other about it. Talk to us. Please be willing to be a bit uncomfortable.

We’re here for good-faith conversations.

And finally and most importantly, we’re here to support our brothers and sisters in the fandom who want and need this discussion to happen. This is dedicated to you.

Love,
Saya, Anisa (@laica), and Paroma (@festerfaster)

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    Timestamps:

    Part 1: RACE REPRESENTATION
    00:01:32 Introduction
    00:05:45 Why does representation matter?
    00:12:14 Contemporary cultural context and the migrant demographic shift
    00:16:55 History of blackface
    00:28:05 History of blackface in Korea, and the history of American imperialism
    00:39:32 Marcia’s voice note: Man to Man, Father I’ll Take Care of You, Backstreet Rookie, and how we deal with bad rep as members of marginalised groups
    01:03:55 Indian representation: Strong Woman Do Bong-soon’s fake yogi; Park Hae-jin in Kkondae Intern; Axone as good rep of Indians from NE states
    01:17:53 How white people are represented in K-drama and English as a marker of social status (Dramas: Search WWW; CLOY; A moment At Eighteen)
    01:24:33 Itaewon Class and Chris Lyon

    Part 2: LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION
    01:30:34 Itaewon Class and trans rep with Lee Joo-young
    01:35:12 Graceful Family, Strong Woman Do Bong-soon, and trans villainy
    01:40:11 Personal Taste and “gayface”
    01:43:23 Accessing private spaces and gender-bending dramas
    01:46:12 Coffee Prince and the “gay for you” trope
    01:51:29 Secret Boutique
    01:54:28 My Unfamiliar Family
    01:57:28 Reply 1997
    01:59:08 Her Private Life and obligatory tragedy
    02:03:34 Where Your Eyes Linger
    02:04:42 Her Private Life, again. HELLO RYAN GOLD
    02:06:29 Conclusion

    Find us:
    Twitter: dramasoverflow
    Instagram: dramasoverflowers_podcast
    Email: dramasoverflowers [at] gmail [dot] com

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      I’ve already listened to and thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Being from the US, I’ve noticed dramas with clothing that has a confederate flag or other confederate symbols. It’s hard to know if the costumers understood the connections to racism those details contain.

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        That’s a really interesting observation! I think sometimes people are so used to seeing certain things that they sort of stop seeing them at all. And that I think is actually important, because that tells us what we need to do.

        Thank you (AS ALWAYS) for your support <3 <3

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This week, Paroma and I revisit some of our favourite romcoms from the 90s/00s. Come and get a nostalgia hit!

Weekend Drama Report: 10 Things I Hate About You and More

Also hit me up with your faves. Apparently I am still a heathen 😂

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Bonus Dramas Over Flowers updates:

– Recording tomorrow is anotherrr Spoiled Yak on MY UNFAMILIAR FAMILY with some special guests you may know: @cloggie and @chickachunga. So excited for this, but also so disappointed I haven’t watched the show yet so I can’t join!

– Somebody just got done editing a monster 3.5 hours of audio for our race and identity representation special. It’s a pretty good ep, if I do say so myself. Planning to release in the coming week so look forward to it!

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In case you didn’t catch it, join us for a Spoiled Yak on HOSPITAL PLAYLIST with @festerfaster and @laica!

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Writers are always told to write the book they want to read. I wrote an essay which I desperately wanted to see, every time a drama did something racially problematic. Not only did nobody write it, but even talking about it in some parts of the fandom has been hard.

I don\’t usually ask this, you guys, but I beg you, please read this and share share share. Share it everywhere and with everyone. Share it even across DB wherever the conversation comes up.

Diversity in Dramaland: K-dramas and Racial Stereotypes

Thank you.

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    @Saya This was a well written article.

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    Great piece!

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    Really well written, and it made me think. Thanks!

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    oh that wasn’t so bad – MWDTL was wayyyy worse! ^^

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    Thank you, Saya. You’ve written a very valuable essay 👏🏽 and I appreciate it.

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      thank you for reading! (and please keep spreading if you can)

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    Thanks for this, Saya. That was really good food for thought. There are lots of time when I just feel iffy watching a scene and you’ve pinpointed what it was about.

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    The prayer mat (though not this particular one) do sometimes look like a carpet but what really pissed me off was the description of the scene in K2 where the girl took off her hijab and kissed JCW after she was proposed to. Like, hijabis don’t get enough bad rep from Western media and now we have to deal w Asian ones as well.

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    Thanks for this. I enjoyed reading it and realised the many things I tend to overlook in the dramas. I have shared it on Tumblr.

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I can\’t believe I have to update the thing I\’m writing AGAIN to include Backstreet Rookie\’s latest aggression. Utterly speechless.

https://twitter.com/xaymaca_93/status/1279150605295144962

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For everyone who reads this: can I take a quick survey of your real life occupations? As specific or vague as you are comfortable with.

(Secret drama research reasons XD)

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New episode of What’s Up in Dramaland!!

We talk:
– Backstreet Rookie and what we found problematic about it
– We stan k-pop fans and their racist hashtag takeovers
– We look forward to all the new dramas coming up in July!

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    oh durp, also we talk about Hotel Del Luna getting an American remake!

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    I can’t wait. You’ll be my dinner prep companions again.

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      Yay! I hope you enjoy it and have a lovely meal too! <3

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Hello friends and Dramas Over Flowers listeners!

We want to do both a blog post and a podcast episode on what makes something problematic in a K-drama, and how that affects our experience of a show.

Send us your questions, issues you’d like us to highlight, and/or specific shows you’d like us to address. Reply/comment here, send us a DM on twitter (@dramasoverflow), email us at dramasoverflowers@gmail.com, or record and send a voice memo which we\’ll happily play on the episode. We’ll keep whatever level of anonymity you’d like.

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I watch ep1 of Backstreet Rookie. I lose mind.

Here: https://twitter.com/notnowsaya/status/1274056763118161927

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    Going to go watch Backstreet Boys instead

    …though perhaps that is not an improvement XD

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    I’m glad I uninstalled IQIYI instead of keeping it for this show. It shouts “problematic” everywhere.

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      Would you be able to explain? I’m not watching it or following this once currently, but it seems that the issue with this drama extends out to more more than just the age gap (which, is actually the same as the Lee Joon Gi/IU pairing from “Moon Lovers”— 12 years) 🤔🤔🤔 So my curiosity is piqued (about the issues of the drama, not about the drama itself)

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        People were iffy about the Lee Joon Gi/IU pairing initially, because of the age gap, but I know a handful of us came out of that one liking (some even loving) that pairing if not anything else about that drama

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        I think LJK and IU age gap was not that obvious in Scarlet Heart.

        I watched it for about 15 mins and there’s a scene where KYJ’s character (assuming she’s a minor because she’s wearing highschool uniform ) made a pass and kissed JCW. I don’t think that’s appropriate at all.

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Saya!

    Now I really won’t be wasting my time on this drama.

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    *sigh* It’s gonna be a while before I can watch Wookie in a (good) drama, isn’t it? 😔

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      Depends on how long his contract with his current agency is and if he’s planning on sticking around. He had to go get Healer for himself. His agency didn’t do shit

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I have three things for you guys~! *singsong*

One is your regular Weekend Drama Report, where:
– I\’m halfway through THE KING and actually loving it
– Paroma\’s finished and has a LOT of thoughts that I can\’t read yet, but you guys can!
– Meanwhile, Anisa drops ONCE AGAIN, and replaces it with an infinitely better UNFAMILIAR FAMILY.
– Also, I become a teenager again via my boy ALEX RIDER.

The second thing is: HOSPITAL PLAYLIST: A REVIEW by Paroma (@festerfaster)

And finally, though last, definitely not least, we are pleased to unveil…*drumroll*

THE DRAMA ACT-OFF: LEE MIN-HO vs. LEE MIN-HO. We send all the versions of him we know into battle, and only one can win! Who\’s your winning Minnow?

Tell us what you think of the new series, and if there\’s anyone else you want to see thrown into the ring!

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    I’m loving My Unfamiliar Family, too! Good taste, Anisa!

    (Oh, I forgot to send a message back, but yes, your patreon Mindy is me!)

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    Lee Jong-suk please….

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      Got you! I can’t promise when exactly, but the man is definitely an act-off VIP!

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We have a special edition of the Weekend Drama Report this week, and since Anisa (@laica) said it better, I\’m just going to quote her here:

This week, we devote the Weekend Drama Report to the only media we feel able to talk about right now. We never want our conversations about K-drama to exist in a vacuum or ignore the systemic injustices that exist in every space, including this fandom.

Here: https://dramasoverflowers.net/2020/06/08/weekend-drama-report-08-06-20/

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Here\’s our Find Yourself magnum opus!!

@missvictrix, @festerfaster and I got together again and scribbled our hearts out over this wonderful show and you should toooooo. Seriously, this kept getting deeper and deeper, and finally missvctrix just dragged me out of the hole with her \”go ahead if you want to\” which reverse-psyched me haha thanks for saving me from myself!

***
Find Yourself, Part 2: A Thesis on Themes
***

(and make sure you don\’t miss the slightly less spoilery and way less long Part 1: A Postmortem (feat. missvictrix))

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    LOL!

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      every time you said it, I was like, ‘okay this means I really need to stop’ XD

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    Omg just started watching this yesterday!!

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    I need to discuss this with someone. I’m on ep 20 and I’m getting really frustrated with Feixing’s doubt and people pleasing behavior! I totally understand where she is coming from, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating to see the web of mess she’s spooling around herself and how much she is hurting Yuan Song!! Gahhh!!

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      Fanxing**

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      Maybe it’s a cultural thing? I find Fanxing’s doubts and hesitations realistic given her circumstances and the society she was brought up in. The drama really keeps the social harshness to a minimum, but it would be pretty brutal for a single 32 yo in China. Fanxing would be keenly aware of how her parents always bear the brunt of unsolicited advice and comments from busybodies, and very anxious about not making the situation worse. Especially cause her parents are so nice about it. It’s a situation I personally understand really well. I’ve seen similar dynamics play out around me. So, maybe that’s why I had more patience with it. For an Asian/South Asian audience, this is very very realistic.

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    Well, crap—those hands just did me in too. And binge-able on Netflix? Sign me up!

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    I finished this last week and it was both delightful and frustrating. I identified with the heroine so much- her avoidance of conflicts and confrontations, her self-doubts and her strong friendships. Everything was me. As a viewer, I was frustrated with her actions and wanted her to just let go of all pressures and be selfish. But, I knew I would be doing the same thing if I was in her shoes. So, it was both cathartic and humbling for me to watch this show. When she finally faced the truth and just let it all out, I was cheering for her. I felt happy and relieved like it had happened to me. I don’t know if I could be that brave to face my demons. I really really hope I confront my lies and doubts some day soon. Otherwise, as she said, it’s like killing myself with the lies I am piling on myself and everyone else. It’s gonna be extremely hard for me as it was for Fanxing but I hope I pull through.

    So, as you can see, it has been a very personal watch for me and I have gained a bit of perspective and clarity after this show. Thank you incredibly for this reco @saya <3
    As Fanxing narrates, I hope time remains kind to all of us and lets us be little girls in our hearts forever!

    P.S.: Any other drama suggestions? How about Le Coup de Foudre?

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      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I get exactly what you mean about delight/frustration. I really feel everything you said, and you put it so well! Absolutely totally agree about how much it personally resonates, and how it gives you more clarity about yourself! I’m just nodding along to your whole comment and have nothing to add because it’s perfect.

      I haven’t watched Coup de Foudre, but I saw a couple of people recommending it. The one I heard mentioned most as a companion recommendation to this was Someday or One Day – I got halfway through ep1 but then got distracted, so if you watch it first, tell me how you find it!

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IT\’S HERE! @missvictrix and I nom like monsters over C-drama FIND YOURSELF. Come and read and share your thoughts! Also comment if you want missvictrix to come back!

**

Find Yourself: A Postmortem, Part 1 (feat. missvictrix)

**

This is the most fun I\’ve had writing since @laica and I worked the Pretty Noona fiasco. Writing together is so fun!

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    Okay, now I’m gonna watch this 🙂 Wonderful write-up 🙂

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      thank you for reading!! if you make it to the end, we’ve got a lovely huge spoiler-filled discussion coming up too!

      ps don’t watch it in a less than a week like me XD

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    When did she leave? Is she leaving? Don’t gooo @missvictrix

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      Aw, don’t worry, I’m not leaving DB until they *make* me haha and I hope that’s never. This was just a little side adventure 😉

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        Oh ok.. phewww 😄

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          LOL but now I am like, hey you don’t care if *I* leave then? XD

          which is fair, considering that I haven’t done a lot here for a while, sob.

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            NOOOO!!! i don’t want any staff to leave DB! i only asked cos i prolly misunderstood your post. Don’t go anywhere ok?

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Doing something super-secret (for now) and SUPER FUN with @missvictrix. Watch this space!

Also helps if you watch C-drama FIND YOURSELF and have an appreciation for BEAUTIFUL HANDS

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Has anyone heard from @natzillagorilla recently? Is she okay?

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    I haven’t heard from her in over a year but from what I gather her computer got some sort of virus and she was advised to only go on secure websites. And, well, Dramabeans isn’t secure, so… 🙁

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    Mindy’s right; the whole thing caused her to stop frequenting several websites she used to visit! But she’s doing just fine. I know she had a doctor’s appointment recently and got some great results about her health!!

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