My Guilty Pleasure: Watching Korean Dramas

September 18, 2014
watching Korean Dramas

pink pangea foreign correspondentLet’s talk about drama, specifically Korean television dramas. My biggest guilty pleasure, I’m reluctant to admit, is wasting away hours watching Korean dramas. My boyfriend likes to tease me and says that only old women watch dramas, but I can’t help it.

It all started a year ago when I was living in Cambodia and a rerun of Boys Over Flowers was being shown in a guesthouse where I liked to have lunch at. I would like to say I was at least introduced to the world of Korean dramas with something a little more substantial, but alas that was not the case.

Now I’m watching dramas a little less often because the more series that I watch, the more I realize there are recurring themes in each show. There is usually a “Chaebol” (a ridiculously rich male lead from some royal family), and then there is the main female who is almost always from a lower income family, but is very smart, albeit a bit awkward. The male lead is a jerk to the female lead but she is stubborn and doesn’t let it get to her.

Eventually the guy becomes interested by her quirkiness and makes her his new pet project. He will try to refine her manners, give her a makeover, and basically make her more feminine and less outspoken. It was actually a little disappointing when I started realizing this common theme and so I began tapering off little by little.

My Guilty Pleasure: Watching Korean Dramas.

My love for Korean dramas has recently been renewed thanks to That’s Okay, That’s Love. In my opinion, the show is pretty unique among the other dramas in South Korea. First, many of the show’s characters are psychiatrists, including the leading lady, which means there is a lot of information being made aware in regards to mental illness, which is awesome. And they don’t glamorize these illnesses either, which is also refreshing.

And then there is the romance. The characters don’t try to change each other, and instead they appreciate one another for who they are. When the characters do change, it seems to be in a healthy way, as a part of life.

It’s also nice to see Korean television using material that is very innocent and only very coyly referring to sex. I’m not saying it’s good for everything to be sexual, but it seems that a lot of the material is becoming more mature. It’s like saying “hey, this is just a natural part of life that makes the characters seem more real.” A lot of the dramas from a few years ago always portrayed virginity in women as being ideal which seemed a bit outdated, but better late than never.

My interest in Korean dramas may have started off because of a few high school age targeted series, but I am beginning to discover different material and see how much South Korean TV has changed in such a short period of time. If you’re interested in Korean dramas, I can’t recommend That’s Okay, That’s Love enough. It’s smart, interesting, and refreshing.

Photo by Meghan King

About Meghan King

Meghan King is currently teaching English in South Korea.

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