WARNING: Long, long rant ahead, with minor spoilers for some dramas. If you want to watch those dramas, I would advise you to not read this post.
The dramas involved:
- Empress Ki (major spoilers for this)
- Secret Garden
- A Tale of Two Sisters
- You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin
- Jang Bo-ri is Here!
- What Happens to My Family?
- Tears of Heaven
- Pots of Gold
I promised emotionally charged pieces, and here’s my first one. I’m not sure whether it is lucky to start with a tirade. Hopefully it’s not an omen for future posts. I can’t handle such high blood pressure all the time.
I stay together with my grandma. During dinnertime, she always turns on the TV in the living room to watch her dramas. For these few years, a certain channel has been airing Korean dramas (Kdramas for short) during dinnertime and so, she has been watching them. I tend to watch them with her as I’m usually also out in the living room. HOWEVER, I CANNOT STAND THEM AFTER THE FIRST TWENTY EPISODES BUT I ALSO CANNOT STOP WATCHING BECAUSE I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THE END. The need to know is too much, so I have to continue (please tell me that I’m not the only one out there who’s like this). But why can’t I stand them? Well, I’m going to list all the reasons out here right now.
All the coincidences
Why do Kdramas need so many coincidences? I don’t understand that. “A Tale of Two Sisters” is currently showing, and boy, are there 8762r77889 coincidences.
Let me give you an example of a coincidence in this drama. Girl A is adopted. Girl B is adopted. Girl B was adopted by Girl A’s biological mother (let’s call her Mother A). Girl A and Girl B end up working in the same broadcasting company where Mother A is the director (see, a coincidence right there). During one of the episodes, Girl A accidentally drops her wallet (that contains a picture of her as a kid). Girl B picks it up and brings it home. When she gets home, she opens the wallet and sees the kid picture of Girl A. Girl B then realises that she has seen the kid in another photograph that’s on Mother A’s table.
THERE ARE SO MANY COINCIDENCES IN THIS. Firstly, same broadcasting company. Secondly, the kid picture. After that, there’s the fact that it so happened that Girl B picked up the wallet. Finally, the photograph on the desk. If you think about it, what are the chances that exactly these four things would happen? Ok, right now, it may seem like a minor thing, but when coincidences happen all the time throughout the drama, you start to have doubts.
Furthermore, it’s not only “A Tale of Two Sisters” that has this problem. The same thing happened in dramas 4, 5, 9 and 10. 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8 also had some coincidences, but they were significantly less. In “Pots of Gold”, Girl A and Boy A fell in love (Girl A was adopted but she did not know). However, Boy A happened to be married to Girl B (they were about to be divorced so let’s just ignore how Girl A and Boy A basically had an affair). Girl B, it turns out, is Girl A’s twin sister. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THE SCRIPTWRITERS THOUGHT THIS WHOLE MESS WAS A GOOD IDEA. It’s so painful to watch.
The adoption thing
Did you realise that I mentioned adoption in both of the above paragraphs? Yes, that’s another recurring theme in Kdramas.
In “Jang Bo-ri is Here!”, Girl A was adopted by Girl B’s mother when Girl A got lost and had amnesia. Because Girl B didn’t want to live as a poor girl, she said that she was an orphan, and got taken in by Girl A’s parents. When Girl A and Girl B grew up, Girl B gave birth to a child out of wedlock and abandoned the child at her biological mom’s house. Girl A was still staying there, so she decided to adopt the child (she didn’t know the child was Girl B’s). So much adoption is going on that it makes my head hurt.
This whole adoption thing occurs in dramas 1, 3, 4, 9 and 10. I’m not sure why so many people keep losing their kids/abandoning them. It would be ok if it was only in a few Kdramas, but when it’s in half the dramas I’ve watched, it gets to be a little too much. Maybe it’s just because I’m watching Kdramas meant more for the age group of 60 and above. I don’t know.
The love story
Generally, there are no love triangles in Kdramas. It’s a love decagon. THE LIST OF PEOPLE WHO ARE INVOLVED IN RELATIONSHIPS IN JUST ONE KDRAMA IS LONGER THAN THE LIST OF ALL THE ITEMS IN MY FRIDGE (I would like to say that my fridge can barely fit anymore extra items).
There was this once where I tried to tell my best friend about all the relationships in “Empress Ki”. I gave up and just decided that I would draw a relationship map for her BECAUSE THERE WERE LIKE SEVEN PEOPLE INVOLVED IN IT. And even then she didn’t understand it.
Besides having so many people involved in so many relationships, there are also either one or two other problems in the love storiessssssssss (many ‘s’s for the many people involved :D). One, you can predict from the start who’s going to get together with who during the course of the drama. Two, when you start to root for the couple, they don’t get together.
It is extremely easy to tell who’s going to get together with who in Kdramas. My sister and I almost always guess it right. Within the first few episodes, you can already tell who is going to like who afterwards. That’s usually just a minor problem for me. It only gets annoying when they are completely unsuitable for each other. I’m going to use “A Tale of Two Sisters” again because it’s currently showing and also currently pissing me off. Boy A is really practical and hardworking, but he isn’t wealthy. This rich girl falls in love with him (because of his looks). Mind you, I have nothing whatsoever against rich girls. I only have something against rich girls whose brains are made out of clouds and cotton candy and who go “I DON’T WANT TO LIVE WITHOUT HIM MY LIFE IS INCOMPLETE IF HE’S NOT IN IT I’M GOING TO STARVE MYSELF TO DEATH IF I DON’T SEE HIM BECAUSE THERE’S NO MEANING IN LIFE ANYWAY” TO HER PARENTS. Her parents painstakingly raised her over the past 20 years and this is what they get – a spoiled brat of a girl with a quarter of a brain (I wanted to say half, but that would be a compliment). Also, WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR LONG HISTORY OF FEMINISM? I’M SURE SHE CAN LIVE PERFECTLY WELL WITHOUT A MAN. Did all that feminism disappear into space? Urgh, my blood pressure is rising again. *breathe in, breathe out*
The whole “couples that I squeal about but don’t get together in the end” is a major problem though. Are you meaning to tell me that you made me emotionally invest so many feelings into that couple, only to announce in the end that they’re not getting together??? SCRIPTWRITERS WHO DO THAT TO THE VIEWERS SHOULD BE BURNED AT THE STAKE (I’m actually only half kidding). Why do they do that?! Do they get some perverse satisfaction in seeing us cry our eyes out??? I don’t think I cried in “Jumong” (maybe I teared but I can’t really remember), and I’m sure I welled up in “Sign”, but the scriptwriters in “Empress Ki” were just PLAIN CRUEL because I literally bawled my eyes out. Seung-nyang and Wang Yoo (Empress Ki) don’t get together in the end? Fine, I still hate it, but I was already prepared from the start. However, the scriptwriters must have been thinking, “OH NOOOOOO, THEY’RE STILL NOT SEPARATED ENOUGH BECAUSE HE’S STILL ALIVE. LET’S KILL WANG YOO.” SO THEY BASICALLY MADE WANG YOO’S LOVE RIVAL BATSHIT CRAY-CRAY ENOUGH TO KILL MY PRECIOUS WANG YOO. AND THAT’S NOT EVEN THE WORST PART. WANG YOO LITERALLY STOOD THERE AND BEGGED TO BE KILLED. JUST TO PROTECT THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE. I have literally no idea what the scriptwriters and producers were thinking. I was so upset I ended up moping in my room all the way until I decided to go sleep.
Terrible. Just. Terrible.
Most of the shows above have mothers that are just horrible. The mothers tend to be rich/powerful and always claim that they do things in “the best interests of their children” while spontaneously ruining at least a part of their children’s lives. Either that or they lose/abandon their children. What a great portrayal of mothers.
One of the worst and most irritating examples of a mother in a Kdrama would be the one in “Secret Garden”. I have refused to watch the last episode of “Secret Garden” for probably about 2 years now just because I don’t to see the guy’s mother’s face again. I know it’s just 1 more episode, and also that since it’s the last episode, she’ll become nice. But I just can’t bring myself to look at her again. Her face just reminds me of yelling, bitching, and throwing water at people’s faces (especially at her son’s love interest). I would not like to live through those scenes again, thank you very much.
Oh yes, I forgot about another type of mother – the one who protects her kid at all costs, no matter how horrible her kid may be. These mothers just condone their kid’s misdeeds, and at times they even help their kids cover up. I’ve seen this type of mother in “Jang Bo-ri is Here!” and “A Tale of Two Sisters”. They feel so apologetic towards their kids that they desperately try to make it up to them, even if it means taking all the blame or covering up for their children. Well, that’s totally gonna help in teaching them morals they apparently never had.
The evil witch and the doormat
In dramas 3, 4, 5, 9 and 10, there is one girl who’s basically plain evil until the end (the evil witch) and there is the other girl who’s pure and so good at heart that she lets the evil witch step all over her with her pointy little witchy stilettos until the last 30% of the story (the doormat). Seeing the doormat being stepped on for so much of the show is incredibly painful. Sometimes, the evil witch even goes so far as to clean dog poop on her shoes using the doormat, but the doormat still doesn’t retaliate (until the later part, of course).
Watching the shows, I often wonder if the doormat girl even has a spine. She has been talked down to, sabotaged, framed and physically hurt so much that by the time 40% of the show is over, I would have expected her to fight back. But nope, she does not. She just quietly sits there, taking so much dirt.
As annoying as doormat girl is, evil witch is worse. She doesn’t stop being jealous, irrational, and petty until like 90% of the show is done. If everyone knew that she was this scheming little goblin the show would still be alright. The part that angers me the most is that basically NO ONE KNOWS SHE’S EVIL. EVERYONE THINKS SHE’S SO INNOCENT AND ANGELIC BUT SHE’S NOT. If they only thought it for a while I guess it wouldn’t be so bad. But when they all think it for more than 50% of the show, then there’s something seriously wrong. Even if they find out about some of her misdeeds and get mad at her, they never stay mad for long because 1) they’re usually guys and 2) she pouts and cries and threatens to do drastic things if they don’t forgive her (I’m totally talking about “A Tale of Two Sisters” again). Tsk.
While we’re talking about doormats, there is quite a special case for the doormat in one of the dramas above – What Happens to My Family? This doormat isn’t a girl, it’s a guy. And he’s a father to one “evil witch” and two “evil wizards”. Except that they’re not really evil and scheming per se. They’re just really unfilial and really rude. I call the father a doormat as he just lets them get away with all that. If I ever become like them, my father will chase me to the ends of the earth with a cane in hand even if he has to get around in a wheelchair. That’s how bad they are.
Whew, finally, the end of my long, long, LONGGGGGG rant. I know that I’m making it sound like Kdramas are this whole horrible heart-attack-causing business, but really, that’s just from some of my experience. Honestly, Empress Ki, Secret Garden, Jumong, Sign and What Happens to My Family? aren’t terrible dramas. In fact, I really liked those dramas quite a lot. There were just certain bits that bothered me, and that’s okay because there is no such thing as a “perfect drama”. Other dramas I like include Master’s Sun and Emergency Couple, but I didn’t include them in my rant as I couldn’t remember anything that seriously got on my nerves.
Anyway, hope you were entertained throughout the whole post 🙂 Thank you for reading 🙂