The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Dear kfangurl: What are some OTPs that didn’t work for you?

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So many of you asked for this after my last post on some of my favorite OTPs, so here goes – my attempt to answer the question:

Dear kfangurl,

What are some of your worst OTPs?

..Which I paraphrase to mean, OTPs that didn’t work for me / are not my favorite / are kinda blah. Coz worst is a strong word, heh.

Shout-out to Beez, for being the first to ask for this list!

Note: I fully expect that some of the OTPs that didn’t work for me, might be your actual favorite OTPs, and that’s perfectly fine, since this is all subjective anyway. But if you’d prefer to look away now, I won’t be offended, I promise. πŸ˜‰

This is.. possibly going to get ugly, isn’t it?Β πŸ˜…

Dear Beez and all of you who either seconded her request, or voted YES on my Twitter poll,

I’m both amused and slightly terrified, writing this post, heh. Like I said above, chemistry is such a subjective thing. For every person that doesn’t feel a particular OTP due to the lack of (perceived) chemistry, there’ll be someone else who loves them to pieces because of their (perceived) amazing chemistry.

So I thought I ought to make it doubly clear, that this is a completely subjective list of OTPs that I personally didn’t enjoy. If you enjoyed and loved them, please don’t be offended or hurt. I always try to love an OTP, so if your OTP appears on this list, it simply means that I tried.. and I failed. At least I tried? But, since you succeeded where I failed, then please love ’em extra for me, ok? πŸ™‚

WHAT MAKES AN OTP BLAH FOR ME

Yes, all these judgey faces / expressions, and then some! πŸ˜†

In my head, there are 3 broad reasons why an OTP might be underwhelming, for me.

1. Poor perceived chemistry

Some OTPs make the air crackle between them just by being in the same orbit as each other. At the other extreme, some OTPs seem to have negative chemistry, where everything just seems extra awkward and hard to watch, when the supposed OTP is in the same frame. Of course, there’s also the in between, where the OTP chemistry isn’t negative, necessarily, but is just.. blah. They could be interacting with a door knob, and it wouldn’t feel all that different.

Sometimes it has to do with the actors’ acting abilities, but sometimes, the actors might be perfectly capable, and yet.. the chemistry just doesn’t happen. Very mysterious.

2. The OTP relationship is disturbingly or awkwardly written

Some OTP relationship are really unhealthy, if you stop to think about it. In fact, the worst ones don’t even require you to stop to think about it. The unhealthy dynamic smacks you in the face, and worse, Show serves up all the unhealthy stuff with tinkly cutesy music or grand romantic ballads, to inform you that you’re supposed to be getting all the romantic feels from what you’re watching on your screen.

On the other hand, sometimes a loveline is just a lazily strung together catalogue of romance tropes, and is stilted, awkward, and all of the things that are the opposite of natural or believable. Those don’t work for me, either.

3. The OTP connection feels forced

Not every story needs a romance, but many writers in Dramaland haven’t gotten the memo yet. Almost every kdrama seems to have at least a token romance in it, if only to satisfy the romantics among us. This can result in OTP connections that feel shoehorned in just for the sake of it. Far from satisfying to watch, in my opinion.

Sometimes, this is because the actors don’t look comfortable together, so all the scenes where they’re thrown together in closed proximity don’t work, coz one or both of them look/s like they’d dearly love to be anywhere else but there. That feels forced, too.

HERE’S MY LIST

In no particular order, here’s my list of OTPs that I personally didn’t enjoy much at all, along with the broad reasons for why they didn’t work for me. I feel more strongly about some OTPs than others, of course, but here’s everything in one jumbled up list (may it breed vagueness in terms of which ones I dislike the most!).

You guys asked, so here you go: OTPs – the meh, the sincerely bad, and the ones that made me want to throw things.

Warning: Unpopular opinions ahead!

Heirs

Chemistry: negative

OTP connection: disturbing

Other notable points: He’s controlling and threatens her as a way of showing his affection. And he treats her like an object, telling his rival, “You take her,” when the going gets too hard for him to take. Plus, the way he grinds his lips on hers is disturbing and difficult to watch. Look, she’s literally wincing.

Review is here.

Descendants of the Sun

Chemistry: meh

OTP Connection: not disturbing per se, but very clunkily written

Other notable points:Β I didn’t find this OTP connection believable; everything feels like set dressing for connect-the-dots developments that lead to supposedly squee-worthy OTP interactions. Said interactions are supposed to be cute &/or swoony, but I just couldn’t feel the cute or the swoon. It all felt staged and hollow to my eyes, despite our leads’ real life relationship. Real life chemistry doesn’t always translate into onscreen chemistry. Go figure.

Review is here.

Boyfriend [Encounter]

Chemistry: meh

OTP Connection: felt forced

Other notable points: I couldn’t feel the supposed chemistry between the OTP, and all the cutesy romantic stuff was hard to swallow because it all felt quite staged and hollow to my eyes. The bickering and the sweet love confessions all felt overly scripted to my ears, so I cringed instead of swooned, through all the episodes I watched. The straight-up mishmash of rom-com surreality and hard-nosed corporate reality came across as uncomfortable and awkward to me as well.

Dropped post is here.

The K2

Chemistry: negative

OTP Connection: unnatural, felt forced

Other notable points: His affection for her seems legitimately out of nowhere, and all that ramyun dancing, with him looking so thrilled at her being thrilled about ramyun, is really stilted to my eyes, and awkward to watch. All that supposed deep care and love felt hollow and forced, too. I cringed. A lot.

Dropped post is here.

Something in the Rain

Chemistry: very good, actually

OTP Connection: unhealthy and aggravating

Other notable points: What’s the point of having strong OTP chemistry and oodles of initial cute, if all you’re going to do later, is trash it all with persistently unhealthy OTP dynamics, where the OTP keeps lying to each other and playing blame games? And there’s so little character growth over the course of 16 episodes that nothing really changes between this OTP, and I personally found it all quite pointless.

Review is here.

Itaewon Class

Chemistry: middling

OTP Connection:Β felt forced

Other notable points: The romance gets suddenly amped up in Show’s last stretch, and it just feels very in-yo-face and aggressive, with the OTP going from sub-zero stop-crushing-on-me-please-please-PLEASE to you-are-my-LIFE-I-love-you-love-you-LOVE-YOUUU in not much screen time at all. I tried to get on board with this loveline, I really did. But I found this whiplashy and very perplexing to watch, to be honest.

Edit: Review is here.

Memories of the Alhambra

Chemistry: negative

OTP Connection: felt very forced & shoehorned in

Other notable points:Β This story never needed a romance, but Show insisted on featuring a romance, just for good measure, and as a result, our female lead is relegated to being the (always, never out of tears) crying (and crying.. and crying some more) damsel in distress, while our male lead presses forth with his adventure quest. One of the most unsatisfying lovelines I’ve ever come across. Show would’ve been MUCH better off without it.

Flash Review is here.

Uncontrollably Fond

Chemistry: negative

OTP Connection: feels forced

Other notable points:Β I found everything about our female lead forced instead of cute and endearing, and that feeling extended to the romance as well. This loveline didn’t feel natural, organic or believable to my eyes, no matter how hard Show tried to sell it. And Show tried hard, to sell it. Probably a good lesson on why it doesn’t pay to try to sell a pairing too hard?

Dropped post is here.

Well Intended Love [China]

Chemistry: middling. Sometimes it’s ok, sometimes she looks distinctly uncomfortable being near him.

OTP Connection: ultra disturbing

Other notable points: The OTP connection feels forced, probably because the writing itself is quite stilted and connect-the-dots. The worst offender though, is how he’s basically stalking her and being a fraud, and therefore toying with her mental health, all in the name of wooing her. So, SO wrong, on so many levels. Plus, even taking the stalking-frauding thing out of the picture, he’s very controlling, also in the name of love. She’s occasionally literally held hostage, too – you guessed it – also in the name of love. It’s no wonder she looks so uncomfortable so much of the time.

Flash Review is here.

Hotel Del Luna

Chemistry: meh

OTP Connection: felt forced

Other notable points:Β For a story about an undead woman who’s thousands of years old, where the OTP connection is supposed to span much more than a single lifetime, this OTP connection falls really flat. There is so little emotion expressed here, and he often looks like he’s just reciting his lines as instructed, rather than feeling feelings and saying words to try to express those feelings. Very weirdly flat and underwhelming, I thought.

Review is here.

Hyde, Jekyll, Me

Chemistry: negative

OTP Connection:Β unnatural and forced

Other notable points: I don’t know why, but whatever chemistry Hyun Bin and Han Ji Min shared in The Fatal Encounter is completely gone, in this show. The OTP connection felt awkward and staged, like these two were just going through their lines during a rehearsal, with no real emotions involved. Very blah, whether she was interacting with the human him, or the alternate him.

Dropped post is here.

Love and Destiny [China]

Chemistry: very good, actually

OTP Connection:Β disturbing

Other notable points: There’s a strong power imbalance built into this OTP connection that never quite evens out, through to the end of the show. She literally trusts him with her life, even when it’s unreasonable to do so, and when she draws boundaries and asks him to leave, he refuses, and lies, and doesn’t respect her wishes, all in the name of love. And Show presents that as romantic, rather than problematic. A great pity that the OTP’s written to be so twisted, when they share a lovely chemistry. Oh well.

Dropped post is here.

Extraordinary You

Chemistry: meh

OTP Connection: felt forced

Other notable points: Lots of folks found this OTP cute and melty, but I didn’t feel it at all, to be honest. To make things even more difficult, this love connection is supposed to be so deep and strong that it transcends universes, lifetimes and timelines. I couldn’t sense enough OTP intensity for even one lifetime or timeline, however, so this was a fail, for me.

Dropped post is here.

My Absolute Boyfriend

Chemistry: negative

OTP Connection: felt forced

Other notable points: This was very unnatural and weird. I couldn’t detect any chemistry between our leads, no matter how hard Show tried. She could have been written to be having quasi-romantic moments with her vacuum cleaner, and it would’ve felt much the same, I think.

Dropped post is here.

Moorim School

Chemistry: meh

OTP Connection: felt forced

Other notable points: This romance felt shoehorned in and quite random, and the sudden ramping up of the loveline felt awkward to watch. All the cute felt so staged, like, they have to like each other now, because it’s time; the script says so. This loveline was pretty awkward to watch, also because Lee Hyun Woo looked uncomfortable in his romantic leading man skin. And I was uncomfortable coz he was uncomfortable, and.. you get the idea.

Dropped post here.

My Husband Oh Jak Doo

Chemistry: negative

OTP Connection: feels forced

Other notable points: I couldn’t see any chemistry between this OTP, and the extreme innocence and naivetΓ© of this OTP relationship felt very Disney-esque and unnatural. Plus, she often looks awkward and uncomfortable around him, even when things are supposed to be lovey-dovey between the two. I don’t think Show meant for me to wince on her behalf, but I couldn’t help it; she looked so uncomfortable.

Flash Review is here.

Scholar Who Walks The Night

Chemistry: negative

OTP Connection: feels forced

Other notable points: Throughout this show, I felt like the romance was being shoehorned in there, just for the sake of it. Every time a supposed romantic moment happened, jangly romantic music played to clue me in, but I never felt it. Ever. The romance always vied for attention, against the endless search for the mysterious journal, and it often felt like I was watching 2 different shows at once. Show should’ve cut out the romance, and focused on Lee Jun Ki’s good vampire facing off with Lee Soo Hyuk’s evil one. That would’ve created more dramatic tension than the very uninspired romance, I’m quite sure.

Flash Review is here.

Where The Lost Ones Go [China]

Chemistry: negative

OTP Connection: unhealthy

Other notable points: I really, really did not enjoy Show’s idea of romance. He’s constantly invading her space, but Show presents that as him being suave and charming, and all the forced skinship is presented as romantic. She keeps running away from him, until she suddenly doesn’t, and they start dating. Very jarring and weird, I thought. And then, he disappears, and she angsts for years, searching for him, and when she thinks she sees him in the shadows, she screams into the night, at him, that she’ll make him fulfill his promise. How very dysfunctional, and yet, lots of folks lapped this up like candy. I don’t get it.

Flash Review is here.

Warrior Baek Dong Soo

Chemistry: negative. So negative.

OTP Connection: very forced

Other notable points: It seems that Show just wanted a love triangle in this story, no matter what, even if our female lead’s acting capabilities were only a hair’s breadth better than an actual piece of wood. I’m sorry, that sounds harsh, but I kid you not; it’s true. Our 2 male leads fight for her affections, and often look at her with intense, meaningful gazes, but it all falls very, very flat. Show would’ve done better just focusing on the bromance, since that’s all that we remember, anyway.

Review is here.

Boys Over Flowers

Chemistry: meh

OTP Connection: unhealthy

Other notable points: He’s brash and controlling, and even allows her to be almost raped (wait, or did he actually order for her to be raped..?), and yet, this OTP is supposed to be squee-worthy and romantic? Um, no thanks. I know I’m in the minority, but even when this show was all the rage and everyone was lapping this up – including me! – I never did feel Gu Jun Pyo’s charms, nor the appeal of this OTP.

Secret Garden

Chemistry:Β pretty good

OTP Connection:Β unhealthy

Other notable points: I admit that I loved this show when it first aired, but more recently, I find that I can’t even get past episode 1. I find our male lead character too much of an unpleasant, entitled jerk, and all the so-called thrilling close encounters just don’t land the same way for me anymore. The Hyun Bin Handsome used to be enough to blind me to everything else, but not anymore, I guess.

IN CLOSING

This list isn’t comprehensive, of course. I might’ve blocked some blah OTPs from my memory, ha. And, I might (probably will) encounter even more blah OTPs as I go, as well. But at least now you know a good number of the OTPs that haven’t worked for me, so far?

Do feel free to chime in, in the comments, with other OTPs that just didn’t work for you. Sharing is caring, and if my drama taste is like yours, you might be saving me some 16+ hours of my life! πŸ˜‰

I hope this list has satisfied your curiosity, and that you guys aren’t too mad at me. πŸ˜›

Love! ❀

~kfangurl

My secret’s safe with you.. yes?

POST-SCRIPT:

1. If you feel that I missed anything, or if you have your own insights that you’d like to share with the rest of us, do tell us about it in the comments!

2. Do you have a question of your own? Drop me a comment here or on theΒ Dear kfangurlΒ page, or send me an email!

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

283 thoughts on “Dear kfangurl: What are some OTPs that didn’t work for you?

  1. Park Seo Joon is my Ultimate Favorite, but i really couldn’t stand the OTP in She Was Pretty. I found their chemistry middling to meh, largely because she didn’t seem that much into her, or at least i did not feel it come across the screen. Their connection, and the turnaround from him being so mean to her to eventually falling for her even before her makeover and great reveal, felt a bit forced to me. Maybe i couldn’t see the logic behind such a transformed perception and feelings on his part? Was it because she reminded him of his long lost first love? Was it because they had shared interests? One can have shared interests with someone without necessarily falling head over heels for that person all of a sudden.
    Finally, it felt and seemed to me that she was not so much into him romantically. Her words did not translate to the romantic vibe she was supposed to show off. I felt like she was still in the platonic zone, that she lacked real DESIRE for him (nothing wrong with remaining in the platonic zone, except that it won’t serve the script), and that at times she was even subconsciously disinterested in him or maybe more interested in her female best friend. For instance, she came across as more excited to see Ha-ri than PSJ who was abroad for months.

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    • I think we were supposed to believe that PSJ’s feelings for her were kept by him ever since childhood and he transferred those feelings to whomever said they were her. So when she was revealed to be herself, poof! That’s who he lived. But I agree with you 100% that their chemistry didn’t spark. It’s a shame really because the whole reason the two of them were cast to be the OTP is they had really good chemistry (even though they were playing sister) in Kill Me Heal Me earlier in that same year.

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    • I felt exactly the same. I even fast forwarded most of it! I always like PSJ’s dramas but not this one and although I enjoyed Itaewon Class the OTP seemed very very forced to me.

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  3. I never hated an OTP the way I hated Something in the Rain. I guess it’s because of the way they OTP took us so high on the romance. One of the worst female lead characters. I want my swoons refunded tbh lmao

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahahah!!! Wanting your swoons refunded! I LOVE IT! πŸ˜†πŸ˜† YES. I want my swoons refunded too!

      Like

    • I was thinking of watching it…after seeing bits of it….But then after checking this blog and the way it was shredded to pieces….I decided to skip it….thank you…”swoons refunded”….hilarious…Oh good lord…what have we come to…Enjoy..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, it’s a really great OTP up until the writers destroyed it. Once that happens, one can more easily go back and see that the flaws were there all along. Including that it wasn’t just the female lead who was at fault.

        But I don’t regret watching, because somehow that OTP stuck with me even after the house burned down.

        What I’d recommend is that you watch the first 12 episodes, then allow yourself to be spoiled on how it goes sideways after that. At that point you can either skip the rest or watch it with far less anger/frustration than the rest of us felt.

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    • I totally agree! It started so well, but was a disaster in the end.

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  4. Someone just sent me this:

    It’s Ji Chang wook and Yoona having more chemistry in 3 minutes than they had throughout the entire K2 series run.
    Most of this is BTS. It’s almost as if every time the director said “action” the chemistry fled the scene.
    This makes me wonder is it really the writer or director’s fault when there’s no chemistry with actors whom we’ve seen have chemistry plenty of times with many other actors before but then they get a show that nothing comes across.
    In any event, I’m sure the dancing noodles scene must’ve lasted 3 nauseating minutes and we could replace that with any one of this tiny few seconds scenes and the romance would’ve come out much, much better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Beez!

      A successful collaboration between directors and actors requires a lot of trust. Typically the actor comes prepared with their own take on the character and scene. If everything has gone well in pre-production, everyone should be on the same page in terms of where things are heading and what the dynamics are. However, unlike theater, there is very little rehearsal time (maybe even less than I’m accustomed to in the US), which means if there is any disconnect, it has to be worked out quickly on the day. Ultimately, the director has the overall vision and should have a firm grasp on the arc and the beats that need to be hit in a scene. While the actor’s interpretations and input are essential to a good performance, they ultimately defer to the director–for good or ill. They may be given direction that deviates drastically from what they had become comfortable with, and they have to trust that the director isn’t going to have them do something foolish or counterproductive. They can’t see all the elements (sometimes there are rewrites and they only know the extent of the scene they’re working on that day) and just have to believe that everything will make sense in the end.

      If that trust isn’t there, the result will be a conflicted and compromised performance that barely satisfies both sides. Tension from a bad actor/director relationship can make the actors uncomfortable on set, which will of course screw with their performance. If the trust is there, but the director’s vision is skewed, he or she could very well take a great initial interpretation by the actor and either muddy or destroy it.

      The actors could be throwing sparks with their first take, but the director either gives an objectively bad note, steers them away from key elements that made their connection work, or says or does something that ruins the trust or comfort level. There’s also ego of course, and that cuts both ways. Maybe the actors are off their game because their feathers got ruffled when the director dared to tell them play the scene a little more comically. Or the director lost confidence when an actor defied direction.

      The script further complicates things, as you can imagine. It can be hard to filter out the music, performances, and emotion and focus on what the nuts and bolts of the scene are. It’s pretty much impossible for me to judge the writing in k-dramas–at least on a micro scale, because I don’t have a good fix on the language and translation. Many times the words themselves seem clunky to me, and would sound cheesy or too blunt if delivered in english. But the sound of the language somehow just makes the words…work. Dunno. Can’t explain it. Which is why I can’t really critique it.

      But dialogue and the content of individual scenes goes a long way in how we perceive the director’s or writer’s efficacy. We don’t often hold actors responsible for the overarching plot, but we do single them out when it comes down to the big moments and lines. They can only work with what they have. They have blocking and lines and character direction on top of that. If they’re really good, they may be able to make a mediocre writer or director look adequate, but usually they alone can’t compensate for a crappy foundation.

      So even if the directors and actors are good but the script is weak and can’t be tweaked, they can only salvage the project. Usually though, if the actors have chemistry in one project, if it doesn’t show up in another, I’d say the director either took them out of their element or went against the grain. In theory, casting should bring actors onto a project that most naturally fit into the roles. If that is done well, the director merely needs to tweak. But if an actor got the role for any other reason (it’s a publicity vehicle, they knew the right person, they just happen to be the flavor of month, etc..,) the director is gonna have his hands full.

      Basically, you are right, Beez. Many times what looks like bad acting or a lack of chemistry is no fault of the actors, but rather the byproduct of a misguided or overly ambitious script or director. But actors can also fudge up their chemistry. Easily, in fact. Ideally everyone is professional, but real relational dalliances, overstepping, unwanted advances, or even genuine intimacy can torpedo a sizzling connection.

      It’s a very tricky thing, playing make-believe for money, and it isn’t hard to throw off the balance needed to keep the ship upright for the whole voyage.

      And of course a disclaimer that makes this whole post almost worthless: this is the perspective of someone who has worked (in a very limited capacity and on nothing of great scale) on sets in the US. The dynamics of actors, directors, and writers could be waaaaay different in another country. (KaPow! Revelation!!!) This was just my 24 won, for what it’s worth. (Which is technically about two cents…) πŸ™‚

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thanks for a great break-down of the nuts and bolts of how things work on set, Jesse! πŸ™‚ To my understanding, the same dynamics apply in kdramas, and I love how you’ve laid it out in such an easy-to-understand way! This is great. I love it. And I echo what Beez said recently: you’re very eloquent and expressive – I love reading you. πŸ™‚

        On a slightly different note, I’ve sent you an email, so please have a look in your inbox! πŸ˜€

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      • Great comments, Jesse Gray.

        I do wonder what’s it’s like for Korean actor/actresses who appear in a succession of romance dramas. It must be a unique experience, no?

        An American movie actor might need to fake being head-over-heels in love for part of a movie and maybe for portions of a succession of movies. But rarely for most of the film or thus not for that many months out of the year. And a TV actor might need to fake it for part of a single season of a show, but if the show succeeds they’d stick with that role for many years — and that early intense phase of the romance would evolve into something more comfortable.

        Also, American actors and actresses don’t have to stay single or hide the fact that they date IRL.

        So imagine the experience of single actors like Son Ye-jin or Hyun Bin filming one 16-hour show after another, with such intense portrayals of two people falling deeply in love.

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        • Hyun bin is that rare actor who has never hidden his dating life and everybody seems to be okay with it. I think it’s because actors who date publicly straightaway at the beginnings of their career release the fantasy right away as opposed to fans who (somewhere in the back of their minds) truly think they’ll meet Oppa one day and he’ll sweep them off their feet. Now this is just me speculating of why some actors can while others can’t.

          The reason for my supposition is the lives of actors like Hyun bin, Jang Hyuk, and even every Kfangirl’s dream Lee Min ho (whose following is like that of The Beetles [or insert Elvis or your appropriate age group boy band]).

          The one thing that I see they have in common is they never went along with the facade of not being human and dated publicly right off the bat.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Plus, as discussed on that Dear Fan Girl thread on the topic of unhealthful fan worship, actors have it less bad than K-pop idols and at some point everyone ages out on the requirement not to openly date.

            But honestly, would the experience I described be even weirder if you were dating someone you cared about or were married?

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            • Definitely weird. I don’t follow kpop at all but the Kdrama news sometimes includes kpop news and I’ve heard of a few Kpop idols who have been secretly married for years being found out. The fans are clamoring that the agencies should kick them out of their respective groups.

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            • @merij1 See my answer above this comment about Hyun bin dating publicly. He’s announced his relationships with many actresses in the past, the latest being Kang So ra. The most famous being he and gorgeous original Hallyu star Song Hye kyo (female lead in Descendants of the Sun).

              Liked by 1 person

              • I bow to your superior information! What about Son Ye-jin or Han Ji-min?

                Liked by 1 person

                • @merij1 *cough* *ahem* Well seeing as they don’t have chocolate abs, my knowledge of the actresses is limited. πŸ˜‰

                  “chocolate abs” is a Kdrama thing. I literally wait for the guys to go into the military so we can get the classic Kdrama shower scene trope.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Ha. I can’t remember if you’ve mentioned your own status. Married or comparably serious pairing with someone? Or are you happily single?

                    Even though my gal doesn’t frequent blogs like this, I have to be careful about expressing my “admiration” for certain actresses. But yes, I’m your reciprocal on which actor/actresses I would notice that about.

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                    • Happily divorced! Although it’s been so long now that I really just think of myself as single. I’m 60 now and so there’s a lot more freedom to be a lit.tle. bit nasty. Just a l’il bit… and just not care what people think. It’s wonderful!πŸ˜†

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                  • Btw. It goes almost without saying, but at our age I figure I no longer need to be assured that I don’t “have to” answer personal questions unless I choose to. Because of course I don’t!

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                • I will say if the magic number for actors getting married is somewhere between 45-49, for actresses it seems to be the magic 39. But can be anywhere from 35-39 cause who wants to turn 40 and never been married? (Hey! That’s not my personal opinion). It’s my understanding that in real life, in Japan and South Korea, when a girl hits 29 and is unmarried the family tends to nag as if she’s “on the shelf”.

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                  • That’s so old for the guys! The women need to balance career with the harsh realities of declining fertility.

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                    • @merij1 When I first started watching Kdrama – it seemed as if actor Kwon Sang-Woo was everywhere. And starring in everything. He got married and his career went poof! But I think part of the reason is his wife is an actress who was S. Korea’s darling (equivalent to America’s Sweetheart). Since Koreans still value marriage, continuing to lust after him would be disrespectful to her. Of course, these are just my thoughts from observing (his career and others). It’s not like anyone as out and out said this is the reason why his career tanked.

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          • Nice comment….I actually think this phenomenon of hiding things and acting “holier than thou” is very Asian.
            Honestly in Indian entertainment space, its equally bad and they appear as hypocrites when they do that.
            I can’t comment on Korean industry but I have read news articles on actors/idols dying because of the pressure.

            I personally think that an actor’s performance is enhanced and the portrayal on camera appears more honest when they don’t hide things…and an actor will be able to do that only when he/she is secure of her craft and body and the success/failure that follows…you need all the “extras” only when you are an insecure person by nature…neways social media is making it only worse for them…

            I really felt this with Hyun Bin….maybe he has one less thing to worry about and instead can concentrate on his performances….And I think he is easily one of the best right up there with DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Hugh Jackman, Benedict, Robert Downey, Richard Gere (the ones I like in HW and are very open minded people);

            Liked by 2 people

        • Very interesting observation…..waiting for somebody to throw light on this….

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        • Thanks, @merij1!

          You’re right–I think these dramas present a very unique experience for the Korean actors. As you pointed out, duration is a factor, but so is the level of romance. In American films and TV, many times intimacy is cheaply bought with make-out sessions and sex scenes. Those require a certain level of vulnerability, finesse and skill, but not emotional resonance; they’re more like action sequences than romantic interactions. Dramas include those, but they’re usually manifestations of what the characters have been expressing with their words and actions to that point. Those physical incarnations of intimacy have been earned, which means the actors have gone on the journey with their characters to arrive at that point. It’s a much more organic and lengthy process, requiring sustained connection and a myriad of emotional exposure on set.

          Also, the composition of American shows is very different than many of these dramas. Their runs may be longer, but the focus is on something other than romance. Many of them are comedies or procedurals where there is a romantic couple, but their relational progression is usually the B or even C story. I can’t think of any long-running (or short running) US shows that give romance center stage and build the plot around it. So even if you cobble together the bits and pieces of romance sprinkled in a 9-season US show, it probably wouldn’t even come to half of a 16-episode drama. You allude to this in your comment as well with regards to just having to share intimate moments sporadically. Because US shows spread out the romance so much, the progress is incremental and doesn’t need a whole lot of commitment on the actor’s part to pull off.

          Sit-coms have their characters dip in and out of relationships more frequently, but they are of course played for laughs and involved many other partners. The closest I can think of to an OTP is probably the classic Ross and Rachel connection from Friends, but they spend 95% of the show with other partners. That’s a big “Ppppppbbbbttt” as far as I’m concerned. πŸ˜‰

          Dramatic films may involve many more romantic and deep moments, but as you said, they are quick bursts. The amount of time the actors spend on a project is usually 2-3 months, and when you add up their actual screen-time together, it’s not even half the film’s duration. RomComs are an exception, but most of the time the Com takes precedence over the Rom, making a comedic chemistry more important (or at least more utilized) than a romantic one.

          As crass as it sounds, most of the American movies beats go, “Flirt-Flirt-Kiss-Sex-Shun-Reconcile” or “Flirt-Avoid-Flirt-Avoid-Pine-Pursue-Withdraw-Pine-Realize”–the latter being more rare and closer to how these types of dramas are set up. Either way, scenes wherein the actors are actually taking each other in, letting their characters yearn, hurt, advance, retreat, and console each other are few and far between.

          Side Note: It makes me wonder if at some point drama actors begin to distance themselves from their roles at a certain point in their careers. Not consciously of course, but more as a subconscious defense after going deep for so long with so many shows. I still maintain that even if an actors isn’t going method, if they are doing it right, they are investing pieces of themselves in every performance. If an actor has built a career out of sustain relationally-driven roles, I have to imagine it starts to wear them out.

          Oddly enough, the closest I can think a non-drama production has gotten to mimicking the relational connection found in these dramas is Lord of the Rings. That production spanned years with no breaks, and the principle actors who were together the whole time became very close friends, attended each others weddings and became god-parents to some of their kids. There weren’t any sustained romances that got caught up in that duration, but there’s a very real affection and love that comes from going through the trials and tribulations of a production.

          So yeah, merij1, I agree that these dramas are a whole different ball o’ wax. There’s nothing like them on this side of the water, and sadly I don’t know that there ever will be. I have often thought about trying to craft a 16-hour American show based off the structure and unique elements of Kdramas to introduce the mass populace here to the genre, but I don’t think they’d get it. Studio execs here are convinced that sex is what sells, so if you try to pitch the appeal of a romance that has an OTP, and that OTP doesn’t show a sufficient amount of skin or engage in bedroom frivolity within the first two episodes, you’re done.

          C’est la vie!

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          • I too have tried to picture American TV giving this a shot — am intensely romance-centered show with a limited run of 12-16 episodes. I’ve even fantasized being the showrunner who pitches the notion. In the age of HBO/Netflix, it’s certainly far more possible now than it was back in the days of only broadcast TV, where it could only have happened as a miniseries based on a book.

            You know there would be a market for it in the US, if it were done well. Netflix has pretty much proved that concept with its successful acquisition of these Asian shows. Even for these corporate ‘suits who wouldn’t recognize a good idea that hasn’t already succeeded unless it bit them on the ass, this should be recognizable as a promising new market.

            Btw, I’m dating myself here, but Moonlighting was a long-running show that kept the never-quite realized OTP in play. The romance was always in the background, but it was only sometimes the focus. However, it worked rather well that way.

            Your observation about the sequencing of romance in American movies is why my wife and I fled to K-drama. We don’t relate to romance that starts with attraction but then suddenly they’re ripping off their clothes as fast as they possibly can because they’re so aroused they can’t take the time to savor what’s about to happen. That’s lust.

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            • As for what it must be like for Korean romance actors, I started thinking about that after watching CLOY.

              Neither β€ŽHyun Bin nor β€ŽSon Ye-jin are known to be dating anyone, nor have they ever been, despite being in their late thirties now.

              So of course everyone ‘shipped them IRL. Whether they ever gave each other a shot at love, they must at least appreciate having each other as a friend who shares that peculiar romance actor experience.

              They’ve also both mentioned the weirdness of being celebrities and how they try to cope with that.

              When he performed his military service Hyun Bin chose the marines instead the usual entertainment service because he felt he needed some time away from others to figure how who he really is.

              β€ŽSon Ye-jin says she spends most of her free time traveling to other countries, where she is not recognized and where no one is constantly trying to help her. She says she needs to do regularly that to remember/learn who she is.

              Bottom line: it’s got to be a tough life, despite all the perks. I picked these two actors as examples since they’re both so attractive and yet there’s little reason to hope either will find love and marriage before age 40. Han Ji-min is single too, I believe, and also approaching 40.

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              • Celebrities have it rough. Fame is superficial and hollow, and fortune is fleeting and inconsequential when it comes to love. But celebrities are encumbered by both when trying to find a genuine relationship. Don’t get me wrong, having a chunk o’ change would be nice, but at times it can be a burden. I give Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin props for not caving to pressure and finding ways to keep themselves grounded as they continue to pursue their careers and who they are outside of them.

                I just found out that Seinfeld didn’t get married until he was 45, so they’ve still got some time. πŸ™‚

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                • > Seinfeld didn’t get married until he was 45, so they’ve still got some time

                  Seinfeld didn’t have to worry about bearing children. Although in these times, adoption really does seem like a less selfish alternative.

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              • @merij1 – I figured out how to put a link to my comment. Here it is – about Hyun bin dating
                https://thefangirlverdict.com/2020/05/02/dear-kfangurl-what-are-some-otps-that-didnt-work-for-you/#comment-77342

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            • I’ll admit, HBO wouldn’t be the first place I’d try my pitch; if Kdrama had a nemesis or polar opposite, I’d say the kind of shows HBO is predisposed to producing would be it. πŸ™‚ But you’re right about Netflix. They’ve got the numbers–they can see the popularity and viewership dramas enjoy. If there was going to be a way to get a western version of a drama out there, they’d probably be the best way to go. Or maybe Prime. In both cases though, they’re still taking a risk. Sometimes genres and cultures clash, so there’s no certainty the mix would pan out as well as the OG material. But if ya could get an A-lister to sign on (which would require a strong script), I could see Netflix throwing money at it. The possibility is certainly there!

              My only question would be what style to go with. I think shows like “Healer” and “My Mister” would almost be guaranteed successes because…well…they don’t have a lot of the quirks and nuances that many of the other shows have. (“Healer” in particular would be a great way to help transition out of the overly-saturated superhero genre while still giving people a taste of it. I’d be down with doing an adaptation, but I wouldn’t try to sell it as a new series.)

              When I think of the kind of off-the-wall, fun shows here in the US like “Community”, “Arrested Development”, and even “30 Rock”, many of them had their runs cut short and had a bit of trouble gaining wide popularity. And those were billed as comedies. (Although “Scrubs” had a good run and actually reminds me a lot of some Kdramas in many ways.) I wonder how much of the KDrama flare could be worked into a “romance” and still have a chance. How would an uninitiated audience react to asides, frequent flashbacks, slow-motion glances and “I’ve tripped and fallen into your arms” moments, etc..?

              It would be a balancing act requiring some trial and error. Shoot the same scene differently and see how it works after the edit. Doable, but probably a longer process. Admittedly part of the charm for me though is seeing the tight-nit cast and crew photos at the end of a show. It’s like half the size of what we have here, and I’ve seen some things (like one of the lead actors holding a boom mic for a scene he’s not in) that the unions would kill. Ah well. That’s probably enough hypothetical musing from me for now. πŸ™‚

              I haven’t seen Moonlighting, but after getting acquainted with Bruce Willis as a hardcore action guy, I’ve always wanted to see him in that show. And c’mon, it’s not THAT old. It came out after the original Star Wars, which is kinda like my version of “BC”. Right now, we’re in 42 ANH. πŸ˜‰

              And a hearty nod of agreement regarding you calling out lust for what it is. I don’t know how or why love’s counterfeit sells so well, but it’s really prevalent here. I’d largely stopped watching new content after awhile ’cause it was getting depressing…but then KDramas happened and the world opened up.

              I love pizza. I enjoy the flavor, the texture, everything. I can eat pizza even when I’m full, which is dangerous and skews towards gluttony if I’m not careful, but it’s just so darned good!

              But you know what I don’t love? I don’t love watching someone ELSE eat a pizza for two minutes. There’s no appeal to me whatsoever. So I continue to be miffed and mystified at how people enjoy sex scenes. Not to knock anyone who enjoys them of course, but I just don’t get the point. That’s not something I can live vicariously through! I’m not absolutely certain, but from how it’s been described, I’m willing to bet I’d like sex almost as much as I like pizza–but even then, I’d still be missing the allure of watching other people do it.

              I used to think I was peculiar in that regard, but considering the spiciest thing I’ve seen thus far in the Kdrama world is a guy and gal disappear under a comforter, I don’t think I’m alone anymore. πŸ˜€

              Liked by 1 person

              • Ha. You crack me up with your pizza analogy.

                > How would an uninitiated audience react to asides, frequent flashbacks, slow-motion glances and β€œI’ve tripped and fallen into your arms” moments, etc..?

                Yeah, I too have tried to picture American actors/actresses in these scenes. Would the magic would still work, even for me? It’s an interesting thought experiment.

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              • @Jesse Gray and @merij1 You know, as often as I’ve reached Healer, I didn’t even catch that it’s the Superman-Lois Lane dynamic. I can’t believe I didn’t catch it, not even when Ahjumma explained it to Healer (which I only caught that dialogue upon my last rewatch in January of this year). lol

                Liked by 3 people

            • I do see lots of American shows doing a shorter running format, mostly cable shows. I cut the cord to cable a long time ago but I’m seeing these shows show up on. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.

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    • Ironically, Beez, I now want to watch The K2.

      I watched the first 15 minutes when Netflix tried to push it on me, but my wife is not big on mostly-bad-ass fighting/action shows with frail damsels in distress — which is exactly what those first scenes on the subway platform suggest. (My wife LOVED Healer, but of course it’s so much more than action; and the female lead is strong as well as endearing and the OTP rocked.)

      But now that I realize it’s Healer’s Ji Chang-wook and now that I know NOT to bother attempting to invest in the OTP, I think I might skim through it on my own. If only for Chang-wook and the actress who played the calculating boss-wife, Song Yoon-a. I’m not familiar with her, but she strikes me as a substantial actress I should get to know.

      Since I’ll be skimming through it, maybe it’ll be easier to write an alternate version in my imagination where Chang-wook and his evilish boss Yoon-a end up together! Which would be a refreshing reversal on the tired trope about kind women helping cold men re-discover their hearts, blah blah blah.

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      • I know most people cut and ran on The K2 but as a die-hard Ji Chang wook fan, I was motivated to watch to the end. I would say don’t fast forward through anything (except maybe the annoying cheesiness of the OTP) because there are some stellar performances and some very interesting psychological dysfunctional but interesting dynamics going on with the older couple in a love-hate thing. Not that it’s pleasant to watch but… nevermind. I can’t say more without spoiling the only reason to watch it. The action is lots, fierce, and non-stop. (I luv it.)

        I tend to give Korean actors/actresses an American counterpart and Ji Chang wook’s is Hugh Jackman. Similar to Hugh Jackman, JCW is a reluctant action film star. They’d both rather be performing in musical theatre but the audience lives them in action roles.

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        • typos: … audience loves them in action roles.

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        • I am now going to check out the work of JCW….Since I like HJ and you have compared him to JCW…
          I was neways planning to catch Healer and maybe its the first thing to start with I guess….

          And I like how u say…..”performing in musical theatre but the audience likes them in action roles”….
          But honestly I like HJ as an action star/normal guy than a musical performer…maybe I find it a bit odd to see him sing…I don’t know…just me I guess…I rather prefer Logan and Leopold …but good to know your views…

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          • @Princess Jasmine – oops! Did I make it sound as if I prefer Hugh Jackman in musicals? Quite the contrary. As a Marvel fan since 1979, Hugh Jackman embodies Wolverine and nobody else could ever fill his shoes, for me.

            Same with Ji Chang wook. I’ve seen clips of his musical performances and…

            Let’s just say start with Healer. Then if you can tolerate a long series, Empress Ki. Then Suspicious Partner. There are others but just save Melting Me Softly until you’re entrenched in love for him because and just want to see him on your screen because it’s not a very good show.

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      • I enjoyed the K2 thoroughly. The best relationship was between Chang Wook and Song Yoon Ah (she was fabulous as the baddie and is a wonderful actress in general) – the whole love hate thing was going on. However, I have a soft spot for Im Yoon Ah though and I thought she played the whole angelic thing really well. I didn’t have a problem with the noodle scene either 😜 She has a new drama going out soon – Hush, that isn’t romance based.

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        • I’m enjoying it so far! I don’t really care about the plot in a show like this, so when I say I’m skimming, it means I FFwd through scenes that don’t feature the actors I care about. It’s their interactions that I care about.

          But just watching the TV interview of the baddie woman in the first ep was enough to convince me to watch all her scenes. Wow.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Not even game to comment on this one other than to say I either like an OTP or I don’t. I know there are some OTP’s I have liked and the majority have said the interaction is a bust! However, I did like this post very much and throwing things is highly recommended πŸ˜‚

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    • Ahaha!! Are you perhaps speaking from experience..? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I’m glad you enjoyed this post, even though you’re choosing to withhold comment! And it’s completely true that perceived chemistry of an OTP is very subjective. I’ve seen wildly different opinions on the exact same OTP, so it stands to reason that people will always have different opinions on this topic. We just like what we like! πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‰

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      • Okay, here is one “hot off the press.” The King: Eternal Monarch. Kim Go Eun – Fabulous. Lee Min Ho – what are you doing in this show (my apologies to all the LMH fans out there, but he is borderline okay in this, that’s it). Is there: crack, sizzle and pop between the two leads? Not from LMH. The writing is, well, how can I say “snooze, and you won’t lose.” So, officially dropped at the half way mark.

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        • Hahaha! I’ve been hearing so much about The King! And very little of it is good, unfortunately. πŸ˜› I’m half toying with the idea of taking a look, just to see for myself, but the reports have been quite discouraging, so I’m leaning towards side-stepping it completely. And your decision to drop it kinda confirms my gut instinct, that it’s not for me! πŸ˜†

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          • It won’t hurt you to have a random look. It has all the hallmarks of a great show, but I think you might see through it straight away 😱

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            • Ahaha!! Thanks for the vote of confidence, Sean! πŸ˜† I just might have a random look, though I hear the more recent episodes are tighter and more interesting, with Woo Do Hwan’s characters coming face to face with each other. I do think, though, that if I were to start with E1, I might not have the patience to last till E8..! πŸ˜…

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              • Woo Do Hwan is truly awesome in The King as the “unbreakable sword” and as his other self, as are so many of the other characters. However, it is not enough to keep me watching 😜

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                • Perfectly understandable, Sean! I have been quite tickled by some of the double Woo Do Hwan clips floating around, but.. it’s still not enough to entice me to give the show a proper watch! πŸ˜†πŸ€­

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        • Sean and Fangurl – I am sticking with it for Maximus. Ha Ha! There are so many errors in it (wait, which side of his neck is hurt to the white pony to how can you love this guy when you only met him?). Not to mention that I am so confused! The most OTP chemistry was in the restaurant scene where they were having coffee and Kim Go Eun laughed. My old “keep watching and maybe it will get better” mode has kicked back in. We shall see if I can hang in there. I still love Kim Go Eun but I may have lost my LMH blinders.

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          • To me, it’s gotten much better in these last 4 episodes. And I’m hoping it’ll continue to get better and I really hope they can tie all the mysterious things together so it makes us feel satisfied with the fantasy writer-nim is trying to tell.

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          • To me, it’s gotten much better in these last 4 episodes. And I’m hoping it’ll continue to get better and I really hope they can tie all the mysterious things together so it makes us feel satisfied with the fantasy writer-nim is trying to tell.

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          • Maximus is certainly getting a lot of attention and is an amazing and stunning horse. There are some very nice interviews out there with LMH regarding his affection for Maximus. No blinders there! Good on you for hanging on, and if Beez is right, perhaps it is righting itself.

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    • @seankfletcher – I’m laughing too because I was the first to ask kfangurl to do this post. And I was all about “we won’t be mad or gripe about our OTPs”. And I truly, honestly thought I meant that but, unfortunately, I was the only one arguing and expressing why my favorite OTP shouldn’t be on the “bad”ist. πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚

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  6. I have seen all the K-dramas mentioned here. I completely agree with you! 100% !!! First time to your blog. Impressed with your views πŸ™‚

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  7. Well I thought your post was supposed to be controversial and scandalous, but the comments here are pretty much in agreement with you. Sigh!

    Kidding. I love this. Seems newer viewers are learning about kdramas from you. And that’s always a good thing.

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    • Tee hee. It’s controversial to those who love the OTPs I listed, though! πŸ˜… I vaguely remember upset readers when I posted my DOTS review and said I didn’t care much for the OTP, or for Song Hye Kyo’s character. So I was mindful of upsetting folks again, with this list. 😝 Glad you enjoyed this post, despite my arguable lack of controversiality! πŸ˜†

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  8. I agree with a lot of these OTPs and realize that most of those I agree with involve dramas written by Kim Eun Sook (Secret Garden, The Heirs, Descendants of the Sun, Memories of the Alhambra). And this is also why I won’t get into The King: Eternal Monarch until I have more of a sense of how people whose opinions I trust (like you ^^) think of it. What do you think of Kim Eun Sook’s writing, and are there specific writers that you follow for how they always seem to just get it?

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    • Memories of the Alhambra is by a different writer.

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    • I don’t think Alhambra is one of Kim Eun sook’s.

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    • Hm.. the main thing that I’ve noticed that bugs me with dramas like DOTS is, KES seems to write with several Big, Grand OTP moments in mind, but a lot less thought seems to be put into the moments in between, so those Big Grand Moments tend to feel lazily strung together, and then the story itself doesn’t feel cohesive. Context is everything, so without a well built context (and instead, we get connect-the-dots stuff that string Big Moments together), the Big Moments just don’t land with the emotional impact that she probably wanted. I’ve mostly felt underwhelmed with her dramas, despite the buzz.

      I don’t have a fixed list of writers I follow, but I would like to see more work from the writers who respectively wrote Be Melodramatic, At Eighteen, Search:WWW.. those feel immediately fresh and different, because they don’t feel like they’re following a formula. That said, I do think that Park Ji Eun does very well at making the tropes work, like with CLOY and YFAS. Despite the tropeyness, she brings the feels very well, and I appreciate that. Unfortunately, I don’t uniformly like all her dramas. I didn’t care for Legends of the Blue Sea, for example. I guess nobody gets it right all of the time? πŸ˜…

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  9. Pingback: Review: Itaewon Class | The Fangirl Verdict

  10. Well, two of them I really liked (Love & Destiny, Extraordinary You) . I can totally agree with your opinion on L&D. I never saw it from that point and Wow, it is so true. Darn! I confess I really liked her very much with the “evil” guy (even when in the buddy way and not OTP) since he was the more interesting character. Extraordinary You was more something for my heart (than the brain) and I think they had a good chemistry (they are young and not the best actors -no, LJW was wooden in that- but the OTP actors at least where enthusiastic). It is just the script that when into nowhere like Cheese in the Trap so that this Drama ended for me earlier.

    Have you tried Well intended Love 2? I never finished it since it bored me out for my mind, even while quilting what made me through the first season. Even when they had the better script (better, but not good) and more money this time, the OTP actors still are terrible together. Even when the FL actress surely advanced the ML actor did not. He was terrible in each Drama I saw him yet. How does he land his roles?

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    • Hehe, I didn’t care for the evil guy in Love and Destiny; his head tattoos always weirded me out! πŸ˜† And even without his head tattoos in the mortal realm, he still struck me as always being Meaningful, but in a creepy way. πŸ˜‚ I actually found the OTP chemistry really lovely. I guess too much awareness of the common issue of power imbalance made me more sensitive to it, and I just couldn’t shake the idea that she let him kill her, willingly, AND she gave up her hearing for him, despite it. Also, I was NOT pleased with his lying in the mortal realm, and how he wouldn’t take no for an answer, even when she put her foot down. If Show had called him out as being bad by doing that, I would’ve been ok with it, but Show portrays it as romantic, and that was just too much for me. πŸ˜…

      I tried E1 of Well Intended Love 2, more out of morbid curiosity than anything (thanks, YouTube algorithm!), and I couldn’t back away fast enough! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ It all felt so awkward and unnatural, from the moment that they met. 😝 I honestly don’t understand that show’s popularity; it somehow has a lot of fans!

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      • I still can’t get a credible picture in my mind of how they pitched the premise of Well-Intended Love to whoever originally gave it the green light. And the fact that it got a season 2 totally blows my mind, even though I realize that’s more common in China.

        I take it the female lead magically turned the psychopath guy into a closer approximation of a real human by the end of S1? If so, was there a Pinocchio moment where he finally realized he wanted to be a real boy?

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        • Haha! I can’t imagine it either, MeriJ! πŸ˜†πŸ˜† I might’ve blocked details from my memory as to whether he actually became more human by the end, but I remember feeling deeply unsatisfied still, by the time I got to the end. You might be interested in checking out what I had to say in my review here. 😝

          And you know what, S2 doesn’t even continue from S1! They basically take the same characters, plonk them in an alternate universe where they’ve not yet met, and start the story ALL OVER AGAIN! 🀯🀯🀯 I do not know why. I tentatively looked at E1 of S2, out of morbid curiosity, and it felt as awkward and uncomfortable as S1 to me, and I backed away quite hurriedly. πŸ˜‚

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          • I haven’t actually seen any of S1. Netflix did a good job of making it seem good, so I read part of your review to verify and then ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction.

            However, I actually love the idea of plonking the same couple into an alternate universe and filming a redo of an OTP that worked well. Imagine how that might apply to CLOY, Love Is A Bonus Book, Healer, Coffee Prince or One Spring Night, for example.

            To follow this formula, it wouldn’t just be the same actors paired in a new show — the writers would need to re-create the essential premise of the original show, but explore new aspects of the romance. Why not?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Na, the psychopath still stays psychopath and gets locked up in S1. Didn’t knew what happened with his character in S2 since I never made it that far.

              I love AU stories but that is what AO3 (or Fanfiction.net for the older juice) for. I don’t think I would watch an AU story for real again. I wish there would be more fanfics :DD.

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            • Yes, I agree it would be interesting. In fact, Extraordinary You tries to explore that same concept, with the characters being comic book characters, reused by the writer in multiple universes, such that they became self-aware from.. “overuse.” ‘Twas an interesting concept, but unfortunately the show got boring after a while. Which means to say, don’t check out that show! πŸ˜†

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              • > such that they became self-aware from.. β€œoveruse.”

                Sounds like a great premise. Much like season one of HBO’s Westworld, with AIs being abused in a amusement park by the uber-wealthy but thus becoming self-aware over the decades due to a the repetition of experience.

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                • Now there is a show that I thought was brilliant in its first season, but I walked away from in its second season because of the “overuse” of killing off the decent and interesting characters (AIs).

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                  • Sean, I just started S3 of Westworld last night. I enjoyed S2 actually, but of course nothing will ever be as magical as that first season.

                    I’m one of those for whom unresolved ambiguity is a delight. Not knowing the answers to a puzzle means entire universes of possibility still exist for me to consider.

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                    • Merij – awesome! Westworld is truly one of the great sci-fi concepts and stories. Crichton’s creation is a fine contrast to the robotic pantheon created by Asimov. Enjoy S3. You never know, I might just take a sneak peek 😊

                      I am a puzzle solver and enjoy the mystery of the past, present and future. Hence I like many a detective story. However, I have a knack of working it all out early on in the story, so the show or book needs to bring something else to the table to keep me going.

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                • It is a great premise! The first half of the show was so interesting and fresh, as the characters grew suspicious of their surroundings, and worked to figure stuff out. It’s too bad it became repetitive and lost its draw by the second half. I haven’t seen Westworld, but it does sound like a somewhat similar, interesting premise! πŸ™‚

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        • I actually rewatched S1 of Well Intended Love before S2 – and found S2 to be the more normal ( if that is possible) and believable story – the male lead is less of a psycho. The narrative is similar to the first season ( but everything is opposite) the FL loses her memory this time., etc. After watching the S2, I realised just how awful the ML was in S1 ( even if I binged the show as it was OTT but light)

          However, the acting is still very mediocre – there are better Chinese dramas out there – I like Standing in the Time.

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  11. I’m so down for this. I have so many opinions on drama OTPs. And I find many of them quite different from most people that are into Kdrama when so try to talk to about OTPs that drive me crazy. ^^ I haven’t seen all of the dramas you’ve listed but I’ll comment on the few I have seen.

    DOTS β€”this was the second Kdrama I ever watched. At first I found them cute and fluffy. Since I didn’t have much else to compare the ship to I kinda shipped them. However I quickly became so much more invested in the secondary couple… also kdrama’s greatest bromance ever to exist (I would also say the single best thing about DOTS).

    Itaewon Class β€”I actually just finished this. Fantastic. I really enjoyed the chemistry β€”I agree it wasn’t β€œelectric” …but it very real not forced. They felt like very real people with a relation connection/friendship. I also liked how all their friends (or most) also shipped them eventually. They work great together and they’re honest with each other. He made her want to be a caring person. She hates him for it at the beginning. I have more thoughts… but I’ll keep it to that. ^^

    Well Intended Love = Cringe fest on so many levels… I physically could not finish this one…

    Hotel Del Luna β€”I dropped this one because… a lot of reasons… I could never figure out what was going on β€”and not in a good 365 Repeat kinda fantastic way… the OTP felt borderline Stockholm syndrome… also flat.

    Love and Destiny β€”I actually was unable to finish this one as well… (I just… I have a hard time with the 10 miles of love gloop as I refer to it… I think I hopped on the Li Jing ship to early and never got off. Also dear netizens, please do not murder me in my sleep) just kept comparing Nini’s character in LAD to her character and her chemistry with the Chen Kun in TROP (If you’ve seen it… you get it…).

    Scholar β€”For as beautiful as Joon G…*coughs*… everything was, The OTP was the most lacking (besides the plot). Let’s talk about the big power imbalance between leads with zero chemistry to over come it. (beware-quarter-life-crisis-rant-ahead) I also found it really hard to swallow that someone over 200 years would fall in love with a teenager. I’m in my mid-20’s and I find most teenagers and I quote myself, β€œ….uuuuhhhnnn….” But he’s been around for 200 years? Im not buying it. So in my opinion If you want good chemistry and Joon Gi try Scarlet Heart Ryeo. You can argue with me. But it’s my favorite Kdrama and I will defend myself. xD

    Boys Over Flowers β€”I really tried to get into it since it’s the first Kdrama I remember hearing about years ago, but I 100% agree with your comment here…

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    • Hi there Naomi! Looks like we are in agreement on a lot of OTPs!! πŸ˜€

      I’m with you on the secondary couple in DOTS. I actually found them a lot more interesting than the official OTP, and I would’ve happily watched them in their own drama! πŸ˜„

      Glad that the OTP in Itaewon Class worked for you.. I don’t HATE that they had a loveline.. I just didn’t like how the writers handled it. But I also admit I would’ve loved them to have been portrayed as platonic soul mates instead. That idea somehow appeals to me greatly. πŸ˜…

      I love how you say you physically could not finish Well Intended Love. Well, it seems your body saved you! Coz I could physically finish it, and I’ve lived to regret it. A LOT. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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  12. I haven’t seen every drama on your list but of the ones I’ve seen (including general crowd pleasers such as Descendants of the Sun and Hotel Del Luna, both of which I couldn’t finish), I agree with you 100%! Scary.

    There are some tropes that bother me a lot, like stalker elements and forced kisses or worse. It’s very difficult for me, perhaps influenced by my own experiences and those of friends, to enjoy dramas that portray those actions as merely misguided romantic gestures or that play them for laughs. Other than those tropes, the biggest problem that I have with bad OTPs is how predictable and formulaic they can be. Please, Korean drama gods, do we ALWAYS have to tack on a happy OTP ending? There are also some actors that I find not very convincing, such as Sung Hoon, Suzy, and L, all pretty faces who have never moved me by their acting and thus make for leaden OTPs, at least to me.

    Having said all that, I do keep watching a drama if there’s something other than an OTP that piques my interest. For example, I was surprised at first to see Warrior Baek Dong Soo on your list…because I didn’t remember a romance at all! (I guess that demonstrates how bad the OTP was.) One reason why RomComs are often a bust for me is because unless the “Com” is really good, I’m easily bored by the “Rom.” Instead of melting into a puddle when the OTP gaze into each other’s eyes, I think, oh my god, here comes the damn music. That’s why I tend to prefer (1) historical dramas (there’s nothing like a little death staring one in the eye to add some perspective); (2) political or mystery dramas (but only if the crazy is kept to a minimum — I always feel like having an insane villain is kind of a cop out); (3) fantasy worlds (I loved “W” despite its flaws and its requisite happy ending but then I didn’t like Hotel Del Luna, 365 Reset the Year, and Extraordinary You, so go figure); or (4) family dramas (because, to misquote Tolstoy, all romances are alike but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, and that makes for some fun drama).

    I feel like I should add my own caveats to the above. These are just my thoughts and I recognize that some (or all) of you might disagree. But I stand by my opinion of L. hehe

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    • @Alaska – sounds like Mr. Sunshine is the drama for you.

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      • I second Beez’ opinion. Mr. Sunshine has it all. You can also try Kingdom, if you don’t mind zombies.

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        • @Snow Flower – I, personally, can’t handle zombies. I did endure them for Gong Yoo in Train to Busan and then again for Hyun bin in Rampant. Somehow Rampant’s zombies felt less scary than Train’s zombies. It may possibly be categorized as a comedy (in my book) but that’s probably due to Hyun bin’s cavalier attitude and playboy persona.

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          • The zombies in Kingdom are the scariest zombies ever. They run fast and they bite everyone. I don’t like horror as a genre and zombie horror in particular, but Kingdom is something else. It is a political thriller, social commentary, and a disaster movie all mixed into a glorious symphony of ice and blood.

            Mr. Sunshine is epic in the true sense of the word, grandiose and breathtaking, an unforgettable tale of suffering and endurance.

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            • Yeah. I don’t know why Train and Rampant zombies didn’t freak me out. But just the preview for Kingdom let’s me know I can’t handle it. lol

              Ditto on everything you said about Mr. Sunshine. I was just trying to describe it in kfangurl’s latest post about which Kdramas to watch with moms. I couldn’t find the right words yo describe it. I wish I’d seen this comment of yours before then. I would’ve just quoted you. πŸ‘πŸ‘

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          • I thought I was the only crazy one trying to watch all of Hyun Bin work (too late to the party) but even for that I can’t watch zombies….but u are making it look like Rampant could be watchable…..
            Btw is there a place where I can connect with Bin fans and write or post stuff…I really want to put a word on snow queen which is so underrated….and just understand why so…

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            • I haven’t watched Snow Queen (but I plan to). When I can’t find any of the blogs that I frequent talking about a show, I Google the show like this: Korean drama recap review Snow Queen
              Inevitably somebody’s talking about it but in the case of Snow Queen, it’s probably old threads. With luck, whatever blog you find is still active so you might get conversations going.

              I’ve liked Hyin bin since I watched Secret Garden in 2014 but he’s not one of my biases although I like him a lot. When an actor makes my bias list, I go back and watch every (do ya hear me? EVERY) drama and movie he’s been in. Only a couple of dramas that have been too old to find. Luckily there are only two actresses, so far, that I’d do the same for.

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              • Thanks Beez; We seem to share a common liking for Hugh Jackman and Hugh Bin….Great start to life…
                Thanks for your comments and time to explain things….much appreciated…

                I personally like Snow Queen a lot…very underrated….maybe I am more like the lead character in real life…
                I mean I have changed like him in the end but the story resonated a lot for me…life,death,cancer and mathematics thrown in…and I have dealt with all of these and I love mathematics and numbers…(I couldn’t have cared as much if he was a physics genius…so ya there u go…).

                May I ask who are exactly your bias at the time being….

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                • First of all, it’s my pleasure to have people to share my Kdrama obsession with. To not hear criticism and feedback like “Subtitles! Ugh! Why do you want to READ subtitles while you’re watching?” lol

                  Snow Queen. EEK! Math! But now boxing, I can take an interest in. Since I haven’t seen it, I can’t really give any opinion on it. But I can appreciate that the story touched you.

                  Hyin bin did not make my list because his skinny-ness (see Secret Garden) was a turn off but as he’s getting older and filling out more, he might just make the list soon. πŸ˜‰

                  As to my biases:
                  I had topped my list with explanations from back in the day but You said “current biases” so I’ll scratch the list and only give brief reasons.

                  Song Seung heon – I like his looks and his older dramas which most are considered classics.

                  Rain – Does it all! You might know who he is because besides being a kpop (former) mega star he starred in an American movie – Ninja Assassin?

                  Joo Jin mo – He has better movies than dramas. In fact, most of his dramas kind of suck. 😒 But I’m loyal.

                  Jang Hyuk – fulfills ALL my needs. Choco abs AND acting skills and his martial arts skills are real. When his fists are flying, they might be as fast as Muhammad Ali in his prime. Jang Hyuk attracts women. He’s good looking but you’d think he’s even better looking by our reaction to him. It might be the machismo factor. Or the intensity he brings to his roles that can sometimes be viewed as having a passionate nature. 🀷

                  Yoo Ah in – Amazing acting skills. I used to say that Jang Hyuk is THE actor of the era but Yoo Ah in as made me change that to “Jang Hyuk is THE actor of his generation”. I can’t decide who holds first place with me when it comes to pure acting skills.

                  Kim Sung oh – πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜β€πŸ’žπŸ’“
                  My personal favorite. An amazing actor who’s taken for granted because of his comedic roles but when there’s a serious moment he’s startling. And the best part is he’s all mine as nobody else claims him. πŸ˜†

                  Woo Do-Hwan. He’s new so we’ll see if he lasts on my list.

                  Gong yoo! I hate horror genre but I watched Train to Busan (a zombie movie). What does that tell you?
                  Gong yoo has that charm that’s a cross between Carey Grant and Clark Gable. (Are most people here to young to know who they are?)

                  Sung hoon. I just like looking at him. πŸ˜†

                  Now I’ve never heard anyone else refer to female actresses as their “bias” but I do it because there’s so few that I like. Usually, I feel that any actress can fill whatever part is opposite one of the handsome actors.

                  Shin Hye sun – acting skills

                  Kim Seulgi – multi talented and such a cutie pie. She used to be a regular on Korean SNL.

                  Go Ah sung – acting skills

                  Ha Ji won – mostly I think it’s respect for her doing her own stunts and my fondness for her character in Secret Garden. But if she doesn’t return to rom-coms soon, I’ll have to put her on my “ex” list like Kim Sung ah whose roles lately are just too depressing.

                  The list is ever expanding. And since I tend to judge whether I’m going to watch something based on if one of my biases is in it, then, because I might take a liking to a supporting actor that’s in his show, is how I discover new ones along the way.

                  Have you got your own list of biases yet?

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                  • Oh Lord Beez – this really made me laugh out loud. ‘Sung hoon. I just like looking at him.’ Priceless!

                    Agree on Jang Hyuk and Yoo Ah In. They are superb actors. I actually gasped out loud several times while watching The Throne – Yoo Ah In’s acting was breath taking. While I personally think they are both fine (as in “Oh Lord he is fine”), their acting abilities are that much finer if you get my drift. Hoping for great roles for both of them in the future.

                    Liked by 1 person

                • I just realized, I left Kang Ha neul off my list of biases.

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    • Tee hee! I stand with you, on your opinion of L! πŸ˜† I mean, he’s earnest, and he’s handsome, and he’s trying.. but it mostly doesn’t translate very well, unfortunately. πŸ˜›

      I totally agree with you on the stalker elements and forced kisses. In this day and age where #metoo is so top of mind, and with more and more women drawing attention to the fact that they feel unsafe going out alone, and have to be on alert all the time, it’s just mindblowing that writers would think that portraying stalker elements as romantic would go down well. πŸ€ͺ

      I wonder if you’ve watched One Warm Word? It’s not a rom-com but a melodrama, and I thought the character development was well done. It all felt nicely organic too, and based on what you said, I thought you might appreciate it. It’s very underrated, in my opinion. You can take a peek at my review here, to see if it strikes your fancy. πŸ™‚

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  13. And also a Korean dramas and almost had me throwing up all the time due to its chemistry was playful kiss

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  14. Well honestly I have to say I am a little shocked to see dramas like hiers,extroordinary you,scholar that walks the night,boys over flowers,hotel del Luna,descendants of the sun. Because these dramas I specified we’re recommended to me as dramas with good story lines and chemistry but anyways thanks for your time on this reply and well I guess I will have to look closer on these dramas and their chemistry before I decide on which to watch

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    • Oh noes. I hope it doesn’t deter you from watching kdramas. Yep, some of the dramas she mentioned are popular, but they are okay story wise and chemistry wise. As she mentioned, her list is subjective. It didn’t work for her, but may have worked on others. It’s okay to watch few episodes of those dramas, and if it doesn’t really work for you, it’s okay to drop them.

      If your taste is similar to kfangirl, do check out her full list of shows she reviewed. I found few dramas she highly recommend became my favorite. Secret Love Affair is one of them.

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    • Aw, I’m sorry this post shocked you, koraah. 😬 I did mention that the opinions I have are unpopular, which means that there are many people who would speak well of these OTPs and these shows. I think I’ve become pickier, the longer I watch dramas. πŸ˜… Don’t let me stop you from checking out any of the dramas.. but if you find that you feel similar to me as you’re watching, then maybe take note of what else is on the list, to avoid further disappointment? πŸ˜‰

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  15. Hi! I have a question.. What can make you drop a certain drama? Like what are the factors..?

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    • Hi Gabrielle! πŸ˜€ Great to see you! ❀ For me personally, I think the writing is the most important, out of all the factors that contribute to what makes a drama great to watch, for me. So if the writing is terrible, I'm much more likely to drop a drama. If the writing is good, and the acting is just ok, I'm ok to hang in there, generally. If the acting is great, and the writing is just ok, I'm also ok to hang in there, for the acting. But if the acting's great but the writing's terrible.. I'm much more likely to drop out, I think! πŸ˜… So for example, in Something in the Rain, the acting is perfectly fine, really. But the writing made me very aggravated (the directing too, but I fault the writing more), and I actually regret not dropping it, and powering through to the end. 😝 I hope that answers your question! πŸ™‚

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  16. This post is savage and I love it πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Haven’t really seen most of the shows here since I’ve been avoiding hardcore romance dramas. But when I saw Secret Garden on the list it made me sad since it was one of the few kdramas that I loved in a time when I disliked kdramas. Although I doubt I would love it as much if I ever watch it now…πŸ˜… And so, so, so agreed on BOF!! Interesting how it was BOF who started the Korean Wave back then and I remember hating the show so much. I’m wondering if you’ve seen the C-drama remake? It’s just as bad but with much better production HAHA. I could barely last two episodes of it.

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    • Tee hee! I’m not usually savage, but I guess this post is kinda savage after all..! πŸ˜…πŸ˜ Glad that you liked it, Simeon! πŸ˜€

      I did try the C-drama remake of BOF, actually! I was shocked that I liked E1, but by E2, my interest started to wane, and I was out by the time I hit E3. πŸ˜† I think I’m over that story, regardless of makeover! πŸ˜†

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      • You should do more posts like these! I don’t know about others but I quite enjoy content like this HAHA

        It’s an old story that does NOT age well, especially in the current political climate. I was quite disappointed though despite not liking the Korean and Japanese versions πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • HAHA! πŸ˜† Well, I’ve got lots of Dear kfangurl questions waiting in the wings coz folks have been quite inspired to ask questions! I just posted another List last night; you can take a look here! πŸ˜‰

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          • Damn that’s great! Can’t wait to see all the questions they’ve really interesting so far! πŸ˜†

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            • Lol. It’s been fun, but it’s also kinda challenging? I feel like I’m on a talk show taking part in a pop quiz, and everyone’s just waiting to see what I’m going to say, all while they’re thinking up new questions to up the game, HAHA! πŸ˜†πŸ˜† I currently have 5 or 6 more Dear kfangurl questions to answer, but I also wonder if people will think I’m flooding the blog with them. πŸ˜…πŸ€­

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  17. To me the otp in Itaewon Class didn’t feel rushed but dragged. I firmly believe that pining after one person and trying to make them love you for years is not healthy. It might make a great drama, but I just get annoyed when it goes on for too long. At the end it felt more like she was playing a game rather than having a real connection. I really liked both female leads, but their treatment was poor. The show had two accomplished women essentially fighting over one mediocre guy whose greatest love was the revenge.

    Well intended love was terrible and the English name makes it even worse. Were they trying to trick us or what? I actually watched the second season and was surprised that they fixed most of the problematic things. There was less manipulation and kidnapping and more focus on characters. I stiΔΊl liked the second couple better(they had some really swoony scenes) but the main couple wasn’t as cringy as in season 1. It’s a mystery why they made the first season the way they did, when they were capable to deliver something better.

    Third otp that really made me angry was the one in My first first love. Kdramas rarely give me the second lead syndrome, but here the second lead was so good. He was really given a good story as why he should end up with the FL and the ML was given nothing, not even a personality. We were just suppose to believe that them being childhood friends was enough connection. Nothing the otp did in the present supported this. The ML could show up to support the FL only because he had money and thus free time. The second lead was busy supporting his family and planning for the future. He couldn’t just drop everything and the ML took the advantage of this. So during the supposed swoony otp moments I just felt sorry for the other guy. I should have dropped this drama, but I kept hoping for some kind of last minute miracle. Kudos to Ji Soo though, he’s talented at playing jerk characters.

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    • Hi there Asperugo,

      Aw, I didn’t think Sae Ro Yi was mediocre at all, really. He seemed like a really decent person to me. I love that he was loyal and compassionate and hardworking, and that he didn’t discriminate against people, and gave people second chances. I could see why both women liked him. That said, I would have preferred if the show had cut out the romance, and kept everything platonic in the end. I think that would have worked much better for me. πŸ™‚

      Kudos to you for actually watching S2 of Well Intended Love, especially since you clearly didn’t enjoy S1! You’re right, the English title is terrible; it implies that all the dysfunctional things the male lead does in the name of love, is ok. SO NOT! 😝

      Thanks for the heads-up on My First First Love! I actually had that on my list, but from your comments, this doesn’t sound like a very good story after all! Maybe I should cross it off my list! 😜

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  18. I haven’t seen many of these, but I do wish to talk about Descendants of the Sun. I began watching it because the writer Kim Eun Sook also was the writer on Mr. Sunshine, which was really an encyclopedic discourse on serial drama plotting. But Descendants, although it had a stellar cast, was nothing of the sort. It was kind of a cheesey B military adventure tv series with a hokey love interest meant to be a hook for keeping you going from one episode to the next. It was the first thing I saw Song Joong Ki in and all I can say about that now that I have seen him in a variety of vehicles is what a waste of talent. He does suffer a bit in other things I have seen him in when all he is allowed to do is be the pretty but macho adventure hero, rather than playing on his range of acting chops, including his sense of humor, and ability to enact really eccentric characters, but any one of a hundred actors could have played the role he played in Descendants of the Sun, And getting to the OTP, it was hard to tell for me if it was just how cheesey their relationship was or more simply how meh the whole show was. Likewise Song Hye Kyo’s role was similarly cliche ridden, as a prototype competent liberated woman, yet really devoid of any flavor to bring out that charisma. And they seemed almost like a boy/girl version of an adventure bromance vehicle, with a bit of infatuation back and forth thrown in. Anyway, I agree with you on Descendants of the Sun.

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    • I must agree that DOTS was really cheesy. But I can’t help it – I loved it anyway. πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

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    • This is savage…..exactly what I felt…thank you….u made my day..
      And this was my 4th KDrama (I went by popularity) since I got on to the Korean wave…And I had no idea how famous the hero or heroine were…heroine had no flavour or emotions…..and she was a surgeon…meh….hero was jumping all the time…

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    • Hahaha, I love how you break down DOTS, BE! πŸ˜† Yes, Song Joong Ki has done better, and DOTS was pretty underwhelming overall. I thought the writing was a very weak spot (perhaps the weakest link), and that did nothing to help the decidedly underwhelming OTP connection. Without context, all the dramatic romantic OTP moments fell flat for me, and the lack of couple chemistry did nothing to lift the uninteresting script. BUT. Lots of folks loved it, so I can’t begrudge them their love for DOTS. πŸ˜… It just really could’ve been better, overall.

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  19. I have been meaning to write in to this blog for sometime now ever since I started K-Drama with CLOY this Feb and reading your review of it; I admit I am new to kdrama world and I am yet to get over Hyun Bin (finished most of his serials and watching his movies now)

    Descendants of the Sun;

    I so agree with it; Thank you; I really didn’t understand the hype around this drama and except for the hero and the second heroine lead, everybody else was in OTP zone….and for god sake most of them were doctors…and the last few episodes were like WTH…

    I think you are being unfair to Memories of the Alhambra and Secret Garden; I saw your review of SG;
    Here is my 2 cents on it:

    Memories of the Alhambra;

    Park Shin is a vital part of the gaming plan designed by her brother and she is there for a reason; And she is the one who helps crack the “Fatima” key code; It makes so much sense for her brother to place the “peacekeeping” trust on his sister look-alike; And its the same trust that Hyun Bin places on her in the virtual world when he gets back in the last episode;
    The romance did work albeit the limited time and may not be as developed as in other dramas;
    I think Park Shin did a great job and kudos to Hyun for letting her shine in whatever scenes she had with him; And many felt upset with the ending because they all so badly wanted him to come out of the game for a happy ending with Park given what he had undergone over the last 1 year ever since he started the game at level 1;

    Secret Garden;
    Agree it was a bit difficult in the first few episodes and he was being a real jerk; But for me this is the catch because here we have a character who undergoes a complete transformation from being a jerk to a hopelessly in love guy who is willing to let go of his position/money/mother even before knowing that it was her father who saved him…. this part comes in episode 16 I guess…Infact his transition from episode 14 is a great watch and thats what makes this drama very interesting at least from a woman’s perspective;
    (I agree that I myself was very worried for her until episode 9 when he really starts having a positive transition for good);
    And the good part is they ended it with her still working as a stuntwoman inspite of being married to him and having 3 kids; If he had really looked down upon her until the end, he wouldn’t have allowed to work in that field and at one point he even wants her to quit but she puts it down; And both had an amazing chemistry and no OTP at any point;

    Compare this with CLOY where we know from 1st episode that this guy is a real gentleman and there is nothing great to root for as a character arc except for the fact that we all like the gentlemanly Captain Ri and want the lovers to unite across borders; Infact in CLOY I will give more credit to the heroine character for her character development arc;

    I haven’t seen the others….so no comment on that;

    Btw, I started Coffee Prince since you are a big fan of it and I decided to give it a try as it keeps popping in my Netflix;
    Based on my initial few episodes, its fun but in all honestly its really weird that the guy doesn’t know its a girl but then I like the girl character as she is very clumsy and hard working and I am all for fun not so perfect characters in drama world;

    Thanks for your writing; You are absolutely great in it; Keep up the good work;

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    • @Princess Jasmine – I totally agree and disagree with your post. 😊 I did feel Alhambra should have utilized Park Shin hye more because just the casting of her (as she’s a huge Kdrama star) gave big expectations for the romance. Plus even if she was not utilized much in the “real life” part of the story, I wish her game avatar had been given more of a focus in the game.

      I totally agree with every single one of your points about Secret Garden!

      I know you’ve said you’re new to Kdrama so I hope you don’t mind if I correct you on something. The use of OTP. It means One True Pairing as in the couple that we all know is going to end up together. We usually know this ahead of time from two things – they pretty much announce in casting news articles and if they don’t, most times you can tell by how big the stars are who will end up as the OTP.

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      • Thanks from the bottom of my heart…..u made my day…and thanks for explaining the jargons…
        I am new to kdrama world and thought I was the only one to like SG….and I am not even in my 20s to do that..
        I am old enough to know how the world works and how fickle relationships can be and how cynical/unfair life can be..

        In that context, I wrote my analysis on SG; And yes it had a great OTP (now I know the meaning)

        I still stand by my comments on DOTS; No OTP…they were just sleepwalking after a few episodes;

        Alhambra – I don’t think that drama was intended to have OTP; Or thats what I think;
        In that context, I think Park Shin did make an impact in whatever little time she got;
        And had a great chemistry with Hyun Bin; Especially the scene where she says she can be his “girlfriend”
        That particular sequence alone truly sealed it for me;
        We all would have loved to have “real her” or the “game avatar” do some action;
        But the more I think about the story, I think she was meant to be the way she was (lovely and subdued);
        Maybe this was to contrast out with the “other 2” wives who were really crazy and aggressive in their dealings;
        ( I am ok with divorce et all; just that both of them could have made it more civil and decent in separation)
        And maybe I am in the minority to be ok with the ending of Alhambra and how Park was used;

        And honestly I don’t bother much about news articles and big names; (This PR thing happens everywhere including Hollywood and Asia)

        For me what appeals or not appeals is what I see as characters on screen and their performances and how the story works on us as viewers;

        Great knowing you and stay safe everybody…..

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hmmm, interesting perspective on the female lead of Alhambra. Now I’m asking myself if it have worked for me not knowing who the actors are.

          Since I was aware of how big she is in kdramas, I expect her to do more as she’s highly paid (not as high as the male lead, unfortunately). It was also promoted to be a romance. Heck she was in the main poster. So, I blamed it on the writing. I do know the writer was asked (forced?) to add romance to it. And she added it late into her writing process.

          Watch W: Two Worlds, Queen In Hyun’s Man, and Nine if you like the writer’s work.

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    • Hi, Princess Jasmine! Belated welcome to the wonderful world of kdrama! CLOY’s a great first drama; it’s got all of the ingredients that make kdrama as addictive and unique as it is. And I can completely understand not being over Hyun Bin. πŸ˜‰

      That’s an interesting perspective on Memories of the Alhambra and Secret Garden.. I personally didn’t like how the female lead in Alhambra was written to just cry a lot, all the time. I think it would have served the show better if the promotional material had focused more on Hyun Bin’s character, rather than hype up the romance. I think that messed with expectations too much, and did the show a disservice in the end. As for Secret Garden, I did love it back when I watched it.. I think I’ve gotten to the point where I’m over the jerk male lead turning over a new leaf for true love. But, since you’re still pretty new to kdrama, I imagine you would be a lot more forgiving of the jerk male lead. This is where different contexts and perspectives come into play, I guess! πŸ˜€ Doesn’t make my opinion better than yours or vice versa; just different, is all. πŸ™‚

      As for Coffee Prince, I thought the show did a good job establishing that Eun Chan was boyish, because she was regularly mistaken for a boy even before she met Han Gyul. So in the story world, it’s not just him for mistakes her for a boy, and that makes it work, I think. I feel Yoon Eun Hye as Eun Chan is one of the more believable crossdressing girls in dramas. Park Shin Hye in You’re Beautiful was absolutely, completely unbelievable as a boy. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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  20. OMO Fangurl! I spit out my tea because I was laughing so hard when I got to Warrior Baek Dong Soo and the wood comment. That was hysterical and made my day.

    This post is bloody brilliant. First – the first (my poor, poor, poor Yoo In-Na) and last photo in this post say it all. Perfect selections to invoke the mood of the post. Second, I can see you typing and frowning as you are asking yourself “Should I say this or not?”. Third – the comments are just great.

    Of the above listed dramas I have seen 15 and dropped 5 of those 15. To be honest, the number dropped should also be higher but I was still in that ‘have-to-finish’ mindset when I watched them. There were some I avoided after I read your reviews of said dramas and I am very glad I did. (Note – IMHO – Moorim School and K2 really should be avoided like the plague). Something in the Rain made me very, very peeved and had the worst OST ever…like….in the history of KDrama.

    The only disagreement I have is with LandD. I loved that drama. I cannot get enough of Chang Chen. I loved him in The Assassin and Brotherhood of Blades as well as all the other films I have seen him in. He is mesmerizing. To your point, I also wished that the writing could have handled a few situations in the drama better than they did.

    I would like to add my top personal ‘WTH’ OTPs and that is from Coffee & Vanilla. I actually yelled at my TV while watching the sick way the ML treated the FL. It physically made me feel nauseous.

    However, everything else is pretty much spot-on. I know you did not want to do this post but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Fangurl.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Something about phl1rxd’s post reminded me of another OTP that was problematic for me – Wild Romance, starring Lee Dong wook and Lee Si-Young. It’s riveting to watch in a way but not for romantic chemistry. It’s that he was so rough with her during their physical bouts that it seemed strange. I don’t know if this was before or after she became a real life boxer (so if it was after maybe she told him to go all out) but I remember thinking this isn’t romantic at all (but it was fascinating)! And I’m the type who would find physical brawling (not real violence) sexy as it puts the OTP into skinship – kinda like in Oh My Venus’ grappling scenes.

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    • Giggle. I’m very pleased that you enjoyed this post as much as you did, phl!! πŸ˜€ You’re right, I was quite reluctant to write it, coz I felt like I would quite likely upset a lot of people, since I didn’t like popular OTPs like the DOTS couple. But, by and large, you guys seem to be entertained, and most of you even have similar feelings, so I’m feeling much better about having written this post! πŸ˜†

      Tee hee. I’m glad you approve the screenshot selections.. I thought they were quite suitable myself, but it’s extra special that you think so too! πŸ˜€

      Aw, I’m sorry that you endured 10 to the finish, of the 15 dramas you saw from this list! πŸ˜… Sometimes the completist streak is so hard to beat into submission! 😝 And I think you’re right about SITR having the worst OST ever! πŸ˜† It aggravated SO much!

      I did enjoy Chang Chen a great deal, in Love and Destiny.. There were definitely moments when I found him mesmerizing too – so no arguments there! 🀩🀩 But yes, the writing was difficult to swallow, in terms of the power imbalance, and didn’t sit well with me. Lots of folks enjoyed the show, though, so you are not alone in your love for it! πŸ™‚ My own sister loved it, as did AvenueX, so I felt like the odd one out, not being able to muster up love for the show as I watched it – even though I was perfectly capable of appreciating the Chang Chen melty. πŸ˜‰

      Ooh, I didn’t have Coffee & Vanilla on my list, but – thanks for the warning! – I’ll now be sure to avoid it like the plague! πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

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  21. For me it’s WWW. Everytime Morgan is on screen, i cringe hard. It would have been better if all the men in this drama disappeared. The romance ruined it.

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    • I agree! I felt that the drama spent too much time and energy on the romance that each women was assigned (and it felt like an assignment). That thing Park Mo Gun did with Tae Mi’s tights was so cringeworthy and weird, moreover, that I fast forwarded through all of his scenes after that.

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    • Ahaha!! Sorry WWW made you cringe so much, Lolly! πŸ˜† I didn’t have that problem, somehow, even though I was fully aware that Park Mo Gun was being extra cheesy. I didn’t mind the romance (especially Scarlett and her actor! 😍), and I think one of the refreshing things, to my eyes, was the fact that the 3 ladies could be dealing with love life matters, and it never became the Main Event, in their lives. It was always just ONE event in their lives, which were often filled with other interesting and important things. I liked that Show demonstrated that romance doesn’t have to be everything; that it can be in your life, but your life doesn’t have to be dictated by it. πŸ™‚ Of course, you’re entitled to be peeved at the show for even having romance; that’s your prerogative, always. πŸ™‚

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  22. Omg Itaewon Class. I STILL haven’t finished the drama (bc it’s a drama I exclusively watched with friends). BUT I was soooo on board the Sae Ro Yi/Soo ah ship. I actually REALLY liked her after the first ep. She’s one of the most complex characters in the show, and everyone kept hating on her but I was like, to me, she was the most realistic but still a good person. Sae ro yi has a terribly hard life, but he always seems to make morally complex decisions with ease.

    It’s very apt that Soo ah feels like he’s always shining a little too bright for her. On the other hand, Soo ah is very realistic with her choices. She always toes the line of moral ambiguity, and for once it’s so clear that yes, being with Sae Ro Yi, having his influence in her life, pushes her to be a better person. She’s never intentionally manipulative. She makes it clear that she’s going to be working for Jangga corp and that she’s not going to put her career on the line for him. It’s incredible realistic. Yet when push comes to shove (at least so far, that I’ve seen), she doesn’t really cross the line into betrayal. She’s someone who’s lived in the dark but is actually trying really hard to reach for the light.

    So no. I’ve never understood the love for Yi Seo. She helps him out but her love for him is…strange? Sudden? I almost feel like Sae Ro Yi and Soo Ah have a deeper connection with so much history… even knowing the end OTP, I really wanted them to develop. Yi Seo yes has a complicated relationship with her mother, but she’s lived a very privileged life. Ppl love her for not giving a shit and working outside the rules. But it’s hard to make that a part of her personality and not just a product of her being ABLE to work outside the rules without the same repercussions from society that other people may have. She’s grown up with self-confidence beaten into her. She thinks the world of herself. Even with the baggage her mom heaps on her, that’s mental and emotional security a lot of people don’t have. (also for someone who cited the law about Soo ah attempting to kiss Sae Ri Yi, she’s a complete hypocrite considering she kissed him while he was unconscious and without consent. I’d like to argue that Sae Ro Yi was totally into Soo Ah’s almost kiss. He closed his eyes and didn’t move away, knew what she was going to do, and even almost leaned it.)

    Clearly I have thoughts. I feel like I’m in the minority tho…

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    • Yes! Ditto to everything you said about the Itaewon couples!

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    • Hi there Julianne! Always great to see ya! πŸ˜€ And yes, you clearly do have thoughts on the couples in Itaewon Class! πŸ˜€

      I agree on your thoughts on Yi Seo’s loveline with Sae Ro Yi. That had felt forced, to me. And I have to agree that the stolen kiss was hypocritical in view of how she stopped Soo Ah from kissing Sae Ro Yi, who was plenty able to refuse, if he hadn’t been willing. In contrast, he was incapacitated when Yi Seo kissed him, which is ironic.

      Your perspective on Soo Ah feels quite fresh, to me, because I didn’t view her in as favorable a light, and I’m trying to figure out why that is. For me, I think that what rubbed me the wrong way, is how she expected Sae Ro Yi’s unwavering affection and loyalty, despite being cutthroat as far as business went. She was revealed not to have called the cops on DanBam, but as a friend, if she’d seen herself as his friend, she could have informed him of the matter of DanBam serving minors, to give him a chance to fix it. His pub was far from doing well, and had zero customers, so was not at all a threat to Jangga, and yet, she could not afford him even that mercy. That troubled me. I know that Sae Ro Yi continually tells her to do what she feels is right, and that he’ll be ok, but somehow, it niggles at me that she took him at face value, and consistently didn’t afford him any grace, until the final episode where she suddenly has a turnaround. I felt that was not very well brought across, even though Show hints that she feels troubled in the last few episodes. For these reasons, I felt conflicted about Soo Ah. Sometimes I thought she was cool, and other times, I found her unlikable. So, long story short, I was not that keen on either of the female leads, for different reasons. But I did appreciate that for all of her faults, Yi Seo remained loyal to Sae Ro Yi and DanBam. I just wish Show had left it at that, and scratched the loveline. πŸ˜…

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  23. Based on dramas i’ve already seen, here’s my cringeworthy list of pairs:
    1. Goblin – Gong Yoo + Kim Go Eun
    2. Descendants of the Sun – Song Jong Ki + Song Hye Kyo
    3. Itaewon Class – Park Seo Joon + Kim Da Mi
    4. Crash Landing On You – Hyun Bin + Son Ye Jin

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    • Interesting list (and I agree with all you’ve listed here!). Curious why you chose cloy? as literally everybody loved their chemistry lol. Personally I’ve never felt any romantic chemistry between the leads, even in their movie tog. The interactions were also way too fanservicey, OTT and cheesy, making it unnatural n forced to me. I love IC but I felt the romance was pretty unnecessary n weird. There were other really good themes in the story they could have spent time fleshing out more.

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  24. So Something in the Rain is the only one that worked for you chemistry wise. I agree with your list actually.

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  25. Thank you! I never liked Secret Garden couple as he always complained about her being below standard and not trying to belong in his world while he himself never deigned to even try to understand her world…

    When they revealed everything in Well-Intended Love…holy creepiness factor. And why the imprisonment? Some people say the retelling of the whole story in season 2 was better…I wonder.

    BoF really makes it appear that the leading male set up the rape, but if you read the manga he didn’t. That, of course, doesn’t excuse the bullying and controlling behavior. And for those who wanted second male lead to get the girl…again, that character had issues and stomped on the female lead too before realizing he may just like her. I don’t know if I have ever believed a love story with Ku Hye Sun in the leading role, but that can just be me.

    And don’t get me started on Love Better than Immortality. The female lead was dense as hell and really no one was good or deserving in that drama in the grand scheme of the storyline.

    I dropped Heirs after 4 episodes & only watched clips of the second male lead. I didn’t like the pairing or the relationships.

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    • Reading enough to get spoiled on Well-Intended Love before starting it — and therefore knowing to run in the opposite direction — was one of my better moves this year! Yuck.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The second season of Well intented love is much better than the first! Not amazing or anything, but definitely less creepy. Some of the otp moments were even cute. I just wonder why on earth did they make the first season in the first place?

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    • You know, when I first watched Secret Garden, I loved it, and it never even occurred to me to be mad at him for being so snooty, disdaining and generally disrespectful. πŸ˜› I guess I’ve matured in the last 10 years? πŸ˜† Now I find SeGa so hard to watch, it’s bizarre. You caught on early, so I’d say you saw through the hype when the rest of us were blinded by the Hyun Bin Handsome! πŸ˜†You were also very wise to drop Heirs early! I watched the whole thing – for Woob. I still had a lot of fangirl loyalty back then, obviously! πŸ˜†

      I’ve heard mixed reactions to S2 of Well Intended Love. Some people say it’s better, some say it’s just as bad. 😝 There’s only one way to find out – to see it for myself – but.. I’m not willing to take the risk, HAHA.

      Gosh, Love Better than Immortality sounds like a show to keep away from – thanks for the warning! πŸ˜‰

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  26. First, this post has inspired me to write a cutting-edge drama called “Doorknobs and Vacuums”; it will be filled with twists and turns (teehee) and provide insight into the disturbingly beautiful dynamics of an unrequited co-dependent relationship. It may sound controversial, but based on the snapshots I got of some of these OTPs (several of them very popular), I think it would fit right in.

    This was a fun read that really helped further my drama calibration. As a relative newcomer, I’m still trying to figure out a baseline for the genre in terms of relational dynamics, levels of contrivance, etc.., I don’t know that it’s something that can be fully articulated, but with other types of shows and films, there’s an overall sense of alignment when it comes to fundamentally good characters and plots within the overarching tenets of the genre. Right now my scope of acceptance with these dramas is currently very wide, partially because of my limited exposure, but also because of outliers that have warped my alignment.

    Take, for example, Boys Over Flowers. I forced myself to watch that show because it was highly rated and seemed very popular. What better way acclimate myself as to what the target audience wants to see? But it was painful–mostly because of the OTP. Initially I assumed it was because it matched up with the Twilight craze at the time: dark, brooding, edgy, angsty bad boy wins the heart of an innocent young lady. (Disclaimer: I’ve never seen or read any material pertaining to Twilight, so my perception is based purely off a vague sense of what the story is about and what I know of undead blood-sucking vampires in the classic sense. Apologies if I have grossly missed the mark!) As best as I could tell, Gu Jun Pyo was essentially a defanged vampire, and his abusive, manipulative, hyper-aggressive behavior was the suburban version of deep brooding darkness.

    I remember watching and getting a little depressed. “This is the kind of leading man that resonates with women? This behavior is attractive?” If it had been my first drama, I think I would have written off the genre altogether. Fortunately I was about a dozen shows in, so I knew it wasn’t indicative of all the relationships, but it really threw off what I was supposed to consider as acceptable behavior. I understand that sometimes a character’s arc requires them to start off as turd muffins and become better versions of themselves, but there are limits as to how turdish they can be at the outset. Or, if they are hyper-turdish, they destroy their initial relationship(s) and have to build new ones as they change.

    My memory is a bit fuzzy so I all I have is the impression it left. I wouldn’t change my core beliefs about how a man should treat/court/pursue a woman, but after finishing the show I sighed heavily, shrugged, and resigned myself to the fact that legitimately cruel behavior from a romantic lead was one of the “quirks” embraced in some dramas. Maybe it was a cultural thing, maybe it was a product of the times, or maybe I was out of touch with the rest of the world.

    But nuh-uh! I was not alone in my thinking, and thanks to the views espoused here by drama professionals, I can happily narrow my band of acceptance to exclude “romances” such as this. Oh, the heals!!

    Aside from BOF, I’m happy to say that I’ve only fully watched three other shows on this list (having bailed on SitR after 120 minutes). The only one I would only mildly contest is Descendants of the Sun. It was one of my first dramas, and I enjoyed it for the most part. Buoyed by songs like “Say It!” and “Always”, I was left with a good overall impression of the OTP, but when I started thinking about it, the summary wasn’t super complimentary. They had a kind of cute contentious start to the relationship that quickly unraveled after the second failed date. Neither character really responded to each other properly after that, and it turned into a reject-fest with a few subtly funny and tender moments sprinkled in. The whole last act was essentially Mo Yun paying penance for all the rejections by bawling her eyes out thinking her man was dead three different times.

    My only defense is how the show tried to explore the conflict of love vs fear of loss. This isn’t exactly a fresh clash, but it is far more poignant and relevant in this story than in pretty much any other. Mo Yun has to contemplate a future wherein the love of her life can be taken away temporarily or permanently because of his livelihood. There is virtually no stability in the relationship, as he can be whisked away (immediately by helicopter if necessary) in a moment’s notice, and she’ll never know if or when he’s coming back. The nature of the work, while largely a mystery to her, clearly puts his life in very real danger. As if the several near-misses weren’t enough, she gets to actually see him on the verge of death.

    In this relationship, she isn’t just dealing with loss of love. “What if the relationship doesn’t work out? What if he stops loving me?” Those questions take a backseat to, “What if he gets killed this afternoon?” She’s not dealing with hypotheticals. She’s not having to cast aside her insecurities and abandon herself to love. To move forward with what her heart is demanding, she has to embrace certain uncertainty for the rest of her life.

    The younger me believed that love conquers all no matter what. The older me still believes that love CAN conquer all, but it has to pass between human beings who have limits. Compatibility is an often ignored dynamic of a relationship, but aside from connection, it’s one of the biggest factors. Mo Yun initially has to overcome her bias against the military, or more accurately, anything that prioritizes an ideal or mission over human life. Makes sense since the focus of her career is saving lives at all costs. That disparity results in one confrontation and about an episode of estrangement, but it simmers down quickly and eventually disappears. The real issue she has is whether she has the fortitude and will to handle loving someone who is actively engaging with death. It’s a terrible thing to contemplate, but that’s just the jab. The hook is being forced to vouch for your own endurance.

    Unlike other characters (and real people), Mo Yun isn’t just throwing herself into a relationship expecting everything to work out and blindly believing she can handle whatever comes her way. It’s easy to lose yourself in love and just say yes to everything, but once the day-to-day reality sets in and the micro-conflicts start to rain down, a frivolous commitment will start to waver. When love is dangling right in front of you, how hard is it to restrain yourself from grabbing it? How hard is it to weigh the consequences of that decision? How devastating is it to question whether your love has limits–that this person you adore with fresh eyes may not be worth the struggle? Whether your own insecurity or selfishness will cause you to abandon them in two, five or ten years?

    In every scene between our leads after the first couple episodes, that conflict is in play, and Mo Yun gets no help. Shi Jin is the Constant in this relationship for the most part, but he is an unreliable Constant. His heart is set, but his existence is not. In all the other dramas that have the Constant/Change pairing, the Constant can confidently look into the Change’s eyes and say, “I like you and I’ll stay by your side no matter what”. Change may not appreciate or accept that until later in the show, and Constant’s resolve may waiver in the third act, but he or she stumbles or recedes voluntarily and usually because they think they are acting in the best interest of Change. Ultimately, Change has the freedom to change and grow because there is the assurance that Constant is always looking out for them. Mo Yun doesn’t have that.

    Shi Jin looks steadily into Mo Yun’s eyes, and with steely, dreamy confidence says, “Don’t worry about me. I won’t lose. I won’t die”…
    …aaaand an episode later he is unresponsive and bleeding out in front of her.

    As Change, Mo Yun (and the relationship) needs Shi Jin to be the Constant, but in the reality of the show, he can’t be. So her character is perpetually at war with herself and her heart, and when Shi Jin says, “I’ll always be here”–ironically what she needs to hear–it is of absolutely no help. It’s true that no one can guarantee the next hour of their life, but most people aren’t being actively targeted for death on a daily basis. He may WANT to always be there, but he doesn’t have much say in the matter. The only proactive choice he could make would be to retire from the military, but that’s never on the table.

    In short, Mo Yun’s struggle, and the key conflict of this OTP, is whether to dive into a relationship that cannot be sustained by trust, love and communication. All those can be present in abundance (although they had create a workaround for the “truth” part of it), and the relationship could still be torn apart. The one thing she needs is the one thing he can’t give her, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

    I think that makes for an interesting character study, but it also creates some very muddy moments and vacuous scenes. She loves him but resents him at the same time. She’s constantly dipping a toe into romance then pulling it out. She is always teetering, so she has no consistency. A line isn’t funny because you don’t know what the context is, despite being fully aware of the events leading up to it. The cute moment isn’t cute because we know that nothing has been resolved, so they could either be a couple or be at odds depending on where Mo Yun is in her process. Whether a gesture is cute or creepy largely depends on how the other party receives it. If our leading lady finds a rose left anonymously on her doorstep, we don’t know as an audience whether to find it disturbing or endearing. If it’s from the guy she likes, it’s a subtle, beautiful gift. If it’s from the guy who is trying to force his way into her life, its creepy and invasive. Since we rarely know how Mo Yun is feeling about Shi Jin, we almost never know whether she finds the advances/jokes uncomfortable or desirable. I mean, after the second rejection, how are we supposed to believe that she wants him to hold her hand? Most of us would be screaming “Take a hint, bro!” at our screens if the guy wasn’t billed as the lead.

    It also goes on too long without a change in the status quo. We can only watch someone waffle for so long before we lose interest. She finally pulls the trigger (poor choice of words?) around the 13th or 14th episode, but there was no journey behind it. She was standing still (in terms of the relational progression) the whole time. They never grew as a couple. They bonded as two people are prone to do during moments of acute stress and conflict, but that isn’t what the audience is looking for in an OTP.

    I guess what I’m trying to say in this brief treatise is that the OTP is indeed clunky, but I believe its because of an ambitious choice of conflict. Could something like that have been written well? I don’t know. It seems too fluid and fickle to ever coalesce into something that can give us the moments and beats we need to see. But this genre doesn’t shy away from giving a voice to internal monologues, so I think it might have worked, but it would have to be in a different style. More of the “my eyelids make a cute blooping noise when I blink” or “I became suddenly clumsy and accidentally pulled us within kissing distance of each other” style than the more/less grounded approach this show took. …But how do you take that tone with something as macabre as death? Don’t know!

    I do think that’s why I liked the initial dates before Mo Yun knew the truth about Shi Jin’s line of work though. At that point they were just a normal couple clearly enamored with each other. Mo Yun was able to do more than scowl, scold or cry.

    …Having said all that, maybe Mo Yun just wasn’t a great character to begin with. It takes two to make an OTP fail, so Shi Jin isn’t without fault, but I think she was just…severe. Hmm…

    To your point about their offscreen relationship oddly not correlating to onscreen chemistry, I read that they actually got divorced last year. While it is impossible to know and unfair to speculate on why that is, I say without irony or judgment that it seems the real relationship didn’t have the depth or integrity it outwardly projected. Perhaps the lack of onscreen chemistry was an early warning sign. Hard to say, considering the other factors involved, but a somber truth to contemplate.

    On a lighter note, my drama education has been advanced via this post. I now confidently have higher standards for OTPs, have a list of 17 shows that will never meander into my queue, and have a bit of peace knowing that I’m not the only one who finds some lauded relationships to be grievously dysfunctional. The world is brighter, and the weather is nice. πŸ™‚

    Grazie, KFG!

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    • I’m late to this comment, Jesse, but I wanted to say 2 things. 1, HAHA. I want to read your script for “Doorknobs and Vacuums!” It sounds like quite the compelling page-turner! πŸ˜€
      2, FAR OUT, DUDE. You’ve singlehandedly made DOTS feel more thoughtful in concept than anything I saw on my screen, while watching it. I feel like if they’d managed to tease out a modest half of the internal conflict and the agony of the fundamental clash in values, DOTS would have felt like a much more solid show. To my eyes, it was a bunch of Big Romantic Moments strung clunkily together, with unnatural dialogue that sounded hollow and ungainly. You seem to have an uncanny knack for imparting extra layers of meaning that aren’t actually apparent onscreen. You did that too, with Boyfriend, and made it feel more.. understandable, in its odd choices. Are you.. a drama whisperer? πŸ˜€

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      • HahaHahA! I got a good, hearty laugh at “drama whisperer”! Thank you for that! πŸ˜€
        And it inspired another show–maybe a healing drama sequel to the sure-to-be-depressing “Doorknobs and Vacuums”:
        “The Magical Supernatural Drama Unicorn DJ & the Drama Whisperer” …But I’m pretty sure there’s already a manga out there with that title, so I may have to re-tweak the concept… πŸ˜‰

        The truth is, DOTS could very well just be poorly written because it was written poorly. Your summary of the show as a series of clunky romantic moments is on-point, and it could be little more than a case of a writer investing too much time into the “action” (harhar) and not giving the characters enough thought. While I’m sure there are good writers who can effortlessly combine genres, it seems like the kinds of minds that can assemble a really stunning action-oriented plot with intrigue and complexity aren’t necessarily the most apt at making romance jump off the page. And vice versa. Obviously a show like “Healer” comes to mind as an exception, but it never felt like the plot existed to facilitate the romance. The relationship was often at the forefront, but it was journeying hand-in-hand with the plot, not riding on top of it. Both got equal attention, and while there were some nice actions pieces, the momentum was more in unravelling the complex relational history and solving the mysteries that it spawned. The action pieces in DOTS came off more as a poor-man’s Rambo than legit, well-conceived sequences capable of injecting adrenaline into a beautifully tumultuous love story.

        I mean…didn’t some jackass crap out diamonds?! Who the–how the–?? Even for I, the whisperer, some choices are beyond explanation. ;p

        DOTS seemed like it was a romance that just happened to have some “stuff” around it, but that stuff somehow took precedence. I’m not jaded enough to assume, nor naive enough to deny the notion that it was possibly a military rah-rah piece. Like one of its goals was to instill some national pride and a sense of duty. There are so many tangents about that topic in the script, and while Mo Yun’s perspective is a counterpoint, she is ultimately mollified and even has a scene where she says, “I see how important and amazing what you do is”. Whatever one’s views are about the military and global conflict, time spent trying to either edify or decry it is time we don’t have for characters or plot.

        So there could be very plebeian reasons for why DOTS was the mumbling bumbling behemoth that it was, but it’s just a fun exercise to try and see what process might have been behind those odd decisions and why they ultimately didn’t pan out. It is indulging in fiction beyond the fiction, but I’m happy it seems to have some value in these discussions. πŸ™‚

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        • @ Jesse Gray. Ok. I’m cracking up πŸ˜† as I read your post BUT there was a perfectly reasonable reason for dude crapping out those diamonds. πŸ˜† I don’t remember exactly right now what that reasonable reason was, πŸ˜† but one reason was so the surgeons could later cut him open and be at risk from the deadly virus he carried. And even though that’s there just to string together one “drama” point to the next, I’m writer’s audience! ❀❀❀ Sure there were a couple scenes that I went “no one would talk like that in that moment” (i.e. the car hanging over the cliff) but that later gave me the scene of that nonsense she was babbling at
          about the time being broadcast over the radio for the entire camp to hear. πŸ˜† πŸ˜† I’m giggling just thinking about it. πŸ˜† And yes, at the climax of that scene I was thinking “Ohhhh, that’s why writer-nim had FL talking nonsense while hanging off the cliff.” See? It’s all good. πŸ˜†

          I considered DOTS a rom-com despite the weighty subject matter of war. Therefore, I’m not expecting great writing. I do expect the writing to be tight in crime procedurals and, unfortunately, it’s usually not.

          I’ve learned not to expect too much from my Kdramas when it comes to a tight story so I’m glad when they can amuse me and if they pull off a satisfying ending more’s the better.

          For instance – the King Eternal Monarch is ongoing right now. They have this glorious white horse that’s featured quite a bit. (I thought it was a stallion but recently we’re told that Maximus is female. lol) They have a flashback to the hero’s childhood and instead of finding a white colt (or any color because animals do sometimes change colors as they age) they instead went with one of this miniature ponies (the kind with legs about no more than a foot and a half long). It looked totally ridiculous but I have to tell myself to let it go and move on or otherwise I’ll be stuck there and can’t get transported into the rest of the story. (Heck, puff it’s a serious show, sometimes all it takes is for a character to have on a bad wig and the rest of the story’s lost me.) I view most serious Kdrama as rather unsophisticated except for the witty dialogue of the rom coms. That they’re excellent at!

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          • *Chuckle* The mental image of a miniature pony prancing about as a supposed younger-version of a horse is pretty darned amusing. I too have kind of established a baseline when it comes certain aspects of drama, but there is usually a project that exceeds my expectations in some form or another shortly afterwards. It makes me wonder if all shows are created equal.

            I know in Hollywood, some productions are used as stepping stones, bargaining chips or even write-offs. They’re usually lower budget so they won’t be a loss, but they aren’t expected to do very well either. I wonder if some dramas kinda get rushed through with lower production values just to meet contract regulations. (I think the last Fantastic Four film was rushed through because it was written in the contract that the studio would lose the rights to the characters if they didn’t make a certain amount of movies in a certain amount of time.) Or they know their core audience will make the show profitable no matter what as long as they keep the budget under a certain amount. There’s always the chance for a sleeper hit of course, but maybe failure–of sorts–is an option.

            It would explain a lot. I have seen a general uptick in the quality of some of the more recent shows, so maybe the filmmakers are getting better over time. I think when they stick to slice-of-life there’s less of a chance of budgetary constraints seeping through and pulling you out of the emersion.

            …Then again, Justice League–an American blockbuster with millions of dollars and serious IP involvement couldn’t successfully remove Henry Cavil’s mustache, and his freaky upper lip upstaged him the whole movie. Money still can’t buy happiness, apparently. πŸ˜‰

            Of course it always helps to be in a forgiving mood and just go in wanting the show to be good. I tend to get a little picky about some things, but it’s involuntary. The fortunate critics aren’t necessarily the ones with the critical eye; oftentimes the ones who can simply enjoy what they see truly lead the fuller life.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yeah. Our errant pony is in The King Eternal Monarch which I believe would not be on the lower budget spectrum because it is writer Kim Eun sook and boasts Lee Min ho’s return from the military.

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        • Tee hee! β€œThe Magical Supernatural Drama Unicorn DJ & the Drama Whisperer”?!! I’d watch that show, if only to find out more about its quirky title! πŸ˜€ And, sometimes Dramaland does like to use long drama titles. Like “This Week My Wife is Having an Affair,” “On the Way to the Airport” and such. We’d fit right in? πŸ˜€

          Your habitual fun exercise in entertaining the possibilities of the fiction behind the fiction intrigues me. I feel like you literally create layers where I previously didn’t see any, and it’s quite trippy, really, to suddenly see the possibilities where I failed to see any before. If you’re available, this site could sure use the talents of a drama whisperer. πŸ˜‰

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ah, a splendid proposition! My whispering has often sent me hither and tither, but since this is where the dramas appear to be congregating, it would seem there is no better place to ply my trade. πŸ™‚

            –But I won’t be talking like a displaced Englishman from the 1600s. …Really not at all sure why it came out like that…

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    • @Jesse Gray – I can’t believe I missed this post of yours, especially since it’s talking about DOTS. I understood you didn’t think it was as enjoyable or as great a I did, but I have to thank you! Thank you for putting into words which I tried, and failed, to explain to people about the FL. I couldn’t understand why so many in my Kdrama community couldn’t sympathize with FL’s hesitancy and reticence in entering into a relationship with ML. I thought her feelings were very natural. Maybe because my ex and my son were firefighters, that I totally understood how someone could feel like “I don’t want to live my life always worried when I’m not in love with this guy yet. Why go further and set myself up for heartbreak?” But I supposed the answer to that is as you said “…if the guy wasn’t billed as the lead.” Or more precisely “if the guy wasn’t Song Joong ki”. I felt the audience was saying “How DARE she not drop everything to want to be with Song Joong ki no matter what the situation”. Which bring me to a related topic – S. Korea’s obsession with looks. That may sound strange coming from me when I’ve acknowledged my shallowness. But that’s only my preference for watching tv. I care nothing for “pretty but empty [or mean, unkind. etc.]” But I’ve watched Korean talk shows like “Hello Counselor” where they’ve shown couples seeking counseling because one is putting up with horrible behavior all because someone is pretty or handsome. I’m not just speculating. There’s a reason for all the plastic surgery clinics on every corner (and many in between). In short, of you’re attractive you can get away with bad behavior short of criminal activity. That’s also why resumes must have your photo attached.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey @Beez! I actually enjoyed it for the most part the first time I watched it–at least parts of it. There were moments that taken on their own merit struck me as funny or romantic, but overall it wasn’t one of the ones that grabbed me. I’m really glad you liked it though, because a lot of effort did go into it, and there certainly were a lot of things to appreciate if the overall story worked for you. Or, as you say, if you are the writer’s audience. πŸ™‚

        Ironically the second viewing was when I simultaneously lost a lot of my enthusiasm for the show, but gained the perspective of, and appreciation for, FL’s plight. I distinctly recall throwing my hand at the screen and sighing with exasperation as she bulked for the umpteenth time despite clearly wanting to be with the ML and him saving her frigg’in life. (I think it was after he took a bullet for her during her kidnapping.) I was like, “What the heck is holding you up, are you kidding me?! Just because he…might…oh….” It was a sobering moment for me, because I really couldn’t even make a hypothetical decision about being in that situation.

        I meet the love of my life, start to embrace the relationship, then realize she’s a police officer. (My first crush in college actually ended up becoming a detective…along with my roommate. …I was the only non-Criminal Justice in the whole school, apparently.) Would I keep going, knowing that she could be taken from me in an instant? That every night there’s a good chance someone is going to want to harm or kill her. It seems selfish, but I couldn’t work it out. I’d want to, of course. But then I remembered seeing my friends post the badge with the black stripe, and read how an officer fresh out of the academy was shot several times and killed while she was responding to a domestic call. Would I falter? How would that be fair?

        I think my hypothetical situation and your real life experience of having close family engaged in a life-threatening profession definitely lends a lot of weight to the FL’s predicament.

        I confess, I’m not the most PC guy in the world, but even I’ve been taken aback when I see resumes with pictures or hear a character get rejected with something like, “Thank you for your interest, but we’re looking for someone much younger”. (In the case I’m thinking of–BTIOFL–it was a woman saying it to the FL!) I honestly assumed the pictures were there just to help tell the story and weren’t a real thing. Kinda blows my mind that it’s actual practice!

        I think we tend to take it to extremes here where employers aren’t allowed to ask questions that are actually relevant to the job, and so have to jump through hoops to avoid a mis-hire that will cost them money and lost time. But then there’s the other side which is equally as disturbing. Granted, I think if a company wants a certain kind of person, they should be able to be honest about it. If they would rather have a younger woman at a certain position than a dude like me, I don’t want the stinking job! Their preference isn’t going to change, so even if I somehow ride to the position through a questionable process, chances are we’re all going to be miserable. I’d rather go where I’m wanted. But I’m weird like that. πŸ™‚

        The look thing is also bizarre to me. If you love someone…in theory you want to be with them. Which means there is an attraction, even if it isn’t built on physical attributes. The attraction should be enough, even if the world at large considers your partner to be, on the whole, unattractive. If ya can take your spouse for granted and think how lucky they are to have you…it doesn’t bode well for the health of the relationship.

        There’s even an episode about that on 30 Rock where Liz’s character (played by Tina Fey) lands this “universally attractive” boyfriend (Jon Hamm) and ends up having to reveal that everyone caters to him and compliments him just because he’s handsome. He doesn’t believe her until she puts glasses on him, and his world comes crashing down because everyone treats him as a “normal” person. No special treatment, no compliments on stuff he’s not good at.

        …He ends up not liking this world where he’s not given a pass and the two break up.

        So I guess the preferential treatment exists in our part of the world too…or at least somewhere in season three of 30 Rock. πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

        • LOL. If I ever come across the episode (as in notice it’s on Hulu or Netflix) and I can easily see which episode # that is, I’ll check it out. That sounds funny. One of my favorite movies is Shallow Hal which is along the same vein (but uses a bit of magic for the affect).

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        • I also want to say this about writer Kim Eun sook. 1) I believe she’s older so her older dramas tended to feature Alpha men reaching out wrist grabbing their women (which in Korean culture, women like it (as long as it’s the right guy) and it says something about what type of relationship they’re in – man-woman-romantic.) And while that’s not correct in today’s (mostly western) day and age, you can’t take away from Kim Eun sook’s dramas the greatness that they were. And I do applaud her for changing with the times. Maybe not as much as some folks would like. But she could’ve stayed the same for me and I’d still be swooning.

          2) Nobody, and I mean nobody has created more iconic moments in Dramaland than Kim Eun sook. Those moments are clipped and all over YouTube and then there are the parodies all over Korean variety tv because they’re great stand out, memorable moments.

          I don’t understand how if a person loved her dramas back then, suddenly there’s something wrong with them. But then I’m an old fogey too. But I still say just because times change – if someone made characters that way today then there’s a problem but to go back and criticize the dramas that reflect their times is wrong, in my opinion.

          I know I may incite folks here but I’m going to say it anyway. So I signed up for Goodreads a few years ago. Goodreads is where you rate and review every book you’ve ever read. So I gave good ratings to some of my favorite romance books from the ’80’s. Other members lit into me woth statements like “HOW COULD YOU? THAT BOOK AS A RAPE IN IT!” Well, excuse me, the book is about Vikings. And the public seems to have forgotten that if you’re going to read a book on historical fiction, even though it’s fiction, the historical settings and customs should be accurate to the times. I’m not trying to be insensitive but everyone knows that Vikings are famous for raping and pillaging so if you’re sensitive or traumatized then don’t pick up a book about Vikings. Or any book set in medieval times because women were not treated well at all. But why expect an unrealistic book with watered down and unrealistic characters and situations? That’s what makes it interesting to see what an author can do within the confines that her characters are placed.

          Now I’m wait for the call to have me stoned or de-womanized.

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          • Hello Beez, as I take my early lunch today, I thought I would say, I am with you all the way on this one. No stoning and no de-womanising here. It is now becoming a real issue that everything ever written and filmed is being put through this “How Could You” lens, or re-imagining them using today’s view on things. Historical fictional works do come in all shapes and sizes, and certain things did happen and some of them are myth. Some of the great writers are accurate because they have located original, historical documents and extrapolate a story from there. Some are not so accurate, but know how to write a good story anyway, regardless of the genre.

            So, on the Viking front: my family on my mother’s side are descended from the danish/norse scourge, in what is now known as Cumbria in England. Hornsby is the name and means “dragon horn,” or the person that blew the horn on the viking boats, when they were about to raid a village and so on. That side of the family has always been extremely tall. Even family photos from the 1860’s show such height. I am more than happy to make the disclaimer that we disassociate ourselves from our ancestors’ past practices. However, we were extremely good farmers and shared things equally amongst all our folk including joint decisions and responsibilities whether male or female.

            Now, I am off to terrorise some local communities remotely, and put out some common sense back into a few things πŸ‰πŸ²πŸ‰

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            • Thank you, Sean. But there was a time when authors prided themselves on accuracy, and so did the publishing houses. They even used to have entire departments just for fact checking. One of the reasons struggling authors were encouraged to “write what you know” is because the authenticity of it would make the story ring true.

              Books today care nothing about facts. While I’m aware ancient writings contained myths, if your story is set in medieval times, whether it includes myths or dragons or not, you need to know what style of buildings and if they are made from straw, clay, stone, etc.; what foods were available to the region; style of dress and its functionality; customs for relationships and marriage.

              Nowadays even the simplist facts that they could verify using Google is left to the author’s faulty memories. Something as simple as the song Heat Wave being credited to The Supremes. (As a former Detroit native, that one just gauls me.)

              My point is, even if you had no formal bigger education, of you were an avid reader – seeing as you could trust the facts in a story – you could have petty eel rounded knowledge of the world and what history was like. I’m not saying you’d have accurate knowledge of actual events in history unless you’re reading a biography or thome but you would have some details on what life was like.

              And then perhaps we wouldn’t see things like one millennial wrote, in all seriousness, in a paper listing fabrics they used in ancient Egypt as polyester and lycra.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Sorry, you guys. I was tired and my fingers weren’t cooperating when I typed that comment.

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                • Ancient Egyptian women certainly wore a tight fitting linen sheath dress, with other layers over the top, dependant on their rank. Perhaps, they might have availed themselves to a heat resistant cotton spandex if it was available πŸ™‚

                  Yes, the checking of facts is coming home to roost for some, I think. I loved the Supremes. Have a look at the Sapphires sometime.

                  There are a number of recent, good Japanese dramas regarding the fact checking departments in publishing houses. It’s very interesting the lengths they will go to check something, even the technical journals and magazines.

                  Every good book or story should have a reasonable representation of how things were. Of the writers out there are at the moment, there are currently a number of very good female authors who we can all trust in. They take the time and do their research through visiting the locations of their medieval novels and reading many documents (some lost to time until they uncover them). April Munday has a blog and shares her knowledge and findings regarding the period when her novels are set. JR Tomlin writes about her Scottish heritage, often regarding what really happened with key events that certainly challenges what has been seen in film and dramas for a long time and puts a very human face to it all. Then there is Sarah Woodbury who depicts the Welsh history very well with some modern embellishments in her novels. Her blog on journeys through the welsh and english historical landscapes are extremely informative. As for others, well there are some good ones and, well, then there is hmmm.

                  I studied archaeology initially and even undertook medieval history, transfixed by how the past influences the future. Then there is my own family history which has been an interesting one and some of the places they were responsible for, and lived in, are still around today. So, a book, story or film, or drama will always ring true for me, or it won’t, as I have an appreciation of the historical detail detail. My wife and I were watching a show a few weeks ago and I said to her the costuming was so inaccurate I couldn’t believe what we were seeing.

                  Here is to a good book and a good read, always.

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                  • @Sean – I’m assuming with you being an Aussie, you’re referring to The Sapphires whose biopic movie I watched and thoroughly enjoyed a couple years back? (An American group also came up under a search for The Sapphires.)

                    Here are the ladies whose movie I watched

                    Yes. If it weren’t for writers who care about their work, I wouldn’t know that sleeves used to be added to clothing after the wearer already put on the tunic. Or that floors were littered with straw. These details may not be important to the story but they give you the feel of what life was like. I can now understand just how long a knight would’ve had to wait for his lady to come down (because besides all the other trappings her sleeves were being sewn on!) lol If men today knew this, would they still begrudge us taking that hour and extra 15 minutes?

                    Unfortunately, I can’t enjoy reading the way I used to because as soon as I read the next paragraph, I’ve forgotten what the previous one said. Even in order to respond to others comments here on the Kfangurl blog, I use my dual screen phone so that I can look at the comments as I’m responding to them because after commenting on one subject, if you mentioned another – I won’t remember it (or that I wanted to respond to it). Honestly, Kdrama fills up that place that I used to spend pouring over romance novels.

                    Sean, have you heard about how books make it to The New York Times Bestselling list nowadays? If you haven’t, I guarantee you’d never guess.

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                    • Beez, you’ve referred to your short-term memory before, but I thought you were just talking about the usual issues many of us struggle with in a world of bombarding data and incessant multi-tasking. Are you saying you have a ST memory disability, and it’s getting worse over time?

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                    • I have multiple sclerosis. My memory comes and goes on its own whim as does my other symptoms. I’m better in the early mornings but my symptoms progress as the day goes on. My long-term memory has faded some but it’s better than my short-term.

                      I worked with a woman who had M.S. and she was in a wheelchair but could still do the job. Because of her, I had no idea M.S. could affect cognitive thinking.

                      Neurologists say I can’t learn anything new, not even through trying to train other pathways in my brain (I asked). But I continue working on learning Korean because, besides hating being a slave to subtitles (can’t do anything else while I’m watching and I’m always watching since I don’t watch American tv anymore), I think the effort will help my brain. It took me 2 years to learn the alphabet. It’s supposed to take a week at most, but I DID learn it!

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                    • @merji1- I have multiple sclerosis. My symptoms come and go. More come than go nowadays. I’m best early mornings physically and mentally.

                      Before I left work on disability, I worked with a woman who had M.S. She was in a wheelchair but she was still able to do the job. Because of her, I had no idea that M.S. can affect cognitive thinking.

                      I struggle a lot these days to find the words I want to use. I’m blessed that I’m not in a wheelchair but movement is very challenging. It’s better in the early mornings.

                      The neurologists say I can’t learn anything new, not even by trying to train other pathways of my brain the way they do with stroke victims (I asked). But that’s why I’m still pushing, trying to learn Korean. 1) because I think the exercise is good for my brain and 2) I don’t watch American tv anymore so I need to be able to do the chores that I can do without being a slave to the subtitles. Can’t look away for 5 seconds! lol

                      It took me 2 years to learn the alphabet (it’s supposed to take a week at most, and I admit, I haven’t studied every day because I get frustrated). But…I DID learn it!πŸ’ͺ

                      I knew the neurologist were wrong. Yes, it’s very difficult to learn new things but I knew that I had learned “kamsamidah” just from the sheer repetition of it in Kdramas so, while I may never be fluent, I’ll keep plugging away.

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                    • Oh my. I am sooo sorry to hear that, Beez.

                      And, yes, of course they were wrong to discourage you from re-mapping your brain with new learning. From what I know of MS, I can’t even imagine why they would say that.

                      Sigh. It’s at times like this that I judge myself for whining about the little stuff that plagues me and everyone else. I do have peripheral nephropathy, btw, but nothing on the order of MS.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Unfortunately, we’re all sick even if we don’t know it yet. When I was first diagnosed, I researched the causes of autoimmune diseases and, of course, in my studies I’ve run across many scientific papers (and naturalpaths/functional medicine doctors) talking about many other diseases.
                      It’s the food, I tell ya! πŸ˜†
                      But that’s a topic for another blog.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • @Beez — I had to chuckle when you talk about needing to learn Korean so you can do chores without being a slave to subtitles. πŸ™‚ I have the same issue. I don’t have a TV, so I watch everything on a laptop that I tote with me just about everywhere. I hate doing laundry while I’m watching, ’cause I have to switch over to an English-speaking show at least twice for like ten minutes or so. I tried watching and folding, and I always ended up having to re-watch whatever I tried to sneak in. First world problems, I know, but legit! You’ve made a lot more progress than I have though in that regard. Respect! πŸ˜€

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks, JG. I’m plugging away but I think I’ll probably “move on” before I ever become fluent. lol Not that I need to speak it. I just want to understand.

                      Like

                    • That’s them, Beez. Fabulously ladies, fabulously story. The actresses of course are prominent actors here and Jessica Mauboy is one of our most successful singers and performers.

                      The whole chivalry thing was quite complex and not as simple as we see portrayed in so many shows and films as it transcended every aspect of their lives. Yes, it is certainly recorded a knight was required to have great patience socially, but not on the battlefield of course. As for men today being patient, my wife says “I do this for your benefit you know.” That’s then the end of the discussion.

                      Well, I am very glad that Kdrama is able to fill in that place that was once inhabited by romance novels and that you have it all worked out as to how you can respond on the Kfangurl blog. You always make great comments and certainly make me think about a whole range of things.

                      No, I don’t know how books make the New York Times Bestselling List nowadays, but I am always surprised what is on there πŸ™‚

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • New York Times Bestsellers list. First I have to tell you how I found out and then tell you how a book makes it onto the list.
                      Back before I lost my ability to comprehend (the whole forget what I read as soon as I read the next paragraph thing) – I was on Amazon looking for books to download to my Kindle. So I thought if a book was listed on The New York Times Best Sellers list that I had a pretty good chance of finding something good by way of a romance novel similar to the ones I used to read in the 1980’s (Judge Deveraux; Joanna Lindsey; Dorothy Garlock, etc. (Ya know -The Biggies)😊.)
                      So I downloaded a few books from the List. Book after book was nothing but graphic sex. And that is not my issue (not completely anyway) but the stories had no story at all around the sex. I’m talking: 3-page sex scene, a half page of something thrown in there just to move the scene from the bedroom to sex in the kitchen, to sex in the garage. I am not a prude so I don’t get bent out of shape over a graphic sex scene but I wanted to read an actual book. You know with a story and possibly some dialogue. And one of these books was only 33 pages long! The others were also short like 89 or 120 pages. So I called Amazon in a fit (somehow I thought it was their fault and that the stamp that appeared saying New York Times Best Seller was fake) and they refunded my money for all the books. So I googled what was happening that these books were on the The List and the answer was that unlike what most of us think – at least I thought that maybe a book has sold so many copies over the last year or at least 3 months or some reasonable amount of time – but no. The List only measures a certain week and if an author can put together $10,000 (may be more now), even if they take out a loan, and then use that money to quickly buy their own book (sending out people to buy it) during that precise week that The List measures what sold the most during that week, then they can make The List. Unbelievable!

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                    • Beez, that is a great story and description regarding the sequence of events! My eyes are still watering πŸ˜‚ I will say though, it isn’t quite right and I am more than a bit bemused by it all.

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                    • And thank you for the nice words, Sean. I fear I’m too verbose and opinionated. I really do try not to comment on everybody’s comment. πŸ˜†

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • @sean k – “‘…my wife says β€œI do this for your benefit you know.’ That’s then the end of the discussion.”

                      She sounds like a very wise woman, your wife.πŸ‘πŸ˜

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                    • Yes, she is. Much wiser than yours truly 😜

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • @seankfletcher – I was wondering if the New York Times has found a way to combat rigging the system since I last heard about this and it appears they have: but it’s more indicate so if you want to read the entire article, the way books make it onto the list is still not necessarily the way you would think. Article https://self-publishingschool.com/get-on-the-new-york-times-bestseller-list/

                      “To achieve bestseller status on the Times not only do you have to sell at least 5,000 – 10,000 copies in one week, Β but these sales have to be diverse sales.
                      That is, you cannot sell 10,000 books to a pre-existing list of followers through a personal website or thousands from only one marketplace like Barnes and Noble.
                      Rather, these sales must flow from retailers across the country and in different geographical locationsβ€”everything from Big-Box chains like Barnes and Noble and Walmart, small independent book stores, E-commerce giant Amazon, university bookstores, etc.
                      It is worth noting that the public does not have access to who the aforementioned retail outlets are. Β To prevent possible abuse from those looking to rig the system.”

                      Taken from:
                      https://self-publishingschool.com/get-on-the-new-york-times-bestseller-list/

                      Like

                    • So, it is still quite mysterious. Authors need to” keep your powder dry,” so to speak and nut out how to make it all work for them.

                      Like

  27. If I didn’t comment on a show on your list, Kfangurl, that means I didn’t see even one episode of it.

    Heirs – so agree

    DOTS – I felt the chemistry on the page but not so much on the screen – meaning I liked what it should have been. I didn’t see it in real life either but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. I think of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s failure to produce sparks in Eyes Wide Open which I literally could not keep my eyes open every time I tried to watch it so I just gave up. I think in DOTS, the funny and the old 1950’s Hollywood style to the situations in this drama (which includes the way the OTP was written) made me really like the show and them. You knew nothing was serious even when it was serious. huh? πŸ˜†

    Encounter – not because of all the publicity of “he’s her husband’s friend” but I felt like I was watching a young guy romance his young-ish aunt.

    The K2 – That’s like watching someone not have chemistry with Park Min Young. As an actor/actress you’ve got to know you’re the one messing it up!

    Itaewon Class – I still haven’t finished it. I totally can’t stand the lead actress. What makes it worse, I should love her to pieces because she’s the first Kdrama character that slapped somebody (an elder no less) back. Not that I approve of disrespecting elders, but somebody’s got to put a stop to all this slapping and shin kicking, especially of people who are not even your kids in S.K.

    Memories of Alhambra – AGREED!

    Hyde, Jekyll, Me – Agreed – but wait a minute! I saw Fatal Encounter but saw no romantic connection at all. Are you just talking about chemistry when two actors just share a scene and pop? Or did I stumble upon another sliced up version of a movie? (which is why I advise not to watch movies on Viki – they edit out scenes for no reason. Not necessarily “adult” scenes, just random little scenes but sometimes that scene makes a difference in the movie)

    My Absolute Boyfriend – Agreed but I wasn’t sure if the problem is just me not seeing Yeo Jin-Goo as a romantic lead yet. He’s gorgeous but still a baby in my eyes. Even in the Crowned Clown – I got no chemistry between him and the queen but, again, it’s probably just me.

    Moorim School – I keep starting it but can’t get beyond episode 2.

    Scholar Who Walks – Agreed. Although I felt all types of chemistry whenever Gwi was on my screen even if he was alone! πŸ˜‰ (Good acting there because Lee Soo-Hyuk does not inspire that in me otherwise)

    Warrior Baek Song doo – Soooooo agree! And I’m sorry to say – I thought maybe the actress was a beginner so gave her the benefit of the doubt but here it is many years later and she’s destroying Hospital Playlist with her wooden-ness (which Show is not that exciting to begin with but she’s a bucket of ice water in an otherwise nicely warm cast). Nix that – buckets of ice water can be pretty dang exciting in an unpleasant way. She’s just dull.

    BOF – Agreed. But I can’t figure it out. After episode 1, I vowed I would never, EVER, like Lee Min ho’s character but…

    Secret Garden – I πŸ’• them still. I smiled just seeing the show’s title.

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    • Ah, you’re right about Fatal Encounter, there was no romantic connection, it was more of an antagonistic connection, but the chemistry was quite apparent and sparky, which I liked. I thought it might translate better, in Hyde, but it didn’t. πŸ™‚

      This might be controversial (gasp!), but.. I feel like there are some actors that just don’t seem to work very well, as romantic leading men. The vibe that comes across is almost.. asexual, to my eyes. Yeo Jin Goo falls into that category for me. Joo Won too, EXCEPT for his outing in Ojakgyo Brothers, where he sizzled with UEE. Every other time he’s been cast as a romantic leading man, though, it’s been pretty flat for me. I don’t know what it is. Especially with Joo Won, since he was wonderful with UEE in OB. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

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      • @kfangurl
        Yes, Park Bo gum – almost like he’s the character Taek (1988) in real life. Too sweet and angelic = asexual. (Although if I had a 13 year old daughter and she had a crush on him, I’d find that harmless and adorable.)

        I still see Yeo Jin Goo as a baby (although in the early episodes of Absolute Boyfriend I was thinking “Boy! Where’d you learn to sizzle like that?!” But if it I really found him hot, that’s not what my brain would’ve been thinking. πŸ˜‰)

        Quoting you ….”Joo Won too, EXCEPT for his outing in Ojakgyo Brothers, where he sizzled with UEE.”
        You’ve been recommending Ojakgyo brothers to me for years and that comment is the first time I’ve felt like I might actually want to watch it!
        Here’s why I don’t find Joo Won sexy – he doesn’t swing his arms when he walks. πŸ˜†
        I’m totally serious though. I first saw him in Fashion King (the movie) and noticed it then. The casting directors for The Good Doctor must’ve seen him in that too and decided he’d be perfect for the doctor with high functioning autism. I’m just sayin’.🀷

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        • Ahahaha!!! I laughed so hard at your observation of Joo Won and his non-swinging arms, and his subsequent casting on Good Doctor!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I might never unsee this, Beez! πŸ˜† But he truly sizzled with UEE in OB. I squeed. 😍😍 Worth considering? πŸ˜‰

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          • Absolutely! I’m trying to decide right now whether to check out Tunnel, which I’ve been meaning to watch and now I feel guilty for dropping Rugal so might need to see Choi Jin Hyuk in something I’m pretty sure I’ll like. Or start a long journey with a weekender. Or can I handle another dark story after finally finishing SLA and dip my toe in My Mister (in spite of The Voice and IU). I don’t know about going into something so dark where neither lead makes me feel anything other than “ok”. *deep tired sigh*

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  28. Ha. I love this post, even though I’ve only seen one of these shows. I imagine the fun you had putting it together, mixed with the trepidation that you’d be flamed by hordes of angry fans who normally love your blog. With so many dissed shows on this list, it’s actually amazing that you haven’t been! (So far. lol )

    Well done!

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    • I was going to add Well Intended Love (even though I haven’t watched it) but I couldn’t remember the name. I had to scroll through the Asian romance dramas Netflix is always pushing on me to find it. But now that I remember the name, I see you already listed it.

      How did anyone think that premise would be enjoyable to watch? Can you imagine the pitch session: “Ok, you’re going to love this one. We call it, ‘Girl Meets Psychopath.’ It can’t miss!”

      Liked by 2 people

      • HAHA. Yeah, I don’t know how that went down, but by golly, that show is POPULAR, MeriJ! I am shocked that Well Intended Love has hoards of fans who love it to bits. I.. don’t understand. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

        Liked by 1 person

  29. I’m not big on romance in general, as you probably know. 😝 There was a post about fave kdrama romcoms in another blog and people were commenting with long ass lists. And then there was I, strugling to remember even one. LOL! But I digress…

    I have to say I agree with you on all of those on your list that I’ve watched. I too liked (most of) SeGa while it aired, though FL’s decent into a simpering miss once she and ML got together annoyed the heck out of me even then. SeGa was probably the last KES drama I watched in full. Her dramas are now an automatic hard pass. :D.

    My contiribution to lukewarm OTPs with no chemistry: Dr Champ – but then, the whole show was rather meh.

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    • I’m leaning towards making a KES Hard Pass rule for myself too.. I’ve checked out so many of her dramas because of the huge amount of buzz, but I notice that I’ve consistently bucked the trend of whether I like it. So many people loved the DOTS OTP, but I just couldn’t feel it. :/ But, I did like Song Joong Ki in it, and the military couple was good. I’ve heard so much blah reaction to the King drama, though, that I currently have no FOMO at all, and don’t plan to check it out. πŸ˜†

      OH! I remember Dr. Champ! You know what, that OTP was so meh that I legit wasn’t clear on who the love interest was supposed to be, until the very end! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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      • KES dramas just don’t really agree with me on the whole, so why bother. I’ve got better things to do with my limited drama-time. Dr. Champ romance was so ‘beige’ it blended with the scenery. πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

    • Oh oh, Timescout. I totally understand cause most people don’t liked guys who are wrist grabbers grabby hands types but I must say Kim Eun sook has changed up that type of ML writing style the last couple of years. Notably Goblin and Mr. Sunshine. Goblin never pressures the FL. Likewise Mr. Sunshine (unrealistically given the time period) allows the FL full agency and Show is epic, imo. Goblin is just funny chemistry all around – especially Gong Yoo and Lee Dong wook’s scenes together.

      Of course, you’ve every right to avoid what you don’t like, but if you ever want to give KES another chance, I think that’s one aspect that’s really changed.

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      • It isn’t just the romance in KES dramas that leave me cold. I just don’t find her stories particularly interesting and I don’t really like her writing style either. There are so many other dramas that suit my taste better so I decided not to bother with KES anymore. I have limited time for dramas now and rather use those hours to watch stuff that I actually enjoy. πŸ™‚

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  30. I have to disagree on Itaewon Class OTP….i shipped them so much! Not all romances need romantic gestures or situations for falling in love and this was that kind of couple. I could always feel PSR affection for Yi Seo and I literally said Yay when he realised his love for her. So yeah, I loved them! πŸ˜ƒβ£

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    • With the late eps of Itaewon Class, I did notice the breadcrumbs writer-nim had sprinkled along the way, and I could rationalize a lot of stuff, including the loveline, and Sae Ro Yi’s turnaround re Yi Seo, but.. I just didn’t feel it. Can’t explain why, except that it didn’t feel organic to me, somehow. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Glad you loved it tho! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes exactly that was my point. The show focus was not the loveline so it didn’t matter me much the outcome of the lead couple. I was more involved with the rise of DanBam and how sae ro yi he finally avenged Jangga. I was happy that he ended up with yi-seo and wasn’t expecting anything more from them. I also felt that the character of sae ro yi needed a badass and Yi SEO fit the bill perfectly

      .

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  31. I totally agree with Boys Over Flowers. Dropped it half at through. The whole “romance” was beyond toxic and it’s suppose to be a classic? How?! Same goes for Mischievous Kiss. I only watched the anime adaption of the manga and the main dude is totally cruel and randomly nice to her and that 1 time randomly is enough for her to keep loving him. I mean for every time he does/say something to her, 9 out of 10 times it’s something mean! It was a hard watch. Probably should have dropped it. This is from a male perspective so I could be misunderstanding something. Memories of Alhambra relationship was forced. Hotel Del Luna didn’t finish. Plus it’s Hotel De La Luna!!!!

    Thanks for the recommendation for Witch’s Romance a long while back. Took a big break from kdrama. Might get back into it. Anime is keeping me away. Season 2 of Fruits Basket is on and the manga is so good that any kdrama fan can appreciate the story and characters. I recommend everyone watch/read it. Surprised you didn’t review Weathering With You. Same director as Your Name. Might be better or close to it.

    Looking forward to more of these and reviews. Stay safe!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Vekster!! Long time! πŸ˜€ Always great to see you! I agree on the problematic loveline in Mischievous Kiss. I did enjoy the dramas at one time, but I suspect that I won’t like ’em the same now, similar to my reaction to Secret Garden. The meanness of the male lead is unpleasant, and there isn’t even a reason for his behavior, except for his superiority complex. Very problematic indeed.

      Oh, about Hotel Del Luna, I actually think the writers mis-named it on purpose. In the story, the female lead names the hotel, and she’s vain and likes to be luxurious and elegant, but isn’t well educated. So I think they let her make that mistake on purpose, while she thinks that she chose such a classy, elegant name for her hotel! πŸ˜† I thought that was quite clever, actually.

      Ooh, I don’t usually watch anime, but I did love Your Name, so I’m putting Weathering With You on my list to check out. Thanks for the recommendation, and I hope you’ll enjoy some dramas soon, in between the anime! πŸ˜‰

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      • Oh I second Playful Kiss! I’ve not watched in full – facebook video keeps promoting clips of it to me so that’s all I have seen. And they are all horrible! It’s just him being mean to her yet she keeps clinging on! Terrible stuff and I shudder to think what impressionable young girls learnt about love from that show.

        About DOTS I was very into their romance but that was when I was a newbie to Kdramas (it was my first Kdrama I think!) so it was swoony. Today… I would probably have dropped it halfway haha. I feel that SJK’s charm held up most of the show, without SHK’s help.

        Ah I too love Your Name and have Weathering With You on my to-watch list!!

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        • About Playful Kiss.. I don’t know, this seems to be a popular dynamic in the J-dramas based on Shoujo Mangas (and all the other countries’ remakes of course), and I also notice that this domineering snooty male lead dynamic is quite popular in C-dramas as well. I don’t really know why it’s so popular. I’m currently watching a popular 2020 J-drama, Love Lasts Forever, and it seems to take this Playful Kiss premise, and then make everything slightly better, ie, he’s less mean. It really requires a very particular lens to enjoy, and I agree, it can mess with impressionable young minds. πŸ˜›

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          • I think it’s a combination of the Fairy Tale Prince who’s rich (and faceless because his personality really is irrelevant) but rescues Cinderella from her troubles (usually financial) AND the mistaken mindset that we women don’t want the guy who’s nice to everyone. We want the jerk who’s only nice to us, thus making us special when the az*h*le “changes”. Makes me want to spit. πŸ˜€πŸ’¦ And yeah, I used to be guilty of this.🀒😡

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    • Hi Vekster – thanks for the info on Weathering With You – I have a deep respect for Makoto Shinkai. Those backgrounds are an inspirational wonder to behold. The best skies ever. Gonna make sure I see this…thanks!

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      • No problem! I think any Makoto Shinkai scene can be used at desktop wallpaper or framed on a wall due to the detail. Also, rain is animated amazingly in Weathering With You and The Garden of Words (on USA Netflix). Sometimes you forget you are watching anime since it looks so realistic! Anime is my first time exposure to Asian culture so my viewing of kdrama is mostly from a Japanese perspective and thinking I understand it. So would skinship be kdrama equivalent to fan service?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Vekster I was so inspired that I just watched Weathering With You! It is so lovingly and wonderfully done. So full of emotions that I was just so swept along for the ride. Though if I analyse the two, I still prefer Your Name, but Weathering With You was still beautiful in every way. Thanks for the recommendation! KFG, if you see this, I would certainly recommend Weathering With You when you’re in the mood for some anime πŸ™‚

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          • Glad you liked it. Garden of Words is on US Netflix is a short watch clocking in at around 45 minutes. Another Shinkai movie. If you want any other anime for kdrama fans recommendations, I would be happy to think of some. I will find those that resemble kdrama types.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I know the primary purpose of her page is for kdrama but any knowledge is good on things if the interest is there. If anyone wants anime recommendations I have some already thought of if the interest is there but I don’t want take away from the foundation that was placed for this page. Imposing is never my intention but I am just saying I know something else that could help entertain us in tough times.

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              • I’ve been around Kfangurl’s page for quite some time now, and I get to rambling on about off topic shows because somebody’s comment makes my thoughts go off on a tangent. If that was a problem, I think Kfangurl (and the other commenters) would’ve booted me out long ago. πŸ˜†

                Other commenters’ mentioning other shows, no matter what country or genre is how I’ve found out about some of the most entertaining shows!

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              • Hey Vekster, Beez is right, I’m open to people sharing on tangents. So feel free to share your best recommendations of anime with us, I’m sure it will be helpful to some of us! πŸ™‚

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                • Yes, Vekster. Maybe you can help me. I watched an animae on Netflix around 7-8 years ago but I can’t think of the name of it now. It was about 2 guys and a girl. She was on a journey to find her father The Sunflower Samurai (not sure if “Samurai” was his title but his name definitely had “Sunflower” in it). One of the guys was a highly trained swordsman and I think he was a government agent or exiled government agent with people following him on a mission to kill him. The other guy was a regular guy but he was a very good fighter with lots of hubris and moxie. He believed no one could best him in a fight. Along the journey the two guys would end up in pissing contests and almost resort to battle to see who’s best but the girl would always intervene to keep them from fighting. I heard someone once compare them to Daegil and the fallen General from Chuno, which is what motivates me to watch it in the first place.

                  Do you know the title of this show?

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                  • Samurai Champloo. Same director of Death Note, Space Dandy. All recommended. Another samurai recommendation is Rurouni Kenshin. Still need to watch it. Only watched 3 live action movies with great sword choreography.

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                    • Which 3 are live action movies?

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                    • Rurouni Kenshin. You can watch on Funimation in US. Also same place for anime

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                    • Thanks, Vekster!

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                    • Not a problem. Glad I could help you. I meant same director of Cowboy bebop and not Death Note. Uses same English voice actors from Bebop in Champloo. Makes it awesome!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Rurouni Kenshin

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                    • And oh – where can I find them?

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                    • Places to find anime include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Funimation, Crunchyroll. Monster will be a hard anime to find legally but it is on Youtube at the moment.

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                    • Thanks for the website! Cardcaptor Sakura made by CLAMP, I hear is good and is coming next month to Netflix according to website. It’s a magical girl anime like Sailor Moon. I only watched Chobits by CLAMP and it’s good but I hear manga is better especially the ending.

                      I recommend Violet Evergarden, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, K-On, Aggretsuko, Parasyte The Maxim, Beastars, The Devil Is A Part-Timer, Record of Grancrest War, Avatar the Last Airbender (yes it’s American but it’s still animated) as far as anime on Netflix that I have seen. I don’t recommend Inuyasha, Attack On Titan, and Clannad as those don’t have the full seasons on there but do check them out when you can watch in full.

                      Maid-Sama is popular for a romcom but I found it wasn’t for me but I still finished it. Seemed like it’s a forced get together because the main dude bothered her until she decided to date him. Not just bother, but stalking at times. Just because he found her secret. She works at a maid cafe. Not a cute show like some would say but creepy and toxic. Maybe I am missing the point or not a female to understand? Surprised it wasn’t made into a drama yet.

                      Anohana and Angel Beats I haven’t seen and heard they are sad so you have been warned. I am not in the mood mood to feel sad the way Clannad After Story made me. Not just yet.

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                    • I’m overwhelmed by my kdrama watchlist (“The Monster”). So i won’t be starting any new animae other than the ones you told me about earlier that I will be watching while on my treadmill. But I will be watching the last season of Avatar. I watched the first two seasons and Nikolodeon (spelled wrong) app locked me out and wanted a paid subscription. So I’m very excited that Netflix has it. I could never get into the sequel, Legend of (can’t remember?). But my son liked it even more that Avatar.

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                    • The good thing about anime is the episode count. Most are 12 episodes (roughly 6 hours and can finish in one day). Some are in the 20s but still worth watching. I watched Avatar after Fullemetal Alchemist and thought nothing can compare to that show but Avatar was surprisingly good. You mean Legend of Korra? I never watched. Grancrest War has a bit of romance in it if you want a show with it in it. Same with Parasyte but it’s mostly about “alien invading bodies”. Mostly horror but it’s really good. Kinda like John Carpenter’s The Thing and a bit of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. K-On is a bit longer with a movie so bottom of your queue? Violet Evergarden is very emotional so pick a good time to watch it. Not sure if you want to run and cry at the same time but it does play with the feels at times in a good way. Let me know how you like some of the recommendations.

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                    • Cry while WALKING on that dreaded treadmill? No thanks. πŸ˜†

                      And yes, that was it – “Legend of Korra”. One thing that I really liked about it – while it’s set in the future, you get repeated sequences of descendants from Avatar’s time like the guy with the cart of cabbages that every one runs into. You see that character and his cart periodically. And there were others that throwback to Avatar but I don’t remember everything now. That’s why I’ll be starting the entire Avatar series from Season 1.

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              • @Vekster: I would appreciate anime recommendations for our mid-twenties child (my wife’s child, technically). They studied video and film in art school and have very good taste.

                As a clue to what kind of movie/show they like, two of their favorites are Your Name and Millennium Actress. They actually started to study Japanese in junior HS just to better understand anime.

                They accidentally got us started on K-drama last year, watching scenes from Love Is A Bonus book over their shoulder in the living room. Love at first sight!

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                • I would be glad to give some recommendations. Most of these could make good kdrama adaptations. Some of my highlights followed by a quick list. Wikipedia is your friend to see what all you have to see as far as OVAs, season count and movies.

                  Steins;Gate: based off a visual novel (choose your own adventure type game) about time travel. No time travel story compares to this one. Beware… first 11ish episodes could turn you away due to being slow. I didn’t mind them as they needed to set the story up.

                  Clannad: another visual novel adaptation. High school romance but actually includes MC having a child which is weird since most anime stop after they begin to date. This is no spoiler as season 2 dives into the relationship. Beware. Kleenex needed for this one. Animated by Kyoto Ani. Supernatural elements so pay attention.

                  Violet Evergarden (on US Netflix): great story about a girl trying to undersand what “I love you” means since all she knows is war. It’s a very emotional piece of work animated by Kyoto Ani. Kyoto Ani had a huge tragedy due to arson and many people dying so I would support them anyway you can. They definitely deserve it. Also, don’t forget to watch the special and side movie.

                  Lovecom: good romcom about tall girl and short guy falling in love. Very funny. Live action movie isn’t too bad.

                  Record of Grancrest War: Just a good fantasy anime with romance included.

                  Monster!!!!! No kdrama or other medium can’t compare to the twists and turns of this one. Thought Kdrama Last Empress could but I never finished it. It’s one of the most crazy and intense read/watch I have ever experienced.

                  Elfen Lied: More adult but very impactful. Not for all tastes. Inspired Strange Things.

                  Perfect Blue: Crazy movie that is adult and definitely impactful but not for everyone. About stalking and mental illness. Movie Black Swan inspired by this.

                  Quick list:
                  Romance: EF: A Tale of Memories/Melodies, Toradora, Say I Love You, Real Girl, Amigami SS/SS+, Please Teacher/Twins, Chobits (alternative to Absolute Boyfriend? never watched it)

                  Action: Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Samurai Champloo, Outlaw Star, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

                  Fantasy: Snow White With the Red Hair (good romance well suited for a kdrama adaptation), Overlord, Fate series, Spice & Wolf, Kamisama Kiss (good romance kinda like Inuyasha)

                  Comedy: Devil is a Part-Timer (would make a good kdrama), Lucky Star, Ninja Nonsense, Ghost Stories (English dub only), Konosuba

                  Slice of LIfe: Fruits Basket!!! (one of the best I have watched and read, would make a great kdrama), Azumanga Daioh, K-On

                  Drama: Bakuman, Orange (kinda sad but great anime/manga. Read the manga. It’s short), ReLife (Would make an excellent Kdrama. Surprised it hasn’t since it would work perfectly, 27 year old able to go back to high school with a pill to make him look younger. This is of course is an experiment)

                  Horror: Death Note, Shiki, Tokyo Ghoul, Attack On Titan, Hellsing Ultimate, Btooom! (Read manga ending)

                  Mecha: Code Geass, Gundam series (only one I watched so far was MSD: 08th Team)

                  Sci-fi: Speed Grapher

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • Also Death Parade and Future Diary for horror. Some of these title already have drama adaptations as well

                    Liked by 1 person

                  • Samurai Champloo- that’s it!

                    Btw – what does “OVA’s” stand for?

                    I’m cutting and pasting this entire post. I have zero watching time but I’m finding Japanese content is short enough to watch while putting in my daily drudge on my treadmill.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • OVA stands for an episode not released during original airing so its an original video animation

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ditto on cutting & pasting the entire comments. Thanks, man!

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                    • No problem. That list should be enough but then again research is always fun. I would research terms since I’m sure most are coming from a kdrama perspective. Tsundere, shonen, shojo, seinen, josei, ecchi are some for starters. Also, be careful what rabbit hole you go down. Research does have its drawbacks. I would start watching Fruits Basket (2019) to start with.

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                    • I’m familiar with Koreans using “Tsundere” but haven’t heard of the other words.

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                    • Mostly genre terms for demographic and type

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                    • Is there an emoji for “went over my head”? lol

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                    • Just research the terms and the it should be more clearer. It’s really easy. Mostly describing if it’s geared towards male or female and what age.

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          • Wow you’re fast, MC! πŸ˜€ I definitely want to see it; I haven’t been able to find it yet, on my usual sources. But I’ll keep an eye out for it. I’ve also added it to my list, so that I don’t forget. πŸ˜‰

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  32. Isn’t it funny how some OTPs fade with time? I look back at Secret Garden the same way now. Somehow the personal space invaders are not as appealing any more. Neither do the hunched shoulders of the female lead. Are we older now? Post #metoo aware? I don’t know. What I do know is the Capt Hyun Bin with his gentlemanly, super reliable ways is now swoonworthy.

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    • Woah, hi5, dear Webby! ❀ Yes, it's quite weird and trippy actually, how SeGa gets such a different reaction out of me now compared to then! I do think that #metoo has made me more aware and more discerning.. I'd also like to think personal maturity is a contributing factor! πŸ˜‰ But YES. Hyun Bin in CLOY over Hyun Bin in SeGa, ANY time! Gentlemanly, reliable, thoughtful and sweet for the win! Swooon~ 😍😍

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      • I think my ability to watch things and put myself into a certain mindset is why something like Secret Garden will never get old for me. I can discount certain behaviour as “that’s how it was”. Even though I’m 60 years old, I can put myself in my 15 year old mindset and enjoy the Twilight movies. 😊 Just as in being a Black woman with a heightened sense for spotting racism, I don’t get offended by movies or books made during time periods where that’s just how it was. I don’t even get offended by current day stuff that is set in those times so it has offensive scenes. I’m more likely to be offended by shows and movies with unrealistic portrayals of black people not experiencing hardships or having everyone in that time period treating black people with the utmost respect because it just wasn’t true. That does our history a disservice and when other nations watch inaccurate portrayals then they may wonder why black people are “so angry all the time?”. Sorry to get all serious but I’m just saying that watching men be how men have been for centuries, when it’s an older show or a historical drama – I’m fine with it and can go back and enjoy it for what it was.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s a very interesting way of looking at things, beez! πŸ™‚ I’ll try to use your lens the next time I’m watching something older, and see if that helps me enjoy my watch more. πŸ™‚

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  33. Oh my goodness kfangurl, you really have a way with words! I choked on my snack reading “vacuum cleaner”. You pulled together this list so quickly too! Luckily, I haven’t seen about 25% of these, so I probably don’t have as much rage inside me as you do. I’ll admit, I was always rooting for the orange-haired F4 guy in BOF; never got behind the main couple. And the Secret Garden thing was so easy to watch when it came out, but I can see now that it’s very uncomfortable (maybe that’s just a trend still; if you’re handsome and rich, it’s not stalking, it’s affection).

    I think when I was on a Ji Chang Wook high after Healer and Suspicious Partner, I went into the K2, and I couldn’t believe someone so stiff could be a love interest. That one made absolutely no sense to me also, and I was very turned off by Yoona’s acting that I wanted to actively avoid anything I saw her name mentioned in.

    Some OTPs that didn’t work for me personally from the top of my head:

    Back to 1989 [TW drama] (Marcus Chang and Ivy Shao): I dropped this drama after the third episode because I couldn’t stand the female lead. She was so whiny and such a baby. I later went to read recaps because this drama was so popular, and I… don’t really know why this OTP became so popular. You fall in love with your best friend’s kid?? It’s not like they’re from the same timeline, so it’s not a “love transcends time” thing!! I guess I’m missing out because I don’t actually see their emotions, but goodness gracious, their characters sound like they do some dumb things.

    Black (Song Seung Heon and Go Ara): also dropped, but apparently there’s a romantic loveline. It’s a bit like a fate/destiny thing I guess. SSH isn’t the strongest actor, but compared to Go Ara here, he’s in a league of his own. Go Ara just seems to be whiny or on the verge of tears.

    Blood (Ahn Jae Hyun and Goo Hye Seon): putting aside IRL events, this OTP felt dry. I liked Ahn Jae Hyun in this; he felt cool and mysterious. But then something didn’t click, and I gave up. I can’t even remember the plot anymore, so maybe it’s a good thing.

    D-Day (Kim Young Kwang and Jung So Min): look, these two were cool characters and had good chemistry, and I like these actors. But while I guess an OTP was hinted at, the sudden kiss came flying out of left field and whacked me in the face. It felt like I missed an episode of more build up.

    Doctor Stranger (Lee Jong Suk and Jin Se Yeon): like I get it, but also I don’t. The actress seemed emotionless, and I guess you can argue it’s the character, but I had to disagree with my friends on this drama. I felt meh.

    Hospital Ship (Ha Ji Won and Kang Min Hyuk): I can’t remember why anymore, but I think this OTP felt meh. Prob could’ve stayed platonic. The love triangle added in wasn’t that interesting either.

    Hwarang (Go Ara and Park Seo Joon): that’s the main OTP right? Another pairing I couldn’t understand LOL. I think if it stayed as pretty boys with no loveline, I would’ve enjoyed this drama a lot more. It sure was eye candy.

    Itaewon Class (Park Seo Joon and Kim Da Mi): had to mention again ofc because if it stayed one-sided, I’d tolerate it more. It was always off-putting, and I didn’t find it funny when in the early eps, she butted in and stopped Nara. That was… over the line.

    Les Interprètes [C-drama] (Yang Mi and Huang Xuan): oh the first half was amazing. They were both stubborn and really showed their power and whatnot. But then they get together and it goes downhill. And near the end, I was losing it. Where did that strong Yang Mi go? The OTP loveline when on an entire rollercoaster only to end up in a dumpster fire, and the writers tried to salvage some ashes from the remnants.

    Love Alarm (Kim So Hyun and Song Kang): was already turned off by the end of ep 1. That’s crossing a line, and I don’t think I can get behind an OTP like that. Others have mentioned Season 2 is different, but I don’t think I can agree with the characters, despite my love for Kim So Hyun.

    Melting Me Softly (Ji Chang Wook and Won Jin Ah): weird from the start. The only thing in common was that they’re in the same experiment. Then there’s the dumb condition of not getting too hot. It felt absolutely forced, and I still fell into it because the premise seemed interesting. Sadly, I drudged through to the end.

    Missing You (Park Yoochun and Yoon Eun Hye): nonononononononononononononononononononononononononono

    My Roommate is a Detective [C-drama] (Hu Yi Tian and Shane Yan): I get where they were going, but it became a running gag, and then it felt so rushed and forced. Expected, but didn’t support it. Didn’t make sense because there weren’t really hints; sure, characters would SAY things outright so we know, but their actions sure didn’t reflect it.

    Secret Love (Ji Sung and Hwang Jeun Eum): I fell for Ji Sung and rooted for them because “oh, the enemy starts loving her”, but there were some parts of the relationship I couldn’t really wrap my head around, especially since he was absolutely vile in the beginning, but here are some shots of her hardships and the rage melts.

    Shuttle Love Millennium [C-drama] (Janice Man and Wei Daxun): also dropped due to annoying FL. I wanted to love this because it’s the director from Queen In Hyun’s Man, and this drama is supposed to be similar to that and follow the format. But this was so annoying, another whiny weak FL. I like Puff Guo, and I read that (***SPOILER: she gets the short end of the stick and loses her guy, but the whiny FL gets the guy from the other timeline or something but Puff was a much better character?***)

    Temperature of Love (Seo Hyun Jin and Yang Se Jong; Jo Bo Ah and the chef): okay this was a hot mess and how did it take me nearly 36 eps or so to drop this? The back and forth of the main leads was frustrating and dumb; are they twelve??? They’re adults, for crying out loud. And dear lord, the second couple with the nearly abusive female? What was this absolute trash, and why was she rewarded? I was so happy when the chef guy made a stand, but he wimped out.

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    • Ahahaha!! You made me laugh too, rainmakermelody, with your nonononoononono on I Miss You!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I think I blocked that one from my memory; I hated that show, and pressed on until I couldn’t anymore, and rage-dropped it. 😝

      I was completely underwhelmed by K2 as well.. Yoona was one of the weakest links for sure, but that show had lots of other issues as well. I actually enjoyed her quite well in The King Loves, where it legit feels like the second lead was written to get the girl, leaving our actual male lead a lonely man. That felt quite refreshing, honestly. πŸ˜‰ You can take a peep at the review here, to see if it strikes your fancy.

      Gosh, I tried to watch Back to 1989 too, and I just couldn’t get into it!! I hung in there longer than you did, but I ended up with the same bemused question of why other people loved it as much as they did. πŸ˜… And yes, I also struggled to get on board with the loveline in Hwarang! That drama had a lot of problems, but yes, taking away the loveline would’ve helped. For Itaewon Class, I agree that Yi Seo was over the line when she stepped in to block the kiss. Like, I know this story is based on a webtoon, but still, that’s just not acceptable. Not unless this is a wacky drama world where all decorum gets thrown out the window – which this wasn’t. I ended up dropping Temperature of Love, but SAME, I couldn’t get into the lovelines, and I was especially miffed that the toxic 2nd female lead was actually rewarded for her bad behavior. UGH. That was the exact episode I tapped out! πŸ˜“

      I didn’t watch the rest of the shows you mentioned (big phew, coz they sound pretty bad! πŸ˜πŸ˜…), but I found it entertaining (and helpful!!) to read your thoughts! What you wrote about D-Day sounds a lot like what happened in Itaewon Class, I hafta say! Why do shows keep doing this?!? πŸ˜†

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      • For some of these dramas, the OTPs didn’t ruin the drama completely for me. I just maybe looked away from my screen and fiddled with something else and just let it run while vaguely listening. I think the only one I would recommend on this list (if it’s your cup of tea though) is D-Day; it’s about dealing with the aftermath of a huge earthquake and the OTP wasn’t bad (we could see they were developing feelings because well, near-death situations and close proximity often does that in dramas). It was that one scene that was so unexpected but the watcher prob did know they would get together. It’s not romance-heavy at all, and I think that was the only kiss they shared lol. The rest though? I’d say you’re not missing some wild story that’s a must-see. Also has Ha Seok Jin!

        Secret Love won awards I think and was a hit when it came out. I liked it, but looking back I realize it’s another stalkerish situation, and there was a pretty forceful kiss where she was actively fighting back. The melo plot was interesting, but yeah prob wouldn’t enjoy it much now.

        I don’t know why I forced myself to watch to the end of Missing You. I should’ve stopped when Harry went crazy because that was unexpected and not a good twist. I thought I just dislike melodramas but no, it’s just this one I hated.

        After only 12 eps, I’ve dropped out of Ashes of Love. I didn’t even really pay attention to the last two eps and was playing on 1.5x speed, so the fact this didn’t draw me in enough and I befire the teen eps finished meant I quit before the OTP even really developed. I tried to get through eps because your review mentioned swoony OTP in the 20s eps, but I just wasn’t feeling it. At all. (I prob seem hypocritical since I gave The Untamed those 12 eps πŸ˜‚ but somehow I found some of those later eps more watchable). So now I’m going to admit, sometimes I want the absolute most cliche, cheesiest drama I can find just so I can just… over-exaggerate my reactions when cliche situations happen or I’m in that mood LOL. I like to do this sometimes in between dramas so I can just have cheese and wind down. I’ve been watching Girlfriend (2020)[Cdrama] and I literally am feeling all the cliches. Not the gooey-ist cheesiest, but def nacho cheese. ANYWAY my point is there was this one scene (ML works for a talent agency or something) and they’re discussing advertising and they mention having a kissing scene in movie trailers or something increases audience interest by x% and by golly, maybe that’s where some forced OTPs are born πŸ˜‚

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        • OH. HAHA, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly why some forced OTPs are born!! πŸ˜†πŸ˜† It’s all about the bottom line in the end, for the production houses.

          That’s true, a bum OTP doesn’t mean a drama is necessarily shot. I did like Itaewon Class for the most part, it’s just that the last minute push for All The Romance felt unnatural and not true to Show’s core appeal. I’ve heard that Secret Love is very cracky, but I never felt inclined to check it out.. And now I think I made the right decision; stalkerish loveline doesn’t sound like something I could get into right now. πŸ˜…

          Yeah, I can understand you not feeling Ashes of Love. I didn’t feel it much either, but I was happy enough to hold on for Deng Lun, even though I found Yang Zi’s character way too cutesy for my taste. And, I think I get what you mean about wanting cheese, sometimes. I’m currently watching J-drama Love Lasts Forever (An Incurable Case of Love) coz lots of folks recommended it to me saying it’s very cute, and I realize it’s kinda-sorta like Mischievous Kiss, in that she becomes a nurse to be near her crush who’s a doctor. She’s less of a pushover and he’s less randomly snooty and cruel compared to the leads in Mischievous Kiss, so it basically adds up to a big ball of fluffy cheese. Not the kind of drama I would usually reach for, but, it does have a silly, guilty pleasure appeal to it. πŸ˜…

          Liked by 1 person

        • That kiss from D-Day was underwhelming, I agree. No emotions at all, maybe it’s So Min’s acting + director’s plan. That’s why I hate those dead fish kisses.
          But she always had good chemistry with her co-leads. She’s my bias in terms of kdrama actresses,btw.

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      • Missing You was torture! That was back in my days when I just couldn’t drop a drama.

        Liked by 1 person

        • SAME. My mindset back then was “just finish it or FF to the end so you can see what happens” and I still wasted time bc of that. I hate how dramas in hindsight have so many problems you didn’t notice during your watch. I stuck through Missing You for the leads, and I’m just glad I had seen their other works before this mess. At least now I’m much more comfortable dropping dramas, even if they’re close to the end because “I invested so much time, it’s a waste”. But the economics person in me reminds me “it’s a sunk cost”!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Happily I was able to drop Missing You, though I should’ve dropped it sooner! πŸ˜† That sobfest was PAINFUL. 😭😭

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    • Melting Me Softly πŸ’” Do y’all know how long I waited for Ji Chang wook to get out of the military? (Well, y’all do, but still… for this?

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Kfangurl,
    You already beat me to Warrior Baek Dong Soo’s OTP. Other OTP’s that did not work for me were in Master’s Sun (he was rather mean to her) and Goblin (unpopular opinion, I know).

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    • Oh, I’m with you on Master’s Sun and Goblin, Snow Flower!! I hated that he was mean to her in Master’s Sun! In an early ep, he’s even grabbing her by the hair! That was so awful! πŸ˜“ And, I didn’t feel any chemistry between the leads in Goblin. It’s not the whole reason why I ended up pausing my watch indefinitely, but it certainly was one of the reasons! πŸ˜…

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      • I think in Goblin, Gong Yoo’s character was being extra careful not to have chemistry with the FL as she was still in high school. It warmed up some after she graduated high school. But once she became an adult, the story had gone somewhere else in that the couple was separated for a long time so OTP chemistry was back burnered.

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        • I like both actors in Goblin OTP. The story had a good premise, but I thought it could have been told in fewer episodes. Instead, the writer spent too much time on creating “couple moments” which I thought were unnecessary to the main plot line. I think The King Eternal Monarch is starting to give me Goblin vibes, so I am not sure if I should jump ship. I like the world building, but feel like we are not given enough clues. I don’t expect everything to be explained in the beginning, but some things should have clicked already except they haven’t.
          Come to think of it, I was not too excited about the OTP in Mr. Sunshine, but everything else in the drama was so good!

          Liked by 1 person

    • If I recall correctly, wasn’t the FL all over him and touching him while they were strangers? I think that’s why I never registered that as him being mean to her cause I wish a strange person would cling to me and touch my body the way she did – there will be blood!

      Although I don’t remember the hair pulling so please correct me if he wasn’t doing that in his attempts to fend her off. (If not, I might’ve thought it was hot. πŸ˜†)

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      • The Master’s Sun was rather odd drama for me. I am not into ghost stories, so I admit my bias. I don’t remember the context of the hair pulling scene, but I think it was supposed to be funny but it was not.

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  35. I would also say oh my Venus. I really wanted to love this show. So Ji Sub is hot. The main female lead is very likeable. The premise is interesting. But the dialog and narrative was so bad. Like their first kiss, which usually has me going aww, had me totally cringing. He actually says “your body is mine”. Sorry…even if you are So Ji Sub, it still is a disturbing thing to say to a girl. And the whole secrecy felt wrong in a relationship.

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    • Exactly this, SZ!! That’s another OTP I forgot! Lots of folks loved Oh My Venus, but I really struggled with the OTP and how it was written. I HATED that “your body is mine” thing, and didn’t find it romantic at all. πŸ˜’ I cringed a lot during OMV too, and I like both SJS and SMA! 😝

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      • @SZ10 and kfangurl – while I agree the whole relationship of the OTP just didn’t live up to my expectations – I totally melted at the “Your body is mine” line. It was hawt! πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ (Hey! I was born in 1959. \_(ツ)_/Β―Β  )

        More problematic for me was after viewers complained – the lame way they tried to fix it later with some obvious line made to “let’s fix this”. (I admit I don’t remember what the “fix it” line was but I really can’t stand when shows backtrack based on some of their audience expressing disapproval. That often results in nobody liking anything about the continued storyline. You’ve already lost the people who didn’t like it and then you alienate the folks who did, so now nobody’s happy. I’ve seen that happen with too many shows – Korean and American.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lol. Ok, point taken. I guess I’m just not Show’s target audience then! πŸ˜† “Your body is mine” in this show didn’t work for me, but if it worked for you, that’s cool, coz it’s So Ji Sub, and So Ji Sub IS hot! πŸ€©πŸ˜†

          Liked by 1 person

  36. Did you see School 2015? The main OTP was so meh that come year-end awards it was the female lead and 2nd male lead that got that best couple award. They even had a song number number together. I guess that’s to appease the fans of the drama that was so mad she didn’t chose the 2nd male lead. What’s worse the male lead is in attendance of that same ceremony

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    • Hi there dramacf!! πŸ˜€ I actually did see School 2015, and weirdly, I was pretty ok with the official OTP, though I know lots of folks’ hearts bled for the 2nd lead. I think part of the reason is because I have a soft spot for Nam Joo Hyuk. πŸ˜… I did think viewers were perhaps too harsh on his character as well. BUT, gosh, how awkward that award ceremony must’ve been! 😱😬

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  37. I totally agree with Itaewon Class. It’s the reason why I dropped it on the 15th episode.

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    • Well I just finished the show last night, and I can now say with 20/20 hindsight, that you didn’t miss much. I was quite underwhelmed with the finale, and I actually liked E15 more than the finale. 😝 Such a pity!!

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  38. I hate to be non-controversial on you, but of all the shows you listed (at least the ones I’ve seen) I agree completely.

    In some cases, I think the dysfunctional nature of the OTP was deliberate – Something in the Rain for example – but that didn’t make it less difficult to watch. A lot of these are KES dramas too, I don’t think that’s an accident. I hate her OTPs for the structural power imbalances between them. Even Secret Garden’s badass female lead had her bodily autonomy overwritten. KES has issues.

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    • Yes, KES has really some issues in what she finds romantic. Maybe SK viewers are finally seeing it now. Her current drama’s (who’s cast belong to her earlier dramas) ratings are going downhill. Though I like SG, I don’t find it romantic anymore than when I’ve seen it while it was airing. Now, I only like it for the lead’s acting and it’s such a delight watching YSH inhabit Oska.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tee hee! Aw, it’s fine to be non-controversial once in a while, Dame Holly! πŸ˜€ That’s a great point that a lot of the OTPs on this list are from KES dramas.. And, it’s very possible she does have issues, coz the things that she seems to find romantic are very disturbing. πŸ˜› I’m wondering whether to just avoid all her dramas as a general rule, from now on. πŸ˜…

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    • lol I guess I’m finally getting deep enough into this genre that after reading your comment I’d take the time to research who KES is. (Answer: show writer Kim Eun-sook)

      But after all these mixed comments, I still can’t decide if we should watch Secret Garden! Can we pull off a Beez and pretend we’re watching it with 2010 eyes? Or is it too late to enjoy it without cringing at the toxic male behavior?

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Thanks for your list! I personally felt that the OTP in Naeil’s Cantabile was so awkward and they had no chemistry. That’s a pity coz the couple are a key point in the show. Its supposed to be a romcom! The couple seemed like they would rather be with a rock than with each other.

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    • OH. I must’ve blocked that from my memory, coz I SO AGREE on the OTP in Cantabile!! It was so forced and so awkward, and Show’s insistence on their romance felt like someone vehemently shoving a square peg into a round hole, and paying no attention to other people trying to tell them that it just doesn’t fit! πŸ˜…πŸ˜† It became more bearable in the middle section, but the last ep, which had been pre-filmed on location, just brought all the jarring exaggerated back; it was so hard to watch. 😝😝

      Like

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