This month, we’re going to be treated to another series of guest posts, by mystery writers from the Patreon community. Woot! (Thank you so much, you guys. I love that you all are so up for this! ❤️)
This guest series is MC‘s brainchild, and is, essentially, a sharing of stories from the community, mostly around the topic of “How did you get into dramas?” and “What does your first drama mean to you?” – with flexibility to go off on personal tangents, of course. 😁 Feel free to share your stories too, in the comments!
We will be enjoying a total of 9 guest posts over the next few weeks (yay!!); I really hope you all enjoy.
I’m especially grateful to MC for thinking of this, and volunteering to write this post, because she’s got so much on her personal plate, with her job, and her baby too. Thank you so much, MC, for making time for this, for us!! LOVE YA. 😘😘
Come, Tell Me Your Story
One of my favourite quotes is the opening of Love Actually – “It seems to me that love is everywhere,” the British prime minister (Hugh Grant) says. “Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there … If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
Yes, while it’s true that love is all around us, I would like to add that stories, too, are all around us.
From advertisements on TV trying to tell you that if only you bought that watch or that sweater, you would be able to win the heart of that girl you eyed; to online food bloggers who insist on telling you all about the winter that they’ve had and how their children made snow angels when all you want is that recipe to perfect your Duck Confit; to vloggers whose income literally depends on people being interested in their lives – even Ms TSwift is into writing songs about fictional characters.
We’re all social creatures who love a good narrative.
And narratives are powerful! There is a whole course of therapy treatment called narrative therapy, which the American Psychological Association (APA) defines as “treatment … that helps [people] reinterpret and rewrite their life events into true but more life-enhancing narratives or stories.
Narrative therapy posits that individuals are primarily meaning-making beings who are the linguistic authors of their lives …”. Stories are powerful because we make meaning from understanding the stories of our lives and we, too, feel, learn and grow, from the stories of others.
I personally think that’s why so many of us are drawn to K dramas. Whether you like thrillers, horror, romance, or crime dramas – they weave such great stories. Gorgeous cinematography, assured directing, thoughtful writing, powerful acting – they all come together to invite us into their wonderful world, to laugh, cry, and feel, with our newfound friends.
So, here’s where I extend my hand to invite you, dear friend – come, tell me your story.
This isn’t about me, but about all of us.
Draw up a chair, pour yourself your favourite drink and come sit by the fireplace. Tell me all about how you entered the world of K dramas and your gateway drama; tell me the story of the drama (or characters) that touched your life or was memorable for you; gush about a drama that made you laugh and cry and feel like no other.
Or even if you don’t have a deep story to share, that’s ok! Not everything has to be deep, after all – tell me the story of how you watched a particular show for your favourite actor (come, let’s squee about him/her together!)
Join us in this story telling session! We offer cozy blankets and great stories – can’t promise you Lee Jong Suk though, I’m afraid…
Let me get the ball rolling:
How I was inducted into the world of Kdramas:
Funnily enough, it was with my mother-in-law. Turn your clocks back to 2013, where yours truly was a newly-wed who had just moved into my in-laws’ house as we waited for our house to be ready.
Kdramas (though I didn’t know it back then) were our way of bonding. Back then, the tv was on every night to some cable vision channel and there was this nightly drama playing. I didn’t plan to watch – I just sat outside on the sofa reading my book to accompany her, but slowly I got sucked into the story and soon, we would ask each other for the time and remind each other that it was soon to be 9pm, and it was time for another episode, lol.
Funnily enough, it was one of your typical trope-filled 100+ episode dramas – rich guy living in a big house, with a small outhouse that poor girl and her family lived in and they fell in love but couldn’t be public about their relationship as the boy’s mother looked down on them.
So they would send each other liquid looks of longing and had to part ways and yes, there was amnesia and the truck of doom – but I lapped it all up and could not bear to miss a single episode.
Strangely, the cable station didn’t air the last few episodes, and I was so desperate to know the ending that I googled and watched it online. Turned out that it was a Kdrama! (When I watched it, it was dubbed in Mandarin – it was probably a KBS/SBS production, I think, as our cable television carried these channels if I’m not wrong. So it was a shock for me to realise that the actors did not sound like what I had been used to!)
Also – if you know what show it is or want to try your hand at drama sleuthing, I would love to find out what it was. Unfortunately, I forgot, but I can still remember the scenes!
I then took a long break from dramas – somehow there were always other shows to watch and I (back then) snobbishly looked down on Kdramas. I was only re-introduced a few years later when – yes – the Descendants of the Sun craze happened.
Even a super manly guy friend of mine said it was good, so that piqued my interest, and I went onto Viu and checked it out.
Interestingly I actually saw a few minutes of Goblin/ Guardian but the fighting put me off so I left (sorry, you handsome man, Gong Yoo!).
I fell for the Song-Song couple and especially Song Joong Ki (so suave!), and then after that it was Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and I squeed with the couple as they fell in love (but not the humour… oh no that was not my cup of tea) and that, my friends, was my proper entry into the world of Kdramas, with no end in sight.
One of my favourite shows is Misaeng – let me quote you myself (lol) in my comment in KFG’s review, so you can understand how much this show means to me:
Honestly, this isn’t really my “kind” of show that I am naturally attracted to. For entertainment and when I want to relax, I tend to gravitate towards cheery happy shows, I like happy endings, I like romance, I like funny comedies – all of which Misaeng is NOT.
I mean, I have my days when I love deeper, introspective, contemplative stuff, but usually for fun, I wouldn’t naturally fish out a show like this. Also, I’d heard lots of good things about Misaeng, about PD Kim Won Seok (of course with my favourite show of all time My Ajusshi) and I knew I should watch it, but… there was always a funnier, more lighthearted, cuter, more romantic show that caught my attention first.
But then Netflix showed me that Misaeng will be taken off Netflix on 17 June (gosh that’s tomorrow!) and I told myself, I should watch it.
But still, I hesitated a little. [Some context is that I was then transiting, about to start a new job really soon, in a new industry that I was not familiar with.] And the premise of this show – a young guy who is inexperienced, thrown into the corporate world with nothing apart from his Baduk strategies – hit a little too close to home.
But I told myself, let’s just try it. And the first 2 episodes were SO HARD to watch. It hurt so much to see Geu Rae struggling wandering around lost in the office, struggling with the jargon, feeling so out of place, and friendless.
It’s silly, but I saw myself as a Geu Rae and wondered even if I made the right choice in changing job and starting over!! I had to force myself to watch the first few episodes, when life was so hard for him. But somehow, something just kept drawing me back to the show – you are right that it is so immersive that you feel you ARE Geu Rae and friends, so I cared for them and wanted to know what happened to them.
Thankfully it got better for Geu Rae and friends, and I love EVERYTHING you highlighted (in big or small ways) in the entire review.
How each character was so fleshed out and so real that I felt that they were me or they were my friends. The growth of each person. The camaraderie amongst the various teams. The pacing. The acting. The directing. The writing. The OST. Everything. So I won’t elaborate on those.
Who knew that a show about work would grip my heart so much? That a missing piece of paper, a presentation, a pitch to a client, would leave me on the edge as if it was a crime thriller show? Yet that was how I felt.
So coming back to my story – I guess, in a silly way, throughout the show as Geu Rae and friends found their place and found their feet in the company, I felt that when I started my new job, I could be like Geu Rae too.
Maybe I’ll be scared but I’ll remember that Geu Rae had an even-bigger change in life to overcome (from Baduk to the corporate world) and if he could do it, so can I. Maybe I’ll be lost in the beginning (thankfully I know how to use a photocopying machine though!), but every day will get a little better.
Maybe I’ll be friendless at first, but hopefully, I’ll find a tribe like the rookie tribe. And maybe, just maybe, if I’m lucky enough, I’ll find a boss like Chief Oh and teammates like Dong Shik.
But even if I don’t, I’m sure I’ll be fine somehow… every day is a new battle and all we can do is to keep doing our best – and I’m sure that as we keep doing our best, we deserve a message just like Chief Oh’s for Geu Rae – “Jang Geu Rae, you couldn’t have done any better. YES!”
“Mi-saeng [Incomplete]. Wan-saeng [Complete]. Here, we’re all incomplete”. So accurate and poignant that it still sends chills down my spine when I remember it.
I smile as I read this now, 2.5 years later, as I’ve settled in nicely into the job, found a group of friends who have become my sistas, earned the respect of my colleagues and bosses, and know what I’m doing. It’s lovely to look back and see how far you’ve come!
And lastly, just to lighten things up – one of my favourite shows is The Sound Of Your Heart.
It’s so ridiculous but so funny! I watched it in the middle of the pandemic and my husband would hear me laughing, crying, and rolling around clutching my stomach, and come check on me, only to roll his eyes when he realised it was because of a show.
Ah, Kwang-soo, you killed me (in the best way)! Plus, it was so funny to see my beloved Kim Dae-myung from Sales Team 3 (Misaeng) as the useless brother.
Ok, that’s it from me! Come join me. I can’t wait to listen to all of your stories!