If you didn’t already know, we’ve got a special series to kick off the new year! Guests posts, by patrons on Patreon, sharing their personal drama stories, 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!
This guest series is MC‘s brainchild (thanks MC! ❤️). You can check out the earlier posts in this series as follows: MC, Sean, Shahz, JJ, Martina & Beth. After today’s post, there will be three more guest posts by mystery guest writers, whose identities will be revealed when their various posts go live. Woot! 🥳
Today’s post is brought to you by Uyen, whom you may seen around the blog for some time now. I’ve realized that Uyen has lots of drama thoughts, and I’m so pleased that she’s taken the time to share some of those thoughts with us today!
Uyen also writes about dramas on her own blog, which you might like to visit here!
I hope you guys enjoy!
~ KFG ❤️
I’ve totally loved hearing thoughts from everyone on their stories and dramas (thank you, MC for having this idea, and everyone who’s shared!), and I’m so happy to share some of the ones that I have a soft spot for. Not all of them are necessarily my top favorites, but they do stand out to me in some way.
Note: I do link some MVs here; if you’ve watched the dramas I mentioned and liked them, re-live all the feels! Otherwise, be warned that some of the scenes might be spoilery (maybe?) if you were interested in watching them. Or they might pique your interest like they did for me!
Early drama memories
So I have some memories watching ‘80s Viet-dubbed Legend of the Condor Heroes, along with my siblings, but sadly, I don’t remember much of it anymore, and don’t know where to find the series now.
First proper drama
The very first full drama I can remember watching, was Hana Yori Dango (HYD).
I can’t remember exactly how and why I started watching it, but I think I was reading some manga and probably came across some discussion of HYD, and was intrigued enough to start watching. Somehow, I got sucked in. (I sort of blame Jun Matsumoto/Domyouji Tsukasa’s curly hair making me feel some type of way.)
Looking back now, it has all the high school tropes, but what can I say, I was younger, and squealed over the man-child lead who couldn’t hide his emotions, and was a secret dork.
I didn’t realize then, that the manga-drama franchise was so huge, and had so many adaptations! What I loved about this, was that I found out later that so many people around me watched Boys Over Flowers, like my siblings and even some high school friends whom I hadn’t expected would watch Asian dramas.
Now, one of my favorite things, is to find out that other people also watch dramas, so that we can talk and vent about them, and swap recs! Who knew this would be the start of something beautiful.
More – and more! – dramas!
HYD made me interested in dramas, and I watched some more.
Out of the high school dramas I watched, I’ll always have a soft spot for Shut Up Flower Boy Band.
Who wouldn’t root for an underdog rock band navigating class, fame, friendship?? I loved-loved those boys, and I loved their ride-or-die bond. I think it was special to me because I was a bit jealous, not having that sort of friendship! While other dramas I watched centered around romance, this was special to me and made me feel all the feels, by exploring friendships as relationships.
I was content with the way the arcs were wrapped up, and the characters’ actions always stayed in character to me, which I didn’t realize was not something I could always expect from a drama, *cough cough * (insert shade at your fav drama that falls into that trap here).
I stopped watching dramas for some time just because of life, but like many, when the pandemic started, I picked up watching dramas again, to find comfort in stories.
There are two dramas I consider my second gateways, and the first is dear to me: Second 20s/Twenty Again.
I remember barging into my friend’s room one day in college, and seeing her watch this drama. A song was playing, that stuck out to me, “Do Not Love Me.” I remembered the scene, and that song that somehow stuck with me, and some years later, I asked her what drama it was again, found it on Netflix, and that was that.
I got sucked in again.
Again, I couldn’t help but root for the underdog, this time an ahjumma living her best university life and I felt all the feels, seeing her learn to fully love herself.
My second gateway would be a pretty popular one. My friends tease me for liking Goblin lol because none of them do, but I got into it pretty immediately.
I actually didn’t know about the hype over it when I watched it, which I think helped a lot, otherwise I probably would’ve thought it was overhyped.
I actually started watching it because I somehow found and really liked the song “Wish” by Urban Zakapa and was intrigued that it was from a drama. So I started watching the drama, and truly, there was something about the melancholic and bittersweet story that hooked me from the beginning.
Putting aside any criticism about the story, I don’t think it can be denied that the show has some really nice cinematography and gorgeous music. And the best word for me to describe my feelings watching the show was that it was so atmospheric. Like, I can still see and hear one of the scenes where Kim Go Eun is biking in the dark with “Hush” by Lasse Lindh playing in the background. Sigh.
I laughed and cried after watching this, and felt a bit empty inside after, as all good stories make me feel. Such is the power of art. This is just one of those guilty pleasures I have to admit to.
One of the things I’ve learned to look forward to when starting a new drama is, will I have this sort of unexplainable but fierce love for it?
It’s a hard feeling to describe, but I felt it when I watched Just Between Lovers/Rain or Shine.
I remember telling my friend when I was just mid-way through, that it was a drama of my heart. Meaning, when I watched it, I just had this sense that I totally vibed with it. I think the beauty of it, is that I didn’t really expect anything from it when I watched it, but it just happened like that. I felt like the characters’ reactions to their contexts were very understandable.
Lee Kang Doo is my weakness and one of my fav male leads, and Ha Moon Soo also is just so sensible and empathetic; they are one of my favorite OTPs.
I love how the drama discussed grief and we how all grieve in very different ways; how grief/trauma stay with us and manifests differently; how guilt comes up; and also, the power of human connection and relationships.
The accident that sets up the framework for our story was based on a real incident, and so I do think it was very important that the drama was respectful towards survivors and families in the story it was trying to tell, and I believe it did that well.
It deals with how people find grief and disaster uncomfortable, delves into memory, and asks how do we remember, and why do we remember/who are we remembering for? Ugh.
Interestingly even though it does make me cry with the subject matter, I find it uplifting too, so it is a comfort watch for me.
The other show that I had similar feelings for, was Thirty But Seventeen, even though the mood of Thirty But Seventeen is much more upbeat and wholesome to me.
I watched it for Shin Hye Sun, and actually thought, from the synopsis, that it would be very serious and dramatic. So I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be more wholesome, and lighter in some ways, than I had thought it would be, based on the premise.
Gong Woo Jin and Woo Seo Ri are also one of my top OTPs; they are so delightfully wholesome.
Woo Jin is kind of an unassuming male lead, but his honesty and straightforwardness made me swoon (one of my favorite romantic lines he delivered was not actually a traditional romantic line I think; at least, not the kind usually delivered, because he wasn’t even saying it to her, but it still made me swoon!).
Like Just Between Lovers, I forgave a lot of the flaws and tropes in this drama that I normally might’ve harped over. Did not want to let this one go after it ended.
And finally, the last drama I want to share that is special to me is Oh My Ghost.
This drama is dear to my heart because, like Goblin (which I didn’t even remember until writing this post, that I also started watching that one because of an OST. Wow, and I guess Second 20s too), it reminds me of the power of music and how one of my favorite aspects of dramas are the OSTs.
I have a very long Spotify playlist that I listen to, and for the best ones, I can recall the exact scenes they were played in, and all the emotions I’d felt with the characters in those stories. That’s powerful.
I actually started watching Oh My Ghost because I found one of its OSTs first, “Leave” by Park Bo Young.
It immediately caught my attention with its sort of melancholic melody, and somehow, I decided to watch the music video. There was a particular scene from the drama showcased in the MV that looked so wistful that I was hooked.
The premise of the drama was sort of ridiculous, but also hilarious to me. And while I didn’t love the romance, I truly loved Park Bo Young flipping between two very different characters, and I also loved Kim Seul Gi as our feisty ghost.
Kim Seul Gi’s arc stole my heart (when is my girl going to get the lead in a full drama??), and I loved the duality of both girls growing into themselves and coming to terms with their identities/personalities in very different ways.
So that’s that,
..just a slice of some of the dramas that hooked me.
I’m very excited for all the new stories I have yet to dive into. And writing this, I realized I have a thing for getting reeled in by OSTs, and also, dramas with a wistful/poignant/grief-in-some-way-yet-also-kinda-hopeful bent, so if you have any recs for those, please send them my way!