Hi, KFG. I just finished Dinner Mate, a B movie that was easy to watch with some good heart-string pulls, but was about 3-4 episodes too long.
Most of all it was a vehicle for a mature Song Seung Hun who is as beautiful (at least) and charming as ever. I say this even though it’s the first SSH drama I’ve seen! But I checked and, sure enough, he was your first entry in Pure Pretty, so I almost feel like I knew him when. 😆 Nice photos. 😅 Thank you for your delightful “reference” material, which stands the test of time.
The movie and my, ahem, research prompted me to take a stab at a question I’ve been percolating for a while, but haven’t been able to get to the heart of. The simple question is, has your fangirling changed over the years? Some details follow.
I notice that both of your KLoves and Pure Pretty features were first posted about 7 years ago, and there have not been many new entries for a while (although there continue to be new comments, so, still relevant!)
Are any original entries gaining or waning in your affection? Would you add any new KLove and Pure Pretty interests to the list, and have your criteria for the same changed over time? What role does fangirling play in your enjoyment of kdrama today? And not to complicate a good ogle, but does consent culture impact how you think about fangirling at all? It’s a lot. 😬
So, seriously, KFG. I know you’re super busy these days with all the right priorities for the blog, so please answer at your pleasure and your leisure. I’m rather satisfied with just being able to articulate my curiosity and interest. Thanks!
Full disclosure: Leslie sent in her question a fair while back, before I fell into all things Junho, which is why, in her question, she mentions that there had been no new k-love post for quite a while. That has since changed, which I’ll talk about soon.
Thanks for your very thought-provoking questions!! ❤️
Y’know, I’d actually had a vague inkling, that my fangirling had changed over the years, but without your question to prompt me, I didn’t really have a clear idea of how it had changed, exactly.
So, this has been quite an illuminating exercise for me too. Yay for great questions that trigger reflection and realization! 🤩
I think the best way to answer your question, is to tackle the various sections of it separately. I hope this works! 🤞🏻
Are any original entries gaining or waning in your affection?
Case in point 1
My first-ever k-love was very early in my kdrama journey. I was watching family drama, 2008’s Family’s Honor, and found myself being very charmed by the suave, charismatic male lead, played by Park Shi Hoo.
I found myself falling for Park Shi Hoo quite promptly because of this role, and I proceeded to check out all of his other roles in other shows as well.
It was only a matter of time, before I branched out into watching his interviews as well, which.. is when I felt the fangirl love start to fizzle out, heh.
Not gonna lie; he was extremely boring in interviews, and it didn’t take me long to come to the conclusion that all of the charisma that I’d found so interesting and compelling, was everything to do with the characters written for him, and nothing to do with his actual personality.
I didn’t fall out of love on purpose, but.. it just happened that way. 🤷🏻♀️
And, given his eventual scandal in 2013, which I found really quite disturbing, and how I now find myself pretty much unable to watch him on my screen, I’m actually relieved that I fell out of love long before the scandal came along. 😅
Case in point 2
And there’s what happened with Kim Woo Bin.
Those of you who’ve been around the blog for a while, know that I went through a serious, SERIOUS Kim Woo Bin phase.
He basically snuck up and stole my heart in a big way in 2013, after I’d finished watching School 2013 (SUCH a good show, you guys. I think it’s the best of the School series I’ve seen. Totes recommend).
For a while, I was ALLL about Woob. I had him as my phone lock-screen wallpaper, and Lady G even sent me a painting of him, that she’d commissioned for me – so apparent was my Woob love, at the time. 😅
But then, Uncontrollably Fond happened, in 2016. Essentially, I’d tried to watch the show for Woob’s sake, but hated the show so much, that the experience ended up having the weird effect of draining me of most of my Woob loyalty.
I just.. couldn’t stop the Woob loyalty from draining out, and by the time I dropped the show, I found my Woob love mostly worn out and waned, honestly.
After that, Woob took a long hiatus to look after his health, and while I’ve always wished him well, I can’t say that my fangirl love has recovered, or even stayed the same, since then.
I can be a fickle fangirl that way. Out of sight, out of mind. Whoops? 🙈
Now that Woob’s getting ready to make a comeback, though, I’m actually really curious to see how I do, when I have him back on my screen. Maybe I’ll fall for him all over again, who knows? 😁
Would you add any new KLove and Pure Pretty interests to the list?
Heh. When you first asked me this question, I’d honestly thought that perhaps I’d outgrown my fangirling phase, because, for 6 whole years, I didn’t find myself falling for any of the excellent actors who graced my screen.
I mean, I very much admired their acting prowess and handsome looks, but I just.. didn’t find myself falling for them. I’d be able to talk enthusiastically about a handsome, talented actor and say that I really, really, really liked him (like Lee Do Hyun, for example, or Greg Hsu), but that would be it.
I wouldn’t say that I’d fallen for any of ’em, which is why I’d started to entertain the thought that I’d perhaps outgrown the fangirling thing.
..And then Junho happened 😍😍😍 – and I’m back to fangirling again, ha.
I guess I haven’t grown immune to fangirling after all! 😂
Have your criteria changed over time?
I realize that the answer to this, is a resounding YES as well.
Thinking over it, I think it’s quite safe to say that I went through 3 stages, in terms of my fangirl criteria. The 2nd and 3rd stages kind of overlap a bit, but I find breaking it into 3 stages quite useful for our discussion.
Stage 1: The suave character onscreen
As a new and impressionable k-fan, I found myself falling quite easily for the suave male leads on my screen. Honestly, it’s kinda embarrassing. 😅
As you might have guessed, this phase didn’t last very long – particularly after I found Park Shi Hoo so excruciatingly boring during interviews. 😝
Stage 2: A mix of personality, talent – and dazzling physicality
My feeble excuse, is that ALL of Dramaland was going through a shirtless phase, in the early 2010s, and so I was basically along for the ride, and evolving alongside everyone else. 🙈😅
I have to admit that while Jang Hyuk is a very talented actor, I was first dazzled by and drawn to him, because of his amazing physicality in Chuno. Not only was he incredibly sculpted, he was so badass and cool, in all of the fight scenes. Cue stars in my eyes, for daysss. 🤩🤩🤩
It was basically a bonus, that he turned out to be such a fantastic actor, and with a nice personality to boot.
However, I’m happy and relieved to report that I actually liked Gong Yoo more for his personality (which I lapped up in interviews, behind-the-scenes snippets, and even an in-person fan meeting in Tokyo), than for his shirtless scenes. 😁
Stage 3: It’s really mostly personality
Right now, I realize that it’s all about the personality, for me. It’s why Gong Yoo continues to be a long-time k-love (because his laidback witty sort of way about him, always gets me 😍), and it’s also why I found myself falling for Junho.
Thinking about it, I realize that while it was Woob’s strong onscreen presence that had first caught my eye, it was only during the after-show interviews, that I found myself falling for him. I’d found him so thoughtful, intelligent and good-natured, that I suddenly found him looking extremely attractive and handsome to my eyes. 😍
In a similar sort of way, I found that it was Junho’s personality that tipped me over from simply admiring his talent, to actually falling for him.
I’d thought highly of Junho’s acting abilities, while watching Just Between Lovers, but hadn’t fallen for him then. And then, I’d swooned at his smoldery Yi San in The Red Sleeve, but hadn’t fallen for him either, even after the pivotal bath scene in episode 6.
Because, and I’d like to emphasize this please, for the folks in the back, I find myself fully able to admire an actor for his talent and craft, without falling for him. So just because I didn’t fall for Junho while watching Just Between Lovers, doesn’t mean that I didn’t properly appreciate his acting abilities. I thought he was very excellent, for the record.
Honestly, it was while watching Junho in episode 397 of I Live Alone (available on Viu here!), where I saw him cuddling his cat Jani, and being disciplined about working out, and being dedicated to preparing for his role as a king, and being an all-around good-natured sweetie, that I found myself falling into a pool of fangirl love. 😍😍
What role does fangirling play in your enjoyment of kdrama today?
Once upon a time, I used to have a heckuva lot of fangirl fortitude.
I was able to tolerate very underwhelming shows, as long as a k-love of mine was in it. I mean, I watched (the very terrible) One Fine Day, all for the love of Gong Yoo. Not only that, I watched it twice. 😱 That’s gotta tell you exactly how dedicated I was, to having Gong Yoo on my screen! 😂
However, as you know, I later realized, with my failed attempt at watching Uncontrollably Fond for Woob, that I just don’t have that kind of fangirl fortitude anymore.
I realize that I have higher expectations of my dramas now, and I just can’t bear to watch a bad drama – even if my k-love’s in it. Now, I even actively drop a bad show early, in order to preserve my k-love, so that the experience doesn’t end up draining me of my fangirl loyalty, like attempting to watch Uncontrollably Fond did, with Woob.
I’ll still seek out Junho’s projects to check out, for sure. But if I find that I don’t like the show, I’m going to drop it – so that I can protect my Junho love! 😁
Does consent culture impact how you think about fangirling at all?
That’s a really interesting question, Leslie, and I have to say, I hadn’t given it a lot of thought until you asked.
The short answer is, it has, and without my having to actively think about it, even.
See, back in the early 2010s, when shirtless scenes were common, and even expected, of male leads in kdramas, the general tone of a lot of our fangirling, had many shades of objectification to it. The cameras panning indulgently over a male lead’s sculpted torso, as he angsted in the shower, was a cue for us to collectively spazz, as we drank in the sight of the fine specimen on our screens, rawr.
As Dramaland has continued to evolve, however, I’ve noticed that the shirtless scenes are much fewer now, and when they do happen, mostly, the camera is a lot less indulgent, and more matter-of-fact.
In turn, I find that while I do appreciate a well done shirtless scene, my gaze has changed. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but more of a natural evolution, I think; the objectification element that used to feel like a natural part of appreciating shirtless scenes, is gone now.
I think Past Me would’ve likely wanted to reach into my screen to touch the shirtless glory, but Present Me is happy to admire the shirtless glory, literally just for the beauty of it, and nothing else.
No objectification; just admiration.
I also think this is the reason that, as a new 2PM fan (becoz, Junho! 🤩), I find myself more drawn to 2PM’s more recent videos, which are more.. restrained, and elegantly, offhandedly sexy, versus their beast idol phase, when they regularly tore their shirts off.
I’d like to think of that as growth. 😁😇
I hope this post helps to satisfy your curiosity about my fangirl evolution!
If you’ve noticed something about my fangirling ways that I haven’t, or if you have your own fangirling – or fanboying! – experiences to share, please tell us about it, in the comments!
We’re all evolving and growing together, after all. 🥰
~ KFG ❤️
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 the Dear kfangurl page, or send me an email!