Dear kfangurl: How do I get over a cracky drama?

Eda writes:

kfangurl, now that you defined a cracky drama, I have another question.

how do we get over a cracky drama that completely hijacks our brain and emotions, locks us into itself and locks us out of any attempt to move on to another drama?

I have encountered a few of those, that even when I moved on, nothing seemed satisfactory for a long time, I simply craved another one, like for example Nirvana In Fire or The Rise Of The Phoenixes, just to name a few (there were of course more).

What’s the solution?

What do I do with All! These! Feels! 😭❤️

Dear Eda,

Thanks for your question!

Like I mentioned in my previous post about what makes a drama cracky, crackiness is very subjective; ie, what’s cracky for me may not be cracky for someone else and vice versa.

This means that the way the crack bites for each of us, and how deeply that affects us, is different too.

..Which means there’s simply no one-size-fits-all solution, for how to get over a cracky drama.

Still, I will do my best to share a few options in this post, which I hope will help.

As usual, everyone, please feel free to share your own thoughts, experiences, tips and tricks in the comments below! ❤️

GETTING OVER A CRACKY DRAMA – SOME IDEAS

How do I.. stop myself? Should I even stop myself?

1. Lean into it

The first general approach is to lean into the addiction, and here are a few options in terms of how to do that.

Option 1: Rewatch that cracky drama right away

Sometimes, there’s no point fighting it.

If a cracky drama’s bitten you that good, sometimes, the most satisfying thing to do, is go right back to the beginning, and start watching from episode 1, all over again.

That’s what I did with Healer (review is here, Open Threads are listed here), and that’s also what I did with Nirvana In Fire (review is here, Open Threads are listed here), when I first watched them.

Healer: So cool, so badass. 😍

I didn’t get all the way through with Nirvana In Fire, but I did complete a second watch of Healer right after my first watch, and it was just as great and delicious and cracky the second time around.

Not a moment wasted, in my opinion. 😁

Also, when my mom first watched Coffee Prince, she enjoyed it so much that she watched it four times, back to back.

You could do that too, with your current cracky drama that you just can’t get over.

Past a certain point, you should find yourself able to make at least a bit of room, for some other drama, in your life.

Coffee Prince: So endearing, so sweet. ❤️

Option 2: Rewatch selected bits right away

If you don’t have the patience to rewatch the entire drama right away, then what a lot of people do, is revisit just the best bits.

This allows you to savor the crackiness, without having to invest as many drama hours – thus freeing up enough drama hours to perhaps try something new (more on that in a bit).

There’re lots of resources out there that could help you do that, like fanmade videos on YouTube and reels on Instagram.

And, if you’re that into your cracky drama, you’d know where all the best bits are anyway, and you’d likely be able to find the exact scene you’re looking for, coz you’ve got all the best scenes and their episode locations all committed to memory, yes?

Option 3: Plan for a rewatch

Nirvana In Fire: A show that’s been rewatched multiple times, by our friends. 🤩

This is a possible option, if you just find it very hard to say goodbye to your cracky drama.

Planning for a rewatch, maybe even on a regular basis, like once a year, or once in 6 months, might give you a sense of something to look forward to, and a sense that you’re still connected and committed to your cracky drama and your favorite characters, even as you move on to watch other dramas.

If you feel bad about leaving your crack drama behind, then this could be the option for you.

And, this option could work nicely in conjunction with one of the next few suggestions.

2. Look for more cracky dramas

One of the natural responses that drama fans tend to have, after finishing a cracky drama, is to look for more cracky dramas, preferably with similar crack factors.

This is an option where I think your mileage may vary.

For some people, looking for more of the same totally works, because they’re in the mood for that kind of show.

A Love So Beautiful: Such slurpable fun goodness. 😍

For example, if they’ve just loved and finished A Love So Beautiful, and want more warm-girl-aloof-guy high school hijinks, shows like Playful Kiss, Mischievous Kiss, Put Your Head On My Shoulder or Love Lasts Forever, might do the trick.

But for some people, this approach doesn’t work at all, because all these other similar shows just pale in comparison to their crack drama favorite.

In this case, is when I suggest switching things up, like I suggest in this next point.

3. Switch it up

This is my preferred way of getting over a cracky drama.

I look for another good show to watch (cracky too, if possible, but solid will do as well), and I look for something that’s markedly different from the cracky show I’m trying to move on from.

For example, if I were trying to get over Healer, I wouldn’t choose to watch City Hunter, because that would feel kinda-sorta similar, and I don’t want to be put in a position where I can’t enjoy City Hunter because I can’t stop comparing it to Healer.

Does that make sense?

Someday Or One Day: So heartfelt AND so twisty! 🤩❤️

So instead, I would pick something as different from Healer as possible, but which has a solid reputation for being great. Say, Queen In-hyun’s Man (review is here, and Open Threads are listed here), or Hospital Playlist, or Someday Or One Day (review is here, and Open Threads are listed here).

Each of those shows is sufficiently different from Healer, that I believe there wouldn’t be cause for comparison, and therefore, I’d be free to enjoy the new show, without constantly comparing it with the cracky show I’m trying to get over.

And, because the new show is so great, there’s a good chance that it’ll suck me right into its drama world, enabling me to forget my cracky drama world, at least for a while.

Picking a show from a different country, say from Japan or Taiwan or China, instead of Korea (if your cracky drama was indeed from Korea), can also help ensure that your new show is different enough from your cracky show.

4. Take a break

Miracle In Cell No. 7: a movie I recently loved. ❤️

On that note, taking a break can help too.

This can take several forms.

You could take a break from Korean dramas, for example, and explore dramas with excellent reputations from other countries.

You could also take a break from dramas, and sample a few excellent movies or drama specials. I have a great list of Short Drama Things that you can browse, for that purpose.

And if all else fails, just take a break from dramas for a while, before coming back.

Sometimes, taking a walk and getting some fresh air and spending time with friends and family, can be just the palate cleanser you need, before you feel like you’re ready to tackle another great drama.

IN CLOSING

I hope you find this post at least somewhat useful, in giving you some ideas on how to move on from a cracky drama.

If you’re looking for a new cracky drama to help you get over your last cracky drama, you can visit my last Dear kfangurl post, where I share a list of cracky personal favorites.

You might also find this other Dear kfangurl post, about how I pick my dramas to watch, tangentially useful &/or interesting.

Like I mentioned earlier, everyone, please feel free to add your own thoughts, experiences and insights (and favorite methods to get over a cracky drama!) in the comments below. As they say, sharing is caring. 🥰

I hope this post helps!

Smooches.

~ KFG ❤️

Hey.. I hope you find your new drama love soon..

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 the Dear kfangurl page, or send me an email!

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eda harris
eda harris
2 days ago

KFG, thank you for your excellent directions on overcoming cracky dramas.
i did it all, seriously. and i mean ALL.
and i still have the cravings for some of the dramas that imprinted on my brain and soul. like how can i find soooooooo smart like nif, sooooooooo beautiful like TROP, soooooooooo perfect like healer?
and a few others. every other drama is compared to those, and i can not control it!

MariaF
MariaF
16 hours ago
Reply to  eda harris

You might call it a defeatist attitude, but I don’t fight my obsessions. To be fair, I don’t get obsessed to the point when they affect my real life.

When I was younger, I wanted to see as many shows, movies and theater plays as possible. With time I’ve I realized that majority of these shows, etc. are not that “new”. Even the good ones. “There is nothing new under the sun”. 

I figured it wasn’t worth my time and aggravation to go through tons of shows/movies to find the one that I would really like.

If I don’t find that show, so be it. I’m very comfortable with rewatching just a few shows/ movies that I like. They give me pleasure.

Once I feel like watching something new, I start looking for it. If I find a new show that I like, I add it to my re-watch list. Sometimes I get tired of certain shows, so I take them off the list. Until I feel like watching them again, which has happened.

Elaine
Elaine
4 days ago

Been there done that, scoured the Internet and Reddit and also posted on kfangirl’s Patreon episode notes *and* the deep dive page on Patreon to wax lyrical or pose questions for discussion. Also watched BTS/making of features on YouTube to squee more

Minor spoilers ABP and MLN
the kiss scenes for A Business Proposal and My Liberation Notes were more satisfying gin the BTS than the ctual broadcast version! 😂
.

I am also rewatching My Liberation Notes right now, both because I don’t want to leave the show, but also because the script and acting performances are so nuances that I see new things with my rewatch.

As for “getting over” a show, think I have needed to either watch something v different as a palate cleanser, or take a break from dramas for a while. There was once I had a very satisfying drama roll, where each show I watched was different and yet stupendously enjoyable and unique enough in story or vibe that they didn’t compete with each other in my mind. If I remember correctly, this roll started with the My Mister group watch late last year and continued with Hometown Cha Cha Cha, (half of) Do You Like Brahms, Navillera, Our Beloved Summer and The Red Sleeve. The roll continued swimmingly to 25 21 and Business Proposal which I followed live, but then came to a jarring halt when both shows ended the same weekend and I didn’t agree with their endings!! Haha such is life. Was out of sorts for a few weeks then picked up dramas again by watching C dramas! Reset, Imperial Coroner and You Are My Glory.

Last edited 4 days ago by Elaine
MC
MC
3 days ago
Reply to  Elaine

Elaine that is an impressive run! I remember being utterly bereft after My Mister. That put me in a major slump coz nothing is as good as MM! One of my best streaks (of shows I really thought were good) is Hospital Playlist, My Roommate Is A Gumiho, Stranger/ Secret Forest and I’m Not A Robot. And a recent streak was A Poem A Day (not many liked this but I really liked it), Business Proposal (we squeed together!!) Queen In Hyun’s Man and Someday Or One Day. Not that I need streaks coz now I just want a good break from heavy thoughtful emotional shows that is QIHM and SOOD!

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 day ago
Reply to  MC

Yes My Mister was all-consuming during that period! So much deep emotions, eventful plot and also the humour! I didn’t expect such shenanigans, haha. My Mister and Nirvana in Fire were super engaging and meaty group watches for sure.

Ah ABP, I don’t know if I have ever squeed so much over a show! It was a high for sure during that period but now, sigh… Haha I hope they come back for a second season, or at least some special episodes to tie it off better. But the cast are all busy with other projects now!

lotusgirl
lotusgirl
4 days ago

I also like revisiting highlights of the show and reading what I can find like KFG reviews. I like having the reviews episode by episode on Patreon as well. This is especially true when I’m watching a very cracky show that is not all out yet. It’s so hard to wait a week for more content.

maj
maj
5 days ago

Whenever I finish a drama I loved so much I hated to leave that world.. I watch Zombie Detective or Twittering Birds. They are such great & engrossing stories that they refresh my mind, and they are always there to step in and out of.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
2 days ago
Reply to  maj

@maj – I really loved Zombie Detective. It was such a human story for a drama featuring a zombie as the ML. I hope one day they make a S2.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
1 day ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

+1 for Zombie Detective! So delightful and humorous, yet introspective at times too. Choi Jin Hyuk was a riot as the ML zombie..

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 day ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Elaine – that dance in E2 was epic. I still laugh about that very silly scene whenever I think about it.

Ele Nash
5 days ago

Ah, yes, great advice kfangurl – and ! I LOVE to read things after (or sometimes even during if I’m super tense about where show is going – yes, I even purposely read spoilers sometimes because the agony of not knowing if something dire is going to befall my favourite characters is too distracting!) Reading kfangurl’s reviews and scrolling through the comments can help me square my thoughts and feelings and general bereftness once the show is over.

Rewatching favourite bits is also excellent. Youtube does have lovely compilations but I also sometimes skip through a show to relive my own highlights. I did this avidly with The Rise of Phoenixes and Money Flower. And then, after like three months or so, I felt like I could stand a rewatch and marvelled all over again 🤩

If an actor has made a special cracky impression, I do quite like checking out something else they’ve been in – a bit like finding a book I like and reading another by the same author. If it’s an actor like Jang Hyuk or Ji Chang Wook who tend to mix up genres they star in, it’s worked out well. In fact, I can’t think of a time when I’ve been disappointed by the actor, even if I was with the show. It tends to be true that if I like a style of acting, I’ll pretty much love them in anything despite dodgy plots 😊 It can ease cracky actor withdrawals.

I also have gone on to read translations of shows that were based on books. This has been fascinating with The Rise of Phoenixes which is in many ways, a much better story than the drama. But it helped alleviate serious sorrow over the drama ending, as well as keep my love affair with Ning Yi, Zhi Wei, and Gu Nanyi alive 😅

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
2 days ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

Yes Ele! Thank goodness for that novel. It was a soothing balm for many a fan’s poor shredded hearts.

Ele Nash
22 hours ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

WHY didn’t they end it the same way??!! It still actually hurts my heart, but I like your analogy – it soothes a little 😟

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
6 days ago

Fangurl – great post! @Eda, great question!

I suffer from the crack addiction of only one drama and a lot of you already know what that is. Writing so much for the NIF1 group watch has helped as I have not watched it since. However, once we get to football season (the fall here) I will queue it up again. Why this is I do not know, but cold weather stirs my heart to think of MCS’ plight.

So I greatly appreciate the above “Planning for a re-watch, maybe even on a regular basis, like once a year, or once in 6 months“. Thank you Fangurl for that indulgence! 😍🥰😘

Great advice on the ‘ole switcheroo! I also switch things up and may watch a dorama. These are very easy to digest (8 episodes) and a bit different in nature from K and Cdrama. I also try variety shows, movies or even Kfilm archives on YT from the 60s to the 80s.

I must say that also has some very solid helpful steps below. I have done both 1 and 2. writes “Read everything I can find about my newly missed drama to relive moments and savor things.” I can attest that really helps the withdrawal once the drama is over. I found that reading the novel, if it is available, really helped me with two dramas – NIF and Be My Princess. I also like to research the history around the drama.

I also do ’s step 2 on a regular basis with my family as to NIF1. After all these years they just laugh at me but I never give up. One day… 🤞🤞🤞

Fangurl – I 💖 that your mom watched Coffee Prince 4 times in a row. Mom has great taste! 🌹

J3ffc
J3ffc
5 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

, I am somehow not surprised that cold weather puts you in a mind to revisit NIF. I thought that the cold was practically a character of itself in that show, especially in the many scenes in Mei Changsu’s office where you could see the breath coming out of his mouth. I became so obsessed with that because it always seems to be specific to him and not whomever he was speaking with. It was probably something to do with camera and light angles, but I remember wondering the director was making a subtle point about MC’s condition and position in life.

And in terms of spreading the word: keep it up! Fighting!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 days ago
Reply to  J3ffc

– I often wonder how those poor actors can perform when it is that cold. Sometimes you can see their poor ears all red. As for why some scenes you can see their breath and others you cannot – it is a mystery that has perplexed me as well. I often wonder if they are wearing long underwear under their costumes. Poor Hu Ge was probably glad for that brazier! What an interesting thought that the director would have done it on purpose – it does bring home the message.

Cold case in point – Moon Embracing the Sun. Poor Kim Soo Hyun’s ears were beet red from the cold.

Yes j3ffc, having drama company is a losing battle. I only won once with Squid Game. 🤣😂😅

eda harris
eda harris
2 days ago
Reply to  J3ffc

in a lot of chinese dramas, especially the historical ones, you can always see the breath coming out, and i always wondered is it THAT cold at the sets? and how do these actors deal with working in such cold conditions?

they also run out into the street, park, yard – any outside, in just some light silk robes or dresses, no coats (well, sometimes), but mostly really just dresses (for women), and there is snow around… like in the glamorous imperial concubine princess ma fu ya wonders around in the snowy mountains in something that looks like a light gauze night gown, with nothing on top. did they really dress that light at that time?

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
2 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

Eda – There is a fight scene in in the snow in Evernight 2 where neither of the female fighters are dressed to be outside. It is obvious that they are freezing. I will have to look for the story on this scene as if I remember reading the two actresses struggled because they were so doggone cold. When I was watching this, I thought how much are these two brave ladies getting for this scene? They were such troopers.

eda harris
eda harris
1 day ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl, i guess i can accept it in dramas, for the artistic, dramatic or whatever effect. but my question is how was it really in reality for those people at that time? are those kind of outfits and situations realistic at all? even their houses look extremely cold. i mean they have some coals burning in the middle of the room, but surely that’s not enough to warm up a room. then i noticed they can keep the door open or window, with snow falling. and the doors or windows are made of some kind of very thin material, like rice paper?
then another question, i many times see trees flowering and snow falling. what is this about?
does anybody know anything about all those questions?

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
1 day ago
Reply to  eda harris

Eda – it had to have been rough and the colder it got, the more coats one would have to put on. So, those gauzy clothes in outside winter scenes are for dramatic effect.

There are several beautiful trees that flower in winter in China. Here is an article https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d774e33517a4d32457a6333566d54/index.html

Notice how the eaves of the homes shown in period Cdramas project our further than western homes and are lower. This is keep the rain off the window screens located at the tops of the doors. From what I have read paper used in their screen windows was substantial (Korean paper was valued as an import for this purpose due its quality). I also read that this paper could be oiled to keep out intense wind blown side rain.

As for the heating, that is another story. Here is a must-read current article – https://radiichina.com/building-china-why-does-half-of-china-struggle-to-stay-warm-in-winter/ and here is some info on heating in ancient times – https://quatr.us/china/inside-ancient-chinese-houses-chinese-architecture.htm. The palaces had hollow space between rooms and piped warm air through these.

Mei Chang Su’s brazier was a staple for heat in ancient times. Let’s hope he was laying on a Kang bed while he was sick.

I also read that people padded their coats and jackets with down and silk fluff. They built their homes with windows facing south to capture as much heat from the sun as possible.

If you get a chance do a little research on older Chinese architecture. Super interesting!

J3ffc
J3ffc
6 days ago

What an interesting set of posts! I rarely experience the crack of a drama when I’m in it (one I can think of is I Am Not a Robot) but more commonly I’ll get through the end…and go through Drama Withdrawal. I’ve been able to successfully employ kfangurl’s “hair of the dog” approach, i.e., rewatch several scenes over (and over and over) again, although not a full rewatch (only rewatches I’ve ever done are group watches). But other approaches have worked well for me:

(1) Read everything I can find about my newly missed drama to relive moments and savor things. Among other things, this is what led me to The Verdict, here, so that has been a highly valuable exercise!

(2) Sometimes when a show has left me bereft and I can’t stop thinking about it, I talk and talk and talk about it with my non-drama-loving friends. I remember doing this with Be Melodramatic. But I’ve lost friends this way, so I don’t really recommend it.

(3) A useful variation of kfangurl’s “planning” approach is to plan for a show that features an actor that I really liked in the first show. A great example of this is Age of Youth 2 (which really, really got me and I have no idea why), which turned me into a Park Eun-bin fan forever.

Actually I do know why – spoilers for AOY2
It was that epilogue near the end of one of the later shows that indicated PEB’s character had an early death in the future. Since I LOVED that character – still PEB’s best performance IMO – that almost killed me.

Or Oh My Ghostess, which turned me into a Kim Seul-gi fan forever. Or Let’s Eat 2, which turned me into a Seo Hyun-Jin fan forever. Or Legend of the Blue Sea, which turned me into a….oh, you get the idea.

(4) Sometimes I’ll listen to the OST nonstop. I’m looking at you, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and Be Melodramatic, the latter of which I officially nominate for a group watch sometime.

Thanks, @Eda, for a great question, and kfangurl, for a great answer.

Last edited 6 days ago by j3ffc
MC
MC
5 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Ah this is a fantastic post and comment by j3ffc!

Fangirl, this post is so timely (did you plan it for me? Lol) as I just finished Someday Or One Day and I was obsessed, friends, obsessed with it. But the show has come to an end and so I’ve unconsciously applied some of your tips (reading about it, listening to the OST, recommended this show to everyone who would listen to me, etc).

I find that I’m now ready to move on a little and hence I’m of the switch it up variety. I’ve just started Kiss Goblin (a silly simple web drama) as I wanted something absolutely differently. Plus watched a little anime too. And took a good break from the screens to spend time with family! Lol. But my Someday Or One Day addiction hasn’t cured itself as I still get the song stuck in my head from time to time…

Thanks once again for this great question and answer!

J3ffc
J3ffc
5 days ago
Reply to  MC

Thanks so much! BTW, I did the same with the Someday theme, to the point of checking out Shi Shi’s other work (which is very different by and large). I like showing the song to my friends and asking them to identify the artist, and to date no one has imagined it being by a Taiwanese pop artist

J3ffc
J3ffc
5 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

You make an excellent point there! One of the things that is amazing about the best K-drama actors is their versatility, which means that they can take on so many different roles. One great example is Jang Hyun-sung, who was so menacing in Signal but a very-flawed sweetheart in Grapevine. Or in my case, having enjoyed Park Eun-bin so much in Age of Youth, but she is totally different in everything else with the only similarity the excellence of her work.

eda harris
eda harris
1 day ago
Reply to  J3ffc

j3ffc, o, i have a confession. i can hardly look at jang hyun-sung. i developed a severe allergy to him in secret love affair, his character was the most hated by me, but i also do not like the way he looks, acts or just anything he does. he’s probably the only one that i have such negative feelings. it’s just like a skunk that leaves a smell on you that you can hardly get rid of, that is how i feel about this actor. (i hope he never sees my post, i would not want to hurt him, really).

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
5 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Fangurl – I also had to wait to watch The Disquiser.

eda harris
eda harris
2 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl, did you watch it?

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
2 days ago
Reply to  eda harris

I did Eda. I can never forget that one scene with Jin Dong where he was under extreme pressure. I cannot say anymore or I would spoil. He was masterful. To b honest, I almost balked at watching because of the political slant but I took a chance because of the actors. I did enjoy the acting. Jin Dong….sigh.

eda harris
eda harris
1 day ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl, i loved them all, the 3 brothers and of course the sister. but the bond they had, the warmth, the care for each other – it was beyond warming my heart, that was what it was about for me.

the entire cast – through the roof- who can forget yu man li (song yi)- the sensuous beautiful kitten with a tigress soul, or wang man chun (angel wang). of course, i hated ming tai’s bride – that was a horrible wrongly cast person, i felt sorry for her, she was that bad.

in general, i thought the production was an A + production.

eda harris
eda harris
2 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

o, KFG, that’s sad that you gave up on disguiser. it is quite an incredible drama, and the “chauffeur” wang kai, who’s one of the brothers is brilliant in this role! and he’s not a chauffer as such, i promise you. it’s nothing like nif, but just as smart, and alluring, and what else can we say about nif? the disguiser has it too.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
6 days ago
Reply to  J3ffc

– these suggestions are very helpful!

wonhwa
wonhwa
3 days ago
Reply to  J3ffc

Yes, yes, yes to the read everything you can find about the show anywhere on the internet. It doesn’t happen often, but I know a show has truly sunk its claws into me when I find myself doing random google searches on it at midnight and scrolling though obscure chat feeds.