Category Archives: Dear kfangurl

Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about the ‘Snowdrop’ controversy?

KS writes:

Dear Fangurl,

Could you please talk about the controversy surrounding the new drama ‘Snowdrop’? As a non-Korean drama fan, I am rather clueless as to the huge backlash this show is receiving from fans. But to my surprise, the internet community is clearly divided whether the show should be taken off-air or not.

So it will really help drama fans like me to know what and how do you feel about this controversy.

Thank you in advance.

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Dear kfangurl: What are some archetypes in kdramas?

T writes:

Hi kfangurl,

What are some of the archetypes you see in Kdrama characters? Could you recommend other dramas with those types of characters?

For example:

Romance is A Bonus Book’s Kang Dan-i is strong, sensitive, but oblivious to Eun-ho’s love for her. Eun-ho is petty, cocky, but really protective and compassionate toward his loved ones.

Another example:

Strong Girl Bong Soon’s rich heir Ahn Min-hyuk is the hardcore, serious, charming type, but completely caught off-guard and smitten with Do Bong-soon, which makes him fall to pieces. Bong-soon is the epitome of aegyo, but hesitant to embrace her full potential (another type).

What other dramas use these archetypes in similar ways or mix and match them in surprising or refreshing ways?

Thanks.

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Dear kfangurl: What is up with all the 2nd & 3rd rounds in Korean gatherings?

Bonding over drinks. 🍻

In my recent final Open Thread for Secret Love Affair, I’d mentioned in a comment, the Korean penchant for second and even third rounds, when doing gatherings.

In response, Beez said:

“That’s a good question for Dear kfangurl. Why? I understand when they want to go to a karaoke bar but other than that – why leave one bar just to go for rounds at another? Do they have different types of drinks at one establishment from another? (I’ve never been much of a drinker but in my limited experience, I’ve never had a bartender tell me they don’t have whatever I ordered.)”

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Dear kfangurl: What are some shows featuring relatable female leads?

MC writes:

What shows have female leads that are relatable? Lately I get tired of watching candy girls with sad life stories yet are so cheery (I mean who would be so cheery if they had such a hard life!?).

I would love to watch shows with relatable female leads who have their good and bad days and grow through the bad days! I’m asking about female leads coz you did something similar for male leads.

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Dear kfangurl: What are some iconic kdramas over the years?

Today’s Dear kfangurl post is inspired by j3ffc‘s and Trent‘s comments on my recent VOGUE India collab post, where I talk about the male gaze vs. the female gaze in kdramas over the years.

In response, j3ffc basically wanted to know which classic dramas I think drama fans should check out (which would demonstrate the shift in gaze over the years), and Trent heartily seconded the idea and expanded on it:

“The question I’ve been thinking about is along the lines of how do you think kdramas have evolved over the last couple decades? Do you see discernible or important trends in that time? (Broadly considered: thematically, in treatment of tropes, genre or sub-genre expansion (or contraction), production values, stylistic changes, acting and\or casting type trends: it’s all fair game). You touched on a bit of this in this Vogue interview, but I’d be very interested in a broader look, and I just don’t have the range of experience to even attempt a synthesis. You do, though. 😁”

So today I thought I’d talk about kdramas which I would consider iconic, over the years, and how kdramas have been evolving, in broad strokes.

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Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about the female gaze vs. the male gaze in dramas? [Interview with VOGUE India!]

Screenshot of the VOGUE India article!

This is a slightly different Dear kfangurl post, you guys.

Technically, someone did ask the questions – what makes it different than usual, is that that someone was representing VOGUE India, and it was for a collab of sorts, where I answered a bunch of questions over email, for a VOGUE India article!

Hasina Khatib (@thejoblessjourno on Instagram), who writes for VOGUE India, reached out to me a couple of weeks ago, and asked if I’d be interested to participate in an article that she was writing for VOGUE India. I said yes, and you can check out the article, where she quotes me selectively, here!

At the same time, there was a lot that I said, that didn’t make it into the final article, so with Hasina’s permission, I’m sharing the actual interview questions and answers here with you guys – because my gut tells me that this is just the sort of topic that you guys would enjoy digging into.

The only difference is that I’ve added screenshots and linked my reviews where relevant, to make this more reader-friendly. I hope you all enjoy! ❤️

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Dear kfangurl: What are some shows where a supporting character stole the show?

BE writes:

Recently in the US the great, great American television serial character actor Michael Kenneth Williams died (insofar as I can tell of a drug overdose, though the facts have been slow in coming) at the age of 54.

Just a flat out brilliant actor, Williams has had three especially memorable roles in HBO series.  But one especially stands out, the role of Omar, a kind of lone ronin bad ass, who lived out of his own moral code as a gay, shotgun carrying thief who stole from drug dealing gangs to make his living on the streets of Baltimore during the late nineties, in The Wire, a 5 season series that critics, and I as a watcher of television series, universally have acclaimed as one of the greatest if not the greatest such series ever produced.

While show features a large ensemble, and it would be hard to pin point any single actor as lead, therefore, Williams’ Omar was distinctly a support character, albeit imo the greatest antihero ever filmed.  It is hard to over emphasize what a signature role Williams enacted, except to say in the wake of his death, the outpouring of grief in response, focused in elaborate, admiring, and loving detail in large part upon his role as Omar, his superlative and unforgettable performance, and how its impact upon American culture has been universal.

I cannot myself remember any actor in film or serial drama in a supporting role so iconic; that is, in a drama so universally praised, a supporting character being universally its most memorable.  I wonder if in K drama you can think of any equivalent kind of performance?

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Dear kfangurl: What is up with the forced separation trope near the end of a drama?

Molu16 writes:

Dear Kfangurl,

You are my go-to source for K-dramas to watch. I’ve watched many dramas based on your reviews, and they never disappoint. There was one drama that I watched even though you dropped it, and it was all because V of BTS was in that drama. Being a middle-aged ARMY, I cannot pass up on anything related to BTS! 🙂

My question is, why do K-drama writers love to have either the male lead or the female lead disappear for a year or more at the end and come back unannounced? Some of the reasons for their disappearance kind of make sense, such as going abroad for medical treatment or some kind of business training. However, the ridiculous thing is during the time the OTP is apart, there is no communication at all. While one is pining for the other, not knowing when the beloved will return, all of a sudden they show up to surprise them. Another ridiculous plot is, the lead disappears without a trace and is presumed dead, but a few years pass, they show up alive and healthy, to be reunited with their loved one. I don’t understand why the writers make viewer suffer for the majority of the series wondering if the two leads will be together, and when they finally are, one has to go away or seemingly is killed, only to show up out of the blue later.

Thank you for all the reviews and the commentaries you’ve posted. You’re a great writer. Keep up the good work!

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Dear kfangurl: Is my love for kdrama frivolous?

Lali writes:

Dear KFG

Greetings! Hope you’re doing okay in these uncertain times. Recently, I was asked by a friend why people are watching a lot of kdrama these days and I found myself groping for a good answer. I couldn’t really gush with goggly eyes as I would before a fellow kdrama enthusiast. There’s the matter of availability and good looking actors, but that didn’t really feel to be at the heart of it. I also felt angry at myself for feeling apologetic about my drama choices (the person’s what you’d call a “serious” type and I didn’t want to be an object of his condescension). Does this mean I subconsciously subscribe to the notion of kdramas somehow not being up to the mark? I have been agonising about this for a while now. I want to be able to watch what I like without feeling guilty or hesitant to acknowledge my love for it to the world. And I could think of nobody better than you to provide a thoughtful answer to my predicament. The next time I come across this question, I’d like to bank on your eloquence and insights, please!

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Dear kfangurl: What are some shows that are not set in the big city?

Ushahin writes:

So, I’ve been looking through all the kdramas that have really helped me feel a bit better since the start of the lockdown. I found I am really craving stories that are set somewhere other than a large metropolis like the one I’m currently stuck in. So, something relaxing and contemporary as opposed to historical and action/suspense oriented. The last one I really loved was Racket Boys; for both characters and settings. Before that I watched When the Weather is Fine and found it soothing mostly based on the atmosphere. I’m having a hard time finding more though. Your recommendations have never once let me down. Can you help?

All the Love.

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