Tag Archives: Be Melodramatic

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: Can you talk about the whats, whys and wheres of noble idiocy?

Antonio writes:

Hi Fangirl,

Recently due to Noble Idiocy I abandoned the vision of a drama that I really enjoyed: Monthly Home Magazine.

Could you do a post with the list of dramas that contain this detestable gimmick?

I remember getting so mad on Clear With Passion With Me Now too and I would like to avoid investing hours of my life to be so disappointed. In the comments your readers could integrate the list and it would be a really useful service in my opinion.

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Review: My Roommate Is A Gumiho

THE SHORT VERDICT:

The great thing about My Roommate is a Gumiho, is how fresh it manages to feel, despite it appearing, at first glance, to be like just about any other romcom dotting Dramaland. Yes, there are tropes, but most of the time, they’re there to be turned on their heads. In particular, I love our female lead, who’s anything but a Candy. She might appear rather goofy on the surface, but she’s gracious and classy, and has such a good head on her shoulders, that it’s hard not to love her.

I feel that Hye Ri and Jang Ki Yong are well-cast and well-directed in this; I enjoyed them both very much, and I feel that their chemistry works really well. As a bonus, Kang Han Na is wonderful in this, as a ditzy ex-gumiho. This is literally my favorite role of Kang Han Na’s, to date.

I found the ending a touch underwhelming, especially when compared to how solidly the rest of the show stacks up, but overall, it’s still a very enjoyable drama that I’d recommend!

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Dear kfangurl: Why do so many kdramas start strong but go downhill?

Linda writes:

After years of reading your reviews I decided to take the plunge and write for 2 reasons:

1. To tell you how much I enjoy your reviews and admire your work ethic. I’m a recently retired critical care nurse (an old white lady) and over the years have found so much joy in korean dramas and films. When I am contemplating what to watch next I turn to you. I’ve seen more dramas than I care to admit and I’ve read many varied reviews but you are the gold standard. On the rare occasion that I disagree with one of your reviews I am so shocked and sometimes delighted. I only wish I could become a Patron.

2. A question….Why so often in k dramas does the story/writing go downhill later in the drama. I’m noticing an increasing pattern with this. I’ve seen videos of table reads and it makes wonder…If they are indeed reading the entire script in that sitting do they not notice they are reading what I can only describe as foolishness? The most recent example of this was Bossam. I really loved this drama. I felt it was well written and reminded me of a good old-fashioned k drama but I feel like it eventually went off the rails. This may not be the best example but I’m sure you know what I’m trying to express. I wouldn’t send this as an Ask fangirl question at the risk of sounding whiny and stupid. Is there a logical explanation. Since I know little about the making of dramas I thought you may have insight.

Again, please know you bring fun and joy to this old lady and be proud of yourself.

If you ever need a place to stay in California, I have plenty of room and no weirdos!!

P.S. Loved your participation in the podcast!

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Dear kfangurl: Are there dramas with sympathetic second female leads?

Sharbani writes:

Hi KFangurl

My observations have been (and this may be a generalisation based on the 80 or so K-dramas I have watched) that most male second leads are presented in a way that engenders sympathy. So, by the time the series have ended we are actually rooting for them to find love!! I know that there are exceptions but they are a rare breed in drama land.

In contrast, most female second leads are presented in a more negative light – possibly a throwover to the ‘vamps’ of earlier times! I know going into the reasons for such portrayals needs a lot of study of human society and the status of women and have probably been the subject of a lot of research! But my question is simple – Are there any dramas that present the second female leads in a positive light?

Hope you are well and staying safe! Your blogs continue to be my first port of call before I pick a new drama to watch so thank you!

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Review: Vincenzo

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Show is a lot of things, and attempts a lot of things (some with more success than others), but one thing I can say for certain, is that Show is bold, and dares to try new things. When the things that Show try don’t go so well, Show can come across as rather uneven, but when Show is at its best, it is a wild, absurd and completely absorbing ride of the best kind.

Our story world and our characters lean dark, yet this is all served up with strong lashings of screwball comedy. It sounds weird, but when Show makes it work, it’s glorious. Our cast is very solid, but hands down, the one who shines the brightest, is Song Joong Ki, as our titular antihero. So much matter-of-fact, cool badassery, served up with a side of comedy; I just couldn’t look away.

Sometimes Show got uncomfortably dark for my taste, but Show gets brownie points, for unabashedly daring to be its own thing, for better or for worse.

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Dear kfangurl: What are some underrated gems that need more love?

MC writes:

Another idea for a Dear Fangurl post – would you want to do a list of shows that you love but are often passed over or neglected / underrated? Cos every year there are so many new shiny shows but there are so many good ones that pass under the radar because of low ratings or are older etc. This could be a love note or shoutout to them.

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Review: Into The Ring [Memorials]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Fresh, different and quirky, Into The Ring is much more than its premise might suggest. Rather than a pedestrian look at politics at the municipal level, it’s more of an underdog story with a dash of superhero flair, and a good dollop of awkward, adorkable romance. Nana and Park Sung Hoon are great in this, particularly together, and they were the bright spots that I consistently looked forward to, during my watch.

I do have some quibbles with Show’s general handling, but this is, overall, a solid watch that rocks its own brand of weirdness and kookiness, and is, in the end, a pretty unique breath of fresh air, in Dramaland.

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