Tag Archives: Dear kfangurl

Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about slice-of-life dramas and why we like them?

Yin writes:

First of all, I am an avid fan of your blog and am so grateful for your detailed, thoughtful reviews of various Korean dramas. You probably don’t remember me, but I loved The Third Charm and posted once on your blog using the handle “erstwing” about how much your review of the show resonated with me.

I have a question about genre that I was wondering if you might address/discuss on your blog one day. What do you make of the label “slice-of-life?” What are some “slice-of-life” Korean dramas and what makes them so? Based on the shows you have reviewed, I feel like you enjoyed this category of dramas, and thought you might have some wisdom to share. If you do enjoy “slice-of-life” dramas, what are some reasons? The label is used a lot in Kdrama discourse, but unlike other more established genres like the melodrama and the rom com, “slice-of-life” seems to be much hazier as a concept. I even did some research into American analogues and/or antecedents, but haven’t been able to find anything meaningful. Full disclosure: I am a college professor and my current research project investigates the slice-of-life genre in Korean dramas. I’m teaching in the US but I am actually from Singapore, so your blog is literally close to home for me. 🙂

Thanks again for all your insights and for the time you’ve generously given to cultivating this Kdrama fan community. 🙂

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Dear kfangurl: How can I stop myself from becoming jaded with dramas?

Uh.. I need some help seeing you with new eyes..?

Vaish writes:

Hi kfangurl,

I am now a kdrama fan for quite a few years with several dramas under my cap. Of late, I feel that I’ve grown too critical. The kdrama world is no longer my escapist fantasy and stress buster. I keep nit picking. I feel disappointed (there’s that magic charm missing) by recent dramas (True Beauty, Lovestruck in the City just a few examples). I would have enjoyed these premises earlier. Should I just keep watching old dramas? Can you help?

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Dear kfangurl: Do you have difficulty seeing an actor in a different role?

Elaine writes:

I have a Dear kfangurl question to ask! My question is whether you’ve ever had a problem watching the same actor in a different role, because you have such a strong impression of him/her in the first show you saw the actor in? Asking because I just started watching K dramas last year, and i started with highly rated ones like Crash Landing on You and Healer, where the OTPs are so smashing that I was reluctant to see the actors in other shows as it would feel to me almost like they were cheating on their original OTP! Lol.

So far I haven’t “repeated” any actors besides Lee Jun Ki – I first saw him in Arang and the Magistrate and a few months later in Flower of Evil. But to me that felt ok as his performance made the two characters feel completely different. It probably helped that his Flower of Evil character was supposed to have antisocial personality disorder so has flattened emotions.

But now almost a year after watching Healer, I’m watching Park Min Young in Her Private Life and I keep getting flashbacks to her Healer performance, especially when the two characters overlap on certain traits like optimism, pluckiness and sunny smiles. It’s probably a personal quirk but I do wonder if anyone faces this issue too! For now there are so many dramas out there that I can avoid repeats of actors but soon it won’t be an option! Ha ha.

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Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about your experiences re-watching dramas?

Shriya writes:

When I first watched Goblin four years ago, I loved it so much, and it was so mindboggling to me at the time.

I’m actually rewatching Goblin right now (first time since it came out), and I still enjoy it, it’s still one of my favorite dramas of all time, and the feels are still amazing (and the cinematography and aesthetic still stands out), but the second time felt slightly less spectacular than the first time I watched it. It’s odd because this is one of the only TV shows that I can tell you the plot of, explain the character arcs, defend any criticisms (like the age chasm; I can write about that below for the sake of putting it out there), etc. I remember it so well, and I remember it with such a specific lens, with such specific emotions and thoughts. It’s like a memory, a well-maintained one. As I’m rewatching it right now, there’s a slight foreign feel to the experience. I know many people who often work on fanfictions that face this dilemma, as their minds wander and deviate from the original plot, whether it’s with character changes or alternate endings, etc., and then when they come back to the show, they’re often shocked, or even averted from it. But the thing is, with Goblin, I never really explored further beyond the show, but I still feel this way.

In essence, I’m still enjoying the show after a long time, but it just isn’t the same, and many things could be to blame. I get that. I’m an adult now, I have more life experience, my worldview is different, my drama preferences have changed, etc.

But I would love to ask about your thoughts on this dilemma. Have you rewatched any dramas, either ones that you stopped early or finished completely; ones you love or ones you can tolerate, etc.? Do you have a specific guide to rewatching anything? Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever fallen out of love with a drama after rewatching it?

I actually forgot to add a sentence about a “slice of life” lens that I needed to adapt for my Goblin rewatch, shifting from a previous lens of expecting plot-heavy drama; point being, have you ever needed to change your viewing lens/perspective during a rewatch, either for the fun or it or because that’s required for an optimal rewatch?

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Dear kfangurl: What are some good dramas that aren’t romances?

rufflina writes:

Dear kfangurl, I have a question for you – can you recommend dramas that are really good and don’t involve romance? I have just finished Healer and really liked the love story there. When picking a new series I searched for drama that does not have romance on purpose because I did not want to “replace” the OTP from Healer with a new OTP right away, but I still wanted to watch something engaging. Two examples that come to mind are My Mister (thanks for recommending it! I loved it so much!) and Hot Stove League (which is the one I’m watching at the moment). I’m sure there are more. And thank you so much for this awesome blog! I very much enjoy reading your reviews before and after watching a drama (except for Someday or One Day. I stopped reading the moment you said that’s best and returned after finishing it 🙂 )

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Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about the shows that you didn’t review? [Part 2]

Since you guys seemed to really like my last Dear kfangurl post, where I talked about shows that I haven’t reviewed on the site, I thought I’d do a Part 2! Surprise..? 😃

I picked 50 more (!!) shows to touch on in this post, with a quick “status update.” Mostly, these are dramas that people tend to ask me about, and also, shows that I’d like to give shout-outs to, but which I’m unlikely to write reviews for.

There are still more shows that I’ve either sampled or watched to completion, which I am not including in this list, but maybe (just maybe?) another post, another time? 😅

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Dear kfangurl: Can you talk about the shows that you didn’t review?

Jonan writes:

Dear Fangurl

I discovered your blog after watching Crash Landing on You and searching for reviews online. After that I immediately would read your reviews after watching a show and using your ratings for recommendations. I absolutely love your format and style of writing. I have some questions I am highly curious about.

What are the shows you have dropped which are not on the list of shows. This started after I watched Goblin and was searching for your take. It wasn’t on the list and learned reading one of your year end recaps that it was not for you. This got me curious to know which shows you have tried and dropped. No need to write any review or explanation, just a straight up list would be great.

What are shows you dropped but plan to continue. I read on one of your replies that you eventually plan to return to Dear My Friends (a show I loved) and Signal (I loved it as well.) What are famous shows that you have no intention of watching. I remember mentioning Kingdom. Are shows like Dr Romantic and Stranger included in this list?

They don’t have to be 100% complete and maybe they could also help as well by lessening the number of requests you get from new members wondering about some old shows.

Of course if this is too time consuming or not something you are interested in answering then no problem whatsoever.

Thank you again for the wonderful reviews.

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Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas where the leads are nice?

Reaper525 writes:

So my question is: Is it just me or is it really hard to find likable leads these days in dramas? I mean most female leads these days annoy me compared to older dramas. But also male leads are just sometimes you know …. facepalm material.

Is that me or is there actually something changing in dramas? Back in the day I liked 9/10 of the dramas (and their leads) that I watched but now it is more like 3-4/10…

Am I getting old? 😀

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Dear kfangurl: What are some of the best drama OSTs?

Shamster writes:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on dramas with the best OSTs! Just dramas worth watching because of how well the OST works- thinking Healer and One Spring Night and Suspicious Partner!

* Shout-out to MC, who’d also mentioned that she’d love me to write about drama OSTs!

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Dear kfangurl: What do you think of idol actors?

Bubblebathdaisies writes:

Dear kfangurl,

(This is a long intro, so skip it if you wish) Hello! I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for a really long time, since I was thirteen and I just made this account to comment! I’m sixteen now, and I feel like I’ve grown up with your blog- you introduced me to dramas and k-pop, and I still read your older articles when I feel down, it’s like comfort food for me. So thank you for that!

The question I have is: What do you think of idol actors? I don’t know if it’s just me, but it feels like a lot more idols are starring in dramas nowadays, and they may not always be good at acting. The general consensus among some of my other drama-watching friends is that idol actors take away jobs from better-trained rookie actors, and some think it’s unfair that they get to use a drama as an acting class. Personally, I think it’s a bit of a gray area, since there’s plenty of perfectly well-trained and decently popular actors who can’t reeeallly act that well, but also it kind of ruins the drama for me if the lead cannot act well (fourteen year old me wasn’t that bothered about acting skills so much as ~swoon~ factor and watched The Great Seducer on repeat, but I watched it last week and had to skip a big big chunk of the scenes because the acting was…not the greatest) What do you think?

(But I think we all know idols are going to keep getting casted anyways, lol. They’re far too popular to miss out on for profit-related purposes, and some of them are really really good!)

Annie writes:

Would be interesting to read your thoughts on idols turned actors/actresses.

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