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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: 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: 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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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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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: 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 makes a kdrama addictively re-watchable?

Healer: so cracky, for so many reasons.

shorterthanparkboyoung writes:

Dear kfangurl, what makes a kdrama addicting enough that I want to rewatch at least 10 times?

I’m kinda in the middle of a tough transition period at the moment and I found myself going back to rewatching all my favourite dramas – Healer, My Love From Another Star, Because This Is My First Life, Fight For My Way and Suspicious Partner, but with the FF button when it came to the “evil chaebol” or “bad guy” bits.

But when I decided to try a drama that I hadn’t watched but was on my list, I kept dropping them half way. What is it in the above dramas, which I believe you loved as well after reading your reviews (which were amazing btw), or any general drama that makes me come back to these again and again?

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Flash Review: When The Camellia Blooms

Y’know, I’d gotten to the point where I was so tired of serial killers and murders being mixed with romance (what is up with that, Dramaland?), that I was ready to give this show a hard, blind pass, just for having the audacity to mix murder with romance, again.

But, the overwhelming positive buzz around this show piqued my interest, as did the high ratings, and the glowing, persuasive comments that a number of you left me, which is how I ended up checking out this show, in spite of myself.

With 20/20 hindsight, now that I’ve emerged on the other side, do I still think Show didn’t need a serial killer murder arc? BIG YES. Did I manage to enjoy this one, despite my by-now-very-firm serial killer drama allergy? Also, yes. I guess that means Show wins, overall?

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Dear kfangurl: Why do I still fall for drama tropes?

This is me: kinda-sorta falling, but not quite. 😉

diti writes:

Hi kfangirl it’s me again, I found that your last post reply to my question was very helpful and very well explained so thank you very much and I’m here with another question (sorry).

Basically I was wondering why is it that so many dramas employ the same, sometimes very cringeworthy tropes (wrist grabs, accidental kisses, chaebol family drama etc) and viewers like me, who have seen them so many times before, still continue to lap them up?

That was a very long winded question sorry, and adding to that why is it that writers continue to add in these tropes.

I became interested in this when I began watching Crash Landing on You thanks to my undying Hyun Bin love ever since I watched secret garden. The show definitely has a lot of these tropes and yet I still continue to get sucked in. Am I the only one?

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