Monday, January 5, 2015

Welcome, 2015! K-drama Resolutions for the New Year

You can do it!
It's a new year, and that means it's time to make a whole bunch of promises you have no intention of keeping! It's only January 5, but I'm pretty sure I have already broken some of my resolutions. It's not too late to make some more, though!

Instead of setting goals for ourselves, this time around Coco and I decided to brainstorm some resolutions for K-drama writers. C'mon, writers! We're just trying to help you be the best you! Aren't we so nice and motivational? This idea was partly inspired by Amanda from Outside Seoul and her Christmas wish list of last year. (Hi Amanda! We miss your blog posts.) So, without further ado, here are some resolutions for the K-drama writers of 2015. Let's make this the best K-drama year yet, shall we?


Resolution 1: More realistic female characters

Yeah, you are, but most people are sometimes.

This resolution is brought to you by Discovery of Romance.

I was kind of taken aback by the massive hatred that came down on the female lead of that series. Most of the commentary on the show went something like "She's such a terrible person! What do these hot, wonderful guys see in her???" Yeah, I found Yeo Reum selfish and infuriating for much of the series, but I didn't really think that she was worse than anyone else on the show—wasn't that kind of the point?  I mean, her boyfriend kept running around with his not-really-sister behind her back, so he wasn't exactly a saint.

My point here isn't that you should run out and watch Discovery of Romance because it wasn't a great show overall. My point is that in the real world, women—like men—have flaws. We get so used to watching sweet, innocent, pure-hearted young ladies running around helping old ladies cross the street all day that it's shocking to see female characters with genuine character flaws aside from "too nice" or "too poor." Many female leads grow, but only in predictable, safe ways. They become more confident. They get better hair. You get the picture.

Personally, I would love to see more female leads with a Han Yeo Reum streak. Yes, you can take it too far and make viewers hate all of the characters (and Discovery of Romance definitely pushed that boundary in the first half), but I'm tired of granny-helping sweethearts. Let's get some more complex women addressing complex problems.

Resolution 2: No more amnesia. Period.

You know what I want to forget? This entire part of the series.

Dear Drama Writers, 

If, at any point in the upcoming year, you run out of ideas and think amnesia might be the answer, trust me. It isn't. Put down your pen and walk away from the script. Everyone who watched Trot Lovers will thank you.

Resolution 3: Cast actual high schoolers in high school dramas.

Actual teenager
Via


Obviously not teenagers.
Via

We don't really need to see 27-year-olds running around, pretending to be 16. I'm sure you can find someone who is an actual teenager to squeeze into that school uniform. Too hard? Fine. We'll even let a 20-year-old slide. But if they're pushing 30, we're not buying it.

Resolution 4: Give the second female lead a chance

Second female leads deserve love too!

Second male syndrome is a pretty well-established fact in Dramaland, but what about the second female leads? I hear through the grapevine that Doctor Stranger was a rare unicorn of a case where people were rooting for the second female lead, but that's the only example I have ever heard.  Why not write a script where instead of arguing the merits of the two men, viewers are torn between two fantastic women instead? 

Did your brain just explode at the possibility of this idea?

Heck, while we're dreaming big, why not let the second female lead get the guy sometime? At least it would be memorable!

Resolution 5: Give our villains depth

This face. I MUST KNOW WHAT IT MEANS!

If you could probably compile all of your villain's lines from a montage of other shows, it might be time to rethink things. Do we really need more cookie cutter businessmen and women furrowing their brows and growling "I will destroy them!" as the camera zooms in on their clenched fists? Do you even know for sure which specific drama I'm referencing right now? I rest my case.

Let's look at two illustrative dramas: You Are All Surrounded and Pride and Prejudice. In YAAS, you have the Birkin bag lady and her easily shocked and very villainous dad, played by the same actor who is easily shocked and very villainous in both Heirs and Nine. On the other hand, though, you have Chief Kang. For most of the series, we couldn't be quite sure if she was a hero or a villain, and that made us sit up and pay attention every time she was on the screen.

Pride and Prejudice has a similar character in Moon Hee Man. I'm a couple of episodes behind (so if you spoil it for me, I'll turn into the Birkin bag lady and beat you with a handbag), but I'm almost to the end of the series, and I'm still never sure what to think of his character.

Perhaps the answer to the common second-half drama slump is to give some nuance to our baddies and keep us coming back for more.

Conclusions

See? That's only five resolutions! So reasonable! Now come back next December and let us know how you did.

What resolutions would you like to give to the K-drama writers this year?


15 comments:

  1. Spot on! No more amnesia plots. LOL. It was already a drag watching the two leads in Trot Lovers imply, suggest and hint at their feelings and intentions ("let me leave your life so you can follow your dreams" type of frustrations); but then to have to start the process ALL over again. NO WAY! That element finally killed the show to me, although I finished it. It was a fatal blow if ever there was one. Added to that how the writers tried to make you sympathize with the jealous "other" woman who clearly attempted to murder the lead, and I just threw my hands up. Meanwhile, Shin Sung-Rok's character was just in the wind eating ice cream by the end. WASTE! The little sister was the best thing, though. And I totally agree on better female characters, like in Discovery of Romance. The naive, bubbly, forever-getting-played (*ahem* Ice Adonis) lead tends to raise my blood pressure these days. LOL.

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  2. Resolution 2 & 3 are for me...You're right, we are so sick and tired of amnesia...thank you for this!

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  3. If I see one more car chase scene in a K-drama where the characters try to chase each other in large front-wheel drive Hyundai sedans that have the handling capability of a barge, I will lose it. Note to writer-nim/pd-nim--if you do a car chase and need a Korean manufactured vehicle, try using a sporty looking car that handles, like a Hyundai Genesis Coupe or even a Veloster. I am available for consultation at a reasonable rate, as long as RT airfare to Seoul is provided.

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  4. That has always bothered me. One example is jan di from boys over flowers. This was suppose to be a firce(spit fire??) girl who had a mind of her own and din't just sit in the corner in the face of injustice(unwarranted snobery,bullying) especialy stands up for her friends. But you have several instances where jun pyo pushes her around(going on dates,worse vacations without her permission,she's initialy upset and hesitates but eventualy concedes),she often comes across helpless in the face of the mob-bully-minions exept in few cases. One particular scene that fustrated me the most was at the resturant where she ask the chef for leftovers,she bumps into her classmates/rival/green barbies and she just sits there patheticaly as they make fun of her(i mean just stand up and leave at least babe) until jun pyo swoops in rebukes the deuche kens,day saved!!! For someone who could stand up for herself and does,WHAT WAS THAT! There are so many more. Love your site,first time commenter.

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  5. what about the relationship break thing at the end😣 Really sick of that in romcom

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  6. Maybe they drive those barges to even the playing field when they're being chased by gigantic white vans. Why would you chase people in something that starts losing parts if you hit 50 MPH?

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  7. Oh yeah, that drove me CRAZY in Boys over Flowers. Also, who gets on an airplane with a bully? I don't care if it's a free vacation--you're not getting me anywhere near that plane.


    Birth of a Beauty recently had the same problem. They made a big deal about how she was a judo champion, and then suddenly the guy had to come rescue her from a tiny little wrist grab.

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  8. Yes! Cut the boring stuff in the last third of the season, and you'll have time to give us something satisfying.

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  9. "We just said that we would face death for each other, buuuuut I'm just going to hop on a plane for a few years now that everything's calmed down, okay?" Ugh.

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  10. So true... The relationship break cliche was used for coffee prince, my lovely girl, flower boy next door, the greatest love, flower boy ramen shop, master's sun, and all other popular romcom😳

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  11. It did did not work for the lovely girl... The female lead was like ' thingS will b better if I stay away from you so off I go to b apart from you for a year' it just killed the romance for me T_T

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  12. My first and so far only case of female second lead syndrome: boys over flowers. I feel like I can't be the only one who wanted gu Jun pyo to end up with the fiancée. She was super awesome (except for the whole I know you like my fiancé but I'm going to ask you to be my bridesmaid thing) and she understood him. And she fell on the sword for them in the end!!! I sigh for what could have been. Could have been almost paradise.

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  13. You're indeed not the only one, I super liked them together and am sighing with you *lesigh*

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  14. Haha such a very intering post, loved it.

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