Category Archives: Drama Land

Drama Land: An Introduction


the kdrama that employs all kdrama tactics found in here

So, my previous rant on Korean dramas was a little exaggerated. And most of you who do not know me in real life probably think I hate my culture, or at least the media of it.

Well, if you know me in real life, you must’ve laughed at it and gone, “BS.”

Because I am a die-hard fan of Korean dramas. Laugh all you want. But most Westerners think, “Korean dramas? Oh, those soap operas where everyone dies from a car crash or cancer, break up, cry, and look out of windows or stare at their cellphones dramatically.”

HAHAHAHAHAHA.

So true.

Anyways, all mocking aside, no, there are Korean dramas where romance is not the prime storyline. But those are chock full with offenses to my feminist mind, since they always, ALWAYS feature two men trying to kill each other because of revenge/a woman/some weirdly twisted plot point that i never understand. And the women in it? They’re either middle aged, old, or really really hawt. There is no normal sensible girl unless it’s an extra coming out of a bus for two seconds.

So, I go for the trendies.

Trendies is a term for romantic comedy dramas that are so popular nowadays. They feature:

-cliches

-really really REALLY good looking guys who serve as pure eyecandy

-a main lead female who is gorgeous and who the hell is getting fooled, but the producers try to pass her off as a cute, bumbling, clumsy, cheerful, and overall dense

-a main lead male who makes all girls swoon with a smile, but that smile doesn’t appear until his gruff Mr. Darcy exterior is broken by said female lead

-a secondary female lead whose characterization (in most cases) is so shallow and pointless except to serve as a plot point that drives our two main leads apart.  her obsession with the male lead could lead to court cases and mental therapy, but the drama really doesn’t care about boring stuff like that. i could rant on and on about this character, but i’ll put it off to another post.

-a secondary male lead who, opposite of the secondary female lead, LURVES our female lead so much that, unlike his counterpart, only wishes happiness for the lead couple, if it will make his one true love happy. he is always there to be the shoulder for the female lead to cry on when the male lead makes her unhappy, to comfort her. his timing, alas, is terrible, so his love falls for the male lead, who is much less nicer than he is. he is the prince charming everyone dreams of, and most of the female population roots for. of course, there are cases where the secondary lead is as eeevvil as the female second lead, whose obsession might even be greater.

-secondary characters who are: friends, parents, teachers, mentors, bosses, coworkers, employees, etc. They can serve as comic reliefs, other evils that keep our leads apart, or just purely annoying plot points. again. kdrama likes doing that.

That’s only the tip of the pyramid. We can have backstabbing, marriage contracts, crossdressing, wrist-grabbing, car crashes, illegal u-turns when the main (male) lead has a “Eureka!” moment and rushes back somewhere,  stand-ups, a lot of stiff kissing, evil mother-in-laws (to be), funny old grandmas, airport scenes, significant objects of affection, and the star of EVERY SINGLE DRAMA EVER MADE:

Soju.

Lots of it.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s a Korean alchoholic beverage that’s cheap, strong, and tastes like vodka. One of the most common scenes in a Korean drama is our heroine sitting under a red tent (more on that later) at a table, downing one shot after another of soju, preferably with something to eat. And this is after heroic efforts in their job, homes, families, friends, and love life. This is where the main lead comes in during the “You suck, I hate you” phase to piggyback a drunk lead home, because Mr. Darcy, even with his gruff exterior, is still a gentleman.

I call kdramas the Fountain of Cliches. Why? Because anything remotely amusing or interesting used in one drama can be recycled AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN in either the same drama, or others by other directors. It becomes used so much that people actually get offended if they don’t have it in a particular drama.

For example:

The heroic wrist-grab. Personally, I dislike it, because it causes all of my feminist features go screaming. However, this is something used in every. single. drama. EVER. The situation is usually set up like this:

The Main Female Lead and the Main Male Lead (MFL & MML) are out somewhere, where they encounter second male lead/MML’s parents. If the first secenario, it goes like this:

MFL sitting with Second Male Lead (SML) talking or getting somewhat intimate without MFL noticing because she is dense like that. MML sees them and gets angry, because he’s jealous, but he doesn’t get it, because no way in hell is the prideful MML going to admit he’s jealous, but all he knows is that he wants MFL away from SML.

MML: MFL, let’s go.

MFL: Why?

MML (angrily): Because. I. Said. So.

SML: Hey, you’re acting like an overcontrolling jerk.

MML: Shut up. You’re not the main lead feeling spasms of jealousy. MFL, LET’S GO.

MFL: You are a jerk. I HATE YOU.

MML: (grabs wrist) I said, let’s go.

MFL: Hey, let go!

MML: (dragging her away)

SML: You jerk! (punches MML)

MML & SML: (all around duke-out)

MFL: Oh, crap. Did I start this?

MML: (wins fight) (drags MFL away)

MFL: Let go, douchebag! Let go! (pathetic whining)

SML: (watches, also pathetically)

So, yeah. In the second scenario:

MML and MFL are in front of MML’s parents, who look disapproving. MML’s mother starts barbering MFL with questions, because of course MML is the rich heir to some huge company, while MFL is a poor girl who had an even poorer upbringing.

Mommy MML: So, what do your parents do?

MFL: Um…they own a restaurant/market/sell flowers on the street/are dead.

Mommy MML: Oh. (mutters on how she is not fit for her son)

Awkward silence. MFL breaks/spills/hurts something.

Mommy MML: (instant HOW WERE YOU RAISED YOU ARE NOT FIT FOR MY SON outburst)

MML: MOM! Let’s go, MFL.

MFL: What? No, wait–

MML: (grabs wrist, starts pulling) Mom, you were too harsh. We’re leaving. Bye.

MFL: Um, um (secretly not resisting but pretending to) alright, GOODBYE!

Mommy MML: You come back here! UGH!

Papa MML: Hm.

Although the wrist grab is a regular in kdramas, there are too many other cliches, also just as popular, to name.

But those are just simple actions or settings that become familiar as you settle into Drama Land. The plots, however, is another thing.

Most Westerners say, “PSH…Korean dramas? You mean those weepy stories where people meet, fall in love, yet are seperated after five minutes and die of cancers? Forget it.”

Alright. They have a point. One of the most popular dramas of all time, which catapulted their stars into Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie statuses, is Winter Sonata. And it has everything Westerners think would be in Kdrama, and more. Amnesia, car crashes, cancer, fauxcest (something like incest, where they think they’re related, and therefore, OMG CANNOT LURVE EACH OTHER, but they’re not) break ups, make ups, evil parents, etc.

BUT.

That is not the case for nowadays dramas.

Usually, the plots go like this:

We are introduced to our main heroine: poor, cheerful, bumbling. She does things that depicts her as so. Then we switch to the main lead, who in contrast is rich, mean, arrogant, and did I say rich? However, he is an inner softy. Our heroine and main lead meet through certain circumstances that cause them to hate each other. However, as they keep meeting, and the hero starts helping out the heroine a bit in her financial circumstances, they begin to care for each other. Enter our second leads. Second male lead is depicted as heroic lover who offers a shoulder to the heroine. Second female lead is depicted as shallow bitch who clings and clings onto our hero, who used to have feelings for her. After alot of antics and fights and crying, the two main leads get together, preferably marrying. The end.

It’s pretty simple, and it’s recycled alot, but causes no end of excitement to the younger female generation, and sometimes to the older.

Anyways, seeing I’ve ranted enough, I’ll be out with post number two, which explains the dynamics between our second leads. Otherwise known as, The Obsession Cases of SML and SFL.

That is all.

~nemphy

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Drama Land: A Rant on KPOP


I dunno about you, but being Asian, my heritage is a huge part of my life.

Simple things like dining ettiquette, the way we treat adults and strangers, and even the food (ok, food isn’t a simple thing, but who’s complaning?) have roots in cultural ties.

For example, language. Koreans use honorifics in certain levels: friendly and casual, polite, extremely polite, MEGA MEGA polite, and then there’s the downright rude one you reserve for really close friends. It’s confusing, so don’t try it unless you’re Asian yourself.

But the main topic I want to rant about today is…(drumroll….never mind. That’s too cheesy. Some big bursts of bagpipes, please) ASIAN DRAMAS/POP CULTURE.

Yes, I have decided to tackle the biggest subject on earth, besides the topic of why me and mushrooms should never go together.

Anyways, here’s the gist: Asian drama are solely responsible for my noticable drop in IQ. Asian Pop Culture (hereby referred to as APC) is purely in charge of why I have turned so bitter until it gave me the right to openly bad mouth the media networks of my country.

I’m not saying all music and all dramas are that bad. There actually have been a few productive drama series, as well as several Korean artists I really enjoy.

But lately, the words “Korean Drama” has been related synonymous to…well, Boys Over Flowers.

Originally based on the manga/comic book Hana Yori Dango, this atrocity aired in the early months of 2009. Of course, I was one of the idiots watching it like a maniac.

I guess I’ll be fair enough to say that it is not a sob-wracking as Twilight, but after following it like an obsessed patient, I felt slightly disgusted at how mentally damaged I found myself.

But, to be fair, it was loaded with eye-candy.

Anyways, BOF is one thing. It eventually ended, and the fan-craze died out (although there are still those stalkerish die-hard fans). But the POP media of Korea is something else entirely.

SNSD, for example?

This sugary, fluffy, and altogether vomit-inducing girl’s group first debuted in 2007. I had no knowledge of their existence until 2009, when their number one song, Gee, came out.

And, if you do your research well enough, you’ll find that SNSD had a lasting influence on my generation.

The problem with these groups are one thing: they don’t die out. They produce song after horrible song that somehow rocket to number 1 on the charts for several weeks. There are some singers, artists, and even those teenage bands that I find tolerable, but generally, these clones give me a headache and the sick need to yell at something.

SNSD, therefore, is THE face of all Korean teenage band/girl groups. They are  the representative, the cover, and so on, and they deserve to have eggs thrown at them. I honestly can’t tell one girl from the other.

But enough hate. I guess they have enough trouble already, and it’s the agency to blame. Korean entertainment agencies are terrifying, and you must never ever get tied with them.

That’s it for girl bands. Boy bands? Oh geez.

Super Junior, SS501, FT Island,  SHINee, DBSK, Big Bang, 2PM, etc., just to name a few.

This will probably get me thrown in the ocean with my mouth taped shut and the words “BIG FAT HATER” written in permenant ink across my forehead, but seriously? Listen to my advice: don’t go near them with a ten foot pole.

To be fair, they’re all pretty cute, with the nice skin, silky hair, pouty lips and whatnot. They all work their butts off to make it big and so on, but unless you’re prepared to have big, open eyes that are connected to an empty brain and a mouth that can only say: “I love ——–” over a thousand times, yeah.

Huh. I just noticed something.

Today is May 1st. To most people, it probably represents the beginning of spring, only a month left of school, flower blooming, etc. but for all the die-hard Korean fans, it means one thing, and one thing only: Korean Music Festival.

I live in Southern California. That is a fact. i live near LA and Hollywood. Another fact. And I also live in a Korean infested area, so that all the middle-aged ladies in town somehow know each other one way or another.

And this is how I came to know of KMF.

It takes place at Hollywood Bowl, where millions of Koreans and mixed Koreans and Asians and basically everyone who love Korea come to see Korean music stars that flew from Seoul exclusively for this event.

As you can see, the hype of Korean pop music is atrocious.

So I’ll leave you with a parting thought:

Beautiful boys, pretty girls

Autotuned singing with unfortunate twirls

Is it worth it?

 

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