We’ve all been there before. You’re in the throes of euphoria, glued to the edge of your seat, and you don’t know how this drama could possibly get any better. But, your favorite romantic comedy suddenly takes a very unexpected, screwball curve in the last episode and turns into a tragic melo. (We’re not talking about trucks of doom or sudden amnesia tropes. We’re talking much, much worse.)
I’m not singling out any particular drama here. But there is nothing more depressing when a brilliant drama suddenly goes off the deep end. Maybe the writer thought it was a clever plot twist, but the 16 hours you’ve invested into this drama are not something to be taken lightly. You’ve laughed and cried with these characters, and when the story goes off the rails, you feel angry and cheated.
We’ve all been there. It’s perfectly normal. While I haven’t experienced it a lot with k-dramas in particular, I’ve come across it a lot while reading novels. No one likes poorly written stories. Drama is necessary in any drama. There needs to be some kind of central conflict that keeps the plot and story moving forward.
I’m not arguing that point. What I’m arguing is when a terrible plot device is used that it completely destroys an entire drama. Yes, a plot twist can make or break a drama. Dramas contain many conflicts to keep a story interesting and to keep the viewer engaged. The problem is knowing when to draw the line between acceptable plot twist and the unacceptable.
As I mentioned earlier, a romantic comedy suddenly become a tragic melodrama in the last 10 minutes is not a good idea. No one wants to watch a drama suffering from an identity crisis.
Some dramas jump the shark. Not all dramas are well-written from start to finish. Some start strong and fizzle out in the end. Some start out weak and go out with a bang in the end. Some are strong in the beginning and end but lose their way in the middle.
So, what do you do when your favorite drama goes bad?
Here are a few options to help sooth the burn:
Dump the drama before things get much worse. Honestly, there’s a 50/50 chance that the drama might turn around and wrap up decently, but there’s the risk it will continue to go off the rails. I carefully weigh my pros and cons. If there’s more bad than good, I give up. Sometimes the best thing to do when a drama goes bad is to step away and stop watching. It saves a lot of time, energy and sanity. Some dramas cannot be saved by your bias—or even by your optimism. Run while you can!
Commiserate with a fellow drama watcher/friend. When a really good drama goes bad, I’m more frustrated and disappointed than angry. With emotions mounting, I find another friend watching and unleash on them. Chances are, if it’s as bad as you think it is, they do too. Misery loves company, so don’t keep it all to yourself.
Sleep it off and give yourself time to absorb what you’ve watched. A few days or a week should suffice. Sometimes a plot twist or misstep can grow on you when you take a step back and think about the big picture; sometimes you’re just reminded that the drama is nothing but a turd and it’s time to flush it down the proverbial toilet. Don’t torture yourself with the idea of not following through with a drama. You won’t win an award for suffering through it. Finishing for the sake of finishing does nothing but take away time from a drama you could be enjoying.
If all else fails, shrug your shoulders and roll with the punches. You’ve invested all this time and don’t want to throw in the towel. If you’re not seething in anger, keep watching just to see how bad it gets. Laugh. Make jokes about the bad plot twist and try to figure out what ridiculous things will happen next. At least you’re not faced with a total waste of a drama. Some dramas turn out to be so bad that it’s like a car crash you can’t look away from. These are also fun to tweet, blog, and share across any social media platform. At the very least, it gives you something to talk about and makes your investment of time a lot less painful and less meaningless.
And there you have it—a few ways to muddle through a drama gone wrong.