Quirks of a K-Drama

*Last edit 12-26-17.

Diving into a new culture is such an enriching, eye-opening experience. I was the girl in high school who aced psychology, creative writing, and most importantly world cultures. The latter is a personal favorite of mine. My teacher loaned me a copy of The Tao of Pooh, and it was love at first read. Coincidentally enough, my love for different cultures and history simmered on the back-burner for quite a few years as other real life priorities took precedence. Fast forward to the present and I honestly wish I had learned about k-dramas much sooner.

Of course, there are plenty of quirks I haven’t even touched base on. As time permits, and if I remember, I will do my best to add more.

I totally feel your pain, Oh Ha Ni. This is what runs through my head every time that I try to stop myself from marathoning a drama. It’s not that they’re cheesy or dramatic or have the worst plot devices ever. I just enjoy the stories, the characters, the acting, and the way that k-drama makes anti-social me feel like I belong. During the past two years, I’ve recognized some trends in dramas. I’m sure this list isn’t new to any fellow k-drama enthusiasts out there, but I had fun piecing all of these together for you.


1. When distressed, characters really ham it up1 by dragging out certain emotions and/or words. Whether if be frustration, jealousy, anger, sadness, or extreme joy, k-dramas do it all, and they can surely do it well. Cue the dramatics.

2. What’s a k-drama without a piggyback ride? If a character is hurt, sick, drunk, or unconscious, this is their prime source of transportation. It’s also the craziest and least efficient way to get to the hospital, but it’s really touching to watch, so there’s that.

3. Want to see the kiss to end all kisses? You might want to buckle down and contain your excitement because k-dramas are light in the physical affection department. Don’t expect an epic kiss of the Princess Bride variety. Instead, you’re in for a bit of a slow burn. It might be a good idea to start practicing your patience skills because k-dramas can severely test them at times. But, trust me, there are some rare heavy kisses that will give you butterflies.

4. What would a k-drama be without some kind of epic, crazy business power play to rise to the top? There are plenty of dramas out there that revolve around characters being greedy and wanting to get to the top of the conglomerate business ladder by any means necessary. Their goals are usually power, revenge, or money.

5. The back hug! Need I say more? Not trying to fuel my Lee Min Ho obsession and slight bias (sorry, not sorry) but I always think of this little gem between Yoon Sung and Kim Nana. Who can deny the preciousness of Yoon Sung hugging her from behind and then resting his chin on Nana’s shoulder? *swoons*

6. Dashing good looks rings in at number six. I’ve yet to watch a k-drama without a ridiculously attractive male lead. (Okay, with a few minor exceptions.) Most male leads are good looking and they know it. Some even exploit it to their own advantage. I’m looking at you, Dok Go Ma Te.

7. The female lead has two ridiculously handsome and wealthy men vying for her heart at the same time. Oh, yeah. This happens far more than I care to admit. Cue the eye roll.

8. Food. K-dramas wouldn’t be complete without our characters gorging on a ton of food. That, or they’re constantly thinking of food. Sometimes I wonder how our favorite characters don’t end up in a serious food coma. Warning: never watch k-dramas on an empty stomach. You’ve been fairly warned. 


 1ham it up:

to show expressions or emotions more obviously than is realistic. Here’s a picture of Philip hamming it up for grandma when he was only three.

Usage notes: usually said about expressions made to amuse others
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of ham (an actor who performs with very obvious emotions and expressions)

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