Each one of us has a story. A story of how, when and why we fell in love with kdramas. Maybe for some of us it was puppy love and we have grown out of it. Not for me, at least not yet anyways. My love story with kdramas is going on five year strong.
It was summer of 2010 and my sister told me, “You have to watch this Korean drama. You will really like it. It is about five students from a lousy school that made it to the cutthroat world of Korean universities.” I was not that keen at all but finally caved in to appease my dear sister and lo and behold I was hooked. It is an interesting phenomenon, our fascination with Korean TV dramas. What is it that makes us foreigners, so intrigued with a culture, language, and lives of people that are so different from us? I grew up watching my share of popular Hong Kong and Taiwanese movies and dramas but have long stopped watching these for various reasons.
There are loads of citations, papers and articles dedicated to the Hallyu phenomenon so I won’t repeat them here. What continues to intrigue me is what makes us care. It is definitely not about the sex since most of it pretty much G-rated and totally devoid of the kinky stuff. Is it about its superb writing and execution? It’s got its share of masterpieces (Misaeng, Winter Sonata, Jewel of the Palace), along with some pretty original storytelling (Secret Garden) and its share of duds.
Is it the eye candy? Yes, but Hollywood, Bollywood, and Chinese/Japanese dramas all have the same staples of beautiful women and handsome dudes.
Or is it the constant parade of mouth watering delicious looking food? The characters are always eating!
Or is it because the typical drama is usually just the right length at 16-20 episodes? Not too short to make you feel rushed and not too long to feel like it is dragged out but just about right to make us connect with the characters and give the plot enough substance?
For me, it is all of the above and more. It’s got enough cuteness, heart wrenching moments, wonderful OSTs, interesting plots and overall good quality entertainment without excessive sexual moments, swearing (perhaps it’s not subbed 🙂 ), and violence.
And if I may say so, it is also very cool to learn how to say “oppa”, “saranghae”, “an nyeong ha se yo” and “kam sa ham ni da”. What about you? What makes you care?