So, barely fifteen months into my blogging adventure, I’m already struggling to make a once a month post. It used to be an ambitious once a week routine. Notwithstanding, the dwindling number of dramas I’m watching these days makes it difficult to find something fresh to write about.
2016 marks the sixth year I’ve watched kdramas. Compared to many other kdrama bloggers, six years is nothing. Many of my fellow bloggers have been at it for many more years with hundreds of dramas under their belt. And so are their blogs. On the same note, many personal blogs have also disappeared during this six year stretch. Sad to see since some of these bloggers are really good at it. But unfortunately, such is life and people move on.
Quoting a seasoned, delightful drama blogger whom I follow, Timescout recently commented on one of my posts, “many in the community have become disillusioned, become more selective, tropes start to annoy them and they’ve become grumpy curmedgeon.” Her humourous but blunt takes on dramas in general is what makes me read her blog even though these days kdramas seem to have little staying power on her very selective list.
Gotta agree with her as I may be moving a smidgen towards the end of that penultimate scale myself. As days pass I don’t chase after these dramas as much as before. I used to literally look up the A-Z drama list, read the blurps and wasted entire weekends drama watching.
Aside from my recent impromptu crush on SJS and subsequent barrage of his dramas and movies, I haven’t felt the urge to scour Soompi or Dramabeans for what’s the latest and hottest news out there. Even some of the highly recommended ones by people I trust stay on the ever growing watchlist, only to be struck out even before I start episode one.
I guess it is only natural as one’s taste matures over time, the law of diminishing returns ultimately kicks it. Even close friends and family that discovered the awesomeness of korean dramas years before I did have mostly now moved on to other greener pastimes.
The good news is I’m not bored with kdramas (not yet) and as far as tropes that annoy me, truthfully speaking, that haven’t changed much. Tropes that annoyed me in the beginning still annoy me today, and to date I haven’t added too many annoying tropes to my list.
What has become a growing deciding factor for me is the actor/actress. I tend to have long memories on bad performances. After eighty plus kdramas, I have developed biases and my brain gets automatically turned off by certain actors or actresses. Not fair, one might say since these poor guys/gals may be the recipient of bad writing, bad direction or bad production. Maybe, but good acting can often times camouflage bad writing. Facial expressions, realistic acting and chemistry, these are memorable. Some actors or actresses seem to ooze chemistry with whomever they are paired with, making their performances unforgettable.
It’s almost better if these actors/actresses fly under the radar since I’d have likely forgotten about them and if they show up later in another show, I’d have given their shows a fair glance.
Therefore since my SJS binge, I went three weeks without picking up another drama until I came across a review on Page Turner that caught my interest. Just like that, I finished the short three episodes coming of age, parent-child relationship story in one sitting.
Simple, yet powerful, Page Turner restores my love for kdrama all over again. All three MC played their parts beautifully. I’m a sucker for stories about chasing your dreams and overcoming parental expectations. Not only do we see growth with these kids, the parents also learned life lessons and had to come to terms with their roles in the lives of their children. White lies, well-meaning deeds, lofty expectations hurt more than you know.
In one scene, Yoo Seul said to her mother.
“Since I lived the life you chose for me, I can’t help but blame you every time I regret that choice. Its my life. I shouldn’t blame it on you. That’s why from now on I’ll make my own choices and blame them on myself. I’m doing this because I don’t want to hate you.”
As a mother, that last bit struck me the most. “I don’t want to hate you.” When that happens, the relationship is over and beyond repair.
I highly recommend this show. It’s neither dark nor melodramatic. It’s actually quite funny in parts. Overall, it’s very lovely and grounded. I would have rated it 10 but settled for 9.5, mindful of a few minor flaws in the realistic department that tipped the scale for me. Well-created characters, the show could have easily evolved into 16 episodes but then again, if it did, it might have spoiled the effect it had on me. It did just enough to hint at something more leaving me longing for ‘what if’ but at the same time gave me enough closure to leave it behind.
So, to sum it up, no, kdrama is not dead to me. I still love them but the palate is more discerning or dare I say, more sophisticated?