Things I’ve Learned in DramaLand

My Love From Another Star

Goblin: The Great and Lonely God

Secret Love Affair

You guys might know I like love to watch South Korean dramas.
*Sound of the majority of my readers immediately clicking away from this post*

For those of you who are left, perhaps you watch them too? I have a hard time explaining it to folks who don’t watch them. To most Westerners who brave the subtitling, they might at first seem too slowly paced and too overly dramatic. At first. But you might hang on just because the story is intriguing, or you might be curious about Korean culture, or you might be sick of smutty American programming, or you might just like looking at impossibly pretty people wearing great jewelry.

The K2

Cheese In The Trap

I Hear Your Voice

Then somehow you get sucked into DramaLand and become an honorary South Korean! Chincha! So here are some things I’ve learned about South Korea by watching dramas. I’m 100% positive that these facts are as reliably true as what you learn about real Americans by watching American TV.

  1. The only city that exists in South Korea is Seoul. And sometimes Jeju Island puts in a cameo appearance.
  2. 50% of the people in Seoul are rich, corporate heirs and heiresses or entrepreneurs. The other 50% are the poor but good-looking folks that the rich corporate heirs and heiresses will fall in love with in opposition to their overbearing parents.
  3. If you get a fever or a small cut you must immediately go to the hospital where there will be no waiting.
  4. By the way, most fevers are caused by Love Gone Wrong.
  5. Moms and prospective boyfriends are super serious about your not skipping meals. If you have not eaten breakfast it’s a cause for major alarm.
  6. Amnesia is a very common side effect of any kind of mental trauma or a car accident.
  7. If someone hugs you, the only proper thing to do is stand there looking shocked with your arms hanging down. DO NOT HUG THEM BACK.
  8. If you are in love with the person who is hugging you, and that person knows it, and everyone else knows it, it is then permissible to gently pat them in slow motion on the back while looking embarrassed. But still do not embrace them.
  9. If you are sick, the man or woman of your dreams will make you rice gruel and hand spoon it to your mouth. You will immediately recover.
  10. There is a Holly’s Coffee shop every 50 feet in Seoul.
  11. High school is made up of cutthroat girl gangs in plaid mini skirts who roam the streets looking to take your money.
  12. The only thing most people fantasize about eating is convenience store cup ramen noodles.
  13. Asking to eat cup noodles with someone late at night is the equivalent of asking to come in for a nightcap. *wink*
  14. It is a sign of True Love if it starts to rain and then you realize someone is silently holding an umbrella over you.
  15. All lithe young men seem to have a camera in their shower.
  16. If your parents divorce, you will be abandoned with a mean relative while they go get new families. And at least one of your parents will move to America and never be seen again.
  17. Birthday cakes are always presented on top of the box they come in.
  18. There is a fried chicken shop every 50 feet in Seoul.
  19. It is a sign of True Love if someone notices a tiny cut on you, immediately consigns you to a park bench, sprints to a pharmacy, buys disinfectant and bandages, returns, blows on the cut, and spends minutes in utmost concentration putting on a bandaid.
  20. If you like someone unabashedly and openly and seem the perfect match for them, ALERT: you are the second male lead. You are deep in the FriendZone. And it’s likely you will die in some sacrificial way by the end of the drama, so get your affairs in order.
  21. Nothing of consequence is ever discussed until you have one of the following beverages in front of each of you: 1) hot tea in fancy cups 2) iced cafe Americano 3) layered elaborate fruit drinks with whipped cream on top. Under no circumstances will you drink these drinks during your talk.
  22. If you sit down to discuss anything of consequence with just a plain glass of water, someone will be wearing it in under five minutes.
  23. Marriage is not about love. It’s about showing up your high school friends that you never liked but are somehow still hanging around with ten years later.
  24. There is an exclusive designer bag shop every 50 feet in Seoul.
  25. If anything has gone awry in your life, group karaoke and a few drinks will fix it.
  26. A sign that you have made it big in life: you have a special glass display case for all your watches.
  27. If your oppa (male love interest) doesn’t lunge for your wrist as you are walking away, it’s not True Love.
  28. If your oppa grabs your wrist without even looking, it’s Double True Love.
  29. Any ‘American’ in a drama 1) will mysteriously speak with a heavy European accent 2) will have never taken even one acting lesson 3) will likely be waving a gun or signing a multi-million dollar deal.
  30. There is a Subway sandwich shop every 50 feet in Seoul.
  31. If your oppa doesn’t return your feelings and you find the focus of your life is now to kidnap/publicly humiliate/falsely arrest his virtuous love interest, ALERT: you are a mean girl. You will die alone.
  32. If you are down on your luck, go spend the night in a sauna and wear a towel Princess Leia style on your head.
  33. Good looking high school boys are routinely mobbed wherever they go by worshipful high school girls who keep snapping pictures with their phones and saying how dreamy he is right in front of him. He cooly accepts this as his due.
  34. Good looking adult corporate heirs are routinely mobbed by female secretaries and underlings who keep snapping pictures with their phones and saying how dreamy he is right in front of him. He cooly accepts this as his due.
  35. It’s True Love if your oppa reaches across you to put on your seatbelt.
  36. If your legs are tired or sore, ball up your fist and hit them two or three times. This makes a handsome oppa appear in a luxury KIA sports coupe.
  37. America is considered a land of milk and honey where lucky and/or rich people go to live the high life or get Ivy League degrees.
  38. America is considered a depraved and violent cesspool, where innocent people learn to be indiscriminate huggers and speak to their elders disrespectfully.
  39. There is an outdoor soju bar in a tent every 50 feet in Seoul.
  40. Accidental time travel happens all the time and never ends up anywhere but in the Joseon era in the royal palace complex. Usually in the royal bath house.
  41. The best way to peel a boiled egg is to crack it on your forehead.
  42. If someone kisses you, the only proper thing to do is stand there looking shocked with your eyes wide open and arms hanging down. DO NOT KISS THEM BACK.
  43. You know you are in like Flynn with someone’s parents if their mom reaches over with chop sticks and puts some meat on top of your rice.
  44. It is not weird to have a kiss that lasts for the entire duration of a Kpop ballad, with no one moving their lips at all.
  45. It is winter three seasons a year in Seoul.
  46. High schools boys fall into three categories: 1) poindexters 2) street thugs or 3) painfully beautiful and gifted orphans with great hair.
  47. A sign of True Love is when someone grabs you and whirls you around so that a motorcycle doesn’t run you down and/or splash water on your pretty dress. You should wear a shocked expression while this is repeated in slow motion two or three times.
  48. All mothers immediately and irrevocably hate the girl their son loves and will routinely offer her money to go away.
  49. Under no circumstances clear up a simple misunderstanding by communicating properly. Wait three episodes before you do this.
  50. No one turns on the heat during winter. No one notices this even though their breath is crystallizing in their living room.
  51. It’s True Love if cherry blossoms are falling around you.
  52. Any oppa worth having will cart you for miles piggy-back style if you 1) drink too much soju 2) break the heel off your shoe 3) have a fever caused by Love Gone Wrong 4) are a mermaid.
  53. There is a cook-your-own-pork-belly restaurant every 50 feet in Seoul.
  54. Young, good looking, and conservatively raised people will inevitably end up living with/spending the night in close quarters with the man or woman of their dreams quite by accident and under unavoidable circumstances. NOTHING WILL HAPPEN.


School 2015: Who Are You

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading what I’ve learned from Korean dramas. (I posted a Part II to this here.) A few more things I’ve picked up from DramaLand: 1) a few Korean phrases 2) a new taste for Korean food 3) a burning desire to visit South Korea 4) the urge to bow to my elders.

I watch my dramas via the DramaFever and Viki apps on my iPad and most of the time the subtitles are very well done. But as you may have gathered from the credits I’ve listed under the photos, they need serious help coming up with good English titles for their shows. Don’t let the lame titles put you off. I’ve noticed that Netflix is getting quite a selection of Korean dramas, so you might try one there. (They change the titles. Hah! Good decision.) I don’t love every drama that I’ve watched, but I find that a lot of them are worth a try. And the best thing is, they just keep making more! The pictures here are from just a few of my favorites but I have a Pinterest board with more if you are interested.(Those of us who love the Kdramas can chuckle about the formulaic plot devices, ammiright? But seriously DO NOT mess with the formulas, people. It’s one of the things I love about them. I certainly hope they never start making them more like American TV. Horrors! American TV is the whole reason I watch Korean dramas.)

Ready for more? See More Things I’ve Learned in DramaLand

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