Monday, May 23, 2011

My Drama Turn-Offs Part I

Hi, Dramaholics!

Yesterday, as I was talking to my friend on the phone and complaining about some silly thing someone in the drama I was watching did, I was hit by inspiration and I thought why not write about it? The avid drama watcher that I am has come to accept and understand some particularities of the Asian culture. I've made my peace with Karaoke, I can deal with the toilet humor,the angst, the characters crying themselves into oblivion, the botched suicide attempts (yes, I'm talking to you 49 days!) and even the love squares. Really, I can take it. But every once in a while something positively illogical or annoying happens and makes me want to throw my shoe at my laptop. And so I went into my really dark place filled k-drama hate and thought about all the little things that annoy and/or anger me. Don't get me wrong, I looove dramas, I do. But sometimes you just have to let it off your chest. So here is part one of my ranting. Enjoy!

1. The Yelling

I’m ashamed to admit that before watching dramas I was under the impression that Asians were really zen and calm people who never raised their voices and loved meditation. You know, like Mr. Miyagi. I know, it's stereotypical, but to the six year-old I was when I first watched The Karate Kid (the one with Hilary Swank) that's how it was and I had no other example to prove me wrong. So imagine my surprise to find out that I couldn't be further away from the truth. Never have I been confronted to so much screaming, especially in Taiwanese and Korean dramas. You can't imagine the amount of yelling that goes on in these things until you actually hear it. It's like they're all trying to out-yell each other in a shouting contest. Need to check it for yourself? Watch the first five minutes of Romance Town. That ought to convince you!

2. The Drunk Speeches

OK, so I've come to realize the cultural significance of alcohol to Koreans. I mean they like to drink, alright? Then they sing their hearts out, preferably in a Karaoke bar. It's their thing. What I don't understand is why drama writers feel obligated to bombard us with drunken people. I mean in every kdrama ever made, there is a scene where someone, be it the female lead or the neighbor's cat, is so drunk out of their mind that they pass out and have to be carried out . When they don't pass out, we get the drunk walk. The drunkard proceeds to repetedly stumble, fall on the ground, and get back up, all the while saying some senseless mumbo jumbo. To be fair, that scene sometimes serves a purpose as it allows the male character to give the girl a piggyback ride, which is really just an excuse so we can get some skinship (skin contact) between the characters.

3. The Arm/Wrist Grab

You knew what I was talking about before I even explained it. Admit it. In about every kdrama out there is a scene where a female character gets dragged out by her wrist by a male character. Whether it's because he's jealous, angry or simply because he has to talk to her (and it really can't wait), he just has to drag her behind him because God forbids she actually uses her own two feet and walk. By herself. And she never complains about it. Nope. Never. While it is usually followed by a kiss, a hug or some other kind of romantic gesture designed to make our hearts flutter, it doesn't always serve a purpose and to me it's just unnecessary forcefulness. And, might I add that a love declaration is still a love declaration whether it involves wrist-grabbing or not.

4. The Motionless hugs/kisses

In order for a kdrama to have a kissing scene it must follow some rules which it almost never deviates from. First of all, the PDA, be it a hug or a kiss, is always initiated by the male. That way, the female's image can remain ‘’pure’’ I guess? While the second time around she can be more active, if it's their first physical encounter (did I really just write that?) she must remain motionless. When he kisses her, she ought to stay passive and let him do his thing. The hug version isn't any better: she stands still like a mannequin, with her arms hanging by her side, until he’s done. I dislike this for the obvious reason: because it always results in some weird-ass scene where we, the viewers, see them kissing/hugging from different angles while the woman awkwardly stands there in a zombie-like state. But also because I feel like it encourages men to be the sexually aggressive ones, because women never take the initiative.

5. The Almost Meetings

This particular drama trope gets me worked up like nothing else. You see, characters in dramas have the near scientific ability to miss each other by half a second while being a few feet away from each other. They do this thing where they walk, drive, roll or run past each other completely oblivious to the fact that their significant other is at hand’s reach. Which I respond to by banging my head against the table and screaming at fictional characters I know cannot hear me. Anyone who has seen Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang knows what I’m talking about. So does my table.But since we're talking about that, I feel obligated to mention Baker King Kim Tak Goo. They did this funny thing where Tak Goo would run past someone he was looking for, then realize it and chase after them. Loved it!

Stay tuned for Part II and feel free to rate and comment and share your own drama pet-peeves! Who knows? They might end up on my list!

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