Sep 25, 2011

What I've Learned from Korean Dramas

My Girlfriend is a Nine-tailed Fox
     Recently, I've become addicted to Korean dramas. They are so different from American shows! The series I've seen so far have been romances depicted in such innocent ways (albeit there was cross-dressing in some of them, but they had their reasons). There was only one in which the main characters had sex but nothing was shown and it was actually cutely done and not all hot and heavy like it probably would have been if on American TV.
     I've noticed that the Korean shows focus a lot on prosaic things like family and everyday life, and that the romances are sweet and unoffensive. Embraces, forehead kisses, and hand holding are some of the big deal scenes with one of the characters usually being shocked in an oh-my-gosh-you're-showing-affection-for-me-I-thought-it-was-only-me-that-liked-you sort of way -which brings me to the common main characters I have run into so far: the ditzy girl and the jerk guy. They are always at odds in the beginning (sometimes really horrible odds), and then, as the series progresses, they fall in love. And more often than not there is a really great guy side character who has been in love with the main girl the whole time and has been protecting her and watching over her, but he ends up stepping aside so that she can love whom she loves. *sigh*
Sungkyunkwan Scandal
     The comedy in these series is done really well too. It's not take down humor but just plain, funny, situational humor.

     Aside from the prosaic-ness and innocent love-ness in Korean dramas, I've been impressed by the way the characters progress. The ditzy main girl matures and shows depth while the jerk main guy softens up and opens his heart. Even the baddies or villainous characters turn out to be at least understandable by the end.
     Everybody is multidimensional -which brings me to the connection of writing and good stories. Is using the word "dynamic" appropriate here? The characters develop and progress. This adds such a richness to the storyline. I realize that this is essential to becoming invested in a story. The characters can't be popped out of a can (unless they are background stock characters, then that's okay). They can't be two-dimensional if you really want your audience to feel for them and to care about what happens to them. The personal change of the characters in Korean dramas is what really draws me in.

What book and character examples come to mind that show this type of development and change (it doesn't have to be romantical)?
Here are the shows I've seen so far in their entirety (the ones with a "*" I super liked) :
Netflix, Hulu (Hulu+ app), and Crunchyroll (app) are the companies I've been watching from but there are other sites too like Drama Fever and Drama Crazy.

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