Welcome, 2015! K-drama Resolutions for the New Year
|You can do it!|
Instead of setting goals for ourselves, this time around Coco and I decided to brainstorm some resolutions for K-drama writers. C'mon, writers! We're just trying to help you be the best you! Aren't we so nice and motivational? This idea was partly inspired by Amanda from Outside Seoul and her Christmas wish list of last year. (Hi Amanda! We miss your blog posts.) So, without further ado, here are some resolutions for the K-drama writers of 2015. Let's make this the best K-drama year yet, shall we?
Resolution 1: More realistic female characters
|Yeah, you are, but most people are sometimes.|
This resolution is brought to you by Discovery of Romance.
I was kind of taken aback by the massive hatred that came down on the female lead of that series. Most of the commentary on the show went something like "She's such a terrible person! What do these hot, wonderful guys see in her???" Yeah, I found Yeo Reum selfish and infuriating for much of the series, but I didn't really think that she was worse than anyone else on the show—wasn't that kind of the point? I mean, her boyfriend kept running around with his not-really-sister behind her back, so he wasn't exactly a saint.
My point here isn't that you should run out and watch Discovery of Romance because it wasn't a great show overall. My point is that in the real world, women—like men—have flaws. We get so used to watching sweet, innocent, pure-hearted young ladies running around helping old ladies cross the street all day that it's shocking to see female characters with genuine character flaws aside from "too nice" or "too poor." Many female leads grow, but only in predictable, safe ways. They become more confident. They get better hair. You get the picture.
Personally, I would love to see more female leads with a Han Yeo Reum streak. Yes, you can take it too far and make viewers hate all of the characters (and Discovery of Romance definitely pushed that boundary in the first half), but I'm tired of granny-helping sweethearts. Let's get some more complex women addressing complex problems.
Resolution 2: No more amnesia. Period.
|You know what I want to forget? This entire part of the series.|
Dear Drama Writers,
If, at any point in the upcoming year, you run out of ideas and think amnesia might be the answer, trust me. It isn't. Put down your pen and walk away from the script. Everyone who watched Trot Lovers will thank you.
Resolution 3: Cast actual high schoolers in high school dramas.
|Obviously not teenagers.|
We don't really need to see 27-year-olds running around, pretending to be 16. I'm sure you can find someone who is an actual teenager to squeeze into that school uniform. Too hard? Fine. We'll even let a 20-year-old slide. But if they're pushing 30, we're not buying it.
Resolution 4: Give the second female lead a chance
|Second female leads deserve love too!|
Second male syndrome is a pretty well-established fact in Dramaland, but what about the second female leads? I hear through the grapevine that Doctor Stranger was a rare unicorn of a case where people were rooting for the second female lead, but that's the only example I have ever heard. Why not write a script where instead of arguing the merits of the two men, viewers are torn between two fantastic women instead?
Did your brain just explode at the possibility of this idea?
Heck, while we're dreaming big, why not let the second female lead get the guy sometime? At least it would be memorable!
Resolution 5: Give our villains depth
|This face. I MUST KNOW WHAT IT MEANS!|
If you could probably compile all of your villain's lines from a montage of other shows, it might be time to rethink things. Do we really need more cookie cutter businessmen and women furrowing their brows and growling "I will destroy them!" as the camera zooms in on their clenched fists? Do you even know for sure which specific drama I'm referencing right now? I rest my case.
Let's look at two illustrative dramas: You Are All Surrounded and Pride and Prejudice. In YAAS, you have the Birkin bag lady and her easily shocked and very villainous dad, played by the same actor who is easily shocked and very villainous in both Heirs and Nine. On the other hand, though, you have Chief Kang. For most of the series, we couldn't be quite sure if she was a hero or a villain, and that made us sit up and pay attention every time she was on the screen.
Pride and Prejudice has a similar character in Moon Hee Man. I'm a couple of episodes behind (so if you spoil it for me, I'll turn into the Birkin bag lady and beat you with a handbag), but I'm almost to the end of the series, and I'm still never sure what to think of his character.
Perhaps the answer to the common second-half drama slump is to give some nuance to our baddies and keep us coming back for more.
See? That's only five resolutions! So reasonable! Now come back next December and let us know how you did.
What resolutions would you like to give to the K-drama writers this year?