[As an early Christmas present, I’m pleased to introduce a new guest blogger to you. A familiar voice on the Dramabeans Open Threads, leonardswench is an avowed kdrama addict who also happens to have a job that makes me green with envy: reviewing kdramas! Please welcome her! –thundie]
I am a sucker for cops. You might as well know now, if he is Korean and flashes a badge, it’s too late, there’s already been an ovary meltdown. I’m saying all this to preface my personal k-drama train wreck.
I’m traveling along in life, American, Texas housewife, mother, job, hobbies, happy, and blissfully unaware of Korean dramas. I didn’t want them, didn’t need them, didn’t know they existed. I was a member of a writer’s forum, and we admins had decided we needed a worldwide review section, divided by region, taking in literature, television, film, theatre, music, fashion, and pop culture. Everyone laid claim to their ‘region’ of choice, leaving two areas standing up for grabs from my girlfriend and I: Russia, and Asia. She couldn’t stand the thought of Asian anything outside of Chinese buffet restaurants and I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to watch anything Russian-made after a rather horrible earlier film experience, so … there I was, busy writing Asian reviews.
Well, not quite, BUSY, you understand, more like, wow, first, Asia has all these places with film and music and television departments. I landed at Hong Kong Cinema and mysoju.com and began to explore my way into the unchartered waters of lokorns, k-dramas, HK productions, j-pop, and so much more. I was barely treading water in unfamiliar territories with no background knowledge at all — and almost everything I saw and read left me disappointed, and feeling like I’d like Russia back, please.
Then my train wrecked. It was late at night, I had not blogged on any Asian movies or television for over a week, missing a few deadlines on my writer’s forum, and I was desperate to watch something I liked. My last drama had been a Mainland drama (Chinese, or C-drama, to me) and it had taken extreme willpower to make it through the horrible story-line, acting, production values, editing, and the finding-anything-positive-to-say-about-it review. (I will write negative reviews, but I do try to find something good in every production. Sometimes, it is just not possible.)
I was at mysoju.com, flipping through drama and movie profiles, caught the word “detective” and thought, “At least this one is about a cop, maybe I’ll find the crime stories worth watching.”
If you haven’t guessed it yet, Lovers in Prague (2005) was my personal train wreck. For starters, I liked the intro music, which is always a good beginning. I didn’t know the actors, could not read or speak Korean, had to rely on subtitles and grainy video links that loaded slowly and frequently paused, but there I was, watching my first k-drama.
Perhaps it appealed to me because it started in Prague, not Seoul, and it was funny in the first 30 seconds of dialogue. Perhaps it was the heartfelt acting of Jeon Do Yeon or Kim Joo Hyuk. Maybe it was just the cop. I clearly had not read much beyond the word “detective” since the first crime was solved in one minute and we moved straight into the relationships and crying. Welcome to k-dramas!
Regardless, at 6 a.m., I realized I had a problem. I had just watched 5 straight episodes of a television series and only the necessity of a 20-minute nap to get me through morning classes prevented me watching episode 6. I spent my lunch hour on that episode, slept in the van while my daughters were in dance classes, drove back home to spend the next eight hours watching seven more episodes. I managed 3 hours of sleep and repeated the process: one episode at lunch, 4 episodes to finish that night. I fell into bed at the conclusion, too tired to blog or process everything I had seen in that 48 hours.
Clearly, I had math problems. There were not enough hours in the day, or night, and yet, over the next 48 hours, I watched it all again, equally as hooked as the first time. My husband asked, “Are you having a breakdown?” I didn’t know what to answer. I was stunned, overwhelmed, and in shock — train wrecked!
Four-and-a-half-years later, I have not looked back. And I still feel train-wrecked. K-dramas make me excited, make me cry, laugh, confuse me, tear me up inside, beat me down, lift me up, run my emotions around for awhile before spinning them out of control, make me think about my life and my outlook on love and relationships, drive me to write daily on several blogs and forums, lead me to a secret k-drama club, and to top it all off, I am attempting to write my second k-script of the year.
And for some reason, I don’t think I am the only one who is still in the train wreck. In fact, I know I am not. So, where were you? What were you doing? How did you go from having one life, to being in the middle of a k-drama train wreck? I want to know, so that I can laugh, cry, and share with you that we are all not alone in this fabulous, wonderful, frustrating, amazing world.
I’ll be watching Lovers in Prague while I am waiting for your answers.