- Our cars have green license plates.
- Both are full of hills and mountains, most of them likewise green.
- Although some areas are heavily populated and cosmopolitan, as soon as you pass their boundaries you’re surrounded by farmland (and poverty of varying degrees of abjectness).
Three ways Korea is unlike Vermont, my home state:
- In the US, state funding for television is practically non-existent. In Korea, the government owns entire TV stations. (As is so often the case, both extremes seem to suck.)
- Although it snows here just like it does in Kdramas, nobody ever thinks to use an umbrella during a snowstorm. We’re kind of stupid, it seems.
- To the best of my knowledge, no adult Vermonter has ever received a piggyback ride in the history of the world.
Three things I’d like to see in more Kdramas:
- Smart girls, who read books and make witty comments. See, for example, Rory Gilmore. (Or her friend Lane—who’s Korean, after all.)
- More girl-centered sageuks, fusion or not. Clearly Joseon women didn’t get a lot of excitement (Painter of the Wind implied they were only allowed out of their homes once a year), but Kdrama is no place for slavish devotion to historical accuracy, now is it?
- A continuation of the trend toward men in shower and/or bath scenes. Not the most noble of desires, certainly, but hard to resist.
Three things I never want to see in another Kdrama:
- Blank-eyed caricatures of stupid girls, ala the dread Bong Uri of Can You Hear My Heart?
- Last-minute diagnoses of and/or deaths from cancer.
- Sports-themed plots. (Birdie Buddy? What’s next? Curling Cutie? Diving Darling? Let’s just hope they stop before getting to the almost inevitable Snake-charming Slut.)
Three Korean actors I’d like to see more of:
- Im Ju Hwan from What’s Up. Tends to be slightly wise-ass, slightly puppyish, and totally handsome. (Currently doing his mandatory military service. Couldn’t he serve his country by acting in another sageuk, instead?)
- Bae Soo Bin from Shining Inheritance. Dreamy and sad-eyed; apparently massively prolific, but I’ve only seen him in a few shows to date.
- Hero Jaejoong from Protect the Boss. Brings the funny, brings the cute, brings me to whatever he’s in. Also, sings.
Three great moments in every Kdrama relationship:
- The first longing glance.
- When he asks her never to smile/cry/laugh in front of another man, feminist principles be damned.
- The ritual eyelash touch.
Three randomly sexual moments in Kdrama:
- Every time the female lead got on a horse in The Princess’s Man.
- Flower Boy Ramen Shop’s panting, sweaty volleyball daydreams.
- Jan-di’s “fireman” in Boys over Flowers. Those Koreans sure are an innocent lot if their minds don’t go immediately to the gutter at the thought of all the hoses involved in said profession.
Three Kdrama jobs I want:
- Writer at a smutty men’s magazine (What’s Up, Fox?).
- Scuba-diving aquarium cleaner (One Fine Day).
- Manga author (Someday).
Three Kdrama jobs I’d rather not have:
- Convenience store clerk (Who Are You?).
- Milk deliverer (Coffee Prince, Shining Inheritance, and all other Kdramas starring a plucky girl).
- Government party planner (Lie to Me).
Three Kdramas I’ve loved enough to watch more than once:
- Coffee Prince (3 times). My obsession with this drama knows no bounds—as I’m sure you've noticed if you’ve spent more than 2 seconds on this blog.
- Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2 times). Smart, sassy, and incredibly fun, this show has a heart of gold.
- Boys before Flowers (1.5 times). The television equivalent of tuna-noodle casserole. Homey, totally undemanding, and embarrassingly tasty.
Three Kdramas I’ve hated enough to stop watching:
- Triple (episode 1). A grating female lead, Korean-style fat jokes, and a male lead who’s about 20 years too old? No thanks.
- Miss Ripley (episode 3). The idea of a hard-working Kdrama girl gone wrong is fun, but not my cup of tea.
- Queen Seon Duk (episode 1). This show might be awesome, but its 62-episode run is too daunting for me to even think about.
Three heart-wrenchingly wonderful Kdrama kisses:
1. Sungkyunkwan Scandal, episode 17
This slow, tender kiss goes all the way past sweet to reverent, but it’s the shot of their clasped hands at the end that puts it completely over the top. Sigh.
2. Coffee Prince, episode 10
The embodiment of love and trust. I don’t even need the subtitles for this scene—the dialogue, sadly enough, is etched on my heart, just like the rest of Coffee Prince’s script.
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3. Padam Padam, episode 8 (skip to 6:30)
Slow and sweet, just like the best kisses always are. Also a beautifully handled example of a standard Kdrama convention: a kiss isn’t a kiss until someone’s eyes are shown sliding slowly shut.
Three frustratingly awful Kdrama kisses:
1. Autumn in My Heart (skip to 3:05)
Their families are against them, their friends are against them, fate is against them. Must her jacket’s collar also be against them? The only real kiss in this entire drama, and it’s very nearly foiled by outerwear.
2. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, episode 12
Bloodless, bland, and boring, just like all Lee Seung Gi’s on-screen kisses.
3. Personal Taste, episode 10
A slobbery cross between CPR and Return of the Living Dead. A kiss from Lee Min Ho seems like a hard thing to mess up, but his dramas always seem to manage it. The infamous “game over” kiss is a total ambush, barely involving the female lead—he might as well be kissing a mannequin.