I know what you’re thinking. It’s been months since Healer ended, and months since I last wrote, and my first post after a long hiatus is about…Healer? Haven’t I watched anything since then? Have I not moved on??
Well, short answer is yes and no. I’ve only managed to finish two K-dramas, TWO, a clear indicator that I’m having a spate of bad luck with K-dramas since those ended around the same time Healer did ages ago.
But this little K-slump of mine got me thinking about the last drama I was legitimately thrilled about. Plus, I wanted to give the show a decent send-off on this blog, which it never quite got for some reason, and I’m not going to pass up the chance to plaster Ji Chang Wook and Park Min Young’s precious faces all over the blog again.
And…okay, fine. The true story is this post was already half-way written, and since I’m short of time, I’m going with the low-hanging fruit today.
So, I present to you my lil’ low-hanging fruit listicle :D.
1. Never ever underestimate the power of a crack drama
I haven’t been watching K-drama for very long (two years-plus now, according to WordPress), much less live-watching shows, but of all the dramas that I’ve watched so far, I think Healer was one that made me truly understand why these particular dramas are called “crack”. I’ve been into dramas before, or at least I thought I was, but this “crack” business really is what it sounds like–a deep-seated need, a craving emerging from some previously unknown part of your body.
It was a perfect storm circumstance–my mood, a lack of other watchable fare, and an entire day drugged on cold meds that led me to Healer. And the funny thing is, I’m not quite sure why this particular drama fit the bill, though I do have a couple of guesses (see #2), but I do know it was all somewhat bewildering. What drove me to count the days, hours, minutes? To actually look forward to Mondays? To reblog the life out of every single gif on tumblr, giggling and swooning? To seek out fan fiction and, failing to find any, harass people to start writing some??! It was the crack I tell you. The crack made me do it.
And in the aftermath of a crack drama, like coming up for air after a deep sea dive, blinking into the sunlight after a swimming in a fog of subterranean madness, I hardly recognise that person. Who was nutcase?
2. Never underestimate the power of a dynamite OTP
Well, of course. It’s why I started watching K-dramas in the first place. Them sneaky things are designed to feed shipper feels after all. But there are OTPs and then there are OTPs. And as I said elsewhere, Young Shin and Jung Hoo were perfection. I fell in love with them, and they carried me through the rough patches of the show that was ultimately better in parts than in whole.
And I’ve discovered that I’m very forgiving. I’ll follow a pair of characters to the ends of the earth, through plot holes and logic fails, if I love them enough. I won’t go into what makes an OTP special, except to say that beyond what’s written on the page, having the right actors has more than a little something to do with making a pair stick. Could another pair of hot young actors have played Young Shin and Bong Sookie? Of course. But would’ve it have been as indelible? Who knows, and it’s pointless now to speculate, but there’s something to be said for spot-on casting and a lil’ something called chemistry. It doesn’t happen nearly as much for my liking. But then again, if it did happen more often, it wouldn’t be as special, would it?
3. Watching a drama with friends makes everything so much better
I miss my Feels squad! My blogging buddies and partners-in-crime, Vanessa and Sarah, were awesome company and they made watching the show so much more rewarding than if I was just all by my lonesome. And they were essential to have when the feels struck and I needed to be talked down from the ledge:
There’s a reason why so many flood the Soompi forums, or Twitter, or wherever–to find others to share the squees or cope with the pain. As my buddy kfangurl likes to say, a shared squee is the best kind. Community, people. There’s value in it. It’s where friendships can be forged, connections made. Over mere television shows too. Imagine that!
4. You can love the experience of watching a drama much more than the drama itself
A spin-off from #3. As much fun as the show itself was, it wouldn’t nearly have been as great without my weekly ritual of emailing back and forth with Vanessa and Sarah. I loved our chats, which frequently veered off-topic into all manner of subjects, as conversations tend to do. And months later, it’s that experience outside of the show itself that has stuck with me most, and it’s become intrinsic to how I feel about the show as a whole. Ditto say, The Master’s Sun, which wasn’t flawless, but the great gang I encountered over on the Soompi forums made watching it a real treat, and it’s a huge reason why I will always think fondly of that show.
All this is to say, that’s it’s possible to be objective about a show (that’s what reviews are for, I guess), but the truest assessment of a show, the one that perhaps has the most value to me, is one that can’t be entirely quantified in how good or bad a show is.
In other words, whether you love a show or not often has very little to do with whether the show is any good.
5. Sometimes you just need to find a way in
This is related to managing your expectations before going into a drama. It could be you adore the OTP, or it’s your favourite oppa and you feel obligated to stick it out to the bitter end, or you realised the show isn’t what you thought it was. Whatever you way in is, if you manage to find it, can make all the difference in how you perceive a show. Some shows only start to click when you discover a new way to appreciate them. This is especially true for the ones that don’t immediately strike your fancy. With these sorts of shows, it’s usually when I start to see the show for what it is, and not what I want it to be, that things start to come together.
Or not, in which case, I drop it like hot potatoes.
Ultimately, I’d say managing expectations and finding a way in are the twin crutches of dramaland survival. If you don’t deploy at least one of these strategies at least some of the time, you’ll likely end up becoming a perpetually grumpy and frustrated drama fan. And where’s the fun in that?
6. Surround yourself with better, smarter writers than you
— DDee (@OCDDee) January 23, 2015
Honestly, Vanessa and Sarah classed up these here parts! Hopefully some of their shine rubbed off on me.
7. Crack dramas don’t come around too often
Thank goodness too, because my body can’t handle it.