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11 Rules to a Successful Korean Drama: The Sequel

Screencaps, you are my hellacious cyst. But since you guys enjoyed the first round, I decided to bring it back for a second spin.

1. Single Parents are Korea’s Dating Goldmine

What’s sexier than a dead mother? Something about this equates to a hardship that makes a woman humble and naïve, as if she were raised by a school of puppies. Personally I would think there’d be more of a proclivity to become a complete jerk, but I also watch a lot of Teen Mom. (I swear I’m an adult…)

Now two kids with single parents? That’s star-crossed Shakespearean porno right there.


2. Disguises


A pair of large sunglasses, a wig and whoooaaa, invisibility cloak!

Though a tip: Girl, your hair color will never match the synthetic hair so put that wig cap on or you be lookin’ a damn fool.

3. Ally McBeal Syndrome*


These girls not only forget to eat but they basically sprain their ankle just making a cup of coffee. And then they yell at everyone else for their inability to function. Like infant amputees but with less swollen pouty lips. Girl power!

* Jon Bon Jovi not included

4. There are 3 high-pitched girls that hang around each other all the time like conjoined mutants sharing a brain


The middle girl at least has a bow or headband to make the head count easier.

There’s the evil triplets who scheme against the main character and the three backup maidens as her defense when she’s secretly hanging out with her main squeeze and needs an alibi.

5. Love and Baking Don’t Go Together


 Even though making a meal or chocolates for a guy you like is a tradition, it also seems a tradition to screw it up and then the guy has to take over and fix it. Are salt and sugar really that hard to separate? Frankly you’re lucky you can walk by yourself without dying (then again…)

6. Location, Location, Location


In order to be passionately in love, they’ve gotta be within sight at all times. Whether you’re moving into their house, next door or conveniently work at the same place, you need to pick a paramour who can save you the bus ticket.

7. White people are the rare, exotic desk lamps of Korea


Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

As a racially homogenous nation, it makes seeing boring ‘ol Euro-dominating white people like a Where’s Waldo treasure trove. Although they do exist, I wouldn’t want them getting major roles all that much. It’s the search that makes it fun and less ethnic backlash implications for accidental stereotypes.

Though girls who can easily masquerade as boys, that is a whole ‘nother pie.

8. Spousal abuse is not okay… unless it’s funny


Girls as slaves after losing a bet, guys getting roundhouse kicked in the face for being snarky, if it works, just break it. Luckily it operates equally for either gender, but it is slightly funnier when a girl is doing the hitting because she squeals like piglet trying to break open a pinata.

9. Are those guys…. together?


It’s not exactly bromance, but two guys that whenever you see them are always together wearing an earring or have a certain curling iron flair and have no lady friends.

Partners? Roommates? Batman and Robin?

10. Beaches = drowning, sexy times and watermelon


Are they ALWAYS going to the beach? Like they need to be secluded on a Lost-style island in order to get anyone together. And the main girl is always wearing more layers there than she is at school so it’s not about showing off her body, it’s about showing how well she can sink like a human paper weight. Baywatch bikinis are out, almost dying aquatically is in.

11. Mom! Dad! Are we… related?

Holy Marmalade Boy! Apparently the world is pretty small and kids these days are often caught in an accidental relationship with their future step siblings or someone who’s dad mac’d it with their mom in the Iron Maiden days. Seriously, you’d think all the parents go on the same cruise playing spin the bottle and doing jello shots off the lifeboats.

Alternate Notes:

- The United States is a barrier for relationships (or turns a boy into a man); it’s the puberty of traveling locals

- Sex is a blur of kissing in fully clothed pajamas and waking up two days later. It’s like a college party only less vomiting and regret!

- In a flashback, just add a big bow in her hair and she’s 15 not 40. Just put some bangs in his face, wrinkles, where?!

- Exams are ways to get dates or compete for dates. Grades are useless otherwise.

- Life ends with a sunset, a Mandy Moore song, or a huge jump 12 years in the future even though everyone looks exactly the same.

- All teen girls start off with skirts and sneakers, then they have Rebecca Minkoff clutches and walk-of-shame pumps.

- Why is it every time I turn around, I see him and there’s an electric guitar playing??

- Fighting!


The prequel:

11 Rules to a Successful Korean Drama

This was going to be a Devil’s Advocate but seeing as people like reading stuff with numbers and far less thought or writing, I went with a list.

1. Fur is abundant like a forest wildlife reserve

One would think they were in Brighton Beach, damn they will put fur on anything and I love it. If you can have a leather tie, why wouldn’t you? WHY?!

2. Every chance to promote their song career/other dramas/sports drinks will be made

You better like the theme song, because you’re about to hear it 20 million times, and that’s just in your sleep. I seriously can no longer bear to hear “Almost Paradise” for one more second. They use those few words of English and pound them inside your brain. I imagine it’s close to sneaking up on someone and then whisper-shouting “Dream high!”

Of course America isn’t absent from blatant cross promotion, but actors/singers are usually failures (other than Miley Cyrus, do we really want to hear any of these kids’ albums?). It’s much more competitive in Korea but that’s cool, they totes love us lazy bastards.

3. Some weird dude with glasses is always dispensing advice and facilitating dreams

For such extremely attractive youngsters, there’s always those odd looking adults who definitely put the “character” in actor. But of course, they are the wisest of us all because they’re not pretty children with recording contracts; they’ve got time on their hands.

4. Crying and snow

It’s not snow, but jeez l’m exhausted and it’s white.

Do bad things ever happen in good weather? I’m starting to wonder if rain is responsible for 80% of teen heartbreak. But snow provides a cool landscape for the guy to tie his scarf around a girl or lend her his shoes because she inexplicably can’t keep her clothes or her feet dressed when the weather gets too cold.

5. The bad guys are bejeweled and the fight scenes are choreographed

That’s seriously the most understated he dresses on the series and that tie has crossbones on it

The fights on KDramas are either the whole student body trying to kill some 70 pound girl or unified henchmen. I mean when have you seen something so cool on an American soap opera? It’s always two boys thrashing around in on a school lawn or shoving a guy in someone’s vomit on the bleachers.

6. Cute Children and Curly Haired Moms

The cruel truth is not all children are attractive. But at least in the teen Korean soap opera world, they can be. They can give lots of unhelpful advice, cute comebacks and spastic comedy sequences.

7. There’s a transparent geek to chic transformation, and by transformation I mean clean clothes

It’s like She’s All That but significantly lazier and lower budget in wigs. If it’s a girl, she’s probably tall, a Lolita that carries dolls (it distracts from her secret plastic surgery) or chubby. If it’s a boy, he’s an idiot or a gangster. Gangster in any way you decide to consider it.

8. Wicked moms and crazy aunts

To counteract the adorable kids and parents, the flip side of the coin is the maternal instinct to keep your child from their dreams and step on them before they ruin your plans. It’s not like you had these kids for their own wills, they’re born serfs; an extra pair of hands. The crazy aunt will back you up when she’s not drunkenly hitting on boys half her age and trying to scam money from nightclub owners.

9. Flashbacks

The pilot episodes are always insanely confusing but once you finally get the gist they always recap for like, half the show. Seriously, that happened 10 minutes ago, we didn’t forget.

10. Do nice stuff, save someone from getting beat up, cry about a sad shared childhood memory (possibly with the female lead in the past) and you’ll get the girl

Guys - All you gotta do is pick up her pencil case once in awhile when she drops it (she should be accident prone for your benefit) and make sure creepy men don’t force a date on her (because that implies the sex), and you’ve got her heart. You might be able to kiss her not once, but twice the whole series. Unless you’re the first guy she liked, then you’re dead in the water.

Ladies - Yell in his face, hit him for no reason, then crumple and cry because you’re strong …until you need him.

11. Foreigners are stupid

Even if you watch Nickelodeon which occasionally even offends me on their racist remarks or assumed entitled knowledge, but luckily in KDramas it’s usually a valiant battle for love or a dance off or whatever. Japan is to Korea like Canada is to America, although we know who gets the last laugh in both these battles. Hell anyone outside of Seoul is ripe for the picking. 

Although damn, Korea, why is there always that one dude who wants to speak vague English phrases and pretend he lived in America? Is anyone fooled by this? Is it cooler because he calls himself Jasper instead of Jun Ho?

Alternate Notes:

- Someone’s getting amnesia – (seriously, could you have any soap opera without amnesia?)

- Embrace overly complicated and nauseating metaphors

- Something about dreams or your face being too big…

- Dads that gamble far too much

- Bad haircuts and obnoxious bleaching

- Cartoon cupids and thought bubbles

- Aiiiisshhh