Korean dramas broaden perspectives

Written by Grace Ding

For a while now, I have looked forward to watching my first K-drama, or Korean drama. Up until about a year ago, I had been fundamentally against watching or listening to anything that was in a language I couldn’t understand. I especially thought that Korean idols and actors all looked pretty much the same, mostly due to the prevalence of plastic surgery. Although I still believe that to a certain degree, I opened myself up to the K-pop world around a year ago and gradually got more into it.

As for K-dramas, I’ve been aware of their popularity for many years, starting from when I lived in China. I had always associated the audience with lazy and shallow people who spent all day eating in bed. Since I am quickly matching that description more and more and have barely watched anything with depth since the beginning of high school, I thought that maybe it’s finally my time.

I decided to watch a show called “My Love from the Star,” a fantasy romance, after many friends recommended it as a classic within K-dramas and assured me that it would be dramatic and emotional, my two most important criteria.

Before I even started watching, I already almost gave up. I went to the website my friend had told me to use and though I’m fairly sure my Wi-Fi was fine, the show wouldn’t load. So I tried a bunch of different sites and was so excited when one worked, until I realized it had Spanish subtitles. When I finally found a website that streamed the drama smoothly

with English subtitles, I settled down and prepared myself for an adventure.

As I had expected, it was a little hard at first to get used to not understanding the dialogue and having to read the subtitles. A few minutes in, I realized that I could not tell if some of the hilariously exaggerated things the actors were saying were sarcastic or not. Sometimes I would laugh out loud at the way things were said, having no idea if they were intended to sound funny.

I encountered another challenge through my attempts to multitask. Admittedly, I was not able to become gripped by the plot immediately and was a little bored by the slowness. At one point, I had started playing games on my phone, but then realized I was not understanding anything just by listening. I had to go back to reading the subtitles, at which point the website I had so much faith in started glitching.

Due to continued Wi-Fi and loading issues, I wasn’t able to watch more than two episodes, which is probably a good thing since if I became too far in and too emotionally invested, I’d probably end up sacrificing my grades, health and sanity.

Overall, I was able to conclude that K-dramas are not as different from American shows as I had thought. I’m definitely planning on finishing this show, probably during the summer. Although I may not have instantly become obsessed, I’m happy that I became more open-minded to a common interest that millions of people share.