Back hugs are a staple trope in dramas….but are they really a good trope or one that needs to be put to rest. The Fangirls share some pros and cons for Day 12.
Day 12 – Back Hugs, awkward or awesome?
I love a good back hug, but sometimes they are just so horribly awkward. You have a grabby back hug that no one looks like they are enjoying, but for some reason, it’s in so many dramas. Maybe it’s because it looks so serious and intimate, and the bonus is that you see both faces? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t break my heart to see it go awry. Love Rain drove me crazy with all the back hugs.
I remember reading in “Why Do Dramas Do That? Part I” by Javabeans that the back hug is symbolic of a one-sided love. One person is initiating and participating in the gesture of affection, often against the receiver’s will. One person is moving *toward* the other person, while the other person is turned away. That might be taking it too deep. In general, I don’t mind a good back hug when done well. But as CLKYTTA pointed out, sometimes they’re so awkward you just have to scooch your little finger over to the fast-forward button and move on.
Just like a lot of the tropes, there are good and bad of this. My least favorite ones are like in The Heirs where every time it happened she looked like he captured her and all she wanted to do was run away. Then there are the desperate ones where you can tell that the person giving the hug is the second lead and they’re just clinging onto that last bit of hope. Hate those. But you’ll also find dramaland littered with sweet and adorable ones. Some of my favorites have the girl doing the hugging. Girl Who Sees Smells comes to mind for that one. A good back hug is just the person coming from behind and giving them extra cuddles.
I don’t think much about them nowadays but I remember when I first started watching dramas the back hugs freaked me out. So did the hand clenching closeups and kisses.
The modesty of the back hug and the kisses are a part of why I kept watching dramas, though. I started to notice that the American shows I watched would have to be turned off or muted when my kids (I have 4, ages 7-16) walked into the room. With the conservative nature of Korean broadcasting (most of the time), I find I’m comfortable if they sit down to watch with me. In fact, the captioning turned my non-readers into fluent readers.
So back hugs– I think they’re awesome. They don’t make my breath hitch but they’re sweet and sincere and I love ’em.
One of my all time favorite moments from a drama is the back hug in I Hear Your Voice. It totally took my breath away. But after having to grab all the photos for this post, I do admit that they often look awkward. I think I like back hugs when I can see the whole thing from start to finish, but just a captured moment in time is always a bit awkward.
Do you have a favorite back hug scene? Be sure to share in the comments and check out all the other past 14 days of Fangirling posts HERE!
Til next time,