Being a drama watcher can be hazardous to your health at times. It’s more than eating every time your favorite characters eat in a drama (I’m avoiding Let’s Eat for a reason!!) and losing sleep to watch just ONE more episode. Come join me as I tell you the cautionary tale of falling down the Cdrama rabbit hole.
True Story: When The Fangirls started watching Fu Yao, they would talk about it enthusiastically in our main messenger thread. My phone was blowing up with GIFs and stills of fierce Yang Mi and smirky Ethan Ruan. So I would send the GIF below in reply to show that I was NOT INTERESTED. NOT. AT. ALL.
(Also, drama peer pressure will be the subject of another post in the NEAR FUTURE.)
Anyway, I caved and watched it. And I LOVED it. I’ve vowed since then not to try to keep up with a drama that airs EIGHT EPISODES A WEEK. That’s a lot of episodes, y’all! But the length of the drama left so much room for story and character development! Not that writers always take advantage of that, but when they do, I’m delighted.
So when I was itching for something a little different a few months ago, the Fangirls recommended Love Me If You Dare, which started off strong and then fizzled in the last few episodes. But by then I was hooked on the longer form of storytelling without even realizing it.
THIS IS WHERE THE DANGER COMES IN, DRAMA FANS. BEWARE.
Chinese dramas have long intros and outros, about 1:30 and 2-3 minutes respectively. They give some spoilers, but they’re also easily skipped, launching you right into the story. The 45-minute story that really doesn’t feel like THAT long, so watching another episode isn’t a problem, right?
When you look up and see that three hours have passed, you might realize you have a problem called cannot-stop-pushing-play-itis. It’s a common plague among drama fans. Add into it a story that has a mystery or has you waiting for that first kiss that you KNOW is coming because you saw it in the intro, and suddenly 36 episodes doesn’t seem like that much of a commitment. Even when you’re used to the 16-episode format where the really good reveals show up around episode 8 and that pace is burned in your brain from two years of steady drama consumption. These Chinese drama episodes are shorter, right? Waiting another 7 episodes for the main leads to figure out that they knew each other previously isn’t THAT much longer. And the secondary characters are so entertaining! And there are three love lines to follow!
Pretend I’m throwing my arm around your shoulders right now. I have a bit of friendly advice to give you.
Give up. You’re already sucked in. Just enjoy the ride.
But seriously, I’m glad I’ve gotten into Chinese dramas too. The few I’ve watched have had very strong secondary casts and a more developed story across a longer timeline. They are also prone to draggy spots or one of the main leads losing their spark, but overall, they are enjoyable stories too.
I will always stand by my opinion that DANG, the Koreans know how to tell a story. But their counterparts to the north aren’t half bad either. I’m eternally grateful that I’ve found stories I love from countries and cultures that I never would have understood otherwise. My eyes and my heart are a little more open because of it.
So the next time you find yourself sneaking a little drama time as you wait to pick up your kids from school, or as you’re about to fall asleep, or as you steal five minutes of “me time” in your day, think of my cautionary tale. Remember, you can’t fall down the rabbit hole if you never approach the edge in the first place! But if you do, you’ll be in good company.
Until the next binge, I remain–
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi