That’s okay, right? There was a while there where everything I consumed was Korean. If someone made me, I’d squeak in an episode or two of a Taiwanese show. Maybe. Possibly something from Thailand. But those moments were few and far between. Now? If I’m reaching back into my, admittedly slow-moving, memory banks, the last drama I watched was the mini-drama Mr. Heart and that’s only because it was a BL. It was lovely by the way, 8 out of 10 would recommend.
But that’s not really the point, right?
If you listen to the podcast at all, you’ll know, it’s not even that I’m just not watching anything either. Quite the opposite. I’m chugging down shows like they are my much loved, much-missed fountain drinks. (We’ll meet again after COVID, my love.) They just aren’t… Korean.
It feels weird. It feels wrong. Especially considering what I do here. I’m watching shows from all over Asia, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, and China. Glug, glug, glug. Sure, most of them are BL. But we’re not here to judge, are we? Lately though? Not all of it is! After a few rough starts and a few whines about my schedule, I’m actually really excited to be watching dramas again. I forget how cozy a good show can be. How much fun it is to sign after a swoony hero gazes adoringly at his soon to be love. (No matter what the gender.) I love love and it’s nice in times like these to remember that.
The shows I’m watching definitely have one thing in common, (besides not being Korean) they heavily favor the hero being smitten with the heroine. I really want to just watch shows where the people meet, be happy, fall in love, maybe have a few bumps, but mostly smooth sailing right into that finish line. And for straight dramas? That really seems to be in the not Kdrama wheelhouse.
As I mentioned in the last Khottie, the first show which spurred this turnaround was the Japanese show Hey Sensei. It’s a lovely bit of nothing about a workaholic hairdresser who falls in love with an even harder working up and coming manga artist. He then spends the rest of his time gazing longly at her, being the best most supportive boyfriend ever, trying to get her to believe in herself…and also trying to get in her pants. That’s it. There’s a hiccup along the way, but its not even a low-level speed bump. They meet, are happy, she gets insecure, he tells her how amazing she is, they finally sleep together, the end.
From there I was like, hey, this is…. I think I remember doing this! Where should I go next? What should I do? Going to Netflix, I moved to the (unfortunately) still airing Taiwanese show THE DEVIL PUNISHER. (I feel it really needs to be said in all caps.) You wouldn’t think that this show falls into the guidelines here and, sure, the show is about a god who’s job it is to bring troublemaking ghosts back to the underworld. Ghosts! Ghosts are scary, right? Well the show is also about his quest to find his love who was kidnapped and brought to earth by one of these ghosts. Because it’s this sort of show, he finds her in episode one and once he realizes she has no memory of him, turns into a giant angst ball. Just kidding! No, he hangs around, trying to figure out what happens, gazing adoringly at her, charmed by all of her actions. He finds her delightful and his face clearly shows it. So, while a little more plot driven, he just has to smile that little smile her and I’m roped back in. I have two episodes to watch and I’m kicking myself for not being able to make the time to watch tonight. Come on schedule, work with me!
Since I realized the show was only 6 episodes in mid-watch (CURSES!) and was fully invested in not doing anything but drama watching, I reached out there for what I should watch next. I know Alix and SaraG are super into Chinese dramas and have listed many of the points that I mentioned above as being key elements to the dramas, so I trust their judgement. After a while, I went with Alix’s option (She says it’s officially one of her top 5 shows of the year) Lost Romance. Now, I’m only two episodes in and I honestly can’t say I’ve seen a single adoring gaze, and after the crazy pants first episode and the premise, I think it’s going to be a while before that happens, but I mean, if you can’t trust your friends recommendations, the friend you watch TV with every week for BL and Bubbles, a friend who is going to have to face your disappointment if it doesn’t work out, who can you trust?
If you haven’t seen or heard of the show before this very second, I’ll say it’s about a female book editor who has a crush on the CEO next door who doesn’t know she exists. He’s mid-angsty high powered high jinx when he takes a tumble off a building (read pushed by his scheming sister, also read, this episode is very over the top) and only our heroine witnesses the crime. The next day somehow the heroine lands herself living inside the book she’s editing where the CEO becomes the CEO of the book and, it’s early yet to know for sure, but I guess they fall in love in the book, have to come back and fall in love in real life.
Does that sound crazy? Well, that’s because it is. However, Alix says that all you have to do is get through the first couple of episodes and the show gets really great.
I’m not saying I’m never going back to Kdrama. I mean, by the power of Minhyun, I might watch Live On. For a second I was really excited bout Jun from A.C.E being cast in a drama (you better believe if this actually happens, that will be a “What’s the lowest percentage of subs am I willing to accept before watching on Viki?” situation) but for now? I’m just chasing the adoring gazes.
And that’s okay.