What would a K-drama be without clichés? Their success is precisely because the tropes trigger memories, which allows us to feel closer to the protagonists while becoming more invested in their fictional story. For us mere amateurs, Korean tropes also give us insight into a culture that has managed to find its way into our hearts through its musical idols and stars.

Sometimes, however, tropes are simply unusable. If you’ve been watching Korean dramas long enough, you might snicker or roll your eyes at how often drama makers use clichés for the plot. You should know that a series represents a huge investment of time because a Korean series has on average 16 episodes lasting 30 to 40 minutes, or 8 to 10,6 hours of viewing time. The least producers can do is offer viewers a unique experience, free from any banality.

  • Soju

9 K-drama photos that make us roll our eyes K-Sélection

Chances are you’ve seen at least once in your life a K-drama whose plot involves a drinking session. Although drinking soju (often mixed with beer) is a Korean national pastime, it may also be a national malaise, according to an official who is urging the government to curb excessive consumption of soju. alcohol. According to Quartz’s 2014 report, South Koreans drink twice as much alcohol as Russians and more than four times as much as Americans. Although the pandemic has led to a decline in domestic consumption, consumption remains significant.

“The next one is my favorite drink” could be Korea’s motto. Soju, lots of it, seems to be essential to mental health in Korea, a society so obsessed with rank and career. It provides an escape from constant obedience, conformity and monotony.

It is equally essential to the development of the plot because when drunk, lovers confess and kiss, best friends bond, and broken hearts cry. What’s more, it serves as a pretext for the next shot, that of the scene on the back or the one where we sleep without being intimate.

  • Carry on the back

9 K-drama photos that make us roll our eyes K-Sélection

From the historical context to that of urban offices, it is a real ritual. A girl who drinks ends up, in all likelihood, ending up on the back of the man she loves. Seriously, are Koreans’ spines so strong that they can walk several blocks with an adult on their back? A K-drama addicted friend even says she would like to go sightseeing in South Korea just to find out if piggybacking couples exist in real life.

It is supposed, in this culture concerned with propriety, to be the compromise of the skin – where bodies collide while remaining chaste. (Really? Won’t all this thigh touching and frontal rubbing risk leading to touching of the vulnerable and intoxicated person doing the carrying?)

  • Sleeping together without being intimate

9 K-drama photos that make us roll our eyes K-Sélection

It’s not uncommon for drinking and carrying scenes to end with another predictable scene: two people in the same bed waking up with a start and screaming. Here again, the naivety of the scenario is fatal. It even happens that the main woman wakes up in the main man’s clothes, and yet nothing happens. It must be said that Koreans are gentlemen, and women’s virtues are safe with them. 

The least these drama production houses can do is educate the young girls who binge on these shows about the dangers of partner rape.

And stop blaming Korean free TV restrictions for the uninteresting plot. This is bad writing, period.

  • Fever

9 K-drama photos that make us roll our eyes K-Sélection

How do you put two potential lovers in the same room for one night without things getting out of hand, while remaining worthy of family television? All you have to do is make one of them sick and make the other the nurse! There are times when the trope works, but most of the time, over-recycling is enough to ruin the fun.

The idea of ​​treating someone with a fever overnight by placing a wet towel on their forehead becomes even more ridiculous when it comes to a pandemic. The rules have changed these days because sick people, even those with fever, manage on their own in isolation.

  • Swings and bus stops

9 K-drama photos that make us roll our eyes K-Sélection

How many times have you seen conversations happening in the park on the swing in K-dramas? And as for bus stops, it might be worth asking yourself if you’ve ever seen a drama set in contemporary Korea without a bus stop scene. Indeed, parks and bus stops are so ubiquitous and an integral part of Korean life that no K-drama is possible without them.

This trope affects us for another reason, namely an unsavory aspect of our lives in Metro Manila. It’s hard for those of us who deal with traffic and congestion on a daily basis not to be jealous of the efficient transit system and date-worthy parks.

  • The elevator and the broken train

9 K-drama photos that make us roll our eyes K-Sélection

Looking at our digital content, aliens would think that being crushed in the elevator or train is completely normal for humans. Quite simply because K-dramas haven’t found any other way for lovers’ eyes to meet, their breaths to mingle and their hearts to beat wildly. This is the preferred formula for building sexual tension.

Many of us, who have worked in buildings with busy elevators, can attest that it is rare for an elevator to break down, and most of these tin devices will sound an alarm and refuse to move when they are overloaded. And considering the chance of romance from a stampede on a train, the only things we’ve experienced are stampedes with perverts on the LRT or MRT.

  • Food: ramen, kimchi and hangover soup

9 K-drama photos that make us roll our eyes K-Sélection

While food defines many cultures, this is no less true for Korean society as it is depicted in K-dramas. It’s even believed that eating ramen, the instant kind, is a coded signal for a sexual encounter. The consumption of food from plastic bowls in these series is simply appalling.

As for parents and grandparents in K-dramas, they are subjected to a different type of stereotype. Indeed, we always see them arriving with plastic containers filled with kimchi or homemade side dishes, or even forcing their children and their relatives to make kimchi during the cabbage harvest season.

And if there is soju in the plot, there is bound to be anti-hangover soup in the following scenes. This doesn’t exist in the Philippines, there you just need to take aspirin and drink lots of water the next day. One can only marvel at a society that has evolved the art of drinking to include a special soup for the next day. Sure, food tropes are the least irritating of all, but come on, is it possible to take a break from instant noodles?

  • The pat on the head

9 K-drama photos that make us roll our eyes K-Sélection

Those who have ever seen a “boy love” (BL) drama may be confused by the significance of the head pat. This gesture is far from being reserved for same-sex couples, in fact it is also found between boys and girls, although it is not as common.

In an era where nudity, explicit sex and steamy kissing dominate world cinema romances, a pat on the head can prove disappointing. However, context should be considered as the head is considered sacred in many parts of Asia, and patting the head is a mark of affection.

Many of us, however, consider a pat on the head to be nothing more than a pat on the head and its meaning is lost every time we repeat it. (Please stop touching your hair.)

  • The hug on the back

9 K-drama photos that make us roll our eyes K-Sélection

Due to restrictions imposed by parental authorities, interactions such as carrying and head pats have become staples of romance novels. But another popular gesture in K-dramas is a product of the same moral politics, namely the back hug. This is a “safe” way to portray tender love without things getting steamy.

We can certainly support the idea that hands coming from behind have easier access to erogenous zones, but we won’t get involved. It is actually a cliché that we can appreciate at its fair value. Back hugs are not only safe for children, they are poetic; like less is more.

Although we’ve reached the end of our list, there are still plenty left, so don’t hesitate to drop us a line with your favorite and most frustrating shots.