and I can’t get up. (I blame The Heirs for the storm that followed).
A couple of weeks ago, I caught a scene of The Heirs on a local TV channel (it was a Filipino-dubbed version). I can’t remember the exact scene anymore, but I remember finding it outrageously dramatic or something. And given all the free time I had last January, I thought I should give the kdrama a try.
My past self should be sorry. I am now obsessed.
The thing about this show is that it’s so over-the-top. It’s like Boys Over Flowers (though tamer), and it features a lot of the same tropes:
- Poor girl goes to an elite school
- ALPHA MALE POSTURING
- The elite school redefines the meaning of rich high school students: golf and horseback riding as PE classes, everyone’s the child of a top professional or the heir to a chaebol group…
- The height of Korean fashion
- ALPHA MALE POSTURING
- Secret identity (ish)
- An undertone of abuse within asymmetrical high school relationships
- ALPHA MALE POSTURING
The drama isn’t the best in the world (in fact, out of the three I’ve watched so far, it’s the one I’m least inclined to rewatch). But I figured out a lot of things about my tastes because of it.
This is the character Rachel Yoo, and apparently she’s the archetype of a woman I admire the most. Cold, emotionally-stunted, privileged, and wears great clothes. It’s still a toss-up on whether or not I want to be her or if I want to worship her. In any case, I was rooting for her just as much as I was rooting for PSH’s character.
There’s also another girl I like, and it’s 50% because her character’s cute (I WOULD FORGIVE HER ANYTHING AND CUDDLE HER FOREVER) and 50% because she speaks English well in real life (apparently that’s one of my standards in liking people). Later googlefu told me that she is apparently an idol singer as well.
Why are Korean stars so perfect and well-rounded?
So that’s the cute Lee Bo Na (played by Krystal Jung) and her equally cute boyfriend (ALSO someone I would cuddle forever) whose name I forgot. Something like Chan Young??? Edit: The actor’s name is Kang Min Hyuk (and he’s also a drummer/actor/singer).
And enter Kim Woo Bin.
In the first few episodes I was pretty impressed by LMH (especially his gratuitous abs shot while walking around a California beach). He was cute and entitled and basically all the things which made him such a hit in BOF. But this snarky bastard and his high cheekbones and his eyebrows literally stole the scene everytime.
Am I in love? Not really, but like. ISN’T HE THE CUTEST.
And sometimes KWB has his hair styled into a fringe and they get cute times like these (very few, though, because as I said: ALPHA MALE POSTURING).
Sigh. I even get all these feels if I see any of their endorsements in real life. It’s been a sad couple of weeks.
Next stop: School 2013.
So there were two things I was sure of:
- Unnecessary Alpha Male Posturing and high school hallway standoffs were things that I enjoyed.
- Kim Woo Bin deserves my love.
It’s fortuitous that the drama School 2013 exists. It literally meets my two life facts.
I can say with 100% certainty that School 2013 is a better drama compared to The Heirs. Or maybe not. It depends on you. But School 2013, though it had a more muted color palette, less sensational storylines and a healthy serving of quiet moments, talked about very real issues related to high school life in Korea: aggressive competition, depression and suicide ideation, bullying and gangster exposure, friendship. And the issues were treated so well that I cried (several times).
It also featured these guys:
That’s Lee Jong Suk, who plays the main character Go Nam Soon (I don’t think I’ll forget their character names for a very long time; I’ve rewatched their scenes in School 2013 for at least 3 times now), and KWB.
Their characters had an intense and complicated relationship (one which prompted me to read the few fanfic existing). And it seems they both practiced the art of being handsomely teary-eyed for more than half of their scenes together.
But what’s even better is that they appear to be friends in real life (both of them are model-turned-actors). I think I’ve watched too many videos of them in interviews, BTS shots, and random fanmeetings. Here’s a sample video showing their friendship! ( x )
Several days and an exhausted search for all fanvideos and fanart and fanfic later, I turned to my sister for more drama recommendations. She gave me this.
I remember hearing about Dream High way back when it was Filipino-dubbed and aired locally. It had some of the basic elements I wanted: an ice princess, a badass guy with high cheekbones, high school drama (though this time it’s ALPHA FEMALE POSTURING).
AND. They sing and dance and it’s just amazing.
This is the character Go Hye Mi, played by Bae Suzy of miss A (this is kind of relevant? Because (1) I once had a miss A song for some reason, before I even knew how wonderful KPop was, and (2) she’s LMH’s current girlfriend). And she’s apparently also exactly my type. Maybe it’s in the bangs…?
NOTE: She was like 15 or 17 or whatever in that photo. I am her willing servant.
And this emotional guy is also my type!!! I have so many feelings for Ok Taecyeon, who plays the love interest Jin Guk in this series.
This is one of the BEST love triangles in the world. I’m not kidding: the writing and the direction’s so good that it really was an equal toss-up between Taec and Kim Soo Hyun, depending on the episode. It could also have been Taec and Kim Soo Hyun together (
The love rivalry is also funny because it revealed how different my sister and I are. I was all for Ok Taecyeon’s character, and she liked Kim Soo Hyun better. A similar thing happened with The Heirs. She kept (affectionately) questioning my taste in crushes.
Here’s a clip from the Dream High Concert!
But the reason why I followed Taec around the rabbithole that is Youtube is because I found out he was in a freaking boyband (with another cast member, Wooyoung!) and he speaks English well! Like, excellently, because he stayed in America for years. PLUS: he’s also the CEO of his own company!
There’s really no one more perfect than this guy: sings, acts, raps, smart enough to be a CEO, entrepreneurial, has toned muscles, tall…
So there went all of my nights. I am now officially a KPop fan –specifically a fan of the JYP group 2PM.
Help me. They’re so hot.
LISTEN TO THEIR SONGS! Their latest single My House got me hooked, and it got so bad that now I’m trying (and failing) to memorize the Korean lyrics.
My House M/V ( x ) — the classiest and catchiest song ever | My House Live Remix ( x ) — classy and smooth as fuck | A. D. T. O. Y. M/V ( x ) — aka the hottest thing in the world | Hands Up M/V ( x )– keeps getting stuck inside my head, it’s so fun | Heartbeat Live Performance ( x ) — this is the kind of over-the-top music that I love AND ABS
And it’s like falling in love with One Direction all over again, because now I know the name of all 6 members, and I’ve watched their appearances in variety shows (even the ones without English subtitles) and in vlogs.
But perhaps the strangest and best thing about falling in love with Korean stars is that they’re all somehow connected with each other. They’re so kind to us. For example:
- LMH and Suzy are dating (currently?)
- LMH, PSH and KWB worked together in The Heirs, KWB and LJS worked together in School 2013, PSH and LJS worked together in Pinocchio
- Uh, Junho (2PM) and KWB starred in the same movie, and there’s a cute vlog episode of Wooyoung supporting Junho (and KWB) in the movie’s premiere ( x )
- PSH was a guest star in Taec’s show, and it was so cute???? Like Taec had a crush on PSH :(((( ( x )
I don’t know where I’m even going with this anymore. All I know is that I’ve added a whole new class of things to follow on Tumblr, and I’ve learned so many new things about Korean culture and language and love.
Please! If you love Korean culture/dramas/music as well, feel free to share! I’m now 100% fully in this world.
I’ve got hearts in my eyes and I can’t stop.