Sunday, September 5, 2010

Your Two Cents: Most reoccurring theme in Korean dramas???

Children getting switched at birth? Wicked rich mothers? Loss of sight? Loss of memory?

There are SO many reoccurring themes that you see pop up over and over again in dozens of Korean dramas! However, they're so effective in drawing us back for more...despite the repetitive story lines.

What do YOU think is the MOST repetitive theme/problem that pops up in Korean dramas? And name at least two dramas that have them!

Answer away and don't forget to tune into KPop Interactive on Sunday to see if your answers are read! I'll try to play some OST tracks from the dramas you guys list!^^


  1. I think the recurring theme in most K-Dramas is family warmth and bonding... particularly from shows like Wife's Temptation, You Are My Destiny and Suspicious Three Brothers. No matter drastic plot scenarios happen, it always ends with that happily-ever-after family.

    Another one is "Enemies turned Lovers" theme. These dramas are like "Boys over Flowers" and "Personal Taste". Two people are on super-bad terms with each other in the beginning, and the lead character gets involved with some goody-two-shoes but in the end, the "enemies" fall in love with each other and the goody-two-shoes act as some matchmaker(?) watching over them. I'm not too sure about Personal Taste since I'm currently watching it on Singapore TV, but I'm definitely sure about BOF's story ;D

    Still, you gotta admit there's always something addictive about new K-Dramas when they are released, despite the recurring themes. That's what I love about K-culture ;D

    Take care, Angie noona~ ;D

    Aloysius, Singapore

  2. Hi Angie.. its been awhile since i wrote >_<"
    Hope you are fine.. ^^ n had a nice weekend..

    For me the most reoccurring themes that i see in K-Dramas is (Triangle Love) abt 90% of the Korean Dramas " 2 guys love 1 girl or \ 2 girls love 1 guy) there s lo0o0ots of dramas having stories like this.. but what is coming in my mind now are "Bread love n dreams\ two bros love the same girl" n also "Cinderella Unni"..

    even by this common thing there r always speacial stories n things in the Korean Dramas.. n thats why i like to watch it Only n do not watch any other dramas.. ^^"

    btw Angie could you please invite "Eru" on Star chat.. Please >_<"

    Take care.. bye~

  3. Hi Angie!!

    In "Boys Over Flowers," "You're Beautiful," and "Cinderella's Sister," there's the theme where the girl ends up with the guy she originally hates, even if the good guy likes her. I think it attracts viewers because we're all rooting for the good guy, but we all know who's going to end up with the girl. *sigh*

    Also, there's always the evil mother! In "Boys Over Flowers" and "Kim Takgu, King Of Baking," the moms just love to screw things up. Sometimes I just want to slap them. T_T;;

    All K-Dramas are still really addicting though. I can't stop watching!!
    Hope you have a great week~

    -Michelle from California

  4. Hi Angie ~
    I do agree with the theme of both lovers hated each other to start off with...its always the bad guy or the arrogant ones they fall for...but the good guy just gets thrown aside :(
    like "Boys Over Flowers" and "You're Beautiful"
    Again from both drama, the mommy is evil!! Both girls are kind of poor and both guys are rich hehe ~

    But its all addicting hehe ~ Have a great week :)

    Kim Valerio

  5. Hi Angie!

    Okay this is probably quite sometime ago, but I read an article somewhere that says 'Almost every Korean drama has someone dying of a disease, especially cancer.' (in the earlier dramas). Haha how true! Examples of dramas: Stairway to Heaven and Autumn in my Heart.

    On another note, this question made me think of another, not sure if you've asked before, but probably things ppl can learn only from Korean dramas. Some examples ppl post on the net are hilarious, things like, learning words of expression such as 'Aish', 'YAH!', 'MOLLA!', and 'WAE WAE WAE!!!!!' and 'Fighting!' hahaha...

    and probably almost every Korean drama has a pojang macha scene. haha...


  6. I used to think absentee fathers or dads who failed their children were a recurring theme in K dramas - gamblers who run up debts, egomaniacal business tycoons, indifferent or tyrannical fathers. Not sure if that's true of many dramas these days.

    The contrasts between the obscenely rich and poor or between the wealthy and the middle class is another idea which gets played out quite often.


  7. I'll echo an earlier message about love triangles being a recurring theme in Korean dramas. Except that I think Koreans must view love "triangles" to be too simplistic, and prefer higher order polygons to describe those relationships and make things more interesting (love "quadrangle" or "pentangle"?).

    I've only seen 3 K-dramas from beginning to end (My Lovely Sam Soon, Hon Gil Dong, and Boys Over Flowers) so this is a pretty small "data set". But in each of those dramas you have at least 2 women and 2 men tangled up with each other (emotionally speaking).

    Sometimes those relationships got sooo confusing, I felt like I needed a program or flow chart to track them all!

    Jeff B.
    Baltimore, MD, USA

  8. i actually haven't seen very many dramas... But i think the Rich Boy/Poor Girl pairing comes up a lot (at least it does in the ones i've seen). It was in Coffee Prince (my first kdrama <3), Boys Over Flowers, and It Started with a Kiss (the taiwanese version of Playful Kiss), and i heard there was something similar in Iljimae, but i didn't get far enough into the drama to see it.....

    this makes me so impatient for Playful Kiss! DX
    can't wait for that to start....

  9. i agree with three things on the previous comments , i think they stated it all

    1- the love triangles , i saw this in almost every kdrama i watched - and i watched too many dramas really ^_^-

    2- the hate ----> love relationship where the gurl ends up with the guy she hated and couldn't stand the most like on "boys over flower " , "you're beautiful" , "full house" , "shinning inheritance" ,etc.,

    3- the rich guy/ poor girl Cinderella like kind of stories as in "shinning inheritance" , "boys over flower" .

    the evil mom /gambling dad is very common on all the dramas also ,


  10. Hi Angie,

    I don't know if this really is reoccurring, but the first two dramas that I watched, Full House and Delightful Girl Choon Hyung, had contract marriages so I thought they'd all have contract marriages. But they don't ^^
    On a side note. Choon Hyung is one of my all time favorite dramas along with I'm Sorry I love you and Dae Jang Geum.

    Another theme, but not really a theme: Food. Everyone eats delicious Korean food in all dramas. mmmm.

    Also Lotte World and Everland are reoccurring theme...parks in dramas ^^

    God Bless,

    Paul T.

  11. Well, my mom, my sister, and I make lists of reoccurring themes and scenes that happen in dramas. There always seems to be a scene with someone on a toilet, a karaoke scene, a drunk scene, there is usually a doctor or a chef, the main male lead always seems to have a scene in the shower where he is depressed, someone at some time or another says "fighting" or "aja",the male lead is usually rich and snobby, while the female lead is usually poor and nice, the list goes on forever. But what I think happens in most (at least like all that I've seen) is that someone in the past or during the process of the drama goes over-seas. This has happened in like every drama I've ever seen.

    Boys over flowers, Shining Inheritance (AKA Brilliant legacy), Full House, 1% of anything, My lovely Sam Soon, Oh! My Lady, I really really like you, Dal Ja's Spring, Attic Cat (AKA Rooftop Room Cat) Be Strong Geum Soon, Goong S (AKA Princess Hours), I Am Your Teacher (AKA I Am Sam), Secret Agent Miss Oh (AKA Call Of The Country), Happiness In The Wind (AKA A Good Day For The Wind To Blow), Lawyers Of Korea (AKA lawyers Of The Great Nation Of Korea), King Of Baking, Kim Tak Gu (AKA Bread, Love, And Dreams), Prosecutor Princess, Couple Or Trouble, Cinderella's Stepsister, And that's all I can think of right now. lol!

    Isaac S.
    P.S. Love your Program!!!

  12. hi.. Angie.
    The most common themes pop up in the Korean drama is (first) the main character's story died from the deadly disease.
    like in the drama stairway to heaven and endless love.
    second, I do not understand why in the drama korea always tells the rich man who falls in love with a poor girl who was careless. whereas in reality, it very rarely happens, right? like in the drama lovers in paris, BBF, and Goong,
    and the love triangle is the most exciting things in a drama. but there is one thing that I dont like about it is why the rich man who have good hearted always gets the rejection of love from the girl? because the girl was more like the man that she hated at first. it was like in drama full house , brilliant legacy, sassy girl chunhyang and wonderful life.

    love k-drama forever!!!

  13. Hi Angie,

    Every Korean drama (and dramas in general) have to have love triangles. However, I think Korean dramas always use this more so than other dramas. Although it's not necessary a bad point (because it gets me intrigued when I favor one over the other), but I find it rather boring when a drama is just about love triangles.

    Another reoccurring event that happens is that all the rich sons/daughters always go aboard to study and come back becoming really successful. Whether or not that really happens I don't know, but about 10/10 of the characters succeed and turn out to love the poor girl. If that really happens in real life, I'll totally live like a poor girl hoping that a successful knight in shining armor will come and love me *imaginary bubble pops* HAHA (just kidding).

    The poor person always ends up being either an orphan or else one parent is dead. The rich person always seems to take in the poor person in (whether it be as a step-child, step-grandchild....etc)and then chaos just arises from there.

    I also notice that a lot of the times, the arguments and disagreements in dramas are always caused because of money/heir/family name...etc.
    There is always someone who wants to overtake another person and so the drama ends up about them fighting for something.

    Anyways, I don't want to type up too much. That is all for now.


  14. Hi Angie,

    Realised I forgot to add examples:

    Lousy dads in K dramas include the politically- ambitious magnate in "Lovers in Paris", the clueless father in "Stairway to Heaven".

    Have you also noticed how often poor girl/ boy introduces the simple pleasures of food enjoyed by the masses etc. ( such as jjajangmyeon as in "Couple or Trouble") to the rich boy/ girl? The leads in "Boys Over Flowers" even bond over coffee from the vending machine.

    BTW, thanks for reading my earlier contribution to Y2C and playing the song by BMK. Also, I did identify myself at the end of the message though the message has "Anonymous" at the head.


  15. first of all , hye all .
    my first time nah ! hoho .

    hmmmm . all the comments above are 101% correct !
    but , i think some of korean dramas also have the heroin rich while the hero , isn't .
    when the heroin is rich , the hero will act as her protector or maybe bodyguard . so sweet ! i like !
    example , take care of the young lady and witch yoo hee .

    wanna ask , why koream dramas really make me addicted to it ? aahhh ! really .
    my mum has to raise her voice everytime i watch it . lols !

    ~ but , still korean dramas the best and addicting !

    ~ thanks , ya ! love this blog ! love the djs too ! ;)))

    - aqilah zarime .
    malaysia .

  16. oh no ! wrong type ! not koream but , korean !
    lol !

    - aqilah zarime .
    malaysia .

  17. Hi Angie,

    I agree with the majority and say that the K-drama theme that occurs the most is "Enemies to Lovers". Whether it's contract-love or they're forced to work together it seems that a typical rom-com scenario involves the lead characters to dislike each other then end up madly in love. Some examples are "My Name is Kim Samsoon" "Full House" "Shinning Inheritance" "A Love to Kill" "Oh My Lady" "You're Beautiful" "Attic Cat" "Successful Story of a Bright Girl" "Delightful Girl Choon Hyung" "Coffee Prince" "Que Sera Sera" "Witch Yoo Hee"... and I'm sure there are a bunch more that I'm forgetting. Either way one thing's for sure, K-drama lovers seem to really like that theme because those are some of the most popular dramas.

    - Kim^^

    Virginia USA

  18. Hey Angie!

    I'm back ^_^

    Hmmm.. Reoccuring themes.. Oh, love triangles and car accidents! LoL..

    Boys Over Flowers and Personal taste.

    I hate when two characters love eachother, but always seem to hide it by arguing.. Omg tell her/him already, LoL.. Someone is always there to stop them from telling too.. Haha, or someone gotta get hurt just when good things are about to happen..

    Love K-dramas!

    Have a good day Angie!

    Kathy Xiong
    CA, USA

  19. Hey Angie. I haven't replied in a while, but I had to do this drama one!

    I agree with everyone above!! The two recurring themes in K-drama that I do like, but are predictable, are:

    1. Love Triangle - 2 guys liking the same girl. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen many where the main characters are 2 girls that like one guy. That would be cool. Pretty much every drama I have seen has had a love triangle somewhere - Boys Over Flowers, Dream, Cinderella's Sister, etc.

    2. Rich Boy/Poor Girl - or the popular stoic guy, and the uncool, plain girl pairings. This is MANY K-dramas. I like this theme since the girl is usually someone I can relate to in some way. However, I kind of which I would see it the other way (simple guy; popular girl). Or two ordinary people that just never knew they were perfect for each other. I guess that would not be as exciting. Dramas like Boys Over Flowers, God of Study, etc. have these themes.

    Although K-dramas are predictable when they apply these themes, I still LOVE them. I think I like seeing how far things may or may not go with each relationship. Gotta love it!!

  20. hmmm..
    i really love k0rean dramas..
    hmm for me...
    maybe.. The main characters have AMNESIA..
    but in the end.. the memories they have lost will be back.. For example, is the Boys oVER fLOwers and the Endless Love 2 Winter Sonata.

    Another 1 is that the main character will die in the end.. Like Endless Love 1 Autumn in my heart and Stairway to Heaven..

    i really lve this korean dramas.. even their OST .. whhaha.. sh0cks! so cute!

  21. 1)The Ajumma
    The madamme in most of the soap opera's often control the decisions and actions of their sons. It happens most in the part of the mother-in-law, wherein they try their best to make their daughter-in-laws look good in front of the public.

    2)The family name
    The parents of the hero or the heroine are always cautious of the comments and things that people attach to their family name. This shows a lot of the Korean pride for their ancestry and group.

    3)Dreams over love at first, then shift to Love over dreams
    There's always this theme in Korean drama when the main character is so obsessed of his ambitions that he tries to put aside the idea of love. But when his partner comes, he gets confused and then he weighs the value of his love in comparison to the value of his career and so on.

    Most of the Korean dramas have this theme. Even if it's not the hero of the drama, there's still are other people in the d=story who are involved in business.

    5)Piggyback rides
    I find it overused in Korean drama. The guy always offer the girl piggyback rides, which kind of makes me think, "Does this thing really happen?"

    6)The guy walking very fast, the girl trying so hard to keep up with his phase
    This i don't understand either. They always put a scene where both the characters are walking together, but the guy seem to not care that the girl is with him, and just concentrates on his walking while leaving the girl panting because of her attempt to catch up to him.

    7)The boy dragging the girl
    This shows the guys affection to the heroine in a not so compassionate way. We get this a lot.

    8)Getting fever, with the partner taking care of him
    We get this a lot. Sometimes even twice in drama. The first one the girl is the one who's sick, and the second one, the boy's turn to be sick.


  22. Comment above ^^^, good points. I always notice the dragging thing too. Do Korean people really drag girls like that or grab their arm when they are about to walk away? It seems really rough sometimes.

  23. whatever it is still i love k dramas
    better than anything
    my favourites are
    boys over flowers (lee min ho darlingggggg man awesomee and ji hoo ohhhh damn good the quiet personality )
    full house
    arang and magistrate
    heartstrings <3 <3
    thousand years of love
    im sorry i love u
    many moreee

  24. I think that most Korean dramas have the reoccuring theme of :
    - The poor girl with a bright personality falls for a rich, good-looking, cold hearted guy who finds her annoying at first but comes to like her in the end.

    But I haven't watched that many yet so I'm not sure, but so far this is definetly the most reoccuring theme.