In July of 2011, one of those “If you like this you might like this” appeared on Hulu. a show called Twinkle Twinkle – I had just watched “Switched at Birth,” and they thought it was similar.
I had never heard of it, so I tried it. I was surprised by the subtitles. I’m not sure I even knew it was Korean they were speaking at first. But I became addicted. I watched “all 10” episodes over a weekend and was surprised at the way it ended. Months later, I found out that there were many more episodes, but Hulu didn’t have them at the time. I made the choice not to watch the rest – I didn’t want to get sucked in again.
Well, I got another one of those “if you like that, you will like this” and started watching My Princess. Really liked it; and then it happened again. This time “You’re Beautiful.”
“You’re Beautiful” turned me into a total kdrama addict. It is my favorite Kdrama; and my 2nd favorite show (Doctor Who is #1)
At the same time, my family was going thru some really really difficult times, and I found Kdramas gave me the escapism I needed to escape from the real dramas of my life. They allowed me to stop thinking about bad things and think about fluffy stuff. (more on this later)
While watching You’re Beautiful, I Googled like I had never Googled before. I was trying to find out more about this show, these actors, and about Korea TV and Korea in general.
Let me tell you how little I knew about Korea. I could recognize the written language thanks to the various John 3:16s in my Gideon Bible as a child, but that was it. I remember wondering while watching Twinkle Twinkle if it was set in North or South Korea. Yes. I was that ignorant. I quickly realized that it couldn’t be North Korea, but I did wonder about it.
That is my confession, and here is another. When people ask me if I watch North Korea TV, I tell them “No!” and act shocked; I conveniently forget my own ignorance. Literally – I have forgotten how ignorant I really was. I think I am too ashamed to remember.
During my frantic Googling, I learned about subbing sites (because I thought the ones on Hulu weren’t as good as the ones on youtube). Recap sites (still am a dramabeans.com addict). Learned about Korean culture and why when I heard Oppa or Unnie a different sounding name appeared on the screen. (I swore I thought the sister’s name in My Princess was Unnie.) I also learned about Dramafever, Viki and Crunchyroll. Those 3 have taken turns being my favorite kdrama site, right now Dramafever is in the lead. (Edit years later: WOW. I had totally forgotten that DramaFlu was my favorite site. I stopped watching DF years ago (except for Running Man) when I realized their subs were often inaccurate)
I also discovered kpop – because of looking for English translations of my favorite song ( 말도없이 – Without a Word) I wanted to sing it. Not really that into kpop in general – but love HongKi.
I decided I didn’t think the singable English versions out there in YouTube land were that true to the actual meaning, so I decided to learn Korean. Yes, that was basically my motivator for learning the language. I now have a small vocabulary consisting mostly of Words from kdramas, and when I feel especially studious, I check out my Korean textbooks or watch Busy Atom Vids on YouTube. (he’s great). But my Korean learning goes very slow.
In the months after I found Kdramas, I became so obsessed (pretty good word for it) with Korean, Korea, and Kdramas that I realized my friends and family were sick of me talking about it – even on FaceBook. So I dug up the Twitter account I had created (& never really used) long before to find out about PotterMore. I just wanted to be able to talk about Kdramas without people having to listen. And funny thing is people (not just spambots) started listening, I guess I thought it was my message in a bottle and so was surprised when someone followed, retweeted or replied to me. I started realizing more and more how big the Hallyu Wave is. And I found so many people to follow. The first 4 were the cast of You’re Beautiful – No, I can’t read their tweets, but I can look at the pretty pictures.
I am quite honest in what Kdramas I am interested in – happy endings and preferably happy beginning and middles too. I get Makjang in real life, I don’t want to watch it.
BTW – Spy Myung Wol was my 1st disappointing Kdrama, but I still was eager to watch to see what happened next. My addiction now has slowed somewhat; if I don’t like it, I won’t finish it. I will read the recaps or the subs instead. and sometimes I just read the recaps because I don’t like how it ends.
I also have started reading kdrama fanfic (read reg fanfic for years) and if I could figure out how to get Captain Picard or Buffy in Korea to meet Go MiNam and the gang, I would write one too, but I am not that clever. (please steal my idea and post a link to your story in the comment)
I am now also watching my 1st unsubbed Kdrama – not because I understand enough Korean, but because no one is subbing it, and I love Vampire Idol. It also helps that it is slapstick so you get a pretty good idea what is going on by the action on screen.
BTW – this is kinda weird. I think that was the only time I watched Switched at Birth and it was the hidden instigator for my kdrama addiction. (I actually watch very little American TV now, Fringe, Grimm, Once Upon a Time is about it. funny, American TV: If it isn’t on Hulu I don’t watch it, but I will search and search for a subbed version of a kdrama that I want to see (That Fool, Me too Flower, & Bad Family all come to mind)