Real true love in dramas

(By Laica)

{I’m excited to introduce another guest blogger to my readers. Some of you may know Laica from the Dramabeans’ Open Thread where she’s a regular commenter. I find Laica’s writing thoughtful and eloquent and am confident you’ll love her posts. –thundie}

[Hello Thundie’s Prattle readers! My name is Laica. Thundie has invited me to be a guest blogger here on TP and I am super excited and extremely honoured to be in such an awesome company of writers (also a little nervous). I hope you will enjoy my posts.]

Ask a devoted addict why he or she loves kdramas, and you’ll likely get one of a variety of answers: the unique storylines, the language and culture, the length and format, the pretty… or probably a combination of all of these. Plus a special magic only kdramas have, which keeps us glued to our screens, laughing, crying, at times yelling, and then doing it all over again (sometimes sitting through some truly atrocious dramas).

A big part of the magic of kdramas is the love story that most of them are anchored around. A good kdrama reels us in with its One True Pairing from the very first episode, none the less powerful for all that we can see it coming so early. We usually know from the first ten minutes – sometimes even from the drama synopsis – who will end up together, and yet it’s really all about the journey. We all have a handful of dramas that are very dear to our hearts not for their overall quality, which frankly might be questionable, but for The Couple. Because they made us laugh and cry and care about them; they broke our hearts and put them back together with the way they loved each other – devotedly, courageously. The love stories that stay with us long after we watch them, and maybe prompt us to rewatch them multiple times, and recommend them to our family and friends, and sometimes even blog about them.

I was a pretty cynical teenager. I scoffed at the idea of true love, which I enjoyed reading about and watching in books and movies, but I thought I was way too smart to believe such fantasy existed in real life. And I still believe that to an extent; what I thought of as “true love” back in high school, that overly romantic, head-over-heels rush of feeling that is probably more hormones than heart, is overrated and doesn’t hold up under the harshness of Real Life – bills and family and illness and kids. Similar to the case of Romeo and Juliet, this kind of love is more often self-destructive and blinding, although most of us don’t end up literally dying of it. But I’ve realized that true love actually does exist. It’s just something quieter, lovelier, and much longer lasting than the kiss at the end of the Disney movie. And maybe fireworks won’t be going off in the sky above you, but you’ll be living a kind of fairytale nonetheless.

I shared a poem I wrote about this with Thundie, and she encouraged me to share it with all of you. Here it is:


there is a myth that we like to believe.

we want so badly
for it to be true
that we have immortalized it
through centuries
of avid poetry
and fulsome prose.

does true love exist?
we ask ourselves,
afraid to voice our insecurities
and hear an answer
that we will want to turn
away from.

not the true love
that fits in a glass slipper
or is encompassed
in a tiny bruising pea.
not the instant enchantment
of a spellbreaking kiss.
it’s not swirling mists of colour and magic
or rose petal confetti
raining like velvet on our heads
nor even
a faceless prince on a white charger
galloping in to scare away our troubles
with his blinding goodness.

after all,
love cannot save us
from anything really—
except perhaps
the ugliest parts of ourselves.

the darkness
of outside deeds
can touch us all.
we tear so easily

will not carry us away
from the indifferent malice
of the selfish world,
the sadness that squeezes our insides
and bleeds out of us unseen,
the hostility that pierces us
like bullets, like broken glass.

love is
the staff of gnarled wood
that supports our faltering steps
as we climb life’s mountain,
the hand that keeps us
from straying too far off the path
with gentle nudges.

love is a steadiness
when everything is falling into pieces,
and we are losing the parts of ourselves
we hold most dear;
it’s the quiet presence in the dark
that chases loneliness away.

love is the gift
that makes
the stupidities humorous,
the bad choices bearable
and the good ones worth crying over.

it’s a whisper in your ear,
a warmth
at your back

helping you along.


Thundie asked me to think of some of my favourite Kdrama couples that share the kind of love this poem describes. Not the obnoxious cold guy who treats the girl horribly at first and doesn’t really change much by the end, or the couple which bickers so much that you’re entertained at first, but eventually start to wonder why they are actually together.

Here are two of my favourites, where the pairing seems like it could work in real life, couples that seem to still be together somewhere, living out their days together once the drama ends, their love story continuing after our brief glimpse at its beginning.

Hello My Teacher/Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy


I love this drama. Gong Yoo and Gong Hyo-jin are two very good reasons for that, but I also love the way the characters and their relationship are written. Park Tae-in (Gong Yoo) is a lonely kid who acts out because he didn’t get enough love growing up, and only wants his father’s attention and acknowledgment. No one cares to look closely enough at him to see that, however, not his father or stepmother, nor any of the teachers at the schools he is routinely kicked out of, always labelled a rotten troublemaker without a future. Only Na Bo-ri (Gong Hyo-jin), the teacher who came back to the school she was once expelled from, can see how much he wants to be loved – because she sees herself in him. The way he opens his heart to her once she confronts him with this truth, and promises to stay with him, is beautiful. So is the way he loves her, steadily, bravely, honestly, unselfishly. Even if loving her means that for her happiness, he gives up everything and disappears from her life (and this is one of the very few dramas where I actually bought the Noble Idiot thing).

What’s Up, Fox?


Despite all the adorable moments, the sexy moments, the heart-wrenching moments between leads Chun Jung-myung and Go Hyun-jung in this drama, what I remember most when I think of this couple is the final scene (although Chun Jung-myung’s wide, irresistible smile is a close second). I can still see Chul-soo and Byung-hee driving off into the sunset in the van he refurbished for her, not knowing what tomorrow will bring but taking the road into the future together. It’s unfinished in some ways, but a perfect ending for them. (I tried and failed to find a picture of this lovely scene… so you’ll have to be satisfied with one of them kissing. Tough, I know.)

Oddly enough, both of the dramas that came to mind are ones where the guy is younger, and falls for the girl first. I don’t think it’s a coincidence for the two things to come hand in hand; we need our conflict, after all, so if there is open, honest, freely confessed love early on there must also be an obstacle, which is age in this case. That makes sense, but I find it interesting that in dramas where the girl falls for the guy first, she rarely is so open about confessing her love to him, and usually hides or avoids her feelings. I guess it has to do with the power difference between men and women, and the fact that men are “supposed” to do all the pursuing in a relationship.

What do you guys think – does this kind of love between leads happen only in certain kdrama setups? Which drama couples come to mind that exemplify this idea of true love? It could also be a child and parent, friends, siblings that have this kind of bond. I don’t think this kind of love is reserved only for couples. Please share!


55 thoughts on “Real true love in dramas

  1. HI, I’m new to K-Drama and just stumbled upon this site while trawling for some ‘Biscuit Teacher’ trivia. Not qualified enough to make insightful comments, but I just want to say I loved Laica’s poem. Really really loved it.

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