Irrational Impediments

Suspension of disbelief is essential to the enjoyment of dramatic art. Most of the time we roll with things that don’t quite make sense. I know that a silencer doesn’t actually silence a gunshot (it just makes it somewhat less deafening), but I don’t check out of The Bourne Identity as a result. I know that the waving of swords does not make a swishing sound, particularly not when they are pulled out of leather scabbards, however manfully, but I still love The Lord of the Rings. I know that Il Trovatore has the dumbest plot on the planet, but unless I want to waste a hideously expensive opera ticket I mustn’t quibble. After all, if I want hardcore realism and accuracy I should be watching a documentary.

Admittedly, k-dramas sometimes conspire cruelly to stretch our powers of suspension of disbelief. But most of the time we are able to play along. What would be the fun of watching k-drama if we couldn’t believe in impossibly good-looking, haughty but secretly tortured, genius chaebol heirs (with washboard abs)? Once in a while, however, we encounter an obstacle we just can’t get over. We may have been blithely handing out free passes for logic fail and dodgy science, but suddenly something gets our goat so thoroughly we just can’t enjoy a show anymore.

For ockoala, it was her devotion to property law (yo) that impeded her enjoyment of Full House. For momosan, it was doggie callousness that killed an otherwise promising movie. For me, it is the portrayal of a deaf person in Can You Hear My Heart. This is not rational. I know some hearing impaired people, but I hardly have a special interest in the deaf. Why do I let myself get so worked up?

Take a scene where the leads are taking their relationship up a notch. It is a pivotal scene. They are taking an emotional leap, and this is a big deal. But all I can think is, “But but but… he just responded to her question which she asked when her FACE WAS TURNED AWAY!” I can just about accept that he is some kind of genius, zero-error lip-reader, but this just undoes me altogether. I can’t concentrate on the story anymore. I don’t care that girl lead is hugging boy lead in public in an affecting display, all I can think is NO! HE CAN’T DO THAT!! HE CAN’T READ HER LIPS IF HE CAN’T SEE THEM, THAT’S NOT POSSIBLE!! *fret fret*

This was merely the culmination of mounting indignation over the innocuous plot device of a deaf person who conceals his handicap. I had been worrying myself with questions such as, “When he’s with more than one people, how does he know whose lips to read without his eyes rolling back and forth like pinballs?” And, “Why doesn’t he get run over by cars?” And, “ok, I can buy that he can practice speaking with his voice-activation toy, but how could he possibly learn how to control his speaking volume or to inflect his voice for expression?” And, “How does he know how to put objects down on tables without banging?” And, “There is no way on God’s green earth a deaf man would be talking to himself aloud; why is the show too lazy to voice over?” And, “How did he know that his phone was vibrating when it was resting on the table, which he was not touching?” And, “How on earth can a deaf person sing?” And, the most troubling question of all, “WHY am I such a FREAKISH PEDANT?”

What on earth is wrong with me? How irrational of me is this, to let reality lapse get in the way of my viewing enjoyment, when k-dramas are already so chock full of reality lapses? Didn’t I sign the “This is NOT reality, silly” disclaimer when I clicked the play button? Why am I now stamping my feet and demanding my money back? My petulance only inflicts needless aggravation on myself.

Some tough self-reflection is called for. And what I find is not pretty. My irrationality is not even consistent.

I whined at the risible criminal law procedure I felt infested Prosecutor Princess, complaining about lawyers throwing punches and running after bad guys. And yet, when Lee Mong Ryong does much the same thing in Delightful Girl Choon Hyang, I squeal with delight. I’m sure that Partner was also full of risible law, but I paid hardly any notice (dazzled as I was by the chemistry of the beautiful leads).

Road Number One was a very deep mine of all manner of WTF-ery. Why did I particularly fixate on one medical procedure? I easily forgave Thank You its terrible surgery scenes and was willing to believe that medical emergencies (which only the super-capable Dr Min could deal with) abounded on sleepy Blue Island. But my mind keeps harping resentfully back to the dumbness of the (awkward) use of CPR in every conceivable medical situation in Road.

There was a lot to complain about in Personal Taste. Why was my mind fixated on the bad physics of breaking glass? On the other hand, I’m happy to overlook the improbability of all-out sword-fight practice without any body protection in Girl K. It made me wince vicariously, but I was able to believe that it was part of the plot flow.

I am happy to go along with William miraculously learning fluent idiomatic Korean in a matter of days in Tamra, the Island (delighted, in fact, so that French actor boy can stop torturing my ears with his cringing English). I will gleefully shelve common sense and roll with “girl masquerading as boy” plots in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, You’re Beautiful or Painter of the Wind. I’m even willing to believe that of ALL the millions of people in Seoul who could end up neighbor to Ha Ji Won in What Happened in Bali, it would be the enigmatic young man she had just guided round Bali. But I couldn’t get over the lack of realism in the music and voice lessons in Dream High. I mean, I was just so irrationally irritated that a young lady who had supposedly received classical voice training and sung with Sumi Jo in concert had to be told by Idol School that in singing she needed to emote (Breakthrough! Genius teacher!). But why am I all indignant about a fluffy, harmless drama in the first place? If I wanted proper voice lessons I should, well, go get proper voice lessons.

Please tell me I’m not crazy. Doesn’t anyone else suffer from irrational impediments?


148 thoughts on “Irrational Impediments

  1. I love this post so much, Serendipity! Muah!

    Heh. I’m currently watching TBDAW and some of the scenes had me scratching my head, especially the many near-death scenes our main character has had so far, but he’s nonetheless still alive at this point! I mean, Fate’s usually not so kind in real life and one can only have so many close death encounters in a lifetime. But still, I s’pose I’ll just go with the flow and see where else this drama takes me. Plot-wise, things are predictable. Yet I find that there’s enough heart in this drama to keep me interested and wanting moar. Plus it doesn’t hurt that I find Lee Jun Ki and Jung Kyung Ho HAWT! ^-^

    Thanks again for this post!

  2. Here’s one that I haven’t seen anyone mention that drives me up the wall. I hate it when a female character is very attractive and in her 20’s yet has never had any romantic or sexual experiences. The most recent example being Kim Nana in CH. I just started watching that drama and when LMH kisses her at the club and that was supposedly her “first kiss”, my eyes almost rolled back into my head. Or characters in their 30’s that have only had one love of their life like Kim Sam Soon and the lead in Baby Faced Beauty was 34 and I believe still a virgin. And speaking of attractive female leads, actresses that are drop dead gorgeous in RL but are considered losers in the K-drama world. It happens like in every rom-com EVER.

    And 49 Days was just FAIL through and through, yet I still loved it to death hehe. I’m surprised I haven’t seen any Coffee Prince or BBF comments.

    • Also when characters complain about how bloated they look cause they had ramen the night before even thought the actress looks just as drop dead gorgeous as ever!

    • The first kiss thing and innocent and pure 30 years old always got my eyes to pop out of my head. I Need Romance was refreshing for that, even if the characters were a little “caricatural” /extreme (the “liberate”, the virgin, the “normal” ?), and an end I can’t forgive (cheating rat bastard back, seriously?), at least it was more realistic that the 34 years old virgin in Baby FB (even if I enjoyed it, Daniel Choi’s cuteness fault, shallow…)

  3. There’s more to say in CYHMH…I mean, I love it so far, in fact, I’m watching it. However, one does wonder if the writers or whoever is responsible in research did their job. I mean, who the hell intubates a patient whose awake and can breath ( forgot which episode but it is when misook dies). And another thing, we all know that masks are commonly used as probs. But why use a nonrebreather mask in this show-it’s not inflated so it’s pretty much useless, yes, i know it’s just props but…CPR done wrong in shows is quite common and still expected,so no dramas there for me(cprs are quite difficult to do for reals)….but intubating a patient whose awake ( in CYHMY ) takes the cake!

  4. this is my little rant:
    As a k-drama fan, i have accepted the need to suspend belief as I travel through the ups and downs of our favorite shows. more times than not, I am able to plough through the love triangles, overacting, incredibly awful and swindling relations, accepting that the girl will reject the love of a man that loves her and is good to her for the “reformed” bad boy who thinks it is embarrassing to say he loves her! through it all i persist but it seems as though i have reached my limit in “you’re beautiful”. seriously! why can’t these people be rational, kind human beings!! why does this girl accept to be pushed around by that guy!?! why?! the sad thing is that my k-drama addiction is so strong that i will be there at the finish line seeing how they run this race. maybe in the end i will see why there is so much hype about this drama. ok. i’m done. i just had to get this off my chest. now i can continue my twisted love affair with k-dramas

    • Don’t forget that she was almost a NUN in You’re Beautiful and I’m pretty sure used to blindly obeying and being the lowest on the totem poll. You have to take YB for what it is – a crazy over the top satire. Somehow I could let my brain park itself at the door for this one and just enjoyed the ride. By the way, I’ve seen women in dramas get treated much worse, and older ones, at that!

  5. LOL, this was way too fun to read. But i couldn’t help it. The whole time i was thinking about how much i clapped and stood up for the production team of “The Princess’ Man”– Seung Yoo (Park Si Hoo, my adorable man) had that scar on his face for practically the last 10 episodes of the drama. And it faded day-by-day too! That was when i realized this production team was not kidding me! ❤

  6. So much on City Hunter, which got me thinking as to why I had no quibbles with that show but found fault with anything and everything while watching Crime Squad….I guess it does come down to how much you love the show and therefore turn a blind eye too…but even though I loved City Hunter, I agree that Nana was practically useless to the whole plot….take her out and I think the story would still work perfectly without any hitches….of course, but then we wouldn’t get any hot kisses from Lee Min Ho
    What bothers me a lot is how people get sick instantly after being in the rain or (just hit by water like in YAB) just once or twice and then how quickly this goes away as well….and some of these people are supposed to be really strong (or abilicious) even able to do back breaking work……also there are the instant character turnarounds….literally like they had a personality transplant in two episodes or so…examples of this would be Jae Young at the end of Wish Upon a Star and Maroo’s biological mother in CYMH

  7. Serendipity, I must say thank you for an awesome post! I don’t think I’ve ever been as addicted to reading and commenting before! (In fact, I’m trying to wean myself from Kdrama overload, but this site is not helping.) Merci, Merci!

  8. I chalk it up to kdrama shorthand, but I hate how blood is portrayed in every kdrama. Nobody does it right. The blood always stays bright red and it’s often runny. Blood is usually a dark red and kinda thick. It turns dark and brown as it dries as opposed to staying red for days or even years(!) on end. I absolutely hate it when the blood turns pink or fuschia because it’s running down clothes. Cuts and bruises tend to be bad too, but I’m more forgiving about that except when they make bruises bright red instead of a blueish purple.

  9. I just want to say thank you so much for this post! Haven’t seen CYHMH but boy I’ve gotten a few great laughs…
    Suspension of belief is interesting because we are all guilty of accepting some things but harping on others. I’m just glad someone mentioned it, because I thought I was the crazy one.
    What’s even more hilarious is how we ridicule others for liking something we thought was nonsensical, wondering if perhaps you’re not watching the same show or they are blind, stupid or disillusioned by hotness (which could be the case– at times).
    The truth is there is no drama that shouldn’t warrant an eyebrow furrow or two… basically because silly is dosed out in every storyline, it just depends on your drama mood (or background) to notice it 🙂

  10. I just hit an irrational impediment the size of an iceberg. Me Too Flower has now gone into the bin. I don’t care how cute sweet and otherwise adorable anything in this show will ever do. (SPOILERS!!!!)

    The impediment? Which is irrational because it’s JUST A DRAMA! but she pulls a gun on him! In a police station! And then he apologizes for her yada yada yada. I don’t CARE! She pulled a gun on him! WHAT in the WHAT? And she’s supposed to be a cop? excuse me while I now delete this show from my hard drive and go gibbering into the night….

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