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?