Friday, June 3, 2011

San Biag Ko: KDramas and JDoramas


©2010 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved

I like watching Korean dramas and JDoramas. I know. I am quite surprised myself. I never imagined myself getting hooked on cheesy flicks like this. But as they say, with age comes the mellowing of tastes. While my entertainment tastes usually run on the avant-garde, I find myself addicted to the shallow, illogical premises of these shows (at least on the part of Kdramas, I find JDoramas to be avant-garde in a way).

Jumong is probably my first KDrama. It was the craze just after college and out of curiosity, a friend and I bought the DVDs and watched it. We ended up doing a marathon until the wee hours in the morning and to think that we were both hot blooded males at that, presumably immune to the trivial mushiness of overstretched plots and cheap TV romances. To this day, I wonder what part of it has hooked me to watch all its episodes.

It became a drug and I found myself looking for my fixes. I watched Stained Glass and Full House and that nailed the coffin for me. Song Hye Kyo and Yoo Jin in particular had me coming back for more and more. Sunlight Pours Down, Three Dads with One Mom, Save the Last Dance among others held me in a viselike trap that I probably would be hard up to escape from (even if I wanted). Maybe it is the solitary existence, the empty bachelors pad that greets me day in and day out without relent. Save the comfort of the world wide web and its allure, the only company that I have is a flatscreen TV and too much time in my hands. Or I am just plainly pining for cheesy TV romances. LOL.

In a critical standpoint, their plots are downright improbable. The characters are fickle creatures that are seemingly devoid of common sense. And they play the three way or four way love affair to almost tedious innocence that grates one’s intellect. But the emotions they illicit are genuine, the hate for the antagonists, the tears for heart rending moments that would make a grown man cry (in the solitude of a room at 2:00 in the morning). The rush of adrenaline and dopamine that makes the heart ache which reminds one of the hollow emptiness of existence, more than makes up for the lack of intellectual stimulation. After all, the mind is not the only one that needs exercising, the heart needs a jolt every once in a while. And when the stimulus to move the heart is ever absent in the real world, the only feasible alternative is to seek it in the fantasy world of the silver screen.

In a relative note, I often wonder about the harm they have caused. I have grown out of the youthful ideal of romance that I once harbored in my teens. I believe I have lived enough to realize that the truth of the real world is too far removed from the imaginations of a young man awash with hormones. Romance is absent, or if it does exist between two people, it is too far removed from the more pressing concerns of day to day realities to ever matter. Only singles probably still cling to the idea that someone who will make their hearts skip a beat for eternity is out there for them. Couples, (correct me if I’m wrong) know that beyond this idealistic craving lies the more immediate concern for emotional, material and economic comfort. Love is relative to comfort and stability. A partner who could provide the basic necessities and be a good father (or mother) beats a person who makes one go crazy. If love exists then or could bloom hence, then that is a bonus. The harsh reality of life. Love stagnates and at the worst case rots to a cesspool of unspoken regrets. Respect, on the other hand, can bloom to friendship or to a partnership, a much better possibility in the standpoint of thirty or so years of living together. Love is overrated.

Watching Kdramas on the other hand, makes me revisit these assumptions. The throbbing of my heart and the sense of euphoria they illicit from the senses makes me wonder if I have become the adult that had placed the idealism of youth behind me. Once I thought, I’ll never be one of the proletariats, one of the faceless masses that had lost the fires of youthful ardor. I will live my life as I see fit, I once thought. But I soon realized that that path is rife with obstacles that can never be breached. I’d end up a social degenerate if I persisted. So in light of this, I have succumbed to the social norms. But Kdramas made me reflect on these. Am I too weak and beaten by the status quo? LOL

Imagine that.

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