Piggybacks, U-turns, and Noble Sacrifices

If you are a regular viewer of Korean drama, you must have noticed that there are certain events that almost always happen at some point. Some may call them cliché, or iconic, or filler. Hate them or love them, they are, in a way, “representative” of this fabulous slice of culture. Below, I have picked out three I find particularly memorable.

1. The piggyback ride



The girl is drunk or asleep and the guy somehow someway ends up carrying her home. She clings onto him tightly and either 1) she mumbles something that makes him stop in his tracks, or 2) he pours his heart out to her passed out form. Either way, it’s an emotionally loaded scene.


The piggyback ride is definitely meant for the guy’s character development. First of all, giving the girl a piggyback ride establishes qualities of security and reliability. But more importantly, it is usually a shift in the relationship balance as the man realizes his feelings for her – either through responding to the girl’s mumbling, or through testing out his words by speaking them. In a singular moment, we can see his feelings condensate and solidify. “HE LOVES HER!!”


-chokes teddy bear- AWW!!!

2. U-turn


It’s the penultimate episode of the drama. The man drives along the road when he receives bad news. He drives along, his face turning darker by the second. Finally, in a fabulous moment, he viciously twists the wheel and executes a perfect U-turn (most likely illegal) and drives back to presumably, get back his girl.


What better visual way to portray the main man’s heart than a literal reverse of direction? Despite his responsibilities or obligations or his impending transfer or a thousand reasons he should not be going to wherever the girl is, the heart does what the heart wants. It signifies sacrifice – he’s willing to give up everything else for her – and the depth of his love.


Growling at the screen will most certainly get him to the girl faster.

3. The noble sacrifice

noblesacrifice (heirs)


I am personally not a fan of this last one, although I understand well its necessity in creating conflict. Midway or ¾ of the way through the series, one individual in the OTP will decide that out of love for the significant other, “for their own good”, they will break up/leave/move away. Maybe it’s the income gap between the two, maybe it’s for the man’s position in the company (it’s almost always the girl that does the noble sacrifice), maybe it’s so the guy will go to a “better” girl, the list goes on and on. Angst ensues.


“The ultimate act of love is sacrifice.” While it is clear to the audience that the OTP is meant to be, that the girl is so “ugh” for not bothering to communicate with the male, we cannot help but understand why the girl has chosen to act the way she did. Time apart from each other also helps the two come to terms with their own heart, and their reunion will be all the sweeter because of it.


“BUT WHY? WHY CAN’T THEY JUST BE HAPPY? %^&(&*@#&*(*(^$&*( -breaks down sobbing-”

In which K-dramas have you seen these iconic scenes happening? What are some other scenes you think represent K-drama well? Comment below! :)

3 replies »

  1. The U-turn cliche always makes me laugh. The roads are often suspiciously empty. If it was real life, there would have been so many traffic accidents when they randomly turn in the road

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