Notes from a K Drama Fan: Emily (that’s me!)

Hello everyone!

I spend a lot of time talking with others about why they watch Korean dramas, but until recently, it never really occurred to me that I, also, have my own viewing story. It’s certainly not as interesting as my previous, very generous interviewees, but I hope you’ll get to know me a bit better through my little self-interview! :)

1. How did you first get into Korean dramas?
I first watched My Princess back in 2011 or 2012 because I was in a “princess” stage (what 20-year-old doesn’t go through one of those? ;)). I’d always been attracted to Asian cultures, but back then, I hadn’t really watched any Asian television, so My Princess made a nice change.
Then, about two years ago while I was in grad school, my brother got really into Five Children, and encouraged me to watch. Although I wasn’t watching much TV at the time (you saw the bit about grad school, right?), I found that it made a really lovely reward for reaching thesis goals.
2. When did you realize there was no turning back?

My master’s thesis was on Anne of Green Gables and digital humanities and fan cultures, and while it was my dream thesis, I ended up watching a lot of different Korean dramas to help balance the “Anne overload.” Because I was so immersed in my research on fan cultures, I ended up being able to apply that framework to dramas, which, of course, led me to watch more dramas in prep for my upcoming PhD research. All in the name of research!

3. How does watching K Drama make you feel?

Excited, because it’s research and entertainment! It depends on the drama. With Goblin, I got Harry Potter vibes—it was touching, mysterious, and “epic” in the true sense of the word. I recommend it to a lot of new drama viewers for that reason. Because this is My First Life gave hugely fuzzy vibes (here comes that word again, hehe), but I found it relatable to my own experience as a writer. Although I was not a fan of the ending in some ways, Scarlet Heart: Ryeo gave me a research reflection angle, as it deals with young women and decision-making, as well as being historical fiction, which is one of my favourite genres (and it’s just so aesthetically pleasing—in more ways than one ;)) The production value on SHR is stunning, and even though I watched it ages ago, I still go back and watch clips.

Then you have Oh My Venus, which is just a blast! I love dramas for their escapist value, but lately, I’m really loving how identifiable I find a lot of the storylines, especially as I head into my mid-twenties and face a lot of similar challenges. We may have different cultures, but coming of age doesn’t change much!

4. When do you like to watch it the most?
Late at night, in PJs, with Mom, eating ramen :)

5. If you could only watch 3 dramas for the rest of your life, which would you pick?

Too hard of a choice! Probably Goblin, Because this is My First Life, and Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, but I also love Flower Boy Next Door, Oh My Venus, and I recently adored Your Honor—nah, forget three, just give me all of those!

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