Last weekend, I spent 12 straight hours just staring at my computer, with the bathroom and a couple of meals as my only breaks.
It's been almost five years since I last got hooked on a Korean drama series, back when I watched reruns of The Vineyard Man, which starred my ultimate crush, actress Yoon Eun-hye. Before that, I had also followed Full House (Song Hye-kyo) and Coffee Prince during the boom of Tagalized Asianovelas in the country.
My (illegal) copy of Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo (WFKBJ) had actually been sitting in my hard drive for a few months before I decided to give it a shot. I'd read and heard about it on social media, and my girlfriend would often talk about it as well, particularly the news of how its lead stars took their love story from reel to real. Checking WFKBJ out, though, didn't really occur to me until our crappy internet connection at home made streaming impossible.
And believe it or not, deciding to watch the cult favorite was nothing short of a love rekindled.
K-dramas are known for having a predominantly female fan base, similar to our local primetime series selections, which in my opinion, sadly pale in comparison. In recent years, however, the diverse genres of these imported shows have made them more accessible to men, allowing us to embrace the almighty Korean wave.
Nowoadays, guys are guilty of sharing their insights on WKBJ, and even gush over screenshots on social media. I'll admit that I've been shamelessly reposting clips on Facebook and listening to the soundtrack of the series just to survive the daily grind.
And while some may laugh at the idea of a 6'3" dude, who plays basketball and fronts a rock band, being totally enamored with what is traditionally considered a girly avenue of pop culture, I say why the hell not?
For one, South Korea is a traveler's paradise, with K-dramas serving as an enchanting brochure for feeding wanderlust. Several acquaintances who have been fortunate enough to visit the region have confirmed to me that the place is a picturesque wonder worth experiencing.
Whether its the bright hues of lush nature or the blinding lights of their urban nightlife, there is something about it that makes everything extra dreamy. Not to mention, the chance of experiencing snow, which perfectly complements that warm, fuzzy feeling K-drama fans are so familiar with.
Not everyone has the makings of a Nam Joo-hyuk or Gong Yoo, but watching K-dramas can give an average-looking guy a few pointers on how to make a woman swoon. Remember, your ideal leading lady is inspired by the regular women around you, so those on-screen dating methods are somewhat applicable in real life. But always keep in mind that some romantic ideas only work for freakishly handsome male Korean idols, so don't go around stealing kisses if you're still in the process of courting the object of your affection.
I would be a hypocrite not to include the lead actresses as one of the reasons why I got addicted to K-dramas. And most of the time, each female character is so well-written that it wouldn't be surprising to admire even the ones in supporting roles (WFKBJ's short-haired Lee Joo-Young, who played best friend, stole my heart).
In college, I once imagined myself going out with a lovely Korean from my English class. I was that desperate to experience a cross-cultural romance and have my own Hye-kyo or Eun-hye.
The primary appeal of these subtitled shows, however, lies in the comfort they provide to anyone who watches them. While I won't be screaming and freaking out on sweet exchanges between Book-joo and Joon-hyung any time soon, the lighthearted plot of these romantic-comedies is enough to put a smile on my face after a hard day's work.
Simply put, K-dramas serve as an infectious form of escape from toxic reality, and it chooses no gender. And for men, who aren't known for tapping into their feelings, I am convinced that the effect can be twice as potent. Despite the emotionally driven content and occasional dives into overt sentimentality, the genre is actually capable of inducing good vibes.
Now, it's time to get back to those three remaining episodes.