K-drama is short for Korean drama, as in a soap-operatic television series made in Korea in the Korean language. Wikipedia specifies South Korea, but I’d like to think we all know that North Korea’s not producing any hit television dramas let alone advanced nuclear warheads. What Wikipedia can’t tell you is what it’s like to have grown up in the 80s watching k-dramas in a Korean-American household, and community.

I can.

It was bonkers. Anyone menstruating-age was hooked on k-dramas. Any men involved with any menstruating woman or otherwise, watched k-dramas. Famed actors and actresses in Korea made lots of money with come-backs, and fast. The story lines were almost always the same, and still are at the core. The k-dramas were built around Korean history and monarchy, gang warfare and family scandal, and they sucked in Korean viewers easily because they were based on real-life dramas. There was always a lesson taught where rags-to-riches love ended in doom, and family hierarchies were to be respected under a microscope. Fat male characters were always comic relief and fat female characters mostly alone and lonely.

Sometimes I knew families in the Korean circles that were like the scandalous black sheep families in the dramas, and sometimes my family ended up the gossip for real-life k-drama. Only recently has there been a shift in roles for the better. Gay people might even exist in Korea!

My personal favorite “fat girl” k-drama was My Name is Kim Sam Soon, which they’ve now renamed “My Lovely Sam-Soon” for international consumption. I think it’s ridiculous to translate something original into something “lovely,” but I’m difficult like that.

Oh, and Sam Soon wasn’t fat except by Korean standards.


That’s her, the lead actress “Sam Soon” on the cover, and she’s supposed to be fat. Does she look fat?! I grew up believing that was fat. I’ve covered some of this before.

Shit happens. I’m grown now and know better, but back then each k-drama coming out of Korea was the hottest thing on the shelves at Korean video rental shops. These shops were money-makers until the internet killed most of them. A sign of the times. The k-dramas went from VHS to DVD and now nearly most Korean households now trust the mighty web for viewing.

I was addicted for some time too, and I think it’s time I get addicted again. There are so many quirks and intricacies in Korean life that k-dramas capture, and my life’s never been so global as it is now. K-dramas helped Koreans in America to connect with their roots via television entertainment. Homesick immigrants in the U.S. clung to k-dramas like they were Korean crack. I tend to speak better Korean when I watch k-dramas…so this might benefit me AND Noah. Justification…

Now with so much available at your fingertips with subtitles, out in cyberspace, it’s possible to watch whatever you want from anywhere in the world. Apparently Netflix has a cache of k-dramas, but unfortunately I couldn’t access the homepage because I’m in Belgium.


Sad, but I’m getting used to it after living here a couple of years. Besides, there must be a glitch in the Netflix system because I was still able to find the specific page for Sam Soon, despite my unnattractive geographic location. If you’re interested in checking it out, here’s the link. No pressure. I’m not getting anything out of the link.


Thank goodness for the world wide web. Even if I can’t rent from Netflix, while my neighbors in Holland will by the end of this year, I can look elsewhere to squelch my k-drama fever.

I can feel the k-drama fever coming on.

Always dishing,




  1. Natalie Counts

    Try using a VPN to watch Netflix. I had one through my university that allowed me to watch Netflix when I studied abroad in Spain. Or is there a Belgian/European version of Netflix? Cheers!

  2. Funny you should bring this up. When insomnia had me in its throws a few years ago I discovered K dramas on a PBS station. I don’t remember if there were subtitles but I sas hooked. It seemed the same actors were used in all the different reincarnations. Although it seemed the younger actors were the focus the older actors were integral to every story. The rich aunt/sister. The workplace romance. Romeo and Juliet themes. Since it was PBS it was hit or miss when they were shown and eventually I began to sleep and lost touch. You Are My Destiny or Life I think was one of them.

    Now I’m wondering about looking into what happened to the actors themselves. How much they’ve aged. What they are doing today.

    Thanks for sharing those memories Jun. Another side trip in my future 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    I love love love K-dramas. Have for years. My friends just don’t get it (I’m black and they think that’s the weirdest thing for a black person to like). My favorite all time is “Beautiful Days” Or “Memories of Beautiful Days” and Star King.

  4. i dont like vpn’s. they slow your internet speed down. they’re only useful if you need privacy like accessing your banking from public wifi hotspots.

    there are several very inexpensive DNS based services that allow you to watch/listen to Hulu, Netflix, Pandora outside the USA. Try Unotelly and Unblockus just to name a few. It’s perfectly legal as well

  5. Gus Sinski

    Jun, there are plenty of easy ways to work around ‘country blocked’ websites. I found the quickest and easiest one is to use the Firefox browser and download their anonymoX extension. AnonymoX allows you pick one of their IP addresses to fool a website into thinking you’re from an unblocked country. They offer a free version (which should more than fill your need) which has IP addresses from the USA, UK and NL. They also offer a premium version which has a monthly charge but will give you more countries & IP addresses from which to choose.

    I’m in the US and I use it all the time to view on demand shows on the BBC iPlayer at the BBC.co.uk website and other live UK TV channels at filmon.com. I also use it to circumvent the regional blackouts of baseball games at MLB.TV. Works every time. So far, the ‘free’ version hasn’t failed me one time.

    Try it, you’ll like it.


  6. First of all I’m from South Asia and even I go like Sam Soon WAS NOT fat, Kim Sun Ah looked nice and not even a little over weight. Korean dramas are addictive, even though they are sometimes, well mostly repetitive. But I have to acknowledge, they are trying to be different, though they have the same gimmicks. My lives mission is to figure out that even if I can lessen my obsession why can’t I give it up. Seems like many others have the same problem. P.S I’m glad I didn’t watch the dramas from 80s or even 90s, I’ll take the craziness of the 00s anytime.


Feel Free to Dish!