Like any local telenovela, Korean dramas have their fair share of cliche scenes and plot devices. But that doesn’t always mean a bad thing though—some of us actually enjoy the campiness and predictability of it all!
If it makes us kilig, cry, and laugh then we could care less if the leading man is a rich CEO and his love interest is a dirt poor girl with extremely perfect skin. It’s all about the chemistry and love story after all, and honestly, we don’t want it any other way.
Here are cliche scenes you’ll see in every Korean drama!
A hospital scene
Any telenovela in Mexico or soap opera in the West will also have this scene. It simply is a staple. Either someone gets into an accident or a fight and they always end up in a hospital.
In K-dramas, hospital scenes usually happen when the female protagonist faints because of some obscure reason. It’s a plot device that makes us think that someone could die but really, it’s just there to make the lead guy worry about the female lead.
Someone always faints in slow-mo and it’s usually the leading lady
It’s unclear why there’s always someone fainting in K-dramas but it usually happens during a pivotal scene and it happens in slow-mo most of the time. Bonus points if she faints in front of the guy and he always happens to catch her in his manly arms.
She then is taken care of by the male lead either in the hospital or at his bachelor pad. He’ll watch her sleep—which isn’t creepy because he’s attractive—and then she’ll wake up confused as to why she’s in his bed.
An awkward kiss scene
K-drama veterans know this too well. The pabebe, shy, and coy kiss scenes haven’t changed over the years and we don’t know why. Maybe lips barely touching and moving and stiff heads are romantic in Korea—we don’t know.
But full-on french kissing and momol scenes are a rarity in K-dramas. The concept of “innocence” imposed on female characters is what these shows bank on so maybe that’s why there’s always a PG-13 awkward smooch thrown in there.
A stand-off between the lead guy and the seemingly nice and perfect third wheel
The male third wheel is a knight in shining armor and seems to be the perfect, ideal man. He’s always head over heels in love with the female lead but it’s typically a one-way thing. The female lead would lead him on, but only towards the “friend zone.” That’s why there’s such a thing as Second Lead Syndrome and anybody who’s addicted to Korean dramas know about it.
There’s always one scene dedicated to the temporary love triangle subplot where the three leads face each other and the female visibly hates the fact that two very wealthy and very handsome men are fighting for her love. But because second leads are perfect, they’ll still be happy for said female lead with her choice to pursue the rude, abrasive, but extremely rich leading man. It’s what the audience wants and it’s what they’ll get.
A slow-mo scene of the girl accidentally falling on the lead guy
We simply cannot leave this out because every romantic show will always have this. Doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, the girl will always trip over herself and land on top of the guy. In slow motion and repeated cuts.
For better measure, they will stare at each other in that awkward position for a long time and maybe feel a spark of connection. Afterwards, when they both realize they’ve been in that position for an unnecessarily long time so they scuffle to detach from each other in a bashful way.