I was supposed to submit a feature for Dramabeans’ January Theme of the Month, which was In Defense Of. I had the draft defending web dramas started but I just couldn’t finish it within the deadline. And after reading the submissions by other beanies, I just felt like I shouldn’t even try finishing mine? And that I’ll just post it here on my blog. Which is exactly what I’m doing right now. I finished this one just last Saturday because suddenly words were there. I only referred to web dramas I’ve reviewed previously on the blog, however. Anyway, hop on for some web drama love!
I can already hear the groaning and the rolling of eyes from all the way over here. Web dramas receive a lot of flak, from its low budget productions, to stiff and green acting, to what-the-fuck-is-happening plots. And most of the pitfalls of web dramas are due to its short runtime. How are you going to show dimensional characters with the pathos of any Kim Gab-soo role has in an hour or five? How are you going to build a world as believable as what Kim Eun-sook crafted in The Lonely Shining Goblin in a runtime shorter than a single tvN episode? Impossible, right? But you know what, I don’t even care.
More than being a K-drama junkie, I am a story junkie. Fictional or not, I love a story I can sink my teeth into. Whether it’s plot-driven or character-driven, I gobble everything up. Well, probably not everything as I prefer some genres more than others and there are tropes I’m not big fans of, but you catch my drift. Give me characters I can root for or love and hate at the same time. Give me a mystery that my curious brain can’t pass up and will try to solve at every single turn. Give me friendships and families I will fight tooth and nail to preserve, by just, you know, shouting at the screen. Give me a romance that will make me clench my fist with the cheesiness and yet I still glue my eyes to the screen. Give me EVERYTHING.
But alas, like all chemical reactions, there are limiting factors into my wish of consuming all kinds of stories. As I’m not a spoiled chaebol heir, time is a valuable resource, one I’m always trying to get more of. And while I am known to invest inordinate amounts of time to things that I love, there are just moments when you need a quick fix. Times when you need to get that high but do not have sixteen freaking hours to expend. And my preferred source? Web dramas. (Quit making dramas sound like drugs, Dianne.)
Why not movies, you might ask. I turn to movies all the time too but there are times when they prove to be too short. Especially when I meet characters I love, I just want more time with them. And web dramas are perfect for that. I get three or six hours with these characters and their stories. And yet, I can go to work on time the next day, with enough sleep, no one the wiser that I consumed a complete and full story just the previous night.
I just experience so much joy whenever I meet a web drama that I fall in love with. I feel like I won the lottery (as if I know how that feels), a drama lottery, wherein I spent so little and yet gained so many. I still remember that giddy feeling I got while watching Splish Splash Love and the smile it brings my face whenever I talk or even just think about it. Or how surprised I was with how much I enjoyed the parodies and randomness in Last Minute Romance. Or how amazed I was at the quality of Someone You Might Know and how much I felt Soo-young’s heartbreak in it. Part-Time Idol made me root for these aspiring trainees to succeed as idols and ship AKMU’s Su-hyun and JBJ’s Hyun-bin so much. How can they be so cute?
Of course, not all web dramas are created equal. For every Love for a Thousand More, we also have Magic Cellphone, where everything just did not work. And yet even though I sometimes hit a snag, gambling my time and energy still feels worth it, especially when I come across nice little surprises along the way. (At first you made drug analogies and now you’re onto gambling?) Investing only a fraction of the time it takes to watch a regular K-drama and yet I get the complete package? SIGN ME UP EVERY WORK DAY.
Never mind that the script could be so much better. Never mind that the acting is a bit green. Never mind the low budget. Just give me a satisfying story and I’ll always be there, Web Dramas. You have impatient Dianne at your beck and call.