Good afternoon, dear readers.
It’s a natural fact that there are some cliches and/or tropes that drive everyone insane. For some, this is the delicious new bad-boy at school, or the hardcore Asian chick with the purple stripe in her hair, or maybe it’s the “we hated each other at first, but now we’re totes in love” trope. I am sure that you, dear reader, have a few that come to mind that you hate, and this is simply a list of five of mine. That said, while many of these tropes can be found in western media, I mostly find them in Asian dramas. (They are also not in any particular order.)
The Manipulative Hero (Stalker Jerk, A-hole Love Interest)
It may not surprise you to find that I have issues with Twilight and the like because of the depiction of the main couple’s relationship, mostly because of how it is framed. I don’t like no-good-very-bad relationships being portrayed as perfectly fine, normal things that happen. The Manipulative Hero is the main male character (MMC) that, usually, has an ice-cold personality and is super mean to everyone. He and the main female character (MFC) meet accidentally, and she usually ruins something of his. He then proceeds to use this as leverage to get the MFC to do what he wants, usually manual labor with the intent to embarrass her is a popular one.
As the story progresses, the MMC stops being so terrible and starts doing nice things for the heroine, eventually figuring out that he’s fallen in love with her, then fumbles to figure out how to get her to date him. He’s not really an a-hole, he’s just troubled and needed lurve to heal his broken heart. (Please excuse me while I roll my eyes).
My issue with this trope isn’t that it’s unbelievable, or that it’s not something that could happen. Rather, my problem is with the framing; the MMC is rarely, if ever, depicted as being in the wrong, and I can’t stand that. Don’t manipulate your partners, people.
Examples of this trope: Boys Over Flowers, You’re Beautiful, Black, Murphy’s Law of Love, The Prince Who Turns Into a Frog, Office Girls, ect.
Nice Guy Finishes Last
This one usually goes hand-in-hand with the last one. The jerk-wad that gets the girl has a best friend that is genuinely nice and caring (not always, but enough). He helps the MFC and supports her emotionally and selflessly. But he falls in love with her just a hair too late, or the MMC is just a little more aggressive, and the nice guy doesn’t get the girl.
So… there’s this aspect of the Korean version of Boys Over Flowers where a fortune teller tells the MFC that she is on vacation with both her soulmate and her true love, but that they are totally different people. We, the intelligent viewers, know that her good friend is her soulmate, and the MMC is the true love. This particular theme has never left my mind, even though it’s been many years since I’ve seen BOF, because there’s no good reason for the MFC to choose the MMC, she initially hated him and only came around to him through near-constant exposure (because he wouldn’t leave her alone). Ehh… maybe I should just rewatch and review BOF.
The bottom line is that I would like the nice friend to actually succeed against the terrible-no-good-bad-idea love interest.
Examples: Boys Over Flowers, You’re Beautiful, Murphy’s Law of Love, ect.
Congratulations! The MMC and the MFC have finally confessed and started dating! But, oh no~ On the horizon is mommy dearest, and no girl is ever good enough for her precious little boy. Either the MFC is too poor, or too outspoken, or not pretty enough, or not the girl mommy wanted; therefore it is time to dispose of her. Mother must break them up by any means necessary! How about we threaten her family? Bribe her with lots of money? Put her down and tell her she’s not good enough? Threaten to disown her own son?
Why can’t mom’s just be happy that their son is happy? Is that so hard? Why are you trying to break up my OTP? I’m genuinely terrified any time parents appear in a drama now thanks to these crazy broads.
Examples: Office Girls, Fall in Love with Me, Inborn Pair, ect.
Evil Female Rival
Can someone explain to me why most male rivals are not horrible human beings, but most of the female ones are? Maybe it’s just in the stuff I’ve been watching recently, but I’m getting really tired of some skank showing up part-way through the show and thinking, “Yes, I want that hunk of man-meat. Oh no, he’s got crush on someone already. Guess I’ll have to change that in the most nefarious way possible.” Cue attempts to harm the FMC, either by manipulating her (sometimes with Mother’s help) or trying to make her look bad. I don’t like seeing this trope as prolific as it is. Not all women are catty (or want to date their ex that they abandoned) and some can challenge their rival on even ground.
Or, ya know, cat fight the old fashioned way?
Examples: Fall in Love with Me, Just You, ect.
There is nothing worse than sitting through however many hours of screen-time just for the ending to make no sense whatsoever! The worst part is, nine times out of ten, there is an obvious answer for how to end it, but they choose the most convoluted way possible. Or they had a perfect ending set up, then machina-ed it all the bad things away. Or it just ended with no real conclusion at all.
It’s not that difficult to write a satisfying ending. They don’t all have to end in marriage, but please don’t leave your audience hanging.
Examples: Descendants of the Sun, Black, K-Pop Extreme Survival, ect.
I would sincerely like to thank you if you made it this far through my ramblings. Stay amazing, dear readers, and I will post again soon.