Korean dramas

On the recommendation of a friend, I watched an episode of a Korean romantic comedy, The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, describing it as “a Korean Sex and the City, but perhaps with less sex, and funnier.” You might have heard me gushing about it on Twitter. It was HILARIOUS, so I must share it with you, and now I’m on to discovering other K-dramas, as apparently they’re called. There are a bunch of them on Hulu. What’s interesting is the next one I’m interested in checking out, Boys over Flowers, is based on a Japanese manga and anime series. Which of course makes the anthropological side of me wonder about the pop-culture bleed-over between Asian nations, and so forth.

Here’s the first episode. Maybe you’ll be as hooked as I am. You *have* to at least get as far as the asphalt incident.

Speaking of anthropological curiosity, I was especially interested in one particular thing I had never heard of from any of my Korean friends (including two Korean roommates)—it just never came up in conversation, I suppose: the Korean spa. There’s a part of TWWSWtM in which one of Shin Young’s suitors, Sang Woo, swears he’s going to wait outside for her all night if she doesn’t come downstairs. (They’re very proper about guys never going in the girls’ apartments, which is why later there’s a sort of scandal when… But I won’t spoil it! You have to see it!) But it’s winter, and she tells him he’ll freeze out there. So he says he’ll wait all night at the spa by her house instead. And this spa! I’ve never heard of such a thing–there’s this room in it where men & women are assigned gender-color-coordinated shorts/shirts that look kind of like mini-scrubs, and people just lie in the room and sleep. And there wasn’t any context! This baffled me, and no one I asked could explain what kind of spa lets people sleep there all night.

But at last the mystery is solved. I went out for Korean barbecue with some friends the other night and the subject of this show came up, so of course I had to ask: had anyone heard of such a thing?

And they had! And of all things, there’s one in Queens! Fascinating. I’ll have to try it out at some point.

It was also hilarious to me as a 30-something professional woman. I sympathize with the three main characters greatly, especially as a fairly feminist member of a pretty conservative culture (Mormonism). Much like Shin Young, no matter how well I do in my career, for many people, the thing that defines me is that I’m an old maid. But if I end up being Miss Rumphius in my old age, how can that be a bad thing?