It’s not often that I discover a facet of myself that I have been blissfully unaware of. Having always prided herself as being introspective and self-aware, I was shocked when the unthinkable happened.
I succumbed to a temptation that I thought I was immune to.
The lure of K-drama.
For those who don’t know, K-dramas are Korean language shows that stream on Netflix and other online platforms. Most people I know are fond of these shows. The fans transcend barriers of nationality, race, gender and age. It seems to be a unifying force that makes people come together and animatedly discuss their favorite shows and characters.
In the past, I stayed away from such conversations since I had not watched even a single show.
But now, I am a convert and like all new converts, I am filled with extra zeal. Not only have I watched a few shows but I have also given in to the pressure to bingewatch.
How could I come to this state?
One of my enduring qualities has been moderation. Although I would prefer to use words like focused and disciplined to describe myself, I have always practiced moderation – except for my book greed, which I disclosed recently.
Moderation when combined with focus and discipline has enabled to meet many goals and plan for new ones. So how did I become a person who was pulled into the abyss of binge watching a Netflix show?
Actually I don’t have the answer – all I know is one day the recent Korean show “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” was recommended by 3 different people and the following day I saw an article in the newspaper about how this show about a fictitious young Korean attorney on the Austistism spectrum has been making waves across the world.
My interest was piqued. I liked the first episode even though at over 60 minutes, I found it long. I watched it over two days since my quota for shows is about 30 minutes max per day.
My eyes are usually fatigued from sitting in front of a laptop all day and I choose to do other things – read a print book, go for a walk and have conversations with friends or listen to an audiobook on my commute. I seldom watch movies and when I do, I prefer to go to the theater because it involves an outing and has a different experience from sitting in front of the TV at home.
Yet all these excuses went out the window once I began watching this show!
First I watched one episode per day – One whole hour!!
Then I tried to watch one episode plus a little bit of the next one – don’t blame me, the preview of the next part was too riveting…
Soon it was 2 episodes per day until it got to the weekend and I was done watching all 16 episodes – in about 10 days!!
Perhaps you may not call it binge watching. But for me it was certainly an overdose.
And one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
It is a fabulous show – I highly recommend it. I loved the story, the characters and of course, Korea itself. It was great to see young women attorneys and powerful women in important corporate roles. But it was also good acting and great storytelling.
Down the slippery slope
When I disclosed my first foray into K-drama to friends and on social media, I was flooded with recommendations.
The most ardent fans knew the best shows in several genres – thriller, fantasy, romcom, historical and so on.
All I wanted was something fun and light-hearted. So I went for romcoms.
Enter- Business Proposal.
At only 12 episodes (compared to the usual 16 hour-long episodes that is the standard length of these shows), it felt like an easy, breezy way to decompress after a day’s work. It certainly wouldn’t hurt, so I thought.
And that’s how I slipped down the slope to another fun show which I finished in a week. And like a true addict, I sought more.
There was no shortage of suggestions. The most difficult part was choosing one.
Crash Landing on You, another popular one that I had heard about, was next on the list.
Do you want me to go on? I don’t think I should.
As you can see, I have succumbed to the lure of K-dramas!
The upside and the downside
The downside of my recent obsession is clear – it has revealed to me that I am unable to pace myself and apply my principles of moderation to this new obsession. Perhaps it’s just an infatuation, a phase that will pass. Only time will tell.
But the upside? What upside?
If I’m being truly honest, the romcom genre has always put me in a happy place. No matter how old or jaded I get, there is something about young people falling in love that makes me root for the couple. It seems life-affirming to set aside my cynical self for a while and to hope for a happy ending even if the story itself is imaginary.
Hope after all, is what keeps us going. Your days may be busy. Your life may be hard. But the true measure of your resilience is the ability to hold hope in your heart.
These love stories, in shows and books, help keep alive that small spark of hope. It nurtures the possibility of finding love, the most life-sustaining of emotions.
The question that I now face is an important one. Should I stop and detox or start another show?
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