Written by Khristian Ross P. Pimentel
While we are experiencing and fighting against pandemic, there is still a positive vibe that hugs us tight in these trying times. As we stay most of the time at the comfort of our home, we find different activities where we can use our time and divert our attention. One of these activities is watching our favorite Korean dramas.
When do you know that you display some of the moderate signs and symptoms of K-drama addiction? I am not a medical doctor, let alone someone who specializes on K-drama addiction, but these are some of my observations with myself and the people I know who are watching K-drama in moderation.
I also asked around to find out what people considered as important signs and symptoms to this kind of addiction, and I find their answers noteworthy although I was not surprised. When I speak of “moderate,” I am referring to the average consumption of K-drama. Some viewers who watch excessively may have a different set of classified symptoms, probably an even more extreme manifestations in terms of degree or frequency.
If you are watching one or you have watched one recently, check this list and find out if you are considered an addict on K-dramas and demonstrate some of these symptoms. You may want to tally how many of these symptoms are observable in your viewing habit.
1. Having a long “to watch list”
After watching an amazing K-drama, it is normal to search for equally wonderful series. Unfortunately, instead of having only one choice, we tend to have a long list of our next option. Once I finished one series, I get excited to watch more.
Sometimes, we tell ourselves that we are going to watch only one episode, but we tend to break our promise until we find ourselves watching the next episodes. This happens especially when there are a lot of plot twists like in Descendants of the Sun or Crash Landing on You. Without even noticing, we finish one series in just a few days.
2. Watching is food tripping too
It’s impossible not to have a whetted appetite while watching for more than an hour or while binge watching. Aside from watching K-drama feels like a movie marathon experience that goes perfectly with a box of popcorn, chips, or pizza, the series we watch often present Korean cuisines that are irresistible.
Some of us have probably eaten ramen noodles, dumplings, kimchi, Korean fried chicken, or samgyupsal while watching our K-dramas. There was even a time that my pregnant wife paused our viewing when she decided to cook soup with dumplings.
3. Fondness and familiarity with Korean names
Admit it. You don’t immediately memorize the names of the characters in the series especially during the initial episodes. It takes too much familiarity before you keep their names in your mind.
Sometimes, we even get confused because the names that are written on the subtitles are not usually the same as they are pronounced by the characters.
By the way, I call our baby in my wife’s womb as Dongbaek(shi) although we don’t intend to give this name to our baby because my wife always refuses to do so.
4. Attachment to Korean artists
Similar to the previous symptom, some of us also don’t know how to say and spell the names of our favorite actors and actresses until we try to check them on their Instagram accounts. Other fans read things about their favorites on other platforms to try to look for their filmography that can be watched too. Still, there are those who do not stop until they watch all the series that their favorite artists have produced.
Some of us even call them oppa, unnie, ahjussi, eomma, or appa. We even feel that we are not just fans, but we are friends with them for almost a long time. While their lives are an open book, we know them like how we know our best buddies. Although this one did not happen yet to me, some people I know make the photos of their Korean idols as their cellphone wallpapers.
In some extent, we even rejoice in their victories. Some of us even watched Korean awards like the Baeksang Arts Awards even if there are no subtitles. We root for our favorite artists to bag the highest awards.
5. Difficulty to move on
I am currently watching Laughter in Waikiki, and I can’t help but to laugh even on our bed hours and whenever I remember a scene.
When a character passes away in a series (Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart Ryeo for example), I am deeply affected even after watching the episode or even watching the entire series altogether. The plot twist in a series sometimes (like in The World of the Married Couple) makes me mad to antagonist characters, like Tae Oh.
When we finish a series, we are extremely entertained but after a while, we wish that the series should not have ended yet because we got so attached to the characters and to the story. When we turn on our screen, we wish to watch it again even if we have just finished it.
We even watch the special feature episodes and read articles that pertain to that series. Moving on from a great series is like moving on from an ended long-term relationship. It is just not that easy.
6. Korean culture has become part of your life
There are times that we cannot last a day or a week without watching K-drama as if it is our vitamin. When we don’t watch an episode, there seems to be an itch that needs to be scratched.
Sometimes, we create our own schedule to fit our K-drama watching time on it especially when some of us work from home. I often watch mine during my workout before dinner time.
Sometimes, we even imitate the facial expressions of our favorite characters although it does look good only for Koreans (or maybe not). Some even cut their bangs and imitate their idol’s facial features by using filters and facial enhancement in mobile applications.
Other times, we relate what’s going on with our life with the series that we watch. For instance, I recall the rain offering scene of Wang So one time it rained after a long time. Meanwhile, some of us even encounter the scenes in our dreams. My wife told me once that she had been cooking a lot in her dream after watching again some episodes of Jewel in the Palace.
7. Being active in social media
Our stories, status updates, and news feeds are probably flooded with our latest K-drama watching activities. We tweet in almost all of our social media accounts, not only in Twitter as if our socmed accounts are our own open journal.
We even post memes that are really funny. We even make ourselves as object of humor. When I posted glow up photos and presented myself as Kang Ha Neul and Park Seo Joon, my Facebook friends just found it funny. No big deal. Sometimes while watching, we even take photos or screenshots and post creative shots later in our socmed accounts.
Since we cannot contain what we watch within ourselves, we let the online world know our joys, our kilig moments, our sadness, and even our frustrations. These are just indeed too hard to keep within ourselves. Doing so allows us to know that we are not alone in the planet or at least in the K-drama universe; that there are other people like us who experience the same way.
Sometimes, we create a blog entry or submit an article contribution, like what I am doing, (thanks to Annyeong Oppa Submisisons) to hear us out.
8. Last song syndrome (LSS)
Our ears have also fallen in love with the music that accompanies our favorite series. We are always carried away even if we understand not a single word in the song. Personally, I really like the official soundtrack of Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart Ryeo.
Whenever I listen to Forgetting You, I Love You, I Remember You, All with You, and My Love, I always think that it is blissful to fall in love. Whenever I hear Will Be Back, I feel the loss, too.
There are times I try to sing along too but when my wife hears me, she just tells me that I was already eaten up by the system. I admit that I don’t have a good singing voice, and definitely I don’t know the lyrics after all. Still playing the music in our mind or in our music player is just a happy pill.
9. Sharing is caring
We recommend to people the best ones to watch. We don’t want to be the only ones getting so addicted. We want to share it to our friends and even to people we do not know in groups like Annyeong Oppa Group on Facebook.
We give our kind and honest reviews and we encourage them to watch it while trying to keep ourselves from giving away spoilers. We interact with other viewers or followers of a series and later we create some online friends.
No matter how many days or years have passed, our fondness to our favorite K-drama and characters stay the same. I still remember how I bought a complete set of Lovers in Paris in 2005 where I began to like Korean series. I still like Descendants of the Sun and Weightlifting Fairy.
As of 2020, I have my new favorites: Crash Landing on You, Itaewon Class, The World of the Married Couple, When the Camellia Blooms, Scarlet Heart Ryeo, and Laughter in Waikiki. We know that we’ll continue to like them as long as we live.
A Final Word
I don’t know if there’s a cure for moderate K-drama addiction, but I guess there is nothing wrong with this. What needs intervention is when we consume K-drama excessively that it already affects our health, harms our relationship with others, and controls almost everything in our life.
When we disregard our priorities and even our daily necessities like taking a bath, eating our meals, or socializing with our loved ones, there’s something that must be done.
Out of 10, how many signs and symptoms do you have? Now that you are aware of it, spread the word!