I Really Don’t Like Wasting Time but I Do I Do I Do:
5 Asian Dramas with WTF Endings
There are dramas that prior to airing have already gathered a huge fanbase, either for being based on a popular novel/webtoon, regardless of an existing English translation (Google Translate more often than not does the job) or for being part of an acclaimed drama franchise or something else.
Those drama adaptations or new dramas sometimes come with an exorbitant expectation price tag that in some cases writers decide it to be impossible to match and leave viewers fuming with their WTF puzzling endings.
1 – Reply 1988
Umm, so many questions and… no answers! Reply 1988 is prior to 1997, prior to 1994, no computers, no sms, answerless calls but Alexander Bell invented the telephone in the late 19th century which means that in 1988 there were already telephones, widely used. 1988 is a century later. Hello??? Did the writers not learn how to do basic math? It doesn't take a genius to do it! Reply 1988 aka Answer Me 1988 ought to be re-named Unanswered 1988 in the telephone age, in the cordless telephone age!
One doesn’t change a winning formula just like that! A winning formula it’s a given success! If it worked once, twice, most likely it would work a third time but there comes a point in life where a screenwriter decides it needs to be modernized...backwards but not everyone likes vintage things. That is something all drama aficionados can understand…not!
There we have Reply 1997 and Reply 1994 husband guessing game, so much fun to watch particularly Answer Me 1997. It’s like buying a new flavoured cake from a new bakery for the first-time, kind of to give it a try but with zero expectations, discovering how yummy it was and eating it all in a blink of an eye. That was Reply 1997! Delicious, perfect! The next time a new cake comes out if the high expectations materialize, wow, as good as the first one or better.
The third time, how to beat the second? Change! Yuck! What is this? Yuck! Reply 1988 ending was like that, Yuck! Why did Duk Seon husband become her husband and how did that happen? Did we miss something? Did fans miss the entire drama while they were watching it? Where were the clues? In 1988? No answer!
2 – Princess Agents
Princess Agents...what were they thinking? What were they thinking? What were they thinking? Really??? Did we wait 58 episodes for that? 58 episodes of 45 minutes, so many hours wasted!!! We get that there were three different scriptwriters but heck, the drama was based on a book, a very long book, it might be added with a lot of chapters but a book none the less!
Did they just read the summary? Consistency was zero, time wasting 100% and 58 episodes, some of which scene fillings were useless! Shawn Dou was amazing, we get that, he was more than amazing but he was the second lead and he had more screen time than the main lead Geng Xin Lin. Why? He is a very good-looking man, loved by the viewers but he didn’t need to take over the drama which he did.
At that point, one was left wondering the reason why the writers decided to be consistent and not altering the male leads position? Was that not on the script? Wait, they wrote the script! To understand this mess a PhD in Chinese Drama Ending understanding ought to be created…in China, in English or in Europe in…Chinese.
Princess Agents was speechless and annoying and so addictive to watch when there was hope that the end was going to follow the books. The characters angst, the innocent feelings, the determination and the performances were all there despite the title not reflecting the story, despite Yan Xun’s revenge path taken too much of the storyline leaving a bare amount of episodes to cover what ended up not being covered at all!
There was the lake scene, at least there was comfort in that and it was epic in Episode 58, the last episode! What words can be said about this? What feelings can be felt about this? Was it beautiful and emotional? Yes, it showed Wen Yue and Xing Er? Yes! Then why did it feel so empty? Why did it feel so rushed and uncaring and exasperating? Why was it so painful to watch? The scene was expected, it had to happen, it would happen as it's a turning point in the book but the writers turned it into the end a WTF end at that!
We wanted more, we deserved more and we got nothing, not even a confirmation of Season 2 to finish what the writers had ample time to finish but chose not to. It’s as if they were wavering a carrot in front of a horse, promising it that it would get the carrot if it continued walking! Promises, promises, promises, all the while never giving the carrot to the horse! It’s unethical and mean! Really, really, really? 58 episodes for that? Note to writers: if you do not know how to write a different ending, please go back to school and learn it! Fans would be very very very thankful!
3 – Gu Family Book
There’s logic and then there’s Gu Family Book! The beginning of the drama was so beyond expectations that it made me not expect the unexpected. Choi Jin-Hyuk’s performance as Gu Wol-Ryung was so full of depth, so well-constructed and portrayed, so beautiful to watch on screen it won him 4 awards but that’s the end of Gu Family Book’s common-sense sagacity.
It was like a simple supernatural version of the water cycle. It rained - Gu Wol-Ryung’s story back in the day; the soil absorbed the water – Choi Kang Chi’s story back in the day, water evaporated and it rained again– Gu Family Book past bye…current times! That moment was a converse observe irrational antithesis of mind!
Twists in a story are great, really great and the possibility to listen to what the audience wants in terms of story direction, phenomenal thanks to K-Dramas live-shoot system; what’s not great at all is ruining all presuppositions in favor of a ridiculous wretched ending for a post-drama word of mouth tête-à-tête when it bore no relevance to the drama ratings!
4 – Diamond Lover
So for 68 episodes in Diamond Lover, girl meets boy, they fall in love and then…what happened there to their love story? We get that Chinese dramas like to be different from Korean dramas and we get that sometimes they are and sometimes they are not.
It’s okay, they don’t have to be carbon copies ending wise of their neighbouring counterparts, they can just be separated by the sea. But separation should not be taken literally in a drama whose endings are supposed to be satisfying.
Has no one ever taught that subject at University? What were the writers doing in their classes for 4 years? Mastering the arts of incomprehensible endings? Sometimes one truly ships the second lead because he turns out to be so much better than the first lead and it's rare for dramas to actually deviate from pre-established rules but when it makes sense for it to happen it doesn’t and when it doesn’t it does!
Yeah, life is not Cinderella but building up expectations that it’s going to end one way and it ends another is like enjoying NCIS Los Angeles Kensi and Deeks love story developing for her to marry G. No!
Some dreams come true, others are just castles in the air... that's Diamond Lover... the drama imitating real life... when one wakes up, realizes it was all a dream or realizes the love for... someone else rather than... umm...
Cheese in the Trap was the Gorgonzola taking over for Parmigiano on a cheese platter main stage as the drama shifted protagonist from Yoo Jun to Baek In-ho. Gorgonzola, an Italian creamy and sweet blue cheese with a lot of flavours would normally never take over Parmigiano, a mouth-watering cheese, full of history; a cheese that defines a dish, adds depth and texture to culinary creations and can transform the overall enjoyment of a meal into an exquisite Michelin experience.
The drama was so full of drama onscreen off-screen it was like an Eton Mess! Based on the same title super popular webtoon it was a hot topic on social media before, during and after it finished airing.
The casting was solid with Park Hae-Jin taking the lead male role and Kim Go-Eun, a film actress making her debut in K-Drama land as his leading lady, supported by Seo Kang-Joon as the second male lead; second not first but that’s what turned out to happen with Park Hae-Jin’s role being chopped to accommodate Seo Kang-Joon increasing screen time. Park Hae-Jin was not happy and aired his dirty laundry in public.
No one was happy but that was of little significance apparently as the writers might have thought to cash in on that unhappiness and free negative publicity by producing an ending befitting all that frustration otherwise how would they have explained Yoo Jung leaving with his inner struggle and coming back three years later a happy man, wiser, more mature to finally… lovey-dovey???
Were we supposed to fill in the 3-year blanks? Were we supposed to have written that void for the scriptwriters or did they want us to imagine that Yoo Jung had been in therapy all that time, faced all his demons alone with the help of a psychologist and at the end of that time was ready to go back to his old life and pick up where he left off as if those 3 years had been a mere 3 hours or 3 minutes? Did the writers think viewers and fans are dumb? What on earth?
These are just 5 dramas in an ocean of dramas with flabbergasting incomprehensible endings! If there are any other dramas that you felt like you wanted to scream at screen due to a WTF ending or was there a drama whose final scene left you wondering why you bothered watching in the first place, share your thoughts in the comments! Thanks for reading!