Have you ever finished a drama breathing heavy like you just ran a marathon? Do you have a love/hate relationship with a show or a character? Ever pressed your hand against your heart during a touching scene in the hopes of keeping the broken organ inside your chest instead of spilling on the cold floor in despair? Perhaps, you’ve downloaded music or bookmarked YouTube videos from your favourite scenes for a show to watch over and over to relive the breathtaking experience. Need a break? Need therapy? Need to calm down? Need to detox from those heart-wrenching and/or action-packed dramas?
I just relax looking at these couples. They're just so sweet.
Don’t worry. I have found several examples of shows that were NOT an emotional roller-coaster, nor were they unwatchable. These dramas were…. well, just nice or sweet, or…. let’s just say…. benign. Whatever they were, they all had an easy-going script, attractive characters, and a neatly wrapped up plot that allowed me to take a few days or weeks off from those angst-ridden shows I crave to binge-watch. I call these tranquil type of shows “drama-rehab.” If you are wondering if I’ve lost my marbles (there’s a good chance I have), here are three suggestions for any stressed-out drama watchers who need to enter “drama-rehab” for some relaxation.
The fun-loving… the ever-so-gentle cast of Love O2O… EVERYONE in this show was just… CUTE!
If you need a break from heart-pounding anything, I suggest you watch Love O2O. Initially, I watched this show because one of my nieces worshipped Yang Yang (Yep…just like Auntie, she can pick fabulous oppas) and I wondered what he was all about. This c-drama is about Bei Wei Wei (played by Zheng Shuang) who is a brilliant computer programming major and the second most gorgeous woman on campus (according to some vote – do people really vote on this kind of stuff?). Poor Bei Wei Wei finds herself cyber-bullied for various reasons I do not comprehend, but I’m sure are relevant. The most popular guy on campus Xiao Nai (Yang Yang…..sigh) pursues her and takes on the bullies, at the same time making her his girlfriend. Just when you think it can end, it doesn’t, then various shenanigans ensue, but not too much conflict, just enough to keep me from falling asleep and mostly caring what the future holds for Xiao Nai and Bei Wei Wei.
Weak premise… I know. Bland characters…. yeah, BUT… It was kind of relaxing. Keep in mind that the cultural idea of beauty might not be the same worldwide, sooooooo I understood the premise, just not the execution with these actors, and frankly, I didn’t care. For 30 relaxing episodes, I watched these beautiful people move around in stunning scenery with very little angst and a reasonable ending. When I was done, I was refreshed and ready to go onto something bigger and more intense… FINALLY, the granddaddy of all C-dramas Ashes of Love; reinvigorated and ready to experience ALL its glorious intensity… and I did, in spades.
Sweet Dreams… well what can I say, I didn’t even acknowledge I watched it until recently, and I completed this series last spring. It wasn’t bad… no really, it wasn’t. I actually started watching Sweet Dreams because I had just completed Eternal Love enthralled with Bai Feng Jiu and Dong Hua Dijun’s love story and wanted to see anything with those two actors in it. At the same time, I had dipped my toe into Ashes of Love but dropped it originally by episode 12 because it was already getting too intense for me… I guess I needed to grow as a person before completing that one. When I recognized Deng Lun as the lead, I thought what the heck… might be entertaining and I wasn’t disappointed.
The story is slightly better than average with the highlight of the whole 48 episodes, the focus on the strange relationship between the two characters played by Dilraba and Deng Lun. Truth be told, I enjoyed how the romance progressed between Ling Ling and Bo Hai, more now that I’ve seen what these actors can do in Eternal Love and Ashes of Love. The supporting characters were interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes not… HEY, it's for relaxation purposes, your brain doesn’t have to think very hard watching this show… there is comparatively minimal contention… it’s a good thing, honest.
Additionally, crazy dream-sharing (VERY amusing but there WASN’T ENOUGH of them), flower arranging, and pretend fire is involved. A very fine-looking good guy/bad guy named Mo Nan played by Chen Yi Long is also part of this menagerie (I still liked Deng Lun better… once you see him as the demon lord in AOL, there is no going back – LIKE EVER). The last couple of episodes were a little strange and out of place, but why not? Sweet Dreams did drag a bit in the middle, but I needed the respite….After all, I was about to take on You Who Came from the Stars. At least this show didn’t give me heart palpitations and allowed me enough mental relaxation to gear up for YWCFTS.
What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim is another show I watched at the urging of my nieces. Truth be told, they just adore Park Seo Joon and who can blame them. At the time I started this show, I was at loose ends kicking myself for completing Mr. Pride vs. Miss Prejudice and Xuan-Yuan Sword: Han Cloud back to back… not stressful so much as… why? I found the love story of Kim Mi So and Lee Young Joon to be enjoyable and light-hearted. Park Seo Joon was indeed straightforward to watch and listen to, and I found his character more entertaining than hers (Deok Mi in Her Private Life – leaps and bounds better than Kim Mi So in WWWSC).
The story begins with Kim Mi So, secretary to Lee Young Joon, handing him her resignation. He is entirely taken off guard and tries diligently to figure her out as well as romance her. He asks her to marry him way too many times during the show, including the first or second episode. There IS romance, an odd childhood back story, fighting brothers, and some strange co-workers that I am glad don’t work in my office. Kim Mi So’s sisters taught me what chaebol means which was a new concept for me and her dad kinda freaked me out. Perhaps, he was put in the show to fill up episodes... I’m still not sure what his purpose was… very strange. The show ends on a high note, and I’ve said before… in this show, Park Seo Joon sings, and my heart just melts. Is that really his voice? Because wow… best male vocal performance I’ve seen so far in a k-drama.
Thank you SOOMPI for this AWESOME GIF!
I know it may sound like I am making fun of these three pieces of entertainment… NOT my intention. Just the opposite, in fact. After being wrung out to dry by stupendous out of this world shows like Eternal Love or Hotel Del Luna, sometimes I just need a break. Yeah... I know, I could go hiking, talk to my chickens, or practice more hot yoga, but I’d much rather curl up under a nice warm blanket, make myself a cup of hot cocoa (yes, I live in New England, and it's getting cold now), and watch something calm, perhaps even tepid… like warm bath water or a plain spaghetti noodles with butter. Shows like What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Love O2O, and Sweet Dreams… no safety harness is required, no trip to the cardiologist necessary… just sugary serene moments of watching beautiful people in pretty clothing, driving fancy cars, and finding love of some sort.
Ready… watch… breathe… inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth… OHMMMMMM. Are you relaxed yet?
Have you ever watched a show that was calming? Didn’t stress you out? Provided just enough conflict to keep it entertaining but not too much to bring on anxiety? Please let me know your ideas. I’m halfway through Goblin, and I already know I’ll need to enter “drama rehab” soon.