by Ugly Duckling aka Gook, April 15, 2019

The title may have triggered a lot of senior audiences just like me, but trust me it was hard for me to write this title down since it still feels like yesterday when I saw Boys Before Flowers! With that being said, I will quickly explain what this ridiculous title means because really, it can mean anything.

Simply put, as I was falling asleep I was thinking about the older generation of dramas which I was practically raised on and compared them – plot-wise – to current dramas. I won’t focus on dramas from just one country.

Since I have a good memory, I will mention a lot TV series and probably will spoil a bit, but don’t you worry I will hide the spoilers, so it’s up to you if you will read them or not.

1. Arranged Marriage

If you started watching dramas around the year 2009 than you have probably seen a lot of TV series which include an arranged marriage – usually from the male lead’s side. This element was usually the main “drama” of the whole series and thanks to this element we got to know many actresses who we started to hate because they played the evil rich fiancee of our main lead who of course trying to break the couple up.

When I first came to dramaland I was shocked and excited about this element and secretly loved it, because I am a creepy human being who likes to vent her anger on evil characters. But as I began to watch more dramas it started to get really annoying.

It was ALWAYS the same pattern!

The couple is happily together, but of course, the main guy’s family oppose the main lead’s POOR girlfriend and tries to break them off with a beautiful model like a woman.

In new age dramas, we don’t see this element that often and I think it’s because Korea is slowly changing. Korea is a country which tries to follow the traditions and marriage is one of them. Back in days parents often pushed their kids into marriage at a very young age, they didn’t really support what we have today – partnership. Living with a man before marriage in one house?! That’s a big no-no and that’s why there were so many dramas back in the days that had the arranged marriage element. Also, those dramas often ended with main lead proposing to the female lead, or they already showed us their marriage life, while in new age dramas we now see more open endings? Which is nice as some people really do not wish to marry, but at the same time I wish for some marriage comeback. Even though I support the freedom of your life choice, I can’t be the only one who wishes to see some dramas end with a marriage or at least PREGNANCY! Back in the days almost every drama ended with a couple having their own little cute kids, but now it’s really a rarity and it’s showed mostly in makjang dramas.

TV series with this element:

2. Love triangles

I know very well that love triangles are present in new age dramas as well, but back in the days the second main lead was almost always the best friend of our female heroine, who knew her the best and loved her for like eternity, but for some unknown reason the girl always ends up with our beautiful main lead who just happens to be mean and cold, but after episode 6 – where is the first kiss – he turns into a shy cutie pie, who acts as if he is not in love!

In new age dramas, we break free from the best friend second lead syndrome, which is a freaking long title I might add and we move to new charismatic second main leads which met our female heroine for the first time later in their life.

But still, one major thing has not changed over the years...

Of course, it’s the “second lead will remain as second” ending which is seen in the majority of dramas and I applaud those dramas, who turn the second leads into main leads! Currently, I know only one drama that ends that way...

3. Rich man, poor woman

No, with this title I do not mean the Japanese TV series so don’t get your hopes high but... Wait, actually you can use that drama to describe this point pretty well!

From Gu Jun Pyo to Kim Joo Won and from Geum Jan Di to the fierce Gil Ra Im.

All these characters had their Cinderella moments and I often call dramas with rich men and poor women as “Cinderella TV series”, because it’s actually true. I totally blame those old dramas for giving me weird dreams, where I marry a rich CEO and we will have our happy ever after.

I can’t even name all the TV series which include rich men and poor women, but as the years passed I encountered more and more dramas changing the old stereotype, thus breaking the ice. Now I see rich women with poor men, or I see both leads leading equal – paycheck wise – life. It’s like a breath of fresh air and I really love it and look forward to new dramas like that. Of course, sometimes I get melancholic and crave a drama FULL of cliché moments, but those moments pass and I want to see a TV series where the “drama” is not circled around the women’s poorness.

TV series with this element:

4. The exciting 6th episode kiss

Huge spoiler ahead – If you watch older TV series, you will for sure witness the first kiss in episode 6!

I am not making this up and it’s totally true, but in the past, the main couple had their first kiss usually in the 6th episode. It was so known that whenever a drama did not have a kiss in that episode, everyone went nuts and would spam the comments section with question marks.

Nowadays, the ice is broken and we can’t predict when will the first kiss drop, which is actually pretty exciting. In some dramas, the first kiss is in the first episode and in other dramas, it can be in episode fourteen!

But one thing with the kiss still did not change.

It always happens at the end of the episode when the credits roll in and, of course, you have to wait a week to see the full version of the kiss and the aftermath!

No one can forget this iconic "wall" kiss!

5. Second pairing

Sometimes, when we watch dramas, we get more attached to the second pairing’s romance than the main couple, which can be sad or happy as we get more romance action.

But, in the past, there was no such thing as a second pairing as the whole drama usually focused on the main pairing. Then life tortured them with nasty mothers-in-law and, of course, poorness or death, and if there was a second pairing, usually the romance was so subtle that we would write fanfiction to satisfy our desires!

Nope, I still cannot stand how they did things with So Yi Jung and Chu Ga Eul from Boys Over Flowers.

But in this age, we get tons of TV series which include second pairings and everyone loves it!

6. Water Slap

How can this article NOT include one of the most famous elements which were used by the evil mothers of our super rich and beautiful male main leads!

I don’t see this element in dramas nowadays, but if it still goes around I’m sure it’s not that famous as it was back then. Back then, almost every drama had a water slap which often happened after the mother tried to bribe the girl into breaking up with the male lead.

Was it ever a success? No!

In TV series nowadays we often see heroines standing up against the evil mother, but come on I can’t be the only one who misses the old fashioned water slap. Heck, if I could, I would use that water slap on a daily basis.

And count me in with water spitting as well!

TV series with this element:

With this, I will end my article about the old TV series which infected our hearts and minds. Do I regret watching the now cheesy dramas? No, because back then it suited my taste just right. Yes, now I see them in a different light and often laugh at the cliché scenes, but even grown-ups have these moments when they miss the innocence of those old dramas. Feel free to tell me in the comments which moments you miss in the new age dramas!