Dramaworld: The Trope-tastic Meta K-drama Web Series

Asia Pacific Arts: Dramaworld: The Trope-tastic Meta K-drama Web Series

Asia Pacific Arts Archive Site (2004-2018)

For new content click here.

August 10, 2018

Dramaworld: The Trope-tastic Meta K-drama Web Series

Dramaworld covers just about every trope and cliché from a typical Korean drama. A naked shower scene, check. Flashback sequences galore, check. Drunken girl piggybacks, check. Which one is your favorite?

by Eugenia Fung

Date Published: 08/01/2016


Claire Duncan is like every typical K-drama fan, obsessed. But, seriously who isn’t into Korean dramas nowadays, wishing they could find true love with an insanely rich, slightly arrogant, majorly hot male lead? Don’t be shy; raise your hands. So, Claire lives with her head down staring into her smartphone and spending every waking moment invested in K-dramas. Lucky for Claire though, her mundane days of simply daydreaming are over, as she finds herself accidentally teleported into some alternative universe that is made entirely of Korean dramas: Dramaworld.

Welcome to DramaWorld, a world that is built on every trope and cliché found in your typical K-drama. A world with nothing but good looking male leads, unsuspecting damsels as leading ladies, tiger mothers, bitch rivals, and where everyone can magically understand Korean. Claire discovers she’s an “outsider” who has been summoned in order to facilitate the relationship between the two leads of Dramaworld. Once they fall in love, the whole story starts over again, but in a new setting. The world operates by certain “drama laws,” which essentially are any and all K-drama conventions including “leading man will take a hot, steamy shower.”

And so, Claire happens to be stuck in her favorite drama, “Taste of Love” and finds out she has to work to get the leading man Joon Park and leading lady Seoyeon together, with the help of her “adopted brother” Seth. Of course, a drama isn’t a drama without a million obstacles and Claire might just be more than a bystander in this world.

Co-produced by Viki in collaboration with Jetavana Entertainment, Entermedia Contents and Third Culture Content, Dramaworld is a mini web series that both new and longtime K-drama fans will enjoy. The series is both an homage to and parody of the K-drama and the writing is quite clever. The tropes are seamlessly woven throughout the show and describe them as laws that must be abided by, making the cliché a natural part of the world. Those that are not explicitly explained as law are shown in various different cameos like the secret agent spy with the worst timing ever funeral scene.Now stop reading here if you’ve never seen the show, as major spoilers are up ahead.

Below are some of the most noteworthy trope moments in Dramaworld.

Drunken Piggyback Rides

Where men have to give drunken girls piggybacks like it’s second nature. We’ve all seen it before when there’s always that scene where the female lead gets exceedingly drunk, ends up in an alley and the male lead has to carry her back. We all also know how that ends.

Love at First Sight (Save)

A fictional romance cannot be without that moment where the leads get bit by the love bug when saved from a near death experience. In Dramaworld, Claire witnesses a man (cameo alert) get hit by a car and she rushes over to check if he’s all right because that’s the you know, humane thing to do. But, he ends up immediately falling in love with his “savior.” Nothing screams K-drama more than having an “Ariel Saves Eric” moment and then “running away like Cinderella,” leaving your love stricken prince spending the rest of his life searching for you.

Hospital Scenes

No K-drama is complete without a devastating accident, thus a hospital scene. To top it all off, Joon even experiences a life-changing, bad decision-making dream sequence because we could always use more pain, anguish and conflict.

Fainting Spells

A famous cliché in every romance story, leading lady has to faint into the arms of a gallant cutie. As Seth explains in the show, “leading men, even second leads, they can’t let women hit the ground. It’s like… totally subconscious.” Don’t we all wish this were true real life?

The I-Have-Too-Much-Pride-To-Apologize Leading Man Syndrome

Ah, the typical flaw in every hot, arrogant bad boy out there. Bonus, if he’s a spoiled rich mama’s boy. Men like that just don’t know how to apologize. We all would just love to break them and make them realize they can’t live without the leading lady, while begging on their knees for forgiveness.

And let’s not forget the best one for last…

Leading Man Taking Hot Steamy Showers

HOT. STEAMY. SHOWER. Because how else will the viewers really see that the leading man is hot without seeing him naked in some way? Enough said.


USC US-China Logo


USC US-China Today Logo

Feature articles and videos, interactive graphics, daily news summaries, and provocative voices.
rss facebook youtube twitter
Subscribe to the APA Newsletter
First name
Last name
Email address
Copyright © 2003 – 2014 University of Southern California

U.S. – China Institute

Kalai Chik

Pop culture writer focusing on animation, music, and games. Los Angeles native, USC alumni, and contributor for Asia Pacific Arts since 2015. Follow me on Twitter, @kalai_chik.

Recommended Articles