What’s a good romance without a little bit of cliché? If you’ve seen a lot of K-dramas, chances are you’ve noticed a pattern between a few of them and their romance plots. And while the romances may sometimes be a little too familiar, that doesn’t make them tug any less at our heartstrings.
Here are five types of K-drama romance plots sure to be your guilty pleasures, despite how overwhelmingly cliché they are.
Kind of like the classic forbidden love story, this one happens a lot. It’s interesting not only because of its forbidden complex, but it also employs the “opposites attract” theory, too. But as always, things can never be that simple. The couple, much like the couples in “Heirs” or “Secret Garden,” must battle their parents’ disapproval — which can definitely turn the fantasy into a bumpy ride.
Even though you pretty much know the entire story from the first episode, it’s an old cliché that still makes for quite an interesting (yet extremely familiar) watch.
Okay. We know this one. The protagonist needs to hide some kind of secret from their family or make their ex jealous. And what better way to do that than by getting hitched to a random stranger?
But the fake relationship always leads to real feelings — much like in “Marry Me, Mary!” or even “Fated to Love You” — and now the protagonist and the cute stranger-turned-love-interest are struggling to balance the fake relationship with their very real, very romantic feelings.
From pretending to be your twin brother in an idol group like in “You’re Beautiful,” taking a job as a cafe waiter like in “Coffee Prince,” or disguising yourself as a boy and enrolling in an all boys school like in “To The Beautiful You,” this type of romance will forever embody the classic K-drama cliché.
It’s completely obvious to everyone watching that the girls’ disguises are extremely see-through, but no one in the drama can tell. This, of course, gives us a ton of scenes of the leading man questioning his sexuality when he finds himself attracted to the disguised girl.
While this plot will cease to surprise, it does give us one great lesson in the love department: judging from the trend in these K-dramas, if you want your crush to fall for you, just cut your hair and wear more collared shirts. They’ll love you immediately.
It’s completely normal for your soulmate to turn into your step-sibling halfway through your relationship, right? No?
Well, this seems to be the case for dramas like “Love Rain“ and “Sassy Go Go.” The apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree when the main character and their single parent happen to fall for two members of the same family. Of course, only one person can keep their happy relationship — which often leaves the daughter/son heartbroken for the sake of their parents’ happiness. It’s an easy way to create intense conflict, despite how cheap the plot device may be.
It’s basically a Cinderella story minus the basement and the cleaning. But instead of a godmother giving you one dress for one ball, you get a rich handsome man giving you dresses and makeovers for weeks (or, in the case of “Birth of a Beauty,” you get plastic surgery and a partner in crime).
Admittedly, it’s a relationship at first based primarily on superficial elements like looks and social acceptance, but it’s still probably one of your guilty faves. It doesn’t teach the best of values, but at least it gives us hilarious dramas like “Oh My Venus.” We won’t judge if you won’t.
What’s your favorite type of K-drama romance? And which plots are so cliché they make you cringe? Let us know below!
brookenicole is a creative writer with a huge love for K-pop and an even bigger love for playlist creation. You can find her on Twitter here.