Korean Media Outlet Names 7 Clichéd K-Drama Scenes

Whether it’s important evidence being left in plain sight, or the villain kidnapping the main character only to monologue on and on, there are certain scenes in TV shows and movies that have become entrenched in the genre.

Although sometimes the scenes are very necessary to the plot, it can often feel repetitive. Recently, a Korean media outlet named seven clichéd K-drama scenes we hate to love.

1. Shirtless scenes

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Dramas often love to show off the main actor’s chiseled abs. While certainly something to feel grateful (?) for, the scenes can often feel random and unconnected to the plot. Such scenes typically occur when the main male character heads into the bathroom to take a shower and loses himself in thought, or sheds his shirt in order to take part in some appropriately brooding exercise.

2. Love triangles (or squares, etc.)

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If there’s one necessary ingredient to make a love line in a K-drama, it’s a rival. Love triangles have long been a staple of the genre, and recently such love lines have been expanding into love squares and even further.

3. Missed connections

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In a drama, the characters seem to follow the same paths, even in a busy metropolis like Seoul. They go to the same convenience stores and walk the same streets, but whenever they have to meet urgently, they always miss each other.

Even in a digitally connected world, characters often run around trying to find each other without calling or texting anyone, which can be incredibly frustrating for the audience.

4. Throwing water (and money)

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Although the (impoverished) female lead is always in it for the love, the (rich) male lead’s mother sees designs on her son’s wealth. In such dramas, there is typically a meeting between the prospective mother-in-law and the girl, where the mother-in-law issues a demand for the girl to break it off. This is usually accompanied by an envelope of money or throwing a glass of water in the girl’s face.

5. Chaebols and CEOs


It seems ridiculously easy to meet a chaebol or CEO in the world of dramas. Even seemingly ordinary businessmen usually turn out to be the son of the head of the company, and male leads typically play second or third generation chaebols.

6. Mother-in-laws fainting in hysterics

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Not only do the prospective mother-in-laws of rich male leads throw water and money at their sons’ girlfriends, but once the relationship is revealed to be secure, they usually throw a fit, falling down in a dead faint or screaming, “I’ll never give you my son.”

7. Eavesdropping (and sudden hearing loss)

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Characters who accidentally stumble across incriminating scenes manage to hear all the details about a situation despite being actually quite far from the conversation. But when a character actually needs to learn some crucial information, they turn out to be surprisingly deaf and miss everything that’s going on.

What are your favorite K-drama clichés?

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