Unpopular K-Drama Opinions: 3 Extremely Popular K-Dramas I Didn’t Like (And Why)

I don’t write about dramas I don’t like for several reasons:

  1. There’s already enough negativity in the world; I like to keep this space positive.
  2. I enjoy writing about things I like and I don’t enjoy writing about things I don’t like. Simple as that.
  3. If I don’t like a drama, I drop it. This means I did not watch the whole thing, so I don’t feel qualified to give a complete review.

All of that being said, I’m going to give this a shot anyways. It’s a post idea I’ve been chewing on for a while now and kept putting off because I did not want to be negative. But I realized this is something I’d be truly interested in reading if someone else wrote about it — so here we go.

Before continuing, I want to throw a giant blanket disclaimer out there: if I say something about disliking characters, I am talking about the characters, not the actors or actresses. I greatly admire the hard work these actors and actresses put into their roles and am not disrespecting them, their abilities, or their performances.

Anything in the drama that I didn’t like is my own very personal opinion — nothing more. And I’m not going to just dump on these dramas, either. They are/were popular for a reason — a lot of people like(d) them. I’m simply going to state why I, personally, didn’t. So without further ado, let’s get into it!

Warning: frightfully unpopular opinions lie ahead.

First up is (please don’t hate me)…

The Penthouse: War In Life

The title says “popular” dramas, right? Clearly, I wasn’t kidding.

Simply put, Penthouse was too melodramatically soapy for me. I like dramas that veer towards the realistic and slice-of-life. And if you’ve seen Penthouse, you know it’s a far cry from both.

Is that done on purpose? Absolutely! It’s not like the creators were trying to make a relatable, realistic drama and accidentally popped out something way over-the-top. Its soap opera style is a creative choice, and I applaud the creators for making the bold decisions they did, especially considering how many people initially complained that Penthouse was copying SKY Castle. (It’s not, by the way. In fact, when it first aired I wrote a post defending it, insisting it’s its own drama and expressing hope that it would soon come out from under the shadow of SKY Castle one day…little did I know how soon that day would come.)

No, the creators made it how it is on purpose and it was (and is) extremely popular. But as satisfying as it might be to crash your ex’s wedding in a helicopter with their childhood nemesis…Penthouse simply is not my cup of tea.

Tempted (The Great Seducer)

I wanted to like Tempted so badly, and was especially looking forward to this iconic trio:

But I could not get into it. In fact, the only reason I dragged myself through Tempted (this was one I actually did finish) was to see if the only storyline I truly cared about — Soo Ji (Moon Ga Young) and Se Joo (Kim Min Jae) — was satisfactorily wrapped up. (It wasn’t. Leastways, not to my liking.)

The main reason I didn’t like this drama is because I didn’t like any of the characters. This includes Joy‘s character, who was definitely supposed to be likable. It turns out, there’s only so much I can take watching entitled, filthy-rich snobs playing around with other peoples’ lives.

(Which would be the perfect segue into Heirs, had I been able to make it past Blonde Surfer Dude in the first episode or two — sorry, man. As such, I haven’t seen enough of the drama to feel like it’s fair to include it on this list.)

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

This drama truly irritated me. In fact, it’s difficult to pinpoint one solitary thing I disliked because I really couldn’t stand it as a whole. I didn’t find the story interesting and didn’t find the characters interesting enough to make up for the lack of engaging story. It came across as a bunch of angst with little substance. The male lead was cold and insulting to the female lead, who was whiney and clingy. I quickly tired of her waiting around for him at his apartment only to be disappointed when he (surprise, surprise) didn’t show up again or was sitting inside pouting with the doors locked. (Yes, I know he has a whole history that explains his behavior, but that didn’t make him more palpable as a character.) For the progressive-prone era we live in, I felt like this was such a step backwards for drama characters.

I can’t help but wonder if so many people were taken with The Smile Has Left Your Eyes because it showed more of the leads’ physical relationship than most K-dramas. There, I said it.

Who knows? Maybe I should have given it more of a shot. Maybe now that I’m older, I’d watch it with a fresh perspective. But I truly don’t care enough about it to even give it a second shot — and goodness knows it doesn’t need me to…The Smile Has Left Your Eyes has a ton of fans who loved it.


Which leads me to my next point: if you’re a fan of any of these dramas, good for you! I mean that sincerely. My intention is not to slam these dramas and insult viewers. I simply thought others might find my unpopular opinions interesting, especially since these were widely very well-received dramas.

Ultimately, I hope this post promotes constructive discussion rather than arguments. Whether you agree or disagree, I’d love to hear your opinions on this post!

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As always, thank you for reading — and happy drama-watching!

9 Signs You’re Truly Addicted To K-Dramas

One great thing about finding yourself in between drama reviews is that you’ll probably end up sifting through old drafts, which is where I found this little number. After some tweaking here and there, I present you with a list of some personal K-drama-watching experiences that hopefully a few of you can relate to.

And remember, this is just for funsies.

Okay, let’s go: You know you’re a K-drama addict when…

…you understand the significance of bangs placement.

While bangs down often denote innocence/youth/good, bangs worn up with the forehead exposed usually indicate the presence of villainy and/or that a significant period of time has passed by in that character’s life.

Iconic example: Oh Se Ho (Kwak Dong Yeon) in My Strange Hero.

teenage Se Ho
present-day Se Ho

…you accept glasses as a perfectly suitable form of disguise.

I mean, it worked for Clark Kent, so why not?

Iconic example: Ki Moo Hyeok (Yoon Kyun Sang) in Mr. Temporary.

…you find that your speed-reading ability has become rather remarkable.

Because we aren’t just reading quickly; we also have to catch what’s going on in the scene.

(In fact, does anyone else’s eyes have to adjust when watching a movie or drama in their native language? My eyes always have to take a second to chill out because they’re so used to jumping all over the screen between reading subtitles and watching the scene.)

…you find yourself — while watching with a K-drama newb — inserting helpful bits of knowledge about the Korean language that you’ve picked up solely through exposure.

Which probably means your definitions are not exactly technical, to say the least. Explaining “hyung,” for example, usually goes something like this for me: “Hyung” isn’t his name; it means older brother. But that guy’s not his biological brother. And that’s just if you’re a male saying it — if you’re a female, it’s “oppa”. Which can also be for a boyfriend. Okay, now we need to rewind; that part was important.

…you feel out of the loop when your friends talk about actors, actresses, and tv shows from your native country.

But by golly, you can school everyone when it comes to Korean celebrities and/or variety shows.

So there.

…you have watched an episode before it was subtitled in your native tongue.

And you’ll do it again.

(Thank you, by the way, to every subber — you guys are awesome and your work is so appreciated!)

…you realize that either you or the set designer is spending (arguably) too much time at IKEA.

I’m flattered because it makes me feel as though my home is at least somewhat on par with a K-drama home. But seriously, in my latest drama, I recognized an IKEA fake plant on the main character’s balcony. So if there’s a line here, I believe I might have crossed it.

…you first discovered idol-actors through dramas, then found out they’re also K-pop idols.

In my case: D.O (EXO)…

Joy (Red Velvet)…

Hyeri (Girl’s Day)…

Jung Eun Ji (Apink)…

and Kim Myung Soo (formerly of INFINITE), to name only a few.

…you have a prompt answer for anyone wondering what the time difference is between where you live and South Korea.

But you try to answer casually as though you’re not constantly calculating the time difference so that you know when your drama’s next episode airs.

That’s it for now — thank you for reading!

Which do you most relate to? Anything not on this list that you think should be? Feel free to comment your thoughts below and join in the conversation!