K-Dramas Unrealistic Expectations

While K-dramas such as Squid Game and The Penthouse touch on genres like revenge and thriller, K-dramas are also the reasons behind many unrealistic expectations of romantic relationships. 

From the cold-blooded, rich CEO to the caring boy-next-door characters, here are 15 times when K-drama characters made us viewers can’t help but to raise our standards for romantic relationships. 

1. The King: Eternal Monarch (2020)

K-Dramas Unrealistic ExpectationsSource

Look no further if you’re searching for that classic Prince Charming who rides a white horse, as Lee Min Ho fulfils all those criteria in this drama. Acting as Lee Gon, king of the Kingdom of Corea, he falls in love with Kim Go Eun as Jeong Tae Eul, a detective. 

Apart from the fantasy elements like transporting between parallel universes, Lee Min Ho’s unfaltering love for Kim Go Eun makes us expect that there is someone out there with such dedicated love. He is there whenever she falls into danger and while his timely rescues are romantic, they almost seem too good to be true. 

2. My Roommate Is A Gumiho (2021)

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Unless you are living in an alternate universe where gumiho aka nine-tailed fox in Korean exists, it is impossible to meet someone who has magical powers, handsome, and sweet at the same time. 

Acted by Jang Ki Yong, Shin Yeo Woo is a loaded gumiho who owns a spacious bungalow. As for Hye Ri, she plays Lee Dam, a bubbly university student who accidentally swallowed his fox bead. Both characters end up living under the same roof, and the cute interactions and hilarious incidents had us fantasising about living with our bae just like them.  

However, not to be a party pooper but these days, BTO flats come in much smaller sizes. Bid goodbye to romantic moments like a flirty chase scene in the house, and hello to excruciating pain in your toe when you stub it against the leg of your bed instead. 

3. Crash Landing On You (2019) 


Instead of succumbing to the danger of a tornado during a paragliding session, Son Ye Jin as Yoon Se Ri lands literally on Hyun Bin as Ri Jeong Hyeok in North Korea. The two, of course, later fall in love despite not knowing what the future holds for them. 

This surely made many dream of having a dramatic encounter with their future partner and embarking on a passionate love journey themselves. Although such scenarios do happen IRL sometimes, it is best to lower our expectations to avoid disappointment.   

4. True Beauty (2020) 


It is not everyday when you have two boys chasing after you, more so if they are the two most popular and handsome students in your school. In True Beauty, both Cha Eun Woo as Lee Su Ho and Hwang In Hyeop as Han Seo Jun fall for Moon Ga Young as Im Ju Kyung. 

In this scene, the two boys try to stop the other from “stealing” Moon Ga Young away by tugging her arms. The hilarious situation took place in between the doors of the lift, which even closed on her on numerous occasions. 

As a result, all of them end up trapped in the lift, and to add to the dramatics of it all, Moon Ga Young begins to experience stomach pains. Perhaps because of how comedic the scene was, it would be hard to imagine ourselves in such a situation. 

5. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? (2018)

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In What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?, you can expect the usual good looking and rich CEO, Lee Young Jun, acted by Park Seo Joon. But that’s not the most far-fetched part of the story. In order to win the heart of Park Min Young as Kim Mi So, he literally rents the entire theme park and even prepares fireworks just for her. 

Not to mention, he also scheduled fine dining at a restaurant with only the two of them, going the extra mile to make the event private. His wooing tactics definitely raise the bar for an unforgettable date and TBH, every girl would want to be treated like a princess too. 

But once again, reality sinks in as not everyone can afford to pamper their other half like this. At the same time, such lavish displays shouldn’t be expected as everyone has different financial freedom and their own way of expressing love. 

6. She Would Never Know (2021)

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Office romance is something most people prefer to avoid as things can go south, especially when the relationship turns sour. With that said, you also wouldn’t normally find your subordinate hitting on you like how Ro Woon as Chae Hyun Seung did to Won Jin Ah as Yoon Song A in the drama She Would Never Know. 

Although Won Jin Ah’s original plan was to have Ro Woon act as her new boyfriend to get her ex back, she finds herself falling for his continual wooing and pursuit. The two eventually become a couple, suggesting that not all office romances result in a bad ending. 

While it can be true to a certain extent, factors like the ability to separate emotions from work can be a dealbreaker for some relationships after all. 

7. Descendants Of The Sun (2016)


Descendants Of The Sun is no doubt a drama that raises the expectations for romantic relationships. Song Joong Ki plays Yoo Si Jin, the leader of an elite special force team who falls in love at first sight with Song Hye Kyo as Kang Mo Yeon, a doctor. 

On top of his suave and capable character, Song Joong Ki is also sweet when it comes to winning the heart of the lady. His playful gestures yet mature personality eventually won over Song Hye Kyo and more importantly, caused viewers to swoon over him too. 

Setting aside the sweet moments, the perilous nature of Song Joong Ki’s job puts Song Hye Kyo in danger ‒ though he manages to save her every time. Yes, while it might be romantic to fall in love overseas, the question remains if you are willing to risk your life for a taste of those adrenaline-inducing passionate moments. 

8. Goblin (2016) 


Fate is a tricky subject when it comes to relationships. If you believe someone out there is destined for you, Goblin is the drama that touches on how your life intertwines with others in the past and present. 

As the immortal Goblin, Gong Yoo finds himself falling in love with Kim Go Eun as Ji Eun Tak, a senior in high school. The age gap might be a turn-off for some but, Gong Yoo’s charming gestures and burning love for Kim Go Eun are not something you can brush away easily. 

The drama highlights the beauty of someone who found joy and the reason to live through another person. Yet, it also gives us a dreamy idea that your future partner will always be there protecting and providing for you without a change of heart. 

Also read:

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9. Princess Hours (2006)

K-Dramas Unrealistic ExpectationsSource

Princess Hours is one of the OG K-dramas that any K-drama lovers would instantly remember. It talks about the arranged marriage between the arrogant royal prince, Lee Shin, and the amiable “commoner”, Shin Chae Kyung. Though forced to get married, the two eventually fall in love through a series of misunderstandings that bring both tears and laughter to the viewers. 

For instance, Lee Shin comes to the rescue of Shin Chae Kyung every time she is in trouble or danger. Despite his initial cold personality, he warmed up to her and eventually, even took her side when everyone was against her.  

If only we could find a knight in shining armour who would take our side in every fight or argument.

10. My Love From The Star (2013)

K-Dramas Unrealistic ExpectationsSource

For centuries, the image of aliens revolves around them being oddly shaped and in strange skin colours. But if they were to resemble anything like Kim Soo Hyun as Do Min Joon in this drama, chances are many would already have fallen in love with them ‒ like how Jeon Ji Hyun as Cheon Song Yi did. 

It is hard to resist Kim Soo Hyun’s charms as he is knowledgeable, handsome, and comes to your rescue every time there is danger. Plus, he has a mind-blowing power of freezing time like this scene when he kisses Jeon Ji Hyun deeply on the lips. 

Though they are two different people or in this case, species, their love story makes it seem as if the difference in backgrounds between a couple can be resolved easily. However, those who’ve been through such relationships would agree that it takes lots of effort and understanding to work out such conflicts. 

11. Something In The Rain (2018)


Couples with a large age gap is no longer uncommon but the couple in Something In The Rain makes us yearn for a heart-fluttering noona romance. Known as an elder sister in Korean, noona is a term commonly heard in the drama by Jung Hae In as Seo Jun Hee addressing Son Ye Jin as Yoon Jin Ah. 

Though younger by almost 10 years, Jung Hae In’s maturity in the relationship is worth a mention. Not only is he considerate about Son Ye Jin in many aspects, but he is also willing to risk and sacrifice for her. He tries to protect her from getting hurt even if he has to lie. 

Taking a step back, there are many challenges in a relationship when the maturity level of the couple does not match because of the age differences. While Jung Hae In puts in the effort to resolve them, it becomes questionable how far it would last before he hits his limit. 

12. Extraordinary You (2019)

K-Dramas Unrealistic ExpectationsSource

Those who attended co-ed schools before would know that girls and boys avoid each other like the plague, especially if you want to avoid groundless dating rumours. However, in Extraordinary You, the romance between Kim Hye Yoon as Eun Dan Oh and Ro Woon as Haru makes viewers dream about such sweet dating experiences in their schooling days. 

While student couples tend to date in school, lots of heart-fluttering incidents could be expected, just like when Ro Woon spins Kim Hye Yoon around with a tug of her backpack. Not only did he cause her heart to beat faster, but it also made us expect such simple romantic surprises from our own bae too. Realistic or not, that’s for you to decide.  

13. Secret Garden (2010)


Secret Garden reminds us of a typical K-drama about the rich and poor ‒ Hyun Bin plays the male lead who is a cocky but good looking CEO and Ha Ji Won is a struggling but hardworking stunt woman. Many viewers surely went “aww” when they fell in love, but there are also cringey scenes that disregarded reality. 

For example, Hyun Bin kisses Ha Ji Won on the lips to “wipe” off the creamer. For some, it could be romantic, but at the same time, it makes us question if such things even happen in reality. Don’t get your hopes high in front of your partner when you “accidentally” form a milk moustache with your beverage. 

14. Angel’s Last Mission: Love (2019)


Sometimes sacrifice is unavoidable in relationships and in this drama, viewers’ hearts ached when they learnt how Shin Hye Sun as Lee Yeon Seo died for Kim Myung Soo as Kim Dan. In a way, Shin Hye Sun decided to “give” her life to Kim Myung Soo so that he could complete his mission as an angel. 

The purity and innocence of their relationships fit well with the sacrificial love theme that the drama was going for. Perhaps it is something that many desire, and also the reason behind the popularity of this drama. In reality, the dating culture for singles is no longer that simple and straightforward, and it’s much harder to find actual true love IRL.   

15. W (2016)

K-Dramas Unrealistic ExpectationsSource

Han Hyo Joo as Oh Yeon Soo in W caused many anime and manga fanatics to be jealous, as she did the impossible by dating a handsome and rich comic character that came to life ‒ Lee Jong Suk as Kang Cheol. 

The two embark on a fantasy romance that switches between the real and comic worlds, but the twist happens when Lee Jong Suk loses his memories about Han Hyo Joo halfway in the series. Of course, he recovers them later in the story, but it felt extra suspicious how everything just fell into place.  

The drama plants the idea of meeting your other half in a fateful encounter and the swoon-worthy moments by Lee Jong Suk definitely does not help in lowering our expectations in a relationship. 

K-Dramas Are Best Meant For Casual Viewing To Avoid Disappointment In Relationships

Dramas are called dramas for a reason as not all of them reflect reality, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. To avoid disappointment on your next K-Drama binge-watch, the best any viewer can do is to lower their expectations for your other half and treasure what you already have. 

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This article was first published on 29 November 2021 and last updated on 26 April 2024. 

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