Updated: Jun 2
"Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend." - William Feathers
The same can definitely be said about watching the finale of a k-drama, especially the really good ones that have you so attached to well-fleshed-out characters. We've all been there, and we all know that bittersweet sensation of feeling happy and satisfied and yet lost and sad at the same time! In this edition of GwenchaNoona Says, we each share how we've learned to cope with the ending of a beloved drama, in the hopes you'll find a tip or two that suits your k-drama recovery style!
When a really good drama ends, I head to my journal and write down all the elements that resonated with me. Then I play (and replay) the soundtrack for days on end. I did this when My Ahjussi (2018) and The World of the Married (2020) ended.
Next, I look for friends who have watched the drama so we can process it together, usually by video call (seriously!). We pick everything apart: the characterizations, their motivations, the writing, the dialogue… you’d think it was a literary class! These “post-drama” sessions with fellow fans are so personally important to me because I find that they educate my taste, make me aware of my blind spots, and help recalibrate my standards for future shows.
When the k-drama withdrawal symptoms kick in, I watch the behind-the-scenes footage for an extended view of the interactions of the actors behind the characters.
I also check out the previous works of my favorite actors in the k-drama. When these fail—I’m looking at you, Reply 1988 (2015)—I simply lie down, curl up and cry. I’m glad I now have the GwenchaNoonas to share my thoughts and emotions with during and after watching.
After a k-drama I love ends, I typically start to deny reality by re-watching that k-drama all over again!
This was the case for both Extraordinary You (2019) and Mystic Pop-Up Bar (2020). Now, for those that I like… I usually recover by watching k-variety shows, especially if the ending was frustrating (looking at you, Start-Up producers and writers!). But really, watching k-variety shows is a good way to recover from k-drama withdrawal. I usually pick upbeat k-variety shows such as 2 Days 1 Night or Top Star Fun-staurant! Recently, I’ve been into a k-variety show called Youn’s Stay.
I usually give myself at least a one-day breather to start a new drama after finishing one. If I really liked the drama, I tend to binge on online content about it, like read reviews on blogs and forums, and start following the lead stars on Instagram.
For the occasional drama that I really, really love so much that I can't let go so easily, I rewatch the whole series (like what I'm in the middle of doing now for Jealousy Incarnate/Don't Dare to Dream - my latest obsession!). I also write reviews which I post on my personal SNS accounts and try to encourage my k-drama loving friends to watch it as well.
After a really good drama ends, I look for someone else to talk about it with so I can debrief myself, usually one of the other noonas. Then, I will go into the wormhole of behind-the-scenes clips and other trivia. Finally, I look for another Asian drama to watch just so I can manage my expectations before diving into another k-drama. With Hospital Playlist, I had the soundtrack on repeat for several weeks!