K-drama fans are starting to hate this popular storyline trope

Gabriela Silva
Cha Eun-woo for A Good Day to Be a Dog and Song Kang for My Demon.

Unlike American TV, K-dramas stick to a certain number of storyline tropes that are well-recognized and often expected – but one trope is getting on fans’ nerves for its overuse.

No matter the genre of K-drama, tropes become a key part of any storyline. It often drives the characters in their journey or fleshes out the overall concept. Classics like What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim embodied the boss-employee romance but also catered to the childhood trauma trope. Not to mention the main characters knew each other as children.

These tropes are part of what made K-dramas so popular among fans. Set guidelines that are well executed among multiple genres that add necessary drama. There are a plethora of tropes that die-hard fans can easily spot a mile away. Without fail, every K-drama at some point in its run will have a secret unveiled that will test the characters or a dark twist that changes everything.

With the recent list of K-dramas like My Demon, The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract, and more, fans are realizing the overuse of one trope that’s becoming oversaturated instead of realistic.

Is the historical fated-lovers trope over in K-dramas

Fated lovers is one of the most classic K-drama tropes known among fans. It can appear in a few ways from the main couple having known each other as children but forgot or drifted apart. Or their families somehow knowing each other.

As of late, the most popular has been the historical based fated-lovers. This means the couple are reincarnations of their past selves. In more cases than not, the present-day characters either have no recollection of their past love story. Sometimes one of them is a supernatural entity who has lived thousands of years looking for their fated love.

A big part of this trope also encompasses the two characters having had a tragic past. It either changed their love story for the worst or fated them in present day. While popular, it seems that more than a handful of recent 2023 K-dramas have all taken advantage of the trope.

“I need kdrama writers to stop inserting the ‘they knew each other in their past lives’ trope like it’s so boring and predictable anyways. You can make an exciting love story with people meeting just ONCE trust me..Give us conflicts give us selfish characters give us WELL WRITTEN,” said a fan on X/Twitter.

Another fan agreed saying, “noticed this too. the characters’ backstory always has connections in each other’s past..it is becoming a cliche.”

“Same. Im also fedup of their joseon era etc. Kdramas in the previous years were too good. These days the story is only that the lover has killed his/her love in the past life,” said another.

Fans agreed that it’s all in connection to a series of recently released K-dramas. My Demon Episode 12 revealed that the demon Gu-won was once in love with a young woman when he was human in the Joseon era. The woman happens to be the present-day Do-hee. To stick to the trope, they also had a tragic love story.

The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract focuses on a recently married woman in the past whose husband died from an illness he kept secret. She’s transported to the modern-day where she meets a reincarnated version of her dead husband.

It’s a Good Day to Be a Dog stunned fans when the storyline also unfolded to be a historical fated-love story. The story reveals the female leads’ curse was due to their past version’s actions for the sake of their love. In return, it angered a mountain god. Some fans claim it’s simply the latest trend of the season. Not to mention a majority of K-dramas are based on written webtoons.

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