A while ago, my sister started watching Asian dramas. And though she mentioned it briefly, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it until I was disappointed with Netflix's options for new movies out this Christmas. (Christmas With A View being a major exception to that disappointment, but after I had watched it five times I was ready for something else.)
That's when I suddenly remembered my sister mentioning that she had watched an Asian drama. I made the obvious choice, and looked through Netflix for Asian dramas. I couldn't remember the name of the one my sister had started with, so I chose a cheesy looking one with the promising title, "Boys Over Flowers". Right?!
But it was too much for me. I wasn't ready for that level yet. So I pulled back and spent some more time looking around, reading plot synopsis, and I magically fell into Meteor Garden. Which, coincidentally, miraculously, life is amazing, happened to be the first Asian drama my sister had watched all those months previous.
Then my life was never the same again. Ha ha, was that too dramatic?
My sister and I have always chatted frequently, through phone, email, FaceTime, texts, but suddenly it was like this whole new dimension was opened up in front of us and it has been so much fun falling down this rabbit hole with my sister. I kid you not, her texts make me laugh so hard all day long that I take screenshots of my favorite ones to reread later. This is true. I am going to write about it here, to keep a record in one place of this period in my life, that I can look back on and hopefully have it still bring me some laughs even down that long road into the future. So yes, this post is mainly for me. Feel free to read on though, if you are a fellow Asian drama addict, or if you just want to see for yourselves how deep this rabbit hole really goes.
We have our own set of code words and hashtags that we have started using. It's becoming its own language for us that probably even a lot of other drama watchers may not fully understand. I present to you, for an example,
Murfreesboro is murder. And ghosting is a show that ends without an ending. And so we do our thing like this, talking and laughing and making up words.
Some of our most used hashtags include: #ourboys and #insodeep Those are pretty self explanatory.
We also have hashtags that we use for our favorite actors/characters. We have a spreadsheet where we keep track of which shows we have watched, who the actors/actresses were, and some brief reactions/reviews of the show. Thus, while I do have a list of favorite female leads, we heavily focus our attention on the male leads and sometimes seconds and sometimes there are seconds that will always be main leads in my heart #huazelei #sorrydidi.
So, Hauze Lei (played by actor Darren Cheng/Guan Hong) is commonly #beautifulboy #smile #perfection
Jiang Chen (played by actor Hu Yitian) is #cheekbones and #hands (he has the most beautiful hands I think I have ever seen.)
Lu Tian Xing or any of his other characters (I have seen three dramas with him as main lead now, played by actor Aaron Yan) is #jawline or sometimes #thatjawlinethough when I'm really into it and
Xiao Nai (as played by Yang Yang) who is #smoothlikebutter
Li Zheng (as played by Prince Chiu) is AI, for artificial intelligence, or #littlefiance
Wang Jin Li (as played by Riley Wang) is #dimples
Two of my top two favorite lines so far in all of Asian drama: "Why do you always forget that I love you?"
and "Who said that you could give up on me?"
And now, I am literally just going to type up some of my favorite moments from our conversations going back the past few months as we discuss our shows and I will do my best to leave out any spoilers by removing names and specifics about certain incidents that may be frustrating to anyone who wants to watch the show in the future. Here we go!
Mimi: "haha, almost everything is more lighthearted than PM. Possibly, I need therapy after watching that."
Amy: "yeah, so it's all building quickly now. to the final SHOWDOWN. Wait, oops. I am not saying ANYTHING. I am not good at this game. So bye. Love you so much."
Mimi: "Ha, love you too."
Amy: "I am going to turn on my Chinese OST playlist and "ignore" you now. Unless you switch to FILWM. But I have to be super careful there too, the writers in that show...!"
Mimi: "Wait, am I about to waste my time finishing this?"
Amy: "Ha! It's a terrifying feeling because you know you have legit been burned before."
Amy: "Ha! And I would still even argue that MG was a ghosting. (I will die a thousand deaths on that hill if I have to)
Mimi: "Such an emotional investment we deposited into MG!"
Amy: "Don't you just love Elsa? I couldn't handle it. I want to have a sleepover and just hang with her and Angelina."
Amy, later: "And what is episode 17?! What is that even? I was actually growling at my screen! 16 was so good and then 17 was written by what, toddlers? Grumpy ones who hadn't had naps and were constipatrd?"
Mimi: "In my head your typo for constipated rhymes with hatred, and I love it. Constipatred."
Mimi: "The writers haven't quite earned our trust. We've been burned before. Ha! I will say though that RM is now up there with Love 020 (spoilers).
Amy: "And actually, ALSB didn't really betray us, it was so realistic in the way (spoilers). Ah, now my emotions are emoting! It really was a love so beautiful! So, so beautiful. Jiang Chen!!!! One of my favorite moments in all of drama land is when he grabs her hands and brings them to his forehead and apologizes. His hands are perfect. I could live in the happiness of the last two or three episodes of ALSB forever."
Mimi: "You're absolutely right about his hands. When he grabbed her hands to apologize! And when he played with her hands while cuddling on the couch. Ahhhh! That scene where he and Wu Bosong are both there (spoiler) and it's like the most gorgeous car commercial you have ever seen!"
Amy: "You know who else wins for best hands is Zhu Linlu."
Mimi: "Zhu Linluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!"
Mimi, later: "And his clicking!"
Amy: "Zhu Linlu, best second ever. (Because Hauze Lei will never be a second in my heart.)
Mimi: "Huan Huan is a mess."
Amy: "Oh girl. I love Huan Huan but she... struggles."
Mimi: "Well, she's no Angelina, that's for sure."
Amy: "Ha. No. Angelina is a very special one. That girl slays all day."
Mimi: "And I really thought she was going to be a terrible Huan Huan at first. Or like the terrible one in Here to Heart"
Amy: "You thought Angelina was going to be like Huan Huan? No, so far Huan Huan is her very own kind of special, too. I mean, from other shows I have seen so far, none compare to Huan Huan in her own way of specialness."
Amy, later:"Yeah, some female seconds are real bad news."
Mimi: "I look forward to discovering her specialness."
Amy: "Ha. Yes. Remember I told you this show seems light and fluffy but it will drop you off a couple cliffs before the end."
Mimi: "emojis for a mountain, a skull, and a broken heart."
Amy: "Nailed it."
Commenter on rakuten VIKI: "Li Zheng thinking: girl, you can't get rid of me that easily. I still have decisions to (NOT) make about us."
Mimi: "AI's heart is a vault inside of a prison inside of a shark cage."
Mimi: "Ohhhh the hurt. It always comes."
Amy: "I am actually scared. This one did really hurt me. And it's coming closer now."
Mimi: "EXCEPT in a few shows which are gentle. Like Love 020"
Amy: "Yeah, love 020 really is so refreshing. It's like a cleanse. An emotional cleanse."
Amy: "Wait - HE IS BRAGGING ABOUT HIMSELF!!! Dimples!"
Amy, later: "I haven't finished analyzing my one million and eight talents. Did she see it, or not?"
Amy, later: "Ah! and then the cutest 'yes!' of all time! AND ANOTHER LIP BITE!!!!!"
Mimi: "yeah, is he seriously typing about himself? ok, let's go rewatch that lip bite five or six times."
Amy: "for sure."
Mimi: "he has no one other than her. one sided crushes are terrible."
Amy: "But Little fiancé AI doesn't know what do to, does he? He hates making her cry, so he tries to cheer her up, but that makes her love him more, so he is kind of in an impossible situation."
Mimi: "so, is another poop moment going to happen? I need some levity"
Amy: " quoting the show, 'at what point are you going to be embarrassed enough to give up?' Oh girl, we have all felt that way!"
Mimi: "but seriously, being in a relationship with her and then having it fail would be a huge risk for him, because he would lose his girlfriend and his family."
Amy: "True. But then STOP BEING SO BOYFRIENDY in your actions! haha! I mean, he's almost going to lose her this way too, because it hurts her so much."
Mimi: "Poor guy. Your face does the flirting for you, boy. No effort required."
Amy: "He is really working hard to not send mixed messages. But you know those DIMPLES can't help themselves!"
Amy: "Again with those smooth moves!"
Mimi: "Aww! The slide from hand to wrist!"
Amy: "Her face! Poor girl! She's like, wait... what zone am I in now, AI?"
Mimi: "Tell me what box you've put me in now, boy!"
Mimi: "PM and HTH both surprised me."
Amy: 'Oh, did HTH have something? I have to admit, there were times when I would just fast forward until it looked interesting again. It just moved tooo slow and had tooo many episodes. (Gritting teeth emoji). #thetruthisout
Mimi: "hahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahah! Oh my gosh! I watched every second of every looooooooooooong sigh. SEVEN YEARS WORTH."
Amy: "hashtag, you are in deeper than me."
Mimi: "haha! Umm, you're like, learning Chinese now? Who's deeper?"
Amy: "It probably did feel like an actual seven years of your life!"
Mimi: "that show AGED me."
Mimi: "BUT THOSE WORDS! (frozen teeth gritting emoji)
Amy: "But then he kills her with his words! Why does he talk at all, actually?!"
Mimi: "BUT HIS MOVES!" (heart eye emoji)
Mimi: "But I don't think he means to be cruel. He's so clueless."
Amy: "Did I tell you one Rakuten VIKI commenter said, "he has now put her into every zone: little brother (ouch), little sister, friend, best friend, only family..."
Mimi: "ALL THE ZONES."
Amy: "except girlfriend."
Amy: "in the scene where he is carrying her back from seeing the dr, they walk past a pole that for some reason is painted in yellow and grey stripes that exactly match her shirt. The comments on VIKI!"
COMMENTERS: "Who wore it better, her or the pole?" "Couple matching! New ship: her and the pole!" "Nah - the new ship is her and the toilet. Get with the program, guys."
Mimi: "Woke myself up because of all my coughing, so I am watching all these youtube videos now that you sent earlier. Yang Yang was sent to a military arts boarding school at a young age? Military art?! There is such a combination?!"
Amy: "I know! Yes! At first I was like, oh interesting, he went to a military boarding school from when he was young, but then I realized as he kept talking that it was for DANCING!"
Mimi: "Is that where these boys LEARN THE ULTIMATE GAZE?"
Amy: "Hahahaha, of course it is!"
Mimi: "That look of love and yearning is a MILITARY GRADE SKILL?"
Amy: "Well that's an advanced course, though. How to disarm females: an intensive course."
Mimi: "I love your usage of disarm, I see what you did there."
Amy: "I think... all of #ourboys have fantastic cute smiles. There's something in the water in Asia?"
Amy: "Darren Chen?! Yang Yang?!"
Mimi: "Yang Yang, seriously. He dances and sings and acts. He probably also plays the piano."
Amy: "Oh, he has to."
Mimi: "I mean, what else would the military teach you?"
Mimi: "I really can't get over how little they touch. They're holding hands and sitting so. far. apart. Like come on, cuddle or make out or something already."
Amy: "Haha! right?! My boy needs more kisses. MORE JAWLINE, please!"
Mimi: "This show is blessing us with so many episodes of the main couple being actually secure together, but only like what, three kisses?"
Amy: (discussing a youtube video because that's what we watch when we need MORE than we get from just our dramas themselves... #insodeep) "This one is the perfect thing when you just need the Asian drama feels. It hits you with EVERY SINGLE ONE in a bite size portion."
Mimi: "it's all the best moments of one of the best shows. If I could, I would personally meet the YouTuber who compiled it and thank him or her with expensive chocolates and deep bows."
Amy: "Yeah, I just had almost a panic attack from loving it too much."
Mimi: "One of my favorite and most gut wrenching moments? When (spoilers!) THAT MOMENT evokes very strong feelings."
Amy: "AHHHHHH especially ESPECIALLY when you find out from his flashback that what he had just (spoilers!) - My heart, I can't."
Mimi: "yessss! So many feelings!"
Amy: "I just exploded. I will respond when my body knits itself back together."
Mimi: "Eek, sorry sis!"
Amy: "Meh, I did it to myself first watching it. And then I watched it again. And now I am watching a video of a Yang Yang promotional video shoot for love 020. So I have issues."
Mimi: "As long as it isn't Elsa I can handle anything. I think."
Amy: "Haha, 'I think' because these writers hate us in so many creative ways we are a bit paranoid now. #prettyman #huanhuan #nevercrossthestreet"
Mimi: "CLASSIEST LADY EVER! ELSA IS HUAZE LEI."
Some of my other favorite comments from Rakuten VIKI users:
"QQ standing there looking like a SNACK."
(main female character turns an icy gaze on a coworker who is bad mouthing her boyfriend, commenter is advising the coworker:) "Ooh girl, grab your life!"
"The 'we want our own Yibai club' will be meeting weekly. Ladies, sign up now."
"Bridge mode: activated"
"Little fiancé has 0% chill 0% of the time."
"Come on guys, you threaten to kill a guy on a bridge ONE TIME and no one ever lets you forget it."
"Dimples was just amazing. Commenter said, "the perfect guy doesn't exist... oh wait."
"oh, boy brought his own SPOON to stir this pot!"
Also, I want every single outfit that Hauze Lei wears. It's not weird.