Modern Women & Men in Romantic Drama Cliches

Asian dramas are full of cliches. To a real fan that does not matter or even make a difference. Who does not love the classic piggyback scene? Who does not like it when the male lead is the knight in shining armour? Who does not like when a male character is caring and supportive?

But when you carefully think about it, all cliches center around the old fashioned role model of the strong man who takes care of the weak woman. From a modern point of view, this is unfair towards men in the first place. They can never feel free, cannot allow themselves to lose control, or let out their emotions, and they always have to be strong. Every human being wants someone to rely on no matter if they are male or female. Here are some drama examples in which women and men break this stereotype.

CAUTION: Situative Spoilers for Jao Sao Jum Yorn, Beautiful Gong Shim, Star of the Universe, The Princess Wei Young, Legend of Fu Yao, King2Hearts and the Crown Princess ahead! 

Giving a Bike Ride (Jao Sao Jum Yorm)

Known from hundreds of high school dramas: The boy giving a bike ride to the girl. The girl is holding tight and smiles shyly or spread her arms and is joyful. For both parties, it is a nice way to get close to each other without crossing borders. Of course, it serves as the old fashioned symbol of the strong man who enables the girl to reach the places she wants to go.

In Jao Jum Yorn, a little accident occurs so that the male lead Kadethaen’s bike breaks down. The female lead tells him to jump on the back of her bike, so she can bring him home to treat his scratches. He smiles and lackadaisically objects that he is really heavy. However, the female lead Maysarin insists totally self-evidently that this is her bike, he is wounded, and she will drive. He sits in the back spreading his arms wide and obviously has fun as well.

Piggyback the Drunken (Beautiful Gong Shim)

One of the most popular drama cliches is the piggyback scene. A girl drinks too much alcohol because she is sad or upset and the guy comes to pick her up and carry her home. Of course, it serves as the old-fashioned symbol of the strong man who protects the woman who is too inept to take care of herself.

It’s refreshing to see this particular scene the other way around as well. When the male lead of Beautiful Gong Shim drinks too much because he just wants to drown his sorrow in alcohol, Gong Shim finds him. She tries to talk to him and help him to get home but when she realizes he is just too drunk to do anything she gives him a piggyback ride home.

Tying Shoelaces (Star of the Universe)

In many dramas, there is the scene when the guy kneels down in front of the girl to tie her shoelaces. Of course, this, too, serves as the old-fashioned symbol of the strong man who protects the woman who is too clumsy to take care of herself.

In Star of the Universe, the female doctor falls in love with a fireman. He tells her that he cannot be with her even if she is a great woman. After time passes by she understands his reasons. She tells him that she respects his answer. With tears in her eyes, she kneels down to fix his open shoelaces and begs him to stay safe.

Feeding the Ill (The Princess Wei Young)

In many action or adventure dramas, there will be the scene when a female character is sick, injured or ill and the male character will feed her. Of course, it serves the old-fashioned symbol of the strong man who takes care of the woman who is too weak to take care of herself.

When Li Minde is injured and poisoned, the crown princess who dearly loves him takes care of him. She protects him, listens to him and feeds him. Here it is especially nice to see that he could do it by himself (as every woman that gets fed in dramas) but he lets the princess take care of him because she wants to stay by his side. 

Surprise Kiss! (Legend of Fu Yao)

A never dying cliché is the surprising kiss scene. The male character grabs the girl and kisses her. Startled, she opens her eyes wide, while the guy closes his eyes to express deep emotions during the kiss. Of course, it serves as the old-fashioned symbol of the strong man who takes the first step towards the shy woman who naturally has no physical interest towards him.

Wu Ji is obviously startled when Fu Yao at first angrily pushes him away and calls him a liar, but only two seconds later grabs him to kiss him wholeheartedly. It is so freshening that his reaction is not just cool and controlled. His face expresses that he really is surprised before he starts to kiss her back.

Lean On Your Partner (King2Hearts)

It would not be an Asian drama without drama! Usually, there will be a scene in which the female lead cries her heart out in the arms of the male lead who comforts her. Of course, it serves as the old-fashioned symbol of the strong man who takes care of the woman who is too weak to take care of herself.

When Hang Ah realize how much her husband is hurt and that he loses hope bit by bit, she tells him to lay down and rest. She is calm and confident, strokes his hair and comforts him. Later on, Jae Ha expresses how much of a support is his wife to him.

Honorable Mention: Teaching (The Crown Princess)

It is not a really a romance cliche but still, one of the things that happen very often in dramaland. No matter in which drama, if a female lead learns anything martial arts related, she gets taught by a man. She usually adores this man, and later on, falls in love with him. Of course, it serves as the old-fashioned symbol of the strong man who teaches the woman who cannot protect or fight for herself.

In The Crown Princess, both lead characters are skilled fighters and agents. What’s interesting is that besides their common skills, they both have specialities. Lieutenant Commander Davin teaches Princess Alice knife fighting, while she is teaching him archery. Both are willing to learn, respect and trust each other.

What do you think about this topic?

Do you like drama cliches with a modern interpretation as well?

Do you know any other examples?

the princess wei young
legend of fu yao
jao sao jum yorn
beatiful gong shim
star of the universe
crown princess

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