14 feel-good dramas that will cure your stressful day
This is a helpful reminder that drama-watching cures all ailments, especially the stress and energy-draining you may feel after a long day at the workplace or in the classroom. So just kick off your shoes, grab a bag of chip, climb into bed, and let these 14 dramas do their work.
1. Successful Story of a Bright Girl (2002)
If the name of the drama is any indication, Successful Story is feel-good the way you’d expect it, and that’s the charm of the tale. A kind young girl (Jang Na Ra) from the countryside becomes a maid working for a rich, handsome prick (Jang Hyuk). They totally hate each other. And then he loses all his money. She helps him gain it back. Love...hard work...the sweetness!
2. Full House (2004)
Full House is what happens when you take all the obvious but guiltily satisfying elements of a rom-com and throw them into a drama carried by Song Hye Gyo and Rain. We’ve got an arrogant superstar, a spunky girl, a marriage contract, and a couple in a love-hate relationship forced to live under one roof. Formulaic to a tee, but it works so well here — so well, in fact, that you’ll be up and singing along to the 3 Bears Song in no time.
3. My Lovely Sam Soon (2005)
Sam Soon is the quintessential Korean rom-com and a perennial favorite — and why wouldn’t it be? From its first wacky opening of our chubby, thirtysomething heroine (Kim Sun Ah) stalking her cheating boyfriend at a hotel on Christmas Day, to the moment she spits rice porridge all over our favorite jaded restaurant owner (Hyun Bin)’s dismayed face, the drama is a ball of feel-good rolled into 16 hilarious, tearjerking, sexy-cookie hours.
4. My Girl (2005)
We’ve got Lee Da Hae at her most lovable here as a multilingual grifter who ends up living with (yep) a wealthy (of course), handsome (duh), jerky (mandatory) heir to a hotel empire acting as his cousin. The pair fall in love — we wouldn’t have it any other way — and cross obstacles, shed tears, the whole works. What you need to know is that My Girl’s feel-good spirit comes from its willingness to never take itself too seriously. It’s a simple, fun-filled romp, and really, do we need anything more after a long day of work?
5. Bad Family (2006)
Bad Family — a tale of a former gangster who puts together a fake family for a young girl after she loses her entire family to a car accident — is as feel-good as it is aww-inducing, the kind of drama you want to watch when you’re feeling homesick and want a serious mood lift. In this house full of oddball fake parents, siblings and grandparents, an unlikely romance develops between her fake uncle (Kim Myung Min) and fake sister (Nam Sang Mi).
6. Coffee Prince (2007)
Years have passed, but Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) is still our favorite gender-bending tomboy. This feel-good fest is what addiction is made of: a rich, good-looking guy (Gong Yoo) who starts seriously questioning his sexuality after being attracted to his new coffee shop employee. It’s a persuasive synopsis and an even better execution. Haven’t seen it yet? Get on it! Already love it? Come back for seconds. And thirds.
7. Boys Over Flowers (2009)
We don’t know what it is about this particular story, but even after watching Taiwan’s Meteor Garden and Japan’s Hana Yori Dango, Boys Over Flowers had us hooked and reeled. The Korean version is, of course, another exercise in feel-good TV. It starts the second we glimpse Goo Jun Pyo’s (Lee Min Ho) atrocious hair and continues all the way through Jan Di’s (Gu Hye Sun) happily-ever-after ending.
8. City Hall (2009)
Of all the dramas ever done by rom-com veterans Kim Sun Ah and Cha Seung Won, this political-crack drama takes the cake as the ultimate indulgence in snappy one-liners and feel-good sequences. The hilarious romance that blossoms between a lowly city hall secretary and an ambitious politician in City Hall will have you in stitches, in tears, and in day-long smiles.
9. My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox (2010)
If you’re in the mood for the kind of feel-good that comes from a hyper but clueless heroine (Shin Min Ah) who happens to be a mythical creature and who’s latched onto a poor, unassuming boy (Lee Seung Ki), this is definitely your drama for the week (day?). Sci-fi elements aside, the comedy manages to be touching while maintaining its feel-good spirit, and above it all, our two leads work well together.
10. Pasta (2010)
This colorful comedy for foodies and romance lovers is a frolic through the culinary world. As the story unfolds between the misogynistic, quick-tempered head chef (Lee Sun Gyun) and the aspiring kitchen dishwasher (Gong Hyo Jin), we’re treated to a delicious (ha!) on-screen chemistry that’ll have you simultaneously squeeing and bouncing into your own kitchen for your sudden pasta craving.
11. You’re Beautiful (2009)
Girl who wants to be a nun (Park Shin Hye) pretends to be a boy to join a band in lieu of her brother. Said band consists of a grouchy, narcissistic rock star (Jang Geun Suk) and a tender-hearted, fedora-abusing romanticist (Jung Yong Hwa). This drama is what we lovingly call “crack,” from teddy bear maiming, to CF parodies, to what becomes a love story of the sweetest caliber. Sit tight, enjoy the music and grab a fluffy pillow to hug tight for this one.
12. Flower Boy Ramen Shop (2011)
Come for Jung Il Woo’s bad English and Lee Ki Woo’s glorious abs, but stay for the tickling cuteness of the shenanigans at the ramen shop. Lee Chung Ah flexes her rom-com chops in a big way as a teacher-in-training in search of her perfect man, while her leading man, her (super good-looking and tall and kind of sketchy) “husband,” and the flower boys of her classroom help make this drama an example of what it is to be a truly feel-good time-passer.
13. Greatest Love (2011)
What makes this flick a feel-good drama isn’t necessarily the glitz and glam (and there’s plenty of it!) but what lies at the heart of the story: a lonely adult-child (Cha Seung Won) growing up before our very eyes. Even as we take delight in Dok Go Jin’s eccentricities, we can’t help but cheer for that fragile heart of his, uncontrollably pounding away at the sight of the D-listed former idol Goo Ae Jung (Gong Hyo Jin). You’ll be sighing in satisfaction at the end of the 16-episode roller coaster ride. Feel-good, indeed.
14. Answer Me 1997 (2012)
If “feel-good drama” had its own entry in the dictionary, the entry would read, “See: Answer Me 1997,” especially for ’90s K-Pop fans who felt as though someone had bottled up nostalgia and drowned it in all the cute and sweet banana milk in the universe. This coming-of-age tale of an H.O.T. fangirl (Jung Eun Ji) and her longtime, puppy-lookalike friend Yoon Jae (Seo In Guk) comes with a feel-good guarantee.
Which dramas cure your stress? Tell us in the comments below!