7 Best and worst uses of amnesia in a K-drama
Don’t you just hate it when you are cruising along in a perfectly great K-drama and then...Wait, what was I writing about? I forget. Oh, yeah, because I just got amnesia. Because in K-drama land amnesia is as common as a Starbucks in Seattle.
If you’ve been watching Trot Lovers, the late series introduction of the dreaded A-word may have sent you pumping your fist at the television in a distinctly non-”fighting” motion, but let’s turn that forgetful frown upside down by rating, and reminiscing (since our memories work fine), on some of the best and worst uses of amnesia in K-drama.
1. Boys over Flowers
Amnesia Grade: B+
Okay, this use of amnesia is almost excusable because it gave us such a dramatic ending, but it also felt like the last in a long string of continuously bonkers plot twists, but then again, isn’t that what the B in BOF really stands for? This show includes almost every move in the K-drama playbook, so maybe not including amnesia would be the greater crime.
2. Shining Inheritance
Amnesia Grade: A-
The amnesia by the grandmother, Jang Sook Ja, is an early plot point, sets up most of the events that follow, and, while I am no doctor, at least seems fairly realistic, though also quite convenient. I give this one an A- because it is way preferable to the usual late episode Hail Mary amnesia plot twist that only serves to prolong the characters’ estrangements (see Trot Lovers below).
3. Trot Lovers
Amnesia Grade: D-
Oh ye lovers of trot, what’s worse than a case of amnesia? Selective amnesia. Seriously, if I am ever in a K-drama and I meet my soulmate I am going to wear a helmet all the time because one knock on the noggin and my memories are gone, at least up to the point where I met said true love. That is the moral of Trot Lovers. There are no other lessons to take away from this. None. Except maybe to never wear a floral running suit. Too bad we couldn’t forget that!
4. I Hear Your Voice
Amnesia Grade: B-
This amnesia plot was well-acted, but I couldn't help but feel it served only one purpose. Lee Jong Suk's character needs to go away until he isn’t in high school so that rocking that noona romance won’t be so weird. But knowing that didn’t make this case of amnesia easier to watch, and isn't that what studying abroad as a plot device is for?
5. Master’s Sun
Amnesia Grade: B
Okay, I am torn about this one. The wolf story they reference (Arashi no Yoru ni) does have amnesia in it, so it fits with the overall metaphor that the Hong sisters weave throughout, and luckily, the amnesia doesn’t last too long, so we get back to the chemistry fast. Still, it is so frustrating to finally get the characters together only to tear them apart by removing all character growth. I mean, these two had enough going against them. And the rules of this amnesia, since it was magical and not medical, seemed like they were made up after a few too many bottles of Soju by crazy ghost bride matchmaker.
6. Stairway to Heaven
Amnesia Grade: C-
We’ve covered selective amnesia and magical amnesia, but what about reverse amnesia? In Stairway to Heaven, Jung Suh’s evil step-sister hits her with a car and she gets amnesia. Then, the same sister hits her again later and she gets her memory back. This is a beautiful series, but I really don’t think that is how amnesia works.
7. Nice Guy
Amnesia Grade: D
Now we enter the rarest of amnesia cases in K-drama land, the dreaded double amnesia. Like the common cold, amnesia in these shows is easy to catch, and more than one character can fall victim. It’s hard enough to suspend disbelief for one case of memory loss, but two? My feeling on this is that if you need to have more than one person get amnesia for your plot to work, you’re doing it wrong.
So what amnesia plot twists did I forget (pun intended), and how would you rate them?
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