Korean dramas are wildly addicting. And while dramas overall have been revamping their typical story lines, there are still certain cliches that never really go away. From a business standpoint this makes sense, if one type of plot line is immensely popular, why not try to replicate its success? At the same time, this same predictable plot line may lead to a dramas doom in both ratings and reviews. A few cable networks, such as tvN, have tried to stray away from the cliches and create their own original story lines, like the massively popular ‘Reply 1997‘ and ‘Reply 1994‘ series.  The majority of networks, however, are still chock full of these cliches. Here are 15 Korean drama cliches that never go away!

1. Romeo And Juliet: Love At First Sight!
Korean Drama Cliche One Love at First Sight

The gaze is deep. The feels are deeper.

2. Friends Turn To Enemies

Two friends who were once BFFs eventually turn against each other, usually because of a boy. No worries, usually by the end they make up and become best friends again.

3. The Jealous Girlfriend
Korean Drama Cliche Four There has to be a jealous girlfriend in korean dramas

A talk between two friends is quickly turned into something more by suspicious Korean drama girlfriends. See the ring? No talking.

4. Or The Weird Psychotic Ex-Girlfriend
Korean Drama Cliche Five The Korean Drama Ex Girlfriends are no joke

Exes in Korean dramas can be really scary at times, almost to the point of mentally disturbing.

5. Falling Asleep in Car/Plane/Bus: Oops! Fell On Your Shoulder Fall asleep on shoulder in Korean Drama

You know you have seen this one. Someone falls asleep and bobs their head until they land squarely on the shoulder.

6. The Evil Mother In-law!


There is always that over protective mother, who thinks their child is the golden child of the world and should only marry someone of equal perceived standing. They are probably some of the most interesting characters as they really instigate drama.

7. The Bad Boy Who Becomes A Good Boy
Bad Guys in KOrean Drama becomes good guy

Male protagonists have a knack for always starting off bad in one way or another, usually snobby rich boy syndrome, but is eventually changed by the lower class maiden that hates him.

8. “You Follow. Now!”
Korean Drama Drag by Wrist

Going back to their caveman roots, it always seems to happen. The girl does not want to go, but is dragged by the wrist to follow. Eventually, the girl usually falls in love with the perpetrator from this act of dominance.

9. I Seem To Have Lost All Hope, Cue Rain
Korean Drama Character Stands in Rain

It would not be as dramatic without a character standing in the rain after a dramatic moment. With, you know, the umbrella just sitting there. Unused.

10. Awkward Almost Revealing Moments
Korean Drama Awkward Bathroom Moment

Getting out of the bathroom? Check. Climbing over the wall exactly at the right moment? Check. Awkward moment? Check

11. The Back Hug
Korean Drama Back Hug

A popularized scene in any Korean drama. The moment when the female protagonist is about to leave, but the male protagonist stops her with that heartfelt back hug.

12. Overdramatized and Static Kiss
Korean drama Kiss scene

Kiss scenes last forever in a Korean drama and they will go to a great extent to dramatize it as much as possible. By either prolonging the kiss scene or some neat camera tricks.

13. The Bus Was All Shaky!
Fall in Bus Korean Drama

“Oh no! The bus is shaky! I’ll just lean on you for support!”  Whether on the subway or the bus this happens quite often, just another coincidental moment of skin-ship (physical contact).

14. Overdramatic Crying
Overdramatic Crying in Korean Dramas

Let’s face it. Sometimes the crying is just a little too much. Like this guy.

15. Need the Sick Person

No Korean drama cliche list would be complete without someone who ends up in the hospital. Either from cancer, a car accident, or passing out from stress. You name it, Korean dramas have done it. Although the blind thing seems to be going away.

There you have it. 15 Korean drama cliches that never go away. What do you think? Have any other cliches that are all too common? Let us know!

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About The Author

D Lee

D. Lee was once a work-a-holic turned explorer. He now seeks to see the world and all that it has to offer one place at a time. D. Lee is Cali bred, but is currently living in Seoul, South Korea. He enjoys trekking mountains, tasting diverse foods, and meeting people from around the world. D. Lee envisioned a consolidated place for readers to engage and sync in with Korean culture, which led him to co-founding SeoulSync.


  1. Jinju says:

    Don’t forget when they start fanning their face to show they’re flustered!

  2. Keziri says:

    Also the “I’m going to call him/her and confess X…oh nevermind let me hover over the Send Call button then change my mind and never make the call” cliche.

  3. Alejandra Flores says:

    You forgot the piggy back rides!

  4. Sophia Nabutovskaya says:

    What is the name of the drama in the first picture?? Please tell me!!!

    1. Vianne says:

      Dream High 🙂

      1. Sophia Nabutovskaya says:

        Thank you!:D

        1. Vianne says:

          No problem! Sorry that it was a month ago. New to this website. :L

          1. Sophia Nabutovskaya says:

            Me too:P

  5. Allisse says:

    Laughing so hard! Especially the Yoon Jae part. Haha!

  6. Janutiel says:

    Memory loss….

  7. Ramen says:

    wheres the infamous blocking the girls path by putting their arm in front of her. that wall slam thingy.

  8. SaintSmith Smith says:

    Whats the drama from number 10?

  9. FadeinAysel says:

    haha.. this is hilarious and true.
    what about the kabe-don scene(Hand on wall). It’s pretty cliche…

  10. Samuel Tsui says:

    What’s the sixth drama?

  11. Sonsarae says:

    I think you missed the biggest one – getting hit by a speeding bus or car!