Can I start by saying that who would’ve thought we’d make it this far?😅 To say that 2020 is the toughest year in our lives is an understatement, but we’re finally here, a new year that hopefully is filled with better and brighter experiences for all of us. I’m so glad that despite this pandemic, kdramas continued to roll out keeping us entertained (and sane!) for the most part of last year. From an avid fan, thank you to all the hardworking actors/actresses and staff for making it possible.
Top 5 Heroines of 2020
1. Cha Yu-ri (Hi, Bye, Mama!)
Happily married with a baby on the way, Cha Yu-ri had a full life ahead of her. An accident takes her away from her family and friends but she lived on as a ghost for 5 years observing and staying by her daughter’s, Seo Woo, side. In a twist of fate, she suddenly becomes human again and has the chance to stay on Earth if she finds her place with her family. Easy enough right? Nope! Her husband, Gang-hwa, has remarried and Seo Woo of course doesn’t remember her at all. The plot may sound like a heavy tearjerker but the show has some comedic and lighter moments that balances the somber mood the story entails. Yu-ri doesn’t take for granted her second chance and spends her days bonding with Seo Woo and tending to the unhealed wounds of the loved ones she left behind with her untimely death.
A tale about forgiveness, moving on, and finding happiness once again, Hi, Bye, Mama! will teach us a lot about living our everyday to the fullest. Sharing with you the Hi, Bye, Mama! life lessons our lovely mama has imparted to me in her journey back to the realm of humans!
2. Woo Do Hee (Dinner Mate)
Who doesn’t love the B-rated comedy producer of 2N Box? Smart, fierce, and confident, Woo Do Hee was such a 21st century female lead that we can relate to and admire. Proving that third time’s the charm, she fell in love with her dinner mate turned boyfriend (Hae Kyung) at an unexpected but welcome moment in her life. She’s confident and can handle problems on her own, but she doesn’t always have it together and succumbs to the occasional breakdown due to life’s challenges. We lose our way sometimes but it’s important, like Do Hee, to get back up and deal with our personal problems head on. For a show that centers around having dinner together, I find that there are other kdramas that feature food more prominently as a theme. I did however, enjoy Dinnermate‘s own interpretation of how eating together can bring comfort to people.
Dinnermate kdrama was a fun one to watch to and I have to credit it to her and the leading man’s chemistry. It was a joy to fawn over Do Hee and Hae Kyung’s blossoming relationship as they started out as merely strangers turned dinner mates. There’s a special bonus in one of the episodes too where the actress briefly reprises her role as Seo Dan in Crash Landing on You, hehe!
3. Seo Dal Mi (Start-Up)
Considered to be one of the most popular kdramas in 2020, Start-up’s Seo Dal Mi takes a seat in my top heroines list as the self-taught and hardworking CEO of Cheongmyeong Company. Her journey towards success was riddled with challenges and setbacks, but she pushed through with the hopes of following in her dad’s footsteps and achieving her own goals. Even if she sometimes puts herself in a pickle by faking her confidence, she doesn’t give up and still find ways to rally back. This was a refreshing kdrama that focused on the beginnings of start-up businesses trying to catch a break in an arena of fierce competition and evolving technologies. A lot of technical terms were used in the show but were explained the best they can, the notable feature of a Google-like place called “Sandbox” serves to inspire us that anyone can fulfill their life dreams (with hard work of course) because chances to prove ourselves do exist.
The most talked about aspect of the show was the love triangle of Dal Mi, Nam Do San, and Mr. Han Ji Pyeong (#teamgoodboy) that divided fans on who to root for. Please do read my Start-Up kdrama introduction post on the show to know a bit more about the backstory. I read feedback that a lot of viewers didn’t like how the plot progressed in the latter half of the show and that a lot of people were rooting for Mr. Han (like me), but I honestly liked the korean drama until the end. Aside from her romantic choices, I really liked how they portrayed Dal Mi as a start-up newbie who read books, asked for a professional’s help, and really made the effort to learn the business that she was going into to become a legit boss💃🏻
4. Gu Ra Ra (Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol)
She is naive and innocent as they come, but Gu Ra Ra’s honest and happy-go-lucky personality wins over the hearts of strangers around her. I love how she isn’t afraid to apologize for a misunderstanding and sings you praises when she’s happy because you can feel the sincerity in her words. Even in tumultuous times, she still has a smile on her face and spreads a good energy around her that people naturally want to help her out. Despite the show starting with a tragedy prompting Ra Ra to start anew and move to Eunpo City, the good-natured people Ra Ra met there and finding true love with a cutesy love story made Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol kdrama an easygoing and fun show. The true tragedy this show had was its ending which I published a separate entry about because it peeved me that much, haha!
I know I criticized the show for this very thing that in reality, it’s too good to be true to helped out by a handsome guy (haha) regarding all your troubles but hey, this is a kdrama. Ra Ra has a pure heart and I can only hope to be as good as her in both the good and bad times of life🎶 I urge you to still try watching Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol kdrama though and get caught up with Ra Ra’s infectious melody of good vibes and no-worry way of life tunes.
5. Lim Ju Kyung (True Beauty)
This was tough for me to choose just because the last heroine, just like the previous year, starred in a kdrama that had only been airing a couple of weeks since it premiered in December. Simultaneous good shows premiered last month alone and I honestly liked each and every protagonist’s personality. This got me thinking to permanently reserve this last spot for December korean drama leading women to be fair because their shows only have a few weeks of exposure before the year ends.
Ultimately, I chose to go with Lim Ju Kyung from True Beauty kdrama as she sets out to find her self-confidence beyond the confines of her brush and mascara. It’s a classic tale of ugly ducking turns into a swan but in this case, the duck is only wearing a swan costume to disguise the fact that she’s still a duck, haha! High school student Ju Kyung was bullied in her previous school for being “ugly” and she turns to make-up for help. When she transfers to a new school, she ends up having to hide her real identity more as she gains the attention of new friends and 2 leading men vying for her affection. I honestly think the show downplays the mental health effects bullying can have on a person, but it still has a lot of episodes left to showcase how one can heal and move forward from such a traumatic experience.
True Beauty kdrama is a coming-of-age story where Ju Kyung will learn that her real beauty lies within and she shouldn’t be ashamed or have to cover up how she truly looks to anyone. I have no qualms of her using make-up to boost her confidence, but I hope she breaks free of the stigma that she needs to be dolled up to be accepted by her peers. My second lead syndrome heart is beating strong here too as I hope she ends up with Seo Jun, hihi!
I’d like to think that all kdramas exist in a multiverse not so far away, where every character from each show is living their lives, well and happy, beyond the final episode. As always, I’m excited for the new shows that’ll premiere this year and will look forward to meeting more characters that’ll leave a mark in my heart💕