A Kiss is A Kiss or is it?

A good lead couple kiss is a big huge deal for the Korean Drama viewer.  Physical contact is a big deal in K drama, and a good kiss is a huge part of the viewing experience for a K drama addict.  Sometimes it is a declaration of romantic interest, and sometimes it is the culmination of the show, the finale, The End, the happy every after.  A romantic couple kiss is never a sure thing.  There is nothing like the moment of resignation when you realize THAT moment is never ever going to happen. *Fierce glare at Pasta*

I am not going to cover all the K drama kisses or lack thereof in dramas.  Rather, I am here to talk about an interesting phenomenon I have noticed from comments to Korean Drama discussion threads.  Many posters seem to blame the actors for the chaste kisses and lack of sexuality or physical contact between the characters during the drama.  I find this assignation of blame quite bizarre and uninformed.  Much of this finger pointing is directed at the actress.  Seriously, this happens, some people think the cast gets to choose what gets on the air!

First, there are cultural mores, which inform the script, producer, director, and the lovely Korean Bureau of Censoring Things.  What is allowed on air is generally conservative.  The LAST person that has a say is the actor, especially regarding sexual content that airs on public television.  A couple filming a kissing scene can open mouth kiss all they want but that does not mean it is going to make it on screen.


Whoa, calm down there big fella.

Yes, so this MIGHT be a bit too much even for me.

Boys Over Flowers (BOF) is a good example.  If you read blogs and comments on boards about BOF, many people criticize the kissing scenes, and blame the cast members.  However, an interview with the director revealed that the highway kiss was supposedly filmed as rather involved and passionate, but the director cut it to a rather short chaste scene.  The target audience was a teen audience, and the decision was to keep any romantic scenes rather chaste.  In behind the scenes footage (easily found on you tube if you are interested) filming  the snow cabin scene, showing soft slightly open relaxed lip kisses,  the director stops the scene because Lee Min Ho was opening his mouth too much for the directors’  liking, and they have to do another take.  The aired scene is a lip press.  As much as I wish I could direct you to the interview to read, I had no luck in searching it for documentation.  Feel free to google, I am not exactly publishing in a peer-reviewed journal here so I am not searching for hours on end.

Second, some actors/actresses seem to perpetually choose, or be assigned (because hey, the Korean entertainment industry appears to have rather, um, controlling, entertainment agencies and who knows what the actors are told to do), roles that will not call for any heat.  A specific example of this is Park Shin Hye.  She’s the quintessential bug eyed lip press Drama Queen.  She is cute as the dickens and fun to watch, but I groan when she is cast in a drama because I know it is going to be a perfect waste of a lovely actor’s luscious lips.  The drama will be cute, but it will not be hot.  But, have you seen her model?  Photo shoots?  Girlfriend can bring some heat.


 Image…Not So Much

flbnd2Yeah so, THIS is way hotter than anything that made it on screen for Flower Boy Next Door….


I am not down playing that chemistry between cast members certainly enhances the making of a drama.  Sometimes it is between the leads, and sometimes it is with other cast members.  Coffee Prince had an outstanding over all chemistry among the cast; everything just gelled on screen for that drama.  This is a rare thing.  In I Hear Your Voice, Lee Jong Seok and Lee Bo Young have some comfort level, not necessarily sexual, but just comfortable association, between them that is palatable and adds to the drama.  I am however arguing against some viewers tendency to blame actors/actresses for the dreaded bug eyed lip press kiss.  I mean,  really,  the comments you see on fan pages about the actress being shy, to not wanting to look like she’s easy, to that she must not like the actor,  to that the actor/actress has no on screen sexuality and cannot generate any sexual chemistry,  may possible cause me to have a seizure one day from all the eye rolling that ensues.  These actors/actresses are paid professionals.  Paid, professional liars.  If they were directed to kiss more passionately, they would comply.  Thus, the kissing scene = the actors are simply following direction.

That is why sometimes we get THIS:


And other times (the GOOD TIMES) we get THIS:



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DDee
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 10:13:36

    I hear you! but in defense of Park Shin Hye in FBND, it was waaaaay better than anything else she’d done!


  2. Caitlyn
    Jul 30, 2013 @ 09:52:16

    Ha ha, I use the same example when I’m talking about actors vs direction. The behind the scenes bit in BOF, i thought it was hilarious that the Director told him to close his mouth, lol. And it’s not like he was being particularly steamy as it was. I read someone else’s blog the other day that criticised Park Shin Hye and her kiss scenes, and I thought it was a bit harsh. You can blame her for picking dramas that only permit chaste scenes like that, but you can’t blame her for the actual kiss!


    • randomsoju
      Jul 30, 2013 @ 13:54:45

      Park Shin Hye-I use her as an example of the classic bug eye lip press but I do not blame her.
      It really weirds me out how many people say things about the cast members being responsible for the plot or direction of a scene. Good grief. What is even more scary are the comments about actors must be real life couples if they seem too intimate. The actors cannot win.


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