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Series / Dramaworld

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What would you do if you fell into your favorite K-drama?

Seth: So I should probably start from the basics. It's called Dramaworld—capital D, lowercase W, all one world—as opposed to the real world—all lowercase, two words—which is where you're from and where I am from, and in this world, no one else. [...] There is no such thing as coincidence in Dramaworld, it's always us.
Claire: Us?
Seth: Facilitators!

K-dramas exist in an alternative world, Dramaworld, where tropes reign supreme. There is one major exception, though: There's no Theory of Narrative Causality. Rather, all the necessary little plot conveniences are the work of people working in the background to make it happen.

Claire, an American college student who is obsessed with Korean soap operas, gets sucked into her smartphone and transported into Dramaworld to act as a facilitator for her favorite show, 'A Taste of Love'. But soon she finds herself part of the drama.

An original series created by the streaming service Viki, which deals in K-dramas. A second season is in development. Tropes are constantly Lampshaded, Invoked, and Discussed.


This series provides examples of:

  • Arc Words: "It's for the best".
    • Episode 6:
      Claire: Wait, it's for whose best?
  • Addictive Foreign Soap Opera: K-dramas for Claire.
  • Asshole Victim: Ga-in is killed by Seth in episode 7. Even though she was meant to be unlikable, Claire still feels sorry that she died.
  • Big Bad Friend: It turns out that Claire's guide and mentor when she arrives in Dramaworld, Seth, is actually evil. After many dramas spent in the background, he has decided to replace Joon as the main love interest of Seo-yeon—and he's willing to kill anyone who stands in his way.
  • Bookends: When Claire enters Dramaworld at the end of Episode 1, she faints after realizing where she is. At the end of Episode 10, Joon faints after he realizes he's in the real world.
  • Brick Joke:
    • One of the rules of Dramaworld that Seth tells Claire about is that the male lead gets a steamy shower scene. In episode 7, Joon gets his.
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    • In the first episode, Claire's father tells her to look at the door and notice how a handsome Korean billionaire did not just walk through it. In the last scene, the handsome, Korean, and probably rich Joon runs through the door.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The karaoke set Seth has set up after he takes over the restaurant. In the season finale, he uses it to trap Joon by putting on a song and making him sing along.
  • Clark Kenting: Seth usually dresses very nerdishly with tidy and proper waiter outfits, neatly combed hair and glasses. As the series progresses, and his own agenda progresses, he starts dressing more stylishly, ditching the glasses and combing his hair backwards. At one point, Claire even compliments him for looking more "manly".
  • Commonality Connection: In Episode 4, Joon talks about his late father and how he misses him. Claire then reveals that her mother recently passed away as well and that, like Mr. Park, she was the nicer and friendlier one of her parents.
  • Crossover: In episode 3, Claire gets completely starstruck when she sees a couple from a completely different K-drama having drinks at The Libertine. According to Seth, such crossovers aren't supposed to happen and are a symptom of something wrong with Dramaworld. Later, in episode 8, Claire is approached by a man with a briefcase at Ga-in's funeral. Apparently taken from some sort of spy series, he tells her they contain all of North Korea's atomic missile secrets. She shoos him away.
  • Darkest Hour: In the end of episode 6, the restaurant has been burned in a fire, Joon has sold the restaurant to Seth, whose plans for Seo-yeon are going swimmingly so far, Ga-in is making her move on Joon, and Claire is about to commit suicide in order to return to the real world and make one last try to get Joon and Seo-yeon together by having them meet at her funeral.
  • Dramatic Irony: In episode 8, at Ga-in's funeral, Claire figures that, because it's a K-Drama, the person who killed Mr. Park and Ga-in would probably be attending. This while the person we as the audience knows killed them, Seth, is standing right next to her.
  • Fake Memories: All of the K-drama characters have been implanted with memories specifically for that series. When the leading man and leading lady kiss, the credits will roll and the characters will be implanted with new memories to start another story. As Seth explains when describing the rules of Dramaworld, "Upon true love being achieved, the drama will be reset. Characters' memories will be wiped clean in preparation for their next drama so that they can fall in love for the first time again. And again. And again."
  • Flashback: In one episode, all of the K-drama characters freeze around Claire while one of them is having a flashback. Also subverted when in another episode she tries to get Joon to have a flashback, but can't.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Episode 2, Claire is hired as a waiter at The Libertine by Joon after he finds her looking through the restaurant's windows. This mirrors the way he first hired Seo-yeon, as shown in the "previously on" recap for the drama in the first episode, setting up Claire as a potential romantic interest for him.
    • In Episode 3, while Joon has a flashback, Claire suspects that it has to do with his father's murder. Seth corrects her and says it was a suicide. This despite the fact that it was shown in the recap of A Taste of Love's story so far in the opening of Episode 1 that Mr. Park was indeed murdered. At the time, it can be read as Seth reminding her that while she knows this from watching the show, she shouldn't know it as a character on the show. However, we later find out that Seth was the one who killed Mr. Park, meaning he would have vested interest in keeping up the appearances of the death being a suicide.
    • In Episode 4, Seth explains that leading men and even second leads can't let women fall to the ground. When Claire tries it out, she's caught by Seo-yeon's friend Seung-woo, hinting that he's more significant than just a side character—he and Seo-yeun eventually become the show's Beta Couple.
    • In Episode 10, as the end credits music of the show plays, both Claire and Joon hear it and have trouble hearing the other over it, even though Joon, being an original character on the show, shouldn't be able to hear non-diegetic sound like that. The next time we see him, he retains his memories of Claire and an awareness that there is a world outside Dramaworld.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Joon has a bit of an ego that makes it hard for him to apologize for anything, but he is a good person underneath. As a rule of Dramaworld, the leading man of a K-Drama is supposed to be "a bit arrogant", but to always have the leading lady's best interests at heart.
  • Genre Savvy: Facilitators are supposed to be this, chosen for being huge fan of Korean dramas. However, once they get their own story lines, they tend to get a little genre blind.
  • Hollywood Healing: A rule of Dramaworld; severe injuries or medical conditions are easily brushed off and tend to serve to further the plot of the injured. Case in point, Joon gets shot in the chest, apparently in the heart, and is up and at 'em by the next episode.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Played straight in the final episode of Season 1 when Seo-yeon spits in Seth's face, and he decided to burn down the restaurant with everyone else inside.
  • Internal Reveal: In episode 9, Claire discovers that Seth is the one responsible for everything bad that has happened.
  • Interrupted Kiss: Park Joon is about to kiss Ga-in, the Romantic False Lead, which Claire knows isn't supposed to happen. When she lands in Dramaworld, she appears in between the two of them. It's even used in the promotional meterial, as seen in the page image.
  • Lethal Chef: After taking over The Libertine, Seth tries to make dinner for himself and Seo-yeon. We don't see much of it, but one dish is clearly just store-bought hamburger patties in sauce. That are still mostly frozen.
  • Medium Awareness: Happens repeatedly throughout the series to Claire. When she tries to have a heartfelt goodbye with Joon, the ending credits music drowns them out. Joon could also hear the music, although as a part of Dramaworld, he shouldn't.
  • Meet Cute: In a flashback in episode 2, Seth is seen deliberately instigating this on the equivalents of Joon and Seo-yeon in past series; one instance was him dressing as a construction worker to get her to walk down a different street where she bumps into him.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Apparently it's a rule of Dramaworld that there be at least one scene of the leading man taking a shower.
  • Nice Girl: Seo-yung is always extremely nice to everyone.
  • Occidental Otaku: Claire is an American who is a huge K-Drama fangirl. Although her fandom is Korean rather than Japanese, the trope still fits.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: After The Reveal that Seth has an obsessive crush on Seo-yeon and has been trying to make her fall in love with him, we see several flashbacks of his previous interactions with her and times he spoke of her.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: One of the tropes of Dramaworld is that a lady is not allowed to fall on the floor; a leading man will always catch her. After Claire's drunken confession, she lands flat on the floor as Joon walks away, which reinforces the idea that she needs to leave Dramaworld.
  • Pair the Spares: At the end when Claire is worried that the world will end because Joon is declaring his love for her instead of for Seo-yeon, she looks over and sees that Seo-yeon is already kissing Seung-woo, which makes her realise that Dramaworld has adjusted to make them a Beta Couple and Claire herself the new female lead.
  • Period Piece: Some of the Dramaworld's dramas are these, such as An Arrow Through My Heart. From what we see, there's an entire part of Dramaworld dedicated to this kind of show.
  • Piggyback Cute: Referred to as drunken piggybacking in the show, Claire and Joon are walking down the street when a slightly inebriated random girl jumps on Joon's back. He doesn't think anything of it.
  • The Powers That Be: Dramaworld is implied to have some sort of sentience of its own, allowing it to pull Facilitators in from the real world when there is need, though it is apparently unable to communicate directly with them.
  • Product Placement:
    • Episode 5 shows an aversion when Claire is about to get into Joon's car and sees that it has a blank sticker on it to cover up the logo; Joon doesn't seem to even see the sticker.
    • In Episode 7, after Claire had been up all night and nearly committed suicide, she stops by a department store where a beautician uses all sorts of make-up. There's even a brief joke about how, since Claire is a Westerner, they don't need to use whitener as they would normally on Korean girls. Claire briefly lampshades this trope, thankful that she doesn't look like a mess any more.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: The way the story was supposed to go, it looks like Seung-woo was just supposed to be Seo-yeon's platonic friend. At the end, after Seung-woo has helped rescue her and Joon has definitively declared his love for Claire, Seung-woo and Seo-yeon are seen kissing behind them.
  • Real Men Can Cook: Joon, as a male lead in a k-drama, is specifically noted to have all the finest traits of Korean manhood, and is also an extremely skilled chef. It's quite telling that Seth is apparently a Lethal Chef
  • Rescue Romance: Seth tries to invoke this with Seo-yeon by setting The Libertine on fire and rescuing her from the flames. Ultimately, it doesn't work.
  • Sequel Hook: The first season finale ends with Joon, having somehow entered the real world, running into Claire's dad's restaurant with a gun and a briefcase and dressed like a Korean James Bond (apparently having run straight out of a new drama), telling Claire that Dramaworld needs her.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Facilitators are called into Dramaworld from the real world to ensure that the stories unfold the way they are supposed to. Claire enters Dramaworld because A Taste of Love seems to have gotten off track.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely:
    • When Claire finally returns home, she's still dressed up as she was in the drama. Her father notices and compliments her appearance.
    • Seth also tries this on himself, removing his large glasses and changing his hair so that he could become the leading man.
  • String Theory: In Episode 4, we see an unidentified, sinister figure who becomes the villain of the series keeps a wall covered with photos of the people from A Taste Of Love (along with some photos of Seo-yeon and Joon's corresponding characters from other K-Dramas) connected by strings, apparently to track relationships and other connections.
  • Taking the Bullet: Joon, upon seeing someone aiming a bow and arrow at Claire, jumps in the way and takes the arrow for her.
  • Time Stands Still: Whenever a character has a flashback, time in the outside world freezes for everyone except facilitators.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Joon finds out that he's a character in a Korean soap opera. He takes it very well. There's also an excellent scene centered on the Dramaworld rules of Karaoke.
  • Translation Convention: Claire doesn't speak Korean, but she understands everything because the world is subtitled. Everyone is able to understand Claire as well, although only Seth and Joon speak English.
  • Trapped in TV Land: The premise. Claire gets trapped inside her favorite Korean soap opera, though admittedly she doesn't seem anxious to leave.
  • True Love's Kiss: A rule of Dramaworld is that the leading man of a K-Drama must have one with the leading lady before the series ends or Dramaworld will cease to exist. In the season finale, Joon has his with Claire. Seo-yeon also has one with Seung-woo. Earlier, Seth tries to force one with Seo-yeon, but since she doesn't have feelings like that for him, it doesn't work.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Seung-woo, Seo-yeon's friend, was likely going to be this in the original story before the Facilitators started messing around with the plot. He and Seo-yeon end up kissing in the end.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: When Claire was worried that her father will miss her, Seth assures her he'll barely notice since only the length of each episode she's there will pass in the real world.
  • You Look Familiar: invoked Seth has appeared in about 50 K-dramas as background characters. The other members of Dramaworld also respawn as new characters in each new drama.

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