The Thursday Three: October 11th

We all love a good plot twist in our dramas; it keeps us interested in the story and invested in the characters. But if the twist isn’t so much good as it is insane (or ridiculously over the top), we call it… makjang.

Makjang plots tend to be somewhat extreme or bizarre deviations from real life occurrences (think: western soap operas, but amped to 11) and are often used to try to draw viewers in, or to keep them hooked. And it works for some dramas (certain melos, for instance, thrive on amnesia/birth secrets/faux-incest/terminal illness/revenge… Endless Love quartet, I’m lookin’ at you.), but in others, the twists are so sudden, so absurd, or so nonsensical that they pull us out of the show altogether and leave us wondering what, exactly, we’re watching… and why we’re still watching it.

So today’s question is: what do you think are the three most makjang plot twists (within specific dramas)?

Leave your comments below and, as always, I’m available on Twitter or email.

12 thoughts on “The Thursday Three: October 11th”

  1. I don’t watch makjangs and I tend to stay away from those early Hallyu tearjerker hit…However, I do remember some weird or unnecessary twists in other genre of dramas I’ve watched

    1- The ending of 49 days *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* so the heroine spent 19 episodes trying to find 3 tears so she could get a second chance at life. She’s learned good life lessons and discover the truth about the people around her during her journey as a spirit. She found her true love and and eventually did wake up from her coma… to discover that her time has come and that she has to die?! It’s not as crazy twist and it’s totally plausible. It’s not some weird birth secret that made me roll my eyes, but that last minute revelation frustrated me because I felt that it came from nowhere and was unnecessary. Oh but now that I think about it…there was last minute birth secrets revealed in the last episode as well…

    2- The selective amnesia arc in Boys over Flowers. Now I know that it was in the original source material, but it doesn’t make it any less crazy. Selective amnesia, really? So he remembers everyone and everything, except for her? If I hadn’t watched the original HYD, I would have thrown something at my TV

    3- The makjang turn in the last few episodes of Secret Garden. Past secrets about heroine’s parent? Check. Noble idiocy? Check. Tragic accident? Check. Noble idiocy round 2 when Joo Won sacrificed himself to swap his soul with Ra Im? Check. Amnesia? Check! I actually thought that everything after the accident was lovely. How he decided to swap his soul with her even though it may mean death for him did make me cry. And amnesiac 21 years old Joo Won was adorable, but it was a pretty crazy twist.

  2. Ok so I’m calling major making on several shows

    1. Stairway to Heaven: ok so I definitely wanted to hit someone in the freaking face after going through this roller coaster ride of madness. I was so freaking pissed. For real, no seriously, so after all that craziness the main couple went through You Still Kill Her. Are you kinding me?!?!?

    2. Operation Proposal: oh the hot and I do mean hot mess of a Japanese remake that started off with a bang and ended with an appeal to go into the Witness Protection cuz people were out for blood, the writer’s.
    What should have been a really good show turned into a weekly ‘ how badly do you want the female lead to accidentally jump off a bridge/ cliff/black hole and the male lead find someone who undertands his awesomeness. I was so done with this show that I ended up just reading the recaps and even then I wanted to stop doing that plus go find the writers and give them a piece of my mind plus some other things along with it.

    3. 49 Days: no like seriously I mean, did she go through all of that just in order to die anyways, WTH!?!?!
    Luckily I didnt try to drive myself crazy by watching all the episodes but skipped to the last episode and still was upset. Writers seriously need to think about the outcome before the show starts versus writing the episodes while the show is airing cuz the old formula ain’t working.

    4. A Thousand Kisses:Enough Said!!!

    Honorable Mentions:
    -Secret Garden( you know I love you Binnie and Ha Ji Won but there was some craziness going on in there)

    – Dr. Jin: ha ha ha ha certainly didn’t watch it for the riveting acting but it was entertaining.

    – Rooftop Prince and Fashion King: What Happened?!? Y’all both had so much potential but relying on good looking eye candy Can Not move a story along, it just won’t work

    I’m pretty sure that there are other Kdramas that have even more makjang moments, I’m talking about you ( Bachelor Vegetable Store and Road 1) but I don’t have the time or energy to go back into my memory and recap all the Kdramas I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing.

    Whooo that was a long rant.

    K off to watch the V.P. Debate YAY I’m excited!


  3. Oh, I LOVE the answers and now I have to steal and agree

    1. ATK- enuf said!!! HAHA!
    2.49 Days- what was the purpose of collecting the tears to live just to die anyway
    3. Fashion King-OMO OMO OMO!!!!! What could have been a good drama, crashed and burned WORSE than ATK!!

  4. 1. Queen In Hyun’s Man – Amnesia. Twice. Like huh??? Okay, if you’re going to use the amnesia plot device, please stick to the limit of ONCE. It’s all in the handbook. That I have personally, mentally made lol

    2. Okay okay Nice Guy isn’t over yet, BUT THE MAKJANG IS KILLING ME. It’s a melodrama, called Nice Guy/Innocent Man, the description CLEARLY stated she is an AMNESIAC. I should be expecting a lot of makjang lol but 9 episodes in, I started to wonder if they only meant an amnesiac symbolically. But….they didn’t. Of course she gets amnesia at the most crucial time of her entire existence. Oh my gosh, what doesn’t this drama have: backstabbing, greedy woman, amnesia, sudden fatal injuries, gangs, childhood lovers meeting again, vengeance, murder, snobby rich ajummas, fatal illnesses, death secrets, evil lawyers, subordinates-turned-spies, chaebols, fight for power and possession of some big company…oh the head aches I get from the chaos lol

    2. Snow Queen – I watched it for Hyun Bin. Hyun Bin dragged me into that tragic drama. Hyun Bin traumatized me. Hyun Bin made me cautious of dramas. Hyun Bin did it. He did it all. It was a cute love story…until its revealed shes terminally ill and dies in the last episode on VACATION WITH HYUN BIN IN HER SLEEP.

    Ugh. I was so mad, you don’t even know lol his best friend already committed suicide episode 1, now the girl he loves dies at the end? A tragedy ends with a tragedy. WHY DIDN’T I SEE THAT COMING?!? Oh how I wonder….

    1. I thought that the amnesia part of Queen In Hyun was pretty clever. It’s not about giving people amnesia just for the sake of keeping the couple apart. The memory lost resulted from a disturbance of a mythical talisman, so it’s like the result and consequence of breaking a rule. Every time that harm is done to the talisman, time in the “present” will reset, because that talisman was what was connecting the 2 timelines. And what I love is that every time, even though she forgot about him, something tells her that there’s something wrong about her memory and that she ought to remember someone else. It’s not as if woke up is all “who are you?” to Boong Do. The fact that she forgot was not problematic in her world, since technically, in her reality, in didn’t happen. It was the fact that she seems to have flash of memories that no one else had that was weird. I thought that it was pretty much the reversal of the usual scenario and that it was very refreshing to see 😉

      It’s just my 2 cents, please don’t take it harshly 😛

      1. It was interesting to watch when everyone forgot about him and she was convinced she was insane, that he never existed, it was all a dream, but after the first time he had amnesia, it was predictable about how it will end and she’ll eventually get her memory back. At least, for me it was lol

        1. I had to go to a meeting so I couldnt finish my comment lol

          Its still an enioyable drama, and i liked it every much. I just didnt like how the amnesia was repetitive and predictable – but then again what dramas arent, i can only think of a few lol

          The bigger question is: who’s amnesia did I like best? o.o lol both were so heartbreaking, i cant choose.

  5. I tend to stay away from Makjangs, they give me a major headache just from watching and I’m like going so whats next?? More secrets.
    For me my list is :

    1. Flames of Ambition – Main character name also Nayong lol and my what a secret she had, of course I watched it for my young man there Yoo Seung Ho:)
    2. Pink Lipstick – now that is revenge to the extreme
    3. Baker Kim Tak Gu – Birth Secrets and murder, hmm wth
    4. Temptation of Angel – just had to add this, lol

    I recommend a dose of pain killers while watching, hehe

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