Fun Korean Dramas That Are Great For Newbies

by Raizel Liebler

Surplus.PrincessThis time of year is tough for many — and while some relax while watching yet another Law & Order marathon, sometimes just something silly is the best. I do love my fair share of romantic dramedies and lawyer shows, but these are three hilarious recent Korean shows that take no learning curve to enjoy, beyond being willing to read subtitles.

But keep in mind that even Korean comedies do tend have drama, since they aren’t sitcoms. Surplus Princess is definitely the lightest in tone of all three — with the largest conflict being whether the Mermaid will find “true love” in time. History of a Salaryman does involve a murder — and Marriage Not Dating touches upon what it really means to love someone (and the show includes those that will just not let one-sided affection go — and cheating). But hey, even The Simpsons has had Ned Flanders widowed twice.

History of a Salaryman (2012)

Workplace drama taken to a whole different level. Backstabbing, intrigue, corporate espionage, romance, drug testing that goes horribly wrong, but most of all humor. Includes dueling patent applications. And if you loved the bleeping of Buster on Arrested Development, Yeo-chi’s swears are similarly bleeped, since she is no usual fainting heroine.

All 22 episodes are available to watch at all of your fine legal Korean drama streaming sites, including Hulu.

Marriage Not Dating (연애 말고 결혼)(2014)

If the screwball comedies of the 1930s still existed, played by actors with the chemistry of Nick and Nora Charles, in a Korean romantic comedy television show, this would be that show.

As summarized on the Korean drama and pop culture website Dramabeans, by GirlFriday in her end of the year summary puts it:

It was a straightforward romantic comedy filled with sharp dialogue, clever storytelling structure executed through adept directing, and an effective update on the timeworn contract dating trope. I mean, in what dramaverse is the mother-in-law (from your impending fake marriage to your fake boyfriend) someone we’re all rooting for the heroine to become best friends with? And how many drama characters actually get indicted for stalking? It felt like a drama written by somebody who had spent a lifetime watching romantic comedies, who found witty ways to twist our expectations at every step of the way.

And if you are going to watch any show with love triangles between two plastic surgeons and four restauranteurs (two of whom start out working for a department store), do you even have any other options?

All sixteen episodes are available on legal streaming sites like Viki, but not Hulu.

Surplus Princess (AKA The Idle Princess) (잉여공주) (2014)

I recently wrote about Surplus Princess in a post about the influence of the story of The Little Mermaid. And what a bizarre, ridiculous and delightful satirical take Surplus Princess is, parodying Korean romantic comedies and workplace dramas. Usually the mermaid doesn’t choose her love interest based on his apple-shaped butt! Or freak out when she sees what specifically has replaced her tail — at the top of her new legs. Or have a best friend who eats — streaming live  — as a job.

After transforming into a human, the Mermaid discovers that she has 100 days to find true love. However, this situation leads to her to sharing a house with a ragtag group of misfits — and attempting to get a corporate job — where the interview process requires studying and performing in groups.

Unlike many other Korean dramas, this one is quite short because its episode length was cut back to 10 episodes, so it is a rather quick watch. And is available on legal streaming sites like Viki, but not Hulu.


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