Words by Lorraine Giron
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to what they watch. While I enjoy almost all types of film genres, action comedies remain as my personal favorite. But recently, I found myself watching and actually enjoying Slice of Life Korean dramas. Wait, what exactly is a Slice of Life show?
The term actually gives itself away – it shows a slice of what happens in the everyday life of the protagonists or characters. Even the most mundane stuff like waking up, doing stupid things or eating samgyeopsal thrice a day with friends are portrayed in slice of life shows.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo / MBC / Photo Credits to Dramabeans
Slice of Life is also a literary genre. Usually slow-paced, you can’t expect a grand conflict and climax out of it. The focus of slice of life shows are the characters themselves, their thoughts, how they deal with circumstances and interact with one another. Sometimes, it may have an open ending for the viewers’ interpretation. Common themes include the school or coming-of-age years where there the characters experience challenges that pave the way to their maturity.
Most of the time, Slice of Life becomes a “co-genre” where it is combined with other genres such as melodrama, romance and comedy. This genre actually makes up quite a big chunk in Japanese Anime and Korean dramas.
Age of Youth 2 / JTBC / Photo Credits to Soompi
But wait, isn’t that so boring? Why does this kind of genre have to exist? Honestly, I also had the same thoughts before. I was hesitant to start the Reply trilogy at first, but I’m happy with my decision to watch it! It did deserve the overwhelming love it received during and after its run. Not only was I entertained, but I cried like a baby and laughed like there is no tomorrow. While the Reply trilogy is one of the best examples of a well-crafted Slice of Life drama, there are so many out there that are also worth your time, attention and love. Slice of Life is not a genre for everyone, but if you’re curious as to what its appeal is, here are some reasons:
4. It shows beauty in the ordinary
Reply 1997 / tvN
In Slice of Life, the realities of life is presented as it is. Usually, dramas make use of over-the-top tropes like body switching, family secrets, fated love, contract marriages or girl meets boy who is 95% of the time rich, smart and just perfect in every way but has a sad back story. While entertainment is used to escape reality, even drama fans get tired with overused tropes. A good story also doesn’t have to be very complicated. But in Slice of Life, the characters are just as quirky, and the problems are grounded in reality. Unrequited love? Don’t know what your dream is? Adulting woes? Totally #storyofmylife. With Slice of Life, people are able to appreciate the “ordinary” because we often take for granted the mundane and little things that make up our everyday life.
3. You will root for the characters
Reply 1988 / tvN / Photo Credits to Kdramabuzz
Slice of Life dramas are able to make the audience connect to the story on a personal level. Therefore, the development feels more genuine and “organic”, so to speak. The interaction between the characters don’t make the relationship seem forced. Viewers become invested on the characters because they see themselves in them. Sometimes, you want to cry with them or get frustrated with their poor decision making skills. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Jung Hwan of Reply 1988)
Another aspect I particularly like about Slice of Life dramas is how they portray romantic love. In most dramas, viewers would usually obsess over a happy ending between the lead couples. However, Slice of Life dramas show that love is more than just grand gestures and who gets the girl, which is refreshing to see.
2. The value on family and friendship
Drinking Solo / tvN / Photo Credits to Dramabeans
Slice of Life is known for its heartwarming family and friendship moments. With so many dramas focusing on romantic love, I do not mind if it actually takes a backseat. Asians are particularly known for their close-knit family ties, and this is probably what Filipino K-drama viewers can relate to. Even the friendship within the characters is solid and will make you remember your own barkada. Through the characters, Slice of Life brings out many positive and useful life lessons, without sounding too preachy.
1. If you just want a good laugh
Fight My Way / KBS
Because of its lighthearted vibe, Slice of Life dramas are an easy watch. If you’re still looking to watch something to balance a stressful day (or if you’re just bored), give Slice of Life a try.
Do you watch Slice of Life Korean dramas as well? Which one’s your favorite? Tell us in the comments!