A lot of terms and references are used when discussing Asian dramas that I didn’t know what I got started. People threw around terms like OTP, SLS, and Candy girls and thoroughly confused me, so I’m going to have a list explaining what they all mean. I’m also going to be naming tropes and trends (if they didn’t already have a name), so I figured it would be a good idea of to have a list of those as well. Let me know if there more you think I should add, or if you have a better/different definition for any of the ones I have here. This page will be periodically updated, so check back, especially since I wont get everything in at first.
Sometimes terms turn into tropes, so some items will make it onto both lists.
Terms and References
OTP: One true pairing. The lead male and female who are fated to end up together. You can usually figure out who it is based on the show posters and/or show intro.
SLS: Second Lead Syndrome. Falling for the second male lead and routing for the girl to end up with him instead of the male lead. Usually this is a sweet, thoughtful guy who gets friend zoned in favor of the arrogant lead.
SFL: Second female lead.
Candy: Candy was a character in a manga who was poor, hardworking and positive. This has become a common character type and a trope all of its own.
Daddy Long Legs: This is also based off a book that was turned into multiple movies and tv shows all over the world. This refers to an older man who is the secret benefactor of a younger girl.
OST: Official sound track
Tropes are devices and conventions that exist in the minds and expectations of writers and audience members. Writers can either work to or subvert these expectations. If you have time to go down the rabbit hole, check out TvTropes to get an idea of what I’m talking about.
White truck of doom: A white delivery truck that either harms or threatens to hard a character. I swear, it’s always the same style of truck, and white 80% of time (secondary color is dark blue). Examples: Catch Me Now (Hong Kong) white truck kills assassin; Blood (Korea) bad guys keep trying to kill patients, with both white and blue trucks.
Candy Girl: The sweet, optimistic and hard working girl who melts the heart of the cold, competent and rich guy.
Daddy Long Legs: Older man who acts as a benefactor to a younger woman. Romance is usually involved in this trope, but the direction and dsfjk of the romantic attachment varies. Examples: Reply 1997 (Korea)- They joke about Tae Woong being Shi Won’s daddy long legs, and the two do date but it doesn’t last; City Hunter (Korea)- Prosecutor Kim Young Joo sends post cards to Na Na and she has a bit of a crush on him until she finds out why he was sending them all this time.
Averting Danger Embrace: One of the chapters is in physical danger, such as being run over by a white truck of doom or horses, and someone swoops in to save them and they end up in an embrace. There is awareness of physical attraction by at least one person, frequently both. Examples: My Love From Another Star (Korea)- Do Min Joo saves young Cheon Song Yi from a truck of doom. Scholar Who Walks the Night (Korea)- Prince Yoon saves Yang Sun from horses and that is when he realizes she is a girl dressing as a man.
Falling Kiss: Our leads fall and somehow align perfectly so that they are kissing.
Deer in Headlights Kiss: one person surprises the other with a kiss and the recipient stands stock still in shock with eyes wide open. Sometimes they loosen up and start kissing back, but usually not with the first kiss. Most of the time it’s the girl with the dear in headlights expression. Examples: Every single Park Shin Hye show before Pinocchio.
Obsessive SFL: The SFL lead is obsessed with the male lead and does everything in her power to get him to come to her. Examples: Fall in Love with Me (Taiwan)- Huan Huan lies about being crippled to guilt Tian Xing into being with her.