Female Friendships in K-dramas
Where are the genuine girl-girl friendships in K-dramas, something that can hold a candle to Buffy and Willow in BtVS? I just saw one of my best friends over the weekend. We don’t see each other often, but the strength of the friendship remains undiminished. How can it, when it was built on something true and lasting, requiring not constant nurturing but understanding and loyalty.
I’ve been racking my brains thinking of female friendships in K-dramas that have felt meaningful and genuine, and have come up with a shockingly short list. While the female lead often has a sidekick to encourage her relationship with the male lead and make wisecracks here and there, I’m not looking for that level of superficial depiction of female friendship.
I want a watch a friendship that is on equal terms. The friend who challenges and supports our female lead, and a friend who is unafraid of confrontation on behalf of her friend. And a friend with her own story to tell, not just there as a sidekick.
Unfortunately, it appears friendship is always thrown under the bus for the sake of romantic development, and there are a piddling amount of friendships in K-dramas worth writing about. But nevertheless, a few shining examples have stood out that I can remember. Hopefully you can share a few more to expand the list.
Mi Rae and Boo Mi in City Hall:
Now this is a friendship I could understand and admire. They argue and tease each other, but they also support and encourage each other. It’s not like Mi Rae is Buffy and Boo Mi her Willow, but more like they each have their own strengths that fit their professions, and from there a friendship grows even stronger. I wished their friendship was given more screen time, especially in the second half of the drama, but alas, I came away feeling like this was a pair of friends I admired and believed in their friendship.
The ladies in The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry
I didn’t watch this drama yet, but from the glowing recommendations I don’t even need to watch it to surmise that these three ladies truly embody what friendship between women means. Honestly, laughter, tears, and above all else, companionship through thick and thin.
Jan Di and Ga Eul in Boys Before Flowers
I feel like this friendship was told to me more than shown to me. But the drama was fraught with so many horrors, that this was one of the rare positive beacons. Their friendship fell by the wayside in the second half of the drama, as Jan Di waffled her way to Belgium and Ga Eul had to deal with emo Kim Bum. But still, these two had each other’s backs, and that was lovely to see.
So Hi and Mi Ri in Goodbye Solo
They talked, they bitched, they chilled, these two women found time for bonding sessions in between dealing with their own male romantic issues. This is probably the most true-to-real-life depiction of female friendship I’ve seen on screen, and of course it’s written by a writer who strives to make the real world only a dash dramatic for the screen without losing its honesty.
In the end, while no female-female friendships have ever been depicted with as much depth, breadth, and scope as Buffy and Willow in BtVS, at least K-dramas have tried and succeeded in a few instances, which I greatly appreciate.