Let’s be real. There are A LOT of cheesy K-dramas out there. Sometimes we watch a particular scene that we’ve seen countless times before that is off-the-charts cheesy, but we still can’t help but love it. There are various tropes or elements that usually result in a drama giving off a cheesy vibe. Some aspects include an accidental hug or kiss, an over-the-top confession, a background song, and super sweet displays of affection in the form of actions or words. And although these cheesy elements are enough to make us cringe, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that the K-drama is an absolute pleasure to watch. Here’s a look at 10 Romantic K-dramas that are cheesy but a total guilty pleasure.
Warning: Minor spoilers ahead!
1. “Oh My Venus”
Even from just the first episode of “Oh My Venus,” there were scenes that screamed, “CHEESE.” But because the drama starred So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah, I was willing to give it a shot. Despite various parts of the series continuing to be cringy, it was possible to overlook it because of the OTP.
The series has a lot of aegyo, especially with how Kang Joo Eun (Shin Min Ah) interacts with Kim Young Ho (So Ji Sub). She is so open with her affections with him that it could have come off being over-the-top cheesy, but because the main leads ooze with so much sex appeal, it isn’t half as cheesy as it could have been. It’s one that is a total guilty pleasure despite all the scenes that make you want to squeal and cringe.
Start watching “Oh My Venus”:
2. “The Greatest Love”
“The Greatest Love” stars Cha Seung Won as a famous actor who falls in love with a former girl group idol, played by Gong Hyo Jin. The two embark on a whirlwind of a romance that has its ups and downs. Through this love story, they share a lot of K-drama cliche moments that I couldn’t get enough of.
“The Greatest Love” is memorable for several lines and scenes that are epically corny. One that comes to mind is the one with the whole potato. Dokgo Jin (Cha Seung Won) waters a potato that Goo Ae Jung (Gong Hyo Jin) leaves behind one day and it becomes his only real connection to her when they are fighting or apart.
Scenes like this could totally make the series downright cheesy, but because of Cha Seung Won’s acting and delivery, it’s really a fun series to watch and is definitely considered to be on of the best rom-coms! And with Gong Hyo Jin, the corniness can be totally overlooked!
Start watching “The Greatest Love”:
3. “Lucky Romance”
“Lucky Romance” stars Ryu Jun Yeol as Je Soo Ho, a genius CEO of a gaming company and Hwang Jung Eum as Shim Bo Nui, an unlucky girl who has a lot of random part-time jobs. When Soo Ho falls in love with Bo Nui and opens up his heart to her, he can hardly contain himself. He is a fool in love who does and says some uber cheesy things.
Despite all this, the drama is romantic and addictive to watch! Because Soo Ho experiences real love for the first time, seeing him turn from an ice-cold CEO to a ball of mush can be super cheesy, but it’s exactly what we need!
Start watching “Lucky Romance”:
4. “My Secret Romance”
With one look at the trailer, it was obvious how cheesy this K-drama was going to be. It’s got all the tropes that people have come to know and love, which is why many of us end up watching these types of K-dramas. It’s one of those series that you don’t need to think a lot about and it’s definitely one to watch when you want to de-stress.
With scenes like:
These rom-com cliche scenes with the damsel in distress almost falling and the main lead dramatically catching her fall is pretty cheesy, but it’s hard not to watch! Plus, it’s got the added bonus of starring Sung Hoon, which we can’t argue with.
Start watching “My Secret Romance”:
5. “Her Private Life”
“Her Private Life” is a recent series that aired on tvN starring Kim Jae Wook and Park Min Young. The series revolves around an art director by the name of Ryan Gold who falls in love with his art curator, Sung Duk Mi. The two end up in a seriously adorable relationship with each other that many viewers can chalk up to being pretty epic.
There are several cringe-worthy lines in the series said by the main leads that make it pretty cheesy. And the fact that it’s a rom-com alone, you can expect it to have lots of scenes we’ve seen before. But although everything about it is very predictable and very typical, you can’t take away from the fact that it’s irresistible to watch! I mean, there’s a reason why this pair was so talked! Their chemistry is unbelievable and made it easy to overlook the cheese factor.
It’s just too good!
Start watching “Her Private Life”:
“Heirs” is a K-drama that stars Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye as two star-crossed high school lovers. The drama was written by Kim Eun Sook, who has written some blockbuster scripts. “Heirs” took Korea and other parts of Asia by storm mainly for its cast, but we can’t take away from the fact that the cheesiness of the series also helped make for a pleasurable watch.
There’s a true divide of people who have watched this series. People either really loved it or really hated it. Those in the former group loved it for its predictability and accepted the cringiness of it all. Take this scene for example:
With the script, the actions, and background music, it makes for quite the cringe-worthy scene. But even with this, it’s so romantic! “Heirs” is the type of drama that will make you want to cringe but also squeal with joy at the same time.
Start watching “Heirs”:
“Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo” stars Lee Sung Kyung and Nam Joo Hyuk as two college sweethearts who go through the emotions and pangs of first love and achieving dreams. This series has all the typical lovey-dovey romantic scenes that any K-drama rom-com has, but there is something particularly special about this series that makes it so irresistibly memorable.
The sweet gestures between the main leads and the serious connection they have with each other are undeniably adorable. And despite the cheesiness of it all, you really can’t help but get butterflies and fall in love with everything about the OTP.
It’s a series you can watch over and over again!
Start watching “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo”:
“Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” stars Park Hyung Sik as Ahn Min Hyuk, the CEO of a gaming company who hires Park Bo Young‘s character Do Bong Soon to be his bodyguard. Do Bong Soon is a girl with super strength who comes to the rescue of her weak boyfriend Ahn Min Hyuk.
The premise of this series sounds corny and if it wasn’t for the two leads, it could have been an epic fail. But Park Hyung Sik and Park Bo Young are so adorable together and their chemistry in the series is so convincing!
And if it wasn’t for this chemistry, scenes like this particular one could have come off as being uber cheesy:
The pair was able to deliver the cutest and cheesiest lines with such conviction that it had viewers begging for more! These two need to be in another series together ASAP!
Start watching “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”:
9. “Kill Me Heal Me”
“Kill Me Heal Me” is the hit MBC series starring Ji Sung, Hwang Jung Eum, and Park Seo Joon. Ji Sung plays Cha Do Hyun, a troubled man who struggles with multiple personality disorder. He tries to get better by hiring a psychiatric student by the name of Oh Ri Jin (Hwang Jung Eum). The two end up falling in love with each other and discover that their pasts are intertwined.
One of the main reasons why this particular K-drama is so cheesy is because of one of the personalities who goes by the name of Shin Se Gi. In the first scene with Shin Se Gi, he says and does things that are so cringe-worthy. But even though it is pretty cheesy, there’s something about him that totally had everyone smitten!
Start watching “Kill Me Heal Me”:
10. “Moments of 18”
One of the newer series on this list, “Moments of 18” stars Ong Seong Woo and Kim Hyang Gi as two high school students who fall in love with each other. You can say this series is pretty typical when it comes to high-school dramas, but it still doesn’t seem to get old seeing two young lovebirds falling in love.
It’s a total guilty pleasure seeing the main couple go through all the typical tropes like love triangles, jealousy, and sweeping confessions. What would we do without it?!
Start watching “Moments of 18”:
Hey Soompiers, which cheesy K-drama is your guilty pleasure? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She is also the author of “K-POP A To Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “Moments of 18,” “Little Forest,” and “Hotel Del Luna”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen