Total Randomness #19: Kindness is Love?

It’s been awhile to have a post that was not totally centered on Asian entertainment in general, but here I go. Oh, this post is sparked by Lady Oh’s discussion with Hae Soo in Scarlet Heart Ryeo so do know it is in a way drama related just because it made me think.

Scarlet Heart RyeoSo, Lady Oh warns Hae Soo to stop showing kindness to 4th Prince Wang So if she does not have feelings for him (at this time it still seems as Hae Soo’s heart is with 8th Prince Wang Wook, by the way) less she get up his expectations of something more and not be able to deliver on that promise. Granted, So is a very wounded man (both emotionally and physically). He was sent away from the palace, kept isolated from his parents and siblings and raised by people who could care less if he lived or died (they had a scene that showed his foster family being disappointed that So came away from a den of wolves alive). Oh…and when he does get to see his family and others, they belittle him, tease him, or leave him out. He’s walking in his own personal minefield daily, so Lady Oh’s warning does make sense. Since So is technically so vulnerable, he can easily misconstrue the friendship and niceness of Hae Soo with a romantic interest.

The thing that you wonder is that even if Hae Soo was aware of this or not originally (we do learn during Eun’s engagement that she was aware of his feelings, but ignored them as she valued him as her first friend), she was made aware by Lady Oh that So is developing special feelings for her, so to nonchalantly say she won’t leave So alone because she’ll be the one to change his destiny (which led to Lady Oh revealing her young love with the king before he became the regent and how you can’t change a man’s mind) irked me. Granted, it was already too late to leave So alone at that point and then she geared up to turn her back on him because she recalled who Gwangjong was…grrr, but still, does that not make her responsible for her decision and knowing that a lot of people can get hurt by it (not just herself and So, but Wook who is also in love with her and making a strained family relationship even worse)? It’s one thing if it is just an innocent niceness unfortunately being misconstrued, it’s another thing when she decides to deliberately keep by his side in hopes of changing history.

What is interesting is when Eun refuses to marry the general’s daughter. He will only speak to Hae Soo. He begs her to be his second wife. Hae Soo refuses saying that she will never share her man with anyone else. Eun is quick to call her out. That’s not true. She would never marry him even if she was the first or the only wife (which is true). I don’t put any blame on Hae Soo here. She technically never encouraged Eun in the romance department. After beating him and berating him, she truly felt he was her friend and they were very close. Plus, it’s hard to think of someone romantically when they are so obviously immature. Was Hae Soo wrong to keep her friendship with Eun knowing Eun had more of a puppy love crush on her? Do you need to choose between friendship and love? Yes, you do need to understand another’s feelings and try not be manipulative or hurtful…but…should you be responsible for another’s feelings when you yourself have done nothing to encourage those types of feelings?

It happens often in dramas where a person is very aware of how another person feels. Instead of distancing themselves from that person, they feign ignorance and end up hurting the others’ feelings over and over again. Or maybe they don’t feign anything, but take for granted that person will always like them and rely heavily on them when they really shouldn’t. And as viewers it is frustrating to see the obvious love of one person being completely tromped on by another who obviously (unless they are complete idiots) is aware of this and still keeps stringing the other person along. Case in point is when you have people using the ones that love them to make the one they love jealous. It burns a person up inside and you want to shake the onscreen characters. Ah…Gangster Oppa. I really wanted to throttle Mi So when she used him to reject the guy she really loved (yes, to reject the guy she liked, she wasn’t trying to make him jealous). I think it was too obvious Gangster Oppa loved Mi So as more than a friend/lil sister.

Choi Dae HoonThen you have the dramas where you really just have nice characters. They aren’t romantically interested in a person, they are just honestly good characters who get chewed up and spat out over their kindness. Because kindness is love isn’t it? Kindness can be a type of love, but it doesn’t mean that you have any special feelings for a person. So should we chastise or criticize people who are innately kind just because it could cause a misunderstanding? How many misunderstood rich bad boys become attracted to poor women who are kind (or fireballs, lol)? They then get mad as hell because said poor girl is in love with someone else. So why did she lead them on? Short answer? She didn’t (notice how the blame usually falls on women and not men in dramas…such a double standard although there are a few dramas where the man gets in trouble for being nice to a girl).

Something I do find interesting is with Kang Ji Woon in Cinderella and Four Knights. We can already see that he has a connection to Hye Ji. This girl is so obsessed with Kang Hyun Min that it isn’t funny. She keeps deliberately opening herself up to be hurt by Hyun Min’s antics that I can’t pity her. I just can’t. I don’t care what their past was or how much he’s changed. In the year that Ji Woon came to live with his cousins and seeing the disintegrating relationship between Hyun Min and Hye Ji, there really is no reason for her to hang on and make herself as miserable as she does. But there is Ji Woon who is always there to pick up the pieces. The interesting thing is that the drama makes it seen that Ji Woon is in love with Hye Ji. He always cares for her and shows her kindness. I know that being nice doesn’t mean love necessarily, but they writers play it up so much that it looks like love.

Tsutsumi Shinichi, Wakui Emi

When kindness really meant love. Pure was an awesome drama.

Then enter Ha Won into the mix. You can tell that Hyun Min is interested in Ha Won, not romantically even though he likes to play romance with her, lol. With Ji Woon…it seemed more like sympathy that he can understand what Ha Won is going through, but you can see him slowly falling for her (after he determined to chase her to keep her away from Hyun Min for Hye Ji). But then Hye Ji decides to put her foot down and chuck Hyun Min to the side. She then asks Ji Woon to accept her feelings. She later gets upset with Ji Woon because he says that he doesn’t love her. He was always nice to her because she was the first person to be kind to him when he joined the Kang family. I also like how Ji Woon points out that Hye Ji doesn’t have any special romantic feelings. The problem is Hye Ji just got used to him being by her side instead of Hyun Min.

In a way it was refreshing to hear that Ji Woon wasn’t in love with Hye Ji, but the way it was played out didn’t really make his words ring 100% true. Or are we just confusing kindness with love? He’s upset with Hyun Min and Hye Ji because he is a kind person and can’t stand to see people hurt. I am happy that he was cognizant of the fact that Hye Ji is just lying to herself by giving him a chance with her and he’s not stupid enough to really take her up on the offer she made. And what about Eun Ha Won and Seo Woo? Him falling for her…I really didn’t find that as believable. How did he end up liking her so much anyways? Though, if we are honest, love usually doesn’t make sense, especially in dramaland. Ha Won can easily see through Hyun Min’s antics to his feelings. She can’t see Ji Woon’s true feelings or Seo Woo’s. To me, especially with the confession song, it should have been obvious to Ha Won, but whatever. Ha Won is an honestly nice person, but a bit clueless when it comes to things. While I do think she she understand Seo Woo’s feelings a bit more than she really does, I don’t get angry at her for her niceness. Why stop being nice to the cousins? But you know anger will always follow when the truths start leaking out.

Kindness is love. Kindness isn’t love. And sometimes, especially in dramas, love isn’t kind, but cruel. The crueler a person is the more they “love” you. Shakes head. Craziness. Should people change how they are and always be cautious of their actions less someone mistake them? Who can live walking on eggshells because you never know expectations and how people will interpret things at all?

I am not, obviously, only talking about dramas. In real life, misunderstandings like this abound. I choose to be kind to people, although, over the years I have gotten a bit more sarcastic at times. But, I agree with the Dali Lama. My religion is kindness. You shouldn’t have to worry about being kind to others, should you?

2 comments

  • I think you are right kindness is not love but then again love doesn’t exist but it is fun to see it created through TV and film. Although kindness could be considered a type of caring that is pure. Not corrupted by anything sexual or romantic. It is caring where the other person freely gives without asking much in return and it feels calming.

    But mostly when this happens if the girl did not say anything to make the guy think she likes him then this means she is not at fault. If she is cruel with him its because she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings. And people will protect that especially when they care about a friend.

  • I think part of the problem is that the modern word love has so many meanings. Other languages and other time periods had many words for the different aspects of love. Most famously, the greek words of agape, eros and philia.

    Obviously, Hae Soo is thinking of love as friendship while I’m pretty sure Court Lady Oh was interested in her soldier as a lover. In other dramas and in real life, one person is thinking of one meaning of love and another has their own concept for it. It’s communication that makes all the difference.

    I used to work at a historic site here in the USA that was built by a (now extinct) religious community. Every fall and spring they would gather all the members together for a “Love Feast.” Very innocently – they meant the love of brothers and sisters – but whew, the surrounding communities used to get in an uproar! Communication, communication, communication!

    P.S. One of my favorite tropes in literature/television/etc. is friends who grow into lovers. It’s a great thing in real life, too.

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