K-Dramas regularly sweep viewers off their feet with their heart-fluttering depiction of romance. But even though many K-Dramas focus on exploring healthy, loving relationships, like well-loved K-Drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo…
Many K-Dramas lean into more toxic depictions of romance since it gives writers more opportunities to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
Here are five of the unhealthiest romantic relationships shown in K-Dramas, according to fans.
1. “So I Married An Anti-Fan”
So I Married An Anti-Fan told the love story of Hoo Joon (Choi Tae Joon), a globally famous celebrity, and Geun Young (Girls’ Generation‘s Sooyoung), a magazine reporter and Hoo Joon’s “anti-fan.” Although their relationship starts as an “enemies to lovers” trope, viewers actually don’t think their relationship is toxic.
Instead, viewers cite the secondary couple, Jae Joon (2PM‘s Chansung) and In Hyung (Han Ji An), as one of the most toxic K-Drama couples. Unlike the main couple’s relationship, which evolves through the series, their “love” is all about jealousy and possessiveness.
ok but honestly in hyung and jae joon’s relationship is just pure toxic
— mei (@_springardens) June 6, 2021
Tempted has every essential piece for a dramatic, toxic, and captivating drama. Kwon Shi Hyun (Woo Do Hwan) is the cliche playboy who feels no emotion for the women he sleeps with. He then takes a bet to seduce Eun Tae Hee (Red Velvet‘s Joy), who doesn’t focus on dating and leads a virtuous life. Although they inevitably fall in love, their relationship is established on lies, deceit, and a bet.
no bc tempted was a rlly good kdrama i love my toxic couple
— ˚ʚ♡ɞ˚ (@ciinnaberry) April 24, 2023
3. “Young Lady And Gentleman”
Although many K-Dramas have received criticism for the age gaps between characters, K-Drama viewers especially found Young Lady And Gentleman problematic after one flashback scene. The drama depicts the love story between Lee Young Kook (Ji Hyun Woo), a single father in his 40s, and Park Dan Dan (Lee Se Hee), an independent woman in her 20s.
Fans tolerated the age gap, as the characters were both adults. However, when the drama showed one flashback scene of their first meeting, Park Dan Dan (played by Kim Min Seo in the scene) was only 13 years old. Thus many viewers found the relationship “creepy” and toxic.
every time I see young lady and gentleman related stuff, the plot gets worse and worse. like everything’s just so toxic and messed up? the only reason I’ll ever watch it is cause I wanna see if it can get any worse
— ellia ♡⭑ (@ellialily) February 22, 2022
Istg the most toxic drama after penthouse and sky castle is young lady and gentleman
— 🍉 (@listermelon) October 6, 2022
4. “True Beauty”
Many K-Dramas focus on love triangles, and viewers tend to enthusiastically root for their favorites. Such was the case for True Beauty, where fans of the series voiced their strong opinions about each character. The K-Drama follows the journey of high school student Im Ju Kyung (Moon Ga Young), who struggles with insecurities about her appearance, managing them with expert make-up skills. During high school, rich Lee Su Ho (ASTRO‘s Cha Eunwoo) and “bad boy” Han Seo Jun (Hwang In Youp) both fall for Ju Kyung’s charms.
tvn just turned true beauty into a cliche predictable, toxic love story – basically everything that the webtoon WASNT.
— bel 🖇 (@HWANGIYPD) January 19, 2021
Although Su Ho was the main love interest for Ju Kyung, many found his behavior problematic, seeing his character as often seeming too controlling or possessive of Ju Kyung.
i had never go against suho but this feels so off. really you get back with this for this? i had the same experienced and i swear this is so toxic & suffocating for a girl.
but anyways yeah it happened 🤷 pic.twitter.com/TalDS7rUSI
— kai (@4inyeopx) February 5, 2021
And while many rooted for the “underdog” second male lead Seo Jun, viewers also found his behavior toward Ju Kyung toxic, mainly focusing on his jealousy and treatment of his friends.
I just saw a tweet that irked me. I’ll just say I legitimately dislike Seojun as a character because of the way he blames Suho, who is already suffering, for something out of his control. Then they mend fences, but he still boxes him out upon his return because he’s jealous.
— kdrama trash ✨ (@tttalkskdrama) December 2, 2020
And Ju Kyung herself had many actions that viewers found too toxic and problematic.
jukyung’s toxic behaviour is killing my mood here. she has so much insecurities but refuses to voice them out, and allows herself to be played by her sly friend just as they calculated. #여신강림 #truebeauty pic.twitter.com/B5o40Zo3zg
— 남고주스 (@namgojuice) February 6, 2021
When K-Drama viewers think of a toxic K-Drama, Nevertheless is likely one of the first to come to mind. The toxic love story focuses on the relationship between Park Jae Eon (Song Kang) and Yoo Na Bi (Han So Hee), who meet at the university they both attend. Both start the drama as characters with no interest in relationships, but upon meeting, everything slowly changes. Throughout the entire drama, their relationship is tumultuous, to say the least, and the constant red flags have fans claiming the drama portrays one of the most toxic relationships.
picking up kdrama nevertheless just bc their relationship is toxic and that’s more interesting
— aiyana (@sunshinestype) July 5, 2021
— ꨄ︎ (@kcdramaniac) May 1, 2023
You can read about some of the healthiest relationships here.
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