Monday, 28 December 2020

Completed! Translation of Go Ara and Lee Jae Wook's Kool FM Radio Interview

Hello fans of DDSSLLS! I'm trying to raise funds so we can get a translator to help us translate and hardsub the Go Ara and Lee Jae Wook interview. 

Update: This has now been completed and the full subbed video has been put up for donors. If you would like to watch, but missed out on the donation period, shoot me an email at and we can see if there's anything we can do about it :)

Which Interview do you want to translate and why?

As you all know the Do do sol sol la la sol Behind the Scenes DVD did not get a enough orders to be made, which is really sad since it means we missed out additional behind the scenes content (apparently the DVD had NG scenes and cut scenes etc). BUT there are still some behind the scenes videos and interviews that no one translated/subbed, so I thought we could at least make the most of what was released and get it all translated/ subbed! 

The Kool FM Interview is a radio interview with a Youtube video. of Go Ara and Lee Jae Wook promoting Do do sol sol la la sol. It's one of the few interviews that no one translated because it's so long to do as an individual. There's cute moments of them laughing and playing games and talking about their characters and personal preferences etc.

Why do you need  donations when you normally sub things for free?

This interview is 30 minutes long which is a lot for one person to translate and sub for free. (The other K-drama videos on my channel which were translated for free by friends and subbed by me. They were only 5-10 mins long max. Also I don't know Korean myself and rely on friends to translate - some of those friends are now very busy, so don't want to pressure them). So we're thinking of getting a translator to help. The translators we've gotten quotes for have said $60 USD will be payment enough to translate and hardsub the entire video.

We are trying to see if fans can donate a small amount ($2 USD or $5 USD) to help us get this video translated and subbed for Youtube.

I want to see extra Lee Jae Wook and Go Ara / DDSSLLS content! How can I donate?

I wanted to start a Kickstarter, but that costs money and I don't want to set a higher donation amount. The easiest way I think would be to send your donations direct through Paypal. Haha, how can you trust me? Well, I'm not willing to change my social media accounts just to run off with $60 and I really want to see this video subbed, so I'm pretty sure you can trust me not to misuse the funds!

Here are instructions for sending the funds:

1. Log into your Paypal account

2. Click on the tab above that says 'Send and Request' and make sure it's in the send tab and type in the address to send the funds. 

This is my Paypal address for receiving funds:

3. After you hit next, it will take you to the page where you put the amount you want to donate. Put in the amount in the column of what the reipicient receives and make sure the currency that recipient receives is USD (The translator I am using is from the US so will need to be paid  in USD)

4. If asked if you are purchasing something or sending money to friends or family, you can select either. (Probably better to select 'sending to friends or family' but if people feel uncomfortable with this, they can select the other option). 

If there is a description or notes, please write DDSSLLS Project. Review your donation before paying.

5. Please contact me if you've donated so I can match your donation and put you on the list to recieve a link to the subbed video.


Twitter: @thsdramaticdays

Instagram: thesedramaticdays

Date of Donation: Please send donations by Wednesday 5th Jan 2021. We will get the translation out by the end of that week.

What happens to my donation if you don't get $60 USD? 

I'll get the translator to sub what she can with the donation and try to get my translator friends to do some work also. If we only get $10 USD, it'll only be a small part of the video translated and subbed. But if we get more, we will be able to translate and sub more. Hope that makes sense!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me:


Twitter: @thsdramaticdays

Instagram: thesedramaticdays

Donation Video:

Friday, 11 December 2020

How to vote for Lee Jae Wook and Go Ara for Best Couple for Do do sol sol la la sol 도도솔솔라라솔 at the KBS Drama Awards

Note: Voting is now closed and the Awards have been presented to winners. However, I will leave this post up for those who want to vote in the KBS awards. I imagine the steps would be similar though the voting selecting would change every year according to the dramas for that year.

Well, it seems like voting is open for the KBS Drama Awards. If you want to see Lee Jae Wook and Go Ara take out that best couple award, or at least have a better chance of seeing them both at the awards together, you have a chance to vote for them, even as an international fan. I found a past guide which taught me and I've modified it to teach you.

Step 1: Create a KBS Membership account

1. You will need to create an account: Click on the link here -> KBS Membership Centre

Note: You can't just log in on your social media account as a trial member as it doesn't give you the right to use the full services including vote in Award shows. Please note that creating a membership will require you to send photo ID, so if you're not comfortable with that, it's something to think about.

2. Select 'Members living outside Korea'

3. You'll need to tick the the actual statements agreeing with the terms and conditions. It's not the most user friendly because these don't look like buttons, but I've circled what to click on (You can click on the picture below to make it bigger). Make sure the ticks become blue colour.

4. The form itself is pretty self explanatory, but I've circled some things you might miss or fill in incorrectly and get stuck on (a pop up comes up to stop you and you can't go further if this happens). Make sure not to forget the following:
  • Next to Gender: Click on either 'male' or 'female' and make sure the ticks become blue colour.
  • Next to ID: Fill in a username you would like to use to log into the KBS website. You will need to hit the 'check for duplicate ID' button to see if there's someone else already using that name
  • Next to Email: The email address is split so that they have put in the @ symbol - you need to fill in your email before and after the @ symbol.
  • Next to Social Security Number: If you don't live in US (like me), you can use another form of ID like your Driver's license, IC card number or Passport number.
  • Next to Methods of Identification: Click on 'ID card image is attached' and make sure the tick is blue colour. Make sure your ID photo or scan is not too big in file size - if it's too big you will also not be able to move to the next stage
Note: There's a section under the necessary information asking for your Address, etc. That information does not need to be filled out - it's only for competitions, but they rarely have competitions that foreigners can enter anyway. 

5. Click compete once you're done and it'll confirm that you've registered. There's is no email confirmation and it says it may take 7 days but actually it'll probably take less than that. I logged into the KBS website the next night and it was fine, meaning it was approved!

Step 2: Log in and vote in the KBS Drama Awards

1. Try logging in the next night after registering.

2. Then go to this part of the site to vote. I've linked you here -> KBS Drama Awards Voting Site

If the link works, skip to number 3

If not you can find the page by following the instructions below:

If this link doesn't work for some reason, you can find it by clicking on the little magnifying glass for search in the top right hand side of the webpage. When you click on it there will be a bunch of recommended options that come up including KBS drama awards...Click on the circled things below to get to the voting page...

3. How to vote...At this point, you might want to open another window and screenshot any popups and put it through an image translator to know if you're doing the right thing:

Basically you'll come to a page with lots of information about the awards. Scroll down and then there will be a little profile of your ID at KBS and some things you need to fill in. First make sure you 'Consent to the collection and use of additional personal information' by clicking the tickbox next to it. Then you will need to fill out a phone number. Someone said they used their own number and that was fine. I had trouble, so had to get a Korean number. You can purchase one or get creative (generators/forums).

4. Now you are ready to vote! The First Category is 1. Men's Popularity Award Voted by Netizens *

Only click on one person - who you want to vote...Lee Jae Wook is in the 5th row.

The second category is 2. Women's Popularity Award Voted by Netizens *

Only click on one person - who you want to vote...Go Ara is in the first row!

The third category is 3. Best Couple Award Selected by Netizens *

Only click on one person - who you want to vote...Go Ara & Lee Jae Wook are in the 5th row!

5. Then hit the blue button at the end to complete! 

If there are any issues with your phone number this pop up will come up. You'll need to fix up or try another number if this happens. Korean numbers are 010 beginnings.

If there are no issues with your number, you will be asked to review your vote before submitting it

When you hit ok, you will get this confirmation pop up, Thanking you for your vote!

Once voted, your votes will be locked in and you will not be able to vote again....

Hope this guide has helped you to vote for Lee Jae Wook and Go Ara. If you need any help, you can find me and others to help on the Janghaven forums here. Good luck!

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

How I Made Peace with the ending of Do do sol sol la la sol 도도솔솔라라솔: A Healing Essay about not being Bitter and Focusing on the Things I loved about this Drama

Warning: Contains spoilers for Do do sol sol la la sol. If you haven't seen or finished the series yet, you may want to do that before reading this piece.

So obvious to all who know me or have visited my blog, I was quite in love with the drama Do do sol sol la la sol. I definitely loved the actors Lee Jae Wook and Go Ara, and their beautiful chemistry both on-screen and off. But more than just that I loved the show for bringing happiness in every single way - each episode was focused on community, friendship and love. It also brought a sense of healing through the small joys of everyday life - music, food, gardening, pets (there is an adorably fashionable Pomeranian in this series called Mimi!) and conversation. At the heart of the drama was incredibly fun dialogue, good story-telling and pacing, cute romance, a sense of mystery and on-point humour....It continued this way from episode 1-12 or 13...and then it hit episode 14 and the drama felt incredibly different. It looked like it might pick up the pacing in Episode 15, but then it took an incredibly strange and angsty turn in the finale, only to resolve everything within the last 10 minutes without a logical or heartfelt explanation. 

At first I was so, so, so angry at the ending....but I've survived it and I still love a lot of things about this series. If I'm honest, I don't think I'll ever love this ending and I do still acknowledge the streak of cruelty by the writers. But I can now accept it for what it is. And I have made peace enough to love all the earlier episodes without caring so much about the parts that I felt disappointed about. Honestly, time has helped a lot with this. But I did also write and process a lot of things since the finale episode aired and I think going through everything with a fine comb helped me a lot. It's like when they tell you to write in a journal when you're sad so you can let it all go. So if you find yourself still bitter about the ending or uncomfortable about certain things, maybe this collection of ideas will give you a sense of comfort and help you to feel better about what you saw. I can't promise it'll make you like the ending or anything like that...but I think it'll help to work through some things that felt unfair and unfinished and maybe it'll give you some closure.

The things that helped, which I'll talk about in more depth below are these things:
1. Coming up with/reading alternative endings
2. Timeline editing in the drama
3. Critiquing what went wrong and how it could be fixed
4. Rationalising why this is a 'Happy Ending' in the world of the characters'
5. Rationalising and finding reason for the writer's choices
6. Finding humour and irony in the story
7. Ending the story by watching Behind the Scenes footage instead
8. Remembering the reasons I love this show & Supporting the actors and their chemistry

A Quick Recap on the Ending

Ironically, I've never seen such a fallout on a technically 'happy' ending before in a K-drama. Nor have I personally ever disliked a happy ending in my entire life. But this one was particularly frustrating when I first watched the final arc (Episodes 14-16) and the final episode. Here are the spoilers summarised:

Jun discovers he has cancer. He doesn't tell Lala, but pretends he's going overseas to study while he leaves for treatment. Over Christmas, he means to visit, but his mother comes instead and tells Lala he can't come anymore since he was very ill... and Lala is devastated, assuming he died. 5 years later, there's a day everyone keeps mentioning Jun. Lala thinks about him and plays the old welcome song she use to play when he came home. Suddenly Jun comes back to his old house alive and hugs her. Lala asks why he didn't keep in touch for 5 years. And he says he just wanted to wait till he was better. Lala asks if he's a ghost. He kisses her to prove not. The End. There is no further explanation or epilogue.

Why did people dislike the ending? Why did I dislike it?

  • A lot of people felt it ruined the continuity of Jun's character in his positive traits (always protecting Lala, never wanting to let her go and loving her etc.) But it enhanced the negative traits (how he had so many secrets that he never told her about etc.)
  • People were hurt by the writer's emotional manipulation - People were devastated when Jun died but then it all turned out to be a trick that was revealed in the last 10 minutes of the episode.
  • People felt Lala and Jun did not get enough air time in the final episodes 
  • People felt that the story was unfair and incomplete in that it offered no additional details to resolve the story beyond the brief explanation we were given that Jun just wanted to wait till he was completely better. The excuse felt too light to justify being away for 5 years without contact.
  • People felt the story went down the most Makjang routes of Kdramas and that threw out the style, tone, pacing and even genre of the drama. It felt more like an melodrama than a rom-com.

Personal feelings & Expectations & Cognitive Dissonance 

The fallout I personally had with the ending was so very, very, very strong and I was pretty devastated that they chose to end the drama the way they did. I don't generally like weddings in dramas because they don't mean a happy ending - they're cliche and to be frank, a bit boring. But in some dramas, I think that a wedding is an extremely suitable ending. This was one of them. The whole feel of the show had been fun and light, and full of crazily dramatic events that having a third wedding would have matched the tone of the story and book-ended the series in such a satisfying way. 

Instead the dramatic event they chose to end on was death and resurrection. And the sweet boy who always wanted to protect Lala and would do anything to stay by her side, came back from death a little like a (handsome) devil in black, without an explanation for staying away for 5 years. That was the part that bothered me the most. The fact that he would fake his death and not keep in contact with Lala seemed so inconsistent with Jun's entire character, especially since he was the one who could barely keep away from Lala from the very moment they had met. The wedding, I could forego, but the lack of clear explanation as to why Jun had chosen to do what he did, especially after the already hurtful events of episode 14, made me feel like I couldn't reconcile his character. I just couldn't understand. And it went against everything I liked about him.

This feeling was realllllly uncomfortable because it caused a state of cognitive dissonance, not just for Jun's character, but for the whole show. There were so many things I loved so deeply about this show, but what I disliked, I also hated with a passion. Without being able to feel one way or the other about this show made me feel extremely agitated. Also, I felt weird for obsessing about an ending so much but then realised that this happens all the time and not just to me. The last big fall out I had was funnily enough not for a K-drama or even a show I was deeply invested in. But a lot of people hated this ending... It was for How I Met Your Mother. In a way, the ending for that show got hate for some of the reasons this ending has been greatly disliked - the pacing was thrown off by the time jumps in the last episode, they killed off the OTP (the mother, or Ted's wife, got some mysterious illness they never explained) and there was a big unlikable twist which felt like the writers were playing a trick on the audience after 9 seasons or so of a very happy show (the story turned out to be about Ted telling his kids about he met their stepmother rather than mother). Remembering that ending and people's reactions to it made me realise I'm not weird - I'm just grieving over something I loved and wished I could fix. Soooo....How did I get over these feelings? It was a process, that's for sure. A lot of things helped me to get past this. 

No. 1 - Coming up with or Reading Alternate Endings

Well, honestly the first thing that a lot of people did was to rewrite the ending in ways that made more sense and were more desirable. We can't always get the things we what, but that doesn't mean we can't picture them perfectly. I suppose that's why fan fiction is such a popular past time..reading these endings made by talented writers on forums cheered me up considerably (Many Thanks to Unnie0110 and MapleOaks5 of Janghaven who shared these ideas), so I thought I share them with the wider world:

Better versions of the Ending with the illness route

  • Jun's mother telling the truth and Lala looking after Jun till they get married: If they wanted to stick to the story line that Jun was sick, they should have had his mum come and say that Jun was really sick. In fact, he could be in a coma now. (Since we throwing all sorts of tropes out there.) Lala then decides she wants to stick by Jun's side and takes care of him in those 5 years. He miraculously wakes up and they get married and have their happily ever after.
  • Jun telling Lala he is sick and Lala and him grow together as he pulls through and they have a child: Jun fesses up to Lala that he’s sick. She’s shocked but decides to be by his side and care for him. He doesn’t have a coma, but treatment takes a while. It’s touch and go for awhile. But he ends up pulling through. They get married and have their happily ever after. They have a kid and their kid is best friends with Hayoung and Seung Gi's kid.
  • Jun heals in Eunpo with Lala and the community and proposes to Lala: Jun is sick, but his family discover coincidentally that the hospital in Eunpo has doctors who specialise in cancer treatment. Seeing as everyone will find out the truth anyway, Jun finds the courage to tell Lala and everyone at Eunpo he's sick. They all support him and he has company in the hospital while Grandpa is still recovering. Jun's parents see how well Lala takes care of him and how wonderful the townsfolk are, so they decide to leave Jun in their healing hands as long as he's happy. They end with Jun feeling better at Christmas and proposing to Lala in front of all their friends and family.

Better versions of the Ending with the overseas study route

  • Jun makes a deal with his parents and they date long-distance till getting married: Jun never had cancer. He bought Lalaland in exchange for him going abroad to medical school. He’s honest to Lala about the exchange and promises that he’ll come back for her after he’s done with school. They maintain a long distance relationship and he’s finally done with medical school and he’s able to stand on his own two feet. They reunite, get married and have their happily ever after. 

From a happier earlier episode

  • Jun and Lala elope and continue on their lives in Eunpo: Let us think that DDSSLLS ended at Ep. 12. Jun stole the bride, they eloped and went back to Eunpo. They live at Lala Land and Jun continues his studies while working part-time while Lala runs her piano academy. They get help along the way from their friends. Jun's parents calm down after a while because no parent can win over a child they love so much and they agree to support Jun and Lala until Jun graduates from university. The couple live happily ever after with 3 children - 2 boys and 1 girl (all has Rara's curls and the boys like to say "shiro" all the time and the girl likes to say "good, good, good" to everything.)

No. 2 - Timeline Editing

Even though the episodes towards the end went down a path I didn't like, there were still plenty of sweet moments that I cared about, so I guess there could be some comfort in using the scenes given to us and just editing them (mentally) into a sequence that was better to watch. I have actually wondered if anyone with video skills has physically edited the ending because I think it would be so comforting to watch.

  • Ending the series at it's peak in Episode 12/ or Episode 8: Depending on what episode you loved the most, the series could have ended there. Aside from finding out who DDSSLLS is, the series did have a slice of life feel, so it would not affect the story to end it at an earlier point in some ways. If the drama ended at episode 12, it would have been in celebration of Jun and Lala eloping at the beach after Jun turned 20. If it ended at episode 8, it would have been after they confessed their feelings and Jun continued to live in Eunpo, never having been found out and always protecting Lala as DDSSLLS.
  • Inserting the ring-giving scene from Episode 15 before Episode 12: The heartfelt moments in episode 15 can be mentally cut and paste into the story before the scenes on the beach. It works perfectly if you insert it in your memories as an earlier part of episode 12 - Jun sneaks back to Eunpo to see Lala...they spend the day doing the things they use to do and hanging with everyone. Jun then proposes to Lala and they 'sleep' together, but he has to go back to studying for a few months. One day he hears about Dr Cha and Lala and is shocked because Lala accepted his ring. How could she betray him now? So he interrupts her wedding, runs away with her and then they elope on the beach.
  • Inserting the reveal of DDSSLLS and how Lala and Jun met after he comes back in Episode 16: The reveal of Jun as DDSSLLS seems random in Episode 15 when it could have happened in the last episode and he could have used that identity to continue watching over Lala the whole time he was away. So honestly, that memory of their first meeting and explanation of their past could almost come at the end, after he came back, if you wanted to think of Jun as being DDSSLLS the whole time he was away from her.
  • Cutting out all of the last episode except for the first and last 10 minutes: A lot of people have said that while they're not happy with the last episode, at least the ending was technically happy. If it was viewed by itself, the last 10 minutes would be sweet. So it could be possible to watch maybe the first 10 mins of episode 16 and then the last 10 (cutting out that one line about not keeping in contact if it bothers you.) Then it would literally be a story about Jun going away when he was sick and returning without the ridiculous fake death sequence in the middle.
  • Only thinking of Manbok & Sanja's Story: I guess if the main story was not to your taste, you could always just rewatch Jun and Lala enacting Grandpa's love story with his wife!

No. 3 - Critiquing what went wrong and how things could have been fixed

Although I liked the idea of happier endings and could even picture them as people mentioned them or could change the timeline in my mind, I felt like I couldn't let go of the anger I had developed and just wanted to write down all the things that I thought was wrong with the ending. Maybe that seems negative, but you can't let go of anger if you don't pinpoint what you're angry about in the first place and work through it. And the thing about cognitive dissonance is that you are always trying to fix the ideas that don't match your values...This was a pretty healing step for me as it allowed me to gather all my thoughts and vent them out. And after this I felt less hurt and ready to look towards happier elements and consider the remaining logic of the ending. If you prefer not to go through the negative parts, I'd skip to number 4. 

Proposed changes (small things) that could have fixed The Ending

There were so many points in the last episode where they could have inserted some scene or sequence that would have fixed the story a little or at least turned it around a bit. It still wouldn't come to the perfect ending like those composed by fans above...but if these things were added, I would've swallowed the ending a lot better. This is the very least amount of effort they could have put in to try to make the story end at least a tiny bit better:

Death Twist

  • Jun mother could have told the truth: Let's say he was very sick at Christmas - Jun's mother, whether sent by Jun or coming of her own accord, could have just told Lala that she thought Jun was dying, but didn't want Lala to see him in his death-like state. It would not be ideal, but at least Lala would know the truth (even if she hadn't heard it from Jun's mouth) and even if she didn't see him for a long time, at least she would not have been hurt from his "death" 
  • The Death twist could have been a quirky misunderstanding and Jun could have pulled through after Christmas: Honestly, even if they really really wanted to do the "death" shock in the middle and make it a quirky plot twist, it could have been done as a misunderstanding from his mother where she thought he had died - there could have been an actual scene showing Jun struggling in the hospital and perhaps looking like he was dying from his cancer around Christmas. And then the next day he pulled through and it was all a misunderstanding and the mother had to go back and explain to Lala he was not dead and Lala could have rushed to the hospital to see him and be with him. I could have accepted this kind of quirkiness in line with the style of the drama from episode 1, where everything was a bit fast paced and left-of-centre.
  • Jun's reveal as DDSSLLS could have been after he came back: This one has been on my mind a lot, but if they wanted to go down the "death" shock route and the separation for 5 years (which I still hated), why didn't they keep Jun's DDSSLLS secret till the very end? At the least even if he had faked his death, he was still using that account to watch over Lala and to comfort her for 5 years even if he felt he couldn't do it as Jun.

Baby Twist
  • They could have given us the Baby ending and then worked backward to give quirky twists: This one has also been on my mind a lot...but if they wanted to go down the "death" shock route and the 5 year time jump, the baby could actually have been Jun and Lala's baby and they could have gone down the road of giving a fun reason for why Jun didn't die - maybe he didn't actually have cancer! That would have been just as dramatic a way to play with the audience's emotions (without making them so angry) and it could have kept the tone of the story, but continued down this illness and death plot line that the writers seemed to like (without offending everyone as they did in real life.)
  • Playing a trick on Jun where Lala looked like she moved on with a Baby could have been a fun twist: Honestly, they had already pretended that Lala had had a wedding with Dr Cha. Someone in a forum said that it would have been funny if Jun had come back to see Lala walk out the door with Ha Yeong and Seung Gi's baby and he would have been devastated thinking she had moved on, only to find out it was not her baby. This would have at least evened the scales a bit and 'punished' Jun in his absence in the last episode. Also, it could then have been smartly juxtaposed to a time jump where they had their own baby or child.

The Reunion
  • The time jump could have been shorter: They could have made the time frame 1-2 year. 5 years is too damn long. It might be short in drama years, but viewers tend to measure time according to their own experiences of it and 5 years is like finishing a period of schooling!
  • Jun could have been more heartfelt in his returning scene rather than playful: Even if they had kept the episode the same up to almost the end and  they had to be separated for 5 whole years, at least Jun could have looked heartbroken about it upon returning to see Lala. Jun's reaction upon returning to Lala the first time was so heartfelt because he was so desperate to see her and explain the truth. He was so teary to see her - he had obviously missed her and felt so guilty for leaving her without an explanation. And after 5 years, you think he would have had a look of more guilt and sadness...not like strolling in casually and teasing her. Jun only teased Lala in the past when she wasn't distressed. I don't think this was due to LJW btw, but due to the script, which seemed to imply that he had to come back all teasing to Lala like this whole thing had been a big joke. If they wanted to do this route, Jun needed to have come back teary, racked with guilt for what he'd done and missing her. They'd need to chuck in a montage of how he'd been lonely for 5 years thinking about how she it stands, the way he came back happy (even if it's because he finally beat cancer) it did not sit well due to the faked death.
  • Epilogue in the last episode: They'd had an Epilogue every episode to explain things which we thought we understood the first time, but didn't. This episode had nothing. If they had added an epilogue to explain any part of the fake death/ 5 years apart, I think would have created a sense of relief for viewers who could not justify this time apart.

4. Rationalising: Why this is a 'Happy Ending' within the World of the Characters

Having let go of the feelings of dissatisfaction, I started to think about the ending in the idea of it being a technically happy ending. To be honest, there have been drama endings where I found it quite impossible to find anything positive to pull out of the mess I saw...and to make it worse, the endings were devastating. With the technically happy twist of DDSSLLS and the strong continuity of the main character Lala, I could justify enough to view the ending as happy to the story. Maybe it wasn't the happiness I wanted and it definitely wasn't the best portrayal of happiness in a drama, but it doesn't mean that it wasn't happy. Things are rarely black and white, and this ending can be viewed as happy without it feeling like I've made these points up.

Lala's Happy Ending
  • In the end, it is Lala's 'Happy Ending' because it's exactly what she wanted: A few people have said that it's a happy ending for Lala because if what she wanted was Jun, and Jun came back, then she got what she wanted. This might simplify the situation a little too much. But the heart wants what the heart wants and although there were a fair share of secrets, Jun was definitely better, by far, than some of the other love interests out there in K-dramaland (I have definitely seen dramas where the male was more toxic in the form of passive aggressiveness, moodiness and hurtful comments/ pettiness). Jun was always good to Lala and watched out for her during her hardest times. Clearly he loved her a lot from the things he did for her...And even when you expected him to be mad at Lala whenever she borrowed huge amounts of money from him, accidentally headbutted him or got involved in a fake wedding, it never happens...he never shouts at her or gets mad at her.  From his running towards the building in his final scenes, it's implied that he came excitedly, with the same feelings he had always had, to see her. If he looked happy, it was probably because he was finally going to be with Lala forever, having finally beaten death in the form of cancer. The 'Happy Ending because it's what the character's want' is actually a justification we sometimes use with Second Lead Syndrome. Sometimes in order to accept the story, I think, it was only my personal preference that didn't happen. If you look at the context of the story, it's what the female character wanted all along. This goes for Lala as well....she would have been much sadder if Jun was really dead. So it was a happy ending in her eyes.

Lala's Character & The Idea of Fate & Faith 
  • Lala's forgiving nature and idea of Fate: Lala doesn't really question everything, which is very consistent of her character. She doesn't question her father's death even though she never went to his funeral. She also doesn't question who DDSSLLS is, although she makes assumptions about who it is based on her feelings. I feel that she is just accepting and forgiving of the people and situations around her. If that's the way things are, she accepts them as fate. So Jun coming back from the dead? Well, she'll accept that as fate that they should be together.
  • The Idea of Faith & Fate: We're shown so many times that fate will find a way to fix things and that the characters we love are trustworthy, even if they sometimes make bizarre choices. As Grandpa says, we know what kind of person Jun is as we've seen 13 episodes of his character... yet many of us were upset by 3 episodes in the end because we were quick to judge Jun's actions according to limited information. So the whole series is a test on our faith in certain characters and in fate itself. Most of us are jaded and don't trust in people without knowing all the facts. Many of us also don't believe in fate. But maybe it's a way of testing the audience and getting us to reflect on our jadedness.

Only Jun and Lala understand each other and explain things to each other 
and we are all excluded from the explanations
  • Only the Two of Them Understand Each Other and Jun's explanation: Throughout the series, Lala and Jun often poke fun at each other's logic in that sometimes they would give a reason for something and that reason would sound weird to everyone else. For example, Jun doesn't want Lala to pay him back and he says it's because his dream is to be a loan shark. Lala tells him that reason is really weird, but she accepts it anyway. Jun's brief explanation at the end of the series is the ultimate version of that. To us, it sounds so unbelievable that he would be absent because he just wanted to recover. But being quirky, Lala doesn't think too much about it. In fact, she's more worried he's a ghost! Lala and Jun share a deep understanding of each other and it's implied that we as viewers are left out of this.
  • Judgements require more information & we are not given the information to judge Jun, but he would need to give it to the people of Eunpo if he was planning to live there forever: There's a continuous pattern in this drama which cautions us against making judgements without knowing all the facts. There are a number of characters that look evil at first because we learn one or two things about them and pass judgement before learning anything more. We all thought Jun's mum was his evil stepmother, but it turns out she was looking for her precious only child. We suspected Secretary Moon to be a villain, but it turns out he's just an actor. Our suspicions also apply to Jun when he comes back after 5 years. We only get a glimpse of his explanation and we make a judgement about him from that. But if the logic stands that he came back to live in Eunpo forever, he would have to explain things further to everyone in the coming days. I don't believe Ha Yeong and the TWD ladies would let him off so easily! So it's not that there was no explanation, but it's that we, as the audience, are excluded from anything else Jun has to explain to Lala and the townspeople.

The End of all their Big Troubles
  • The End of all Troubles and Secrets: Someone else said that this drama focuses on the turbulent part of their relationship, but now that all the secrets have been revealed, they've cleared the air, so it would be smooth sailing going forward as adults. Technically, there is nothing to indicate or imply that there would be any more issues ahead, even if we imagine them. And if you think about it, he beat death which is the ultimate issue that could befall a drama character. As Lala's piano teacher's quote tells us: The good things come after enduring all the suffering.
  • 5 Years is apparently the time it takes to beat Cancer more properly: Quite a few people had stats about how it takes 5 years to beat that cancer and to be very sure about it, so maybe he really was suffering for 5 years and was on his deathbed at Christmas only to recover later which was why he was so happy at the end. 

Jun becoming a Memory rather than creating suffering for Eunpo for 5 years
  • Jun didn't want others to suffer along with him: Maybe being sick was so painful and miserable that he needed to break away from everything he loved and use it as a motivation for recovery. It's still not an ideal explanation for everything that happened in the last 3 episodes, but I suppose if he really suffered, he might think that he didn't want people to suffer along with him as it would be suffering for a really long time....Like it would literally drain the happiness right out of Eunpo. And he didn't want that for everyone, especially if they were already worried about Grandpa. But he also knew he couldn't hide it for 5 years, so he took the stress out by just killing himself off. I suppose if you die, people are devastated, but time heals all after 5 years. The person who dies turns into a distant, fond memory. However, if someone is sick for 5 years, you're constantly stressed and worried for them and suffer in that respect, especially if they do then die before your eyes. To that end, Jun would also have been in pain and felt very lonely for all that time....but we are shielded from that because we mostly follow Lala's point of view. 
  • Jun's suffering in those 5 years is shown metaphorically: The sequence of Lala hugging Jun when he's asleep on the piano seems like a continuation of the scene after Jun talks to Lala on the phone when he's secretly in hospital. But some have pointed out that this is the last scene we see of Jun and Lala before the death announcement. Instead of showing Jun suffering through his battles with cancer, it seems like they summarised that difficult period of his life through a dream or memory that Jun has about Lala tenderly hugging him and giving him strength. In a way, we were shown the sweet memories of Lala and Jun instead of the suffering.

Very likely Grandpa and Jun did not know each other's circumstances
  • It's likely Grandpa knew Jun was not dead at Christmas, but that he was just very ill: I read somewhere that it's very likely Grandpa knew the truth about Jun and they kept in contact. Around the time Lala find out about Jun's "death" there is a scene where Grandpa says the exact same line as Jun's mother: "He can't come back anymore." He doesn't say Jun is sick or dead, but that he just can't come over anymore. Also, grandpa knew Jun was sick from the letter Rara gave him, but that was awhile before Christmas day. At the Christmas dinner however, Grandpa was even more downcast which seems to imply that he had as much inside knowledge as Jun's mum. Given that Grandpa was the one Jun was most comfortable sharing secrets with, and Grandpa was already wary about Jun not coming to Christmas dinner before it was announced that he was not going to make it, it seems likely they kept in contact. I'd like to think that's how Jun knew how Lala was doing too.
  • It's also possible Grandpa didn't pass away, but just moved away from Eunpo: Another theory fans had was that Grandpa didn't pass away. The translation, at least on Netflix, was that Grandpa was "no longer with everyone". It seems that Grandpa was getting older and his son indicated that he wanted to take care of his father at his own home. So for those who felt it was sad that Grandpa passed away without knowing Jun was still alive, it's technically not confirmed that he actually passed away. The wording is a bit of a red herring (as with much of this series) and it's possible he just moved away to be with his son instead of living in Eunpo.

5.  Rationalising and Finding reason for the Writer's Choices

Some people believe believe the writers ran out of time made the ending bad accidentally. But I'm the opposite - I personally believe that the ending was written to exclude logic and explanation deliberately and to keep viewers guessing in a way the writers thought were "smart" and "experimental." They had written a steady script the whole way through and offered explanations through the it's not like they wouldn't know how to fix the ending in that basic way if they wanted to. But it seems they wanted the explanation to remain a secret, which alienated viewers. In my opinion, this is a big issues with drama script writers - there are often lots of ways to continue a smart script and subvert tropes that would please viewers, get good ratings and conclude the story in a satisfying way...but a lot of writers choose not to take those routes. Someone needs to send them back a writing workshop to learn how to write better endings!

DDSSLLS could have originally had a sad ending planned
  • Original Sad Ending/ Open Ending: A few people have said that the story could originally have been written with a sad ending. After all, a story about a guy who takes the secret identity of a star to watch over the girl he likes is awfully romantic, but could also be taken in a very tragic way as stars are often what we use as a symbol for loved ones who have passed away and watch over us in the night sky. Stars also imply sadness through the idea of 'star-crossed lovers' from the ultimate tragic love story, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. To be honest, when I first finished the drama, I did think that maybe the writers had wanted to end with Jun's death originally but were forced by script buyers/ TV stations to throw his character back in. So they did it in a bizarre or angry way. It sure felt like they were keeping the ending open in some ways as Lala was the only person who sees Jun's return and even she needed to ask if he was a ghost. He said he wasn't a ghost, but was he a figment of her imagination? It just felt like the writers really wanted his death.

  • To further this point, I think the last part where Jun talks about remembering that summer in Eunpo when he was 19 sounded like a very bittersweet reflection, especially when you look at just the words alone without the images that were on screen (below). It looks like something that a character would think before they passed away. But I think this idea has also been met with a lot of opposition maybe because of the ideas of fate and reunion that were shown throughout the series. The idea of the star could also be metaphorical in that Jun and Lala are each other's guiding stars as DDSSLLS is the star that lead Lala to Eunpo in the first place. And it seems that the writer had too much fun using the reunions and fate as a disguised red herring, so they probably did want to insert Jun back to the story naturally. These words could also just be a heartfelt reflection of how Jun got through those terrible 5 years of his life (an "explanation" as it were, to how he survived cancer). 

DDSSLLS as an old fashioned Fairy tale
  • A Fairy tale which just doesn't need to make sense: Someone in a forum mentioned that Koreans love fairy tales in their dramas. If you think about this, the story of DDSSLLS plays out a bit like a fairy tale. Not the Disney kind with a big wedding that we all expected and wanted...but a bit like one of those old fashioned ones where a whole bunch of strange things happen and then the characters end happily, but without much logic involved in getting from one point to the next. For example, in the original tale of Sleeping Beauty, they sleep for 100 years - if you thought over every detail it would not make sense and you'd feel anxious. Wouldn't the world have changed by then? Does that mean the princess was 100 years older than the prince? Etc, etc. So my point is the writers are forcing us not to question the ending and treat it like a fairy tale. It is nothing short of a miracle and we're being asked to accept things about Jun like Lala did.

DDSSLLS as a Classical Shakespearean or Classical Greek Play
  • A Shakespeare or Classical Greek Play structure: This drama played out more like a tragedy than a comedy in some ways. During the run of the show, I remembered someone said the TWD ladies (the ahjummas) were like a Greek Chorus (an ancient Greek comedic device where there's like a group of people who are spectators and commentators about what's happening in those old Greek comedy plays.) This triggered a memory about studying plays in high school and I remembered something a device about unlikely endings. So I did some digging and I think this is what the writers of DDSSLLS were trying to do, though why they were trying to do it beats me because it's not a story-telling device that people like, even now.
 Deus ex machina 

Deus ex machina is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem in a story is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and unlikely occurrence. Its function can be to resolve an otherwise unsolvable plot situation, to surprise the audience, to bring the tale to a happy ending, or act as a comedic device. The deus ex machina was sometimes used in plays to make a controversial idea more palatable.

It is generally deemed undesirable in writing and often implies a lack of creativity on the part of the author. The reasons for this are that it does damage to the story's internal logic and is often so unlikely that it challenges suspension of disbelief, allowing the author to conclude the story with an unlikely ending. The deus ex machina device is often criticized as inartistic, too convenient, and overly simplistic.

  • Basically the term means adding "any unlikely event without explanation"...Shakespeare just added unlikely events to turn tragedies into "comedies" again. I think because the drama was focused on classical music, maybe they looked into classical plays too - if they new how to use a Greek Chorus, they probably thought about Deux Ex Machina too. 
  • So one understanding of the drama is that it shouldn't have been marketed as a rom-com, but it was because people don't have a genre called comedy-tragedy romance, as that's not really a melodrama either . The writer probably wanted to experiment with this as a genre and use that weird device to make it "funny" or "palatable" again (It was not funny). Jun developing cancer was hinted the whole way through from the first time he had a nosebleed on her wedding dress. And so I guess it's implied that by the time he finds out it's quite serious and there is no way out but death. In a lot of those old Shakespeare/Greek plays, the comedy they use is Jun tries not to hurt Lala but the more he tries not to, the more he does with his lies. Then he literally dies and that death feels real. Then they "fix" up all of this sadness with no logic/ no explanation by having him return to make Lala "happy" again because he was always the "the source of her happiness." 

6. Finding humour and irony out of the story

Sometimes all you can do is make a joke out of the story and laugh about it the way the writers laughed at all of us. To be honest, I followed this drama because I had recently seen Extraordinary You, (one of Lee Jae Wook's past projects) a story where characters in a comic book gain consciousness, but are still trapped to act out the story the writer writes for them. I would recommend it as a drama if you haven't seen it yet...There's definitely been some funny jokes about DDSSLLS relating to the drama. You won't get them unless you've seen Extraordinary You, though:
  • Since Jun developed a potential terminal illness like Eun Dan-oh, if his character gained an Ego, he would be cursing the writers for giving him such a Makjang ending and dragging his character through all these silly scenarios just to reunite with Lala.
  • Some people joked that the person who came back was not Jun but more like a reformed Baek-Kyung since he looked similar to his character from Extraordinary You. Well, Baek Kyung would not be as sweet as Jun, but he would be handsome and give a bit more tsundere cheek for sure!
  • I did also see a joke not related to Extraordinary You but relating to the DDSSLLS behind the scenes where they joked that Jun was still mad at Lala for the fake wedding. Ironically if you think about it, one faked a marriage and one faked their death. So I guess it makes them even?

7. Ending the story by watching Behind the Scenes footage instead

This might not work for everyone, since some people just watch dramas for the story rather than the actors. I use to be a bit like this when I was younger. But there are so many more additional fun scenes when you look outside the story. And even though the actors are not the characters, it's so fun to see them play act and make their own silly stories from the drama. Watching Go Ara and Lee Jae Wook banter and play with Mimi and film their scenes gave me so much joy throughout the series. When things ended, they also immediately released the Behind the Scenes video, which tells you how healing these reels are. And sure enough, all the behind the scenes footage for the episodes I didn't like were still super cute with Go Ara pretending to fall asleep and snuggle with Lee Jae Wook during their bedroom scene and teasing him about leaving work before her. 

Then there was also Go Ara's Instagram photos of her and Lee Jae Wook (all the photos are here) which were comforting during the hardest parts of the show. Go Ara was so lovely to share so many selcas with her co-star...and the kind where they looked close, not awkwardly standing next to each other or something like that. And while Lee Jae Wook has never been much of a poster, it was super cute of him to feature in so many selcas with Go Ara. Some stars are so reserved, but these two were definitely comfortable with each other.

Other sources of less direct behind the scenes include all their interviews for The Swoon/ Netflix (all videos can be found together in this post here) and all their interviews for KBS (all videos can be found together in this post here). Since both Go Ara and Lee Jae Wook were quite charismatic and would easily tease each other, as well as tell little stories from set about each other, you could see their amazing chemistry which is what attracted us to Jun and Lala in the first place. And even though we might have felt disappointed about the ending, could we really say we felt disappointed with their chemistry? Go Ara and Lee Jae Wook doing this show allowed us to get these pretty gems of interviews and game videos which will always be around. I think one of my favourites was this Jenga game...

8. Remembering the reasons I love this show & Supporting the actors and their chemistry...And Hopefully, praying for that KBS Best Couple Awards!

I think when a lot of people finished watching the series, there was a sense of bitterness for investing in 16 episodes and not getting the payoff that we as viewers wanted and deserved. And I still can't give you that payoff unless I could somehow erase the original ending and re-write and re-film the perfect ending. But what I hope this very long essay has done is relieved some of your frustrations and over-thinking, given you some rational ideas to explain the ending to yourself and given you a sense of gratefulness for the chemistry that Go Ara and Lee Jae Wook shared both on screen and off screen (Think about it: Filming DDSSLLS allowed them to meet and become friends when they otherwise might not have in this large industry!)

I want to end by saying the best way to get over dissonance, disappointment and bitterness is to think of all the reasons you loved this series and chose to invest in it in the first place. There are so many reasons. For me personally, this year was very hard and the first 12 episodes of this series gave me so much joy. In the way it introduced me to a cute and heart-fluttering romance, introduced me to a number of beautiful musical pieces, showed me cute pets, good food, quaint scenery and brought me to the warm and healing community of Eunpo. But I'm also going to add that even when things were not going as I wanted, it kept my mind off even more stressful things happening in the world and still provided something to keep me thinking and discussing with other intelligent drama watchers. It introduced me to Go Ara as an actress to watch out for in the future and gave me more behind the scenes footage for Lee Jae Wook, who I obviously love! And I guess while I could have saved myself from that uncomfortable dissonance if I hadn't ever watched this series, I also wouldn't had have 2 months of fun and heart-flutters...You know what they say about it being better to have loved and lost than to have never loved before right? Haha.

Bitterness only really means the writer's succeeded to get to you with their prank...And now that I know their aim, I refuse to let them get to me anymore. I did watch this show in support of the actors...especially because it was Lee Jae Wook's first leading role and so I think I'll choose to remember all the good scenes they portrayed rather than dwell on a bitter aftertaste. In any case, time heals all and I'm sure we'll all be nostalgic eventually, even if we refuse to engage with the ending ever again. Hope everyone can continue supporting these two and think fondly of DDSSLLS in the future, regardless of how the series ended.

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