“If I'm in a slump, I ask myself for advice”.
- Ichiro Suzuki -
I began watching Asian dramas almost 10 years ago, and I can still vividly remember the enthusiasm with which I would spend entire nights watching one episode after the other, rummage through every available list to find something else to enjoy, swoon at every romantic character and eagerly look for fellow addicts with whom I could share my thoughts.
Becoming a drama addict is a lot like falling in love, and just like this all-absorbing emotion, it goes through stages, from paroxysm to the edge of indifference. After all, our pulse rate can't be around 150 all the time, or we would all suffer from heart failure at a very young age. And yet, there is something extremely sad about this sobering process and it's only natural to try and find methods to recover the lost enthusiasm.
While I'm in no way an expert, I have been in and out of drama addiction many times and since I know I'm not the only one, I'll try to compile a short list of tips as to how you can survive the slump and recover the spark.
1. Stop Rewatching your Favourite Dramas
I've noticed how my worst slumps always come after watching a drama I adored. Keep the falling-in-love analogy in your mind: when you have a crush on someone, everyone else looks dull. Nobody can compare. With dramas it's the same, and it seems as though nothing will ever overshadow the object of your adoration. However, it will. Drama addiction isn't a loyal, "until death do us part" kind of love. It's fickle and a little bitchy. Give your system time to digest and tune up and find something completely different to immerse in, possibly something funny. It sounds contradictory, I know, but lingering on your already finished love may lead you to rejection and a true anti-addiction phase.
HOWEVER: You can re-watch your very first drama, provided that a reasonable time has passed and you don’t know it already by heart. Try to remember what it was that lit the spark back then. Re-watching the very first drama feels a little like that wonderful passage of “Swann’s Way”, where the main character methodically goes in search of his lost memory of a delicious pastry. ;)
2. Drop Things you Don't Like Without Regret
Nothing damages your addiction as much as insisting on something that doesn't give you pleasure. I know we are all different and I know there are many among us who, by nature, need to finish whatever they have started. I respect that; I used to be like this too. However, obstinacy won't help our cause, and if you subtract pleasure from the equation, the result will be bitterness (or boredom). Our addiction time is too short to be wasted on hate – just like in real life. Therefore, set the number of episodes you need to establish your taste with and stick to it – you may find that dropping can be quite satisfying now and then.. ;)
3. Change Country
This tip is self-explanatory: if you have been watching a long list of dramas from a specific country and recognize the first symptoms of boredom, cross the border, the strait, or the sea, and land someplace else. It's quite astonishing how many prejudices there are regarding the products of a country, including dramas. Some say they don't like this or that language, the look of the actors or the way they act. My humble advice is: give all a chance. For all you know, you could find your new obsession.
4. Don't be Absent from the Board Too Long
This is the sin I'm mostly guilty of. My phases of anti-addiction estrange me from the world of drama in all its aspects, including the board – in our case, MDL. It's a mistake, not only because of all the bonds created with time, the shared opinions and the need to let friends know we are still alive, but also because distancing ourselves from news, feeds, reviews and recommendations for long periods of time will make us forget what the hype was all about. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a phrase particularly true when it comes to addiction, and if you don't want to be cured for good, never stretch the thread so much that it snaps.
5. Find a Watching Partner
A very, very hard task.
When I discovered the world of Asian dramas, I tried a few times to talk about it with real life friends and family and the result was a big failure. Most of them thought – and still think – that d(o)ramas are the Asian equivalent of American soap operas, and no amount of explaining would make them waver from their prejudice. It took me a lot of patience and, at times, brute force, to persuade a few of them to give it a try. Because, you see, as soon as they watch the first episode they suddenly change their mind. You might even end up creating addicted monsters like I have with my mother, husband and best friend, and become a drama pusher for crazy people who will, thanks to you, never have enough.
If you succeed, your partners in crime are sure to become the best anti-slump therapy there is. :D
My suggestions may or may not work for you; we are all different, after all. However, I find it’s a sweet consolation to know others have experienced the same and are willing to share.
Therefore, feel free to add any useful tips for those of us who, after finally coming out of the addiction tunnel, wish to re-enter it. :)