Being a daydreamer is part of a fangirl’s DNA. We’re conditioned to get lost in our fictional worlds even after the episode ends, we finish the book or we finish watching the movie. Those characters belong in our brains now and have taken a seat, ready to be put in whatever situations we want them to. Many tend to put those thoughts into fanfic, others into fanart, others write meta posts about them and some simply prefer to randomly daydream about what would happen if their favorite characters met differently or what would they do in different situations. A fangirl’s brain is rich, complicated and imaginative, so of course the thought “what would happen if I was a character in this fictional work?” has gone through many minds.
There is a stigma against self-insert fanfic, even within the fan community. It is usually considered self-indulgent, bad and generally gross. But the truth is so much of the fiction we consume is based on self-insert stories we probably wouldn’t watch anything if that was where we drew the line. The difference is it’s usually men writing that fiction. Many of them get published, some of them are written as movies in which the main lead happens to be the writer and somehow we consider them masterpieces and pay for them rather than enjoy them for free in the comfort of our home, as we do with fanfic.
Dramaworld however, is a self-insert fanfic by all means and although it is not written or directed by a woman, at least it never disregards the main character’s fantasizing as crazy or makes it sound gross. To Claire, the show’s heroine, self-indulging in fiction (in this case, k-drama) is a way to escape from a boring, uneventful life. And though her dad tells her to get off her phone and live in “real life” she then gets literally swept into her fantasy in order to save the world. So she is kind of being rewarded for being who she is.
Claire Duncan (Liv Hewson, who by the way not just by hair color but by mannerisms and voice could honestly be Jane Levy’s little sister) is a 20 year-old college student absolutely obsessed with Korean dramas (or k-dramas). She spends most of her time talking about it or waiting for the next episode of her favorite show to go online. She is particularly obsessed with a show called “Taste of Love” in which Joon Park (Sean Dulake) is a handsome chef whose heart has been broken by his dad’s suicide and Seo-yeon (Noo-Ri Bae) is the adorable dishwasher turned sub-chef who is hoping to gain his love. But something wrong is happening in “Taste of Love”: unlike every other k-drama, they’re now into episode 13 and the two characters haven’t kissed. That is dangerous, since the show is coming to an end. One night, while cleaning up her dad’s sandwich shop and watching the show in her broken smartphone she sees the worst is about to happen: Joon Park is about to kiss Ga-in (Sa Hee), his longtime childhood friend and restaurant manager, while poor Seo-yeon watches it happen from the kitchen. But kisses in k-drama are way different than in American TV. If Joon kisses Ga-in, that means she is going to be his true love. So while screaming at the screen for him not to do it (seriously, who hasn’t yelled at the screen when our favorite characters are doing something dumb?) she accidentally trips and falls and…