K-Drama ‘Semantic Error’ Explores Gay Romance, Finds Fans in China

Could open appreciation of same-sex romances on TV be seen as greater acceptance of LGBTQ culture in China today?

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Apr 11, 2022 1 mins read

Audiences in China have showered adulation upon the K-drama mini-series Semantic Error since the start of 2022. Based on an online cartoon of the same name, the ‘Boys Love’ or BL drama was directed by Kim Su Jeong and ran for eight episodes from February 16 until its finale on March 10.

Semantic Error casts Park Seo Ham as a popular, stylish student named Jang Jae Young, and Jae Chan as his polar opposite — computer science major Chu Sang Woo, who prizes rule and reason.

The duo initially gets off on the wrong foot, but collaborating on a group project causes both to develop feelings for one another.

On user-review website Douban, the series currently scores a high 8.6 out of 10 and has racked up more than 51,600 votes. Furthermore, the show’s hashtag has been mentioned over 850 million times on Weibo.

“The chemistry between the actors is just amazing,” enthused one viewer. “It makes me feel like I am the one in a romantic relationship.”

“The actors both gave natural and convincing performances. Please give us another season!” pleaded another.

BL dramas from Asian countries such as China, Thailand, and South Korea have made global waves and solidified the genre’s popularity. Some worthy mentions from China include Word of Honor and The Untamed.

Could such open appreciation of same-sex romances on TV be seen as a step towards greater acceptance of LGBTQ culture in China today? Or does anything and everything on the silver screen still count as fantasy from afar?

Cover image via IMDb

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