Watching "A romance of the little forest" and wondering if the writer ever stepped aside to really study her characters. Heroine is a cute girl who bullies her way into the life of a curmudgeonly professor played by the absolutely exquisite Vin Zhang. Heroine is played by the absolutely adorable Esther Yu.
Trouble is, though, the cute bullying pushy heroine trope can also be reframed as a stalker trope and it can be quite triggering if one has been watching way too many true crime dramas. Writer has also included another character who is bulldozing himself into hero's life. Bulldozing quiet shy person for shy person's own good is a common trope in Asian dramas but it's an unquestioned trope. The fact that heroine is determined to make the hero love her and that she does so many pushy, cruel, underhanded things is NOT cute. And showing her backstory seven episodes into the story is not going to help because if your mind is already against this girl, it's too late to quell one's annoyance with the heroine. Truth to tell, I don't know why I keep watching it. Maybe because i like both actors and i do have the ability to see the writer's intention despite how the story's playing out.
Of course there will not be (and there has never been) a moment in any of these rom-coms where the bullying ditz apologizes for being manipulative and pushy. So the heroines often get away with selfish narcissistic aggressive behavior. When you start a story never questioning your heroine or your trope, you're bound to be unable to see how other folks outside of the trope will see such a story. At this point, all the pushy cuteness is just triggering and feels stalkerish and cruel to me.
I do wish this trope would change but aegyo is a thing in patriarchal societies apparently. Not to mention the whole vindictive petty back-and-forthing in their fake dating. But my major trouble with this drama, though, is that heroine's mother is such a good cook. I keep wanting to go to the Chinese restaurant...or at least to make some of the dishes the mom makes. That chicken dish looked sooo good.