For those who have been in and out of the Korean drama-related communications or SNS accounts, the term “excess immersion” might be familiar. With the dictionary meaning of “getting too deep into it,” “excess immersion” is now used by fans as an entertainment culture in which they pretend that the world or the characters in the drama exist in reality.
SBS’s Stove League, which ended in February, served as a opportunity to establish the term “excess immersion” in the K-drama scene. As the drama was called “baseball documentary” as it presented the specific settings and outstanding realities, the viewers showed a high level of immersion by analyzing the team details and even buying the goods from the drama. Also, the actors were mostly called by their characters’ names rather than their real names.
Actor Nam Goong Min also had an interview with his character’s identity. He appeared on baseball magazine channel on YouTube and conducted two interviews, one as Nam Goong Min himself, and the other as Baek Seung Soo, his character in Stove League. Kim Se Yeon, the interviewer, said, “It felt like I was talking to Baek Seung Soo for real. Just amazed at how he became Baek Seung Soo in just a second. I tried to become announcer Kim Young Chae as well.”
Actor Kim Hye Soo, who is currently playing Jung Geum Ja, opened Jung Geum Ja’s social media account just before the show aired. According to an official from Hyena, Kim Hye Soo chooses her own photos and writes the messages personally. She is even responding to the comments as her character. Viewers are sending explosive responses to Jung Geum Ja, who is portrayed through actor Kim Hye Soo.
The actors of Netflix original series Kingdom also joined the “excess immersion” right after the release of the second season, drawing a favorable response from fans. Bae Doo Na, who played a physician, posted a photo of the drama’s main prop “Sang Sa Cho” flower on Instagram along with a message, “My precious.” To which, actor Ryu Seung Ryong, who played Minister Cho Hak Ju, commented, “Let’s make a joint purchase,” while Kim Hye Jun, who played the queen, even took a step further and wrote, “Please send it to Gyeongbokgung Palace, and if no one’s present, please leave it in front of the door.”
Spaces and objects in the drama can act as the catalysts for “excess immersion.” The production team of JTBC’s Itaewon Class, which aired its final episode on March 21, opened an Instagram account of “Danbam Restaurant,” which is run by Park Sea Roy (Park Seo Joon) in the drama, as if it really exists. Also the fact that Kwang Jin, writer of Itaewon Class, is running a restaurant named, “Honey Bam Pocha” made the viewers to think that “Danbam” really exists somewhere.