My dad is a typical Nigerian dad; he loves being in control and seeing things go his way. When he walks into the living room, we all walk out because we’ve already read the news on Citizen? It’s a habit my siblings and I formed as kids, not out of fear, but because we generally hated his taste in movies. 

He’s a tough guy, but underneath the hard demeanour is a heart of marshmallows. Younger me would be surprised because this guy flogged me endlessly, and I truly thought he was besties with the devil. The older I get, the more I sort of excuse all the messed up shit my parents did to me as a kid — even though it’s not enough to forgive them. 

But he must not be much of a hard guy these day’s seeing as I turned my dad into a K-drama lover. I’m claiming this as proof that with enough manipulation skills, you can get even the toughest people to change. This does not mean I successfully have him wrapped around my fingers, but it’s something.

A cautionary tale of who will bell the cat

When I was eight years old — and Indomie was still ₦30 — my dad told me a story about a cat eating all the mice in a little mouse village. Like all stories with a moral lesson, one day, a bold mouse looped a bell around the cat’s neck while it was asleep. Why? So that its fellow mice would be warned when the cat was coming to the village. 

I took that story to heart; whenever I wanted to do anything risky, it felt like I was belling a cat. Making my father fall in love with K-drama the way I did was one of those situations that took a lot of risks but I love a challenge. It took nearly eight years. If there was an award for best in patience, I would win it, to be honest, but let me explain how it happened. 

I fell in love with K-drama in 2013 when I was in SS1. I spent all my hard-earned pocket money buying CDs from the friend who introduced me to the addiction. I was in boarding school, so that meant I had to start eating food from the dining hall or my provisions, instead of food from the tuckshop. 

After the first few series I watched, enjoying K-drama alone wasn’t enough, I wanted to share it with the closest people to me, my family members. For as long as I’ve been alive, my biggest love language has been sharing the media I love. If I care about you, I will “You should try this movie/song/series” you to death. I started with my two siblings, and they were sold. Next was my mum; it was hard shifting her attention from Indian and Mexican series, but I succeeded. 

With my dad, there was a lot of push back. I couldn’t understand how he could sit through anime, cartoons, superhero and adventure movies and the occasional romantic drama, but he could not stand us watching K-drama. The language annoyed him. This man is from Akwa-Ibom; he knows first hand how annoying it is to hear that. It especially hurt that he was unwilling to try because a big part of my family bonding for as long as I’ve been alive happened while we sat around a television. 

I eventually got out of boarding school in 2015 and realised my dad and I barely spoke anymore, so I tried once again to share K-drama with him. He resisted again. I’d make him sit through two or three episodes of an action K-drama, or adventure type like Jumong, The Fugitives Plan B, and he would complain but jump with excitement when they had those badass fight scenes. That was about it. 

I learnt how to be a fanboy from my dad because he is a big DC comic fan, so I could tell he wasn’t enjoying it. I gave up… for a while because I moved out and lived in school for five years. 

I must admit everything about slowly turning him into a fan was selfish. I actually didn’t care if he liked the show I liked anymore; that was a 12 to 16-year-old me’s problem. Now, I just wanted to know that if I needed to see my K-drama on a bigger screen, everyone would be willing to watch it with me. I wanted everybody to watch what I wanted just because I was there first. 

Yes, it’s me. I’m the problem. 

He was playing chess. I bought the company

I moved back home in February [2022] and noticed no one used the TV in the living room anymore. I liked staying in the living room since everyone avoided it. It was great, except when he wanted to watch the news or play church sermons in the middle of the night unprovoked.

I had to fix that and the solution was introducing him to Netflix. 

He’d ask to watch action movies, but it was my wi-fi and account, so I’d tell him those movies weren’t available. 

I made him sit through dramas like All of Us Are Dead, Juvenile Justice, Tomorrow, PachinKo, Our Blues, Cafe Minnamdang, Extraordinary Attorney Woo and Alchemy of Souls to get to him. Alchemy of Souls should’ve been the icing on the cake because he loves fantasy movies, but then one day, my mum wanted to see an older drama titled Vincenzo, and that was it. He was hooked. 

This man disturbed me whenever he was back from work to play him episode after episode. He’s an architect, so besides the fantastic storyline, he loved seeing the inside of their houses, criticising and admiring it. 

If you have an architect for a father, there’s a lot about his job you learn. I’m constantly criticising buildings too, even though I don’t have the degree for that. Who will check me?

He especially loved how the Korean society reflected all the morals of our sometimes complex society. And as a part-time assistant pastor, he loved that all the bad guys were brought to justice. I’ve been watching K-dramas for years, and not once did the series product placement for Kopiko make me consider buying it.  But as soon as he was done with Vincenzo

, he bought two packs. 

Sometimes, I’d sit beside him, and he’d just randomly say “Vincenzo Cassano” like the other characters did in the drama. 

He’s currently watching Crash Landing on You because I mentioned I wanted to rewatch it after the announcement that the actors were having a baby together.

His opinion on how that drama will end is killing me because, sir, your heart is about to be broken. I can’t wait to tell him the main characters are now married in real life. For now, let him find out the way the rest of us did, shedding tears months after the drama ended. 

I’ve successfully broken him, but at what cost?

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The cost of turning my dad into a K-drama lover 

Everything. No, seriously, this man has been after my peace of mind. 

He wants to watch all the old dramas, and I don’t know how he keeps finding them. He sends me screenshots and would be like, “Find this one for me”. Maybe he thinks I work closely with Netflix or something because half of them aren’t even on the app. 

Not only do I have to find these old series for him, I have to listen to him talk about something interesting from them I already heard about four times because he forgot he’d already told me. He constantly attacks me when I can’t run away, like when I’m eating or cleaning. He’d appear like a ghost and be like, “Yesterday, this character did this”, and I have to reply, “You don’t mean it? Tell me more”, because as parents get older, they’re suddenly the ones looking for your attention. 

I should add I spend an amusing amount of time shooing him out of the living room or begging him to go to bed. Sir, you are in your late 50s, I’m not ready to be a breadwinner, please. 

I also fund his Kopiko habit. The Kopiko company should sign him as a brand ambassador at this point. If I see that sweet wrapper one more time, I might actually lose it. 

I love that he likes my second love — K-drama, and sometimes, I even enjoy talking about theories with him, even if it’s about an old drama I’ve already seen. Do what I did at your own risk. Maybe we can form a support group for kids with parents who love K-drama soon.  

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Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.