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‘Semantic Error’ Is Probably the Most Fun I’ve Had With an Enemies-To-Lovers Boys’ Love Setup

They're in love your honor.

Semantic Error Korean Drama

***SPOILERS for the first two episodes of Semantic Error.***

Shout out to the friend in the friend group who knew that I was in the mood for a particular kind of media (“wholesome” and “gay”) and who then proceeded to open my entire world to new possibilities. I am very familiar with boys’ love and queer media in general, particularly in the world of anime, manga, and graphic novels. However, included within that space are live-action dramas.

Much like anime adapting manga, live-action dramas tend to be based on existing source material (though that’s not always the case). I am somewhat familiar with these dramas, but I haven’t really sat down to dig into them. After spending exactly ONE Saturday with this “I can show you the world” friend, I’ve come to realize that I have a LOT of catching up to do in regard to queer media and Asian dramas. If there’s a specific kind of story you’re looking for with queer characters, chances are there’s a live-action drama waiting to satisfy your needs. Ancient mythology? Sure thing. Reincarnated lovers? LOL, of course. Cop dramas? Oh yeah, absolutely, and potentially with the Yakuza, too. Slice of life? Yep, there’s plenty of that going around.

Speaking of slice of life, I come bearing a recommendation for those of us who want fun, warm and fuzzy feels with a big dash of “enemies to lovers” sprinkled throughout. I present to you Semantic Errors, a South Korean drama that is available over on Viki (get used to this streaming service, my BL drama loving friends).


Main poster for Semantic Error
(image: Watcha/Rakuten Viki)

Chu Sang Woo (Jae Chan) is a junior computer science major who prizes reason, rules, and a rigid sense of what is right above all else. As part of his university work, he is assigned to work on a group project for the liberal arts, where the group is required to make a final presentation in order to pass the module. But as the rest of the group – whom he knows nothing about – has decided to leave him to do all the work on his own, he decides to remove their names, and make the presentation in his name alone.

But little did he know that when he did this, he would deal a heavy blow to the academic prospects of a senior student named Jang Jae Young (Park Seo Ham). The latter, a design major, is Chu Sang Woo’s polar opposite. He is stylish, fun-loving, and – above all – extraordinarily popular. He is the closest thing the college has to a superstar! But when his credit for the liberal arts project is taken away, his grand plans to study abroad are suddenly thrown up in the air. He seeks out Chu Sang Woo and plans to torment him. But when the duo is forced to work together, a strange attraction starts to develop between them…

This drama series iss based on a long-running web-based cartoon of the same name.

The Moment When I Knew I Was Doomed to Fall in Love With This Series

Semantic Error Korean Drama
(image: Watcha/Rakuten Viki)

Not only is this an “enemies to lovers” scenario, but it’s also a “nerd and popular kid” scenario. Both of these things are a major weakness for me, especially when watching just how the story goes about portraying the dynamic between Chu Sang Woo and Jang Jae Young.

First of all, Chu Sang Woo definitely has the ultimate wish fulfillment moment of not letting the slackers in his group project get credit for work they didn’t do. I also appreciate the fact that he shows no remorse to the point of straight-up telling Jang Jae Young that HE is the one who failed to graduate since he never showed up to do the work. Like… yes, black baseball cap-wearing nerd boy, you are correct!

That being said, Chu Sang Woo finds himself in a bit of a jam because he needs an artist for the game he’s making, and he is a fan of Jang Jae Young’s art. Jang Jae Young, of course, takes advantage of this. What truly makes for a perfect “enemies to lovers” setup is the way he responds to all of this, because why take responsibility for your actions when you can proceed to annoy the hell out of a cute guy? Go and buy ALL the cans of your “enemy’s” favorite drink so they can’t have it in the morning. Sit in his favorite seat in EVERY class you have together. Oh, and if his least favorite color is red? Wear that shit all day, every day.

When we got to the second episode and Jang Jae Young strutted into the classroom wearing a red outfit, I lost it. I couldn’t believe someone could be THIS petty. Did I mention that they’re neighbors, too? It’s all so hilarious that it’s actually charming.

The chemistry these two have is perfection, with Jae Chan’s resting bitch face playing off of how effortlessly cool Park Seo Ham is as the popular kid who is in the wrong here, but you can’t help but be amused at how far he’s going with this. Like, did you have to buy ALL of the drinks out of the vending machine just to make a point? It would’ve been easier to do the group project, but admittedly, it wouldn’t have been as fun as what we’re getting with this series.

I’m only two episodes in and this is already the most fun I’ve had with the “enemies to lovers” formula in a while. I’m definitely enjoying the ride and can’t wait to watch more of this series. All eight episodes are available over on Viki.

Dangit, why this boy so cute?

(Featured image: Watcha/Rakuten Viki)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)