Khottie of the Week: Second Lead Syndrome

Posted by KpopontheDL on December 17, 2016

Khottie of the Week


I won’t continue watching this stupid drama until they a) give Park Shin Hye a freaking backbone, and b) rewrite her as falling in love with the RIGHT FREAKING GUY!

This was uttered recently by a friend who is still pretty new to dramas after I asked her about how You’re Beautiful was going.  I laughed (Kindly, I hope).  I remember those feels.  Right now, she’s working her way through some of the classics, and while it its fun to listen to her rant about our heroines’ bad choices, it also brings me back to my own fangirl indignation.

This inspired me to do a holiday post of sorts.  I am going to wave my magical blogger wand and let us dream – like children of sugarplums – about the second leads who really should have gotten the girl.


Asking around,  the most popular response by far to the question, “Who is your favorite second lead?” was Jung Yong Hwa, as Shin Woo, in You’re Beautiful.  I have yet to talk to anyone who thought Tae Kyun was the better choice.


The phone date is still burned in my mind as one of the cutest, most romantic things ever.  What the heck was Go Minam thinking?!  The lesson here might be not to let naive almost-nuns to make romantic choices straight out of the convent.

Another drama that made a lot of us give the heroine the side-eye was To the Beautiful You.  I couldn’t understand Goo Jae Hee passing over handsome Cha Eun Gyeol, played by Lee Hyun Woo.


Now, there was nothing wrong with the lead, Tae Joon, per se… He wasn’t a terrible human being like a lot of the leads on this list, but Eun Gyeol was perfect. He was super handsome (despite the stylists trying to make him be goofy).


He was funny.  He was the person she could talk to.  He was sweet, and supportive, and loved her whole-heartedly.  He wanted her to smile.  I never understood why she didn’t pick him.


And let’s not forget, she could also have chosen Woo Bin!  The guy was outrageously hot, successful, artistic, and devoted enough to fly to Korea to find her.  Minho is beautiful and all, but really?


I was undecided about including this next one, but its another classic, and probably the one I feel mostly strongly about.  Boys Over Flowers.  If I could take my wand and make it so that the heroine came to her senses and decided its not healthy to shackle yourself to a horrible, emotionally stunted bully with mommy issues…  I’d have had her pick Ji Hoo, played by Kim Hyun Joong.

He was her hero, and not her tormentor.  He was kind and devoted, without being boring.  Also, rich, if we want to take that into account. AND no evil family.  Basically a better choice in every way.  I’ve heard all the arguments, and I say if we can forgive some of the things Joon Pyo does to her, surely we can forgive a little case of unrequited first love.


Which leads us to another drama with Kim Hyun Joong, Playful Kiss!  Except, I’m going to swap it out for the Japanese version, Itazura na Kiss – Love in Tokyo (Mischievous Kiss), which was significantly better (Ok, maybe not better… less horrible?).inke12

Ikezawa Kinnosuke, played by Yamada Yuki, may not have been the brightest bulb in the box, but lets be honest, neither was our heroine.

He was just as handsome as the lead in his quirky,  50’s Greaser way.  And like Kotoko, Kin-chan is bright, happy and optimistic.  He was not afraid to express his feelings for her.  And when he finally found his path, he worked hard.  They were perfect for each other!  Why did she prefer the guy who was mean to her?!
I love me some Jung Il Woo. I do.  But I really thought that the second lead in Flower Boy Ramen Shop, Kang Hyeok, played by Lee Ki Woo, really should have won the girl.
Sure, he was sleepy and exceptionally laid back, but I’d have married him in a hot second.  Just think of all the lovely naps you could take with him!  He’s a super fantastic guy.  Nurturing and big brotherly to some of the troubled youths in the neighborhood – including our lead.  He cooks.  And he looks like this in a towel.
I mean, to each her own, but… no.  No!  The heroine is a stand in for me, and I would never pass this guy up.  Has she lost her mind?!
Speaking of losing her mind.  I’m not even sure where to start with this one.  Who picks an anxious, traumatized, irresponsible, man-child over this?
Seriously though,  even if we take out the fact that Kim Jae Joong, as the second lead in Protect the Boss, was sweet, smart, successful, and had a great sense of humor.  He was patient.  He was understanding.  And he looks like a freaking bad ANGEL.
What the actual heck with that decision?   She was so smart too!  I just don’t even know what to do with these girls.  Really, I don’t.  Maybe they’re being kind and leaving them for us?
Finally, last but not least, Seo Kang Joon as Baek In Ho, in Cheese in the Trap.  There were so many reasons why our heroine should not have chosen the lead, but thats not the point of this particular post. The point here is that Baek In Ho was the kind of bad boy that you like and root for.  He used his powers for protecting you from stalkers, smiling at you cheekily and making sure you don’t take life too seriously.  He wore tight ripped jeans.
He loved your family and they loved him.  He was talented and passionate.  He wanted to make something of himself.  And he has the most gorgeous eyes that you can stare into forever.  So,  I shall wave my wand…   Happy holidays everyone!

My informal poll of second leads actually gave me a really long list!  For this post, I only chose the ones where, in my opinion, the second lead was clearly the better choice.  However, I have many more lovelies I can cover for another post at some point.  Possibly titled, “Second Leads – Not a Bad Decision Either.”  I’d also be interested in any of your favorite second leads.  Post your suggestions down below!

P.S.  While the abs pictures were not strictly necessary, and in some cases were a little awkward, I thought I would toss them in there as an early Christmas present, from me to you.  I knew you wouldn’t mind.


  • Reply Rebekah Roberts January 5, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Great post… I agree on all points except, Shin Woo (You are Beautiful) aside from the fact that I think Jung Geun Suk is way hotter than Yong Hwa (okay, okay I know that’s hard to say, since YH is pretty steamy himself)… I thought Shin Woo had too many missed chances. He frustrated me to no end because he wouldn’t just man up and tell her!!

    As for my favorite second leads… I also have a hard time picking a favorite in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, but that’s only because Song Joong Ki is my ultimate bias and all those boys melted my heart.
    I would choose the 2nd male lead in Secret Garden, n a heart beat, but only because the male-lead is a D-bag… and the 2nd make lead is an English-speaking-amazingly-maned-sweetie-that-is-a-real-friend-and-treats-her-with-respect-just-saying.
    AND Modern Farmer… (which wasn’t even a rom-com) but both the leads had amazing chemistry with the 2nd leads…while the male and female leads together? Did not. They were like brother and sister.

    Anyways thanks for the fun read!

    • Reply KpopontheDL January 7, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      You’re welcome! I agree JGS did get hotter once he relaxed on the “My appearance on the outside reflects the pain on the inside” look. And Shin Woo definitely dithered too long. It was very frustrating.

      I haven’t seen either Secret Garden or Modern Farmer yet. I’ll move them up my list and let you know what I think!

    Leave a Reply

    Back to top
    %d bloggers like this: