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When Seconds Become First

SKKS Yoo Ah In 2

Ah, secondary male leads. There are two kinds that exist in the K-drama world; the “I want to strangle every time he is on screen” type and the “I will take you oppa if heroine doesn’t want you” type. While the former is usually a sniveling, selfish, self-important douche-bag, the latter tends to be the unrealistically kind and good “best friend” and the silent and stoic sufferer. Often this type of second lead is the better person out the two males vying for the heroine’s affection, and dramas with this type of second lead leave viewers scratching their heads in wonder at why the heroine is so dumb enough to friend-zone such a catch.

I’m sure everyone has suffered at least once from the Second Lead Syndrome (SLS). We fall for the second lead knowing our love for this character has only one ending- self-combustion in a fireball of pain and misery. While healthy fans are rejoicing in a happy end for their main couple, patients of SLS are off huddled in some dark corner like a cat, licking their wounds. I can hear their sad, pathetic, even vicious little meows now- “CURSE THE DRAMA HEAVENS!!!”

Kim Hyun-joong- Because I’m Stupid (Acoustic Version) (Boys Over Flowers OST)

My first case of SLS that I can remember is when I was watching the 1994 drama, Feelings, starring Song Ji-chang, Kim Min-jong, and Lee Jung-jae. The three male actors played brothers in a drama that focused on family as well as romance, so while it is hard to call Kim Min-jong the second lead, I think he was definitely less of a big name than Son Ji-chang was at that time. I actually don’t remember the story too well and whom Kim Min-jong ended up with, but I remember this feeling of sadness for his character who liked the main girl but was so sort of in the shadow. It’s the only impression I have left from the drama after all these years so you can imagine how strong that feeling must have been for me to remember.

Feelings Kim Min-jong

My second case was in 1997 for the drama Star in My Heart but this time, I wasn’t the only one who suffered. Actually, the whole nation of South Korea suffered from SLS. This drama starred Choi Jin-shil, Cha In-pyo, and Ahn Jae-wook. Admittedly, the story started off giving both Cha In-pyo and Ahn Jae-wook equal ground but Cha In-pyo was the larger household name at that time and his character was given the back-story of previously having a lover that looked similar to Choi Jin-shil’s character. So for all intents and purposes, Cha In-pyo was the main male lead but the shipping ball eventually ended up in Ahn Jae-wook’s field, relegating Cha In-pyo to the role of the reliable friend. Quickly and thoroughly, Ahn Jae-wook’s character won the hearts of the female viewers, upgrading his status to full main lead and downgrading Cha In-pyo’s status to the dreaded second. This is probably a case of SLS turned on its head.

Star in My Heart

"Star in My Heart" Ahn Jae-Wook and Choi Jin-Shil

Another case of SLS triumph is the drama Beautiful Days of 2001. Starring Lee Byung-hun, Ryu Shi-won, and Choi Ji-woo, rumor has it that Choi Ji-woo was supposed to end up with Ryu Shi-won. But Lee Byung-hun and his character took over the drama and dominated the screen and people’s hearts, giving us another chase of SLS triumph.

Beautiful Days

Back track to the year 1997 again, and you have my third case of SLS; well, actually, Third Lead Syndrome. This drama starred Kim Hee-sun, Ryu Shi-won, and Lee Chang-hoon in a classic love triangle but I remember my attention being drawn to the small role of Won Bin as the reclusive and handsome writer neighbor of Kim Hee-sun. I mean, look at the way his hair falls so perfectly over his eye!

Propose 1Propose 2

Speaking of Won Bin, I was very invested in the main couple of Song Seung-hun and Song Hye-gyo in the 2001 classic, Autumn in My Heart, but Won Bin’s character was more memorable to me than Song Seung-hun’s character in the end. I guess Song Seung-hun will never, ever win my heart thoroughly, no matter what his role. We’re just not meant to be, oppa!

vlcsnap-2012-11-23-19h15m00s15

My most severe case of SLS was for Damo but it wasn’t a case of shipping the second male lead with the heroine. I just loved his character so, so much. While most people were crying, “Hwang-bo Yoon! Hwang-bo Yoon!”, I was crying, “Jang Sung-baek!!!!!!!” Considering how much I have come to utterly love Hwang-bo Yoon after so many rewatches of Damo, in the beginning, all I saw was Jang Sung-baek. He was such a magnetic character and I was drawn to his charisma, intensity, and tragic story. In the days of 2003, there was no “teams” but “camps” in the Soompi forums and I was solidly in Camp Jang Sung-baek. But now, I am in Camp Yoon because I understand how deep his love for Chae-ok was a lot better. Back then, that kind of love wasn’t important to me; Jang Sung-baek’s heroic and worldly purpose to change society spoke to me more.

"Damo" starring Ha Ji-Won, Lee Suh-Jin, Kim Min-Joon

Damo vlcsnap-2012-11-23-19h19m28s129

My most recent and full-on case of SLS was for Hana Yori Dango and Boys Over Flowers. I loved the character of Rui and wished dearly that Makino/Jandi chose him instead of that asshat Domyouji/Junpyo. So I watched the second half of BOF in utter fascination as the writer also seemed to shiip Ji-hoo with Jandi as much as I did. But still, that was just terrible writing. What did that writer do to the original Hano Yori Dango that at least made me believe Domyouji earned Makino’s love in the end? She gave it a thorough beating and stomped on it for good measure.

Here is my favorite fanvid for HYD. It’s an alternate-universe video with Domyouji as the third-wheel. *rubs hand in evil glee*

A BOF/Ji-hoo fanvid that encompasses everything about dear and tragic about the second lead role.

Long and hard experience has taught me to never second-ship again so in recent years, I have not suffered from any cases of SLS. But I do recognize the possibility for SLS in a drama and can name a few in which I saw the danger. For example, in Shining Inheritance with Bae Soo-bin‘s character, in You are Beautiful with Jung Yong-hwa‘s character, and in Sungkyunkwan Scandal with Yoo Ah-In‘s character. Talk about guys who worked so darn hard for their ladies’ love and got nothing. Poor, poor second leads. Poor Bae Soo-bin who ended up again doing the unrequited love thing for Han Hyo-joo in Dong-Yi. Will Bae Soo-bin ever get the girl??? As opposed to Jung Yong-hwa who got Park Shin-hye in another drama. Victory!

Shining Inheritance

SKKS Yoo Ah In

YAB Jung Yong Hwa

YAB vs heartstrings 2

Tell me. When did you guys suffer for SLS?

82 Comments Post a comment
  1. I still maintain that the 2nd lead is for the fans to ship with them selves. I almost always a main couple shipper. Or I am content in my knowing I have a crack!pairing happening that will never become canon.

    Although I hated the OTP in Playful Kiss. Main guy was a tool. Omg. Rage was just worse on the 2nd viewing. I wanted Ducky to get the girl because he was adorable, and nice and could cook! (Sorry Lee Taesung is forever Ducky in my mind)

    HYD/BOF oh my pointy shojo story of doom. How I love and love to hate you. It actually took the manga and the korean ver to get me on the JIhoo and Jandi boat. Although, still forver a TSukushi/Doumyogi person. Then again my fav thing aboyt BoF was always the friendship between Tsukushi and F4. And Her friend and the playboy. One of my top OTPS ever. For reasons.

    November 30, 2012
    • onichick #

      Although in SKKS Jaeshin/Yongha were my OTP. Because Yongha is my favoritest drama character ever

      November 30, 2012
    • joonni #

      Ugh. Playful Kiss. People rave and rave about the TW version, “It Started With A Kiss,” but I just hate, hate, hate the lead character and the dumb heroine. So of course, I hate the Korean version too. This has nothing to do with the directing, acting, or adaption. I just hate the premise, period. Believe me, I tried finished ISWAK three times because people kept on urging me too. Nope, this drama is never going to happen for me.

      Even with the TW version of HYD, I shipped Rui with Makino. I liked Rui’s character better, always. Of course, we had Vic Zhou and Oguri Shun play the Rui characters, so I doomed from the start. The problem with BOF was that the writer kept on pushing Junpyo and Jandi apart without giving us any reason to even want these two together. I was always okay with Domyouji getting Makino, despite my SLS, until BOF.

      November 30, 2012
      • Often my frustration with SL is the fact they never confess. I have a general opinion if you dont confess you dont get to be butthurt you dont get chosen.

        Playful Kiss was my first KDrama so I can never truly disown it. So I just focus on how much I love the mom and ignore the extreme doucheyness of the sons.

        December 1, 2012
        • joonni #

          What about Playful Kiss convinced you to continue to watch other Korean dramas? I am curious.

          December 2, 2012
  2. Vy #

    I’m still in the second lead ship here. My recent drama was To the beautiful you, and I was drawn to Cha Eun Yeol character and his “cuteness”.

    November 30, 2012
    • joonni #

      I watched the JP version and while I loved Nakatsu there, ultimately I canon-shipped. So even for TTBY, while I loved Eun-gyeol, I thought Tae-joon was a good match for Jae-hee. You know, with her constant need of saving and all. 😉

      December 1, 2012
  3. Probably only once for Beethoven Virus. Didn’t understand why the girl liked the older difficult-to-please man rather than the talented and earnest young man. And only because the young man is so much in love with her. Didn’t really like the girl too much.

    November 30, 2012
    • joonni #

      LOL. I can never see Kim Myung-min was a romantic lead.

      December 1, 2012
    • sb #

      OMG, yes… I didn’t get that at all either!!! Plus, no offense, but JGS’s character was better looking to boot. At least in most dramas, they are both pretty good looking, but other actor who’s name is escaping me actually looks better in King of drama, on BV, I thought he looked too old.

      December 4, 2012
      • joonni #

        It was the Mozart hair! 😀

        December 4, 2012
  4. can’t really remember my first but i can give you my latest. Won Kang Hwi from full house take 2. the immediate closeness and friendship of kang hwi and man ok had me wishing to see them as the couple. but nope, this is full house and she’s to end up w/ tae ik. at least they gave him a back story explaining his ass-iness and that deep down, he’s really a big softy. if they never did, it would piss me off that the heroine would choose him and not kang whi

    on second thought, i think i just remembered my frist SLS and it was the original full house too!!! i never got how song hye kyo’s character fell for and chose lee youn jae, when she had the perfect guy, always supporting her and even threatened to take her from him, yoo min hyuk right next to her. her contract husband, just yelled at her and treated he rlike a slave. ugh

    November 30, 2012
    • Millie #

      I preferred JiHoo for Jan Di. I did not like Gu Jun Pyo at all. Much preferred Minho in Faith. Obviously.
      I also feel the same way about Kang Hwi. After he has done so much for her and his sweet little smile. He has had a hard life too!
      But of course she will end up with Tae Ik!

      December 1, 2012
    • joonni #

      I didn’t like Yoo Min-hyuk at all, even if he was the better person. Was he? I don’t remember too well but I don’t have a good impression of him left.

      December 1, 2012
    • Sari #

      agreee…Won Kang Hwi is a wayyy to good to ignore :p..my other SLS is in ‘the greatest love’..i love the doctor Yoon-Pil Joo, and of course my lovely Alex Chu in Pasta..wish i can find kind a guy like those 3 in my real life..hahahaha

      December 2, 2012
      • sb #

        Alex Chu annoyed me on Pasta b/c he’s another one of the SL that never confesses… at least confess!!!

        December 4, 2012
    • cho-euns #

      yap Full-house 2, gosh, won kang-hwi is soooo desrving to have man-ok.

      December 3, 2012
  5. quirkstine #

    In BOF, I was pretty lukewarm with Ji-hoo but he was still better for Jan-di than the prickly Jun-pyo. In HYD/MG I adored Rui Hanazawa and Hua Ze Lei, they should’ve gotten the girl! I mean they were decent, normal guys without violent tendencies plus they looked like Oguri Shun and ZaiZai! How they could be friend-zoned is beyond me.

    My most recent case of SLS was Moon Jae-shin in SKKS. He was a porcupine with marshmallow insides! How could I not ship him? Plus, he’s a smartypants who fights well. SO. HOT. Although I have to admit that the OTP there made more sense. I wanted to clone PMY’s character just so my poor baby porcupine didn’t end up alone. He deserved to get the girl (too)!

    On a side note, why are there so many Darcy-wannabe heroes and Bingley-esque 2nd leads in dramaland? Seriously. Poor Bingley doppelgangers rarely ever get the girl.

    November 30, 2012
    • joonni #

      At least the original Bingley never wanted Lizzie. 😀 He got the second lead girl!

      December 1, 2012
  6. sunshine #

    Hi Girls! SLS? BBF, Beethoven Virus, Spy Myung Wol- The second lead should have gotten the girl, but the OTP really deserved each other-( Saying that facetiously!) Full House 2, You are Beautiful, and Flower Boy Ramen Shop… I couldn’t understand even until the last moments why she would pick a boy over a man…even if he could kiss with enough passion to make the viewers rewind the smack out of the kiss to rewatch it a dozen times…and his reasoning for not calling her didn’t help the case either.

    In “I Miss You” I am so torn on this one. I know the lead is in love with her, and a part of me wants them to be together, but I so love her with the SL. Aside from the fact that he is all sorts of handsome, and his gaze and smile are captivating, I love that he was there for her, and they are so sweet together. Plus they’ve made lots of happy memories, which they both deserve. The OTP have such a sordid past history because of what they went through, and I don’t think that could be overcome. In a real life case I watched on t.v. where that *awful* scene happened (which I fast fwd on “I Miss You” because it was downright disturbing), the couple who had been engaged broke things off after. Every time they saw each other it was a reminder of the past. Anyhoo…

    Cases where I was unhappy with the second leads getting the girl…Baker King: Having a guy marry a girl because he didn’t want the main lead to have her, cheating on her on their weddng night, and then later calling it love? A bit skewed. And I don’t know why, but I really wanted the leads to end up together in Birdie Buddy. Fashion King is a toss up…but that whole story was a big, hot mess. And dramas where I thought the second lead love line was unconvincing, and didn’t feel swayed to even feel badly for them-poopy pants in Scent of a Woman, and Man of Honor/Young Love Jae In. Wow. Really had to rack my brain to jog my memory on these. 🙂 When SLS hits, it really hits hard, and you wish you could have a serious talk with the lead to talk some sense into them. 🙂

    Loved your line, Joonni “Often this type of second lead is the better person out the two males vying for the heroine’s affection, and dramas with this type of second lead leave viewers scratching their heads in wonder at why the heroine is so dumb enough to friend-zone such a catch.”

    November 30, 2012
  7. Redbird #

    First time commenting ^_^
    There is only two I can think of right now that made me had SLS. The first one would be Hana Kimi jp version. I just loved Toma’s Nakatsu. The second was the tw drama The Rose. I had SLS bad for this drama. If I watch it now(with all its family inter drama and knowing how it end) I still be cheering for the second lead. In my eyes both second leads earn the right to have the main girl leads.

    November 30, 2012
    • joonni #

      Hi Redbird!
      Nakatsu was a hoot and darling. I vividly remember him trying to sneak up into Mizuki’s loft when the lights turned off.

      December 1, 2012
  8. Jyam #

    Hi Joonni!
    (*waves and grin*)

    How about a fan syndrome of liking to ship the other OTP in a drama? Honestly, I’d only watched BOF before because of shipping Yi Jung and Ga Eul. And how can I not ship KIng Gongmin and Princess Noo Guk , eh?

    December 1, 2012
    • joonni #

      Isn’t having that option wonderful, where not all the men are fighting over one girl and vice-versa?

      December 1, 2012
  9. Cant hardly erase the memory of SLS during endless love… Won Bin is my first crush in Kdrama… and now i thought i suffer it again when watching Missing You.. ottoke… super cute lad is becoming a handsome man…Yoo Seung Hoo is daebak!!

    December 1, 2012
  10. paufu #

    Oh, SLS. A disease that makes me cringe or ship the character with another character or slash the writers. Hee~ A disease that’ll be with me for the rest of my Asian drama watching life. Unless they give it a twist and make my beloved second lead end up with the girl.

    I can’t remember the first drama that made me SLS. I remember Lee Jae Shin in SKKS. That character I can’t forget. Such a H.O.T.T.I.E and smart guy with chocolate covered marshmallow inside. I shipped him with the female lead but later realized that he deserved Yong Ha more. Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, and Bae Soo Bin’s character in Dong Yi. There are many more dramas but it’s hard to rack my brain and remember it all. I always wonder why the ideal guys in dramas ends up being friend zoned most of the time. Sometimes I just want to ask the gal on why she didn’t choose the other (and whack the her if I didn’t get a sensible answer. lol.)

    December 1, 2012
  11. I had a case of SLS twice .. once with My Girl where I was routing for Lee JunKi’s Seo Jung-Woo getting Lee Da-Hae’s Yo-Rin and the second time in Moon Embracing the Sun where I shipped Prince Yangmyung with with his bodyguard Woon.

    Kudos to Park Shi-Ho who managed to end up with the female lead not once but twice as a secondary lead 🙂

    December 1, 2012
    • joonni #

      I probably would have shipped Seo Jung-woo with Yu-rin if Lee Junki didn’t overact with the angst all the time in that drama. 😀

      LOL. There is a very thin line between bromance and full-on shipping.

      Park Shi-hoo has magic powers apparently in that field. Woe for me who has never watched a PSH drama.

      December 1, 2012
  12. Ah, Autumn in my heart used to be a very special drama during my early teen years. I have never cried as much for other dramas/ movies. Even though my taste has changed and I guess this type of drama is no longer my cup of tea but I was really obsessed with this drama back then. I rooted for Won Bin’s Han Tae Suk since the first moment I saw him on the screen. I loved everything about him – His smile, his style, his characteristic! Aw, he was just perfect! I remember my heart was torn apart watching him suffering and I hated Eun Seo so much for not choosing him:) If there weren’t Won Bin/ Han Tae Suk, I think I didn’t like the drama that much.

    Have you watched The Model (starring Kim Nam Joo, Han Jae Suk, Jang Dong Gun), Joonni? I was
    very small when I watched it and I don’t really remember the story now. But I liked Han Jae Suk a lot that I swooned like hell whenever I saw him on TV. I guessed it was my first SLS ever.

    December 1, 2012
    • joonni #

      Ah! Someone else who watched Model! Yes, I watched it too. But I don’t think I second-shipped here. Still, was a fan of Han Jae-suk.

      December 1, 2012
  13. Apple Box #

    Thank you, joonni, for this discussion on the 2nd lead.

    Ahh, to think about and feel for “the good one that got away”, both in drama and even in real life :-)….

    When the best becomes only the 2nd best in Kdramas, I tend to comfort myself & indulge in wishful thinking, that maybe the universe just made some random mistake which will just be corrected before the drama ends (fat chance!).

    Sometimes, isn’t life kind of a tease, at best? And cruel, at its worst?!

    December 1, 2012
  14. Luckily, I’ve only suffered SLS twice. One was AIMH. I, too, was rooting for Won Bin from the start. Song Seung Heon was such a weak lead in my opinion. Plus his wooden facial expressions and tears just wasn’t convincing. Although he was definitely eye candy all he did was manage to give me a headache and became really annoying where I vividly remember having to hit the pause button to take a break. I also found myself wanting to slap him a few times for being so wishy washy. Won Bin may be aggressive, but he was a much stronger and likable character. What made him so charismatic is his self-sacrificing devotion and almost unselfish love for Eun-Seo. **sigh just thinking about it**

    Second case was for a saeguk, EOTS. I thought Song II Gook should have won Park Soo Ae’s heart instead of Choi Soo Jang. When SIG realized he loved her, he remained true to his heart. He fought to save her countless times and we can see how loyalty his heart was. I did not ship CSJ at all.

    December 1, 2012
    • joonni #

      Considering how much I loved AIMH, it’s amazing how I don’t have that much affection for SSH. It really must be his wooden acting that doesn’t connect to me. He just doesn’t make me swoon at all, not back then and not now.

      I never watched EOTS for fear of the length but I have the OST. I love SIG’s theme song, “The Prayer.” So sad and so perfectly encompasses the second lead unrequited love.

      December 1, 2012
      • what about SSH in EOE? he didn’t make you swoon in that? he sure made me swoon big time. EOE is one of my favorite and i loved his character in it so much!

        btw, loved the song ‘Because I’m Stupid’ you posted here. i loved it when KHJ sang it in the show and Jandi watched him from the crowd:)

        December 1, 2012
        • joonni #

          Nope. Not even then. I seem to be immune to SSH’s eyebrows. 😀

          December 2, 2012
  15. Ooh, great post! When I was watching Oohlala Spouses, I was on the second ship…totally ready to sail with neighborhood oppa off on the sea of happily-ever-after…but I started getting that icky feeling that the drama gods were gonna thwart me..so I backed off and stopped watching it. I seem unable to watch any drama where I seriously dislike the One-true-pair. So, it turned out I spared myself some serious sorrow by cutting Ooh la la spouse loose. But that was my last serious bout with SLS.

    December 1, 2012
  16. MM #

    Also a Taiwanese Drama just finishing watching right now, and I hate hate the lead man, and much prefer the sweet secondary man who is much handsomer and so kind and caring. The jerk remains selfish.

    December 1, 2012
  17. darcydevenus #

    I usually have enough sense not to argue with the drama gods, but in two cases I can think of that the second lead should have got the lady.

    First case: Hana Yori Dango. Rui (of all the versions that I have seen) was actually able to tell her that he loved her, and that he wanted her to choose him. For that, I felt his character was the strongest of all the Rui-esque characters available.

    Second case: Playful Kiss. I thought the lead guy was just flat and boring. Joe Cheng in ITSWAK was excellent in his roll. You could totally tell that he loved playing with his lady. But, in Playful Kiss… he was simply flat. However, ‘Ducky’ was alaive in all the positive ways. He was absoluetly adorable, and I was totally all for him. But then I was glad that he didn’t end up getting wasted on the lame-o main girl… Just sayin’…

    As for Sang K Scandal, I was totally rooting for the main character. I didn’t feel that the second lead had much chemistry with the leading lady. But that’s just me…

    December 1, 2012
    • joonni #

      I loved HYD season 2 for that reason. Rui actively pursued Makino and we got some awesome agnst out of it. RUI!!!!!

      December 1, 2012
      • chikoku #

        RUIIII, would you marry me !!! LOL

        Among many version of HYD (taiwan,korea, japan), i love Rui the most. Maybe because it was played by Shin Oguri ? I have bias for him. Any role he play, i will love the character also.

        December 2, 2012
        • cacao #

          I loved HYD 2 Joonni, and I adore Rui a lot.

          I think you’re right chikoku, maybe because Shin Oguri who played Rui ( but I prefer his character on crows zero).

          December 6, 2012
  18. chikoku #

    Joonni, are you forget about Yul in Princess Hour/Goong ?!!!

    In Prince Yul, I experience the worst SLS. I love how the writer adopt Yul’s character in manga to screen. In the manga, Yul so annoying, and i hate him easily. But on screen, GOD, Yul kidnaped my heart. T__T

    At the first exile, he just lost the crown. But in the end, he lost love, honor, trust, dignity, and people. He lost evertyhing left. How can the writer-nim did such cruel things to this charater. Everytime he on screen, the pain always spread from his
    face. Poor Yul !!!

    His saying, ” Karma will round again. The reason why i cant love chae gyung. And why i could’nt have her, that’s was all planned (because his mother’s sin and greed)” RIPPED MY HEART

    The only reason why he follow his mother to dethrone the king and kick the recent crwon prince, just because he feel that chae gyung supposed to be his, not Shin.

    December 1, 2012
    • joonni #

      Unfortunately, I disliked Yul. I don’t like second male leads that tell continuously tell the heroine that the male lead does not like her. This is part of the reason why I don’t like Yoo Seung-ho’s character in Missing You.

      December 1, 2012
      • chikoku #

        Somehow, i can understand why Yul continuously tell Chae Gyung that Shin doesnt like her. It come out from his depression and jealousy because Shin has everything he thinks supposed to be his, love and the crown It seems so natural to me he has that grudge. Because all the jealousy will make anyone become irritate. Everything he did look so human to me.If he walking around with smile and pure heart with everything he has been going through, it seems not normal. I consider Yul as the protagonist – antagonist character. He is a good and bad character at once.

        I avoid Missing You, Joonni. I cant bear this kind of genre. Too hard, too sad, too painful. I just try first episode, and very sure will not going to watch further.

        December 2, 2012
        • joonni #

          I can understand why Yul did it but I just can’t personally like that kind of character.

          December 2, 2012
          • chikoku #

            Oh, i see what you mean. Yul is the type of SL that you want to kick out.. LOL

            Btw, do you watch Cheongdamdong Alice, Joonni ? It seem very promising. After Faith,
            it’s very hard to find the replacement. But i’ll try this. It seem so funny and light.

            Kinda try school 2013 too

            December 5, 2012
  19. Love this article!
    I love that song you posted so much I actually made a short film with it. I probably listened to it 50,000 time by the time I was done editing it – you know what that is like – and I still like it. It doesn’t sound like anything else in that OST.

    As far as Feelings, you don’t remember who she ended up with because she didn’t end up with any of them.

    My strongest most recent SLS was in Big Love. When he gave her all the roses, I almost died of broken heart. Sigh

    And I am totally with you on SKKS! If he actually tried to win her, he would have!

    December 1, 2012
    • joonni #

      Thanks Jomo for that reminder! I think I remember now that I was pretty aggravated that she didn’t end up with anyone after all that.

      December 1, 2012
  20. miha #

    i suffered from SLS at “autum in my heart”, “mary stayed out all night”,”you’re beautiful”,”hana youri dango/boys over flowers”, “hana kimi”..and i bet even more dramas..they kinda put in almost every drama something to torment us like the SLS

    December 1, 2012
  21. I just heard about the SLS triump in Beautiful Days only recently at Koalasplayground. I couldn’t believe what I read because when I watched the drama I always thought Lee Byung Hun was the main hero from the beginning. I think he had more screentime also. I never doubt he won’t get the girl. I’m glad though because I couldn’t help falling in love with his character more despite him being the bad guy in it.

    I think I have an inclination to like the bad guy more in a kdrama than the nice gentleman one. If not bad, either he’s hot or playful and cute, I prefer them than the plain nice guy type. Case in point: Lee Byung Hun in Beautiful Days, Won Bin in Autumn in My Heart, Jo In Sung in What Happen In Bali, Chun Jung Myung in Fashion 70s, Lee Min Ho in Boys Before Flowers, Lee Seung Gi in Brilliant Legacy, Bae Yong jun in Hotelier, Choi Jin Hyuk in I Need Romance, Kim Ji Suk in I Need Romance 2012, Eric in Que Sera Sera, Yeon Jung Hoon in Sad Love Story and Yoon Kye Sang in My Sister in Law is 19

    Anyway, I’m in SLS now with Hyung Joon (Yoo Seung Hoo) in Missing You. I stopped watching at EP6 though because I decided to wait until the drama finish airing first. When its just so clear that my ship is sinking, it becomes depressing to watch.

    December 1, 2012
    • joonni #

      I got the hint that Ryu Shi-won was originally supposed to get the girl when they gave him the childhood connection to Choi Ji-hoo and you know how much Kdramas love the eternal first love thing. And I think, if you can believe it, that Ryu Shi-won was the bigger name back then.

      There is a different between a bad boy who is sweet to the heroine, and guy who is just a jerk to everyone including the heroine. I prefer the former.

      December 1, 2012
      • Oh, right, the childhood connection. But I guess when the adult casts made their appearance, Lee Byung Hun character stole the scene so much and overshadowed Ryu Shi Won that he came off like a hero more. Now that you mentioned, it was really a rare case where the first love not end up together in a kdrama.

        Definitely, a bad guy who is a jerk to everyone is a no-no.

        December 2, 2012
  22. debberdeux #

    Hi Joonni, I totally feel the same way with you on Won Bin in Autumn In My Heart! That was the first Korean drama that I watched and I fell hopelessly in love with k-dramas ever since. My mom and I can’t stop making fun of Song Seung-Han’s dramatic end when he flew after getting knocked over by a lorry.

    I didn’t quite ship Jihoo in Boys over Flower. But I loved the second couple in BoF. I thought they were really cute together especially the part where the girl showed him the billboard advert that his ex-gf wanted to show him but he missed it.

    December 1, 2012
    • debberdeux #

      The other SLS moment that I had was in Feast of the Gods. I totally shipped Kim Do Yoon rather than Jae Ha and I was so glad when the writer started shipping DY and he got the girl at the end.

      I kinda shipped Park Joon Ha in Nice Guy but I loved Maru to bits too so I didn’t quite complain about it. Nice Guy totally cured me from Faith hangover. I thought the storyline and direction was brilliantly done except for a few annoying loopholes in the last episode. Thanks Joonni, your header picture made me watch Nice Guy and I totally loved it. But I can’t find another drama to top that for now. Any recommendations? May restart Miss You again when the drama has been completed cos I can’t take chasing a live drama again and so soon.

      December 1, 2012
    • joonni #

      I remember streaming that last scene on a modem back when AIMH was airing so instead of laughing, I was just trying to comprehend what the heck was going on because of the buffering. Could not believe that happened to him.

      December 1, 2012
  23. minozlove #

    Has anyone seen “The seventh day” drama? it looks very interesting

    December 1, 2012
  24. Chepie2 #

    How about YKS in the The Greatest Love? Why do (some) girls always fall for the arrogant-and-bad-boy character than a sweet-and-good-boy one? Ha ha ha! 🙂

    BSB reminds me of Bill Pullman or Jeff Daniels who always played second lead who did not get the heroine in the movie. Love BSB’s character in Shining Inheritance and Dong-yi.

    I’ll say it again: YAI is hot in SKKS! Have yet to finish watching it ‘though. This one’s a case of a “girl-boy” falling for the arrogant-and-self-righteous lead character. 😉

    Thanks for sharing your choices for your SLS!

    December 1, 2012
  25. Great post here!

    I suffered SLS soo much that its reached the extent where I check out the second lead first before the lead…

    December 1, 2012
  26. Classy #

    Great post Joonni!!

    I suffered SLS with just one drama thankfully
    One was for The moon that embraces the Sun..
    I thoroughly enjoyed Jung ill Woo’s character and it made me sad that he could never get the woman he loved no matter what the case..
    Sob!

    December 2, 2012
    • Classy, I agree with you on that!! “The Moon Embraces the Sun” is the only one that really hurts me bad.

      December 2, 2012
  27. trotwood #

    I have been burned so many times that I have taken to looking at the last two minutes of shows (without sound and without subs) just to see who the main lead actress ends with because I just want to know. I am glad someone brought up Bae Soo-bin. Will he ever be happy in a drama? I thought he would get the girl in Temptation of an Angel, but nooooo, he can never be with the sister of his wife. Blech. I stopped Flower Boy Ramun Shop because I liked the second male lead better, too.

    December 2, 2012
    • Flower boy ramyun shop!!!!!!!!!! I really didn’t get the logic behind her decision despite those kisses…. Nuff said

      March 12, 2014
  28. minozlove #

    Hi, I just finished watching “You’re beautiful”, what a fantastic show, thank you imja yogi for having it on your drama list. I must say that I was equally rooting for both first and second actors, they were both so fantastic, in fact all the 3 guys were great. I LOVED THIS SHOW

    December 2, 2012
    • When that drama came out my friend & I loved it so much, we both went to Korea town and looked for a pig- rabbit & a star necklace!! LOL We hit every mall and store, they all though we were crazy!! Finally had no choice but to order on-line!! We had so much fun looking for it..best time ever.

      December 2, 2012
    • Pam #

      I loved YB’s 2nd male lead, Kang Shin Woo and Jeremy. Not to mention YB had an ah-mazing OST.

      December 4, 2012
  29. Awesome post, Joonni!

    My forever SLS would be Hana Yori Dango’s Hanazawa Rui. Japanese version. Specifically Shun Oguri. I cant stand the korean version. Probably becoz I kept comparing between the version actors. Mianhe Kim Hyun Joong fans!

    My most recent SLS would probably be Shin Ji Hoon (Kim Ji Suk) in I Need A Romance 2. I kept screaming at my laptop telling Joo Yeol Mae (Jung Yu Mi) to get her eyes, heart and head check. Ahahaha…

    My other regular SLS is Park Shi Hoo but he normally ends up being the lead. Both Prosecutor Princess and Queen Of Reversal.

    Cant wait to see Park Shi Hoo goes up against Kim Ji Suk in Cheongdamdong Alice. Not sure if the drama plays well and I might end up dying not knowing with one to choose. Heee…..~

    December 3, 2012
  30. Pam #

    Hwangbo Yoon, ’nuff said.

    December 3, 2012
    • joonni #

      Kekekeke. Naeuri!!!!

      December 3, 2012

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