Drama Reactions & Reviews
Top 10 most virulent cases of Second Lead Syndrome
by | January 31, 2017 | 485 Comments

javabeans: Second leaaaaaaads! Where would we be without them?

girlfriday: Happier, probably.

javabeans: But also maybe more bored? Because c’mon, a well-placed second lead (and his unrequited love for the heroine) can provide a certain crackle to a juicy romance, even if sometimes that crackle often comes with big booming pain.

girlfriday: I just mean I’d probably be happier, because I often ship the wrong guy and then end up in a puddle of my own misguided tears. But dramas would be nowhere without second leads. Not all dramas need to have love triangles, but so many dramas do, and when they’re great, they can really drive a romance and make us feel for all the parties involved. It just makes sense that in order to have an effective love triangle, you need a really compelling second lead who has a shot at winning.

javabeans: Of course, this whole concept of “winning” is its own can of worms, since many of these effective second lead stories often present him as the perfect man, the one the heroine really deserves, instead of that mean ol’ hero who always makes her cry. It drives home the idea that nobody “deserves” a person’s love over anybody else, not when love isn’t a quid-pro-quo transaction, but damn if the shows don’t know how to dig that knife of injustice into our hearts with that extra twist.

girlfriday: That twist is mean, but clearly it works, because I’m such a sucker for the pining unrequited love.

javabeans: What’s funny about this phenomenon (which we’ve long been calling Second Lead Syndrome, because it is practically diagnosable at this point) is that half the time I’m convinced that I’m immune to its effects, remembering all the fantastic OTP’s I’ve never once betrayed. Then I remember all the doomed supporting lead romances that broke my heart and there I go, cursing the dramaland fates that make second leads so goddamned appealing.

girlfriday: It really only takes one to make you think that there’s suddenly something wrong with the universe, for not letting the second lead get the girl this time. Even if you’ve watched hundreds of dramas and never cared about a second lead once, there will suddenly be one who steals your heart and leads you to cry foul over the main loveline.

javabeans: Second Lead Syndrome is such a fixture in love stories these days that our Top Ten list had to narrow down the criteria, otherwise our shortlist would have been a hundred names long. In keeping with the theme, our choices were limited to the second leads whose love stories brought us the most pain or gave us the most grief.

girlfriday: Yes, the ones where we were cursing writers. And then of course second lead syndrome leads to shipping wars, which is a whole other dimension of pain.

javabeans: Oh my god, shipping wars. What a way to take your private agony, pour a ton of salt into the gaping wounds, and magnify them for the world to pick at. Why, whyyyyyy? Why do we do this to ourselves, and why do we never learn?

girlfriday: I DON’T KNOW. But I think it’s true that we never learn, because every other year when another Answer Me series comes out, I want to hide in a hole until the war is over and call my mommy to come pick me up.

javabeans: I like my second lead romances a little toothless, myself, because I want to feel pity and sympathy for the poor guy but not actually feel torn up inside about shipping the wrong person with the heroine. Because even when you like Mr. Second Lead better, 99.99% of the time, we all know she’ll end up with the hero instead. (And 0.01% of the time, we cry for days and write angsty lists about it.)

girlfriday: Cue list!


1. Answer Me 1994 (2013)

javabeans: Answer Me 1994 inflicted some serious raw wounds in my heart over its second lead arc, pains I’ve been keeping deep in repression ever since the drama ended, and I have this post to thank for dredging up all those terrible, agonizing, glorious feelings for Chilbongie and the love he was never destined to have. Of course, it wasn’t purely my fault for picking the wrong guy—not when the show did everything in its power to lead us astray, giving us actual hope that he wasn’t, in fact, the doomed second fiddle. That fakeout was part of the reason I felt so viscerally hurt when my ship crashed and burned: Answer Me’s writer understood dramaland’s cliches and rhythms so well that she was able to masterfully circumvent expectations (in a way I don’t think any other writer has been able to do regarding romance). Usually we know who’s getting the girl and who’s getting left in the dust, but 1994 faked us out brilliantly by giving the second lead the hero treatment, keeping the OTP in the shadows while building up the sweet, devoted, puppy-doggish Chilbongie as our heroine’s potential future husband. By the time the realization of the OTP’s direction hit, those of us on Team Chilbongie were already in too deep to get out without suffering damage. I could accept and appreciate Oppa ultimately being the husband, but it was the path to that end that did me in. And as an extra-salty kicker, the fanwars that sprung up over the two ships felt particularly vicious and mean-spirited, so invested did everyone feel in their particular team. This is the drama that made me swear off all future Answer Me seasons for good… and based on good ol’ Number 2 below, it’s a decision I’ve never regretted. Never say I don’t learn anything!


2. Answer Me 1988 (2015-16)

girlfriday: Apparently some of us don’t learn, because even after suffering through the agony of rooting for Chilbongie, I found myself back here, thinking that this time I’d play it safe and be on the right team. The obvious team. The one that wouldn’t make me cry. I had a plan and everything! Of all the installments of the Answer Me franchise, this one really set us up for the ultimate fakeout. Honestly, I never thought in a million years that Ryu Joon-yeol wouldn’t get the girl. He was the classic drama hero through and through, as the prickly boy next door who kept his feelings close to the vest while our heroine flailed over her adorable crush on him. I didn’t even spend the drama feeling bad for him like a regular second lead, because it seemed like such a foregone conclusion that he’d be the heroine’s husband in the future that viewers invented a term for it, which translates to “Obviously Future Husband Ryu Joon-yeol.” Instead, I spent the drama having (totally unnecessary) second lead sympathy pangs for quiet Park Bo-gum, because he was just like Chilbongie, and surely doomed to break my heart. Surely! This was a case where I loved both boys, but just fell for the trap of expecting characters to follow the archetypes we’d seen in drama after drama, which of course the writer played up for maximum twistiness. I might even consider it clever, if not for the fact that Ryu Joon-yeol cut my heart out and left it on a restaurant table sometime in the early ‘90s, next to the confession he gave and then took back. On the upside, I no longer feel feelings.


3. Boys Before Flowers (2009)

javabeans: This drama was practically designed around Second Lead Syndrome, and judging from the sea of tears shed by the sinking ship (the better to float it with?), it utilized it mighty effectively. This drama offered a textbook case of how being a “better” man doesn’t entitle anybody to anybody else’s heart, and second lead Ji-hoo was established as pretty much all of the good things that leading man Jun-pyo wasn’t: thoughtful, kind, gentle, calm, mature. The drama went so far as to declare Ji-hoo the heroine’s soulmate—platonically, of course—and she forged a friendship with him immediately; her relationship with him was as easy as her relationship with the hero was perpetually turbulent, as though two kindred souls need no time deciding that they’re simpatico. Even when the main romance was in full swing, it was often Ji-hoo who understood her thoughts and concerns better than the guy she’d chosen, and to underscore his general decency, he often helped smooth the bumps in their relationship even as he was pining for her heart himself. It was enough to make you figure, Well, if she has this perfect sunbae dying to be with her and still picks the volatile, immature, jealous other dude, then I guess it really is love! Sadly for second leads of dramaland, being Mr. Perfect is no longer enough for true love. Tough crowd!


4. Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010)

HeadsNo2: There’s something tragic and swoony about the second lead who is the heroine’s constant but silent protector, operating behind the scenes while being hopelessly in love with her. Maybe the appeal of the second lead is the doomed nature of it, the fact that they Can Never Be, even though in Sungkyunkwan Scandal, I really, really wanted them to be. I wanted them to be so badly that my bones will be found on their sunken ship years from now.

In many ways, Moon Jae-shin was the typical hero character—dark, handsome, deep, and a bit of a bad boy. He was the rebel who discovered our heroine’s crossdressing secret and went to any lengths to protect her, all without her knowing. Who wouldn’t want a guardian with that soul-stealing gaze? The way he looked at her with all that hopeless devotion broke my heart, especially since she remained mostly unaware of everything he did for her. It wasn’t easy to protect her secret in an academy full of men, but watching him try, whether by stopping others from discovering her bathing or by wriggling his way in between her and the lead while sleeping was half the fun of the show. Okay, that and the fact that he got a mad case of the hiccups whenever he became romantically aware of her. That was always adorable. *hic*


5. Heirs (2013)

girlfriday: Trying to argue Lee Min-ho vs. Kim Woo-bin in Heirs is a little bit like judging the heights of acorns, as they were both punks in a school full of rich entitled punks. I couldn’t tell you that Kim Woo-bin’s brash high school tyrant was a good person, but I can tell you that I found him more compelling than our hero, whose wardrobe often had more personality than he did.

I guess I have a big soft spot for the thorny teenage rebel who lashes out because he’s harboring so much inner pain. This guy totally deserved to go to jail for half the things he did in the drama, but I was surprised that I often cared more about his character development than anyone else. I couldn’t believe that he thought tormenting a girl and bullying her publicly was the best way to get her attention—like pulling a girl’s pigtails, but in a violent, criminal fashion. But then when he started following her around and trying to do nice things for her (and failing miserably, as being nice is a behavior he actually had to learn for the first time), I found myself moved by his tiny steps toward humanity. He seemed so starved for friendship and love, and even though he always went about asking for it in the wrongest way possible, I really wanted him to get his happy ending.


6. You’re Beautiful (2009)

HeadsNo2: The force was so strong with this second lead ship that it almost felt like fanservice when another drama (You’ve Fallen For Me) later cast the two actors as romantic leads, which at least soothed those fans who’d been heartbroken by the lack of a happy ending for Shin-woo and Mi-nyeo. In You’re Beautiful, which also featured a second lead intent on protecting the heroine’s crossdressing secret in silence, Shin-woo stole hearts by just being there for our heroine as she tried to navigate the world of boy bands—a far cry from her previous calling as a nun. His approach toward looking after the naive and adorably childlike heroine was the completely opposite of the hero, who fit the cold-on-the-outside-squishy-on-the-inside mold to a tee. Perhaps this personality divide is a large reason for the fandom divide between the two love interests, since both extremes were available to root for, even if we all know one of those sides was futile. Despite knowing the secret of her true identity, Shin-woo formed a friendship with the heroine and treated her as one of the boys, and always made sure to be available to step in to help her, whether she knew it or not—whether it was providing a shoulder to sleep on, carrying heavy equipment for her, or bearing the fact that she liked his bandmate more than him. Such is the fate of doomed second leads, sigh.


7. Who Are You—School 2015 (2015)

girlfriday: This one still makes me so mad! I’m not often confused about why a heroine chooses the leading man, since there’s usually enough in the drama to back the OTP when all is said and done, but in Who Are You—School 2015, I actually had a hard time understanding her choice. It was a case where I had to chalk it up to something she had seen in Nam Joo-hyuk’s character offscreen, because it wasn’t a thing I felt and could relate to. It didn’t help that second lead Yook Sung-jae had a very natural rapport with her, making all their scenes sparkle with warmth, or that he was so adorable about his puppy crush on her. He was the first person to recognize the heroine for herself and not her twin sister, the one who protected her from being found out as an imposter, and the first person to call her by her real name—something that genuinely moved me, and made me think that he was the only person who saw the real her. In a story all about finding the courage to live as herself, that mattered to me a great deal. When unni came back, it provided us with the perfect solution—two happy endings!—but they sank two ships instead. Why? Why would they do that? Why would anyone do that on purpose? Clearly I’m still not over it. I will never be over it!


8. Chuno (2010)

HeadsNo2: You know that love triangle that still gives you goosebumps, where just thinking of it makes you want to rewatch an entire show all over again? Chuno was that show for me, with its epic scope and equally epic love story at its center: a slave hunter, destined to hunt down the love of his life, who had once been a slave in his household. And while you desperately wanted him to find the love of his life, said love was completely oblivious to his undying devotion. An interesting thing happened as the show went on, when we began to realize that the hero wouldn’t reach her in time—she had, at that point, fallen for another man, a fellow slave on the run who had once been a deeply principled general. It was impossible not to fall for this classically heroic character, the direct antithesis to what antihero Dae-gil had become, even though the conflict of loving both characters at once (and wanting them both to get what they wanted, which was unfortunately mutually exclusive) was torture of the best kind. Her love story with the former general had a depth of feeling in a stoic and understated sort of way, until the pairing felt natural, even under their unnatural circumstances. And when the heroine eventually reunited with her first love, we saw a rare case of the second lead’s virtues winning out, which was a rewarding and bittersweet experience all at once. I’m still so torn!


9. Autumn Fairy Tale (2000)

HeadsNo2: I watched Autumn Fairy Tale retroactively after embarking on a Won Bin marathon, which is relatively easy since we’re going on seven years since he’s been in anything (Just be in a movie, Oppa! Any movie. Please?), so admittedly I saw the show through a slightly different lens than viewers who caught the original run. But both then and now, Won Bin’s character fits the bill of the the quintessential aggressive second lead, playing second fiddle to the perfect and amazing hero and definitely not taking it well.

So maybe he could sometimes veer toward the dangerous, with loads of wrist-grabbing and trapping the heroine against walls, but the shows of aggression and tears were just his way of saying that he loved the heroine, even when he was sometimes kind of maybe demanding that she love him back. I’m realizing now that he doesn’t sound quite so good on paper, but he was oddly captivating in the show, and you wanted him to get the girl because he wanted it so very badly. All my memories of him in Autumn Fairy Tale involve angry tears, low growling, and him trying to buy her love with all his money, but he was such a driving force for the show that I couldn’t help but continue to watch for him. He never stood a chance, and that was part of the angst of it—but like all melodramas of that period, we got to enjoy his paaaaain, which there was never any shortage of. Were we all masochists back then? Are we still, and is that why we fall in love with second leads?


10. My Girl (2005-6)

javabeans: Ah, what a throwback to the early days of Hallyu. My Girl certainly wasn’t the first trendy rom-com to invoke Second Lead Syndrome, but its fanbase’s reaction to its passionate second lead (thanks, Lee Jun-ki!) felt unusually strong for the time, and crested just as the first wave of Hallyu was really taking off and popularizing Second Lead Syndrome as a phenomenon. I confess to never succumbing to the second lead’s pull in this drama (I was loyal to our OTP, through and through), but I couldn’t leave My Girl off this list—not when Team Lee Jun-ki’s vehement and impassioned embrace of his character and doomed ship were so strong that I was amazed and a little bewildered by it. Granted, a large part of that appeal came from the actor more than the character, who was, on paper, familiar stuff: the nice, friendly guy who befriends the heroine when the hero doesn’t appreciate her. Even though I didn’t feel its thrall, I had to acknowledge that it was a powerful force, driven by the fire-versus-ice contrast between him and his hero best friend. Moreover, his pushiness was balanced by his basic good nature, offering us a welcome new development in the trajectory of the aggressive second lead—he felt emotions strongly, but took them out mostly on himself, rather than imposing them on a heroine who didn’t want them. It was a refreshing display of an ever-slightly-more-evolved Second Lead, and I’ll always remember him (and his mad elfin-fairy hair!) fondly.


485 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Car

    Precisely on top of my list, My Girl, Heirs, You’re beautiful and School 2015..

    And ya, me too, I will never get over School 2015!

    • 1.1 Newbee

      I had to drop School 2015 because I couldn’t stand NJH’s acting and moreover when I realised that YSJ won’t get the girl I dropped the show!

      And yah! It’s Top 10 SLS this time.. I posted a wish list on top ten list of SLS in the last Top ten article and here it is granted immediately 😊

      For over 100s of kdramas that I watched, in almost everything I shipped the main OTP. Then Sungyunkwan Scandal happened. I just couldn’t get over the fact that MJS didn’t get the girl. Even then I watched the entire show consoling myself that the main lead isn’t too bad.

      Then happened Reply 1994, I rooted for chilbongie and I had to quit the show after ep15 when someone spoiled that he won’t get the girl. It’s quite interesting that despite being a non-quitter when it comes to kdramas I quit 2 shows because the guy I root for doesn’t get the girl. In heirs too I wanted KWB to be happy. He is the only thing I cared about in the drama.

      Except for Chuno ( which I didn’t watch because JB saud it lacks soul – something that is very important for me) and autumn fairy tale I have watched all the shows in the list . Except for the 3 second leads I said about, I was ok with all the others shows OTP.

      I thought SANDGLASS would be there in the list since the show garnered interest and the story was tweaked a little because of the Second lead. But since it’s relatively old it must have been dropped.

      Good work dramabeans!!!

      • 1.1.1 sfgirl

        Same, Sungkyunkwan Scandal was my first brush with second lead syndrome. Since then Reply 1994 and 1988 have happened and its sickness that crops up off and on!

      • 1.1.2 junny

        Chuno was a pool of angst. I was shipping Dae-gil and Seol-hwa, but that ship sank horribly too. 🙁

      • 1.1.3 EZ

        wow i feel lucky…
        have had second lead syndrome only in one drama – and in all possible variants of that drama..

        how can anyone like jun pyo over hanazawa rui..

        Boys over flower, every time i hope the story will have alternate ending but alas, korea, japan, taiwan,a nd india (sort of until they changed the whole story).. all disappointed

        And then, hwarang is happening.. i don’t really ship hyng shik with go ara.. but i just want him not pining or being left out.. just make him fall i n love with anyone who will reciprocate

      • 1.1.4 momosan

        My Mom watched Sungyunkwan Scandal with me (her preference being for historical shows, she calls it “that school show”). Her version of SLS was a repeated “I really don’t see why she doesn’t pick that nice Jae Shin boy.” LOL!

    • 1.2 Gw

      Honestly, I don’t want to ship anybody in The Heirs. I just want the heroine to be independent and can stand on her own feet.

      • 1.2.1 JuicyFeet

        Holy crap, yes! She was like some sad little doll being passed around for pretty much the entirety of that show. I just want her to get away from all of them and be her own person.

      • 1.2.2 Megan

        You literally put it there. That’s exactly what I felt the whole damn drama, the girl to be independent and happy on her own and become a horror movie director or whatever. Both first and second male leads were complete asshats and they needed to grow up before starting anything with anyone. Sadly, part of the fandom on here and some other sites were shitting on the one character that did not deserve it…
        For Young Do’s defense, at least he had character development. KES must really love Kim Woo Bin

        • monologue

          Pretty much all Kim Eun Sook female leads are like this (maybe not secret garden). I pm dont watch one of her dramas now unless I’m in the mood for a ridic romance novel cliche type story

          • Sera The Ms Temper

            But at least after Heirs i. e DOTS and Goblin, she no longer made the female lead’s character a weak character. I think she did aware and took the viewers’ opinion on Heirs.

          • skelly

            City Hall isn’t. Everyone seems to forget about this one, but it was exactly the opposite of the Secret Garden story arc: as the story progresses, the heroine gets stronger, more confident, more willing to take risks. She is also the only person who is able to help the hero become a better person.

          • Andrea


            Oh City Hall…how I love you. It is so hard to wrap my mind around the fact that Kim Eun-sook — the writer of Secret Garden, aka the k-drama that contains one of the most rape-y scenes I’ve ever witnessed in a dram — wrote City Hall, because the female character is so wonderfully complex, layered, competent, and independent. She gets more and more confident as the series goes on, and the male lead likes that about her (*gasp!*).

            I once read an interview with Kim Eun-sook (that I cannot find now, even after an exhaustive Google search… >_<…) where she said that she doesn't write dramas like City Hall any more because it got such low ratings compared to her other dramas. Which is sad and frustrating and makes me shake my fist at the patriarchy. (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ

      • 1.2.3 thelady

        all the guys in Heirs were creeps, I wanted her to escape and live her own life

        • lil

          lol! couldn’t have said it better

      • 1.2.4 Lin_K

        For me, what made me care for YD was the way Kim Woo Bin played him. Totally KWB! YD had personality; he was a terrible jerk and bully but KWB’s facial expressions and dialogue delivery were great. And YD had character development, unlike many other characters in that drauma.

        On a side note, I got some really great friends from commenting on that drama. We had a huge shipping war and there was a handful of us supporting YD. We were crazy to sit there and reply back to every single one of those posts that countered us. Wasted so much time and energy but at that time, it was what me and the other YD fans wanted to do. After it was all over, we private messaged each other, became friends on fb, video chatted over the years, and a few of us are meeting this year. It’s gonna be so awesome! So some good things definitely come out of shipping wars! And I am sorry to anyone whom we may have offended at that time. We are nice, emotionally stable people. Just went a little crazy at that time. Lol 🙂 We were young. *Sighs*

    • 1.3 ap

      precisely, precisely! SCHOOL 2015 JUST WHY

    • 1.4 Martin J Simwaba

      On my top 10 list, School, Who Are You and Boys Before Flowers ranks from 1 to 7. I don’t know “which” out-ranks which, and i don’t care. Up to this moment i can’t accept the fact that those second leads were actually second leads.
      BOYS BEFORE FLOWERS: JI WOO was the first character i loved and i was so invested that i forgot that he wasn’t the hero of the story. And JUN PYO made me hate Lee Min Ho until “The Heirs” where i liked him a bit. I became his fan after “Personal Taste”.
      SCHOOL WHO ARE YOU: I still can’t understand why the blonde guy was second lead or why our heroine never fell for him? Because the lead didn’t do anything to make me root for him.
      10. MY GIRL

    • 1.5 Persian Rose

      My Girl is definitely on top of my list too. Reply 88 was annoying because in fact she ended up with 2nd lead instead of 1st lead!

      • 1.5.1 EZ

        What makes RJY the first lead?

        • azteca

          because the story is from his pov from 1st till ep 18.
          not even from the male lead.

          • claire

            he basically disappeared in the 2nd half of the show. the story was in the girl’s pov.

          • EZ

            agree with claire.. at no point is story from RJY’s pov.. it was always DS’ss tory..

            and in context of setting let’s say hers and her husbnad’s

          • thelady

            There really are only about 4 episodes in the first half that focused on RJY’s character’s feelings, I feel like his shippers exaggerate his perspective on the show

        • nomad

          …and so the fanship war begins again…

      • 1.5.2 kimsajang

        oh please, reply series always cast the first lead for the first time and always tailored the character around its personality. PBG was casted first and the story were never focused on his character especially in the second half of the show. I hope his shippers would already healed by now though

        I am sorry if my english is bad

    • 1.6 Orl

      School 2015 was traumatic. At least the drama made Yook Sungjae famous.

      Anyway I was kind of expecting a Top 10 SLS. Next I suggest a Top 10 Mane of Glory lol.

    • 1.7 Viki

      Me to the thousand!!! Still gives me agony thinking about it after 2 years!!! I swear the writer was on crack during the last episode.

      Also 1988 was ruined by the leaked script…I know ryujunyeol+hyeri belong together in real 88world!

      • 1.7.1 Divyrus

        Wait, what!?

        There was leaked script in which RJY got the girl!????

      • 1.7.2 thelady

        Hyeri’s character says in the 2nd episode that she wants Bogum to grow up so she can marry him. He was always the end game.

      • 1.7.3 lil

        yeah, what?! 1 order of goss, to go, please

    • 1.8 Lin_K

      Me three, I will never get over School 2015! It was mind-boggling how they messed that one up. The production team was on crack when they filmed the last two or three episodes. Lol.

  2. kooriyuki

    I got myself vaccinated after drowning on the Chilbong ship. No more SLS!

    • 2.1 mary


    • 2.2 Mel

      Chilling—heart breaker!!!

    • 2.3 Ga

      Are you sure there was no error in THAT vaccine’s storage and handling? Be careful, chingu, we never know if we are immune enough for another future SLS attack(s) *deepcry*

    • 2.4 Brasslefrat

      I still have PTSD ever since Chillbongie. The pain that caused me was unreal! I did the smart just like JB and swore future Answer Me seasons for good! Happy I did it, cause I would have been burned with AM 88.

    • 2.5 thekors

      SLS from ‘Reply 1994’ has scarred me for life. I still can’t watch YYS in any other drama.

      • 2.5.1 lil

        me neither, his face, his voice – it all kills me

      • 2.5.2 nomad

        Me, too! The moment I read the title of this article, I said “CHILBONGIIEEEEEEEE!”. I’m like GF though, I didn’t learn and of course got burned again in AM88. Though never like SLS with Chilbong. Ugh. It’s like the first break up or something, I cannot get over the pain, ever.

    • 2.6 thelady

      Chillbongie, I just wished they hadn’t made him so pitiful and dragged out his suffering.

    • 2.7 Shannie

      I was devastated when Chilbong didn’t get the girl. After that, I swore off the “Answer Me” franchises. That’s the first time, I’d ever gotten SLS to that degree. I was so pissed and the fanwars that broke out……….oh my. I can’t go through that again.

  3. lychee

    Only Chilbong supporters would say that the writers “kept the otp in the shadows” when Trash being the husband was painfully obvious from the start. The girl never even considered Chilbong as a romantic interest.

    • 3.1 Chilbonger

      I was a hardcore Team Chilbongie, even joining the fanwars and all that jazz, and yet I dont understand how there are people /today/ who still think the writer mislead us. We were all beyond delusional, Trash was designed to be the husband from the get-go, it wasn’t even a matter of clues, he was the only option and the only male character who had any development with NaJung.

      I waited until the very LAST episode with the hopes that Chilbongie would be the husband, it was ridiculous I tell you but a nice wake up call to never let my crazy bias for a cute boy blind me again hahaha

      • 3.1.1 azteca

        i was team trash, not because of the actor or anything ( hence i like both), but more because of the story. the sw tried to lead us with a lot of hint from both candidate, the only one hint that i know that trash is the husband is because najung never wavering since ep 1 till the last. even when they’re separate for few years after broke up, she never did. so its unlikely that she suddenly jump to chilbongie…

        well, unlike duksoen who’s jump to everyone who her friends said they likes her. amongst the female reply character i like najung…and then shiwon (she needs time…but she got there and never waver even separation).

    • 3.2 Floating Castles

      I agree completely. The only people in love with Chilbong were the audience.

    • 3.3 coby

      I still call YYS Chilbongie. In fact SLS is synonymous to Chilbongie… waaaaa!

      • 3.3.1 m3lon4

        Same here. I love Chilbongie character so much that in order to preserve my fond memories of YYS, I dropped RDTK because I just couldn’t stand DJ (at least in the first few episodes; I didn’t hang around long enough to know if he experienced character growth by the end of the drama).

        Every time someone mentions SLS, my first thought will be Chilbongie, oh how I wept with him in the stadium.

        • JadeRJY

          Ah, the same way I wept with JW outside the concert hall..

          This post is dredging up painful memories..lol

    • 3.4 Boomboompow

      Ah this is still fresh from my mind as I only watched R94 for Yoo Yeon Seok after RDTK. I fell hard for Oppa-ya regardless of my bias before watching the show, and he is definitely who the writers had in mind as Husband from the start. It’s a shame they try to keep the fanwars going by throwing breadcrumbs so I get why Chillbongie-shipper are pissed. And they just had to up their game in R88 by setting up PBG to be Chilbong just to fake that again!

      Despite this troll of a writer, I LOVE Reply 1994 and it holds a special place in my heart. I don’t know if it’s the setting, Jung Woo, or / and the overall casts, I am head over heels with it while the other Reply series did not impress me.

      • 3.4.1 JadeRJY

        Ditto! 94 is my fave, because the group of friends were much more colorful and amusing. I loved everyone of their story on its own. Plus I felt that Trash, NJ and Chilbong’s characters were more fleshed out

        • bd5

          The ’94 gang is my fave as well – such a fun group.

        • Rtwy

          Ikr, what i love the most in r94(my fav of all three) is because of their friendship.

      • 3.4.2 Reena

        I promised myself that I won’t go through the SLS route after what happened with Chilbong but I got caught up in it again after R88 with RJY… haha.

        Out of all of the Reply series so far, 1988 stood out for me (with 1997 being a close second).

        • EZ

          agree.. absolutely love 1988..

          i think the friendship were done really well and the whole community family theme was super touching.

          Plus don’t knwo about others, but being an international viewer there was an added excitement in witnessing their 80s and hearing from parents of our 80s … and how similar people from two very different countries can be..

          how much humanpsychology, behavior and society.. despite lack of globalization had so much of an overlap..

          Its nostalgia at its best

        • nomad

          Agreed, Reena!

      • 3.4.3 missjb

        well thanks God I’ve never watched reply 1994 lol.

      • 3.4.4 Dian


        • Diya_


          I still did not finish reply 1988 because of spoiler ending huwarrrrgghh…heartbroken for rjy

    • 3.5 JadeRJY

      I’d have to agree. Reply 1994 was quite obvious because the writer let us in on what the characters were feeling so you’d know that Na Jung only had eyes for Oppa. It was really just a matter of whether Trash would choose her. And we got our answer right in the middle of the drama.

      R88 on the other hand, was the most epic fakeout and I’m still bitter at the writer for it. It was quite genius really, and the lesson learned of having the courage to go after what you want is deeply embedded in my memory. But it was just so cruel. Cos literally we only get the reveal right at the last 2 episodes cos the writer never gave us a glimpse into the heroine’s mind and heart. So you have 18 episodes of building Jung Hwan’s character and feelings in our hearts and then tearing it apart so it feels extra painful. We didn’t even get as much peek into Taek’s perspective for crying out loud cos it was all on JW! (Dang the feelings are coming back..lol). I probably wouldn’t have felt as heartbroken if the writer had leveled the playing field in giving us equal amounts of why Taek would get the girl, so us the viewers would see both sides.

      I am forever scarred by that drama, it was one of the most heart-breaking feeling I have ever felt in my life.

      • 3.5.1 bibimbap

        I guess it’s my Literature background poring years and years of study of the different genres that I have become “context clues driven” whenever I read a material or watch a drama or film.

        I watched Reply 1988 because I wanted to understand the hoopla about the Reply series…why these were raking in the ratings. And then I learned that the husband-hunt angle played a big role in its addictiveness. From the very first episode, loads of clues or hints were pointing to Choi Taek and I was not even Team SunTaek. The reason, I think, why many were trolled into thinking that Jung Hwan was going to be the husband was that he epitomized the “Cliche Main Lead” and that his love-plot with Duk Seon was the typical KDrama Romance Trope. But as Director Shin Won Ho pointed out, it has been Choi Taek from the start. I agree with him after watching and rewatching the episodes even noting down loads of hints and clues given along the way. PD Shin should know. To direct the script, you have to literally chew and digest it.

        • redfox

          I was sure it was Taek from when Deok Sun said to drink milk and marry her, but somewhere in the middle it seemed everyone was being dead sure of a script change that made Jung Hwan the husband for certain. I thought maybe they have seen the script somehow or seen hints. it is not that I shipped Taek, but I thought he would die without Deok Sun by his side – and Jung Hwan was just slightly boring, so I didnt much care for him

        • JadeRJY

          I do agree there were context clues (the sweater, the cigarettes, etc) but after watching 1994, I looked at them more as instruments used to mislead the viewers.

          I was more invested in how the characters were going to be fleshed out: why would DS fall in love with JW or Taek? How were they going to show us the angst in DS’ mind on who she’d feel more for? How would one hero outwin the other or how were they gonna present that one hero is better for DS than the other? I was hoping they’d go that route to make it better than 1994 where the husband was quite obvious.

          I think it was even quite a disservice to Taek’s character that the writer spent more time on JW, moreover that in the last 2 episodes his and DS’s love story seemed rushed over. Even though I am solid on team JW, I can also see why Taek would be good for DS – but I came with that conclusion myself (like redfox mentioned, I also felt that in the end it was Taek because he needed her more). However, I was hoping that the drama would validate it and SHOW it to us. I don’t even recall that we were ever shown Deok Sun’s mind to see WHY it was one over the other. I think it would have been better that way

          • claire

            I was team Taek for the fact that the writer seem to insist on inserting him somewhere even if the person itself did not show up. My biggest clue was the scenes where the gang listened to his matches, I mean why add that if he was just a throwaway 2nd lead?

            I know more about Taek’s life than the rest of the boys. We’ve spent time with him in China. We know all his matches. We know his origins(the first lead backstory). We spent more time on his father’s second marriage. We know about his baduk friends/colleagues. Taek just screamed first lead to me.

        • EZ

          true that.. all reply series have actually been quite obvious from the very beginning abt who will get the girl..

          i guess as story develops and we get invested in characters, some of us forget abt the little things that happened in earlier episode and brush them aside hoping or considering it to be insignificant..

          Its the feeling i get when I read Prisoner of Azkaban – who could think of anything beyond the obvious when a cat chases a mouse..

          a cat is meant to chase a mouse…. that’s nature.. its natural.. it is logical..

          only to not realize that even though the world feels real, it is not.. its a bbok on fantasy on magic. and with a central flavor of mystery.. SO NO.. nothing is obvious

        • thelady

          I agree with this. Junghwan was the typical drama tsundere so people rooted for him. As early as the 2nd episode Dukseon told Taek to drink his milk so he could grow up and marry her. Also Dukseon’s mom said in the same episode that she wanted Taek as a her son law. Dukseon only liking Junghwan cause her friend’s suggested it was another big clue cause we’d seen her do that before. I didn’t want to choose a side cause I know how the Reply series works and the fandom was so adamant that Junghwan was the husband, as early as the 4th episode the fandom was arguing that Junghwan was it.

      • 3.5.2 ret

        I think Reply 1988 is more clear because he never even confess and jughwan is because they give him 1st screen time,
        as much as I think it’s heartbroken, I can’t root for love that never get confess, not because I am not the underdog lover but if you can’t cross the line to be uncomfortable before having a relationship, then you didn’t deserve it,

      • 3.5.3 LoveSeoInGuk

        Totally agree about Reply 1988…the audience were deceived!!! The older versions were nothing like the younger versions and till the last minute they made RYJ’s character seem closer to the older guy! I could not imagine PBG’s character doing the things he did..I am still bitter!!

      • 3.5.4 LW

        I joined R88 party too late. This is my first Reply series.I even knew who the hubby was before starting. It was like watching sixth sense knowing all about Bruce. No surprise! There was the obvious clues every episode which is always pointing to CT, which everyone dismissed as trolling. There was concrete clues which was pointing to CT (like smoking, left hand), everybody dismissed CT, argued JH will start it later. JH’s only aim in life is to fulfill every dream of his hyung. There is no way in hell, he will start smoking knowing his brother’s health issue, unless it was on his hyung’s list. Then there is the hung up on adult actor! When DS and Bora don’t resemble the adults actors, viewers agreed with the director choice, either blamed it on acting or saying people change.But when the same happened with the husband, they felt cheated by director. The biggest argument was that husband is not shy, more outgoing compared to CT, sure it can be CT.The only times that boy ever raised his voice to audible level was when he is either with DS or SW. They are his safe house. He is more than what he is with others. I can go on and on.But I will be beating the dead horse.

        It was frustrating when people dismisses every CT clue trolling. It is even more maddening when CT fans kept saying we know the husband is JH, but we like CT. I was even disappointed with GF. I am a one dimensional viewer, just follows the writers wherever they lead me. I kept questioning this is so obvious, even I can see, why cant she? Oh! the frustration of not able to vent feelings when you join after the party is over. Thanks Dramabeans for giving a venting medium! I trusted all the Reply fans on how awesome this director and writer duo is.How brilliantly they tell the story, how well they structure their story telling, the colors, the dolls, how the weave the sport whether baseball or baduk into their integral story telling. It was exactly how everyone said, the director/writer were brilliant. And then the same people left me confused when they complained about the duo’s story telling. It is funny people who complained about cliched dramas is complaining still about a drama which breaks out the cliche. I dont know how I would have felt if I didnt know who the hubby was before watching. But I would recommend people to calm their wounded heart and watch this again to see why CT truly is the husband.

        This is wonderful story telling and will be forever one of my favorite. CT will always be the sunshine in my reply universe.

        • JadeRJY

          Actually, all these only mean ONE thing, that the drama as a whole was so brilliant that viewers are still as impassioned about them after all this time 🙂

          It’s OK to be dead set on whatever ship you were on and it’s def not something against the other character, it just goes to show how Jung Hwan and Taek resonated differently to the viewers. Obviously the ship that didn’t sail will ALWAYS be disappointed..lol

          As for the context clues, myself (and maybe others) were burned by Reply 1994, if you were to watch it. Cos that was the Reply series which used the MOST context clues (sooo many) to make the viewers swing back and forth as to who they think was the husband to the point that I stopped relying on them and focused more on the characters’ feelings. It just so happened that it worked that way cos my ship sailed. XD

        • redfox

          I wasn´t frustrated that they missed the hints, I was more frustrated that some people were so convinced it was going to be JungPal that they even claimed to know for sure that Taek would die. that was wayyyy over the line.

        • thelady

          I’ve heard it is easier to see that Taek is the husband if you watch it without participating in fandom. The drama fans were the ones who rushed to declare Junghwan the husband before the midpoint of the drama.

    • 3.6 jomo

      Absolutely, Trash Oppa was the man from the get go.

      My take on that is we Chilbongies wanted what he wanted. If he wasn’t going to give up, we weren’t either. Despite the pain, disappointment and sorrow we were all creating for ourselves.

      As someone who was a 2nd IRL for YEARS, his experience was a catharsis for mine – decades after I “lost” the guy I was never really ever going to have.

      Was it really more than two years ago? IT STILL HURTS!!!!!! Look at this face!

    • 3.7 Sancheezy

      I think the writer tease the viewer so much,
      they make a character that so endearing and you badly wish that his wish will get accepted,
      he is the only character that didn’t have his own arc and his story is only about najeoung so I don’t think he doesn’t have any chance at all,
      what makes his character becomes way sad is because after all, he seems to be more of a plot device to make the couple together,

      The reality that Najeong never consider him only more apparent in the later episode because the writer keep her reaction a secret but then they resurface his chance after showing how najeong and oppa had a realistic broke up,
      the otp was never determined cause it’s always the oppa’s decision that change from ep to ep,

      • 3.7.1 Boomboompow

        I think Najung never considers Chilbong at all. She is worried sick on the day of the accident, but I feel like she would feel and act the same if that was any of the other boys from the house.

        The only time I waver and thought Chilbong has a chance is when Najung and Oppa broke up because I thought by that time, she would have already gotten over Oppa. They did broke up and not talking to each other for months (or was it 2 years?).

        For about a episode or half, I did ship Najung and Chillbong, because I mean, the guy has liked her for years, it’s about time he got a chance! The new year moment was also swoony.

    • 3.8 Liz

      I would have agreed with this, except that I watched Answer Me 1988 thinking that it was “painfully obvious” that Jung-Hwan was endgame. And then I ended up with real life tears during that restaurant scene. I couldn’t even watch the final episode. Now I understand Team Chilbong, and will probably not watch the next installment of the Answer Me series until after it’s done airing, so that I can go into it without ever boarding the wrong ship.

    • 3.9 nchoe

      And only the viewer whose ship was sailed would say that “the writer didn’t try to miss lead the viewers at all” or “the answer is obvious”. LOL.

      • 3.9.1 anglvue


    • 3.10 thelady

      l liked Chilbong but once She said she wanted to marry her oppa and it was revealed Trash was not her brother it was obvious he was the husband.

  4. hailaft

    i still refuse to acknowledge jung hwan as second lead (he’s just the main lead who didn’t get the girl!!!) but damn girlfriday words really hit close to home on so many levels.

    Yea, it’s been a year and I’m still mourning over Jung Hwan’s broken heart thankyouverymuch

    • 4.1 DarcyLove

      I feet your heart…. Junghwan ship till the end… Couldn’t really watch Park Bogum with Hyeri in the end, I skipped the finale…..That much I loved Junghwan and hoped he would be the husband….. Felt like the writer really wanted a twist and gave one at the end…. Not a really thought out twist….

      • 4.1.1 Ash

        Omg yes me too! I still haven’t watched the last two episodes. For me the drama ended at ep 18. Sigh 😞

        • FrabbyCrabsis

          Wow. I can’t believe I’m not the only one. I never made it past that confession – it broke me!

          • rentenmann *SWAG*

            I’m not one to cry very often, but R88 left me having to pause to sob through the last three episodes. I haven’t re-watched that series; I just can’t do it. Same for why I never started School 2015 and stopped watching R94. Sob!!!!

      • 4.1.2 jellybine

        While watching the show, I just loved everybody’s story that I thought that I couldn’t care less who gets the girl because I really love everyone. Until the time that Jung-hwan made that confession and take it back, I was really convinced that I was okay with him not getting the girl. That scene totally broke my heart.

        I was in denial in the remaining of the story. I had my mouth gaping when it ended, still in disbelief that Jung-hwan didn’t get the girl.

      • 4.1.3 andy

        I still can’t bring myself to watch the last three episodes of Answer me 1988, my broken heart has not yet healed. I loved the whole group of characters as a community and their stories were so warm and touching so it makes me sad that the ending was such a bitter one for me. As much as I enjoyed all of the Answer me series as i was watching them, 1997 is the only one i can go back and re-watch repeatedly. I very rarely have Second Lead Syndrome, in fact I can probably count on one hand the times it has happened to me but this writer has managed to do it to me two out of three dramas. I will have to think very seriously about whether I want to watch another one of these dramas if they make another one.

        • nomad

          @andy, I totally relate with you. R97 is the only one I can rewatch in its own entirety too. I have rewatched R88, but I skipped the last episode because the fact that the whole families moved apart from that alley broke me like no SLS would ever do. R88 is my favorite reply series because of the whole family thing, and to not have that…well, it’s hard for me to grasp.

      • 4.1.4 lenrasoon

        I couldn’t watch the finale either.

    • 4.2 Xcmk

      Same! I prettymuch stopped watching it as soon as i figured out he wasn’t going to get the girl. I mean.. thr personality if older husband was no way taekie!! I still feel so betrayed by this show TT_____TT

      • 4.2.1 DarcyLove

        True…. Too much personality difference….

        • Ammy

          R88 became the biggest unintentional troll ever. It was too clear that JH is the one until around ep 7/8 when they suddenly stopped showing bits of present scenes and then came the epic personality change of the present husband who is meek and dependable on his wife.

          I too din’t watch the last two episodes till date as its nothing but PD’s blunder for me.

          • SR

            Havent watched the last2 eps either. Im taking a leaf out of JB book and swearing off any further Answer me series (thank God i havent watched 94)

          • EZ

            I don’t know.. i never felt that personality change..

            JH’s character does mirror PBG’s.. the banter, the teasing, going alpha and going beta , superman, or clark as and when and what heroine needs..

          • bluetoile

            I agree. It was so jarring and definitely felt like the writer changed their mind about who they wanted the husband to be. I could be wrong, but I think it may have also been partly due to Park Bo Gum’s steadily rising popularity at the time.

          • thelady

            but Junghwan was never a smoker or left handed?

          • thelady

            please stop pushing this false reality that the writer changed the ending because of Bogum’s popularity, there is no evidence of that.

    • 4.3 elric

      I only watched the first episode R88 and skimmed the recaps but his speech about fate and timing gets me everytime. Here’s a part of dramabeans recap of that infamous episode.

      “Fate doesn’t come around at any time. To use the word fate, it has to be a dramatic moment brought by coincidence—that makes it fate. That’s why another word for fate is timing. If I hadn’t gotten caught at just one of those lights, if those damned red lights had helped me out just once… I might be standing in front of her right now, like fate. My first love was always held back by damned timing. That damned timing.

      But fate and timing aren’t just coincidences that find you. They’re moments like miracles, that arise out of choices made because of ardent desire. Surrender and decision, without hesitation—that is what makes timing. He was more ardent, and I should’ve had more courage. It wasn’t the red lights, nor the timing that was bad… but the countless times I hesitated.

      ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ Even if I’ve picked the bitterest chocolate of them all, it can’t be helped. That’s the fate I chose. There’s no regretting it, crying about it, or being heartbroken about it.”

      I’M AN UGLY MESS. Cheers to us who missed our chances.

      • 4.3.1 JadeRJY

        Re-reading this makes me want to cry ugly tears…lol

        What he said was just perfect, and the more painful because it was true, he didn’t get her because he didn’t take the chances.

        That was for me the best lines in all the dramas I’ve watched

        • LoveSeoInGuk

          Crying a River on Jung Hwa not getting the girl. That was just cruel.

      • 4.3.2 anglvue

        thanks for reposting that!

        this is the translation that resonated with me. i never forgot those red lights…

        it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to because time has really helped me come to terms with the ending but it’s those unsuspecting moments when someone mentions something and the wound reopens. it’s then that it stings…nearly as much as the first time.

      • 4.3.3 bd5

        That’s some GREAT writing.

        And yet, dramas which are basically dreck when it comes to the script often end up being huge hits as well.

    • 4.4 Jill

      “…during filming, nothing is to interfere with the development of the main story. So, right from the beginning, we have already decided that Deoksun will end up together with Taek eventually.”
      –Director Shin Won-ho at the 22nd Shanghai Television Festival, 2016 http://reply1988.com/2016/06/12/shin-won-ho-pd-at-the-22nd-shanghai-tv-festival/

      • 4.4.1 thelady

        I wish the Junghwan shippers would read this, it is ok to like him but stop spreading lies that he was the original husband.

    • 4.5 mysterious

      Answer Me 1988 was the one that cut me through and through. What’s worse is that I was shipping Taek with Deok-sun at first (I liked Park Bo-gum after seeing him in I Remeber You), but Jung-hwan was so compelling that without even knowing it, I had jumped ship, to my utter doom. The husband was nothing like Taek, but was more like Jung-hwan. Till this day, I can’t watch/re-watch this show. It hurts too much. I got it right on the other two series, but not this one. I blame it on the writer, you can’t point us in one direction so obviously and then yank the rug out from under us later on. I cry foul!!! Plus they never showed us what happened to the other characters. Did Jung-hwan find someone else and become happy like Chilbongie did? How could they not give us any details about the other characters?! Okay let me stop here before I have another full-blown meltdown like I did last time over this show. And now I will go back to the land of Denial where I have been residing happily, dreaming of Jung-hwan with Deok-sun (which is how it should have been).

      • 4.5.1 Ammy

        You’re right that the husband was nothing like Taek and the PD’s of the show were so disappointed that we (audience) got it right so early, then the husband was altered.

        Its funny that I don’t actually remember much scenes of Deok Seon with Taek and when I discussed this with my friends its real that none of us do.

        I don’t have the courage and ample time (blame the lengthiest episodes) to re-watch the show.

        • LW

          But why do you think the husband resembles JH? I hear this argument over and over. He doesn’t act like CT, so it has to be JH. He didn’t remind me of JH either. As a matter of fact, none of the adult actors reminded me of their younger self. But other than the adult actor, isn’t most clues point to CT? The smoking was so obvious, wasn’t it? Remember JH saying the bully was good guy since he doesn’t smoke. If JH started smoking, that will be so against his character. I was even surprised he didn’t think less of Taekie even after finding out he smokes. I would rather have JH loose the girl than go against his convictions and character.

        • Majo

          I am the only one that think deok sun’s future husband looked like Taek’s dad. Every time that i see him think that Taek has the hairstyle of his dad.

        • claire

          we know the husband smokes from the get go. we know he wore thin clothes in the winter. there are comments the actor playing looks like taek in the first episode.

          junghwan was more popular than taekkie when the show was airing. it is much more possible for the director to change the ending to fit JH.

          junghwan & dukseon never fit. they never had that connection that the show built for taek and dukseon. they never had a normal conversation outside their banter.

          junghwan was not brave enough to tell dukseon he likes her.

      • 4.5.2 anglvue

        oh my gawd! i felt the same way about taek in the beginning. it seemed so painfully obvious that it would be jung hwan but i loved taek because i liked park bo gum as well. and then jung hwan just suddenly wedged his way in and i was left in tears.

        i rewatch it because i really liked sun woo and bora’s unexpected storyline. that took me by suprise. when it gets closer to the end, i fast forward to the ending for them.

        also, another reason i’m so bitter about this is because the writer never gave me the closure on jung hwan that i wanted. i didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to him.

      • 4.5.3 thelady

        the husband was a left handed smoker which is not Junghwan

      • 4.5.4 riarallahssi

        The very strength of the Answer me series are its prequels, especially the fact that in AM97, we got the OTP we rooted for. In AM94, they used that faith from 97 to twist the dagger already lodged in our hearts and by AM88, they used our preconceptions from AM94 to make hurt us even further. I guess it’s safe to say that the AM franchise aims to hurt all of us with unrequited loves. Nobody can escape it. Those who loved Trash were bound to root for Jung Hwan (Taek reeks Chilbong to me–baduk baseball competitive genius) yet they gave him the girl. The ultimate moral lesson of these dramas is to never watch the series as it goes because I swear 88 is a positive experience for me simply because I joined the wagon after having read all recaps. haha. never live watch. These writers are too good at flipping tables to trust them with my livewatching heart

    • 4.6 faith

      they let Junghwan arc’s far too long, in my opinion. if they shorten the length of his arc up until ep 15, then we will never get into this mess… fighting each other and let this beautiful drama end up as bitter memories. their family arc is so damn good, the characters are relatable, but to be honest, i will never revisit, rewatch and marathon this drama again.

      #imstillbitter #stillwaitingtoknowwhathappentothefuturejunghwananddongryong

  5. elric

    You had to choose that episode of You’re Beautiful 😭 My heart still breaks for Shin-woo since that episode pretty much sold me that he will never get Mi-nam but ugh Yong-hwa and Shin-hye’s chemistry, and Shin-woo’s overall personality just wouldn’t let me believe that he was the loser in this drama.

    • 5.1 DarcyLove

      Yeaaa… Right….. That episode….. The moment she answers her phone and turns without seeing shin woo….. That is all…*Heart breaks*

    • 5.2 Chococat

      I agree, that picture represents their whole relationship! Shin-woo was always one step behind and had the worst timing ever, to the point that he almost became pathetic at the end with that awful hug in front of Tae-Kyung. But my stomach still drops watching that scene where he’s waiting for her to join him for lunch with their disguises, and she uses them to take Tae-Kyung home instead. Arrgh. I listened to CNBlue for a month after this drama and watched You’ve Fallen for Me just to get over my SLS (ironic really, because Yong Jung Hwa became the cold-on-the-outside-squishy-on-the-inside lead).

  6. Diana

    Lovers in Paris man… or Love Patzzi… or What happened in effing Bali.

    • 6.1 Starswillshine

      Love your angst on the ‘effing Bali’! I’m so emotionally traumatized by this drama that I just couldn’t help but groan in anger whenever I see the drama title.

    • 6.2 EZ

      I just watched it yesterday… well to get some in sung dose..

      and honest to god, never in my life have i been so confused… i just didn’t know who was the main lead.. till the very last episode.. i was so tempted to wiki it.. but then challenged myself to figure it out and not give in to spoilers..

      But man, some girl to totally love both the guys the way she pleased 🙂

      she has to be the most awesome character ever to be not apologetic abotu her choice..

      What i love you if you are ready to sleep with any of the guys any of the time 😛

    • 6.3 carpetfibers

      WHIB was one of the first kdramas I watched, after Beautiful Days. To this day, I still don’t know if she loved both of them, or just the one.

      It wreaked me.

      • 6.3.1 EZ

        although her actions don’t say so but i guess she loved the rich guy.. given the other guy literally said that in bed and she didn’t refute it and that she uttered i love you (finally to the one she didn’t seem to like)

        • carpetfibers

          I feel like I should re-watch it, now that I’m ten years older. I wonder if it’ll view differently when watched as a grown-up; I just remember being very perplexed and emotional (but that might be due to binge watching every episode through overnight).

          • EZ

            don’t bother.. i watched it two days ago.. and i have never been so confused in any other drama..

            i d no idea whom she loved.. because she seemed to not really love per se.. but really like both guys and kinds was ready all the time to hook up with anyone of them…

            its interesting to find a heroine not apologetic about being selfish and physical in love

          • EZ

            although never got my head around y they liked her in the first place specially in sung

      • 6.3.2 missjb

        that drama is so mess up. i actually ship her with So ji Sub first but after that ending lol. they are all mess up there is no way i will rooting any of them to end up together

  7. Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock

    Oh god those Reply 1988 flashbacks. I cried my brains out for JH. I wasn’t expecting it at all. Though this is one of the best kdramas I’ve ever watched, I kinda hate the cleverness of the ending. I’m not the only one, right?

    • 7.1 Ash

      Nope you’re not the only one! I loved the drama, but didn’t like the ending of the main love story. Still have a JH shaped hole in my heart 😞😞

    • 7.2 Rose

      I HAVE A VERY DEEP QUESTION FOR THE BEANIES: can a second male-lead syndrome exist when you were persuaded that he was the “first-male” lead for about 90% of a drama ?

      Because really for me, Reply 1988 is a case of
      SECOND-male lead getting the girl, I mean, that is what happened, right ?!!!

      • 7.2.1 LW

        Was it ever mentioned anywhere who the first lead was? Or was it in our mind? The story started showing JH’s point of view, kept DS’s a secret till the end, kept CT and his POV hidden for about six episode. So didn’t we all assume JH is the main lead? Getting the girl or having more screen time cant be the only criteria for being male lead. Someone(I am really sorry I don’t remember your name, Thank you for your awesome explanation) brilliantly explained in Soompie Buduk’s rule about giving the lesser player advantage based on your Tan level. So Choi Teak, Six Tan lost advantage for the first six episode and he gained it on the last sixth. When I read details like that I so admire the amount of details the writer and director include in this story. I am so happy that they treat the viewers like smart people. It is sad if it goes unnoticed by us viewers. When I read how people are put off because JH didnt end with DS, it makes me sad knowing they are not enjoying the drama for what it is.

      • 7.2.2 Pinny

        Haha I guess SLS is when the couple you’re shipping don’t get together!?
        I’m still confused about whether or not I had SLS when watching Dream High. The whole time I was trying to make myself ship Taec’s character when I secretly wanted Kim Soo-hyun’s character to get the girl. I couldn’t even admit it to myself – I NEVER have SLS. I was so weirded out when Taec turned out to be second lead I had to watch the whole thing again with the right OTP in mind!
        So SLS or not?

    • 7.3 Archer

      I thought I would’ve forgotten the ending by now, but nope… Or, not yet. Junghwan, why did you do this to me?

  8. jichangwooklover

    Haha agree with the list. In You’re beautiful Shin Woo even said at the end I’m so used to getting rejected by you lol. Also the screenshot reminds me of the fake decoration icecream he was eating 😂
    The recent SLS was in School 2015. Like Eunbi just replaced her twin sister and took everything. Her boyfriend. Her mom. Her friends. While Eunbyul left the country -.-
    Also not in a million years can I like someone who used to like my sister lol. And how could han yi an move from one sister to another so quickly .Since I still remember the characters names I guess I was really pissed off lol.

  9. DarcyLove

    Chilbonggie was the first one I thought of when I read the title…. And there he was at No.1….. Girls rooting for him all the way…

    One more I thought of was Yoon kyun sang of doctors too…

  10. 10 Cesz

    Goong’s Second Lead can be a runner-up! I still pity Yul up to this day…

    • 10.1 Cesz

      My favorite (and saddest) scene with him was his reaction to Chae-kyeong and Shin’s first night. And also when he took responsibility anf admitted he was the guy in the photo to save Chae-kyeong from being punished

    • 10.2 ryoko

      Yes, Goong! I almost never get SLS, but this drama was one of the few times. She should have left the palace with Yul, the poor guy. Shin was an ass for too long.

      • 10.2.1 nomad

        So I watched Goong for the first time b/c of the top 10 list OTP thing. Nope, I don’t get why they were even together in the first place. Really, really don’t like Shin.

    • 10.3 fanitha

      For me the saddest scene was when he cried with his grandmother about his heart hurting so much because of his love T.T

    • 10.4 nchoe

      I watched Goong in high school and I remember how both male leads made me swoon. But then I re-watched it again a couple months ago and I was like “why the hell did I swoon over these two selfish jerk”. Lol.

      • 10.4.1 Mia

        Same here! I loved the drama the first time but then I rewatched it last year and Yul especially pissed me off so much, he has a passive-agressive vibe that I cannot stand. Maybe I changed or maybe the drama didn’t age well?

  11. 11 lillyan

    I still think, that Young Do one of the most unique and refreshing second male leads. And Kim Woo Bin played him in such charming way, omg.

    • 11.1 thelady

      Young Do was completely terrifying but Woobin acted well in the role. I can’t ship a girl with her bully in Heirs or in BOF

      • 11.1.1 Shannie

        Exactly. I don’t know how people were rooting for Young-do. He was abusive and tyrannical. No SLS to me.

  12. 12 Sakura1985

    Answer me 1994..!! Oh my God.. I was soo in team chilbongie that i hate hate hate this drama when i found out who the husband was..
    But.. i learned my lesson and chose the right team for asnwer me 1988.. 😅😅😅 #teamtaek

    • 12.1 SR

      Same with me.

      Love it when I am on the right team .

    • 12.2 redfox

      I didn´t even care about being any team, I just wanted Taek himself to be happy. I wanted him to be healthy, sleep well, eat well. They made me so worried for him. But when I saw that Deok Sun is exactly the one that takes the best care of Taekie, I started wishing they end up together. I just thought Taekie might die without her literally.

      • 12.2.1 CurryBuns

        Sounds like he needs a mom then

  13. 13 CatoCat

    Thankfully i’ve watched none of the mentioned shows.

  14. 14 ck1Oz

    Oh whoa… I am not putting any names down. The fans of the 2nd lead syndrome are some of the scariest creatures on earth.

    No guy is worth the angst. Or rather no 2nd lead is worth having to listen or read what the fans can rant about.

    My 2nd lead love can stay in a calm nice safe spot in my heart thanks. I don’t want to subject myself to more torture.

    But sometimes a 2nd lead is good- because sometimes the female lead is not worth the time of day. Honestly. It’s not sour grapes speaking here. Not all heroines are built or written equal.

  15. 15 Barbrey

    Good list. I’m usually pretty good about avoiding second lead syndrome. The one that pulled me into it, though, was She was Pretty. Choi Siwon’s character was exactly my type personally – looks, profession, quirkiness, intelligence, humour, fun. I kept expecting the writers to give him a negative so I could go “oh THAT’S why she didn’t go for him instead of the boss guy” but they never did.

    • 15.1 Sam_1

      I second this! This was also another drama that came to mind when this was posted.

    • 15.2 sorrynotsorry

      Yeah, I’m like you. I don’t really do SLS but also surprised Siwon isn’t on the list.

    • 15.3 rest

      as much as charming siwon there, I have to disagree that he is the right one for the heroine,
      he probably the guy that most watcher wants (their preference) but the main heroine (her preference and story) clearly has no intent on him or even chemistry more than friends

      • 15.3.1 Ane

        I think she did not have chemistry w/ the male lead either. She acted like a mother to the male lead. And the male lead was the biggest jerk at the beginning, I could never recover my feelings for him although he changed towards the end. I even started to lowkey dislike the actor until I see him in Hwarang.

        • Barbrey

          Siwon was the only memorable thing from the drama for me (though the second lead female I seem to remember as interesting too). When I started watching Hwarang I didn’t even know I’d seen the main lead before.

    • 15.4 Ammy

      I was definitely anticipating his name in this list

    • 15.5 mjfan

      YUP Siwon all the waaaaaay

    • 15.6 Ane

      +1000 my one and only sls was Choi Siwon’s character in SWP. I’m still bitter that he was not the hero of the story.

      • 15.6.1 Elisa

        Maybe Siwon’s comeback drama could be the sequel where Shin Hyuk gets the girl. I’d watch that!

    • 15.7 nchoe

      I liked Shi-won’s character in She was Pretty too, but I didn’t ship him with the girl. I didn’t like her, even though I didn’t hate her either. I just didn’t care. Shi-won was the only one I cared about in that show.

      • 15.7.1 Barbrey

        Well this is true too. I didn’t care a lot about her either. Perhaps the real question is why HE liked her?

    • 15.8 Anna

      The second lead in She Was Pretty was the one who held the show together in my opinion. And he saw the female lead’s inner soul way before anyone else did, that’s why I find it heartbreaking when had to let her go.

      • 15.8.1 Barbrey

        So true. I think She Was Pretty just got overlooked somehow when the list was being made. I know I’ve seen OP’s on dramabeans before talking about SLS re Siwon’s character. He should replace maybe one of the older dramas on the list that many of us have never seen, or one of the dramas that wasn’t good enough for most of us to want to watch. She Was Pretty was a mediocre drama but lots of us watched it.

    • 15.9 Alessar

      How She Was Pretty didn’t make this list I just don’t understand.

      Also, I’m not sure that in the School examples it’s not a case of mistaking who the lead actually was. I mean if it walks and talks like a lead and then the other guy gets the girl doesn’t it mean that the actual second lead triumphed in that one?

    • 15.10 Elisa

      I was *sure* Shin Hyuk (Choi Siwon) would be on this list. I was ‘put out’ by a couple of the above losing second leads, but I literally couldn’t bring myself to watch the end of ‘She Was Pretty’ because he didn’t get the girl.

    • 15.11 coloritorange

      The only series that I had major SLS. I’m actually hoping that there would be a spinoff of Siwon’s character here. His character has a really interesting alter ego, Ten, which would be a good background for a male lead.

  16. 16 KDramaWatcher2609

    well…too bad that every drama needs one or two 2nd lead, or else if it is only the main OTP, the story would be shorter and lesser so-called story progressing….

  17. 17 Thaisfrede

    Thank God the only case that I had secondary syndrome was in Reply 1988, in all other cases, the couple I liked ended up together.
    In Reply 1994 I was always Trash Oppa, in my opinion their relationship was pure, it was beautiful.
    And I never watched Who are You – School 2015, my sister did and she always had the same taste as me, so when the female lead didn’t ended up who she wanted, I thought it was better not to watch…

    • 17.1 vera

      Same here, Reply 88 is my only second lead syndrome and that’s only because show hasn’t made it clear who the main lead was. I avoid Reply 94 and School 15 for exactly the same reasons, I just don’t want to be dissapointed

  18. 18 bd5

    Can’t disagree w/ AM1994 and AM1988.

    The love triangle in Chuno didn’t do much for me – partly b/c the overall drama was kinda boring (just one long chase scene w/ Lee Dae-hee being bland as a waste-paper basket and Jang Hyuk overacting and using the same mannerisms over and over again; of the 3, surprisingly, Oh Ji-ho came out the best acting-wise).

    Beautiful cinematography and costumery tho.

    Haven’t seen any of the rest (apart from a part of MG) as not exactly my cup of tea.

    By for me, one of the best characterizations of a 2nd male lead was Kim Ji-seok’s character in INR 2012 (so much better than that lame character in OHYA where KJS, and frankly, most of the cast, was wasted).

    • 18.1 bd5

      As for the whole Chilbongie thing, even tho I was rooting for Chilbongie, was pretty evident that Na-jung never really saw Chilbong in the light that he wanted to be seen.

      Her face never lit up for Chilbong as it did for Trash and the one time she actually showed great emotion towards Chilbong was when she had thought he was in the dept. store that had collapsed.

      The poor chap never stood a chance.

    • 18.2 Azka

      Oh glad you mentioned Kim Ji Seok in INR 2012. As much as I love Lee Jin Wook, no way I want her to end up with him. KJS was such a sweetheart and it made me so annoyed when she ditched him for LJW at the end :/

      • 18.2.1 bd5

        Jung Yumi’s character was starting to fall for KJS’s (who wouldn’t), but she just had WAY too much history w/ LJW’s character (was her childhood friend, her 1st love, etc.)

        And she did struggle w/ that – breaking down and crying over ending her relationship w/ KJS’s character.

        LJW’s character wasn’t a bad guy – he really did care for Jung Yumi’s character, but it was his fear of his family’s genetic history (the “noble idiocy syndrome) which made him keep pushing JY’s character away.

        What I also loved about IN2012 was the portrayal of the friendship of the 3 women – which was fun and really well done.

        LJW’s character, would, at times, be the “4th girlfriend.”

    • 18.3 jellybine

      I also expected Reply 1994 and 1988 to top the list. I think we can officially call the Reply series as the ‘Second Lead Syndrome’ series. If there’s going to be another Reply, I wonder if I had learned my lesson though.

  19. 19 bonsai

    Entirely agreeing on the School 2015 point. I don’t feel pain, I feel anger. I finished the last episode in disbelief.

  20. 20 Sour Grapes

    Couldn’t agree more with the list, especially the first two. Also, I would probably replace My Girl with Goong, Yul’s entire storyline was just tragic. He lost the crown, lost the girl and his mother was a complete nutcase.

    Back to Answer Me series, I think I am going to follow Javabeans and keep away from any future installments. I tried my best to remain neutral throughout 1994, but that Chilbong PTSD is real. I was ok with Najung-Oppa ending, but that fake-out at the end with “Happy New Year” did me in. I just really wish that the show ended a few episodes earlier, then I could have kept fond some memories of that show. But now any reminder of Answer Me 1994 hurts, badly.

    And then 1988 came along and I definitely loved both boys equally. But the ending left me sort of numb and I don’t thing I can do that to myself anymore. It wasn’t a happy ending and I am sure I would have felt the same if Jungpal got the girl. There is something sadistic about scriptwriter’s ability making one-sided love so soul-crushing.

    In conclusion, this is why Answer Me 1997 is still the winner for me. The red herrings were there to make the viewer wonder ‘What if?’ and add intrigue, but ultimatedly 99.9% of viewers were team Yoon Jae and the ending left everyone warm and fuzzy. This is a type of ending I crave when I am watching a rom-com.

    • 20.1 pigsnout

      1997 is the best because everyone was on team Yoonjae but back then there was a real question of whether this is the story of a love that works so we were worried for him and Shiwon.

      Also Shiwon was the best female lead of the Reply series so as a couple, Shiwon/Yoonjae bring the most shipping feels. NaJung and Deoksun are nice too but Shiwon was the original, so different from usually kdrama heroine types.

    • 20.2 Sancheezy

      I have this love and hate with the new year scenes and how chilbong is treated,
      I really love the song “shall I love you again” by kim dong ryeol and still hate the photoshop chilbong at the end of the series,
      come on, you need to do better for the viewers,

    • 20.3 Dama del Puente

      I’m not sure it counts, but Answer Me 1997 had another kind of second lead syndrome for me. Remember Hoya’s character, Joon Hee, that liked Yoon Jae? I really felt a lot for that guy, even knowing it was bound for heartbreak.

      • 20.3.1 Gelai

        Yes, someone finally mentioned it. This was the one that hurt the most for me. I knew from the get go it will never come into fruition, but I fell for the SLS anyway. But the good thing about it is that they remained friends.

        • Gelai

          If others remember the fate vs timing quote by Jung Pal, then I remember the Reason I Like You quote from Joon Hee

          “The reason I like you? Because it’s you. Just you. That’s the only reason. I’d rather know the reason if there was one. Then I could figure out how to stop liking you. If I can’t avoid it, I only want one thing. To stay as a friend who doesn’t change. For heartache. For love.”

          • sierrablue

            AM97 was the one on my mind as well, I wanted nothing more than Joon Hee to be happy week after week. And the quote, ugh. I still get upset…

          • thelady

            such a good quote

      • 20.3.2 Sour Grapes

        Kang Joon Hee is my favourite Answer Me character, period. But his love was impossible from a get go, which made his character arc bittersweet, but not bitter. That final scene when he gets into the red car made me cry, but they weren’t tears of anger or pain.

        I thought it was beautiful that while Yoon Jae could not return Joon Hee’s feelings, he really loved and cherished him as a friend. This is something, Chilbong, for example, did not have.

        I still remember a scene when every single one of his so called ‘friends’ forgot about his birthday. I think a large part of why Chilbong hurts so bad is his absolute loneliness. His parents abandoned him and his ‘friends’, including Najung, treated him like a baseball superstar rather than a friend.

        • riarallahssi

          The very strength of the Answer me series are its prequels, especially the fact that in AM97, we got the OTP we rooted for. In AM94, they used that faith from 97 to twist the dagger already lodged in our hearts and by AM88, they used our preconceptions from AM94 to make hurt us even further. I guess it’s safe to say that the AM franchise aims to hurt all of us with unrequited loves. Nobody can escape it. Those who loved Trash were bound to root for Jung Hwan (Taek reeks Chilbong to me–baduk baseball competitive genius) yet they gave him the girl. The ultimate moral lesson of these dramas is to never watch the series as it goes because I swear 88 is a positive experience for me simply because I joined the wagon after having read all recaps. haha. never live watch. These writers are too good at flipping tables to trust them with my livewatching heart

        • riarallahssi

          right? chilbong and jung hwan has got this alone ness in common. but it was really worst with chilbong.

      • 20.3.3 Kim

        OMG! YES! In Joon Hee’s case, it’s that one sided love that you know is not going to happen and that’s what makes it so painful. I still remember that confession that turn into, “I’m just kidding.” Man, did that hurt so much. And that bed scene…ugh! I feel so bad for him, like his whole life revolves around Yoon Jae. And when Yoon Jae found out but still kept it a secret, that was too much for me. Honestly, their friendship was beautiful.

        But why does SLS always about the boys. I think one of my biggest SLS is Doctor Stranger, Kang Sora and Lee Jong Suk. I dropped that drama because I was frustrated with the way Park Hoon was teasing my girl. Like stop teasing her and ME if you’re not interested. Like damn!

        • amy

          OMG, same. The chemistry between Kang Sora and Lee Jong Suk is bom

  21. 21 Another R Again

    Omg, why is it that I’ve never watched any of the dramas in this list??

    I rarely get SLS but my first encounter with it was in I Hear Your Voice. I just couldn’t get into the Soo Ha-Hye Sung pairing when I knew that he’s like 18 and she’s like 28 (it felt wrong to me), and was shipping her with Yoon Sang Hyun. I was excited when they were going to be on a date and all. And then they made him defend Min Joon Guk and from then on I knew their relationship was beyond repair D:

    • 21.1 jellybine

      You should watch the dramas above because they are really good. Consider yourself warned, though. The Second Lead Syndrome is real. He he.

    • 21.2 LW

      OH! I thought I was only one who was put off by the main pairing in I hear your voice. I thought it wasn’t appropriate age difference either. I was hoping for Yoon Sang Hyun to get the girl. Ugh! the drama land and its rules!

  22. 22 Even

    Chilbong ruined me lol.

  23. 23 pigsnout

    Reply 1997 who gets the girl was unclear at first too, I knew I wanted Seo In Gook to be the husband but back then no one knew if this was a story of first love that worked or first love that didn’t work.

    Reply 1988 is them basically showing the story of a first love that doesn’t work, in my eyes Jung Hwan not getting the girl don’t make him a second lead.

    Sassy Go Go almost gave me Second Lead Syndrome but the otp was so adorable. It was funny because at the soompi awards Lee Won Geun/Jung Eunji won Best Couple at the same time as Ji Soo winning Best Second Lead Syndrome 😁😁😆

    It’s a little sad all of these are guys, second female leads get so little love or only exist to be hated.

    • 23.1 DarcyLove

      Discovered Jisoo through sassy go go…. And I have never regretted it so far….

      • 23.1.1 pigsnout

        Seriously if Lee Won Geun wasn’t the lead everyone would have been screaming for Ji Soo to be the otp instead.

        But then LWG/Ji Soo also had such a sweet bromance, I really agreed with the comment that said they wanted to clone Eunji so both boys could have her.

    • 23.2 Shinee

      As far as SLS goes for females, I loved RaRa in Bridal Mask. I was totally rooting for her! (Doesn’t help that Mok Dan was just an utterly uninspiring character/actress combination.) I like to think that she and Kang To met up several years down the road and got together.

    • 23.3 bd5

      Never bought into the older brother/teacher/entrepreuner being a serious rival.

      1st off, it was more than a bit “icky” (was the dead sister’s fiancee and then a teacher at their school).

      2nd, never knew what he saw in a HS student or vice versa.

      • 23.3.1 thelady

        yes the 1997 second leave’s interest in Shiwon was icky, he dated her dead sister then asked her out the second she graduated high school after being her teacher

    • 23.4 thelady

      but Taek’s first love was Bogum

      • 23.4.1 thelady

        I mean Taek’s first love was Deoksun

  24. 24 redfox

    I haven´t shipped any of these second leads. in Reply 1988, Jung Hwan had no charm for me. But at least I wasn´t annoyed with him either – sometimes, like in Greatest Love, I get really frustrated at the second lead. I do like Yoon Kye Sang, but his doctor character there was just so flubbery. Like a cookie soaked in tea for too long.
    In Sungkyukwan, I shipped Yoo Ah In with Song Joong Ki instead. In My Girl, I didn´t even ship Teacher, cause he cried too much there.
    now, Trot Lovers, I was a Shin Sung Rok stan. and routed for Siwon in She Was Pretty! I wonder if Shin Se Gi counts as second lead – I always get confused when it comes to KMHM.
    In most dramas, I just want to lock the second lead in a box (Witch´s Romance! Dal Jae´s Spring!)

    • 24.1 rubylis

      ha ha ha! Cookie soaked in tea– I know exactly what you mean! And I like him, but really, it was no contest. Ditto shipping Yoo Ah In vs Song Joong Ki. Can’t we think of KMHM as a win-win, since he is all of them?

    • 24.2 Andrea

      Like a cookie soaked in tea for too long.

      Hahaha, this is an amazing metaphor!

      I had the opposite reaction to Yoon Kye-sang in that drama. I didn’t necessarily have a full-blown case of Second Lead Syndrome for sweet Yoon Pil-joo, but his character was definitely the first time I understood why one might come down with SLS. (It also didn’t hurt that I find Yoon Kye-sang incredibly attractive in a very accessible way. Like, I feel like you could actually run into someone on the street who looks like YKS.)

      My first call-the-doctor, she’s-got-it-bad case of SLS was for Baek In-ho in Cheese in the Trap. Part of it was how adorkable I found him and Seol when they were together, and part of it was because I felt completely repelled by Jung. Whatever it was, I felt truly mournful when I realized that Seol was going to choose Jung over In-ho.

    • 24.3 bd5

      Didn’t understand all the love for YKS’s character in TGL – he was written to be the typical, perfect/nice guy 2nd lead, but just came across as boring/bland.

      While understandably, Dokko Jin could really be a PitA at times, he could be really fun and exciting.

      As I stated above, Kim Ji-seok’s character in INR 2012 was a great example of a 2nd lead – had a heart of gold, but was also fun and exciting at the same time.

    • 24.4 thelady

      Witch´s Romance second lead was a jerk, I hate that he dumped her without notice then came back years later like nothing happened

  25. 25 Floating Castles

    Are we going to get a second list with female second leads? If not it was disappointing to not see any on this list.

    • 25.1 pigsnout

      I agree – some love for second female leads please!

    • 25.2 Sera The Ms Temper

      Oh yes please!

      So many SLS for second male lead but so rare for second female lead.

      Among the must in the list (my list) : Kim So Eun (in BOF she was not really second lead, but as heroine’s BF.) but i will say she she stole many hearts in Horse Doctor,

      Park Shi Yeon (Nice Guy)

      Jeon Hye Bin (Another OHY, although SHJ is the only OHY for me, but still JHB is very likeable),

      Lee Min Jung (BOF),

      Kim Seul Gi (OMG)..

      Kim Ji Won (Heirs, DOTS)

      Yoo In Young ( Mask) – i know she is the villain, but she was so effectively in her role that I rooted for her happiness. Still sad on her ending 😢

      OK actually there are a lot.

      • 25.2.1 Boomboompow

        Does female SLS mean hoping for her to end up with the male lead? Because Rachel is one of my favorite character of all time but I don’t wish for her (or anyone tbh) to end up with Kim Tan. My favorite out of the Heirs’ boys is Kim Woo Bin (he re-ignited my love for Kdramas after few years of kdrama break) but any other boys would be fine too.

        The other female character that I like almost more than the female lead is Kim Seul Gi’s in Discovery of Love.

        • pigsnout

          Rachel was too good for Kim Tan, I was shipping her with Young Do instead.

          Their chemistry was just wow, they had the the Chuck/Blair feel.

          • Sera The Ms Temper

            But then the writer madw them end up as siblings whatsoever. lmao.

            Pray for Kim Ji Won and Kim Woo Bin reunion. Let it be on this year.

          • lilliyan

            almost 4 years and KWB/KJW couple is not real yet. I’m so mad at drama gods. they should’ve been the thing by now ㅠㅠ

        • Sera The Ms Temper

          Oh no. Not necessary because aside from Dr Stranger where viewers wanted Kang So Ra to end with the male lead, it is so hard to remember any second female lead that we want to end with male lead.

          I personally love their roles sometimes much better than the female lead, and not necessary ship them with the male lead. and yes Kim Seul Gi in Surpluss Princess too. I love her as much as I love Jo Boah. I should include Jo Boah in Monster as well, because the character of female lead was too nonsensical and we end up wanted her to end up with the hero althougj she was kind of annoying at the beginning.

          Too bad Rachel was not end up with Kim Woo Bin but Kang Ha Neul was yummy too. LOL as long as not Kim Tan.

          • Sera The Ms Temper

            Another one Honey Lee in Shine or Go Crazy. Oh Yeon Seo was great and a smart female lead, but Honey Lee still stole some of scenes. I just love her so much. So looking forward to see her in Rebel.

      • 25.2.2 anglvue


        Kim Seul Gi from Oh My Ghostess!

        I was just thinking about this going which second female did I ever really care about and then you hit it right now. I had nearly forgotten.

        I know I was delusional from the get-go but she was just so likeable. IT HUUUUuuuuurt. I am going to rewatch Surplus Princess now so I can feel better….

      • 25.2.3 Emmy

        Yess!!! Too LMJ in BOF. She stole the show. The chemistry with LMH was so much better than the OTP. I actually stopped watching once LMJ was out of the picture, I was totally rooting for her.

    • 25.3 Emmy

      Amen to that! In fact, I usually only get female second lead syndrome. The only ones on the top 10 list that I connected with was Chuno and SKK scandal!

      Han Chae-Ah in Gaksital, was all kinds of awesome and had amazing chemistry with Joo Won.

      Kim So-Yeon in Two Weeks, I know she’s top billed alongside Lee Jun-ki, but I was hoping for a romance between the two which just never happened!

      Song Yoon-Ah in K2. Man was she evil, but the screen just sizzled when she and LCW were there.

      IU in Producers. I thought she and Kim Soo-Hyun’s character would be perfect together, but he never stopped holding a candle for Gong Hyo-jin.

      • 25.3.1 Boomboompow

        Ah right, Song Yoon Ah in K2!
        Her and Ji Chang Wook have burning chemistry, even in that scene where they are literally being rained down.

      • 25.3.2 Shinee

        KSH totally ended up with IU. I thought the ending was pretty unambigious about where they were heading.

  26. 26 royal

    I agree with everything girlfriday said for School 2015 – Who Are You. Just thinking about how Tae Kwang makes me sad and angry. My friends never mention this drama in my presence, because all the bitter feelings I have burst out and they suffer from the outburst of feels.


    If you check this drama’s wikipedia page, Gong Tae Kwang’s name is listed first than Yi Han, which I find hilarious – and a small victory. I spent weeks after watching this drama (weeks!) imagining he found a girl that see him clearly as he had seen Eun Bi.

    Seriously though, WHY EUNBI, WHY????? She’s the ultimate example of “the heart wants what it wants.” /shakes head in defeat

    I could never look at Kim So Hyun and Yook Sung Jae’s ads together and not think of them as Eunbi and Taekwang becoming models while shouting, “See! This is the pairing that should have been! THIS! BEAUTIFUL! PAIRING! WITH! CHEMISTRY!”

    • 26.1 royal

      On the wiki page that made me laugh out loud

      “Yook Sung-jae as Gong Tae-kwang

      Gong Tae-kwang is described by his father is an idioic and problematic child. His father is the director of Sekang High School and his mother is a famous actress, but his classmates doesn’t know about this. He’s widely known as the greatest liar and likes to pick fights and provoke his classmates. In school, he’s portrayed as a happy-go-lucky person who just wanted to cause trouble, but most didn’t know was that behind his smile, he was actually a struggling child with a painful life. He suffered a lot but everything changed when he met Lee Eun-bi and was always by her side, even when Kang So-young decided to make her life hell.

      Nam Joo-hyuk as Han Yi-an

      A star swimmer at Sekang High School.”

      The person behind this page didn’t even bother with Han Yi Han. And he’s the male lead, LOL.

      • 26.1.1 Kendi


        The wiki editor took it better than me apparently. If it were me, I’d write,

        Nam Joo-hyuk as Han Yi-an

        Han Yi-Who?

      • 26.1.2 Mindy

        I spit out my water when I read this post. That is HILARIOUS. I love it when wiki pages are passive aggressive like that haha

      • 26.1.3 anglvue

        that is hilarious!

    • 26.2 Mini

      I’m not a big reader of fanfics, but I searched up fanfics after Who Are You ended because I KNEW there’d be ones with alternate endings. And that appeased my soul a little. There was one I really liked where a year or so later, Eun Bi realized that she didn’t like Yi An, and Yi An realized he still does like Eun Byul. They went to their respective partners, and it was wonderful

    • 26.3 Omomo

      Man, did I have it bad for Tae-kwang in School 2015. Being with him was so obvious, so natural, so MEANT TO BE that I just couldn’t wrap my head around Eun-bi’s choice in the end.

      Honestly it made me a little mad at Nam Joo-hyuk (that’s illogical, I know) but he’s with’s Bok-joo now and in my heart, Eun-bi and Tae-kwang are finally together so all is right in the world.

    • 26.4 JoyCB

      As a long time fan of BTOB, I was Team Taekwang since the start. Then his character was so well-made and acted out so well that I went down with the ship and still not letting go.

      I dont think I could ever move on and because of this, I cant watch a drama with Nam Joo Hyuk (even if I know Weightlifting Fairy is awesome).

      • 26.4.1 royal

        Han Yi An is so bland. There’s totally nothing going for him other than his love for his Dad. I’ve never seen a more vanilla male lead in my history of kdrama watching. I don’t think any actor, good or inexperienced, can do much for such a character. And with that in mind, I continued to root for Nam Joo Hyuk and was happy that he was great at Weightlifting Fairy.

  27. 27 agoodheart

    I still remember I liked Moon Geun-young and Choi Woo-hyuk so much as young Eun-suh and young Joon-suh, then Won Bin happened… I think it was my first time ever experiencing second-lead syndrome. So painful T_T

    Later on I had it with The Princess’ Man. If I watched it during the time it aired, I might have felt it differently.

    Then it was probably a bit with My Lovely Girl, simply because the main male lead was written so poorly. Not related but I liked Krystal in it and the air of the drama – atmospheric and beautiful.

    • 27.1 Boomboompow

      Won Bin is also my first SLS, I watched this drama in junior high maybe? I don’t even recall the story anymore but judging from this post, I am not interested to rewatch. His character’s trait sounds the worst and I must have fell (hard) because of how handsome he is.

      • 27.1.1 nuwoy

        Won bin oppa!haha. He’s my very first SLS too!

  28. 28 zappy

    auntum fairy tale.. what was it tittle back then? i dont remember it.. but it was my first kdrama, and I couldnt stop wondering why the female lead didnt chose second lead male. that time I didnt know Wonbin or SHK or SSH. I just thought that second lead male was way better than the lead male, appearance wise hehe ( i was just teen back then)

    • 28.1 m3lon4

      Autumn Fairy Tale was one of my first K-dramas as a teen as well, and although it didn’t hook me (too much tears for my liking), and I only watched it casually because there was nothing else worth watching (the options were very limited), I remember being absolutely wishy washy over who I thought “deserved” to end up with the girl. Back then, the standard was how good the actor looked and not if he could act or how good the character was to the girl (I’m sorry for my shallow teen self. I thoroughly repented).

      When Won Bin was on screen I was like “How can this guy be so out-of-this-world handsome? He should get the girl!”, and then the next scene Song Seung-heon would be on and I found myself admiring his eyebrows and pretty eyelashes and already I was swinging to his side. Ad break. Then Won Bin came charging in with his intense charisma and I changed sides again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    • 28.2 kanz

      Autumn Fairy Tale aka Autumn In My Heart aka Endless Love (in my country). Though Oppa character seemed more mature.. and God, Song Seung Heon was so handsome back then!! I’m team Won Bin!! So sad he didn’t get the girl. I thought he’s perfect for SHK too..
      *waiting for SHK-Won Bin reunion*

    • 28.3 bmore

      Autumn in My Heart

    • 28.4 Sancheezy

      I sometimes watch Autumn in my heart and keep saying how handsome and worthed won bin there, he just really good imo

  29. 29 Gabby

    I’m almost a little sad that doctor stranger wasn’t part of the list because it was one of the only/strongest times I’ve had female second lead syndrome, I don’t think I’m gonna get over ‘quack couple’ not being OTP, unless maybe they get kang sora and lee jong suk star in another drama (in which they actually end up together!)
    But seriously this article was bad for my heart! 😭💔 Especially school 2015 (Eun-bi may have forgotten but I never will!)!!!!

    • 29.1 pigsnout

      Seriously Kang Sora should be #1 on that list.

      Even the PD wanted her to be the otp but the writer refused!

      • 29.1.1 Sera The Ms Temper

        Yes I do remember – it was a war. Although I didnt watch until the end, I do know about it. But seriously why writer refused? First love always win?

    • 29.2 Sam_1

      That was my first female second lead syndrome and it broke my heart. Thankfully I didn’t get the chance to finish that drama.

    • 29.3 Maryxiah

      I had the same thought! Kang So-ra should be on the second lead female syndrome list. I rooted for her so hard and stopped watching when it was evident that Doctor Quack wasn’t getting the guy. Biggest tragedy in Doctor Stranger.

    • 29.4 Kim

      YES! More people mentioning Oh Soo Hyun/Dr. Quack. Kang Sora deserves a mentioning name here. I dropped that drama after knowing there will never be a chance for my ship to sail.

  30. 30 Adk

    Jung hwan is not the second lead. If he is then Taek is too. It just that he didn’t get the girl.

    Just like girlfriday said, most of us never knew that is was coming. I for once thought that I will never get burned as bad as I had felt for chilbong. But then junghwan came along. Oh god his story just hit close to home. I mean how many people had once experience unrequited live? It got even worse when we all know how close he is to getting his girl. (Deoksun even had a crush on him for a while). It was hard for him and the show decided to let us see all this instead on focusing on the OTP. i am forever going to be mad whenever I saw the scene of him driving to go to deoksun. It was heartbreaking to see him like that. And the confession scene was beyond everything. It represent everything about unrequited love or unconfessed love. Ryu jun yeol performance in that scene was one of the best act I have ever seen for my entire life of watching someone act. It was so on point and he looked like he was really in pain and loved her. It was truly heartbreaking

  31. 31 E

    Jinyoung’s Kim Yoon Sung in MDBC forever! Writernims made a *big* mistake when they dropped him from contention. That made his hopeless loveline (and potential four-way “bromance”) cut deeper than the looks he gave Ra-On, or the swords that took him away from my screen… Oh man, I left my tablet in W again.

  32. 32 Mindy

    Shockingly, I’ve only seen 3 of these dramas all the way through.

    Unpopular opinion here, but by the end of You’re Beautiful I actually kind of hated Shin-woo. It’s been a few years since I watched this drama, but I remember him doing or saying something that I actually despised when they were in Okinawa. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was, but I have a feeling it was something possessive, like he deserved her. I didn’t like that. Also, I totally loved Tae-kyung.

    The only one on this list where I was actively rooting for the SL was in School 2015. I completely agree with GF. The ending made me angry. Everyone could’ve had it all! And they screwed it up! WHY?!?!?!?!?

    No real opinion on the My Girl couple. I wasn’t too invested in either relationship.

    • 32.1 redfox

      in You Are Beautyful, Tae Kyung all the way! It is not about who does most for you, but who would do the even the weirdest things for you, like make a pigrabbit, separate your glued fingers, wear a disguise with you, pcik you up in the countryside and pretend to date a mean girl to keep your secret.

      • 32.1.1 Jipsy

        Ditto to both comments! Shin Woo forced a hug on her in Okinawa in front of Tae Kyung (who he knew was watching). Yuck.

    • 32.2 ryoko

      Definitely team Tae Kyung, no doubt about it.

  33. 33 autleaf

    Hahaha, I LOLed when I saw the title! Love you all DB ladies, thank you and off to read from the beginning.

  34. 34 Kendi

    Great post as always, though you should have put a warning since this post will trigger so many heartaches.

    *brb flipping tables for School 2015 ending*

    • 34.1 Maryxiah

      *Flipping imaginary table along with you.

      • 34.1.1 jichangwooklover

        *Too tired to flip imaginary tables so flipping imaginary chairs

        • Ga

          Lemme join! *flipping-truck-of-doom-and-slicing-it-with-the-blue-flame-sword

  35. 35 Nissa

    This one is so much fun. I wish you have it 20.. or 30…

  36. 36 Hanna_han

    I dont have much of a SLS with My Girl, Lee Jun Ki are cute but friend cute. Lee Da Hee and Lee Dong Wook’s chemistry are really gold back then.
    But sometime we did have the feeling the female lead only like that male lead because of the script. Example: She was pretty and you are so beautiful…

    • 36.1 Barbrey

      Like the way you put that: the female lead only likes the male lead because the script makes her like him! She Was Pretty and You Are Beautiful were exactly like that for me, when every instinct said the attraction, chemistry and suitability were all with the second lead.

  37. 37 voice

    i’ve never gotten second-lead syndrome except for school 2015 and albeit cheese in the trap. about reply 1988 is junghwan even the second lead? i’m pretty sure this was one of the rare dramas where the second lead (taek) actually got the girl. that saying whether its SLS or not i rooted for junghwan from the start without even knowing who the lead was back then

    • 37.1 lunatic4kd

      YAY! Finally someone who mentions (quietly) Cheese in the Trap!!! That one really got me. The main lead was so wrong and the deep, sweet Seo Kang-Joon was SO deserving and interesting and right for her that I found myself intensely disliking Park Hae-jin to the point that I have no intention of watching his new drama coming up soon. I had to stay under the radar during CITT because fans were so gaga over PHJ.

      • 37.1.1 Barbrey

        I loved Cheese in the Trap. I too liked Inho and loved Seol’s moments with him. However, the story was mainly intriguing for me because I wanted to know what Jung’s deal was, whether a psychopath, or what? And how the Jung/Seol relationship would resolve. The drama opted out of both Seol/Inho and Seol/Jung during the second half by disappearing Jung, because only if the Jung situation was resolved could Seol move on to Inho if desired, or stay with Jung if desired. So this was the main fault in the story line that led to all kinds of angst. I have followed the Cheese in the Trap webtoon since then, and the drama writers were actually following the webtoon in that respect as Jung was off doing his internship, but this is a DRAMA and a missing main lead makes for much less of a drama, so that was a key point the drama writers needed to change.

  38. 38 Mel

    I never get second male lead syndrome, for example, Chilbong annoyed me a lot and Na young never liked him in a romantic way. Jung Hwan not getting the girl don’t make him a second lead, for me he was the best character in R88 but I’m OK with Taek being the husband.

    but I have second female lead syndrome. … like Kang Sora in DS (my cuack couple ;;) or Sun Bin in squad 38 (In Guk and Sunbinie chemistry ♥♥) or the queen in the K2 (what a waste ;;)

    • 38.1 Super Foxy

      This I have to agree! I am definitely shipping Mi Joo with Jung Do, not vice versa. For some reason Mi Joo way of adoring Jung Do really tugged my heart, way much better that Sung Hee and Jung Do scenes together, 15+ alpha for this!

    • 38.2 redfox

      yes, the Mi Joo factor, but we never really learned her background or reasons. I wanted to know more about her and Jung Do´s past. but after watching Law of the Jungle I felt their chemistry even more strongly. though I guess it is just because Ingukkie is so affectionate and open with everyone. it doesnt mean the real deal.

  39. 39 CS

    JiSoo in Sassy Go Go did it for me. Poor guy had a rough time and still didn’t get the girl. 😭

  40. 40 voice

    also is it just me or does it feel like most people just want the second lead to get the girl just because they like that character, especially with hwarang i feel like people want aro to get with ji dwi because they like his character not because they’d actually be good together

    • 40.1 Sera The Ms Temper

      Most of the times because the male lead often potrayed as a jerk, cold or rude something like that and the second maleead is nicer, kindhearted etc that made viewers suffered for second lead. Normally for drama, first half of drama always about interaction between heroine and second male lead more. Strategy to gain more followers I guess. 😉

    • 40.2 missjb

      I think most of the time is like that. because usually people is just love the 2nd lead so they root them to end up with the the lead, or they might be hate the lead actor and love the 2nd lead actor more. Well nothing wrong with that though. But I usually give up rooting something that the. writers never intent to develop the relationship in the first place. Just better rooting aspect other than the otp.

    • 40.3 k.cobean

      i don’t feel the chemistry between the main leads in hwarang. But that doesn’t mean i ship the girl with ji dwi.. it’s a different sydrome for me here though. I wish the King to be the lead character. And my OTP to get more screen time. But I’ll take what I can get.

    • 40.4 nchoe

      I’ve dropped this show. I just couldn’t stand it. The girl cried too much and the guy’s way too hot-headed for my taste. I also didn’t like his hot and cold treatment toward the girl.

      The only one I cared about was the King. But I ship him with the throne instead. I wanted him to be able to become a good King he always wants to be. I’d have definitely continued to watch this show if this had been the show was all about.

    • 40.5 Barbrey

      For me, I don’t want Aro to end up with Ji Dwi because she’d be miserable as a King’s concubine. But the chemistry from him to her is much more intense, partly because of the circumstances and partly because of the actor, so I’d be happy if Sun Woo took Ji Dwi’s place as king and Aro and Ji Dwi ran off together. Not gonna happen! But at least we know WHY Ji Dwi likes Aro – her stories relax him, he appreciates her creativity, he’s physically attracted to her, etc. It’s about interest and lust. Sun Woo seems to like her because she was his friend’s sister. It’s about protection. Which reason provokes the most chemistry?

    • 40.6 thelady

      that is exactly what happens, people like the actor/character so they ship them with the girl even if there is no sign of her being interested

  41. 41 Moose

    Strangely I didn’t get SLS for R1988. The camaraderie and chemistry was so real and natural between the 5. All the characters were warm and well developed. She could have chosen any of the boys and I would have been fine.

    Also, Taeki’s father was the big giveaway of how Taeki would look and act as he aged.

    • 41.1 Ammy

      Taek’s father isn’t a giveaway as he’s too soft to order around his wife like how they showed about DS’s husband of present.

      • 41.1.1 thelady

        the Husband smoking was the big give away

  42. 42 MyGirl2016

    Oh.. Poor Yook Sung-jae. I have a soft spot for him coz of his resemblance with Seo In Guk. I have never seen School 2015 (and probably never will), but gf’s write-up plus that photo of Yook Sung-jae resting his head on his crush’s shoulders with that wistful look… I feel bad for him already.. 🙁

    My second lead syndrome – First was from this drama called Brilliant Legacy. I was a Lee Seung-gi fangirl at that time, but still secretly hoped that the lady would pick the second lead ha ha..
    Another more worse case of SLS was in Flower Boy Next Door. (spoiler) Till the end I kept hoping that the neighbour guy would end up with the girl. Personality-wise they seemed so compatible with each other. And he was always doing these thoughtful things for her.

    A recent example of a mini-SLS would be Ahn Jae-Hyun from Cinderella and 4 Knights. Thankfully I stopped that series at Ep 4.

    • 42.1 happeyness

      my first second lead syndrome was also with Brilliant Legacy!!

      • 42.1.1 MyGirl2016


    • 42.2 Bubblefairy

      While watching brilliant legacy, my mum had a SEVERE case of second lead syndrome. I say severe cos it was not funny at alll. No matter our much Hwan changed for the better, all she was shouting was ‘JUN SE OPPA DESERVED TO END UP WITH THE GIRL. Eun Sung come on, pick him, he did everything for you’. Even till the end of the show, she disliked Lee Seung-gi (who does that).My mum had SLS so much so that i had to quit the drama mid-way until i could watch it alone.

      • 42.2.1 MyGirl2016

        Your mum and I seem to have the same taste in Kdrama men. 🙂
        But really… that dude was so kind and caring. (Aren’t all second leads?!) And better looking than Lee Seung-gi too.

    • 42.3 Boomboompow

      Hi @MyGirl2016!

      I have just started School 2015 – ommo he really does look like Seo In Guk! I have never seen YSJ in anything other than 3 episodes of Goblin (which I dropped, for now) and he piques my interest because he’s such a shiny blondy puppy.

      I also grew to like Nam Joo Hyuk bit after WFKBJ and am currently in drama slump, so I finally picked up S2015. It’s quite good so far and I can def feel the SLS coming, just like everyone says. This guy looks like uri Seo In Guk and plays a character as broken as Choi Young Do – of course I’ll sunk in this ship.

      • 42.3.1 MyGirl2016

        Ha ha.. Good luck! 🙂

  43. 43 All Things Drama

    Awesome. I love this dramabeans special series of 10. This list is my list!
    May I add that in my heart of hearts Ryu Jun-Yeol will forever be the one. And yes, it still hurts.

    Since you did one post on second lead syndrom, what about doing one with the second couple syndrom? Many were the times when I watched a drama solely for those few sparkling minutes between the second leads (I’m looking at you Kim Seul-gi and Kwak Si-yang)

  44. 44 missjb

    I seldom ship the wrong couple. they usually end up together. even if 2nd lead is far having more depth I used to rooting for them in another aspect other other than love story

  45. 45 Bips99

    R88 that confession makes me cry every single time.

    Sassy go go – i just wanted puppy jisoo to be happy

    SS – yooahin!!!! Why was that half dead sleepy boring person the lead when we had yoo ah in as an alternative???

    Heirs – i still watch reruns of heirs and it is only kwb’s parts. Only. It wasn’t really the character but the flair he played it with

    • 45.1 Sera The Ms Temper

      I shipped YAI and PMY at first, but then i shipped YAI and SJK the most after the lead couple bored me, and that became the only reason I watched until the end. Yeah happy ending for them, and even won Best Couple 😆

      • 45.1.1 bips99

        YAI and SJK were adorbs … once the boring couple got together, i kept praying – lets have more scenes of these 2 pls, lets have more of their friendship stories …

        they won best couple ??? …….
        *off to search youtube video of the award show

  46. 46 k.cobean

    Won Bin – he started it all for me rooting on team other guy.
    Then, Kim Woo-bin.
    Bin there..

  47. 47 Elle

    I rarely get SLS. So many of these second leads have assigned themselves in the role of the silent protector, mooning from afar while the hero puts himself out there and gets the girl. It’s tragic, but it’s a tragedy of their own making. What good is all that sacrifice if the girl doesn’t know? I don’t understand why that these second leads deserve to get the girl more than the guy who makes his feelings known.

    Unless of course the hero is jerk. That’s a different story.

    I appreciate second leads who are honest with their feelings even if the odds are against them. Nothing gets me more than a guy being honest with his feelings and accepting the girl’s wishes. That’s the best kind of second lead: willing to take a chance with the one he loves, but ultimately respecting her choice. *swoon*

  48. 48 missjb

    If I remember, my most memorable 2nd pairing who never end up together, it should be Han Jae Hee and Kang ma Ru in Nice Guy. their relationship is just deeper and better develop. But I’ve never ship them to end up together, because it might be just never the same again.

  49. 49 Agatha

    Gosh guys!! Some of these hurt me so bad that I had completely managed to deny them into oblivion and yet you made me bring them up all over again and have terrible flashbacks….thanks guys…really…

  50. 50 yukari

    Thank you for mentioning LJK’s hair. That the first thing that pop out in my head when read the title and see the picture. I wonder how he will look like (and the fans reaction!) if he’s back to modern time kdrama with that kind of hairdo.

    Autumn in my Heart/Autumn Fairy Tale is the opposite of most current kdrama, it’s the second male lead who is the chaebol with problematic personality turn good by his interaction with the girl and bickering with her too. In the current kdrama storyboard, he’s the one who will get the girl.

    Talking about heart breaking second male lead, I remember Glass Shoes. After all the things he did, why it has to end like that!

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