[Dramaland Catnip] Friends turned enemies… turned friends again
by Guest Beanie
Personally, I am a huge sucker for the age-old “friends turned enemies” scenario. There is something just so painfully delicious about watching two giggly, adorable besties somehow become pulled apart. In my case, it’s usually between two male friends because I find that dramaland is severely lacking in well-written and well-fleshed out female friendships.
Part of why this trope is so effective on me is because when the drama starts off with the two friends already not being friends, I am desperate to find out how they interacted as buddies and why they’re no longer close.
The best example of this is with School 2013. I was immediately curious about Nam-soon and Heung-soo’s history since the latter was so openly antagonistic towards former while the former was so oddly subservient towards him. I remember getting so frustrated with Heung-soo for being so mean towards our pitiful Nam-soon, until the truth was revealed.
When I found out Nam-soon had done to him in the past, I couldn’t be mad at Heung-soo anymore. At the same time, I couldn’t be mad at Nam-soon either because although his actions at the time were terrible, I could see where he was coming from.
Then when it was revealed that Heung-soo had actually been less mad over the fact that Nam-soon had effectively ruined his soccer playing dreams than he was over the fact that Nam-soon had abandoned him, I legit cried ugly tears. Nam-soon (physically) hurt Heung-soo because he didn’t want to lose him but by doing so, (physically, emotionally, and mentally) hurt him in a way neither would be able to imagine.
Thus, I spent 60 percent of this drama trying to find out how they used to be friends and the other 40 percent just wanting them to share bedding and ramyun and be friends again.
In Solomon’s Perjury, Ji-hoon and So-woo’s relationship took a turn for the worse, but theirs was a relationship that couldn’t be mended because one had already left the world at the start of the drama. I’m sure everyone who watched this drama was dying to know why Ji-hoon always felt so guilty regarding So-woo’s death. The reveal itself and the answer to “was it suicide or was it murder” was a bit anticlimactic, but I liked the realistic if somewhat depressing nature of their friendship.
And then, when we start with the characters already being friends but having to turn on one another, I want to see whether the friends can find their way back to one another. One example of this is Warrior Baek Dong-soo, and although it got kind of draggy, I endured through a lot of it just to see what would happen between Dong-soo and Yeo-woon. They were sooo cute when they were little, and then things went wrong.
This is also why I watched most of Equator Man as well. In the younger portions of the show, Lee Hyun-woo and Im Shi-wan made the sweetest friends (until one pushed the other off a cliff) and I just had to watch how Sun-woo would get his revenge on his former friend. This was the first time I ever saw Im Shi-wan in anything and he really blew me away with his layered performance of a teenager caught between his personal ambitions and friendship, driving a wedge in many friendships.
All In was one of the first dramas I ever watched and for me, it’s one of the most memorable examples of how a common love interest will tear friends apart. I knew In-ha and Su-yeon were the OTP but I kind of wanted to see to what extent Jung-won would go to keep her for himself, which drove much of the conflict.
Of course, if I’m talking about angsty bromance, no list would be complete without one of my all time favorite dramas: Heartless City. The bromance between Doctor’s Son and Soo was the one of the most endearing onscreen bromances ever (I will fight anyone who says otherwise), but in the latter half of the drama there was tension between them because one of them wasn’t actually a gangster but an undercover cop. I both wanted to and didn’t want to know how Soo would react when he found or about Doc’s real identity because I knew he’d be wrecked and then I’d be wrecked, but curiosity won out (and as expected, both of us were wrecked). Their short reconciliation at the very end was so good, yet so heartbreaking at the same time!
The Lonely Shining Goblin
Most recently, I thought Goblin used this trope really nicely because the two in question didn’t even know they had been close in a previous life. Their supernatural bromance and the Reaper/Sunny subplot was what got me through Goblin when the main plot lagged, and I waited almost the entire series for the Shin and Reaper to discover what all of us at home had long figured out. I needed to know if and how they would get over the fact that one executed the other and his entire clan. I hoped it would be resolved amicably since the two did a killer side-by-side backlit hero strut, but I had to see how it resolved.
It occurs to me now that a lot of the dramas I’ve cited included one of the friends dying. There’s no way to create angst like killing off a friend so in retrospect it makes sense. There are examples of dramas that include this trope but didn’t kill anyone off, like in Heirs, although that’s not one I liked. (But there, the reason those two enemies was pretty stupid in the first place…)
I wrote more than I intended to, but I guess that just shows that I really do live for heartwarming and heart-wrenching friendships that leave me in tears.
- [Dramaland Catnip] Childhood loves and backstories
- [Dramaland Catnip] Bromances and girlfriends
- [Dramaland Catnip] Sibling love and fauxcest
- [Dramaland Catnip] Beta males and the alpha ladies who love them
- [Dramaland Catnip] The bad boys of dramaland
- [Dramaland Catnip] Prickly marshmallows and tsundere heroes
- [Dramaland Catnip] Reverse harems
- [Dramaland Catnip] Noona romances
- [Dramaland Catnip] Secret identities and alter egos
- [Dramaland Catnip] Disastrous first meetings
- [Dramaland Catnip] Cohabitation shenanigans
- [Dramaland Catnip] Enemies turned lovers
- [Dramaland Catnip] Crossdressing and gender-bending romances
- [Dramaland Catnip] Opponents turned allies
- [Dramaland Catnip] Marriage before dating
- [Dramaland Catnip] Swooning for dramatic height differences
- [Dramaland Catnip] Ragtag bands of misfits
- [Dramaland Catnip] Finding satisfaction in sad love stories
- [Dramaland Catnip] The magic of bad drama magic
- [Dramaland Catnip] The stinging embarrassment of thinking someone likes you… when they don’t
- [Dramaland Catnip] When the hero falls first
- [Dramaland Catnip] The angst and thrills of dramaland’s reunited lovers
- What’s your dramaland catnip? Tell us your stories!
Tags: Theme of the Month