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[Dramaland Catnip] Friends turned enemies… turned friends again


School 2013

By @crazyredhairmireu

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.


School 2013

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.


Solomon’s Perjury

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.


Equator Man

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.


Heirs

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GaaakkksitAAAAAAAAAAL!!!!!!!

💔💔💔

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It's strange how I completely not read the 2nd part of the catnip. The final meeting - was there forgiveness? Closure? Gaaaaaaah!!!

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I was thinking of Gaksital when I read the title. 💔 Does Good Doctor count? Park Woong-ki 😂 Really, one of my favorite fanservice moment ever.

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Ahhhhhhh how could I forget about this gem? It cemented my love for Joo Won and helped me fall like in love with the Park Ki Woong! Gakistal please come punish me for being a forgetful bum!

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But they didn't turn friends again... that was the heartbreak for me.

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The bromance cuts deep in this one. I kept hoping that everything will be okay and that Shunji can go back to being that sweet teacher but I know deep down that it's too late and that's just heartbreaking. </3

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Hahaha.... that's the first drama that came to my mind when I read the heading .....

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For the girls, I liked Park Shin-hye and Lee Sung-kyung in Doctors! They broke my heart when they became friends-turned-enemies, and pieced it back together when they reunited and healed past wounds several years later.

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lol I was about write almost the exact same thing: Nothing breaks my heart and then glues it back together like a drama with friendships that are repaired after all the angst

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yeah. The this catnip works well for girls and guys. Even in I hear you voice, although lee bo-young was not a very good friend of prosecutor girl, the end up being non-enemies in the end. I had loved that too.

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In Doctors, it was mostly misunderstanding in LSK's part, on top of being insecure, that caused the rift bet her and PSH. Though, I haven't gotten to the part where they reunited, I'm only half thru the series

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Ugh, the angst and the eventual reunion is so beautiful. This catnip is true love!

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Goblin and Grim Reaper was what got me to the show. Their bromance was refreshing to see. Also the Sunny and GR romance just had the right angst to it.

It is similar to enemies turnes allies since its fulfilling when they work together towards a noble goal or even for friendship's sake.

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I was so confused when one of the recappers of Heirs said they didn't understand why Tan and Young-do didn't just make up. I was like, hmm years of animosity don't just go away like that. Besides, Young-do himself wasn't ready to move on or forgive himself for holding something that wasn't Tan's fault over his head. Please, if anyone loved Heirs at all, come out and talk to me. I'm so alone!

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Heirs was the first kdrama I have ever watched. I loved Kim-tan and Young-do so much in it kept me want to watch more of korean dramas. I loved their on-off bromance (and their petty fights over the girl)

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Thank you for replying.

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Haha. When you loved a drama that almost 100% of Beanies mock-- the pain is real!

I'm laughing but I totally get it. I'm like the only fan of Wild Romance, I think.

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Don't worry i have too many show which get tons of mock in DB haha. I like Wild romance too don't worry.

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I love Wild Romance as well, I think it's absolutely hilarious!

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I absolutely LOVE Wild Romance. I re-watch it every opportunity I get. 😍😍

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I love Wild Romance too.

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hahaha sometimes I feel like that when it comes to Big. I really liked most of it, minus ep 16.

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Currently, I can't wait for this trope to work itself out in Suspicious Partner. I love both guys & I can't wait for them to find their bromance again. That relationship really shows how intensely fine the line between love and hate is, and I think that's what I find most compelling about this trope.

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Eun-Hyuks' betrayal wasn't small in the least. But since we know all the circumstances, I too am waiting impatiently for this bromance to be repaired.

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It's all because the more you love, the more you're hurt if you are betrayed.

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Awww mee too!!! even when Eun Hyuk action was really bad, now he's regretful and tries so hard to get Ji Wook's love back. Both of them are very hurt, and trust is a hard to get but so easy to lose. I absolutly think they'll love each other again.

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Also, Lee Bo Young and the pretty Prosecutor in IHYV. Or were they even friends at the start?

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That pretty prosecutor is Lee Da-hee :) but that's what I was thinking, too! I don't think they completely hated each other to begin with, but that first case really put them in the enemy camp.

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How about JW and EH in suspicious partner? 😉 I think they qualify for this catnip, but of course, they are right now in the process to become friends again.

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Girl friendships in Dream High is also good!

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Hmm, do Yoo Jung sunbae and Baek In Ho don't count in this category?

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I think it would but I'm still as salty as the Pacific Ocen over this drama so idk. So much potential....so poorly executed halfway through

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I get you, I'm still mad about it whenever I think of CITT. It was really good in the beginning.

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yess it's count, and I like their dynamic so much.

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School 2013-the bromance to end all bromances!
how I miss these two, glad that they are besties irl as well :D

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'Its not school......its you I am giving up , you bas*ard'

I still cry everytime I here this line!

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*hear

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Love it to bits.

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For girls, a good example of this 'friends to enemies to friends again' is Sassy Go Go.

The girls are friends at first but one of them denies her heart and does awful things, but by the end both girls go through a lot and they become genuine friends. I kept wanting to slap Kwon Soo Ah but at the same time really felt bad for her because her mother raised her to be that way.

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I want to slap her and hug her at the same time. That girl was so tortured as a teenager. Doesn't excuse her actions do but Chae Soo Bin played her with such emotions that I can't help but feel bad about her.

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Thanks for posting this catnip @crazyredhairmireu I haven't seen all the dramas you've listed but it is a powerful theme. Absolution and redemption?

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Woo Bin did the bromance so well in School 2013 that I was dying for him and Tan to rekindle their friendship in The Heirs. It was the biggest disappointment to me.

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Hye-Mi and Baek Hee from Dream High also fits this catnip! I remember that I was in team HyeMi back then, now I just think it's ridiculous of me for taking sides. Lol 😂

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This reminded me of 49 days' Ji hyun and In Jung. I really hated In Jung for orchestrating those things with her boyfriend but the somewhat reconciliation in the end mad me cry. She truly loved Ji Hyun afterall but her jealousy blinded her from that fact. And how awesomely sweet was that the third pure tear came from none other than In Jung herself?

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I personally find this a sub genre of the bromance. But that's just me. I like it anyway.

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goblin and school 2013 are definitly my fave for this catnip 🤗

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Cheese in the trap!

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I mean He literally broke his friend's hand and career because of a misunderstanding but I still really wanted them to go back to being besties. I don't think they did, in the end.

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i need romance 3
Shin Joo-Yeon and Oh Se-Ryeong. Were teenage friends until a boyfriend was stolen. Met again as adults. Misunderstandings continued but eventually were friends again.

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I'm late, but all of the hearts to this. This is my ultimate catnip. (And I'm so glad you included Solomon's Perjury! And Equator Man -- I was still new to dramas then, and I've watched a LOT since that were more memorable, but I still remember how the tension between those two took my breath away.) I think this is a huge part of what hooked me on Boys Over Flowers -- which in turn hooked me on kdramas -- because I was way more invested in the friendships than I was in the romance.

Also want to add Shut Up and Moonlight!

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Now off to binge watching those shows.

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Oh, hello again, Lee Jong suk, Kim Woo bin and Gong Yoo.
My catnips for eternity.

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I'm also drawn to these kinds of stories as well. Friends turned enemies/rivals turned friends again is why I watched School 2013.

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