[Dramaland Catnip] Opponents turned allies
by Guest Beanie
I love watching dramas and love most of the tropes and clichés as long as they don’t drag too much. But one of my most favorite tropes, or my catnip, is where the opponent turns ally, such as when a person opposing our hero or heroine is against him/her for most of the drama and then he starts to grudgingly see his point.
The righteous policeman, the unstoppable reporter, the conscientious prosecutor, the uptight lawyer, anyone who’s set against our lead in a non-romantic sense. I usually fall for these characters very fast no matter how major or minor their role is. It’s always a treat to have a good non-lead having strong non-romantic antagonism with the lead. They usually own up and admit their mistakes fairly and that makes them all the more swoonworthy.
I Hear Your Voice
One of the most famous examples of this trope, one I’m sure many drama addicts know, is righteous prosecutor Kim Young-joo in City Hunter. He pursued our hero to the end, at the beginning because City Hunter was a criminal acting outside of the law and later because he wished to help him clear his name. He is probably the ultimate opponent turned ally too, because we all know how his story ended, but through it all he never let go of his principles.
Another example is from the drama I Hear Your Voice, with the character Seo Do-yeon. Also a prosecutor, she was at first dead-set against our heroine, even though it was rather more about personal issues than ethical ones. Their personal conflicts contributed to professional ones too, especially when she was prosecuting someone our heroine was defending. But while the women never became quite affectionate, her gradual and reluctant friendship with the heroine later on makes her still a very heart-warming example.
In Two Weeks we have detective Im Seung-woo, who starts out chasing our hero when he goes on the run and ends up helping him later when it becomes more clear that the hero was framed. He was technically the second romantic lead, but as the antagonism was first a criminal matter before being a romantic one, it fits my catnip perfectly. I liked the character so much that although I’m a Lee Jun-ki fan and nearly always a strictly first-leads-shipper, I couldn’t help shipping the detective with the heroine instead. And well, they did get their happy ending in real life so there is that! #bighappysmile
In Healer we have a more minor character who gets to be in my catnip category: cyber divisions officer Detective Yoon, who had been doggedly looking for Healer for some years, thinking him a criminal. He was later persuaded by Ajumma and Kim Moon-ho to help them catch the true villains, which put him on Healer’s side rather than against him.
Now for one of my personal favorite opposing characters ever: Go Jae-hyo, the reporter in Wild Romance. In the beginning he was always looking for stories against Mu-yeol, not only as a reporter looking for a scandal or being just mean—he honestly thought Mu-yeol was a bad person. Later, he found out the truth about him, and he unwillingly relented and agreed to help him. The scene where Jin Dong-soo makes the two men apologize and shake hands is one of the most natural and best-acted scenes I’ve ever seen in a drama.
The thriller drama Ghost had another favorite character of mine. Although the figurative face-off was short-lived, the literal face-off more than made up for it. In a reversal of my usual catnip, the lead, Kim Woo-hyun, is a cyber police detective who does his job legally, and Park Ki-young is a hacker who believes that you can’t catch the big bads legally. In this case he didn’t turn around and see the lead’s point of view, but as he was later made the lead, he managed to combine the two characters’ ideals. That character was one of my favorites and the fact that he then became the lead was an added bonus.
I can go on forever about dramas having this catnip especially as some very minor characters often fit into it too so this makes the range very wide. I will just round up that this trope captivates me because although I adore the romance in the dramas, I’m always looking for small relationship beats between characters. And this kind of relationship which arises gradually from respect and trust gets me every single time.
- [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!
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