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[Beanie Recs] Hated characters you grow to love


Ahoy, Beanies! It’s time to gather your collective genius for a recommendation series that features you and your drama knowledge. Each week we’ll drop a drama conundrum and leave it up to you to provide a drama rec, and the appropriate rationale behind it, be it long or short. Respond below!
 

I’m looking for dramas that feature unlikeable characters who later become lovable, maybe in the context of a side character? I can’t think of any drama that does it really well. And I get it, well-written and believable redemption is hard to create. I think Twenty Five Twenty One did okay with Go Yoo-rim, whereas Today’s Webtoon (PD Kwon Young-bae) and Extraordinary Attorney Woo (Kwon Min-woo) failed. Still, I want to watch a drama where this is done well. Any ideas?


Have a very particular drama itch that needs scratching? In need of a Beanie Rec? Email us at hello @ dramabeans.com and we’ll feature your topic in a future post.
 
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This is a good topic I read the first part and started to compose the characters I hated then saw the end of the sentence and could not think of anyone apart from Yoorim. I did not like how she treated Heedo and they did a great job to make me change my mind. Everyone else it has been too little too late.
So I am pulling up a chair and will wait to see what the other Beanies bring to the table.๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿฟ

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It would be interesting if the topic โ€œLoved characters you grow to hateโ€ is covered too ๐Ÿ˜… Or has it already?

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I second that one as a great topic. I think thatโ€™s what leads to a lot of disappointment with dramas that started well. One of the characters starts acting out of character for a ridiculous reason so we lose trust in the rest of the story.

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My picks:
* SEO Do-yeon in 'I Can Hear Your Voice', the FL's former high school classmate / rival attorney
* SONG Ka-kyung in 'Search WWW' - the FL's colleague turned competitor

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Totally agree about Song Ka-kyung! She was such a good character because you could see (in flashbacks) that she had once been so great, and you had faith that she could get back to that point someday.

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Jun-hoโ€™s character from Chief Kim

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Ha! I fell in love with him from his very first scene๐Ÿ˜‚

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Lol he was my favourite from the beginning. Such a great performance.

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Chief Kim has several of these - I also liked the CEO's son's arc.

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Totally true. He did a good job.

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Yes, his arc was so good!

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Oh, this is such an interesting one! I think these are going to be somewhat subjective, because people like/dislike characters for different reasons, and have different things that are deal-breakers for them. Here's my best shot:

In My Ajusshi, I think I would put Dong-hoon's wife, Yoon-hee, in this category. I had a lot of disdain for her in the beginning (so many poor choices!) but I grew to understand her a lot more as the show went on, she was legitimately sorry for the choices she had made, and then she went on to be a source of support for Dong-hoon and Ji-an.

Another might be Lee Jun from Chocolate. I have a soft spot for Jang Seung-jo anyway, which might have something to do with this, but I never totally disliked him in the beginning, though he is a real jerk. But again, the story humanizes him over time and you learn more about his terrible family and why he acts the way he does, and then he starts to question why he's been in this hyper competitive relationship for most of his life and sort out what is actually important to him. It was one of those where you could see his redemption arc starting from early on, and I was so ready for it.

Maybe Jung Yoo-taek, from Just Between Lovers/Rain or Shine? I don't know if he ever gets to the point of "loveable" but he does start off extremely unlikable haha! And - same story - you realize that he's just super afraid and in a job he can't handle and extremely lonely. I don't know if I exactly liked him so much by the end, but I did like his relationship with Ma-ri, and that definitely counts for something.

Possibly a more unusual one: Cho Beom-pal from Kingdom. Wow is he ever annoying/incompetent/neglectful of his duties at the beginning, and he honestly stays pretty cowardly throughout (though, um, understandable). But his infatuation with Seo-bi (as is often the case for drama characters) proves the saving of him, and by the end he is making at least some better choices and I found him pretty endearing.

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Hum... It's funny because I didn't hate Yoo-Rim neither Min-Woo (I didn't really care about PD Kwon Young-bae in Today's Webtoon.). Neither of them were bad people but they did make bad choice or acted wrong but this kind of character is more interesting than the ones who always are perfect. Min-Woo was more interesting as a character than the ML in EAW. The ML was very swoony but it's all... No devolpment for him. For Min-Woo, we could understand why he acted like he did or why he changed. It was the same for Yoo-Rim, she was just a teenager after all.

Hate is too much but I would choose Baek-Hyung in Extraordinary You. A lot of people said he was a jerk because of the writer and it was partially just but not completely, he was a jerk even in the shadow scenes. But at the end, when he could have what he wants, he knows that it would be a lie and take the good decision.

Na Ji-Hae in Suspicious Partner, she was the one he cheated on the FL with, she made rumors, etc. But at the end, she was the one who lent her couch to the FL because she didn't have any home.

One whose redemption arc didn't work for me was Han Se-Kwon (Lee Sang-Yeob) in On the Verge of Insanity. He didn't deserve his wife!

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The drama that came to mind when I read this question was Haechi. While I wouldn't call any of the characters lovable, the theme of redemption, growth and change of the characters was woven through the drama. So unlikable characters become likable, forgivable or at least understandable given the life circumstances. It has that believable redemption arc that is hard to find done well. I thought it was a pretty great drama especially if you like Saeguks.

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Kwak Dong Yun in My Strange Hero

Lee Jun Hyuk in City Hall

Jo Han Sun in Stove League

Lee Sung Min in Miss Korea

Kim Hae Sook in Marriage not Dating

Ryu Duk Hwan in Special Labor Inspector Jo

Most of these were the first role I saw them in and made me fell for them HARD.

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Oh! I just repeated Kim Hae Sook! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

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"City Hall" is nostalgic.

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The MLโ€™s mom in Marriage Not Dating. Never thought Iโ€™d love her by the end.

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Still one of the best in-law characters in dramaland, totally agreed.

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Such a story, that bastard husband, and how it ended up being an almost-all girl love story by the end with the FL, MILโ€™s MIL and the SIL ๐Ÿ˜ขโค๏ธ, the ML was nearly expendable!

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Oh! The character to take first place is Go Hyunjung's Mishil in Queen Seondeok. Mishil was characterized as the character we'd hate since she provided great opposition to our leads and their endeavors, but she became the reason I sat through Queen Seondeok.

The most recent will be In-hye in Little Women. Dang this character grated my screen the first 4 episodes with her child adult behavior but she's become the sister I like more. She's overthrown In-kyung.

Im Ji-kyu in Her Private Life is the only Im Ji Kyu I came to really like. The others - stellar acting from Im Ji Kyu but I just couldn't reconcile with them. Their sins were too much, beginning with his character in Gwangaetto, the Great Conqueror. (P.S. His scenes are really small.)

Lee Hyun-Wook in Mine. Even when his bad side were unfolded the more after his passing, I just ended up understanding him and liking him more. If you're looking for a redemption even in death, you'll get it.

Honorable Mention.
Chu Ja-hyun : My Unfamiliar Family

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I'm forever grateful to Go Hyunjung for turning down the Queen's role to play Mishil instead. I'm not sure why they didn't call the show Mishil.
Mishil was the whole package. QSD was book smart but lacked the military power that Mishil had.

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Wow! Good thing she opted for Mishil's character instead. I don't trust anyone to characterize Mishil as well as Go Hyunjung did. She did the most perfect justice to the role any other actress might be acting in circles or culminate into a caricature villain.

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Sung Bo-ra from Reply 1988. Canโ€™t think of another character that fits the description this well.

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Ha! I actually stopped watching Reply 1988 pretty early on because I was SO triggered by Bo-ra (as a younger sister of an older sister in real life). I bet her character was done well. =)

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I feel your pain. I will always hate the dude from Woo. Another character development failure it's the "friend" from Flower of Evil, imo.

โ€”Five Children (Jin Joo's character development is so cool. She's my favorite character of the show)
โ€”My Husband got a Family (big sis -she ended up being my favorite character too)
โ€”Terius Behind Me (brother~~)
โ€”Protect the Boss (second female lead)
โ€”School 2013 (the teacher -Choi Daniel-, one of the bullies -the one that wanted to go to college)

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not a Kdrama, but all the characters surrounding Ted Lasso!
they all start out as seemingly jerks, and you end up loving all of them!!

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What about Nate, who had become kind of hateful. Lovable in the beginning, not so much anymore.

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ok, but we gotta see what he does next, don't we...

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True, might turnaround.

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Sassy Go Go STILL has one of the best redemption arcs in kdrama I've ever seen and yes I will continue to promote it for that.
So Kwon Soo Ah played by Chae Soo Bin in Sassy Go Go. It does take the entire show to get there, but that's the point. I love her arc so much. I love Sassy Go Go in general so much tbh.

Others:
Similarly, A Moment at 18 does the same thing with its antagonist character, who's name I've forgotten, but not nearly as strongly as SGG.

Do Han from Lookout/The Guardians SORT of counts? I think he counts but he's also more of an anti hero ish character from start to finish and I don't know if he really becomes traditionally likable by the end. I love him though ๐Ÿคญ

Second @midnight's submission of Kwak Dong Yeon's Character in My Strange Hero and Ryu Duk Hwan's char in Special Labor Inspector Jo.
Actually MSH all around does this pretty well.

Lee Rang in Tale of the Nine Tailed (๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ)

Kim Kyung Nam's characters in both Strongest Delivery Man and Come And Hug Me both have interesting arcs along these lines.

I mean TECHNICALLY Bead Boy DID get his redemption arc in Secret Royal Inspector and Joy but that show didn't deserve him and also Bead Boy ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ (id est this is not a proper recc)

Not a drama but obviously Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender ๐Ÿคฃ

What category do the kids from White Christmas and Extracurricular go in? Probably not this one haha.

Now ask me what shows SHOULD'VE had redemption arcs but didn't ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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Lol.

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Sassy Go Go was wonderful. I love it too.

I loved Do Han from the very first scene, like Junho in Chief Kim, so for me no, he doesn't fit this category.

And I also agree, My Strange Hero had many other similar arcs very well done.

Dang, I forgot Kim Kyung Nam in Strongest Deliveryman.

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Yasss for SGG love ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

I'm the same with Do Han myself, but since he wasn't supposed to be likable at all at the beginning, but could become so as his story progressed or at least understood, for others, and he does have a redemption arc of sorts, I added him anyway despite him being a bit if a weird fit for the category haha.

KKNs arc in SD was probably one of the strongest parts of SD lmao. I wouldn't usually recc the show (other than it being the founding show of Melonia) but it does have pretty decent themes despite everything and it fits so.

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Let's be honest though, you and I would find a way to recommend Lookout in any category.

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This is true ๐Ÿ˜‚

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In highschool Kdramas, I never hate the villains when they're students too because they often are abused by their parents... It's rare they are just monster.

Zuko really did make things hard! We got a first hope and then he betrayed them >_< It made it harder to forgive him the second time.

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Heh well just like those other teenagers, Zuko himself is only 16 and also abused by his father lmao.
I never found it hard, I've always liked him from Season 1. You get to go through his whole journey with him; it's fun!

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Oh yeah, but when he was getting better and the group trusted him, he betrayed them to please his father... again...

But the dragon dance was the fun to watch :p

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Ya which made his final change of sides and his confrontation of his father in S3 that much sweeter! He had to realise for himself that what he was choosing at the end of Season 2 wasn't what he actually wanted, needed, believed in or what was right.

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Honestly Zuko is one of the best redemption arcs I've ever seen. And - I'm just realizing - maybe my only ever recorded case of SLS? Woah.

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Zutara fan?? Zutara fan here also!!!!! What do you mean SLS, Zutara is totally canon :P :P :P

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Yeah, the first time I watched it I was positive Aang was going to get over his crush and Zutara was going to be the most epic thing ever. I love Aang, but there was something about the fire and water together...

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Yasss- especially because it would've added to and made his arc much better- the thing blocking his chakra that stopped him entering the Avatar State at will was attachment- if his crush was just that- a crush, unreciprocated, and he learnt to let go of that attachment, give UP something for his role as the Avatar, then we wouldn't have the magic lion turtle rock to the back that opened it instead and his arc would feel complete.
And you know, on TOP of that, there's SO MUCH about Zutara together that is *chefs kiss*. Them being narrative foils, the fire and water thing...
I rewatched it last year and had to stop before the finale because as much as I LOVE the final Agni Kai (and I do), I couldn't bring myself to watch the rest because of their decision of how to end it alkfdjhalkha I'm so dumb lmao.

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I agree that I could totally buy this couple too.

But I liked to see their kids and their grand-kids in The Legend of Korra.

I'm curious about the next animated movie with Aang as a young adult.

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I suspect I will not say Jun-kyung from 'if you wish upon me'

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Seo Dong-jae

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Jo Jung Suk character in Jealousy Incarnate (Dont Dare to Dream). He's so annoying I almost dropped the show after 1st episode. I'm glad i didn't because I grew to like him and the show.

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Oh, thatโ€™s a good one. I forgot about him. Although I still love the SML more and would have gone with him. Probably.

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That is so funny. I dropped because i disliked him so much.

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Lee El's character in Liar Game is one of my personal favorites.

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Cho Sang Gu in Move to Heaven

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I fear that Iโ€™m always failing to answer the actual question because my mind decides to think to the left of the point, but I wanted to say that one of the reasons I liked Love Between Fairy and Devil (Cdrama) is because they made the โ€˜villainsโ€™ so interesting and human. Instead of having characters who are easy to hate, we have characters who are deluded, who make selfish choices (to survive, or โ€˜for loveโ€™), who repeat the same mistakes despite seeing very well that they wonโ€™t arrive at a different outcome, or who walk on one side of what they deem is a very bright line between good and evil but who are ultimately mistaken about that dichotomy. Those are my favourite sort of villains because they feel so close itโ€™s uncomfortable.

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Joo seok kyung & Jenny: penthouse

Kang yeo seo : Sky castle

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Kang Dong Jo and Do In Beon in Romantic Dr. Kim. The first probably have one of the best character development in a drama Iโ€™ve watched so far. Also Jung In Kwon in Our Blues. At first he is seems only bad tempered father completed with foul mouthed and violence tendencies. But after his story revealed, he seems so much human. I think itโ€™s not per se I love him as human being, itโ€™s the writing of his chatacter that I admire. The imperfection of his character is perfect.

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a character type more than a specific character: second female lead when they are relatable and earnest. in Protect the Boss for example.

hmm...
and just, Bridal mask of course, Shunji.

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Prince Won from Alchemy of Souls, hated his entitled assholiness in the beginning but now Iโ€™ll sacrifice my first born child for him

Also Yoon Baek-hee from Dream High, she was more tragic than anything, but I think itโ€™s the first time where I fully grasped how too much insecurity can become toxic

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