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6 Frustrating Times We Had ‘Second Lead Syndrome’ with These K-Drama Characters

Second Lead Syndrome--a.k.a. that feeling you get when the other guy deserves to be with the girl more than the main guy--can hit Kdrama fans hard. Here are 6 characters who gave us serious Second Lead Syndrome. Because you know, they deserve better.

If you have watched or are currently watching a Korean drama, you probably would have encountered a love triangle one way or another, and you’d know what it feels like for the lead girl to end up with the guy you’re rooting for. Then again, not all ships get to sail, right?

And so fans of dramas get the Second Lead Syndrome, a.k.a. that feeling you get when you know deep down that the other guy – the rival, the more caring dude, the best friend (sometimes) – deserves to be with the girl more than the main guy. Sure, we get the hint as to who ends up with whom during the early parts of the drama, but we still love and delight ourselves by shipping the girl with the second lead! Why? Because we’re masochists like that, right?

Here are 6 characters who gave us some serious Second Lead Syndrome:

1. Boys Over Flowers’ Yoon Ji Hoo (Kim Hyun Joong)

Gu Jun Pyo is probably every high school girl’s crush back then, and there’s no wonder why. He’s handsome, rich, and has that bad boy aura every kid would have fallen for. Then we have Yoon Ji Hoo who’s everything Jun Pyo isn’t – calm, kind, and mature. He’s also Geum Jan Di’s soulmate, and he’s always there whenever she needs a shoulder to lean on, so just imagine the hearts of Ji Hoo stans breaking when she chose Jun Pyo, right?


Watch Boys Over Flowers on: iFlix, Viu, and Netflix

2. Reply 1988’s Jung Hwan (Ryu Jun Yeol)

The Reply series is known for their little guessing game with the audience as to who marries the girl. Throughout most of its episodes, fans became quite confident that their best bet – Jung Hwan – is the mystery man until quiet, baduk-playing Choi Taek comes to steal the show. Jung Hwan has always been the (literal) boy next door who may seem distant but is always there for his friends, especially Duk Seon. He tries to confess his feelings for her, but he realizes he’s a little too late because Taek already beat him to it. A year since the drama ended, we still think Jung Hwan deserved better, because he does! 

Watch Reply 1988 on: iFlix and Viu

3. The Heirs' Choi Young Do (Woo Bin)

The Heirs is yet another drama where Lee Min Ho got the girl. This time, it’s against Choi Young Do, the rich and charismatic bad boy. The audience got to understand why he is the way he is; that although he’s mean to almost everyone in his school, he also has this sensitive and vulnerable side, especially for Cha Eun Sung (Park Shin Hye), his first love.

Watch The Heirs on: iFlix and Viu

4. Cheese in the Trap's Baek In Ho (Seo Kang Joon)

A good chunk of the show’s fans probably shipped Baek In Ho with Hong Seol (Go Eun) more than they did with Yoo Jung (Park Hae Jin). Yoo Jung is a creepy and mysterious guy who tends to be manipulative to the people around him, especially when he started dating Seol. In Ho, on the other hand, is playful, kind, and funny. He didn’t make Seol feel uncomfortable around him, so that alone is a good sign that he’s the better guy for her.

Watch Cheese in the Trap on: Viu

5. She Was Pretty's Kim Shin Hyuk (Choi Si Won)

Crazy, mysterious Shin Hyuk would have been the better guy for Hye Jin (Hwang Jung Eum). Aside from being the funny guy that he is, he also didn’t have to see Hye Jin’s transformation for him to fall for her. He liked her, bushy hair and all. When he learns that Hye Jin likes Sung Joon (Park Seo Joon), he chooses to take a step back and to remain friends with her instead of losing her completely.

Watch She Was Pretty on: Viu

6. Strong Woman Do Bong Soon's In Gook Doo

Okay, Good Du isn’t the best second male lead out there, mainly because he’s controlling and abusive to Do Bong Soon (Park Bo Young) because he believes that it’s his way of “protecting” her as her best friend. Ji Soo, however, needs a spot in this list because he’s that guy who just can’t get the lead role in the dramas he’s been in so far.  Hopefully, he gets the girl in the future dramas, right? 

Watch Strong Woman Do Bong Soon on: Tribe

Who's your favorite Second Lead K-drama character on this list? Or is your fave not part of it? Hit the comments section and share your feels with us.

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