Second Lead Syndrome: Part II

Oh dearest Whitecarrot, what did you do?

If ever there was a person stricken with Second Lead Syndrome, it is I.  This is not an ailment that comes and goes, visiting once in a blue moon, but rather a very serious condition that has plagued me my entire life – ladies and gentlemen, I (re-)introduce to you the Pinkblossom Malady.

Thanks to my lovely partner in crime, I have been swept back in time (ooh, that rhymes!) through turbulent times, trials, and tribulations (alliteration!) wherein I fell in love with the man who loved not me, and whose heart was broken as irrevocably as mine.  “Who are these people?” you may ask.  “Whatever do you mean?  Is there ever a time the OTP was not the cutest couple that could be?”

Okay, I need to stop writing in verse; it’s getting dizzy.  Onto an examination we go of the cruel men who have broken my heart over the years.  The list is endless – seriously, I have spent the last two hours looking up names and dramas and filmographies, and my list keeps getting longer and looonger.  So rather than a comprehensive list of every heartbreaker ever, I present to you the most memorable cases of the Pinkblossom Malady.


Won Bin

Autumn Fairy Tale

01The drama and character that gave birth to my one true love.  I may dally here and there with the cuties that litter Dramaland, but I have never ceded my #1 spot to anyone other than Won Bin.  “How much will it take?” is still one of the most quoted lines eeeever.


Han Jae-suk

All About Eve, Four Sisters, Glass Slippers, Oohlala Spouses

30000175022_700Han Jae-suk holds a huge soft spot in my heart – the poor guy never gets the girl!  In All About Eve, he was ruthlessly abandoned by Kim So-yeon (and even Chae Rim chose Jang Dong-gun over her first love).  He and Chae Rim finally both loved each other – emphasis: at the same time – in Four Sisters, but some stupid reason or another (parents, I think?) prevented them from getting together.  Correction: It’s been so long that I looked up Four Sisters to confirm the ending, and Naver is telling me they got together at the veeerry end.  So I guess he actually won the girl in this one, but all I remember is hurting for him.

Kim Hyun-joo preferred being So Ji-sub’s widow than getting together with him in Glass Slippers.  And Kim Jung-eun chose her philandering husband over her perfect first love in Oohlala Spouses.  Can the guy just get a break already?


Ryu Jin

Summer Scent, Baby-faced Beauty

201203021542771878_1Another actor who only recently has been finally getting some cred.  Poor Ryu Jin played second fiddle for a good stretch of his career, most notably in Summer Scent and Baby-faced Beauty.  (Though he was the second lead in other dramas as well, he had his own partner, unlike the aforementioned ones where he lost out to the lead.)  He and Han Go-eun were beautiful together in Capital Scandal, but his tragic demise pretty much did away with the happy virus.


Lee Jung-jae

The Hourglass (aka Sandglass)

%EB%AA%A8%EC%8B%9C_%EA%B3%A0%ED%98%84%EC%A0%9513The whole country fell in love with the loyal bodyguard who died for the woman he loved.


Cha In-pyo

Star in My Heart

1_1_0Now this man won his lady even in his debut – in real life, too! – but I can never forget his character in Star in My Heart.  Yes, I loved the OTP (Ahn Jae-wook and Choi Jin-shil), but I just didn’t quite get why Cha In-pyo never had a chance with Choi Jin-shil.  The story just… kinda stopped.


Lee Seo-jin


flashmupload_1316142983370_36845_48980I know Lee Seo-jin and Ha Ji-won were the OTP of Damo, one of my all-time favs, but there was the leeettle wavering Ha Ji-won felt towards Kim Min-joon (though it was because of blood ties, not romance).  Nonetheless, my heart just broke for Lee Seo-jin when he (1) let Ha Ji-won go on the mission, which was tantamount to saying goodbye; (2) believed she fell in love with Kim Min-joon; (3) still poured out his soul to revive her; and (4) THE ENDING.  Gah, I can’t say more, I’m starting to cry already just thinking of the ending.  *races off to re-watch*

Now that I think about it, Lee Seo-jin has had a tragic ending in so many of his dramas despite being the lead!


Bae Soo-bin

The Great Inheritance, Dong-yi

AKR20090626163100005_03_iBae Soo-bin has finally moved onto leading man territory, which I say shoulda happened earlier.  He was kicked to the curb by Han Hyo-joo not once, but TWICE.


Nam Goong-min

Can You Hear My Heart?

2006-09-19_04%3B23%3B14No words necessary.  I love Kim Jae-won, but Nam Goong-min just rocked the drama like no other.


Gong Yoo


big_3Gong Yoo got the girl, but it was the wrong soul – I wanted Dr. Yoon-jae!


Choi Jin-hyuk

I Need Romance (Season 1)

20110718.01500199950024.01LUh, seriously, this show sucked like no other.  How could you dump the adorable cutie and go back to your scumbag of an ex?!?!?!


Song Jong-ho

Will it Snow for Christmas, The Princess’s Man, Answer Me 1997

200912180817111001_1Can he pretty please get the MAIN girl?


Lee Sang-yeob

Nice Guy

iPad_0_hyqW1CnAFiI had to stop watching this show for a variety of reasons, not least of which was seeing poor Lawyer Park suffer day in and day out.  Eun-ki, open your darned eyes!!


Kim Ji-hoon

Flower Boy Next Door

이웃집 꽃미남02_00020Another show I’ve put on hold.  Poor Jin-rak who ain’t really Jin-rak.


Ryu Soo-young

The Great Lawyers of Korea

f0052697This one really hurt.  A lot.  Though it’s adorable that Ryu Soo-young and Lee Sung-jae, rivals in Lawyers of Korea, are now brothers in Rascal Sons.


Feast of the Gods

coming201204061535200This one doesn’t get an actor’s name.  Because Joo Sang-wook, the leading man, was thrown over for Lee Sang-woo!  Sooo, does that still make Lee Sang-woo the second lead?  Or does that role now to go Joo Sang-wook?  As mentioned before, this crazy show finally vindicated my love for the poor dudes who are left heartbroken every time.


Final Thoughts

So there you have it, a very small sample of the instigators of the Pinkblossom Malady.  I’m itching to add more names, but perhaps we’ll save it for another day.  Whitecarrot, perhaps we need to make this a regular thing! 😉  Now one more picture of my man… because I can.


And another.wonbin01


37 responses to “Second Lead Syndrome: Part II

      • hahah did you watch all three version? I watched part of taiwans and koreas. Japan is still my all time favorite.

        • It was Meteor Garden that got me started in my Asian drama addiction. I watched the other two just for comparison but always felt sad for the second lead role for some reason. MG is still the best for me but liked the Japanese version better than the Korean version.

    • hi hiii, novembertwentyeleven! long time no seeee!! 😀
      ryu soo-young was lee soo-kyung’s ex, and she thought he had heartlessly dumped her for better prospects — it turned out that he had been visited by the noble idiocy bug, and he truly loved her to the end… it was kinda the case for both couples. han go-eun filed for divorce, but she wanted lee sung-jae to hold onto her~ in the end, the two secondary leads were left with broken hearts while the otp lived happily ever after~ i just couldn’t get over poor ryu soo-young’s sad story T_T

  1. I agree with your thoughts on I Need Romance 1. Why oh why did she dumped Choi Jin Hyuk for his no-good ex. For a moment I want to cuddle him. poor heart.

  2. DAEBAK!!! Totally agree with your opinion on Won Bin.. he is my first crush in drama land. I was so sad back then since he ended up live and left alone. Wonder when this guy will return to drama land. Another second lead syndrome is Yoo Seung Ho, though he’s such evil in IMU, but his acting is just perfect.

    • yup I also found good chemistry EYH with Yoo Seung Ho in IMU but his love become too scary. and for me if the writer did not make him become monster the story will be more interesting and I would root them fr sure.

    • weeelcome, thediaryofquestions!! 😀 hahahaaa oh my gawsh i busted a gut reading the “he ended up live” part lolol! but yes, i am just DYYYYINNNGG to see him back in dramaland T_T
      awwwww, yoo seung-ho is defs a cuuutie. can’t agree more that he was pretty creepers in “i miss you” x___x though it’s sad we won’t see him for the next couple of years (since he’s off to military service), i think it was a pretty smart choice — when he comes back, he’ll be able to well and truly take off the “nation’s little brother” moniker 🙂 🙂

  3. Won Bin : wow….got same feeling with you for won bin in autumn in my heart I did not finish watching this when I found that Won Bin would not get the girl. Another 2nd lead male syndrome :
    Yong Hwa character in You are Beautiful
    Daniel Henney : Spring Waltz

    • no won bin getting the girl = no need to watch. heeeee! ^^
      aaah, yes, yong-hwa in “you’re beautiful” was pretty worthy of the pinkblossom malady 🙂 and yes yessss i felt so bad for daniel henneyyyy… but i just LOVED seo do-young lolol!

    • welcome to our Patch, milaiski!! 😀 lee jin-wook has defs had a few pinkblossom malady-worthy roles! and yessss i was debating whether to include yoo ah-in, but i just couldn’t get myself to say i loved him more than yoochun in “sungkyunkwan scandal” lol! thanks for sharing with us!!! 😀

      • I love LJW to death in Spy Myung Wol and he’s always the second lead. That is why even if his character had so many defects in I need Romance 2012, I was so loyal to him because he finally got the lead role. Yoo Ah In was a scene stealer in SKK. I hope he gets to have a good drama soon. Love your blog BTW. :)) I’m a constant reader but I seldom comment. Continue your great job with WhiteCarrot! 🙂

  4. The ending of I Need Romance 1 was horrible!! 😦
    It should have been called I Need to Suffer. It was the first drama that made me think I’d wasted my time. How could Choi Jin-hyuk not get the woman? I think the thing that made it particularly irritating was the fact that it wasn’t clear who the OTP was meant to be. In most other dramas when the second lead walk away with empty arms, at least you had a sense that was how things were going to go, even if you didn’t like it. That ending took me by surprise–an awful, stupid, co-dependant surprise.

    Right now on Flower Boys Next Door, as much as I think Enrique is a cute puppy, I’m rooting for Jin-rak and setting myself up for heartbreak.

    Do you notice how there isn’t a female second lead syndrome? It seems most writers feel the need to destroy one woman’s character so that another woman can look worthy of happiness. That’s why Protect the Boss was such a breath of fresh air.

    • hhahaaha oh my gaaaawsh YES “i need to suffer” is right on! i totes agree: i usually know who’s gonna win, so i try to brace — if not altogether brainwash — myself, but the ending of “i need romance” just sucked. period.
      i just couldn’t handle it. jin-raaaaak come to meeee! 😉
      and oh em gee YES i was totally thinking about that while writing the post!! i tried to think of secondary females whom i had felt bad for… and couldn’t really come up with much xD yesyesyes i looooved wang ji-hye’s character in “protect the boss”!!! lee soo-kyung had a similar character in “color of woman” which was why i loved the show… before it went nutsos lol!

  5. How about these second leads?
    Yoon Pil Joo in Best love
    Moon Jae Shin in Sungkyun Kwan Scandal
    Shinwoo hyung in You’re Beautiful

    • welcome to our Patch of madness, Kelly-K!! 😀
      ooooh, you made some pretty good choices!
      i loved cha seung-won and gong hyo-jin together in “best love,” but i gotta admit she had more chemistry with yoon kye-sang! ^^
      “sungkyunkwan scandal” was another one where i loved the otp too much to really feel devastated for yoo ah-in xD
      but in “you’re beautiful,” yong-hwa should have gotten park shin-hye!! ^^

  6. My heart goes to Won Bin anytime of the year, how can someone not go for WonBin. He’s my ultimate bias. Ps I like Han Jae Suk as well. And yes he does get Chae rim in Four sisters after millions of hurdles in his path. Gaahhh… Love them and Ryu Jin too..

    • bring it on, Yujin!! battle to the death for won biiiiiin~!!! 😀 😀 😀
      gah, han jae-suuuuuk. and ryu jin, too ^^ a lot of drama watchers started with the second(?) hallyu wave, so they haven’t watched a lot of the older dramas… i feel like i found a kindred spirit in youuu!! 😀

  7. okay i have too many too but the recent one, well not that recent is kim jae wook in Marry me mary. I know JGS and MGY make a cute couple but there is nothing that I love more about the drama than Kim Jae wook oppa.

    • good choice! i didn’t watch “mary” but kim jae-wook has definitely had some memorable second lead roles 🙂 thanks for continuing to join us here at the Patch, jat!

  8. I think this 2nd lead syndrom not work with Park Shi Hoo seem even in the beginning he’s not the lead male but he always got the lead female as in perfect neighbour and queen of reversals. he’s gotten too much charms,it’s hard for any lady not to fall for him

    • oooooh you’re right, primimeri! i totes didn’t even notice him in some of his earlier dramas, but i distinctly remember him shooting to star status after “family honor”. it’s pretty hard not to love him despite the vampirish look he always sports in photos 😉 hehehee!

  9. Bae Soo Bin in Brilliant Legacy for me. I thought he played a fantastic guy and for a while I rooted for him to get the girl played by Han Hyo Joo. But she went for the petulant heir played by Lee Seung Gi. And after thinking about it, I thought it was great that he didn’t get the silly girl – he deserved better dammit!
    Thundie did some funny recaps of the drama with focus on Bae,

    • ah, yes, bae soo-bin and his soulful eyes! i agree – he totes deserved better!! it was quite unfortunate that he reverted back to evil-land-second-lead in 49 days after leading “an angel’s temptation”~ come back to dramaland to win the girl, please! ^^
      i adore thundie’s prattle — i didn’t know thundie had done recaps of the show! thanks for the link!! 😀

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