Soompi & Viki Staff Talk: Which K-Drama Character Gave You Second Male Lead Syndrome?

For the next part of our “Soompi & Viki Staff Talk” series, our staff members talk about one of the most heartbreaking topics for K-drama fans: supporting male leads.

Here are some of the second male leads our cast members have smiled and cried over:

Warning: spoilers ahead

Ginny: Shin Hyuk from “She was beautiful

My favorite supporting actor is Kim Shin Hyuk (Choi Siwon) from “She Was Pretty”. Kim Hye Jin (Hwang Jung Eum) had a childhood crush on Ji Sung Joon (Seo Joun Park), and the drama follows their reunion after 15 years. Although many viewers liked Hye Jin and Sung Joon together, the second lead, Shin Hyuk, is the one who stole my heart. Hye Jin and Shin Hyuk start off as friends, he makes it his personal mission to bully her constantly but also turns out to be quite the lover who has always loved her for who she is. When Hye Jin gets a makeover, he asks where his freckles went and insists he misses his best asset. We also see how much he cares for her when he drops everything to save her from a torrential downpour. I can’t forget the heartbreaking scene where he already sees Hye Jin with Sung Joon.

Watch “She Was Pretty” below:

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Yeon: Kim Jung Hwan from “Answer 1988

“Reply 1988” tells the warm and funny stories of five families living in the Ssangmun district in 1988, with a focus on high school students Sung Deok Sun (Hyeri), Kim Jung Hwan (Ryu Jun Yeol), Choi Taek (Bo Gum Park), Sung Sun Woo (Come on Kyung Pyo) and Ryu Dong Ryong (Lee Dong Hwi). In order to avoid heartbreak, I usually try my best to keep my eyes on the male lead even though the supporting male lead is charming, and although “Reply 1988” continually raises the question of whether Deok Sun ends up marrying Jung Hwan or Taek, I was so sure that all the signs pointed to Jung Hwan. Turns out I was completely duped. That legendary scene from episode 18 where Jung Hwan expresses his feelings for Deok Sun… I held my breath thinking they were finally going to get together… but then he keeps acting like it’s all a joke . My heart was immediately broken because I realized in an instant that whoever I thought was the male lead for 18 episodes was not. This was my first time suffering from second track syndrome, so Jung Hwan will always hold a special place in my heart.

Watch “Answer 1988” below:

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Winnie: Kang Ji Wook from “Recruit behind the scenes

I watched “Backstreet Rookie” because of Ji Chang Wookwho plays the male lead Choi Dae Hyun, but I ended up falling for the charming dimples of puppy Kang Ji Wook (Kim Min Kyu). Kang Ji Wook is a rising actor who was bullied as a child, and Jung Saet Byul (Kim Yoo Jung) is the one who always saved him and gave him the nickname “Puppy”. Then Ji Wook went to the United States but never forgot Saet Byul. When they finally meet, Saet Byul has already fallen in love with Dae Hyun. Although Saet Byul didn’t fall in love with him, I can’t help but love Kang Ji Wook because of his warm charms and honest and gentle personality.

Watch “Backstreet Rookie” below:

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GM: Han Seo Jun from “true beauty

I think all K-drama fans can agree that THE second lead role of 2020 was Han Seo Jun (Hwang In Yeop) from “The True Beauty”. This irresistible bad boy is what propelled Hwang In Yeop to stardom, and he was surprisingly 29 years old when he played everyone’s crush in high school. In this drama based on the popular Korean webtoon of the same name, Seo Jun stars in a heartbreaking love story about Lim Ju Gyeong (Moon Ga Young). Students from the same high school, they blossom a lovely love-hate relationship as they continue to cross paths, whether they like it or not. Seo Jun is your typical tsundere who acts tough on the outside but has a warm heart on the inside, and Ju Gyeong is your typical popular girl with the kindest soul. It broke the hearts of many fans, including mine, when Ju Gyeong fell in love with Su Ho (Cha Eun Woo). Although Su Ho is indeed an attractive character, many were drawn to Seo Jun, who rides a motorcycle, wears earrings, and smiles slightly.

Watch “True Beauty” below:

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JJin: Baek In Ho from “Cheese in the trap

Falling in love with supporting males is a fairly common phenomenon for me, as they are usually portrayed as the perfect men that all women desire. However, Baek In Ho (Seo Kang Joun) of “Cheese in the Trap” is the one that really gave me second track syndrome. As you can see, Baek In Ho is handsome, and his hazel eyes and wavy brown hair give off a “first love” vibe. He is also a tsundere type with a warm heart and cares about the people around him. He especially understands how to do Hong Seol (Kim Goun) laugh and feel comfortable when upset. Despite his confident and outgoing personality, he has a heartbreaking story as he had to give up his dream of being a pianist due to an incident that damaged his hand. He resents Yoo Jung (Park Haejin), who was his best friend, as he believes Yoo Jung is involved in the incident. I sincerely encouraged him to be happy when he regained the confidence to take up the piano again and did his best to overcome his trauma. The scene where Baek In Ho and Hong Seol play the piano together made my heart smile and cry at the same time. Although Baek In Ho did not end up with Hong Seol, I hope he is happy now as a pianist and with someone he loves.

Watch “Cheese in the Trap” below:

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Sala: Come on Chung Myung from “Hotel Del Luna

From his first appearance in the drama, there was no doubt that Lee Do HyunThe character of would cause second-track syndrome for many viewers tuning in to “Hotel Del Luna.” The fantasy drama is about elite hotelier Goo Chan Sung (Yeo Jin Goo), who ends up becoming the manager of Hotel Del Luna after a fateful incident, and the handsome but aloof hotel CEO Jang Man Wol (UI). Although Goo Chan Sung and Jang Man Wol also make a great pair, I was captivated by the heartbreaking and bittersweet story of Jang Man Wol and Go Chung Myung (Lee Do Hyun). Not only did the actors showcase exceptional chemistry with even just their eye contact, but every scene of them together was just an emotional rollercoaster. Go Chung Myung’s cheerful yet nonchalant smile while interacting with Jang Man Wol melted my heart, as did his unwavering loyalty to keeping his promise. Although the feelings between Go Chung Myung and Jang Man Wol did not lead to a happy romance, they hopefully found peace after their long-awaited reunion by coming to terms with each other’s feelings. It was also a great introduction for many to the talented actor Lee Do Hyun who I look forward to seeing in even more dramas in the future!

Watch “Hotel Del Luna” below:

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For those of you who have experienced second track syndrome as much as we have, you might enjoy this special video that Viki created in partnership with Wong Fu Productions, a digital production company and YouTube sensation that works with AAPI talent and influencers.

Check it out below:

Which K-drama characters gave you second male role syndrome? Let us know in the comments below!

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