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Part Three: Second Couple Syndrome

Second-Couple-Syndrome: All this couple has to do is to add some cuteness to the dramatic story line of the main couple – which most of the times happens to entertain one of those tiring triangle twists I can’t stand anymore. While the main hero and heroine plus the second lead guy fight with each other and drown themselves in more and more misery and misunderstandings is the second couple slowly moving forward towards their goal to finally go on a date together. 😀

Second Couples are so much more enjoyable because we know two things almost for sure: 1) They’re going to end up together without anyone dying or suffering from amnesia along the way ( 😉 ) and 2) there won’t be another guy trying to aim for that girl – or an evil woman trying to get the guy. They simply like each other and can flirt without any annoying disruptions. ^^

ATTENTION! This article contains big spoilers in almost every line so if you’ve not watched these dramas yet I strongly recommend you to do so before reading this! Anyone else: Please enjoy! ^^

Dream High: Milky Couple~ IU (stage name) and Jang Wooyoung (2PM) were so famous in this drama that their couple even got a nickname by its fans: The “Milky Couple” is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen in a korean drama! While everyone around them was fighting with this and that pal were those two silently enjoying their time together and slowly growing fond of each other.

Kim Pil Suk (IU) with her perfect vocals and the gift of having a perfect pitch has one big problem: She’s fat! No one really takes her seriously and – of course – some classmates even bully her for looking “like a pig” even though she’s the nicest girl on earth. Jason (Jang Wooyoung) on the other hand is an awesome dancer, great singer, rich and really handsome and admired by many women. Pil Suk falls for Jason the moment she lays her eyes on him. The viewer might think that he’s going to be an arrogant jerk and insults her as well but Jason proves to us that being handsome, rich and talented doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an asshole: He’s totally adorable, encouraging her to be more confident and supporting her whenever she needs him. Nothing romantic happens though. Later on Pil Suk promises Jason to lose some weight while he’s on tour with his group and if she succeeds they’re going on a date. He agrees.

… Well, you can imagine the rest, right? 😀 Of course Pil Suk looks absolutely to die for after losing some weight (even though she was already adorable before) and those two are growing closer more than ever. I also like how she gains some confidence after dieting and even tells Jason off because he became a little bit too sure of himself at one point of the story. Now it’s his turn to prove how much he likes her: Pil Suk wants him to actually learn and make his homeworks and not only rely on his dancing skills and vocals. And Jason? Becomes the most diligent student ever! XDD I swear: These two are simply adorable! ❤

Boy Before Flowers: So Lee-Jeong and Choo Ga-Eul~ My first Second-Couple-Syndrome. 😀 While the main plot became frustrating to look at at some point of the story were these two the whole reason why I kept watching this drama.

So Lee Jeong (Kim Bum) is one of the best friends of the lead guy and a member of the so called F4 at his school: To-die-for handsome, unimaginably rich and really smart are they the kings among the students. Lee Jeong is the biggest playboy in his group of friends, a master of pottery and seems to be all shallow and superficial. But deep within is he actually able to feel every kind of good and bad emotion and supports his pals whenever needed. Choo Ga Eul (Kim So Eun) on the other hand is the best friend of the main heroine, a heartwarming girl and really cute. She’s head over heels for Lee Jeong the second she sees him but realizes that he’s definitely out of her league. Or so she thought. Later on – while the whole love story between the main couple starts taking place – are these two forming a team together to help their friends to become lovers. While doing so is Ga Eul slowly discovering Lee Jeongs sorrows and the misery he suffers from and tries to hide from everyone else. Without realizing it himself is he starting to unveil his problems to her and begins to trust and rely on this lovely girl. While everyone else focuses on the lead couple are these two becoming closer and closer and actually develop deep feelings for each other.

I swear, they’re so adorable to look at that I wished they’d make a drama just with those two people so I can focus solely on their cute and innocent love story. Kim Bum and Kim So Eun look so good together that many people wished for them to start dating in real life and honestly – I was one of them. 😉 They gained so much fame that some film directors actually produced a few commercials with them as the main actors. My personal hype around them never really died down so I’m still hoping for a drama where Kim Bum and Kim So Eul are going to play the main characters – just to have them on screen together again. ❤

Mandate of Heaven – The Fugitive of Joseon: The sister and the guard~ Gawww, both my sister and I totally admire those two! :3 Lee Jung-Hwan (Song Jong Ho) is a palace guard and always strictly following every order given to him. The lead guy in this story gets accused of being a murderer and is therefor on Jung Hwans list of criminals he needs to capture now. Since it was a hard time back then all family members of the alleged offender were punished as well even though they did nothing wrong at all – so the main heroes sister Choi Woo Young (Kang Byul) is demoted to the status of a slave, too. She gets imprisoned, tortured and humiliated – everything in front of Jung Hwan who still thinks that he’s doing the right thing. But Woo Young is no weak lady who just accepts her fate. She screams, struggles and accuses him of being the real murderer since he’s holding the wrong people captivated. After witnessing so much resistance and how nice Woo Young and her brother actually are is Jung Hwan slowly doubting the whole story about the murder and starts to help the siblings and their friends instead. While doing so are he and Woo Young somehow developing a totally cute hate-love-relationship between each other and start to cherish the other one more and more. >.<

The video below isn’t an MV but a scene out of the drama. I think this is giving the best example for how cute these two are: Jung-Hwan brought Woo-Young some new clothes because she’s no longer a slave now and can dress up like a noble lady again. Obviously, he’s flashed by her radiant looks but denies his feelings and tells her that she was right and that colors like that don’t suit her. She’s angry and wants to remove the dress in front of him. Of course he’s trying to stop her from doing so… and just that moment her maid walks in and accuses him of being a bad guy. He asks Woo-Young to say what really happened to clear his name but she sulks and says he’s indeed a pervert. XDD Sooo adorable!

The couple scene is until 3:13 !!


Part One: Second Lead Guy

Second-Lead-Syndrome: As always am I limiting my point of view to Asian dramas and movies – and these are FULL of great examples for the Second-Lead-Syndrome which can basically happen in three ways…

The pitiful little puppy~ Gah, this is the most awful Second-Somewhat-Syndrome I can think of! A drama with such a character usually entertains one of those tiring triangle-love-twists I dearly hate and avoid at all costs. Why? Because I know myself and in 9 of 10 cases I’m SO going to get the Second-Lead-Syndrome that watching this drama actually starts to frustrate me. Let me explain: The main guy in such a story is most of the times a total jerk, rich, arrogant and just disgusting. Our main female lead is not only being insulted and exposed by him but sometimes also put in danger and misery. That guy hates her and she definitely hates him, too. At this time the second lead appears: A gentle, handsome and nice man who could be the best friend of the main lead or a childhood friend of the girl. Either way he’s the one who treats her like a princess to begin with; he loves her from the bottom of his heart, supports her in every way possible, is always running over whenever she calls him and tries to protect her from every evil in this world.

It’s pretty easy to fall for a guy like him because (a) you know from the start that he won’t get the girl which’s why you already pity him precautionary, (b) he’s too perfect to be true and (c) he can’t tell anyone what’s wrong so’s hurting all alone and by himself… which’s why you feel like you’re obliged to sympathize with him.

Second lead guys like that are usually pushed into the drama-world-hell called “friend zone” and will never escape this damned place. I always cry for them… inwardly, of course. 😉

Drama: You’re Beautiful/ Second lead: Jung Yong Hwa (CN Blue) as “Kang Shin Woo”. Just look at his eyes! Gaah!! I cried rivers for this guy. Rivers!

Drama: Cinderella’s Sister/ Second lead: Ok Taecyeon (2PM) as “Han Jung Woo”. Okay, the main lead wasn’t a jerk per se… but who could resist such an adorable Ok Taecyeon right in front of you?! And he was definitly more supporting and nice than the lead guy!

Drama: Boys Before Flowers/ Second lead: Kim Hyun Joong (SS501) as “Yoon Ji Hoo”. Here we have an even bigger twist: The main girl actually really liked the second lead guy which’s mainly the reason why he fell for her. Just that later on she realized that the main jerk isn’t such a total jerk after all so… I guess she changed her mind?! I didn’t understand why, though…

The cheerful funny pal~ Oh, I love these guys! They’re great! Mostly the best friend or brother of the main leads are these guys the characters which make a story mainly as awesome as they’re. They brighten up every situation as soon as they appear, are loyal, helpful (even though a little clumsy), darn lovely and face every misfortune with a positive mindset. The problems along their way may make them fall down from time to time but (a) are they used to falling and (b) do they love their life way too much to be depressed about those small hurdles.

These people don’t poke at our compassion but happiness and bring laughter to us whenever the main story gets too dramatic. I love them! ❤

Drama: Sungkyunkwan Scandal/ Second lead: Song Joong Ki as “Gu Yong Ha”. I love this pal! He’s funny, smart and totally adorable! Plus that Flower-Boy-Face! 😀 😉

Drama: You’re Beautiful/ Third lead: Lee Hong Ki (F.T. Island) as “Jeremy”. Yeah, I know: He’s not exactly the second lead. So what? Let’s call it Third-Lead-Syndrome then. ^^

Drama: Chuno (The Slave Hunters)/ Third lead: Kim Ji Suk as “Wang Son”. The video below may be kinda bad but there aren’t any better ones since he’s neither the lead nor second lead character. He’s one of the best friends of the lead guy. I so damn love this guy! Funny and careless yet loyal and strong – the perfect companion! 😀

Hybrids~ Being both pitiful yet hilarious is this kind of second lead guy the strongest one to look at among my ranking. In many cases are they best friends with the main hero and always try to support them in every way possible even if it means that they have to ridicule them self in front of many many people.

With these guys it’s always a 50/50 chance that they’ll fall for the main girl or not. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. But the good thing is: Even if they do start to have deeper feelings for her is it not as heartbreaking as with the little-pitiful-puppy-type. Hybrids can make us feel compassion and sadness but the viewer still knows that these kind of guys are strong enough to snap out of it. Even if they fall in love are they more than capable to get over it on their own. We feel sorry for them but we know that they’ll find someone else sooner or later – because all in all are they happy people who like to laugh and have fun in life. Which makes them the best best-friends you can wish for! 😀

Drama: Hana Kimi/ Second lead: Ikuta Toma as “Nakatsu Shuichi”. Do I even need to explain? Everyone should know that guy! ❤

Drama: Playful Kiss (or “Mischievous Kiss” or “Itazura na Kiss” or “It started with a Kiss”)/ Second lead: Kim Hyun Joong as “Baek Seung Jo”. Of course I could name you every actor from every version ever made who played this character but let’s keep it short: The video below is kinda bad but I hope that everyone of you has watched at least one version of this already so you know whom I mean. 🙂

Drama: Nobuta wo Produce/ Second lead: Yamashita Tomohisa as “Kusano Akira”. I love Yamapi in this one! I mean: I always love him but especially this character is to die for! Hilarious, adorable and loyal yet somehow pitiful and definitely weird. XD (For the ones who don’t know him: Yamapi is the guy with shorter hair.)

Boys Before Flowers

Genre: romance, school

Episodes: 25 (Somewhere in the middle of the series is an imaginary cut and the second season begins but since it’s not marked anywhere let’s just ignore that.)

Main actresses: Ku Hye Seon, Kim So Eun

Main actors: Lee Min Ho, Kim Hyun Joong, Kim Beom, Kim Jun

Story: Geum Jan Di (Ku Hye Seon) is an ordinary poor young girl who unexpectedly gets the chance to study at the most prestigious private high school in Seoul. Unfortunately she involves herself with the so called “F4”: The four richest and most handsome guys in school. Captained by cold hearted and fearless Goo Jun Pyo (Lee Min Ho) are he and his three friends – the breathlessly beautiful Yun Ji Hu (Kim Hyun Joong), playboy So Lee Jeong (Kim Beom) and gangster son Song Woo Bin (Kim Jun) – the kings among the students. Everyone tries to please and help them in any way possible since they fear the consequences if they don’t obey. Everyone – except for Geum Jan Di. First bullied by F4 because she won’t listen to their wishes is mysterious Yun Ji Hu soon starting to be amused by her stubborn behaviour and begins to help her out. Thanks to his charming ways it can’t be helped that Jan Di falls for him – just when F4s captain Goo Jun Pyo sets his eye on her.

But Geum Jan Di’s not the only person being confronted with confusing feelings: Her best friend Choo Ga Eul (Kim So Eun) gets to know F4s playboy So Lee Jeong and is immediately drawn into his charm. But he’s not interested in a serious relationship and only wants to play around. Really, what can be done with these pampered guys?



The thing about the second-couple syndrome:

Own opinion: It is THE drama among korean dramas! Many people who’re new to the asian TV-series-wave start with this one. It’s one of the most watched romance dramas of all times and still on one of the top places when it comes to popularity. The hype around “Boys Before Flowers” never died down and it’ll probably stay that way for the next few years. But what makes this series so darn famous?

Well, the cinderella story of a poor but nice girl falling in love with the rich handsome prince never gets old. Many romance movies are based on this theme and I totally understand why since a lot of women – buried somewhere deep inside of their hearts – still like to dream about the sparkling hero on the white horse. It’s something people of every age and nationlity can refer to. South Korean citizen are no exception – and neither am I. “Boys Before Flowers” is the ultimate cinderella-drama and brings the story to its own limits. This series really deserves being called “drama”. It’s so dramatic that it starts to become tiring at one point of the story. In each korean drama you’ll find at least one or two stereotypical situations because they’re simply a part of that business but here you’ve every single one of them! Every single one!

Beginning with the so famous poor-but-nice-girl-and-her-rich-but-totally-arrogant-boy story, going over several stupid misunderstandings, the bitchy mother-in-law who can’t stand the poor girlfriend of her son, humilations, jealousy which isn’t detected as such and even amnesia – this drama has them all! Like I said: At one point of the story it became a hassle for me to watch it any further and if it wouldn’t have been for the love line between Kim Beom and Kim So Eun I don’t know if I could’ve finished this one. But really, these two are just so very perfect and adorable in this drama that many fans still want them to date in real life. They suit each other so breathtakingly fantastic that the viewer must wonder about them being real after all. ❤

Rating: 7 /10 – Despite the fact that “Boys Before Flowers” has everything a Korean romance drama should have it might be a bit too much, though. And the acting of Kim Hyun Joong – even though he may be really good now – doesn’t convince me in this one. Yes, I know that he was still some kind of a rookie back then but especially then they shouldn’t have given him such a major role. A handsome face doesn’t make up for a so-so acting performance. Nevertheless, he wasn’t bad. Just… kind of weak compared to actors like Lee Min Ho and Kim Beom right next to him.

PS: There is also a japanese version of this drama called “Hana Yori Dango”. I’ll review that one in the japanese drama section sometime later. 🙂 The taiwanese version calls itself “Meteor Garden” for those of you who’re interested. ^^