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.)
The second- what now?
I bet – no, I’m 100% sure – that everyone out there who likes to watch some movies or series from time to time has had encountered this phenomenon at least once in his life! It doesn’t matter if in Korean, Japanese or american film productions – even books, games or comics will do: The Second-[please fill in a word of your choice]-Syndrome is definitely omnipresent in everything based on a story line.
The Second-WHAT-Syndrome?: Even though I know that we all felt this before I’m still going to explain shortly what it means just in case some of you have never heard this term before: The Second-[lead,guy, girl,couple]-Syndrome describes the situation in which the consumer of movies, games, books or comics feels more attracted and emotionally bound to the sidekick of a hero than to the actual hero itself. We find ourselves thrilled by their life rather than the main lead ones and wish for more screen time for this special character – even if it means that the “hero” has to back down.
Even though I think we all know this feeling is it also a question of the viewers character and how he pictures all the peoples emotions in his head if he’s in danger to encounter the Second-Somewhat-Syndrome or not. A person who’s cool about watching horror movies and remains smiling while others start crying’s probably less at risk because this person focuses on the main story and doesn’t concern itself with unimportant sidekicks who don’t affect the story anyway. While people like me who drown themselves in every characters life, sorrow and misery are more endangered because we actually feel real compassion and sympathy.
Just in case you misunderstood: I don’t want to label anyone! Of course there are a ton of other consumers out there which build every shade from white to black possible and can’t find themselves in either the cool or emotional type of viewer. But I’m not making statistics here. I merely wanted to explain my thoughts. ^^