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5 K-Drama Second Male Leads We All Love

The second-lead syndrome is real.

When it comes to Korea dramas, we obviously always ship the canon main couple! But #OTP goals aside, there comes a time when we feel like the secondary male character (e.g. the friendzoned guy bestie/the childhood crush) deserves better. So now it's time to let all the guys who made us catch an extreme case of second-lead syndrome shine in the spotlight. Here are our top five picks for the best second male leads of all time!
  1. Ji Soo as In Gook Du in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

Actor Nam Joo Hyuk's real life bestie is first on our list. Why? Well, to date, he's played so many supporting roles that have captured our hearts—from Scarlet Heart to Doctors. But it was his portrayal of the surly yet secretly caring police officer Gook Du that made us feel all the feels. Gook Du was just a little bit too late, and as much as we ship Do Bong Soon (Park Bo Young) with CEO Ahn (Park Hyung Sik), our heart goes out for Bong Soon's (former) crush. :( Luckily, actor Ji Soo is set to have his own starring role this year—finally, a chance for him to shine.

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  1. Lee Dong Wook as Grim Reaper in Goblin

So after Lee Dong Wook starred in the fave K-Dramas of our childhood (remember My Girl?), it's a little disheartening to see him relegated to mere second lead. *sound of hearts breaking* But Goblin is a great drama, and it was a perfect showcase for Lee Dong Wook's character to shine in the spotlight once more. Throughout all the laughter and tears (and extreme feels) on the show, Lee Dong Wook made it cool to fall in love with an actual Grim Reaper, which is a feat in itself, TBH. Love you, Oppa. ♥

  1. Kim Woo Bin as Choi Young Do in The Heirs

Okay, so admittedly, Kim Woo Bin was the bad boy in this show. As in a total jerk (remember when he pushed Eun Sang into the pool?!) He was a stereotypically arrogant rich kid, and he always got in the way of the main couple's (played by the legendaries Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye) relationship. But throughout the course of the iconic K-Drama, we could see that Young Do was just way misunderstood. He just didn't know how to express his deeply sincere feelings, and our heart breaks for that boy! :(

  1. Choi Si Won as Kim Shin Hyuk in She Was Pretty

Another second lead who broke our heart, the cute Shin Hyuk was always there for Kim Hye Jin (played by Hwang Jung Eum) when she was down. True, he was sort of cowardly, preferring to hide his true feelings by acting the part of a comedian with jokes and pranks. But at the end of the day, he was always there for Hye Jin, always making her laugh, always rushing to her side... and alas, always too late. But hey, you can't blame him—he was up against the main lead's first love, who was played by none other than Park Seo Joon. Our love for his adorkable-ness still had us rooting for him 'til the end, though!

  1. Jin Goo as Seo Dae Young in Descendants of the Sun

FINALLY, A HAPPY SECOND LEAD! At first glance, Seo Dae Young may seem like the most boring and serious soldier ever... until you realize his competitiveness to win is just so he can show up at his ex-GF's wedding. Hee. His solemness is playfully complemented by Yoo Myung Ju's (Kim Ji Won) quirkiness—opposites attract, after all. Both underwent scrutiny and sacrifices to get where they are now, and it was so worth it to see that final kiss at the end. ♥ We have to admit: sometimes we paid more attention to the second lead romance than the main couple. Master Sergeant Wolf, forever. ♥


Do you love these second leads as much as we do, Candy Girls? Share this article with a fellow second lead syndrome sufferer, or comment your fave second lead down below!









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Caitlin Anne Young

Candy Bulletin

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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

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