Welcome to Versus, wherein two K-drama fans argue until they run out of air. Today’s topic, in honor of Valentine’s Day is this: Who is sadder? The Second Lead who walks away with his heart smashed to pieces or the poor schlub who stays by the heroine’s side after she is with her man, longing from the friend zone?

Wendilynn: At least the brokenhearted guy can move on because he’s been rejected. The other poor schmuck is stuck with his never-ending crush.

Taleena: Alright, but the guy in the friend zone can recover his heart too AND he has retained the friendship of the girl. That’s valuable too. Think about Hyuk from Modern Farmer. Sure he didn’t get the girl (AND HE SHOULD HAVE), but what good would it have done him to walk away?

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Wendilynn: Hyuk was using her as a way to feel close to his Mom. She wasn’t really her own woman to him, so he could let her go. Choi Jin Hyuk, however….. That actor has played several poor guys stuck in the friend zone. Daniel in Fated to Love You and Sung Hyun from I Need Romance. Both of those characters were forever friend zoned. All they could do is look wistfully for what they could never have. It was pathetic.

Taleena: There is always the possibility of escaping the friend zone. Case in point:Operation Proposal. Kang Baek Ho was friend zoned. He was SLS through his own actions, and the whole thrust of the story was getting him out of the friend zone and winning the girl. Okay — so it took a gazillion magical trips to the past, and a pretty nasty car crash, but he made it out of the friend zone!

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Wendilynn: Yay, success. But, lets face it, most dramas like to make the second male lead suffer.

Taleena: True. They all suffer so prettily; some suffer less than others though. In You’re Beautiful all the boys HAD to stay friends and turned out OK. Jeremy rode his sad bus and sang his sad song, but he managed to bounce back just fine.

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Wendilynn: Jeremy was too sweet to stay unhappy long.

Taleena: Look, I know we all want happily ever afters for our K-drama characters, but some mean little part of me says, “Some of those girls are living in fantasyland. Sure they like the arrogant bad boy NOW, but they could open their eyes to the sweet steady SLS by their side when Jerkface leaves them. I’m looking at YOU Joon Pyo.” (Don’t kill me LMH fans!)

Wendilynn: That’s the fantasy that runs through all romantic fiction for women. The rake will become the best husband. lol It doesn’t translate well in real life, though. Usually the quiet steady guy who loves you is the guy who will stick it out. Yong Hwa/s character in You're Beautiful was a great example of a poor schmuck who would have loved her without selfish demands, but because he never stood out against the bright shiny penny of what’s his name...

Taleena: Jerkface Guyliner?

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Wendilynn: LOL good one — Jang Geun Suk. Anyway, because Yong Hwa was a beige color compared to the other brighter shade of “love,” he missed his chance.

Taleena: Oh SPARE me the tortured artists. SPARE me. You know what? Everyone faces crappy adversity. Everyone. I really wanted Yong Hwa to get the girl, and I’d bet my bottom dollar Miss Nun would have really gone for him too. I love the Hong Sisters, but no one wants to deal with overly touchy rage beasts for long.

Wendilynn: I believe it's in 9 End 2 Outs where our second male lead gets to be the violent one. The drama starts out with Jung Joo being an aspiring baseball player who is in a noona romance with the female lead. She’s not altogether comfortable with it, and so when she starts to back away, he gets all upset and violent on her. His consolation for losing the girl is a pro baseball career with the Yankees.

Taleena: Looks like you agree with me then: friend zone guys are less pathetic than “walk away clean” guys. Success!

Wendilynn: Not quite. One of the saddest second male leads I’ve seen was the character Kang Ji Woon in Angel Eyes. He not only remained friends with the female lead, but he got his heart broken as well and cast himself to work on remote islands as penance for his mom’s involvement in killing the woman he accidentally hit with his car. Who was the mother of his best friend, the male lead.

Taleena: See? You agree! If isolating himself on far away islands isn’t a “walk away clean” move, I don’t know what is. However, I just thought of the perfect rebuttal to my thesis: Oppa from Bride of the Century. I know that character had a name, but I swear no one used it. He was defined by “oppa”-ness.

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Wendilynn: He had a name?!! lol He’s up there in the list of all sad oppas, and he retained his friendship with our leads. Skip Beat, however, probably fits your side of the argument more. The second male lead had the girl, threw her away, and then later longed for the girl back but had no chance in hell of getting her again. He was nothing to her by that point. Maybe it fits my side better because he didn’t have a clean break, he was left hanging. He was a jerk though so you felt no sympathy for him.

Taleena: Well, I’m pretty sure I won this. Just let me have it, OK? And I think we both agree on the fact that a Second Lead’s fate can be pretty pathetic indeed, but there are millions of fans who would be happy to comfort them.



What do you think Drama Fans? Who is in more dire need of comforting, those in the friend zone or those that walk away brokenhearted? Read more of Wendilynn and Taleena at As the Kimchi Turns.