[K-Drama Korner]: Second Lead Syndrome

Whether you suffer from a chronic infection or catch the occasional sniffles, if you’re a drama-lover, chances are you’ve been exposed to the emotional trauma trigger disease of Second Lead Syndrome.flower-boy-next-door-ep-2

Second Lead Syndrome is a noninfectious disease, often primarily affecting the female population that dwells in Dramaland. Despite its inability to transfer from one human to another, this disease is quite common and can be easily acquired.


  • Excess amount of love for the second lead
  • Crying for the second lead’s broken heart
  • Smiling like an idiot when the second lead finally gets his moment to shine
  • Cringing every time the lead male interferes between the second lead and lead female’s interactions
  • Rolling your eyes at, and even disliking the lead that challenges the second lead
  • Fluctuating affection between the main and second lead
  • Screaming at the person that didn’t choose your bias second lead
  • Shutting off your laptop in frustration when the second lead is rejected
  • Inability to sleep, thinking about the second lead
  • Posting dozens of pictures of the second lead in Tumblr
  • If you’re a female victim: The only pictures of the male lead in your Tumblr involve the second lead kicking him in the chest
  • If you’re a male victim: Uploading pictured of the second lead female getting b*tchslapped by the main female lead
  • Pulling your own hair in frustration due to the OTP’s closeness

Who is at risk?:

  • Everyone. Although most common in the female population, there have been cases where men can fall victim to this disease when the second lead female is more desirable. Due to the lack of appeal from the second-lead female that make it easier for men to stick with their bias love for the leading lady, on occasion, there have been cases when the second lead female is purely awesome, and the leading female is a nagging, weak cry-baby.

Treatments and drugs: 

  • There is none.

I’m really bad when it comes to Second Lead Syndrome.


This doesn’t always mean that I’m against the OTP being together, but if I don’t dislike the leading male’s guts(which I usually don’t), then that means my heart will be in even MORE pain.

Any emotional injury on either one of the men feels like my heart will beat right out of my chest.

Why must all the second lead males be so lovable, loyal, sweet, kind, gorgeous, caring? Even though I constantly find myself suffering from Second Lead Syndrome, I do think it’s part of what makes drama-watching so fun, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’ve ran into a different situations these past few weeks, because I’m watching Heirs. For once, the leading male is the caring guy, and the second lead isn’t Mr.Perfect, but the shameless jerk that in normal circumstances gets the girl!

I’m so confused @_@

One of my biggest desires has always been that Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye star opposites of each other! I finally got my wish, but I find myself rooting for the malicious second lead. I didn’t plan for this to happen.

Why? Well, the answer is quite simple. Kim Woo Bin is why! He has completely messed up my bias list ever since I first saw him in the two episodes that he cameo-ed for To The Beautiful You. Even then, I wanted him to get the girl, and he wasn’t even an official cast member!

The actor behind the character is only partially why I’m bias toward him, but I also do like the character himself.

Handsome, charming, jerk of a character Young Do(KWB) has stolen my heart and will not let me peacefully root for the sweetheart that is Kim Tan(LMH). I guess I won’t ever be completely cured of my disease. The drama isn’t over yet, so I’m still holding on to a small amount of hope, but since half the drama is already over, and with no real meaningful interaction between Young Do and Eun Sang, it’s really hard to believe that he stands a chance.

More of my favorite second leads include:

1. Kang ShinwooYou’re Beautiful


Played by handsome actor/musician Jung Yong Hwa of idol band CN Blue, my heart still hurts when I think about Shinwoo‘s misery!

The only thing that helped me cope with the results of You’re Beautiful was the fact that Yong Hwa was casted to star alongside his  failed love interest’s actress from YB in a different drama Heartstrings.

2. JihooBoys Over Flowers


Played by another actor/musician Kim Hyun Joong of idol group SS501.

At first, I thought that Jihoo deserved to be unloved, but once the second half of the drama began, I changed my tune. He may have been greedy when he came back from France with a broken heart and expected Jan Di to comfort him, but his love for her was sincere. What gains him even more points in my book is that he also highly valued his friendship with Gu Jun Pyo, despite him being his love-rival. Only real friends will physically beat some sense into your head.

3. Lee YulGoong


Another baby-faced ahjussi, and I mean this with all the affection in the world! This is the only drama I’ve watched with him in it, but I was so in love with Kim Jeong Hoon‘s character, Prince Yul!! He was beyond pitiful, he was downright unlucky. Why must Dramaland writers torture the second lead cuties?

4. Song Sam Dong – Dream High


Kim Soo Hyun is a GREAT actor. In Dream High, I was so emotionally attached to his character from the very start! As soon as he came into the picture, any kind of hope I had for the leads being together completely vanished, and I wanted only good things for Song Sam Dong. My affection for him was not just so that he could get the girl. He HAD to go against all odds and be successful.

And then it happened. If you’ve watched DH, you know what I’m talking about…that moment that caused us all to curse at the Dramaland heavens and cry along Song Sam Dong. Why why why why why? This wasn’t our normal second lead-heartbroken pain. Oh no, s*** got real, and we were able to experience that bitter pain along our Song Sam Dong. Our beautiful boy’s world would never be the same again. TT_TT  Oh geez, why am I in tears?

5. Seo Jung WooMy Girl


We all love Lee Jung Ki! But they put him against Lee Dong Wook for the drama My Girl. TORTURE! I had a few ‘wtf’ moments because of LJK‘s character Jung Woo. How can a man think it’s a great idea to propose to a woman that’s never given you the slightest hope that she is even interested in you romantically? Seriously, she even admits her love interest to the other guy, but you still propose to her? You’re not even going out >.<

6. Harry Borrison – Missing You

This cute kitten is one messed up human being

This cute kitten is one messed up human being

Played by the talented cutie Yoo Seung Ho, this one was strictly Second Lead Syndrome out of affection. His character is just so pitiful and psychotic that you want to jump into the drama and give him a big hug. However, I didn’t want him to end up with the lead. He obviously had some mental issues.

I was very impressed with YSH‘s acting, and although he’s taking a break to do his mandatory military service, I’m anticipating his return, and future projects.

7. Yoon Pil JooThe Greatest Love

Dr. Cuteness

Dr. Cuteness

Played by ex-g.o.d memeber Yoon Kye Sang, Dr.Yoon was such a fun opposing power for Dokko Jin. I went through a lot of heartache because of this sweet character, but watching their cute bickering was very entertaining.


8. Kim Young JooCity Hunter


Lee Joon Hyuk earned a place in my heart after watching City Hunter. His character has a cat-and-mouse relationship with the city hunter, which he suspect is Lee Yoon Sung. Although I didn’t want Yoon Sung caught, I often found myself wishing that Young Joo would win, just once.

And then I got to episode 19. O_O

9. Jung Sun WooMonstar


Kang Ha Neul is another rising star. I doubt I would have swayed as easily towards the character Jung Sun Woo, but KHN‘s charm really shines. Although many people wanted Sun Woo to forget about Min Se Yi and fall for Kim Nana, I was actually glad that this was not the case.

I’m not saying that he shouldn’t move on, but this was his love from the time he was still in elementary school, so if he were to forget and fall in love with someone else, I would be very disappointed. He seems a lot more mature for a high school kid, so jumping from one infatuation to the next too easily would make me think of him as just another childish high school kid.

10. Choi Kang Hyeok Flower Boy Ramyun Shop


It’s not because I have a bias inclination towards Lee Ki Woobut more than ever before, I really wish the female lead would have chosen Kang Hyeok. He loved her so much, and he wanted to be there for her, but she chose to go for an uncertain love. I’m glad she chose the person that she actually loved, but I can’t help feel a little bitter that her love wasn’t for ‘Pillar’ TT_TT

Although he didn’t get the girl in the drama, at least Lee Ki Woo got the girl in real life. He and co-star Lee Chung Ah are dating!

Sources: MDL


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