The Talk: Who is your ultimate Second Lead?

You probably won’t be the last man standing…but we’re still rooting for ya!

We’ve all been there; rooting for the guy who’s not supposed to get the girl. The question is just how strongly that case of the classic “Second Lead Syndrome” was. Even if, deeeeep down in our hearts, we know he’s the right man for the leading lady, drama gods are cruel and will never let it happen. Maybe you’re one of the lucky viewers who actually supported the second lead, and he does somehow defy the dramaverse odds!

Either way, we want to know: Who and what was the strongest case of “Second Lead Syndrome” you had while watching a drama?

The poster boy for second leads.

The poster boy for second leads.

Anna: More often than not, I’m a fan of the main lead. Even if he’s a misunderstood jerk with a heart of gold (see: most Korean/TW romcoms), I find myself hoping he will succcessfully romance the girl. Perhaps that’s why my pick for the ultimate “Second Lead Syndrome” candidate comes through a bit of a loophole. Moses Chan’s beloved character, Tong Chi On/”Dak Dak Dei,” in my all-time favorite drama, Heart of Greed, still wins my heart after all these years. The aforementioned loophole comes from the fact that he’s the second male lead in story’s love triangle/square, but he was most definitely the protagonist of the entire drama and the family saga within it. #sorrynotsorry lol.

Even though Raymond Lam and Linda Chung were probably most people’s OTP from this drama, I was always on Team Moses. He was so caring and considerate to Sheung Joi Sum (Linda) while her boyfriend, Raymond’s character, was off being a god-awful, craptastic boyfriend. Dak Dak Dei was always there for her, whether it was during the highest or lowest moments. And even when his own life was being flipped upside down by inheritance battles, evil stepmoms, scheming relatives, he never lost his priority of his friendship with her. If this was a non-TVB drama, then I would have held out more hope that the good guy wins. But since TVB tends to royally eff things up, I was skeptical. Luckily for me and Sheung Joi Sum, the producers were reasonable and kind for once, and they made my OTP happen! Sure; it came about through some heavy-handed and ridiculous ways, but I ain’t complaining.


Estelle: I’ve been a strict OTP shipper since forever, and just like Anna, no matter what I do I just love that misunderstood jerk! I mean he didn’t mean to be so cold and aloof, right? He’s just waiting for that special lady to melt his heart, warm his soul and heal his wounds, right? Maybe this is why my favorite second lead is Ryoo Joon Yeol’s character in Reply 1988, Jung Hwan. He is every bit the “bad boy” and I just love how he and Duk Sun bicker and poke fun of each other. If that’s not true love then I don’t know what is! I like that he cared for her in such subtle ways without fanfare and without loud declarations. Perhaps that’s why he couldn’t compete, but when he lost in the final battle, I rolled around in my bed screaming “whhyyyyy.” I also just can’t believe I shipped the wrong folks again!!!


Runner Up: I can’t talk about second leads without mentioning Choi Siwon‘s turn as Kim Shin Hyuk in She Was Pretty. I mean the man was AMAZING and I talked about him at length in my series review so I won’t repeat it here, but he’s another one that lost for who knows why.


Let’s be real here and give us your takes on:

Which character in a drama gave you the strongest case of “Second Lead Syndrome?” Are you still wishing he/she got together with the main character?

Tweet us your answers @annandestelle (#talkforreal) or sound off below!


9 thoughts on “The Talk: Who is your ultimate Second Lead?

  1. My strongest (and probably only) case of second lead syndrome is Bai Jingting (starring as Qiao Ran) from Back In Time! Like you both, I’m a strong otp shipper despite all the flaws of the main lead but Qiao Ran is so perfect and deserves the girl so much more than the jerk >.> It helps that he looks so adorable πŸ˜›


    • Omg, yessss x a million! I loved, loved Qiao Ran in CCNN and wanted desperately for him and Fang Hui to get together. I still believe that he was the right guy for her. That being said, I didn’t totally hate Chen Xun (except towards the end), so I couldn’t justify choosing Qiao Ran as my #1 Second Lead. Ugh, but he was the nicest and most wonderful boy ever.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I never liked Chen Xun since the beginning. He was the one who broke my Qiao Ran – Fang Hui ship in the first place 😦 Qiao Ran was my main lead throughout the drama hehe. Indeed, nicest and most wonderful boy ever ❀


  2. hariaharia says:

    I thought that the “Second Lead Syndrome” was so childish for grown-up viewers (and, tbh, some comments on several blogs were way over the top, like in AM’94 reviews) until I watched Mi-rae’s Choice. I don’t know whether it was the main lead actor whom I always find obnoxious and too stiff or I was really “hit” by the infamous “syndrome” but I still call JYH “One And a Half” lead actor in that one – plus, I really, REALLY wanted Mi-rae to end up with that almost-an-angel guy (hahaha!!). We all become a bit silly at some point in Kdramaland, I guess! πŸ˜‰
    PS She Was Pretty and I Need Romance 2 made me like the second lead as much as the main one and I would have been happy for either pairing in those two dramas…


    • Ah! 1994! My heart… I guess I’m one of those shippers that really fell into that trap, just like with 1988. But I swear I wasn’t on blogs ranting about it! Ok, maybe like once.

      I ❀ Yong Hwa! The poor guy is a perpetual second lead 😦 but I'm glad he got his fair share in Heartstrings. And Lee Dong Gun! I actually rather like him, but I know what you mean about him being stiff haha. I didn't watch Mi-Rae's Choice, so I don't know who I would've picked.

      SWP! Siwon ❀


  3. Hi! I just recently came upon your blog due to the fact it is the ONLY place that bothered to recap Love Me if You Dare. Which btw, I stayed up until 3 AM to finish. I make bad life decisions when it comes to dramas… Regardless, I kept going through the old posts you had and I love this topic. I actually wrote a whole blog post about it back then, which I never posted.. But yes, I have MAJOR second lead syndrome. Especially when xunran didn’t get the girl, even though in the novel, he didn’t like her that way. But love the posts!!


  4. It’s usually pretty obvious who the second lead is so I do my best not to ship them. And usually much as I may like them, I like the OTP better anyway. But Reply 1988 made me furious because I guessed the wrong one. 😦 I don’t like the guessing game and it detracts from my enjoyment of the series (I was wrong with 1994, too – sigh).

    I’m trying to think of another drama where I seriously shipped the second lead and am having a hard time. No matter how loveable and perfect they are, I just feel sorry for them usually.


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