Many shows feature love triangles. When you find yourself favoring the secondary love interest, then you’ve got second lead syndrome. To make it worse, K-dramas lately have become so good at creating the dynamics between characters that it’s hard to tell who’s really going to end up with who. That is until the second lead you’ve been rooting for ends up alone in the finale, and then you’re wretched.
Here are the second K-drama leads that could have easily been the main lead. Petition to give them all their own spin-off show!
Han Ji-pyeong (Kim Seon-ho) – Start-Up
There was almost no discord among the viewers of Start-Up as to who the prefect guy for Seo Dal-mi was. Han Ji-pyeong was Dal-mi’s first love and support system, the writer of the love letters that comforted her. With his warm relationship with Dal-mi’s grandmother, they would’ve easily made a nice family. We’d love to see a spin-off of Start-Up where Ji-pyeong finally meets the strong independent woman that will be his true ally in the start-up world.
As for the actor himself, Kim Seon-ho who has been the second lead in two other shows (100 Days My Prince and Strongest Deliveryman), it’s definitely high time for him to star in his own drama.
Re-watch Han Ji-pyeong in Start-Up with these decadent lava cakes!
Han Seo-joon (Hwang In-yeop) – True Beauty
The latest second male lead to give us the syndrome, Han Seo-joon can be compared to Start-Up’s Han Ji-pyeong. They’re both tough on the outside but sweet and tender on the inside. He is a precious son and brother, and he appreciates female lead Im Ju-kyung beyond her appearance. This is the kind of leading man that we all need!
Watch True Beauty with colorful special pandesal from Miss B!
Go Chung-myung (Lee Do-hyun) – Hotel del Luna
Hotel del Luna owner Jang Man-wol lived for over a century with resentment toward Go Chung-myung, her first love from the Goguryeo era. But what she didn’t know is that he stayed by her side as a spirit through the years. When they came face to face again, Chung-myung was finally relieved of the hard feelings between them. But—he returned to the afterlife alone. A bittersweet ending for a man who stayed by his beloved’s side for a thousand years. We need a 21st-century reincarnation of Chung-myung!
Let the spirit of indulgence take over you while watching Hotel del Luna with this Basque burnt cheesecake!
In Guk-doo (Ji Soo) – Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon
In Guk-doo was Do Bong-soon’s first love and best friend. A woman with superpowers and a police detective: they could have easily ended up together if only he had made a move sooner. Can we get a second chance for Guk-doo, please?
Watch Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon again while munching on these homemade thousand-gram dirty brownies!
Kim Jung-hwan (Ryu Jun-yeol) – Reply 1988
Kim Jung-hwan is another unfortunate case of missed chances. It’s not that he wasn’t aware of his feelings; he just didn’t pluck up enough courage to confess. Still, we love him for the little things like waiting for Sung Duk-seon to get home, keeping her picture in his wallet, and just flashing that irresistible Ryu Jun-yeol smile.
Relive Kim Jung-hwan’s sweetest moments with these rich and creamy cuatros leche cakes!
Baek In-ho (Seo Kang-joon) – Cheese in the Trap
Baek In-ho wasn’t perfect, but he had a good side to him. He was always there for Hong Seol, whether as a lover or a friend. His imperfections made his character enjoyable too, giving the show a nice sense of humor especially when he bickers with Hong Seol.
Watch Cheese in the Trap with this cheesy and milky pandesal box!
Oh Soo-ah (Kwon Na-ra) – Itaewon Class
Of course, there are also second female leads we can’t get over. And Oh Soo-ah has given us an extreme case of the second lead syndrome with her striking chemistry with Park Sae-ro-yi. Soo-ah was not very likable at first, but she was an important part of Sae-ro-yi’s life and happiness. The sacrifices later revealed that she made gave a lot more depth to her character.
Re-watch Itaewon Class with these chewy boba buns from Miss B!
Oh Soo-hyun (Kang So-ra) – Doctor Stranger
Although she did end up with someone in the end, a lot of fans can’t help but imagine how much better it would’ve been if the “Quack couple” had ended up together. Part of what makes Oh Soo-hyun appealing is her fun chemistry with Park Hoon. She can bicker and laugh with him, but they also make each other shine in their work. Most importantly, she was brave to admit her feelings to Park Hoon. We want more main female leads like Oh Soo-hyun!
Watch the Quack couple again while sipping on Tiger Moon Brown Sugar Milk Tea by Moonleaf!
Need something to treat the second lead syndrome? Check out these hilarious K-dramas!
Have snacks ready for your K-drama marathon! Find all the treats you can get on KKday.
*Featured image via tvN