K-Drama Love Squares: A Guest Post From KDrama Fighting!

This is a guest post from Vivi & Coco of KDrama Fighting!

K-Drama Love Squares: Keep ’Em or Cut ’Em?

Anyone who has watched more than one K-drama on Viki has probably figured out that the heart of every series is the “love square.” You would think that we would get tired of them after the amount     weve seen, but they still get us every time  clichés and all. Let’s take a look at what we would keep or cut from the typical K-drama love square.

Female Lead

K-Drama Female Leads

First up: K-drama female leads  love them or leave them? She’s the girl whose antics get her into all sorts of awkward situations. With two attractive rich men fighting over her, she’s also the luckiest girl in the world! Female leads are typically hardworking poor girls in desperate need of a makeover. They break down into either sassy girls who don’t let anyone mess with them, or girls who are downtrodden and overly accepting of nonsense.

One of the things that attracted us the most to K-dramas were the spunky, confident female characters, such as Sam Soon from My Name Is Kim Sam Soon. This type of female lead is an obvious keeper. But the dramas in which the female lead follows the male lead around like a puppy (Playful Kiss) are ones we might cut.

In their defense, downtrodden female leads are not all bad. Its really satisfying to see someone go from frumpy and passive to beautiful and empowered, but only if the progress is extreme. For example, in Scent of a Woman, the female lead starts out painfully wimpy and homely, but by the third episode, BAM, she’s a total powerhouse. In spite of problems, we would keep her because deep down, most of us still feel like that awkward girl who hopes to become powerful and miraculously snatch the man of her dreams.


Male Lead

Male leads  at least theyre consistent. Ninety percent of the time, they are abnormally attractive, abnormally wealthy, and abnormally selfish and rude. However, by the end of the drama, theyll end up with girls who are less attractive than they are, care less about their money, and become decent human beings with deep feelings. Although these male characters are in almost every single K-drama, we love them anyway. (Not to mention the brooding shower scenes!)

These male leads do come with their share of problems, though. Sometimes their version of a “decent human being” isn’t decent enough. Even though we don’t want to cross Boys Over Flowers fans, you can’t tell us that were the only ones who found Jun Pyo’s intensity just a little bit unsettling. Especially when he said things like, “I will encircle you forever so that you can never leave me. There has to be some minimum standard for change.  For example, don’t beat someones faces to a pulp. Totally reasonable, right? 

Although they are ridiculous, overall we can’t help but say KEEP the traditional male lead trope.

K-Drama Male Leads
Second Male Lead

Second male leads are easy to spot. They’re the handsome ones lurking (or stalking) in the background, doing thoughtful things for the female lead while she makes ugly crying faces over the rude man she loves. They’re the type of guys your dad wants you to marry.  

The Poor Second Male K-Drama Lead
Second male leads occasionally end up with a terrible girl, but most of the time, they just end up brooding and sad. And for all of this brooding, they don’t even get shower scenes. Don’t they have to shower, too? Or maybe they dont shower, and that’s why they lose the girl.

It’s this sadness that makes us dislike second male leads. And here’s why: we love them too much. We suffer from second lead syndrome on a regular basis (Flower Boy Next Door being the most recent example). So when the second male lead implies he will never love again, we get a little cranky. If you need to create jealousy in a drama, introduce an old love for a couple of episodes and then send the person on a business trip or have the person get hit by a car. Its something that happens all of the time in dramas! Just cut these nice guys and give them a break.

Second Female Lead


The girl we all love to hate: the second female lead. Or, as it often happens, the first love who is often a raging monster in disguise.

The Second Female Lead
What we would keep is the flexibility of the second female lead. Although most are monsters, some are kind, sisterly types who respond maturely to their jealousy. For example, Coco loves the second female lead in Coffee Prince.” If she could, she would be best friends with her in real life. They would hang out at art galleries and eat brunch (because she’s too classy for lunch).

In reality, we have to recognize that sometimes second female leads literally kill people. In fact, we would rather have her be a horrible person and a murderer, rather than be tricked into liking some previously terrible person. But let’s face it: we fast forward through 90 percent of second female lead scenes anyway, so keeping them isn’t a big deal.

To sum up, we have pretty conflicted feelings about all of these characters. But conflict is at the core of K-dramas, which is why we adore them so much!

Coco and Vivi of KDrama Fighting!