POPdramatic's 30-Day Asian Drama Challenge: Day 8

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Day 8: Worst case of Second Lead Syndrome you've experienced.

Well, it's time to open those old wounds up and rant.

CASE NO. 183 - Jung Hwan

When usually you see a Second Lead Syndrome coming from a mile away, Answer Me 1988 tricks you into believing that you're rooting for the right ship and then - Gotcha! - you're going down like Titanic. 
In that sense, Jung Hwan's case is the worst of the worst because there's all the evidence you'd need to confirm him as endgame. As a viewer, you see his character being fleshed out and developed throughout the series (save for the ending which throws all that character growth out of the window), then you get to fully follow along as his feelings grow from a little crush to something much deeper, and finally you're even teased with little scenes into the present, where Duk Sun's husband talks and behaves just like Jung Hwan would. 
Unfortunately, all of that is just a cheap manoeuvre to throw us off from the cop-out resolution to the husband mystery (unless the rumours were true and the writers did change the ending). But most of all, it is injustice to all Jung Hwan fans who stuck out til the end, only to be given no payoff or even closure for the character whose stubbornly silent, yet endearing devotion we had been watching this entire time. 

CASE NO. 89 - Chilbong

In more or less the same way, Answer Me 1994 did the same thing as its successor - took a character that fans dearly loved and wasted him on a husband mystery that nobody ever asked for. 
For me, Chilbongie's case was a tiny bit less devastating in comparison to the grave disappointment of 1988, due to the fact that I knew from the start he wasn't going to get the girl. What made it very painful nevertheless was the fact that Chilbongie was never set free from that love triangle as the writers threw in small twists to keep the mystery going, even when it started to seriously slow down and harm the development between the true endgame pairing - Na Jung and Trash
In the end, Chilbongie was reduced to a dumb plot device to distract us from the obvious (that he never had a chance to begin with, despite us so desparately holding out hope) and never got to live his own unique story because he was too busy making us suffer with his suffering. 

CASE NO. 170 - Tae Kwang

While with the previous two dramas I can at least look back and think "Okay, I hate how this turned out, but her choosing the other guy makes sense, too", I don't feel the same about School 2015: Who Are You?
In fact, if there has ever been a drama where I've been so dumbfounded about the lead girl's decision to choose one guy over the other, it's this one. On paper, both guys seem great on their own, but the factor that counts is that one of them - Tae Kwang - actually loves the girl for who she is, while the other projects his feelings for the girl her actually loves onto her twin sister. 
Why the hell would a girl NOT choose the guy who wants to be with her and not the twin sister she pretends to be, completely bewilders me. Not only does it make you seriously question the heroine's judgement, it also seems SO wrong that one sister entirely takes over the other's life, her friends and boyfriend included, and forever lives as her replacement, not her own person. 

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