Second leads and the reality of taking risks
If you are an avid k-drama fan, you are familiar with the “second lead syndrome” where the viewers fall in love with them more than the leading role, and true to every k-drama, the second lead doesn’t end up with the female lead.
Some second leads are In Kook Doo from Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, Woo Tak from While You Were Sleeping, and my personal favorites, Won Hae-Hyo from Record of Youth, the infamous Team Good Boy, Han Ji Pyeong from Start-Up, and from the recently concluded successful drama, Han Seo Jun.
They are the turning point
Second leads don’t just add up to the romance of each drama, but their role is more significant than we thought it would be. They are the turning point. In reality, we also need someone who makes us realize what and who we love better — these are the second leads. They are the contrast you needed to realize your feelings, like how male leads run away only for the female to realize that there is nothing compared to them, even the second ones.
These turning points aren’t just realization but a sign to act upon what we feel because in dramas, even if we feel like the second leads are always better but better doesn’t mean it’s what we want. When this happens, most often, the female lead would run back to the male lead and confess the love that never really went away that was kept for a period of time.
Investing without taking the risk
“Invest only in what you can afford to lose is a bad investment advise”
“If you only invest what you can afford to lose, you will not have a happy retirement”
This is one of the important things I observed from the second leads — they don’t take the risk but have invested a lot of their time. It’s either they wanted to save the friendship or they just can’t do it. They are the ones who stay on the sideline doing everything but ended up not saying anything. Investing without taking the risk is just a waste of time.
Male leads, like Nam Do San are risk-takers. Meeting Dalmi in a short period of time and acting upon how he felt the soonest time he feels the need to do it is a risk we should do, even in real life. The only ones we will deeply regret are the risks we didn’t take because even ifs are always better than what-ifs.
Once in a lifetime
Most people only have once in a lifetime and those chances that happen only once may not come again. In the end, most second leads, if not all, decides to confess their love and just wing it. However, they don’t realize the importance of missed chances and timing. If, at the end of the day, there’s still an urge in you to take the plunge — take it the soonest. Because missed chances are different from the chances that aren’t meant to be yours and to find it out — take the risk.
Second leads have a pattern of looking for chances failing to realize they can give that to themselves. Han Seo Jun has several chances until he missed his once in a lifetime — maybe before Ju Kyung figured out that Suho is the same guy she knew when she was a kid. And even if he did it for the purpose of letting go, what if he was earlier.
“If you dare nothing,
then when the day is over,
nothing is all you will have gained.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
I would like to highlight this part as most people are afraid to take the risks and sooner or later, regret it. Like what Ju Kyung advised Suho about his father. Some chances don’t come around even if we make them, and those chances will hurt more because even if we lose ourselves in taking the plunge, we can eventually gain ourselves back. But we can’t bring back time. Build up the courage to invest even into something you can’t afford to lose especially if you want progress. Playing safe is stability and indeed a foreground, but we must move places somehow. Because not taking a risk is as scarier and riskier than taking one because it’s hard to find the answer when you didn’t even ask the question.
Seeing the invisible
Seconds leads aren’t invincible but they see the invisible. Most often, during the quarreling stages of the lead roles, it’s the second leads that sees both of them. And when everyone else's loses their vision, second leads maintain the equilibrium.
“Don’t make yourself always available, it can make them take you for granted”
In real life, this can be perceived as our presence in somebody else’s life. Most people see what others can’t because we are there minding the details and people will expect the same thing out of you when they are confused. Second leads make themselves always available because they probably believe that’s the only way to be in someone’s life — presence. Because they can’t have the heart that’s why they take a chance at mind.
Destiny is one thing, effort is another
They say, falling in love is easy, staying in love is what’s hard — true. Because falling in love is meeting, staying in it is a decision. As dramas are written based on a storyline, leading roles will always end up together. Applying these in real life, the only person who can change the plot of any storyline is the writer — us.
Meeting people is destiny, and whatever comes after that is something we decided upon ourselves — always. Trying could hurt a little or maybe more, but it’s better to try and know the answer than not try and be haunted by our questions forever.
Like what Ju Young, Ju Kyung’s brother said, “a person who tries anything has no regrets”. Our regrets come from the deepest corner of our minds from the things we didn’t do.
The next time you’re afraid to take the risk, think about the what-ifs and realize that our strength comes from our even ifs.
Risk is the thin line that separates our dream and reality and our decisions are the boundary between our destiny and our goals — we’re always a step closer to making the change.