Sweet. Supportive. And head-over-heels for the heroine. No, I’m not talking about the Second Lead. Although, you’d be forgiven for thinking so. What is it with K-dramas and their cold, standoffish men?
But there are a few characters that broke the Arrogant Broody Hero mold, and I do mean a few. If we’re talking Nice Guys that started out nice, didn’t take any hard revenge left turns in the middle of the story, and maintained their decency throughout the whole plot, the pickings are slim. Honestly, it was hard to come up with five, but here are the candy-coated winners:
Hyperactive Sweetheart: Enrique Geum in Flower Boy Next Door
A panda hat never looked so good. Enrique Geum spends every moment of his day spreading sunshine like butter on toast. But when he meets his neighbor, Go Dokmi, an emotionally scarred loner who hides in her apartment and avoids human contact like the plague, he makes it his personal mission to drag her back into the land of the living. His hyperactive, outgoing personality and ten-second attention span throws Dokmi for a loop in the beginning, but his soft smile and stubborn heart finally coaxes her out of her low-rent, ivory tower. In any other drama, Enrique would be the too-good-to-be-true second lead who fixes the heroine so she can ride off into the sunset with the rich, chaebol jerk, but not Flower Boy Next Door. Our heroine is smart enough to recognize the solid-gold sugar she’s found (or perhaps I should say that found her) and she knows he’s worth hanging on to.
Savant Sweetheart: Park Si On in Good Doctor
Every day is another slap in the face for Park Si On, a pediatric doctor who suffers from Autism and the prejudice he faces because of it. Despite these challenges, he’s a certified genius and can spit out medical jargon like the lyrics to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. When Si On develops a crush on his Noona Sunbae, the way he looks at her and tells her she has a beautiful heart just makes a viewer go all gooey inside. This show is still going, so I don’t know where our Darling Doctor is gonna end up. But wherever it is, I bet he will still be the same awkward, but caring sweetie who tells his tiny patients that he loves them and talks about his pet bunny on a daily basis.
Mamma’s Boy Sweetheart: Kang Hyeon Su in Smile, You
Before Jung Kyung Ho played an undercover fighting machine in Cruel City, he was the car-designing, yes ma’am-ing, Beta Male on Smile You. If you missed Lee Min Jung chasing him around like he’s her own personal catnip, you should check it out. The one time he tried the assertive hand-on-the-wall-while-leaning-in-for-a-kiss-technique, his heroine broke into a fit of giggles. Although he might not be the personality powerhouse in the relationship, he steps up when necessary: defending his girl from his stereotypical meddling mother, and telling the persistent ex-boyfriend to get lost.
Small Town Sweetheart: Song Sam Dong in Dream High
Scholar Sweetheart: Kim Boong Do in Queen Inhyun's Man
Kim Boong Do is about as Atypical as a Kdrama hero can get. He’s restrained. He’s polite. He likes to read - for fun! This time traveling guy knows how to treat a lady, no matter what the century. Even the crazy, sageuk clothes that I normally hate can’t stop his hotness from shining through. And our heroine takes full advantage of him, making up all sorts of crazy excuses to pull him in for another kiss. The best part is that Boong Do knows she’s full of it, but plays along because he likes the smooches as much as her. Who wouldn’t love a guy like that?
It’s sad how hard it was to come up with five men for this list. As you can tell from a previous post, I love the haughty, Mr. Darcy type as much as the next girl. But there’s a whole other personality spectrum that’s going virtually untapped in the hero market. Nice guys shouldn’t finish last – in the real world or Dramaland.