Sometimes I can write copious amounts of words on how some characters are so good that you think about them endlessly for months and months (yes… I’m talking about you, Wei Wuxian, and Lan Wangji). For those of you reading this, I’m sure you can think of a character or two that has drilled in and built a vacation home in your heart.
When that character isn’t the main character but is still remarkable… well then I believe someone who has just given us a stellar performance should be recognized. Every now and then some of those supporting characters are MORE memorable than the main characters. Keep in mind whether sweet or evil, if they are fun… that’s just sublime (Ahem… whiny female nor lecherous male is ever fun).
For sure, I love any character if they are interesting. I’ve made a list (because lists are awesome) of wonderful supporting characters that I still love to this very day (not a complete list because that would be a book… way too many out there). Read on and see if this list contains a character or two you loved as well!
Moon Immortal and Mr. Puchi: It doesn’t get any better than these two
Ashes of Love was full of many unforgettable characters (I wrote two articles on it because, wow). And I just adored the Moon Immortal named Dan Zhu, played very nicely by Xia Zhi Yuan, otherwise known as that affectionate and eccentric uncle to the beautiful brothers, Run Yu and Xu Feng. Here was a character that was considerably older but looked and acted strangely younger than both his nephews (was that on purpose).
Yet, never once did I question his status as uncle from the moment he lectured one or the other about how they should live their privileged life or took the naïve Jin Mi under his wing. His annoying voice, his exaggerated facial expressions, his overly red attire, the Moon Immortal was an incredible mix of comic relief and moral compass in a heavenly realm gone mad.
At the same time, Mr. Puchi (well played by Adonis Liao) was best friends with the intrepid heroine Jinmi. But paired with the Moon Immortal… well let’s just say the two working together more than once saved the day. From the beginning, Mr. Puchi was the right amount of silly and enigmatic. Just when we thought he was some sort of bad guy, he adopts Run Yu as brother and acts as the filial adopted son to a not quite sane foster mother. Was he a charming womanizer, a stalwart best friend, a loving older brother, a mischievous troublemaker, or an evil assassin? The fact that he had me guessing through the entire show illustrates what an unforgettable character Mr. Puchi truly was.
Bai Sheng: so sweet with an ambiguously troubled past
Fox in the Screen was a very low-budget so-so show but had some positive and fun parts. Truthfully speaking, the character of Bai Sheng played by Huang Jun Jie could be considered the second lead (there weren’t that many characters, to begin with).
At first, the character of Bai Sheng was just sweet and kind. Then he became a bit of the protective older brother to Xue Jing and Little Black. Later, he became somewhat mysterious as more of his former life was revealed. Towards the end, we see that he struck up a very close friendship (or something more? That guy really does ambiguous well) with the prince and does everything he possibly can to protect him from his conniving brother. In the end... I ALMOST liked him more than Leo Luo’s lead character. But this wasn’t all that Huang Jun Jie did that I found fascinating…
These two were so interesting, I wanted a show just about them
Huang Jun Jie plays another memorable character in Eternal Love of Dream, Bai Zhen - the very darling and loyal “companion” of Zhe Yan – Phoenix Immortal in this rendition of Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms.
In Eternal Love (the c-drama not the movie) the relationship between Zhe Yan and Bai Zhen was more like family friends or father and son-ish, not so with Eternal Love of Dream. Here we see the relationship between the two is less friend-like… Hmm… frankly, the two are like an old married couple. There were a few scenes that I wondered how they got through Chinese censors… like when someone mentioned to Zhe Yan that Bai Zhen’s father was looking for a wife for him. The dynamic between Zhen Yan and Bai Zhen was so well played that I wanted to see more of this fun-loving and devoted duo… anyone up for another sequel?
The Boyfriend-Obsessed Lawyer Dan and the Perennial Playboy Lawyer Park
Can I just take a moment to say I adored the K-drama Touch Your Heart? It was chocked full of several interesting characters but the two that really stood out were Dan Moon Hee, the hopeless love-crazy attorney portrayed by Park Kyung Hye, and Choi Yoon Hyuk (well done by Shim Hyung Tak), the mama’s boy who thinks he’s God’s gift to… well, everything. From the very first episode, these two provided comic relief and pretty much kept this show light-hearted and fun when the main characters strayed into more serious subject matters.
Frankly, how these two dysfunctional lovebirds progress throughout the 16 episodes is just a joy to watch. Even if you don’t watch for Yoo In Na (always perfect) or Lee Dong Wook (always dreamy) like I did, watch the show for Lawyer Dan and Lawyer Park. They’ll make you smile if not laugh out loud.
Does anyone out there not love Ma Go Shin?
I practically worship the Hong Sisters for their ability to create such incredible characters. They especially write phenomenal supporting characters. Two of my most favorite can be found in Hotel Del Luna (my #1 favorite K-drama ever). I’ve said before that Ma Go Shin played by Seo Yi Sook was just amazing as all the faces of God. I couldn’t get enough of her. The vengeful God even had her own song that played whenever she was around, "Done for Me" by Punch. I loved that song so much, I downloaded it. There were six different characters of Ma Go Shin and not one of them was the same. My favorite was the nurturing main Ma Go Shin who used a combination of tough love and kindness with Jang Man Wol.
Sweet sweet captain of the guards (Gif courtesy of kpopmap)
Another unforgettable character was Go Chung Myung played wonderfully by Lee Do Hyun, Jang Man Wol’s first love. From the first moment he graced the screen as the intrepid captain of the guards, he had me hooked (I will admit to some drooling… he’s pretty). Jang Man Wol and Go Chung Myung never once declared their feelings for each other, yet not once did I ever question their devotion or pain. I’m practically tearing up just thinking about it and I haven’t watched this show in almost a year.
If you haven’t seen Hotel Del Luna, it's worth watching for these two characters alone.
The Zombie… she was SPLENDID!
Another Hong Sisters' show, A Korean Odyssey was just pure pleasure because it was chocked full of so many fascinating characters (because that’s what the Hong sisters do best… characters). But where it really excelled was as the morally ambiguous magical bunch that fell under the umbrella of the Devil King’s entertainment agency.
My first love in this cast of unforgettable creatures is the Zombie, who becomes Bu Ja, and eventually turns into Ah Sa Nyeo. I can not say enough about Lee Se Young’s portrayal of all three. Each character had her own personality, quirks, and voice. My favorite was Bu Ja the innocent (sort of) man-eating creature living in the Devil King’s fridge, searching for clues about her past with PK.
Alice and PK: an odd couple at best… but always delightful
Bu Ja has a mini love-triangle with Jeo Pal Kye - PK (Lee Hong Ki), the pig, and Alice (Yoon Bora), the octopus. The three of these creatures/characters made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think (the body dysmorphia episode is clever… very well done). I was charmed by PK and his strange life as a pop-star and Alice, well, she became the lascivious Octopus Prince… very hilarious to watch. I thought she was marvelous at showing what it was like for a male living in a female body. At times I loved, hated, and loved to hate all three of these monsters but really enjoyed seeing how each of their stories concluded (better resolution than the leads… dang Hong sisters and those ambiguous endings).
Jones-ing for more of Secretary Ma (thank you byebyemyblu for the gif)
I cannot imagine what Hwayugi would have been like without the always wonderful Ma Ji Yeong (the always wonderful Lee El), the dog monster, and loyal sidekick to the Devil King. Who could not love a woman who would calmly serve wine to guests one moment then eagerly ask if they could kill someone the next? Her hurt feelings with the dog jokes, her incessant scheming with the Devil King, and her mostly unflappable demeanor, all contributed to a wildly amusing… maybe even a little scary character that I loved every single moment she was around.
Ahhhhhhh… there is nothing so satisfying as watching fun characters create mayhem for entertainment purposes. If you’re looking to be distracted from the ordinary, feast your eyes on some of these shows. Even the secondary characters are just… well, extraordinary. In fact, after writing about all these wonderful characters, I’m going to grab my bag of double-stuffed Oreo’s and watch them all again.
What about you? Who is your favorite supporting character? Why do you love/hate them so much?
Editors: BrightestStar (2nd editor)