As a devoted auntie, I like to stay updated on what goes on in my teenage nieces’ lives, how they think, and the latest trends they are obsessing over. Over the last year or so, they have opened my eyes to Korean culture, and they are fully responsible for my fascination with K-dramas. On my own, I discovered C-dramas and have fallen irrevocably in love with both. With those darling young ladies in mind, I have decided to introduce them to some C-drama “oppas” that they might find enjoyable. I have created a tiny list of one or two alternate suggestions of leading men they might find just as jaw-dropping, heart-thumping, and eye-turning as their Korean counterparts.
Please keep in mind that these are a minute microcosm of the universe of leading males out there. The list is endless and would be a book if I included them all.
My nieces just adore Park Seo Joon. I must agree that he is very entertaining from the very funny Lee Yeong Joon (yes, please sing ME a lullaby) in What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim to the heroic Sun Woo Rang (a heartthrob despite that straw hat) in Hwarang. On the C-drama side, perhaps they might enjoy watching Deng Lun as Xu Feng in Ashes of Love (wonderfully tortured hero) or as the sweet florist in Sweet Dreams (love those fun dream sequences with Dilraba).
Park Hyung Shik is the cat’s meow in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon as soft-hearted and sublime Min-Min (that’s such a fun nickname) and my nieces can’t get enough of him. Can his smiles be any more charming? I will admit that he made my heart skip a beat when he gave those tortured looks in Hwarang as Dwi Rang. And again with those smiles… they should be illegal in most countries because they are deadly. Might I suggest that my nieces spend some time with Leo Luo in Fox in the Screen as the brooding Yu Yan? I love my brooding leads. Another suggestion is Ashes of Love. Leo Luo knocks it out of the park as the angst-ridden anti-hero (yes… I’m on team Run Yu). Can’t decide if I find him more appealing in the beginning when he’s all sweetness and light, or at the end when he’s the epitome of tortured and wicked.
As for Auntie… well... she is not one to share, so she will keep her favourites a secret from her darling nieces (except for a few MyDramaList friends reading this article).
Hands down, my favourite K-drama actor and "oppa" is Park Hae Jin. Dark and a little scary in Bad Guys as Lee Jung Moon, he kept me glued to the screen hoping to get another peak at those demon-dark eyes. I all but stopped breathing, laughing so hard at his stint as spy/bodyguard Kim Seol Woo in Man to Man. From the funny scene in Episode 3 where he plays the female part with Do Ha and Un Gwang, to his fabulous facial expressions which make very downloadable GIFs to share with friends and family at inappropriate times. My heart was breaking watching his eyes at the last episode when he doesn’t say a word to Do Ha but she knows what is going on. There is just something about Park Hae Jin playing Seol Woo… sigh. More shows, pretty please.
Of course, I have a favourite C-drama actor and without question, it is Mark Chao. He was lots of fun in the Detective Dee movies [1, 2] and nicely tortured in Chronicles of a Ghostly Tribe. I could wax eloquent for days about his portrayal of Mo Yuan/Ye Hua in Eternal Love and I’m sad to say, I have. (A big thank you to my extraordinary friends for listening). Needless to say, my heart stopped beating all-together whenever one of those two came on the screen. Those doleful eyes... wow, and the tears, they got me every single time. He didn’t play the stereotypical C-drama lead, and it showed. Ye Hua and Mo Yuan were multi-faceted, very fun and playful almost as many times as they were serious or sad. The whole scene where he flusters Qian Qian when she is watching out for his cousin in the mortal world, so sweet and silly. Don’t get me started on the agony of Mo Yuan when he returns after repairing his soul for 70,000 years and finds Seventeen engaged…another sigh.
While the list of possible leading actors is endless, I think these few suggestions should open my nieces’ eyes to some of the joys of C-dramas. Perhaps they will come to love them almost as much as their auntie.
Let me know your thoughts on C-drama vs K-drama leads. I am always open to finding new “oppas” and more entertaining shows.