Round Table with Couch Kimchi: K-Drama Villains We Love To Hate


They’re heartless and even deadly. They are exhaustively persistent and are masters of the art of scheming. Sometimes, they are pitiful victims of circumstance and misguidedly believe that being bad is the only way to get ahead in life. Yet despite their nasty machinations, we learn to appreciate villains because they spice up the show.


Rinchan: Ahhh … spice is nice except when it makes you want to tear your hair out in frustration. LOL.

Leila: In general, villains exist to make the leads miserable or make the protagonists realize life isn’t charmed. I’m watching “My Secret Hotel,” and I don’t consider General Manager Lee a villain, unlike when I think of Jo Gwan Woongof “Gu Family Book.” Gwan Woong is purely evil, the definition of a villain. How about you?

Rinchan: For me, Jung Woong In has played several colorful baddies. At times, their actions are straight up wicked, but the characters have an interesting twist. His characters want to do well in life, like the good protagonists, but they choose a destructive path to achieve that goal.

Leila: I love Jung Woong In! He played Ji Won in “Coffee House.” Even if he was the “bad guy” there, I couldn’t hate him. He was not stereotypically evil, but his love for Eun Young was superficial. Nonetheless, I liked his role, and he made me laugh because he was shameless in his attempts to win her back, as though leaving her for her friend was as forgivable as cheating on a diet.

Rinchan: Haha! I think he chooses the villainous roles that have depth and reason. The characters aren’t evil because they wish to be, but they see that being one is the only means of survival.

Right now, Jung Woong In is in the drama “Endless Love.” He is the other half of a very depraved couple, and he is working his wickedness all over the screen.

Leila: The designated baddie should have a purpose. I hate those that are plain vile just for the sake of the part.

Rinchan: Shin Sung Rok‘s Lee Jae Kyung in “My Love From the Stars” was a psycho; he killed anybody in his way and made their murders look like a suicide.


Leila: The antagonist in “The King2Hearts” was also a psycho!

Rinchan: LOL. You’re right. He had nothing better to do with his life. He was just obsessed with power. Or maybe he was an undercover Lee Seung Gi fan boy; he was all about Jae Ha.

Leila: Right. Usually, villains are power hungry, greedy, or motivated by a wrong kind of love. Not getting what they want is unacceptable, and they push hard to reach their goal(s).

Rinchan: It all boils down to the way they see life. Sometimes, they can’t see the good in things or realize the only way to ensure victory is through cheating. It reminds me of what Min Woo on Temptation said: “The only rule is winning.”

Leila: Winning is good if you get it fairly, but the bad guys typically play dirty.

Rinchan: You see, this is why I love Jung Woo In’s characters. They are detestable, but often, they have the same background and social class as their victims. The hardships of their youth have made them realize that the way to the top is through underhandedness alone, whereas the protagonists try to go through a harder and more uncertain route by doing what’s right.



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Leila: You know, if not love, it’s money that speaks to them. Unfortunately, most of them know nothing about love.

Rinchan: LOL! I feel so sorry them. Money has always been shown to be the root of all evil, and they say the power it gives you goes to your head.

Leila: Speaking of which, I remember Bae Soo Bin in “49 Days!”

Rinchan: I love him, too! When I discovered him, he was playing righteous characters, but then, I caught him being the bad oppa on “Secret.” As a matter of fact, there were two types of villains on that show: the scorned lover and Bae Soo Bin’s corrupt businessman/lawyer type.

Leila: I admit that even though I hated his character there, I still enjoyed it because Bae Soo Bin was playing the part. Haha. I’m biased.

Back to “49 days” … For money and for revenge, Bae Soo Bin’s Kang Min Ho tricked a woman to marry him. He tried hard not to become like his character’s father, but in the end, he was a greedy businessman and became even worse than the person he didn’t want to be. I could appreciate his character because of how or why he became bad.


Rinchan: I agree. In “Secret,” Bae Soo Bin’s An Do Hoon started off wanting to be an honorable prosecutor, but eventually, the perceived glamour of his dream job turned out to be more like a dead end office job. He wasn’t so much as fighting crime, but a backlog of paperwork. Still, he could have stayed a good guy, but after he had his girlfriend take the blame for his crime (of accidental manslaughter), he became desperately crooked to hide his sins.

Leila: I haven’t watched “Secret,” but I’m sure Bae Soo Bin was effective as the evil businessman. As an actor, he has a kind of warmth that makes me feel for his characters even when they’re morally unhinged. I don’t want to see him cry—ever!

Rinchan: I know. It really hits you when he gets a redemption arc; you can feel his remorse. It’ll be hard to hold a grudge in the face of those tears.

Yet, the constant scheming of villains is what makes them so abhorrent. Often times, they are insecure, but it’s also hard to ignore their greed. They plot to get what they want, but always fear that they will lose it all, and so, they scheme some more to keep what they have and then some. It reminds me of Lee Yu Ri‘s Min Jung in “Jang Bo Ri Is Here!” She has been lying and manipulating since grade school. Every time she lies, I watch in awe because there is no one who is safe from her. At one point, it looked like she would yield to her mother-in-law, but nope. She started blackmailing her, too. LOL.

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