There are many reasons to watch a Korean drama, but when all those reasons fail, you may decide to keep watching because you can’t be separated from the main pairing or the tertiary pairing. These are a list of couples that make me squeal like a piggy, yell incoherent words and turn me into a mush of feelings all in one sitting.
1. Kim Tan and Cha Eun-sang from Heirs
This pairing is probably one of the most hated pairings in the history of K-dramas, in fact despite being so popular, the entire drama and the lead pairing got so much backlash from people that two years later and some people still refuse to shut up about it. But, I am not most people. I loved the drama, and I especially loved the lead pairing of Lee Min-ho and Park Shin-hye who played Tan and Eun-sang respectively.
Cha Eun-sang is to Kim Tan what a lighthouse is to a ship lost at sea. Cha Eun-sang is like this lantern that has so much light to give to the world but has darkness underneath it and like a moth to a flame, Tan couldn’t help but be drawn to her. Where she is cautious, he is carefree and naïve. She grounds him when he would like nothing more than to plunge into situations headfirst without thinking of the consequences. She was the only thing that gave his life direction and spurred him out of his complacency to fight for what he wanted. It wasn’t an easy journey for the both of them, especially for Eun-sang because she was worldlier than he was, he practically grew up in a bubble, a very noxious and destructive bubble but a bubble nonetheless. I have seen about five of Lee Min-ho’s dramas and while Choi Young in Faith is my favourite one of his characters, Kim Tan is my favourite performance from him. In Shin-hye’s case, Eun-sang is my favourite character but I have to admit her Pinocchio’s Choi In-ha is my favourite performance. The point is this pairing is like caviar, either you like it or you don’t. There’s no halfway point. The only thing that disappointed me about Heirs was that it didn’t get a typical Kim Eun-sook drama ending. An ending of cavity-inducing sweetness. But, they did give me some of my favourite scenes from any drama I’ve seen, like when he told her who he was, when he pulled her hair ribbon as she walked in front of him, and my favourite, when they held hands outside his father’s study.
2. Park Dong-joo and Yoon Soo-wan from Angel Eyes
I like to refer to Angel Eyes as the discovery of Gu Hye-sun and Lee Sang-yoon. When Gu Hye-sun was announced for this drama, I was immediately turned off from the idea of watching because she has the tendency to overact, besides I had never heard of Lee Sang-yoon before. But one day, I decided to give it a try and boy was I blown away by their chemistry, it was like all those other terrible Gu Hye-sun performances didn’t exist anymore. I was taken in by the story of their first love and the tragedy surrounding them. It was an eye-opening event for me, I discovered Lee Sang-yoon and I re-discovered Gu Hye-sun. I suppose my enjoyment of the drama was 90% just watching Dong-joo and Soo-wan make googly-eyes at each other and 10% the actual story, but who cares it was so worth it.
3. We Got Married’s Leeteuk and Kang So-ra
You could argue that We Got Married isn’t a drama, but to me that’s what it is. A drama that has just cute OTP interaction without angst, evil chaebol mothers-in-law, long-suffering second lead males and first love of male lead who just recovered from cancer and returns after making the guy wait like five years thinking it’ll be just that easy for him to take her back and turning into an evil scheming witch when he doesn’t. Too specific?
Before We Got Married, I had no idea who Leeteuk was because I don’t pay much attention to K-pop and I only knew Kang So-ra from 4th Period Murder Mystery and she spent the entire movie with her face hidden behind her hair. But from the first episode when they met in a darkened cinema hall where they couldn’t stop stealing glances at each other, to his heart-stopping proposal during one of his concerts, to her calling him Oppa which led to him almost knocking down the We Got Married Studio prop during the Christmas edition, this couple is love. They were nicknamed the flying dimple couple because they made each other smile so much that their cheekbones rose about three inches higher than its normal position, especially Leeteuk’s cheekbones. When they ended, I cried many heartbroken tears because they were just too sweet together. They are my favourite couple in the history of We Got Married and even if you hate the show, I recommend that you watch just this couple’s edition.
4. Ta-hwan and Seung-nyang from Empress Ki
My imperial couple. Even though Seung-nyang made Ta-hwan suffer because she spent a good deal of time moping over her first love King Wang Yoo to pay any attention to Ta-hwan, when she finally got round to loving him it was good. I like when a man becomes a better person for the woman he loves. Before Seung-nyang, Ta-hwan was nothing but a cowardly puppet emperor who was being controlled by the power-crazed Prime Minister, El Temur Khan but after he fell in love with her, he wanted to be a better person for her even willing to be used for her revenge against the Khan clan who ruined her family. When Seung-nyang fell in love with Ta-hwan, she used all her power to protect him from the people who sought to bring him down. Since I do not like to dwell on unhappiness, I chose to ignore the ending of Empress Ki and developed my own alternate universe where everyone lived happily ever after.
5. Choi Han-kyul and Go Eun-chan from Coffee Prince
“Just once. I’m going to say this just once so listen up, I like you. Whether you’re a man or an alien, I don’t care anymore. I tried letting go of my feelings but I can’t, so let’s go as far as we can go.” Sigh, what’s not to love?
Coffee Prince is one of my favourite dramas and Yoon Eun-hye is my favourite actress. Her chemistry with Gong Yoo is the best out of all her pairings and I hope they can do another drama together in the not-so-distant future. I mean with all the recent re-pairings in dramaland, it’s not impossible, right?
6. Jang Jae-yeol and Ji Hae-soo from It’s Okay, It’s Love
In my opinion, this is the couple that should have won the Best Couple Award at the SBS year ends award last year instead of the Pinocchio couple, but I suppose because the Pinocchio pairing was still fresh in people’s minds and their drama is still airing coupled with the fact that neither Jo In-sung nor Gong Hyo-jin attended the awards ceremony, they didn’t. Well, it’s not like this couple needs some tiny statuette to validate what the entire drama watching public already knew. Ji Hae-soo is not my favourite character, she can get insanely stubborn when she wants to be, but she’s sweet to the people she loves and she cares deeply about her work and what matters in her life.
7. Do Min-joon and Chun Song-yi from You From Another Star
No list is complete without this drama, this pairing is one of my favourite pairings ever and Chun Song-yi is my favourite character of Jeon Ji-hyun. I’ve liked Kim Soo-hyun and Jeon Ji-hyun together since they starred in the Thieves and so I was really excited when they were slated to act together again and their chemistry definitely doesn’t disappoint. Even though Jeon Ji-hyun is six years older than Kim Soo-hyun in real life and married to boot, their performance was beautiful and heart-warming.
8. Seo Jung-hoo/Healer and Chae Young-shin from Healer
Healer is one of my favourite currently airing dramas, it has a fast-paced storyline, amazing stunts and a sizzling chemistry between the leads. It brings to mind City Hunter, also one of my favourite dramas, but with better acting from everyone involved in the drama. But this post isn’t about the plot of the drama, it’s about the amazing and electrifying chemistry between Ji Chang-wook and Park Min-young who play the lead roles of Healer and Chae Young-shin. Even if this drama wasn’t so awesome, I’d watch it just for the lead pair, I mean it’s not every day that you watch a man attempt to clip a woman’s fingernail and feel like you’d need an oxygen mask afterwards.
9. Kim Joo-won and Gil Ra-im from Secret Garden
Kim Eun-sook is my favourite drama writer and she’s the only writer for whom I can confidently watch a drama without a clue of the actors acting in it. To me, she’s the Queen of dialogue and while the Hong sisters excel in comedy and trope subversion, Kim Eun-sook excels in witty and sometimes cheesy cringe-inducing dialogue. I’m yet to come across a Kim Eun-sook heroine I didn’t like because I always seem to find something in common with them. I share Shin Mi-rae’s sense of humour, Seo Yi-soo’s immaturity and I was pretty much Cha Eun-sang in high school. Something else I’ve noticed about her heroines is that they are fiercely loyal to their men, they never ever play wishy-washy with the second lead even when they are denying their attraction to the main lead. It’s something I admire because a lot of times I hate when the female lead can’t make up her mind on which man she wants and then leads the second lead male on this annoying journey of false hope.
10. Jo Guk and Shin Mi-rae from City Hall
And that concludes the list of my top ten favourite drama couples.
Honourable mention to the couple in my other favourite currently airing drama Valid Love, Kim Joon and Kim Il-ri. And even though Joon is the second lead male and he may not end up with Kim Il-ri, I will always love them together.