27 October 2012

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My Top 5 ... Sidekicks

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on October 27, 2012
Sidekicks play crucial roles as the companions of heroes, being their support in difficult times or serving the purpose of comical relief. Some very famous sidekicks are Robin (from Batman), Doctor Watson (from Sherlock Holmes), Sam (from Lord of the Rings) or Sancho Panza (from Don Quixote). As different as they are, they have one thing in common: sidekicks are always less talented than the hero (thus, they are often called the 'idiot friend') and they are never truly equal - though there might be (and often is) friendship between sidekick and hero.

KDramas are full of sidekicks - I doubt there is a single one without one or even two (one to the male lead and one to the female lead) or several (yes, they come in hordes, see in i.e. Rooftop Prince). Well, I'm not sure that also goes for all sageuks, though. However, most often, sidekicks are there for comical relief, and they are often stereotypical goofy best friend characters. Frequently, they take the form of secretaries to the (chaebol) hero in modern day dramas. They may also provide a specific place for meetings between hero and heroine, i.e. when they are owners of a restaurant (like in I Do I Do).

Below is my personal sidekick hit parade:  

No 1: Im Ji-Kyu as Kang Woo (in Queen of Reversals)

 
Queen of Reversals is a drama I most certainly wouldn't have watched if it didn't have Park Shi-hoo in it. But it has. And he is so incredibly wonderful in it. Ah, I miss him so!!! Sorry, off-topic. Next to Park Shi-hoo, who plays a chaebol-son dickhead (Yong-shik), is his secretary, Kang Woo. If you've seen the two, you'll agree with me: Kang Woo deserves the gold medal in the category of sidekick, forever and ever. The way they banter and frolic and snap at each other is pure delight. No other secretary-spoilt brat pair has ever gotten close to them.

Sample Dialogue 1: 
KW: You’re an outcast. Do you have any friends, other than me? 
YS: Are you my friend? You work for me! 
KW: (pause) Mmm-hmm. Yep, no friends at all.
Sample Dialogue 2:
YS (infuriated): Did you get my new cellphone?
KW: It slipped my mind. Today was a busy day.
YS: I’m firing you first!
KW: Ooooh, scary. The world really is about alphas and betas…
YS: Don’t say that!

No 2: The Three Ducklings (in Rooftop Prince)

Rooftop Prince was very good when about time-displaced Crown Prince Lee Gak (Yoochun) and his three retainers, aka Ducklings (Choi Woo-shik as Do Chi-san; Jung Suk-won as Woo Yong-sul, and (the other) Lee Min-ho as Song Man-bo) and less good when about murder and intrigue in the company. The three ducklings might not be the most archetypal sidekicks, and they come with diverse characteristics each, but they gave this drama a comical and heartwarming undertone, which makes it unforgettable. Such a shame the upcoming Yoochun drama is most certainly a tearjerker ... not going there!

No 3: Lee Jun-hyuk as Na Jung-do (in City Hall)

This is a surprising choice, even for the one - me - who made it. In fact, I only remember Lee Jun-hyuk's character vaguely ... but the vague memory comes with a distinct feeling of "this guy is awesome". City Hall is the first drama I saw Lee Jun-hyuk in (City Hunter the second, ohhhh, why did you have to die??) and he left a deep mark. He plays the trusted right-hand man to Cha Seung-won's ambitious bureaucrat, and if I remember correctly, he often is the voice of reason. 

No 4: Park Jung-Ah as Jeni Ahn (in Prosecutor Princess)

Oh wait, another Park Shi-hoo drama?? Jeez, I really DO miss him, do I? Park Jung-ah, a former member of girl group Jewelry, plays a female friend to Park Shi-hoo's revenge driven Seo In-woo. They met in the States, when he came to live with an adoptive father and enrolled in her middle school (she is also an adoptee). Both are lawyers. For somebody who has seen many Kdramas, the big surprise was that this character was never more than just a friend. There is absolutely no romance between the two, and I really, really appreciated that. She helps him to find justice and in the end, she helps him to make amends with the daughter of the man who (accidentally) killed his father. She is absolutely self-less, almost like a good fairy. True, she isn't a typical sidekick either, because she isn't in any way inferior to him - but she is his little helper throughout the drama.

No 5: Kim Jong-moon as Oh Dae-man (in Faith)

Yay, at least one typical sidekick in my list! Dae-man is Faith's cutest Woodalchi and also one of the cutest sidekicks of all time (did you notice how smartly I sneaked in a picture of Lee Min-ho here?). I love how he jumps and runs (like a computer game character) and his acrobatics are a lot of fun, too. He is very shy and stammers, and often pulls his crazy hair when embarrassed (which is often). And as the classical sidekick that he is, he is utterly devoted to the hero.

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