Friday Feature: Favourite Villains

Ever watch a drama for a character you love to hate? It’s Friday, so let’s reminisce about our favourite villains.

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Yoon Seo from “Baby Faced Beauty”

Kim Yoon Seo (Kim Min Seo) is a classic soapy villain: the woman who has it all, but for whom nothing is beneath her in her pursuit of single father, Ji Seong Il (Ryu Jin). Yoon Seo is the privileged, foreign-educated daughter of the director of a fashion design company. Her objective in returning to Korea is to pursue the company president, Seung Il. When she senses that Seung Il is showing favour towards Lee So Young (Jang Na Ra), she places the lowly intern in her crosshairs. Yoon Seo openly bullies So Young then undermines her by publicly humiliating her, getting a colleague supportive of So Young fired, and cheats her way to winning a design competition over the untrained So Young. Worst of all, when Seong Il’s daughter proves too difficult for her liking, she tells her to behave or else her father will hate her. Of course, Yoon Seo gets her comeuppance when she is revealed as a monster to Seong Il on two separate occasions, and loses him forever. – Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다

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Shin Sung Rok

Producing two different, but similarly insane villains, in such a short time span must be some kind of accomplishment. Therefore, we must reward Shin Sung Rok with his own Favourite Villain category. As the creepy psychopath, Lee Jae Kyung in “My Love from the Stars”, he happily murdered anyone who got in the way of his ambitions, while maintaining the facade of a caring brother and son to his family. In the end, it takes an alien with super-powers to slow him down, and the concerted efforts of practically everyone he knows to stop him.

In the recent “Liar Game”, Kang Do Young was another psychopath, though one with a bit more flair for the dramatic. Do Young was practically the puppet master of the “Liar Game” show, but the scary thing about him was his ability to seamlessly control his own micro-expressions, thus making it impossible to trust what was shown on his face. Watching him practice his expressions in front of a mirror then settle into a blank mask took creepy to the next level.

Though, if you really want to see creepy, take a look at Shin Sung Rok’s photo from Dramawiki and contrast it with the two characters above. – Only 만

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Young Woo from “Secret Love Affair”

I loved everything about this crazy bitch. Wearing a crop top paired with leopard skin tights to work, Seo Young Woo (Kim Hye Eun) is incapable of being discreet. She screeches whenever something displeases her, and resorts to slapping and biting at will. Young Woo fancies herself a schemer, but does not bother to hide her extramarital affair, even as her lawyer husband restricts her travel and access to her child.

By the end of the series, Young Woo is subdued and pitiable. Still, she can’t help, but make digs at the less fortunate. So, it appears that Young Woo has learned nothing from experience, which I consider a good thing. – Junggugeo Kaenada

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Yoo Jin Woo from “King of High School Savvy”

By the end, almost every character in “King of High School Savvy” was bathed in a warm and fuzzy glow. In the beginning, however, company director Yoo Jin Woo (Lee Soo Hyuk) was a cold-hearted jackass. He started out by summarily rejecting the enthusiastic affections of contract employee, Jung Soo Young (Lee Ha Na), then having her fired to avoid further awkwardness. When she was rehired by his rival, Lee Min Suk (Seo In Guk), he tried humiliating her to get back at him. He followed this up by pressuring Soo Young into going on a date with him, and aggressively coming on to her.

And yet, for a villain, he was never one-dimensional, and by the end, we’d learned enough about him to forgive his previous villainy, much as Min Suk did, even going so far as to call him “hyung”. Though, maybe it was Lee Soo Hyuk’s velvety voice or his habit of turning the halls of the company into a runway that did it for me. – Only

I Need Romance 3 villain

Joo Yeon and Tae Yoon from “I Need Romance 3”

The show’s villainess is supposedly the other woman, Oh Se Ryeong (Wang Ji Won), who is guilty of stealing a friend’s boyfriend, and then, chasing after the object of her ex-friend’s affections. I would argue that female lead, Shin Joo Yeon (Kim So Yeon) is worse, because she sucks compassion off of friends and loved ones without giving any back.

Joo Yeon allows Joo Wan (Sung Joon), the man who loves her, to support her emotionally while she pursues another man. She is also coldly dismissive of her friend/co-worker, Min Jung’s crises of early on-set menopause then her unplanned pregnancy, because she has zero tolerance for personal feelings at work. Yet, hypocritical Joo Yeon enjoys the emotional support of her colleagues after she is dumped by her boyfriend.

It seems fitting that someone who is incapable of connecting with her feelings would be attracted to equally robotic Kang Tae Yoon (Namgung Min). Her boss is all smiles when Joo Yeon’s campaigns are a success, but the first time she fails, he is cold and dismissive. Yet, Joo Yeon admires his abusive tactics and models her own managerial style after them. On the personal side, Tae Yoon uses Joo Yeon to hurt his ex-girlfriend, Se Ryeong, in spite of having an inkling of Joo Yeon’s feelings towards him.

Watching Joo Yeon and Tae Yoon operate was a horror show. Yet, if Joo Yeon and Tae Yoon had ended up with each other in the end, “I Need Romance 3” would have improved considerably. – Junggugeo Kaenada

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Gi Chul from “Faith”

A series aiming to be an epic needs an epic villain. Unfortunately, “Faith” started out promising, but became an epic snooze, with a repetitive storyline, and a whole cast full of partially formed characters who were left with little to do in the stalled plot. Lucky for me, I had the antics of the loony gang of villains, led by the ridiculous Gi Chul (Yoo Oh Sung), to keep me entertained when the story slid into boresville.

Never mind that Gi Chul kept trying to assassinate the emperor and empress of Goryeo. Never mind that he wanted to visit the future so that he could conquer it, too. Never mind that he had a gaggle of murderous magical minions (see what I did there?) to do his bidding. Never mind that he barely succeeded in anything other than posturing. The fantastic thing about him was how over-the-top he was. In fact, I can’t believe his insane expressions didn’t produce a whole cottage industry in memes. Also, for some reason, every time I look at the screencap above, I picture him belting out “I Will Always Love You”, and I burst out laughing all over again. – Only


Readers: which K-drama villain kept you glued to the screen?

Tell us why being bad feels so good in the Comments below.

5 Comments

  • JW from High School King of Savvy is just so swoon-worthy, he’s such a flawed human being but at the same time, he makes me pity him a lot and I really love him to be with the heroine as he shows some warmth whenever he’s with her. I don’t think he deserves her after doing so many things to hurt her but, but T_T I just pity him so much. Maybe because it’s Lee Soo-Hyuk playing JW.

    You should mention Shin Sung Rok too, he’s a great villain in both Liar Game and You who came from another star.

    • Jin Woo was great… not a typical villain by any stretch, since he wasn’t completely one-dimensional and he had a story of his own. Plus, Lee Soo Hyuk.

      Shin Sung Rok may forever be my favourite villain. Though, I really enjoyed his character in “Trot Lovers”, too, so I hope he gets to do more comedy.

      Which reminds me: I have to catch up on “King’s Face” and “Valid Love” soon.

  • This may be blurring the lines from villain to evil mother, but I think so many of those evil mothers are villainous in their machinations. Park Joon Geum did the evil mom thing in Secret Garden. I can’t get over her look in everything she is in. I swear she must bring her own wardrobe to filming. It is consistently ornate, frilly, and too young for her. I think it gives her roles even more personality.

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