Friday Feature: Dead ringers

Whether it’s twins, doppelgangers or reincarnations, K-dramas frequently give actors the chance to play two characters in one drama. Here are our favourite K-dramas that had us seeing double.

My Love From the Stars

When alien, Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun) lands on Earth during the Joseon Dynasty, he becomes attached to young girl, Yi Hwa (Kim Hyeon Soo), but fails to save her from a premature death. Having missed his ride home, Min Joon is forced to wait 400 years for the next opportunity.

Just about a decade shy of his departure, Min Joon is compelled to save the life of a girl, because she looks exactly like Yi Hwa.

Fast forward to the present, and Min Joon is horrified to discover that the reincarnation of his first friend on Earth grew up into high maintenance star, Cheon Song Yi (Jun Ji Hyun).

Yi Hwa had hoped to show Min Joon the woman she would become. In light of how her reincarnation initially rubs Min Joon the wrong way, perhaps it was for the best that he never found out.

Min Joon is his own doppelganger of sorts. Over the course of 400 years, Min Joon never ages, thus forcing him to assume a new identity every 10 years. As the plot thickens, Min Joon’s resemblance to various men who went missing or were deemed deceased is uncovered.- Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다

Bride of the Century

At the centre of “Bride of the Century” are a pair of doppelgangers: prissy chaebol heiress Jang Yi Kyung, and hard-working seaside restaurant owner Na Doo Rim. I won’t get into the plot (too convoluted), but for a good chunk of the show, Doo Rim pretends to be Yi Kyung, and somehow pulls it off despite her inability to stay in character. Initially, having a doppelganger doesn’t bother either one of them, until Doo Rim starts to have feelings for Yi Kyung’s fiancé, Choi Kang Ju (Lee Hong Ki), and Yi Kyung clues in that everyone, including her own brother, seems to like the cheerful Doo Rim better. In the end, both of them are better off not knowing why they look alike, despite being completely unrelated; it certainly didn’t make me feel any better.  – Only 만

Love Rain

In the 1970s, it is love at first sight when art student, Seo In Ha (Jang Keun Suk) spots shy Kim Yoon Hee (Yoona) on campus. He secretly paints her portrait and reads her diary, then accompanies her in the rain with a broken umbrella, drenching himself in the process. In Ha and Yoon Hee don’t talk much, but they seem to like each other anyway. Perhaps, not surprisingly, it doesn’t work out.

Present day, In Ha’s son, Seo Joon is a dead ringer for his father, and Jung Ha Na is the spitting image of her mother, Yoon Hee. Unfortunately, it is 2012, and chivalry is dead. When Joon comes into possession of Ha Na’s cell phone accidentally, he ignores her pleas for her phone then holds her phone hostage in order to enlist her help. After mocking Ha Na’s suggestion that he is under-dressed for a winter night in a forest, Joon forces her to give up her pink fleece jacket to him.

On paper, it sounds like the 1970s version of the couple is the preferable one, but sassy Ha Na is so much better than wallflower Yoon Hee that it trumps any comparison between dickish Joon and slow moving In Ha. – 중국어 캐나다

Rooftop Prince

In “Rooftop Prince”, Crown Prince Lee Gak (Park Yoochun) travels forward in time from the Joseon era to solve the mystery of his wife’s murder. He and his companions land in the present day, on the rooftop of Park Ha (Han Ji Min). This is where it gets complicated, so bear with me: Park Ha turns out to be the reincarnation of Lee Gak’s perpetually masked sister-in-law, Boo Yong. Lee Gak’s own reincarnation, chaebol heir Tae Yong, is conveniently missing, so Lee Gak takes Tae Yong’s place, much to the irritation of Tae Yong’s evil cousin Tae Moo (Lee Tae Sung). To make matter worse, Tae Moo’s girlfriend (and Park Ha’s stepsister), Se Na (Jung Yoo Mi), is the reincarnation of Lee Gak’s wife, Hwa Yong.

If you found this confusing, let me assure you that “Rooftop Prince” is best enjoyed if you try not to think too hard about reincarnation and time travel, and concentrate instead on Lee Gak’s succession of terrible outfits. –

You’re Beautiful

Go Mi Nyeo (Park Shin Hye) looks sufficiently identical to her twin brother, Go Mi Nam (Park Shin Hye) to allow her to substitute for him in an idol band. In fact, the only way to tell them apart is by their default facial expression: quizzical for Mi Nyeo, snarling for Mi Nam, and Mi Nam’s disturbingly muscular physique.- 중국어 캐나다

Readers: which K-drama doubles were your favourites?

Let us know in the Comments below.

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