Ah, one of my favorite topics when it comes to dramas: Bromances! Just to clarify, this is not a Top 10 list of the best bromances in Dramaland (though some of these are my favorites). These are just specific bromances that, in my opinion, overshined the main lovelines. Sometimes that brotherly love is too strong too ignore, ya know?
*In no particular order
1. Protect the Boss – Is this on the list because of Jaejoong? …Maaaybe. But it’s my list, so I can do whatever I want. *clears throat* Nevertheless, I really do love this duo. I usually hate seeing grown men behave so immaturely, but in this case, it just cracked me up. Because the entire time, they fought as if they were two teenage girls, lol. I will never, ever forget their fight in the restaurant when they actually started pulling each other’s hair. Or the amazing “almost” fight in the bathroom. Jaejoong and Ji Sung just killed me. I’ve rewatched this drama a few times in the past, and it was almost always their clips that I found myself fast-forwarding to.
2. Faith – Thinking about this drama makes me extremely sad because I got so damn far only to give up around episode 17 or 18. I just got so bored. Believe me, I tried to finish it multiple times — I didn’t want all those hours to go to waste — but at a certain point, it just felt like homework. Once things started getting repetitive, the only saving grace for me was the engaging comradeship between the Goryeo king (Ryu Deok Hwan) and his loyal warrior (Lee Min Ho). The show didn’t go too heavy on the bromance per say, but you could always feel it when the two were on screen. They would exchange a look or a head nod and that was all you needed to know that they had each other’s backs.
3. Bridal Mask – These two TORE. ME. UP. Jesus Christ. Joo Won‘s romance with Jin Se Yeon was sweet (and yes, very heartbreaking), but Joo Won with Park Ki Woong was… *shakes head* That was indescribable. It physically hurt having to watch two people who loved each other so much be torn apart the way that they were. They weren’t blood-related, but it really was like a brother-against-brother type of deal, with all the betrayal and suffering turned up to a 10. Though, at one point, one is labeled as the villain, they both felt like heroes for their own people. It was just so sad to see these heroes on opposing sides.
4. Shut Up Flower Boy Band – Perhaps I’m being unfair with this one because it’s aaaaall about that bromance. But from what I remember, the romance was given just as much screentime. Or maybe it just seemed that way because it started to get frustrating. I actually found the main loveline with Sung Joon and Jo Bo Ah really cute, but it annoyed me that Sung Joon kept his feelings a secret from his best friends. I thought the way he handled it was very realistic, but it was still frustrating. But it also made the drama more interesting. Since the romance was rather straight, all the conflict fell on the friendship between the five boys. And it was great to see a strong bond like that tested throughout a series of tragic events. Even better, to see that strong bond take such a beating and still survive.
5. You’re All Surrounded – I love this type of workplace sunbae/hoobae dynamic. There’s the typical “I don’t care if you like me but I kind of, sort of, really do,” which I find both sweet and hilarious. Thanks to a terrible misunderstanding, these two got off on the wrong foot, which I initially thought would drive me nuts. But it was such a delight watching them gradually turn around and try to prove their worth to each other. Cha Seung Won‘s character was making up for years and years of guilt, while Lee Seung Gi‘s character was making up for years and years of blaming him. Their story’s trajectory was a little predictable, but satisfying all the same.
6. I Remember You – You know, I actually liked the romance in this drama — on paper. The execution, however, didn’t quite meet my expectations, and I think I have to put the blame on chemistry. Seo In Guk and Jang Nara were fantastic in their roles and they made a badass crime-fighting team, but romantically? I just didn’t feel it. But In Guk with Park Bo Gum? Oh, gosh, I felt that so much. Their story was so beautifully layered and tragic that even thinking about it would get me teary-eyed. And though their ending left a lot to be desired, the two of them still left a significant scar on my heart.
7. Answer Me 1988 – And we meet again, Bo Gum oppa. What, do you just enjoy hurting my heart or something? (Apparently so, because he had another heartbreaking bromance in 2016’s Moonlight Drawn By Clouds.) This drama made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside thanks to the adorable neighborhood boys and their unbreakable bonds. Of course, this is an Answer Me drama, so it has that expected nostalgic quality, but I think ’88‘s more serious tone made that nostalgia extra touching. Nothing — not even that crazy fan-war-inducing love triangle — could tear these boys apart. They knew and loved each other for far too long to let that happen.
8. Hwarang – Oy, talking about this drama gets me all ragey because I was so into it in the beginning. I liked the fun, youthful (albeit immature) vibe and I even liked the romance between Park Seo Joon and Go Ara‘s characters. There were many interesting plotlines brought up, but then they just… disappeared? Or, I don’t know, took forever to take off? The romance started dragging, even getting repetitive, so I gradually lost interest. The only thing keeping me watching was the developing relationships among the Hwarang warriors, specifically with Seo Joon and Park Hyung Shik. Granted, their bromance started dragging too, but it was a much more compelling watch.
9. Goblin – I’m sorry, I wanted to like the two lovelines along with everyone else, but after a while, I just couldn’t bring myself to care. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood when watching this? Because if I think about it, the goblin’s romance and the reaper’s romance both seem epic and swoon-worthy. I never did finish the drama, so maybe I should give it another chance. I certainly wouldn’t mind since that would mean seeing this fantastic bromance again. There’s something about two badass supernatural beings coming at each other’s throats like ten-year-olds that just makes ya giggly.
10. Boys Over Flowers – Come on, you knew this one was coming. I distinctly remember the very first time I watched Boys Over Flowers and being so freaking annoyed with Jun Pyo (Lee Min Ho) and Jan Di (Gu Hye Sun)’s loveline that I had to turn it off. I think this was the first youth drama I’d ever seen (I grew up watching melos and family dramas), so the high school hijinks were new to me. Even so, I could tell something was off with the romance; it just seemed so ridiculous to me. And the drama isn’t known for the F4 for nothin’. The friendship between those boys was definitely the heart of the show. They induced all the tears, all the smiles, and all the laughter, while the romance simply induced gnashing of teeth.
What do you think? Would you defend these romances? Or do the bromances really prevail?