If only he wrote his own name. If only he admitted that he wrote those letters. If only.
These are just some of the ifs viewers will have about the first six episodes of the ongoing K-drama “Start-Up.” Kim Seon-ho plays Han Ji-pyeong in the show. As a second lead character, it’s already been written that he’s not going to end up with the girl. But it doesn’t stop us from falling in love with him.
“My character is the epitome of a young and successful person. He owns a nice watch and he has a nice hairstyle,” Kim said during the press conference of the show last month. “He is truly a softie on the inside even though he has a sharp tongue.”
Ji-pyeong is not just a softie. He is a “good boy,” a compliment given to puppies and kind-hearted young boys who act tough.
For those who haven’t seen the show, here’s a brief background. Ji-pyeong is the first love of Suzy Bae’s character Dal-mi. She doesn’t know it because they’ve only met through the letters exchanged in the birdhouse. The reluctant Ji-pyeong did it as a favor to his grandmother. He used the name of the math genius he saw in the newspaper, Nam Do-san.
Fast forward to when they’re all grown-ups. Ji-pyeong is a successful businessman, Do-san (Nam Joo-hyuk) is still a brilliant albeit unsuccessful computer programmer, and Dal-mi wants to start her own company. They all move together to Sandbox, a fictional and utopian place, where start-up companies are given grants to cushion themselves from failure.
Dal-mi still thinks Do-san is her first love. Do-san continues to catfish her because he wants “the misunderstanding to become a reality.” It leaves Ji-pyeong out in the cold.
Kim Seon-ho fever
This is not the first time Kim played a kindly second lead character. He fell for the crown prince’s wife in “100 Days My Prince.” Even in that drama, Kim’s character was quite a catch so this is not the first time we’ve seen him play a character where we could imagine him ending up with the female lead.
But “Start-Up” has set up the viewers to fall in love with Ji-pyeong from the beginning. We saw his struggles, knew of his goals and dreams, and rooted for him very early in the series. Like Dal-mi, he is our first love. Unfortunately, like many second lead characters before him, he suffers from the flaw of not having the courage to admit his feelings.
Kim made Ji-pyeong the prince charming in this drama. The “2 Days and 1 Night” mainstay has become a household name in this show. There’s a big chance that he will not end up with Dal-mi. But we know that Kim is ready to be the lead in his next drama.