Lee Min Ho is a world-famous A-list Korean actor who rose to stardom for his role as Gu Jun Pyo in Boys over Flowers. He’s also incredibly handsome, funny and down-to-earth (based on his interviews). But here’s the thing. He’s not a great actor. He actually kind of sucks. There, I said it.

Everyone and their mums had a crush on Lee Min Ho that year. You know, when Boys over Flowers was the most incredible love story and The Heirs was like a richer sequel? When the side swoop of his hair in City Hunter acted more than him the entire show? Yeah, that year, because we watched them all at once, even though these series had been out years before, but welcome to pre-Netflix Nigeria. 

Lee Min Ho is a pretty big deal In the Nigerian K-drama scene. It’s impossible not to know this man even if you live under a rock. And now, you’re wondering, so what’s the problem? Why shouldn’t I be watching him, then?

Here’s the thing. To be an actor, you need to be able to ACT. Lee Min Ho is not very famous for his acting. Over half of the awards he’s received throughout his career are popularity or fan-voted awards, not acting awards. 

For as long as I’ve watched K-dramas, this man has played the rich, stylish and charming boy perfectly, and before you say, “But what about Gangnam Blues? He was poor there,” I’m sorry, he looked like he was just cosplaying poverty. It’s like Patience Ozokwor playing a nice person in a movie. It’s suspicious. 

This man looked like he hadn’t eaten in years , but I could still see the “rich” in his eyes. Sometimes, when you’re big, you’re big, and there’s nothing you can do about that. 

Unfortunately for him, you can’t have range as an actor when you constantly look like you’re playing the same role. If I take a screenshot of every drama he’s been in side by side, he has only three expressions: 

Too rich for peasants

More handsomely annoyed than humanly possible

In love but the “hard guy” version

Funny enough, all these things you think I’m complaining about are precisely why I love him. Do you know how powerful you have to be for people not to know what you look like yet still know your name? Lord knows how many relationships he’s scattered just because one babe posted him more than her man. 

You too, look at the material. How do you compete with this?

Back then, if your babe only watched K-dramas he starred in, sorry to inform you, but you were in that relationship alone. 

Now it’s 2022, and there’s no reason anyone should watch K-dramas because of this man. Don’t get me wrong, he has his moments; in a drama with 20 episodes, there’s always that one episode he gives his all. But he’s like if RMD doesn’t physically age and has no acting skill. He’s so much older now and deserves more mature roles.

I’m not saying he doesn’t have good older works. He starred in some of my favourite comfort dramas: City Hunter, which also solidified Park Min Young’s role as the romance drama IT girl for me; Mackerel Run, which is old but pure high school drama gold; The Heirs because, come on, he acted for his last 2k with that series; and The Legend of the Blue Sea because a funny, stupid, rich Lee Min Ho character? Inject it.

All I’m saying is when you leave grapes for a while, you get fantastic wine. Just look at what he did with Pachinko

after taking a break from acting for a while. It might not be the best 2022 drama, but it was something. Something different. 

Now, I’m not the type to take away your drug of choice without offering sustainable solutions, so here are five actors you can replace him with until his next great drama.

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Son Suk Ku

This man has the whole “sad, rich boy that melts your heart” look going for him. He recently had his first lead role as an alcoholic who falls in love with a woman and tries to change in My Liberation Notes. You don’t want to be late to his stan train, so take my word on this. 

 Nam Joo Hyuk

If you saw Twenty Five, Twenty One, do I even need to defend this? All that crying, longing and that smile, and you’re still not sold? Something about the way he delivers his lines makes you wonder if he knows he’s supposed to be acting. That’s a little too real for me, and now, I have to plan our wedding.

Kim Young Dae

It’s one thing to be funny and another to look good while being funny. Kim Young Dae has mastered both. Especially in his role as a hotshot actor in Shooting. There aren’t that many movies in which he wasn’t playing himself or a guest actor, but after this role, the only way is up, please.  

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Before we talk about how his suit was a paid actor in the fantasy series “Tomorrow,” seeing him try to save people others thought were irredeemable was emotional, and no one else could’ve done it. Why? Because I said so. Plus, the man can sing. It doesn’t get more charming than this.  

Lee Jong Suk

If you’ve watched K-dramas long enough, you should know him from Romance Is a Bonus Book, While You Were Sleeping, I Hear Your Voice and Pinocchio. All he does is pick good roles and execute them flawlessly, so if you like your actors a little old but still young, watch Big Mouth to see why he made the list. 

I picked these five because they each have qualities I like in Lee Min Ho, on and off screen. They’re charming but not rude, look good in a suit, and have range, unlike Lee Min Ho.

At this point, he’s a K-drama deity who’s done a great job of pushing the K-drama agenda. What’s a popular K-drama list without at least two of his movies? His audience is growing and changing, and so many younger and stronger actors are coming up every day. I’d hate to see him left behind. 

I want to see him be a bad guy, the type who makes you want to drag your hair out. I want to see him play a dad too. I’m not even asking for too much. I just want to be able to have arguments other than “All he plays is a rich boy”. What do you think? 

In the end, this is a twisted love letter to an actor who’ll forever be one of my favourites and the dramas that made me fall in love with K-dramas.

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Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.