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Misaeng: Episode 1

Ooh, this is different and interesting. I wasn’t sure what to expect from our webtoon-turned-drama, but I did have my hopes up because of the hype around Misaeng (Incomplete Life) and its mania following. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely intriguing. As per usual, our first episode is jam-packed with introductions and some backstory on our protagonist, but we get a good sense of the tone — somewhat dark and mundane, but that’s what makes it realistic and relatable.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

We begin in a canyon with mysterious music playing in the background. As we follow a man through the sweeping meanders of the canyon, a voice narrates, “A path is not simply for walking; its purpose lies in moving forward and improving oneself. A path that fails to do this is not a path.”

The man now walks through the busy streets of Jordan as the narration continues: “The path is open to everyone, but not anyone can walk it.” The briskly walking man is JANG GEU-RAE (Im Shi-wan), and he picks up his phone, asking the caller if he’s found it. The caller tells him that their mark is at the Cairo Hotel, so he runs toward that direction on a mission.

In front of the Cairo Hotel, the caller tells him that he was right: They’ve searched all the top-notch hotels in Jordan, but what they’ve been looking for is in this obscure location. Geu-rae confirms that the item has yet to be sold, and they head inside. But when they reach the room, it’s empty except for a housekeeper cleaning up. Turns out they’re looking for a guy who happens to be standing right behind them. Realizing that he’s been found, the man makes a run for it, and a wild chase ensues.

They both run like their lives depend on it, through the mass of people and oncoming traffic. At one point, Geu-rae even gets hit by a car, but he shakes off his injury and dizziness to continue the chase. On the rooftops, the man takes a giant leap and barely hangs onto a window on the next building. He climbs through and sticks his tongue out at his chaser, but Geu-rae backs up to take the leap. He runs with determination and reminds us once again: “The path is open to everyone, but not anyone can walk it.”

Back to the spring of 2012. Geu-rae works at the sauna cleaning the wash rooms. The owner gives bad news that he doesn’t need his help anymore but offers to help him find employment. Deflated, Geu-rae forces a smile and politely declines. He runs to his next part-time job as a designated driver. He drives a drunk office worker who is clearly disrespectful towards him, but Geu-rae just takes the insults.

He gets a call from his mother about an employer callback, so he gets ready for his new job the next morning in his father’s oversized suit. Mom tells him to be confident in his smarts and abilities; there’s a reason why they offered him the job.

At the One International office, Geu-rae waits and observes the daily grind. He gets distracted by an attractive lady passing by, but he’s brought back by an employee, who takes him outside for an informal rooftop interview. Geu-rae is 26, has only a high school equivalency exam on his education record, no work experience, and no additional language skills. The only thing he’s got is his commonplace ability to work a computer. Basically, the most underqualified you could be.

The guy looks at him pitifully and introduces himself as KIM DONG-SHIK (Kim Dae-myung), the team’s assistant manager. He notes that Geu-rae’s got nothing going for him; what has he been doing with his life? After he leaves, Geu-rae acknowledges this: “What have I been doing with my 26 years up to this point?”

The office fellas peek around the corner to watch the attractive female coworker make copies. When she bends down, the guys jump back and look away in jitters. She walks out and tells her coworkers that she’s finished the preparations.

This is AHN YOUNG-YI (Kang So-ra), and her conversation with her coworkers implies that she’s dressed in skimpy office clothing for a reason. She seems to think this is the only way to approach their potential business partner, but her manager warns her that it may not be such a good idea.

She decides to go for it anyway. As the team walks in, we see that the presentation is for a business plan regarding new material in padded lingerie. To start off, Young-yi bends down (overly) seductively and strikes different poses, causing her observing coworkers to cringe. The business partner calls her over and asks her to turn around. She does as told, and the partner feels around her ass. Her coworkers react and gape in shock, just as I do.

The identity of the business partner is finally revealed. Thankfully, it’s a woman, and she asks to see the product. Young-yi smiles and slides it out of her own ass, embarrassing her coworkers. She’s been wearing it for a couple days to test the durability of the product. When asked to see the breast pads, she takes out the one she’s been wearing, embarrassing her coworkers once again.

Thoroughly impressed by the idea to use tempur material in lingerie, the business partner compliments them on their understanding of her shopping mall’s target audience. She asks how they came up with this, so Young-yi opens up to say that she’s looked through every one of her early designs and read that she likes designs that put emphasis on the female body. The partner seems to like her audacity, and when she asks for a sample in her own size, Young-yi sensibly replies that she doesn’t seem to need them.

The team emerges from the meeting victorious, and they give Young-yi a thumbs up. She excuses herself to take off her excessive makeup, and her coworkers praise this new intern, who’s only been here for ten days, for scoring this massive deal. She’s the best intern they have.

Young-yi walks out of the bathroom back as her normal self and passes by Geu-rae. As she puts her hair up, her hair-tie accidentally slingshots away and hits Geu-rae’s head. He’s dumbstruck by her beauty and quickly helps her look around for the hair-tie. Unable to find it, she just walks away, but Geu-rae finds it right by his feet soon after she leaves.

Geu-rae returns to work but awkwardly stands around, not knowing what to do. Dong-shik is busy with calls and searching through catalogs while Geu-rae stands and sits repeatedly to get out of his way. He admits that he doesn’t know what to do, so Dong-shik gives him a stack of papers to copy. But he doesn’t know where the machine is and stumbles some more before being given more detailed directions to the copy room and how many copies to make. Aw, poor lost puppy.

Dong-shik lets out a frustrated sigh as he watches Geu-rae walk away, and he gets a call from the department chief asking if the new worker showed up. He replies with sarcasm, saying that they’ve got a new intern who dropped in out of nowhere wearing a parachute, a metaphor implying that he scored this job through connections to someone higher up. He’s close to tears as he complains that this is too much.

In the copy room, Geu-rae runs into more problems. There’s no more paper, so he asks one of the interns where to get more. He’s directed to the paper cabinet, but since it’s empty, he ends up needing directions to the storage room. Geu-rae heads out, and another intern walks in and comments on how he’s that new intern that got in via nepotism. The other guy smirks and nods, realizing why the kid was so clueless.

Dong-shik storms into the copy room looking for his copies, but he’s met by Geu-rae lugging in a big box of paper. He tries to get the paper out as fast as possible and insists that he can do the simple task, but the tug-of-war between the two results in a mess of paper on the floor.

Geu-rae tries to complete the task, but Dong-shik needs to step in to teach him how to work the machine. Dong-shik can’t believe that Geu-rae hasn’t done simple copying work ever in his 26 years. He quickly introduces Geu-rae to Young-yi who enters the room, and runs off to a meeting.

As Geu-rae walks through the office, he observes everyone hard at work, all fluent in different languages. Even in Korean, he can’t seem to understand the jargon. He looks longingly at a group of close coworkers and returns to his cubicle. He stares at the surrounding piles of papers around him, trying to interpret the language and graphs.

Suddenly, a call comes in to Dong-shik’s work phone. He looks around for anyone else to pick up, but he’s the only one left. On the line, the man asks for Dong-shik or Department Chief Oh, but Geu-rae has no idea who that is. He has to ask the guy in the neighboring cubicle for details, but that wait is enough for the impatient man to hang up.

Another call comes in, now to Department Chief Oh’s phone. Geu-rae picks up but can’t understand the Russian being spoken to him. He looks around and timidly grabs onto Young-yi’s shirt, asking her to help him. She reluctantly agrees and speaks in fluent Russian, promising to get back to him shortly. She hands Geu-rae the memo and walks away before he gets to thank her.

He thought that was the end, but it was only the beginning. The next call is in English, and he needs to drag Young-yi to take the call for him again. Geu-rae narrates his feelings as we get a montage of him chasing her around for help: “Honor, suspicion, pride… it’s not the time to think about any of that. I threw them to the chickens.”

Continuing his voiceover, he tells us, “I am a duck.” In a quick flashback, young Geu-rae reads that ducklings think that the first thing they see is their mother. “I am a duckling.”

Young-yi’s finally had enough and tells Geu-rae that she’s busy with her own work. She instructs him to tell the callers that everyone’s busy and just memo the name and contact information. He asks what to do with international callers, and she advises that he just hang up. He’s a little taken aback, but this is the only solution, as Young-yi isn’t picking up his slack anymore.

We move onto the resource team, where we’re introduced to JANG BAEK-KI (Kang Haneul). He’s apparently the presentation master, and he just finished up a presentation for the team in two versions for different computer compatibility. The team leader and manager are thoroughly impressed.

They move into a meeting room, where they discuss lunch plans. Baek-ki is on top of it, saying that he overheard their conversation earlier and reserved both their lunch options. Once again, they’re impressed and tell him to come to their team after passing his intern presentation.

The manager looks outside the room at Geu-rae, pointing out that he’s the intern that got in through some internal connection. The team leader makes a comparison with an anecdote about some kid who wrote a heartfelt letter to the chancellor of a school with a compelling reason for acceptance, but he dropped out soon after his admittance because he couldn’t keep up with the workload.

He adds that Geu-rae only has a high school equivalency degree, which grabs Baek-ki’s attention. He looks back at Geu-rae, and the team leader tells him to be nice to him, since he won’t be here for long.

Geu-rae walks back to Young-yi, this time wanting to thank her, but he’s intercepted by Baek-ki, who congratulates her on her successful deal and introduces himself to Geu-rae. He notes that Geu-rae is a late addition and offers to help him around, mentioning the copy machine fiasco. He adds that Geu-rae should take off his suit jacket once he arrives in the office, so clueless Geu-rae does as told.

We transition to Mom looking for a new suit for Geu-rae at the mall. But as soon as she’s told the price, she resorts to the cheaper alternative at the mart. She hesitates for a moment, but ultimately takes the affordable option.

It’s lunch time, and Geu-rae watches all his coworkers leave together. Young-yi sees him alone and approaches him, telling him it’s lunchtime and then asking whether he’s some mama’s boy who can’t do anything by himself. A bit offended, he says that he’s not that dumb; he just really isn’t hungry. A silence ensues, cuing his stomach to growl. Ha.

Geu-rae tries to join the other office interns in the elevator, but he’s told that the elevator is too full for him. He’s left behind while the rest of the guys gossip about how he’s the one that got his intern position without any sort of test. Baek-ki listens to this in silence.

Geu-rae takes the stairs down and gets a kind offer to sit with the group of bitter interns by Baek-ki, who extends his courtesy even further by suggesting that he join their intern study group. One bitter intern scoffs at this suggestion and asks Geu-rae where he graduated from college, expecting some big name school. But Geu-rae honestly replies that he only took a high school equivalency exam, which earns him looks of disbelief.

As the rest of the interns leave the cafeteria, the ace intern Young-yi comes down to eat and joins Geu-rae. Expecting him to deflect, she apologizes for earlier, but he accepts it nonchalantly. His character is still a bit of a mystery to her and me.

Geu-rae walks back home and reflects on his first day. He had overheard a conversation with the rest of the interns who degraded him, wondering what great connections landed him there. But one of their seniors suggested that they be nice to him; he won’t be around long, as there’s no room for him here. It may be sympathy, but it sounds more like pity.

On his walk home, Geu-rae passes by restaurants full of office workers, de-stressing from a long day of work. He walks past them, pretty deflated and emotionless. When he returns to his room, he sees his computer on one side and his baduk set on the other. Upset, he grabs his baduk set and throws it into his closet.

We get a flashback to younger Geu-rae and his aspirations to become a professional baduk player. In a voiceover, we get a reminder: “A path is not simply for walking; its purpose lies in moving forward and improving oneself. A path that fails to do this is not a path.”

While he’s heading off for work, he gets stopped by his teacher, who tells him to quit his part-time job. He understands that his family is having a difficult time, but he urges Geu-rae to quit his job and put his all into his final qualifying chance. But before he got a chance to do so, his father abruptly passed away, and he tells us, “That was the end of my path.”

As the young Geu-rae cleans out his books, he narrates: “It was not because of my lack of skill or bad luck. It was not because I was working alongside practicing. It was not because I came from a poor family. It was not because my father passed away. That would be too painful to accept. That’s why it had to be because I didn’t work hard enough. Even though I did work hard, I’m just going to believe that I didn’t.”

Back in the present, Geu-rae has a hard time falling asleep, as does Mom. She looks at the cheap suit she bought, having second thoughts. The next morning, Mom lies to Geu-rae that she didn’t have time to get him the suit, so he heads off to work in the same suit as yesterday.

Geu-rae gets to work early and starts by taking off his suit jacket like a normal office worker. He wanders around his office area and takes note of the caller extension list. Young-yi and Baek-ki arrive at work, and he comments on how he’s already used to the salaryman life. Their interaction is interrupted by a call to Young-yi, which she purposely doesn’t pick up.

Dong-shik walks into the office distressed and asks Geu-rae to get Department Chief Oh on the line. He doesn’t expect him to know what to do, but Geu-rae finally does something right in the office and connects him to the right person. Apparently there was a miscommunication, and jet-lagged Department Chief Oh needs to get to his next appointment as soon as he arrives at the airport from his business trip.

Department Chief OH SANG-SHIK (Lee Sung-min) rushes out of the airport, only to be met by heavy traffic on the road. He calls up Dong-shik and starts rattling on like a mad man about getting outside of your comfort zone to experience new things in life. Then he gets straight to the point: There’s no way he’s getting to his next meeting on time.

Dong-shik freaks out, needing to call the Department Manager, and Geu-rae is on his game. He connects him to the Department Manager, but Dong-shik’s face falls when he gets his orders. If Department Chief Oh is going to be late, he’s to send Geu-rae to the meeting. Uh-oh. Geu-rae is given a box of ginseng to present as a gift and sent off to prove that his 26 years weren’t for naught.

Geu-rae arrives at the location and stares at the foreigner from afar with a blank look, wondering what he is to do. Department Chief Oh arrives sometime afterwards, putting in eye drops and yelling at Dong-shik for sending this new intern kid out. He doesn’t even know English. But the deed is done, and all he can do is hope for the best.

When Department Chief Oh arrives, he’s surprised to see the client happily amused by a baduk template that Geu-rae drew. He doesn’t seem to mind that Department Chief Oh arrived late because he was occupied with the game. After sending the client off, he asks Geu-rae if he plays baduk well. Geu-rae denies his skill and lies that the simple baduk template is the extent of his abilities.

On the drive back to the office, Chief Oh asks Geu-rae what he did before coming to work for them. Geu-rae admits that he did nothing and intends to start from here. Chief Oh tells him that he’s lucky; Geu-rae wouldn’t have been accepted if he were in the office. But he gives Geu-rae a chance to speak up and advertise himself: “Sell yourself to me, or I might return you.”

Thinking on his feet, Geu-rae thinks back to what he’s best at and blurts out, “Effort!” His justification: “I haven’t used effort in my life so it’s a fresh new item ready for use.” Chief Oh looks at him like he’s crazy and tells him that he’s not buying. Haha.

Back at the office, Chief Oh gets back into the grind, and Geu-rae waits by his desk for further instructions. He explains to Geu-rae that he’s not buying his effort because it’s nothing special. But Geu-rae begs to differ, arguing that his quality of effort is different. So he’s given computer files to organize to prove it.

Mom decides to get the expensive suit and makes sure it’s the latest style. She takes out her large wad of cash, mostly likely her emergency stash. Aww, Mom.

Geu-rae looks through the mess of files that he needs to organize into folders. He thinks back to his younger days when he organized his baduk files into folders according to the flow of his thought processes. He’s a bit amused that even that skill comes to use here. He’s interrupted by a call from Mom, who’s in the lobby to give him the new suit. She wants him to have confidence wearing the new suit and leaves as quickly as she came.

Department Chief Oh is pleased with the translation work done by Young-yi and tracks her down. He thanks her and throws in a pitch for his team, hoping that the ace intern will choose to work under him.

While Geu-rae works hard on organizing the files, Chief Oh gets a call from Dong-shik notifying him that the seafood company they’re working with may have mixed squid with small octopus, which could lead to problems with their sales. He’s enraged by this news and says that he’ll terminate the contract if the squid is mixed with anything else. Under his breath, he says that he needs to call the Department Manager, so Geu-rae stays on top of his memorized extensions and connects him.

Geu-rae thinks about what Mom said and goes to change into his new suit. He looks spiffy in his new fitted suit, and he holds back tears as he looks at himself in the mirror.

Department Chief Oh converses with a coworker down the hallway and asks him to send him some good interns. In the room of interns, he lectures them about how this sauced squid will be shipped to the U.S., but the mixed-in small octopus makes the product impure. He orders them all to go to the factory and pick out the octopus by hand.

As soon as he leaves the room, the interns complain about the quality of work they have to do. One asks if Young-yi is excused because she’s a girl, but it’s because her team leader didn’t let her go. The ace doesn’t get told to do the dirty work. They all complain and Bitter Intern comments on how this work should be done by someone else, looking at Geu-rae. They all look at him accusingly.

Department Chief Oh takes a look at Geu-rae’s progress and seems impressed by his organization, which is by category and year. But he pitifully notes that it seems like Geu-rae has no friends; looking through the files felt like looking through a diary.

The interns are off on their squid sorting job, and everyone pairs up, of course leaving Geu-rae as the odd one out. Looking determined, Geu-rae prepares to dive into the large cylinders of squid to find the unwanted octopus.

After a while, the other interns are sick of working in the cold containers and doing the dirty labor, but Geu-rae is still on it, despite the obvious toll it’s going to take on his new suit. After a couple containers, he finally comes upon his first small octopus. When he gets a call, he tries to pick up and drops his phone into the watery squid pile. Ick.

It’s Department Chief Oh calling, and he eventually reaches Baek-ki to inform the interns that the search is over. The providers of the squid have agreed to negotiate a new deal. Baek-ki tells Bitter Intern to notify Geu-rae before they head out, but he’s not one to lose this opportunity. He doesn’t properly let Geu-rae know that the search is over and leaves him to work hard on his own.

When the intern team returns, Baek-ki realizes that Geu-rae has been left behind. Bitter Intern says it’s just hazing, but Baek-ki doesn’t seem amused. He calls the factory manager to tell Geu-rae that they’ve left.

The factory manager finds Geu-rae still searching through the squid containers and notifies him that the rest of his intern team left. His face falls when he realizes that he’s been left behind. Geu-rae tries to get a taxi home, but there are none in sight. The factory manager’s words echo in his mind: “How did you get left behind?” Dejected, Geu-rae sits alone at the bus stop and looks at his soiled new suit.

Geu-rae eventually finds his way back to the office and runs into Young-yi, who’s on her way out to the office dinner. She gets a call from Baek-ki, and she hands the phone over to Geu-rae. Baek-ki apologizes on behalf of Bitter Intern but hears the other interns laughing at him in the background. He’s been stepped on pretty badly, but he still decides to go to the dinner with Young-yi.

Once they arrive, he gets ridiculed some more but seems immune to the bullying by now. They’re invited inside, but Young-yi takes her leave, excusing herself because of the late hour. She greets Department Chief Oh before she leaves, and the rest of the interns flood out to greet him. He asks about Geu-rae’s horrid state, but Geu-rae replies by saying that he has work left to do in the office — the file organization.

Chief Oh tells him to go home and clean himself up, but Geu-rae refuses. He says he’ll finish it and have it ready by tomorrow morning. He turns around and walks away, narrating once again: “I worked hard. No, I didn’t work hard. That’s why I needed to break into society. That’s why I got left behind.”

 
COMMENTS

I was a little surprised at the darker and suppressed tone of the drama at first, but I appreciate the change of mood from our typical workplace dramas. It has a more realistic vibe to it, as opposed to the cute and fluffiness that usually accompany a workplace drama — which is more often than not a rom-com. I’m liking the muted tone of Misaeng, and I think the dull background of the workplace helps focus the attention on our characters, who are far more complex than their setting suggests. It’s a neat juxtaposition and somewhat reflective of reality — complexities that exist even in the most banal everyday settings. It’s a different kind of charm, and I like it.

Even though Geu-rae was an emotionless zombie throughout most of this episode — to be fair, Im Shi-wan is really good at that glazed-over look — there were enough hints and flashbacks to suggest that he has his reasons. It was poignant how he refused to blame his skill, luck, or circumstance for his failures because it would be too painful for him to accept. So he blamed his failure on his lack of effort, concluding that self-hatred is better than hating something he can’t control. He’s a tragic character, a victim of circumstance, and something about him makes me want to root for him. He’s the underdog of underdogs, and I just want him to succeed.

Young-yi is great so far, and I hope we see more of her intelligence at work in the office. I loved her introduction because it was tricky enough to have me fooled but effective as well, in showing what kind of person she is. She’s got the smarts and the audacity to be quite successful, so I hope we see more of that going forward. But just like the other characters, she’s more complex than her perfect ace intern exterior, and I’d be interested to see what makes her tick. Regarding Baek-ki, I don’t know how much of him I can trust. While he does seem fairly harmless, he does have a stealthy look in his eye sometimes. I want his intentions towards Geu-rae to be genuine, but I’m not sure of it just yet. He’s been the nicest of all the interns, but I’m not sure if that’s saying much since they’re all big assholes. But you know what would make me overlook his slight sketchiness? Bromance.

Overall, a pretty solid premiere episode. Personally, I don’t think it needed to be 90 minutes, but hey, not my call. I just think I saw the same scenes and faces multiple times throughout the episode. Not that any of the acting or faces are a pain to look at; they’re all great and I’m looking forward to more. I’m interested to see how Geu-rae goes from a clueless blank state to the pretty competent badass we saw at the beginning of the episode. He’s got two years to undergo the transformation, and I hope it’s as epic as that intro was.

 
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Thanks for the recap.

I'm enjoying how different this drama is.

Looking forward to see how the characters develop.

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Same here, I really thought wow, this drama feels so different from everything I have watched in Kdrama land. So can't wait for next weekend!

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You haven't watched very many k-dramas girl ^^ There are a lot of dark, heavy really good dramas out there. I would suggest Cain and Abel, Brain, I'm Sorry I Love You, Giant, Phoenix. I usually don't gravitate towards dark dramas so there probably are a lot more, but I do like this drama...I like the story a lot, but it did depress me...the rut of life...sigh

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I'd like to add Nice Guy or Innocent Man to the list above :)

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White Christmas was pretty dark.

Innocent Man/Nice Guy are just super makjang and contain all the stereotypical k-drama tropes and is something you turn off your brain and watch (question the plot/get shot) and I wouldn't say it's dark.

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Yep, if you ever go for Nice Guy just turn around quick and grab Secret instead. :)

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I think what @tweetpandora meantwas that it is different not by it being dark but by just being an actually different kind of drama. There are alot of dramas that incorporate office jobs etc but this manhwa became so popular becuase of how it realistically portrayed office life in korea and i think that came through in the drama adaption. I'm guessing we are still gonna get the romance, backstabbing etc. but what i think makes this drama so different from numerous other kdramas is actual plot and content in that it deals entirely with office life.

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2 episodes in and this is undoubtedly the best drama out right now. The characters feel REAL and saying that for a korean drama is surreal. Excited to see Im Siwan and Kang Sora continue to develop, as well as the boss and Baek-Ki.

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Thank you for the recap, dramallama.

I also enjoyed the first episodes and am very happy, DB picked it up for recap.

I iked the realistic undertones of worklife but also the diverse cast. The whole Sales team 3 is awesome, and so is Young-yi. FINALLY an incredibly competent (female) character in Dramaland (aside from the spy dramas, I've never watched any, but I assume the females there must have some level of competence).

HaNeul is yummy! <3 And in light of all the bullying that is already going on among the interns I REALLY don't want him to turn evil, but I have a hunch he will. *sigh* Let's hope it will be reasonable-evil at least.

Oh, and can anyone tell me if you can read Misaeng online in English? I spent hours looking for it - cant find it anywhere!

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Oh sorry, I thought you were asking about k-Drama not webtoon

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"Oh, and can anyone tell me if you can read Misaeng online in English?" - Do you mean the webtoon? To my knowledge there is no English translation atm but there could be one in the foreseenable future due to overwhelming response from the drama adaptation.

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I sure hope so! I've seen snippets of the artwork and I love it!

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I think HaNeul would have been a great lead. I like the current Ga-Reum, but I think HaNeul should have been the lead.

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The fastest website is probably myasiantv.com! They have a BUNCH of the new korean movies as well!

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This episode felt (and was) sooooo loooong. My patience was running thin by the middle of it.

This certainly a unique drama and I applaud the fact that they're doing something different... but it's not my cup of tea. Way too realistic and depressing for my tastes.

I'm happy to see Kang Sora playing an intelligent and competent character. She's really great. And I love Kang Ha Neul, but I'm disappointed that he's only playing a side character.

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Yes, I don't quite understand why KHN is second lead either but I was looking at his resume and maybe he doesn't have enough experience yet to be the lead? I thought he was more popular after AE and Heirs but I guess not, well, as Heirs itself showed, sometimes it is better to steal a show. I hope his character gets enough space to do that.

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There was an interview with him where he said he has no ambitions to play a lead character.

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Ahaahahah, c'mon! Best joke ever. :)

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Eh, but it's true! Boy doesn't even love the camera. His true love is theatre - on-stage, real, live, first-hand acting. According to him, he does dramas to possibly direct people's attention to the fledgling Korean theatre scene (And I don't mean musicals).

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I saw that article - I think it's not that he doesn't want lead roles, but he wants interesting roles, and won't calculate on lead/supporting etc. Also I think he mentioned that the stress of carrying something is massive, which is a frank acknowledgment, but something of a risk to say. Perhaps it's just that he's not rushing toward leads and will let it happen how it happens.

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Hmmm, I like it, that kind of frank acknowledgment raises my respect for him. I hope he sticks to this – taking on roles that truly interest him, rather than just going to the lead just because that's what everyone is supposed to want.

He might do better off branching into to film though. Yeah for the appreciation of theatre as well.

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I know. Honestly he is lead actor material. I really like him in Angel Eyes. He could play Ga-Reum in his sleep.

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I don't think Ha-Neul is suitable to play Ga-Reum as he comes across as rather worldly and jaded & cynical. To me, Ga-Reum's character is full of innocence and naivety, like he has been living in a world of his own, fully immersed in his baduk, with no friends and social life at all. Si-Wan with his sweet innocent face seems more suited for the role. And so far, he's doing great, I keep wanting to give him a motherly hug to comfort him...

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We never know unless we see him committed to the role

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I think Im Shi-wan is much better for the character of Geu-rae, while Kang Ha-nuel is actually doing very interesting things with the character he has, so I'm happy with things like this :)

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I loved the episode (could've handled 3 hrs) and thought Shiwan and Sora's acting were amazing, which may be due to that I am a huge fan of the webtoon and enjoy seeing the characters finally come to life. I really wish there were more dramas like Miesang that tackled the mundane and relatable (not that I don't enjoy a little fantasy and absurdity every now and then)

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Are you me? I enjoyed the first two episodes so much, it's a refreshing change from most of the other K-dramas right now. No chaebols, no birth secrets, no geniuses. But a drama about real people living their life.

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Are you 2 me?! I can't remember the last time I was so into a drama from the get-go (I normally cheat and see from recaps and comments on this site if I should invest 15+ hours of my time on a drama), but this one had me at hello :-D didn't want it to end.

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IOIL? Its Okay Its Love?

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Actually Misaeng may seem different and new, but honestly, relatable/mundane has been done in the past and done well. Actually there are a lot of older k-dramas out there that are really good and tackle the mundane/relatable. The recent trend in makjang is because the trailblazers did so well, that the subsequent dramas included 'makjang' elements that worked so well for earlier dramas, resulting in the tired tropes we see for the past few years. Actually these tropes are fine by me if done with a twist or in a fresh way.

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Yes! That is exactly it. Well put.

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Me too. Last I felt like this was with IOIL, which isn't all that long ago, but then that drama was the first in months and months that felt "real".

I hope this one stays as good as it started.

Anyone one know the background of the writer / director / producer behind this one?

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Forgive my ignorance which one is IOIL?

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IOIL = It's Okay It's Love

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I recall reading somewhere that the writer & director previously worked on Monstar.

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Thanks! for spelling it out (couldn't reply below), maybe will give that a go, a friend has been trying to get me to watch it.

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The director also co-directed Sungkyunkwan Scandal and the writer wrote Arang and the Magistrate.

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I liked Monstar, although it fell a bit apart at the end. But it had real, heart-warming feel about it. And it certainly wasn't shy about the darker things – bullying included (anyone remember Kyu-Dong's duet with Se-yi?). Even suicide came up.

Arang I never finished watched (need to do that), but that was well-written from all I've heard (and the impression I had from watching part of it).

@tweetpandora – I much much recommend that one.

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I believe the writer previously worked on Arang and the Magistrate (which also used baduk, only on a heavenly level, ha)

The Arang connection was enough to sell me, even without the cast.

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>Even though Geu-rae was an emotionless zombie throughout most of this episode — to be fair, Im Shi-wan is really good at that glazed-over look — there were enough hints and flashbacks to suggest that he has his reasons.

Thank you!!! :) I thought it was just me.
I have to say it wasn't obvious if he had reasons for that or not, at least, not for me. I felt he was pretty much the same in the past so I kept wondering if the guy had some emotional/mental problem? I kept thinking if maybe the guy was just a bad actor? It was confusing regarding that and pretty repetitive on other scenes, if it was just a 45 min show would have been better. Still, I thought I hated it and 24h later it is not true, it had some good things, enough to make me give ep 2 a chance anyway.

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It may be just me, but the words "it had to be because I didn't work hard enough" are the key to Jang Geu-rae - he hates himself for all that's happened to him. Which is why he keeps taking the abuse meted out to him so quietly, and why he's so willing to sacrifice his pride and beg for help. Which is the exact opposite of most kdrama heroes.

His self-esteem is pretty much in the pits and he's totally out of his depth and knows it, it's not that hard to see why he's so dazed/subdued/zombielike. And yeah, the hard-luck life and continuous underemployment probably sent him into depression, which definitely counts as a mental/emotional problem.

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I like your explanation, if he's depressed, or close to it, then I can understand his behavior better. I'd like more clues about his past, something to connect the dots, believe it or not I'm feeling curious about ep 2, guess I'll watch it tonight.

These words you quoted are part of the positive elements that stuck with me, I also like that he is original in the kdrama world.

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Actually, I think the acting is perfectly in line with the current state of GR character.

He is shell-shocked; finding himself in an entirely foreign world into which he has stepped.

However, he is not totally lost because, from the voice-overs, one can tell that he is aware of his personal limitations and what is going on around him. He is conscious and alert to his new environment.

He just doesn't have the worldly experience which would have prevented his mistakes. But, those are things that he can and will learn.

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I don't know if this might be an explanation but a lot of professional chess/Go players are quite emotionally detached or they have the habit of showing no emotion at all. Chess is stressful game that requires great concentration and control over emotions, so after years of playing this game, the players kinda develop an emotionless exterior without realizing it themselves. Geu rae might have depression at some point but I don't think it is the main reason for his zombie look. He's just like a typical Go kid whose personality, emotion and confidence are expressed through the Go board. Throwing him into the hectic business world, he will be a fish out of the water, unable to keep up with the competitive environment where social skills are the key if you don't want to be eaten alive.

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"I don’t know if this might be an explanation but a lot of professional chess/Go players are quite emotionally detached or they have the habit of showing no emotion at all." - Hmm, that's interesting and good to know. Yay I love dramas where I get to learn about general characteristics of people dabbling in certain areas!

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That is very true. My son grew up playing chess. If you just met him, you would have no idea what he is thinking. Even if you knew him well, you would have no idea. Just like Gue Rae lost his father at a young age, my son lost his father at a young age. This can cause what psychologists call an "identity crisis." My son dropped out of college because he did not see the point of it. This character is very realistic.

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This was utterly depressing, but oh so relatable. Like Office Space, but not funny. I just wanted to comfort him the entire time. We've all had first days on the job. We've all not known how to use a copy machine. It's okay. His co-workers are vile. That intern can go choke on an octopus for all I care.

I did not realize the Mission Impossible sequence took place in the future (present). When he fielded the international calls, I kept wishing he really were a spy, which would mean he actually can speak foreign languages but can't risk revealing his real identity. Kang Sora's multilingual skills are impressive. Young Yi is just an all-around kickbutt character.

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thank you for the recap!i already finished watching the 1st 2 episodes and I watched it TWICE! I love that it has this dorama feel that i missed.And thank God they choose really good actors for this.I hope the story will continue to be awesome....I hope someone can offer a LINK for the webtoon...i really want to read about it(in english)..hahhahahah..thanx

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Between Misaeng and Liar's Game, K-drama nights just got a lot more interesting!! I really loved Im Shi-Wan's portrayal of Geu Rae, caught myself crying more than once!! I hope this show gets a lot of attention, I am impressed with its realistic take on office life. Not an orange suit in the whole place!

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LOL!!!! Second you on that orange suit, cos ya, orange, pink and other funky colors are not common place in most grind house corporate environments.

I love that though he seems emotionless, he invokes emotions in me to want to root for him, to want to let his intelligence somehow shines through.

A big thank you to Dramallama for picking this up!!!

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I wasn't really feeling liar game to be honest,it's not a bad show but this show is so so much better to me.

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Thanks for the recap! 90 mins is long when you have to transcript & screencap everything so it's appreciated.
Of the 4 dramas that started this week, this is the best for me. I'm also happy to find a good tvN show cause their latest dramas were disappointing.
I'm not a fan of ISW but I think he is doing good here.
For all the people who know what office work can be like, it's utterly relatable and yes, sometimes it sucks donkey balls.
I hope it will stay a good show till the end. *crossing gingers*.

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90 mins is long when you have to transcript & screencap everything so it’s appreciated

Right? Coming up with a good recap involves a lot of time and effort, so dramallama definitely deserves an appreciative shoutout for recapping such a long episode. Three cheers for dramallama!

I haven't started this drama yet, but now y'all have got me excited about it.

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Thank you for the recap dramallama. First episode and I am already rooting for Geu-rae, and so excited to see how his relationship with Chief Oh turn out. Kang Sora is so pretty here. ^^

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I've been waiting for this drama. I'm still high after finishing first ep of liar game. I love it so far so I hope Misaeng will be interesting too.

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I'm totally hooked in this drama! The story is relatable since its a life of a newbie office worker. Its kind of sad how the senior treat their intern like they're already expecting them noobs to know what to do in the get go. Lol that asst manager already so pissed though I understand they feel cheated regarding his admission which I wonder how he able to enter such company easily. Kang sora is such an eye candy and I miss her in this corporate role since ugly alert. this drama is good so far. Please keep the tone and realism drama!

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhh I was so so hoping someone would pick up this drama. It is a drama that has made me regret watching things as they air! I am totally in love with it so far. Glad there will be a platform to discuss this gem of a drama thanks Dramalama!!

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Thanks for the recap!

I'm really liking this so far. Great, compelling characters all around. I like each actor's take on their character, and that includes Im Shi-wan, the only one I've never really seen before this.

Despite the depressing tone, I think this show has the potential to become ultimately very heartwarming (as episode 2 already hints at! Omg, I cried.). There's something about Jang Gue-rae's struggle that just gets me and I can't wait to see him succeed!

I do think this episode could have been shorter, but it still did a good job of pulling me in. I do think that episode 2 was a lot better though and I'm glad they're doing 60 minute eps from now on.

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I'm loving it so far. It's got a J-dorama feel to it, more so than a k-drama one, which makes me hope we'll have no love triangle (or none that is significant). Even if Baek-ki seems interested in Young-yi, I'm hoping there won't be love scheming and manipulations, but bromance instead.

The drama felt right out of life – even if I'm  not sure which life (I'd hope it wouldn't be so extreme at a new workplace, that the competition and bullying wouldn't be quite so terrible, or, at least that there would be someone a little bit kinder and more welcoming...).

Tugged at my heartstrings this one. That poor Geu-rae! Im Shi-wan isn't the most experienced actor, but the glazed-over looked, I felt, was appropriate for the first episode(s). He was really beaten down and I felt his pain and suffering that made him hunch over and slowing disappear even more than he already was invisible before as a person. He's not given a chance. Maybe he messed up in the past, or maybe he didn't put enough effort, but it's pretty clear that he's just being judged too (in the hypocrisy in that judgment is esp. hard-hitting, but that's for ep 2), without people giving him an actual chance. I'm glad to see there's brilliance hiding within Geu-rae – a brilliant mind, but also one that needs "growth" – social skills, working with others, and some basic skills (like photocopying) that he was never taught. And self-confidence (it's obviously at -100 at the moment!).

Young Yi totally had me fooled with her introductory scene! She's doing well with the languages too, she must have prepared really thoroughly.

I was fine with the 90 minutes, I watched ep 1 and 2 back to back and I'd have watched more if more had been available!

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Apparently she only have one two-hour tutor session for Russian and listened to a bunch of recordings afterwards. Needless to say, I was super impressed.

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I don't speak Russian, but the English was certainly some of the best I've yet heard in a k-drama. She needs to either show others who to prepare for lines in other languages or they need to cast her in those dramas where foreign languages are required!

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Well, her Russian was like the usual Engrish we hear from Korean 'multilingual' characters. But since her English was soo good, I didn't even mind.

Also, Russian is not used a lot in asian dramas, so I take it where I get it.

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LOL. To a non-Russian speaker, it sound good. Maybe that's how normal k-drama English sounds to non-English speakers. Though to be fair, I don't think I'd pick up ANY Russian at all if I were only given a two-hour session.

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Dang, I thought she sounded really fluent in Russian.

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The English was a breath of fresh air. Both Sora and Shiwan actually. Though I think he only said one line. I usually give a lot of leeway with second languages regardless because I'm sure I'd sound hilarious speaking Korean. Plus, it's not like English is superior or anything (which us English speakers sometimes tend to forget). What I usually gripe about is them having people who are supposed to be awesome in English (the foreigners) be awful. Plus, the really cringe-worthy acting that usually accompanies it.

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Did Siwan say anything in English already? I couldn't recall.

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@JJK In the opening scene in Jordan he did.

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Agreed, those melancholy overtones of mundane everyday tasks are very typical for Japanese drama - maybe this is why so many of us feel drawn to it. It's not your typical Korean makjang, and you can relate to the characters. Nothing is black and white, everyone has a life outside the office, everyone has a story.

Oh, and I also didn't notice the 90 minutes, they just flew by. :)

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Yup, it feel refreshing to watch the splendor of Korean drama with a hint of J-drama. I imagine I'll watch this until it finished, a real ordeal for K-drama (for me)

The last drama I watched that I feel this much sympathy to the lead character is Peter no Soreatsu (a mystery drama but the LC really likeable)

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I keep hearing people say it's like a j-drama, but the only jdramas I've seen are rather too over the top and slapstick and nothing like this drama at all. So what dramas are you talking about when you say it's like a jdrama because I'd desperately like to see them.

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I was fine with the 90 minutes too! I was really hoping that it's 90 minutes for the second episode too (like what they did with Answer Me 1994) but sadly that didn't happen :(

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You and me both! I found it whizzed by!

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Hehehe, yeah, if every episode were 90 minutes, I wouldn't be the one to complain! Not at this point at least!

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I'm impressed with kang sora's english. She didn't sound weird and her acting flows well with her pronunciation

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Yeah I was so impressed with her English I assumed she spent some time in the states/aus/CAN. Don't think she has, she just good. From my useless looking up I did find out she played Merida in the Korean dubbing of Brave. FUN Facts!

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Baek-ki intrigues me, but honestly, at this point he seems more interested in Geu-rae than Young-yi, I don't know if I even read him as being romantically interested in Young-yi as anything but the star intern. And he does have a double-edged quality to him- he seems genuine in his concern after the jackasses left Geu-rae in the squid factory, but at the same time his demeanour is a bit suspicious.

I'm really impressed by Kang Sora's language skills and how good she is at portraying an air of competence without being a cliche about it. I was amused to see Geu-rae struck dumb by her beauty (and that presentation! Way to make an impact) but I don't mind if there's no love line. I did find the scene of him dragging her back and forth to ask for help, quite amusing though.

And I'm really looking forward to more of Lee Sung-min. He owns his role from the moment he appears onscreen, and they couldn't have chosen better for an actor who can both command an audience's attention completely and still feel like an average, very relatable, team leader.

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Yay, i waited for a recap on db :D

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I am really enjoying this drama dispite the fact that I dislike most of the characters. Si-won and So-ra are saving the show from being too mean. But the work environment created on the show is extremely relatable.
I do like that the show is keeping the origins of Gue-Rae's hiring ambiguous. Everyone's hate on his character keeps building on a rumor started by Dong-shik, which everyone just accepts as fact. If I have to see this "puppy" continually get "kicked while he's down", there will be some strong words that will need to be yelled at my television.

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I love this show!

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Am I the only one who cried? His character is just so pitiful. There's some criticism over GR's portrayal. That he's too into his self-pity, but I actually liked it. For me, this is someone who's had hardships all his life and doesn't have any friends. So, I don't think it would've been realistic for him to be in tune with those around him.

OMG, thank you! I'm not the only one who thinks BK isn't to be 100% trusted. I don't know why, but something about him rubs me the wrong way. Even though his actions are nice towards GR so far, I can't tap into their genuineness. Nor can I tell if there's an ulterior motive.

I like this drama so far. It's different. I didn't mind the 90 minutes either.

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I was close too tears and certainly had multiple moments of "he needs a hug! Now!" I was cheering for Young-yi to give him that hug though they had barely met and it would, of course, be totally out of character for her – but I think she's definitely already picked up that something is a little different about him.... something that she can relate too. I think that's why she helped him too – he approached her in a way that the rest of the fawning males in the office never would.

I don't see him as self-pitying, to me this a very broken character that's at the very bottom of the pit and the social hierarchy. Places that other people can't even imagine, because they were born into more fortunate circumstances to begin with that gave them chances without trying. They may shed sweat and tears just like him, but their hard work has a certain privilege – of choice and chance – about it.

Geu-rae reminds me of Tatsuo (from the J-film The Light Only Shines There), a character that was completely in a one-man-shell (for different reasons, but it's a similar kind of disconnect-with-the-world and the same kind of nonforgiving judgment from others).

Baek-ki: My hunch is that he makes sure that it looks like he's following all the rules, he's not like the guy who openly plays a prank, but much, much smarter. More likely wearing a friendly smile on his face and never putting a toe out of line while collecting useful "data" – and then striking in the moment where it's really going to matter. It could end up different – maybe there'll be a friendship – but with another character introduced in episode two, I'd guess at the moment that this other character will be the friend (eventually) and Baek-ki the foe.

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+1

Yes to everything. I especially agree about Geu-rae not being self-pitying. I actually think he takes everything that comes at him precisely because he doesn't pity himself. He only blames his own choices in life for reaching the point he is now, instead of going, "Why me?" and blaming his circumstances. If anything, he's wrestling with self-blame, but it's not to the extreme where he thinks himself completely worthless and lacking in potential.

This, I think, is why I like him so much. He does blame himself for not working hard enough, and has the appropriate shame when it comes to that, but that's as far as it goes. Meaning that, when he walked away at the end of this episode and we hear his inner voice saying "Because I didn't work hard, that's why I was left behind", it felt more to me like he was declaring, "Now that I'm working hard, no one will be able to leave me behind." Because he actually does believe in his potential and he's anxious to let that potential come through now that he has the opportunity. At least that's my take. And I feel that need of his so keenly that I'm already so invested in this drama!

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What I like about Geu-rae is that he faces things. He knows what he doesn't know and he wants to fill the gap. He just can't do it alone.

He asks Young-yi for help – there's no fawning, there's no pretending, no pride, he's just straight up honest. His response to her apology shows the same kind of sincerity.

The other interns play a terribly cruel prank on him that would have everyone crawling home and curl up crying in their bed, yet he goes to face them when he finally makes it back.

He confronts his superior, telling him straight to the face that he hasn't got the skills and doesn't know but he wants to be learn and that he wants his superior to teach him.

I'm not sure he truly believes in his potential just yet, but he does at least possess the drive to wanting to learn – not just give up.

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"He confronts his superior, telling him straight to the face that he hasn’t got the skills and doesn’t know but he wants to be learn and that he wants his superior to teach him." - I love this part too! I also love that how he is being so utterly frank when the boss asks him about what he has to offer as an intern and he said that it's his effort - brand new and massive in quantity and quality.

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Well, I agree he's definitely hit rock bottom. But I think he's deceiving himself into thinking it was something beyond his control. Which is where I believe his "self-pity" is coming from. Though, I'd say his character's closed off because he hasn't been given the chance to be anything else more than he's just wallowing in sadness.

He's also really harsh on himself. Even harsher than those around him (imagine that with all the jerks in this show). I really look forward to Sang-Shik knowing more about him. Because right now, everyone just thinks "he's unqualified and got it because of connections," which certainly is the case, but there's a backstory. Both to Gue-rae and to why the executive director gave him this chance.

*Spoilers ahead* To those who didn't watch episode 2.

Hm. Good assessment on Baek-ki. I kind of wonder whether he's not even malicious so much as really goal-oriented and stopping at nothing to get what he wants. We see this in episode 2 (not wanting to be Young-yi straight up to be his partner because she may overshadow him, if the translations I read were accurate).

Anyway, I really like the drama. And I love both Young-yi's and Gue-rae's characters so far.

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But I think he’s deceiving himself into thinking it was something beyond his control. Which is where I believe his “self-pity” is coming from.

??

I took it a completely different way though. To me, his "I didn't work hard enough" was him drilling into himself that he is NOT a victim of his circumstances, that he CAN and WILL grasp anything and do anything to succeed. Success is in his hands.

I do think that he understands that his circumstances have hindered him but he is purposely deceiving himself that they have not. When he says that if he failed due to all those circumstances, then it would have been too sad, I took it to mean that it would have been too sad if he failed because of uncontrollable situations. And so if he believes that he failed because he didn't work hard enough then it would mean that he believes that he has a chance at success. He just hasn't worked hard enough to grab it yet. (Which we all know is not true.)

I thought it was him instilling hope in himself and not allowing himself to drown in hopelessness.

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This is exactly what I think too!

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I think he really does believe he's a victim though. Even if he won't admit it. But I also think that he does have hope that if he works hard enough, it'll pay off.

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I also cried buckets, especially in episode 2. I don't know what it is, but something about Geu Tae just seizes my heart!

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The premiere impresses me a lot. Im Si-wan portrayal of Geu-rae wows me with the body language and the facial expression (or maybe it’s just my own imagination): there seems to be anger and jadedness underneath that emotionless and somewhat innocent facade. Geu-rae is really relatable (photocopying documents page by page instead of putting them through the feeder - that’s totally me). And seeing Geu-rae being awkward during his first day at work, dealing with unhelpful colleagues/superiors and walking around in oversized office wear sadden me a lot. The octopus/squid incident is the ultimate thing that earns my sympathy for Geu-rae. I also really like Geu-rae’s voiceovers and the subtle reference to paths in the baduk game when he is talking about paths in life. Baek-ki and Young-yi are complex enough characters that I can’t fully grasp who they are by the end of the first episode but the second episode offers clearer insights.

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The photocopying was totally real. I've seen that happen all the time.

Just ask someone - anyone – to do multiple copies double-sided and stapled (and possibly with the larger original image size shrunk to fit the standard paper size) ––– many don't realise that copy machines can do this for you, and when they do realise can't figure out how or stand there fiddling around for 30 minutes and wasting lots of paper. (Myself included at first.)

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This is great. Somehow I feel that this will be the most realistic drama after The End of the World.

I did think Ep 1 was a bit too long but by Ep everything picked up and I super love the interaction between Gue Rae and Chief Oh!

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I loved it and the second episode, that being said I'd say it's not to everyone's taste. In fact I'd say it's the kind of thing where you either love it or hate it no middle ground.

Misaeng reminds me more of Japanese dramas than Korean dramas I hope Misaeng rewards me by not having love lines.

I don't trust Baek-Ki something about his supposed kindness feels off.

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i never watched siwan's drama before but i've to admit he's really good portraying geu rae, i can feel what he feels. your first day, alone, everybody is busy but you didn't know what to do in loudly workspace, and the first job you received was copy filed.

i think most of people feel the same.

after watching ep 2, i really love geu rae and yes, i want him to be success. he's underestimated and i hope he can turn back people's opinion and prove he's a hard worker. really hard worker.

thx for the recap!
now i wait the recap for the three musketeers, hihi

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"It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea"

-At first I wondered at this sentence as I thought this drama had the most realistic story and relatable characters among all other drama airing right now.May be it's because I'm used to watching J-dramas and this drama somehow gives a similar vibe. But the more I think about it, I more I understand that it may be just too realistic and true to real life corporate world to suit the taste of some audiences. That's why I was surprised, pleasantly, when I saw that this drama is receiving good ratings in Korea.E02 got 2.35! So Yaay for Misaeng :)

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I watch more J-dramas, and I watch a lot of films – both Japanese and Korean – which often are much more realistic and can go very dark, so it's very much my cup of tea. And I'm not actually particularly interested in work/office dramas!

But I guess many people just want light and/or more escape-from-reality dramas (the latter also including the overly contrived makjang stories that just wouldn't happen in real life)... Which is all fine, though I hope that k-dramas will do more than throw us the occasional treat of this sort.

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yeah, i guess that makes sense. not everyone wants to come home from a grueling day of work and turn on the tv to see the exact same things reflected back at them. realistic, but painfully so in a way that some people might prefer to forget about once they're home.
i'm a college student, and i'm applying for jobs at companies like this because...i need a job, and i'm so afraid that my life will turn out like this...dull, monotonous, alone, ostracized. "so follow your heart! chase your dreams!" is just fairytale bullshit when job=money, and you need it.
on a different note, i disagree with the recapper's description of him as an "emotionless robot." even if his facial expressions are carefully controlled, the emotion, i think, comes out very strongly. even if he's not crying or shaking in anger at how he's being bullied, his quietness, the way he listens in the background and how still he is in those moments, etc., those say it all.
also, i'm not opposed to romance in the drama, although like other people, i hope it doesn't become the central focus of the story. just a factor that makes him happy and gradually change his outlook of working at an office.

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I have this uncertain feeling to watch this drama but after 2 episode I can say I see myself in Gue Rae that's make me feel it's interesting to watch.

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Watching Siwan suffering like this, it was too much for my poor heart.
Before I could realize, I was totally invested in his character. I want Geu Rae to succeed and will be happy to follow his adventures in the corporate world.
Loving all the actors, btw. Siwan, Haneul and Sora are among my favorites and they are doing such a good job here. :)

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Since Secret Love Affair this is the first show, that really got to me in ep 1. Love the realistic approach and all the actors are doing a very good job. Kang Ha Neul esp. is really good in giving off ambiguous vibes.

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I enjoyed every second of this drama. I think eventually JGR will come to see it as a game of baduk and start playing the stones of the co-workers on the board of the office/company. His picking of his partner, compared to being picked, was pretty impressive progress and the beginning of the game.

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Thanks for the recap, dramallama. The 1 ep was 90 min? Didn't even realize it, really. I like the pace very much and the real feel to it - the way people are so territorial in their jobs, feels too real. His father's old over sized suit on the first day - I wanted to cry for Gue Rae. What makes him tick? That's what I wonder. So far, so good.

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"His father’s old over sized suit on the first day – I wanted to cry for Gue Rae." - This gets to me by the end of the episode too!

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Really liked the tone and delivery of the show. It was a good first two episodes, and I'm looking forward to the story.

I haven't read the source material, but from the first episode, Baek-ki seems like the worse out of the interns. He acts outwardly friendly and caring, but he's actually manipulating situations to stir antagonism while keeping himself pristine and proper. For example, Baek-ki knew that Geu-rae only had a high school equivalency exam to his credit because his supervisors were talking about it, but then he deliberately calls Geu-rae over to the interns' table during lunch and asks him in front of everyone where he went to college. It seems like an innocent question, but Baek-ki's intention was to out Geu-rae in front of everyone. In addition, he could have went and told Geu-rae to stop looking, but he purposefully sent the bitter intern. Even the bitter intern isn't stupid to Baek-ki's ploy because he says that Baek-ki knew this would happen when he sent him to fetch Geu-rae in the first place. All the while, Baek-ki takes on the role of "caring intern" so that the others look favorably upon him while in reality Baek-ki's the one scheming and only being outwardly friendly. Maybe he'll change and there'll be a "bromance" but I just don't see it happening.

However, I do think there could be good relations with Geu-rae and the nice but bumbling intern (forgot his name) if the latter is able to continue in the this cut-throat world.

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Good thing that his fake charms don't work on Young-yi. I had to LOL on him trying to find out if she has a partner and her misinterpreting it as a rejection of being partners. :D Go, Young-yi!

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I don't think it was Baek-ki who asked about the college – it was someone else at the table.

But it was Baek-ki who invited him to the study group, which prompted the question about college. He's cunning, very cunning.

Good point about the prank from the bitter intern – Baek-ki would know better than to ask that guy to pass on the message. Never mind that he could have checked the cars before they all set off if he was that concerned about leaving someone behind!

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Thanks for the correction. It's hard to keep track of the details especially while trying to separate the two episodes. I guess my own presumptions must have influenced how I thought of Baek-ki afterwards. But yes, he's still very cunning! He's quite smart, and though I don't like the character, I'm interested in him and his influence in Geu-rae's story.

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Yup, the moment Baek-ki asked the biggest jerk of all the interns to go get Geu-rae, I was like, "Really dude? I'm already suspicious of your kindness, but now I'm sure you're up to something." Because now, in front of the interns, he's the one guy sticking up for GR (i.e. inviting him to lunch, yelling at the pranksters, calling to look for him). He's definitely got an angle and I'm looking forward to seeing that come forth.

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Baek-ki's the greatest pretender, pretending to be nice and kind and caring, but in reality, scheming and manipulating the other interns to do the dirty work. He not only sent the bitter intern to pass the message, he stopped the nice intern who was going to do it in the first place.

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Thanks for the recap :)!

As I was watching the first two episodes I had many different thoughts and observations, but I may have forgotten quite a few of them by now, lol!

The feeling of being a newbie was captured so well, in addition to the fact that many people don't know how to teach. A new comer enters a place that functions in a certain way and it is taken for granted that he/she will know what has to be done. If more than one question is asked in order to clarify something, then those already part of the organization will become annoyed. Instead of carefully teaching and tailoring his/her instruction to the learning capabilities of the newbie, the appointed instructor/supervisor/teacher, etc. will brush through things and expect to be understood. This part of the story was so well done that I really felt for our lead man.

I'm liking the tone so far. And I'm eyeing Kang Haneul's character carefully. Beware the person who is all smiles and appears to be your friend, lol!

Speaking of Kang Haneul, did anyone feel like he/she was getting a little Monstar reunion? LOL! I swear I saw at least three actors from that drama :). Kang Haneul's character in this drama, just as in Monstar, watched wrong doings taking place but did nothing to stop them.

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"Speaking of Kang Haneul, did anyone feel like he/she was getting a little Monstar reunion? LOL! I swear I saw at least three actors from that drama :)" - Who else was in Monstar? I vaguely recalled that Bitter Intern was in it. Who else?

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Yeah! The third one is poor Radio. The funny thing is that the three of them are kind of reprising their roles from Monstar.

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Love love it! My new-est crack ;)

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LOL!!! Crack? So true . Honestly I can't stop laughing!!! :-D

But seriously, I love this series from the get-go. So poignant and well acted. Quality plus.

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+1

My new crack as well. I look forward to this one the most and have too many moments when I want to put my hand on his shoulder and give him a little pep talk to not give up.

Siwan...love this kid so far and how about the opening scene? Awesome seems too mild to describe it - maybe awesomely unexpected? Felt like a movie...loved it!

Also, I love Lee Sung Min and hoping he will bring on the older bromance.

Kang Haneul...great job on being able to change he look - chameleon. Here's rooting for his character to stay on the good,, bromance side.

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I'm enjoying this drama immensely and totally relate to Geu Rae's character. I was Geu Rae:
Many years ago right after I had graduated from college, the company that I got into needed qualified computer operators. At that time, it was totally dominated by men, and I was one of the first woman to get in after scoring high on a computer aptitude exam after having no computer experience. The first day of work, the men refused to train me who were especially envious that I had a college degree. Luckily, one male just have taken pity on me and showed me the ropes and directed me to the computer procedures manual. After a few years, I became the lead operator, trained new operators, and wrote new procedures at work and continued my career there. My mentor who was gay just passed away this year, and I appreciate his kindness in helping me that day. It was hard, doggie dog competitiveness at the work place, but you have to resolve to work hard nevertheless and be above the office pettiness politics.

Can't wait to see why Geu Rae is in Jordan flying around rooftops.

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I relate to your story Suzi Q.

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend.

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I LOVE this drama. It owns me. It had me within the first hour, from when Jang GeuRae first stepped into that office. I totally related to him being lost. In office, it's like war and they don't slow down to explain things to stupid little newcomers. Besides not understanding whatever they're doing anyway, office regulars also like to use some self-made and self-accepted abbreviations for simple phrases that they expect you to know, even though it's not searchable on the internet and the newcomer is just completely lost.

I understand GeuRae SO MUCH because I also have very horrible first days. The whole day, people are just whizzing around you, barking something seemingly simple-but-completely-nonsensical-to your-ears at you and you just stand there thinking "What?", not catching a single thing. And most people wouldn't snap right to your face but you would never miss that flash of irritation and annoyance across their face which stabs like a knife into your heart. And I totally get him searching for his mama duck.

And I loved that scene in which GeuRae came to work extra early just so that he could familiarize himself with his workplace and sneak a look here and there, read the charts on the walls to understand what's going on, because I totally do that too.

This drama owns me, heart and soul and now I understand it's cult following.

I don't really have much to say about the others other than the obvious. I think Jang BaekKi is one of those who won't care to outright bully anyone but is not above leaving a poor guy to fend for himself. I do think he has a mean streak but he is never one to dirty his own hands. After all, there is no need to make enemies, since anyone can be useful at any unexpected time.

I remember a scene right after BaekKi was told that GeuRae got left behind. He acted all pissed and Bitter Intern griped that BaekKi totally expected and wanted that to happen, to which I was all "Yeah, I agree, but why were you so stupid to fall for it, loser?"

I admit that Misaeng hit too close to home for me and I had to take a few days before I was ready to watch episode 2, but that's why I love it. It like someone GETS IT.

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corporate slaves high five!

i totally feel that too. its like SOMEONE GETS IT!!! lucky for you you've adapted. i've just started and everyday i feel like i dont belong oh god.

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Lol, who says I've completely blended in?

I get what they're saying and I get what they're trying to do but I'm not yet one of them, even though it's been weeks. It takes time, so let's all just do our best. :D

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All the best to you! Misaeng is giving me life lessons i cannot with this drama i love it so much haha.

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thanks dramallama and im amazed at how recappers can still write comments so logically cus after this ep im like KHDUIFHEIUFGAS I AM IN LOVE WITH EVERYONE.

this is giving me the school 2013 vibe (i dont watch doramas so idk, school feels pretty close). about the lives of everyday human beings. and i love how undramatic geurae's life is. hes just someone who made the wrong choices in life, something very common happening to artists, athletes, etc. and everytime i see siwan on screen i just wanna give him a big hug but at the same time i totally get where the other interns are coming from! i'd be pissed to have to compete with someone who has 0 quality and got in just because of connections.

i hope romance wont take center stage here but im fine if somebody ends up with someone. just pls, not another office romance!

(im an intern too the struggle FEELS SO REAL OHMIGOD)

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Oooo, you're right, this has the same feeling and appeal for me as School 2013! Somehow sad and stark, but slightly dreamy and poignant?

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Here's the set up.

You work your whole freaking life to get top marks, and I mean your earliest memories are of you trying learn things quicker and better than others.

You work hard at EVERYTHING because that's the kind of discipline it takes to succeed. You are trained to be diligent and to work hard because that's what it takes to succeed.

And you study and you compete against scores and hundreds of other kids who are doing likewise.

And you work and work and work, and you get into a great middle school, and you work and work and work, and your grades and test scores are good enough to get into a leading high school.

And you work and work and work, and your overall application gets you into a top college or perhaps you make it into an Ivy League school or another top 10 university. You are not only fluent in your native language, but also become business proficient in English and maybe even a third language like Japanese, Mandarin or Cantonese, or even Russian.

And finally, among the hundreds and even thousands of job applicants in a cut-throat application process, you are among 25 chosen to become first year interns / analysts at a prestigious firm.

Congratulations!

Oh, and this other kid made it too. He did nothing. Knows nothing. Cannot tie his own laces. Cannot operate a copy machine. Unknown how good his Korean writing ability is. Has no business training, no economics or finance background. Has no advanced math training. Apparently got a GED and an Excel spreadsheet certificate.

Yes, it is mean to treat the kid like crap. If I were the manager, I would fire any intern who pulled stunts like what some of those arrogant jerks did because I know I can hire a dozen more equally qualified kids who will not be a complete dickhead.

BUT THE KID DOES NOT DESERVE TO BE THERE.

HE DOES NOT DESERVE TO BE THERE.

Let's start there.

HE DOES NOT DESERVE TO BE THERE.

If you want to open the hiring to those who have unusual abilities who do not necessarily have the grades or test scores or educational background, then fine. I have no problem with that. But even then, do you think that THAT kid would have made it through the interview process?

Let's get real, if this is a real-ish drama.

EVERYBODY would be resentful of the kid. I would too, because I too worked my ass off to get to where I am, and if another kid got to my position because he floated down like a parachute, then he aint my friend and he aint my problem.

Sorry.

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No one really hated the other interns. We all understand how they feel. But the kid's already there and its not expected that he'll last long there, so is there any need to be so explicitly nasty?

Anyway, the kid must have had some mad networking skills, because the guy who put him there could have just said no. But he didn't. Why?

He does not deserve to be there, but yet he is. Why?

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Well, that's the mystery to be revealed as you watch the show.

=)

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I'm surprised the bullying isn't worse actually. I've seen this type of isolation and bullying happen when people feel like others are 'enjoying' a privilege they don't deserve, even if that may not actually be the case. Sometimes there's no reason for the kind of hatred that takes place (although in this case I certainly think there's good reason; I would be seriously pissed off if I were one of the other interns) or sometimes the reasons are so twisted that there's no real basis for it. People also naturally bond against an 'outsider' - he came in late, he's clueless, and YY even had to do all his work for him picking up the calls. So...I'm just saying this drama is totally relatable, on BOTH sides. I've been in GR's position...but I've also been one of the other interns. And it's only when you think of it in hindsight that you realise how much you might have twisted reality to suit your own needs and how much you might have wronged the person(s) on the other side.

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I don't think he has networking skills. I think he doesn't know he "parachuted" in – I got the impression his mother did the networking, but assured him he got in based on his intelligence. I'm assuming he did some interview, but probably didn't go through the whole testing process the others did (though he may not be aware of that either).

My guess at the moment is that it's someone who either has a debt to GR's family (or maybe his mother specifically) or someone that knew him (perhaps without him realising) during his baduk times and thus saw the skills – brilliance of mind, of logical thinking, memorisation, incredible ability to focus – he had. Which, I'm convinced, are skills some of those other highly educated interns can't compete with at all.

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He knows he parachuted in, because he didn't go in through the same route as the others. He just doesn't know who, how and why.

And by networking skills, I was just commenting based on the perspective of those other interns. If he really came in through networking, he must have had some fantastic skills, be it himself or his mother.

However, I'm inclined to agree with your last paragraph. There must have been something in GeuRae that landed him in that intern position, regardless of whether he got there by crawling, by walking, by car, by train, by boat or by parachute. I'm not very inclined to think that he got there just because someone likes his own relationship with GeuRae.

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I agree, which is why I think the drama is particularly relatable - it shows us the other side of the story too, the side where life sucks to be the kid that doesn't deserve to be there. He knows it, and that's why he sucks up the abuse; they know he knows it and that's why the bullying gets even meaner - they have no respect for someone who has no self-respect, no skills, no qualifications and who was parachuted into a position that they had killed themselves working to get into. As viewers though, we know that GR's life hasn't been easy and we wish that they had more sympathy for him, but honestly, seeing what THEY know about him? I'm just surprised the bullying isn't worse, cos I know it can be. The new suit/octopus thing just sucked though. I feel like one of the things this drama is doing particularly well is picking up on those human beats in the characterization and making people realise that there's something deeper than what is seen on the surface. It's in the call that YY refused to pick up, the sly way BK manages to turn the rest of the interns against GR, the way GR berates himself for not working hard enough when it's obvious that he works his heart out - but not enough to overcome his circumstances.

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Yes, yes, all of this, YES.

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You've said it better than I could.

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Watching the first two eps I was wondering what the makers' message eventually will be. Will Geu Rae only 'succeed', if he finally fits into this job and business? He is different and I'd hate it, if they'd choose as goal to assimilate him into this unforgiving, hatefull atmosphere.

My husband is a manager in a large company and hires engineers. The trend in Germany nowadays is to hire people without a streamlined career path. They are looking for those who are different, maybe even a little rebellious. Anything but single-minded. The results show he's right in doing so.

I really hope, the show's message is, that this cut-throat world is not desirable after all and there are lots of other possibilities than squeezing into this world without humanism you just described.

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<EVERYBODY would be resentful of the kid.

I don't agree with that, it's too black and white. It makes too many assumptions about those who are "worthy" of being there, and those who aren't.

I know my passport, colour of skin, social status, privileged education gave me advantages that this "not deserving" kid never had. However, I did not deserve any of these things more so than he did, they were just "luck". Of course, hard work followed, but I can't deny that part of the reason why I am today (doing a PhD at a university that's in the top 5 worldwide) where I am comes down to some "luck" that made me be judged less or sometimes not be judged at all. I'm not willing to instantly feel resentful of someone, particularly not based on pure rumour as happens in this drama. I might eventually feel resentful, but not at the get-go – because you can talk to people and maybe you'll realise he worked just as hard. Or maybe he didn't.

In any case, he's already there. That the other interns bully him because he's competition to them is one thing, but that his superiors give him no chance (but give a chance to others) is another.

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YES, all of this too!

Am I just going to stay in this thread and go "YESSS" to everything everyone says?

This drama is so not black and white. Everything is correct and everything is wrong.

I need the "LIKE" button to come back please...

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"Am I just going to stay in this thread and go “YESSS” to everything everyone says?" - LOL :D I miss the "LIKE" button too!

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I think this statement is too generalized. Sometimes, it's not just fancy degrees and certificates that yield a good worker. People who have nothing may actually be better in the future if given the chance to prove themselves.

I read this post on Humans of New York, where this guy pretended he had book-keeping experience on his resume, read up on it on Google and worked his butt off when he got the job. No one noticed. Now I realize Gue-rae's circumstance is different (given he goes in without seemingly proving himself at all), but that to me shows that just because someone has "experience" doesn't mean they will necessarily excel in whatever they do.

The underdog may deserve a chance. I also like how the drama is playing around with an issue like nepotism in a murky area, where we're not sure if we should hate Geu-rae's employment or not. Plus, it could be that the executive director just gave him this chance because he knew he wouldn't survive, but it would somehow alleviate some guilt we don't know about or something. No one is expecting him to survive. And in the real world, if someone like that were employed and couldn't keep up, it's unlikely his "connections" would save him.

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I love that you mentioned Humans of New York. Other than some films that I've seen recently (The Light Only Shines There, Girl at My Door) that show people being severely judged with no way out of their miserable existences, I've been thinking precisely of some of the stories from Humans of New York, in particular some of those from the world tour – stories that remind you of how much we sometimes live in a bubble, a safe bubble in which chances and opportunities of some sort always exist, while others live in realities we didn't dare imagine were real.

Geu-rae lives in a stable country at least, but at the very bottom of society of which we may understand nothing at all unless we've been there ourselves. Some of the judgements people from privileged positions are passing are too simplistic, too generalised. I really don't think you can just say "He only has a GED and no other notable skills, so he doesn't deserve to be here".

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I'm not saying that people without the fancy education and long list of accomplishments are without merit.

In fact, many of them have the kind of outside-the-box thinking that helps firms succeed (see, for example, in a fictional context, the k-drama Super Rookie).

Or for real examples, take the college drop outs who founded Microsoft, Dell, Apple, Facebook, Oracle, etc. (omg its like a whos who).

But the kind of employees that many firms are looking for, ESPECIALLY in the management consulting context (of which this firm (though import-export related) seems to require, is exactly the kind of interns that they have hired.

You need to:

1. Excel at applied engineering, mathematics, etc. (the substantive technical background);
2. Have excellent grades (which show determination and hard work);
3. Be bilingual, or trilingual, or any kind of a polyglot;
4. Excel at group projects and group thinking and dynamics.

If you are doing the hiring, then you look for these characteristics objectively through an algorithmic approach - resumes, accomplishments, test scores.

People who are lacking will stick out like sore thumbs and they will be CARRIED by the other people on the team because they don't know how to do anything. That's a terrible idea.

However, I get your point. There are intangibles that are either very difficult to be measured or simply cannot be measured on paper. And for those people, diamonds in the rough, you have to look beyond the resume.

Yet are you willing to send wildcards like that into a pressure packed team-based environment that requires everyone to pitch in and work hard to make a deal happen?

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<Excel at group projects and group thinking and dynamics

My current feeling is that these interns would all stab each other in the back if it came to it, with the exception of Young-yi (though I think she's a bit more of a lone wolf than she let's on, even if she can definitely do the team work) and Baek-ki (who is going to let someone else do the stabbing for him). They know how to gang up though as a team of bullies.

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I understand why the hiring system is the way it is. And why people do work to get those qualifications. Those are usually great measures to showcase your abilities. I'm also not saying to make it a rule to pick the crazy, under-qualified rookies in hopes of discovering their hidden genius. However, I'm just saying hiring one person like that, in a large firm, on a trial basis is likely to affect the efficacy of the work overall. But it might be the opportunity of a lifetime for that person.

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That's a very good point you make. We don't know why the executive Director did what he did.

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Glad to see a different K-drama. I like the tone, the writing, and directing, which are more like some J-dramas (the good, interesting, and serious ones) or movies. The acting so far is also good.
Just hope that they keep the quality this good until the end.

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Here's the thing.

At my firm, we just concluded hiring for next year.

We went through hundreds (well over 400) resumes. We had a few associates whittle down the resumes down from about 450 to 50. So I only saw about 10% of the resumes / cover letters that got sent to us.

Of the 50, I cut 80% (about 40 kids) and then our hiring committee made up of senior partners reviewed and interviewed the 10, and we made offers to those we liked.

You should have seen what people have gone through in their lives, and how hard these kids must have had had to work, in order to just make it to my desk.

And then, I eliminated 80% of them because they weren't as impressive as ones I kept. I KNOW FOR A FACT that most of those kids would be great at our firm, but we will not interview 50 people, and we will not hire 50 people.

So, I know first hand how much work these kids put in just to get a job. I am so impressed by some of these kids who sometimes have multiple concurrent jobs on their resume because they are trying to learn and work at the same time.

And, you know what? One of our partners has a close friend who has a kid who also went to law school, but his grades and accomplishments pale in comparison to what the other candidates have. Yet his resume was placed on top of my pile of ones to review and because of who put it on the pile, that resume also made it to the 10+1 (did not get an offer though, I think he decided against working for now).

If he had made it through the interview process and decided to join our firm, then how should I feel about that kid who may know next to nothing, and whom I have to spend my precious time away from family and k-dramas to train, because he cannot do anything on his own?

Of course, I still love Mi-Saeng though. :)

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This is gonna sound mean, but isn't it your (or someone else's) job to train someone on how to work regardless of their background?

I understand that it's frustrating to not have some miracle worker from the beginning, but I really think fancy qualifications aren't all there is to a person. If asked, I'm personally against nepotism. But sometimes I think cases aren't quite clear cut. And maybe whoever was hiring at your firm was just doing a friend a favor, but maybe s/he saw some potential in that kid that can't be described on paper. Unlikely, yes. But possible. Also, I think that's kind of where we're going with Mi-saeng.

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No, absolutely not.

My job is to train people who have the qualifications to do their job. Otherwise, I am spending my life teaching kids from ground zero, and there's no way I would want to do that, there's no way that my firm would pay me to train unqualified kids to do the job, and there's no way the firm would succeed if all of the partners spent all their time training kids how to do things they should already know how to do.

Here's the thing.

When I look a resume, and I see an "A," I see that "A" and I think, damn, that person worked hard to get that A. I would bet money that that person is not necessarily smarter than anyone else, but just worked harder. And that's how it goes in college and law school and so on. The people who worker harder are the ones who get the better grades. It's not like we are talking about theoretical physics or combinatorial mathematics. In Econ 101 or in Life Sciences 202, or in Constitutional Law, the people who work the hardest will get the best grades.

And when I see a bunch of A's across the board, I am pretty comfortable with the fact that that person has worked his or her ass off, that it wasn't just a one semester thing. This person has really really worked hard.

And that's who I want. I want the person who is dedicated to working hard, because that's who I want as my associates.

For those kids, I will teach them what I know and how to do the fancier stuff - because they deserve it and I know that they will do the job.

If we hire someone who isn't qualified, then we spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a bet that the kid will turn out okay, when all evidence that we have, based on all of the associates that we have had but had to let go, says otherwise.

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I completely agree with what you're saying samsooki; it is labor-intensive and costly to deal with under-qualified employees.

On the other hand, what about the person who has the A+ education from a top-notch graduate school, decades of specialized tech background, doesn't need hand-holding... and some of non-tech staff are still horrible to them? That was me in one office. I was dealing with the MEAN girls and had a target on my back. They were so awful they wouldn't even talk to me. "Good morning Cindy." Nothing. Thinking maybe she didn't hear, "Hi Cindy." Nada. When they would talk to me they were awful and purposely unhelpful from day one. Times this by two and you get the gist.

I quickly realized there was nothing I could do to change the situation. I was friendly, outgoing, and helpful. But there wasn't a damn thing I could do to improve it. It was clear I'd never fit into their reindeer games. My coping mechanism was to develop mantras.

I've always been kind to people. I'm patient when they ask for help. I pay sincere compliments -- compliments don't cost a dime and I mean them. I don't brag. I put my nose to the grindstone and do my work.

The boss caught on there was a problem; in addition to the bad air in the office, apparently they'd complained (about what I don't know). He blamed me. He called me elitist. I am far from that. He continued to use the word "elitist" during my whole time there. What the what??

When I left that office, several staff members came up to me and said "I don't know how you got through it. They were so awful to you!" I also found out that as mean and spiteful as they were to my face, they'd said even more hideous things behind my back -- starting from the day I was interviewed. I don't gossip so that was the first I'd heard of it.

Ageism? Their envy and insecurity? Whatever, I hope to never have to deal with it to that extent again.

Ageism sucks, and gets worse and worse. I even had one young supervisor say "Well, at least you still have your health." I wanted to punch her. Jobs are not easy to find, but believe me it gets harder and harder.

Sorry to rant. Painful to think about. Qualifications or not, there is no excuse for being mean. I relate to poor Geu-rae.

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I don't work corporate, so I don't know much background (med student slaving away and supposed to be studying for finals atm), so okay. My bad on that training assumption.

However, I disagree on looking at an "A," and being like "that person worked hard." Not necessarily. It's likely, yes, but how do you know there wasn't some nepotism in that college? Or, or, or. My more important point, however, is someone who didn't get an "A" doesn't mean s/he isn't a hard worker. Some people are TERRIBLE test takers. I, for one, am better at essay questions, oral exams, and hands-on work (whether it be clinical or lab work) then multiple choice questions. If all my exams were multiple choice, they wouldn't be a fair assessment of my abilities. And they don't show whether I can work hard or not. I also have seen many people who just aren't cut out to slave away over classes but excel on a hands-on job.

As for the rest, I understand time and money commitment over someone who isn't likely to amount to anything isn't the most intelligent move. But I believe, in this case, Geu-rae has amazing potential. And I also believe, in certain circumstances, people will have that potential as well.

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Agree with you completely... plus SATs, etc.? Test taking is not necessarily a good measurement. Plus dyslexics who as a rule have higher IQ and determination than the norm?

Nepotism in college? Yes. Mix that in with corruption. I had a coked-out professor who gave me a grade on my senior project just below what I needed to get into graduate school. All the other professors in the dept were flabbergasted. But there was nothing they nor I could do, even though he was a junkie and a nutcase. His Fortune 500 family funded his professorship and then some. So I had to slog through an additional year of post-bac work elsewhere to qualify for grad school. Oy.

I'm sure corporations have to set some guidelines just in order to get through the hundreds if not thousands of resumes they receive. Unfortunately there is no perfect system. It's a shame they don't have a broader perspective. No doubt miss many gems in the process.

Working life sucks. Big time.

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eastwestmess,

Good luck on your finals! Fighting!

revlow

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Ah, standardized tests. Those are completely unfair imo. I randomly do really well on them without any effort (I actually fell asleep during my ACTs and the proctor had to wake me up). My sister and I got very similar scores. The difference: she studied, I didn't. They don't show work ethic at all. Not to mention they're definitely biased against certain groups of people. Some people have grown up in really unfortunate circumstances and for them to attain the same scores is nearly impossible. It still doesn't measure work ability in my opinion though.

Plus, what if you have some crazy genius that tests really well but is lazy? I obviously realize that good scores aren't the only thing that matter, but just throwing it out there.

Oh, I'm so sorry revlow. Ick. Did he have something against you? Or just bitter against the world? A professor of mine wonderfully stole my research and claimed it as his own. Couldn't do anything as he has a lot of power to affect my grades. Now that's something that won't be going on my resume.

Yay for corruption.

Of course there's no perfect system. And I think if I were doing the hiring, I would definitely do as samsooki mentioned and pick the more qualified applicants. But I don't think it's fair to say Gue-rae or someone like him blank point doesn't deserve to be there.

It may seem like it, but maybe our circumstances have been so privileged that we got to where we are because luck and fate helped out along the way. And those haven't exactly been on his side.

Thank you. I need to stop checking this site for updates is what I need to do!

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