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[Hey, that’s me] I wish I were her


Search Query: WWW

By Palaa

Dramas have a knack for depicting jobs in such detail that I end up wanting to be a reporter, dancer, CEO, office worker, delivery guy, singer, spy, and so much more. (Yes, when Goddess of Fire Jung-yi came out, I actually considered being a potter, given that my high school study plan wasn’t going exactly as I hoped). Try guessing what profession has yet to be explored in any K-drama (or at least in the gazillion dramas I watched over a span of last 12 years).

Take a few minutes to ransack your brains.


Playful Kiss

The first time I ever related to a K-drama character was during Playful Kiss. I watched it right after my O-level exams. There’s a brief respite before starting advanced levels in my country and I crammed a lot of dramas in that interval. Unlike most girls who fell for male lead Seung-jo, I related to him. He was this genius guy who always excelled in anything he tried, and so, nothing really excited him. I wasn’t a genius, but I was the kind of student who could stay at a decent enough rank in my class without actually studying, and thanks to the drama I finally understood the reason why I always loved doing stuff that I sucked at. Thankfully, I wasn’t good at everything like Seung-jo was. So, I managed to step out of my comfort zone (which in fact was very boring) and do exciting things at which I sometimes failed miserably (I almost got kicked out of the neighborhood that one time I tried learning the flute).

Now, back to the question I asked earlier: which profession has yet to be explored by dramas? (Some of you might still be scratching your heads.) The answer is: engineer! Congratulations to any fellow engineer unnis who got the answer right. I have never seen a K-drama that had engineers as the main story element. Yes, there was once an engineer who ended up being the CEO of his own huge company and used his wealth to create a TV program that hunts criminals to find the elusive criminal that annihilated his family but “engineer” there was just a title. So needless to say, I was excited when Fox Bride Star was announced. Two episodes in, I realized the story was set in the wrong side of the runway. The drama gods totally missed the opportunity to show the mayhem that a scratch 1mm too long can cause in the airport hangar, quite far from the terminal depicted in the show. Instead of focusing on the aeronautical engineers and technicians who make sure the planes are fit enough to fly, the story followed the employees at Incheon International airport’s terminals. But I ended up watching it anyways and thanked the heavens that what I had to deal with were machines and not people.


Fox Bride Star

Having left my physically exhausting internship at an airport hangar, I was starting to relate to office dramas in my brand-new desk job. But unlike the office atmosphere in dramas, my chair was comfy, my colleagues and sunbaes were helpful, and my boss wasn’t out to get me. So all I related to were the sore eyes and the stiff neck at the end of the day and the battle for the air conditioner setting.

Then came Search Query: WWW and BAM! Finally my life was there, on screen! My work and their work were worlds apart, but hearing technical terms in an office setting was like spotting an oasis in the middle of a desert.

First, I felt Ellie on a personal level, being the newbie on the team having zero idea how things worked. Then I related to the team dynamic where everybody’s ideas were considered (as opposed to the usual trope where the maknae was the coffee person). But the cherry on top was the utter disregard of gender and the level of professionalism depicted throughout the drama. I’m not saying that horrible workplaces like the ones shown in dramas like Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food don’t exist or that gender discrimination is only that bad in dramas. I’m pretty sure I was lucky to get hired by a nice workplace. I have personally faced sexist comments during my short-spanning career, but those comments mostly came from outsiders or strangers. Barro is a good example what a good workplace should be, and it shows how the workplaces affects the output of the employees.


Search Query: WWW

Another aspect I loved about WWW is the sisterhood (I’m gonna stick with sisterhood because “sismance” does not have the same ring as bromance). I’ve had a lot of friends since preschool for whom I would gladly sit through detention. Even though life happens and your friends may change, girls often form strong friendships with other girls they work or study with. I have never seen this shown so beautifully until Ta-mi and Cha Hyun. (IRL, cat fights do happen but seriously, the writers need to slow down with that.)

I can’t say I relate to Ta-mi’s relationship with Mo-gun, but I have felt her insecurities about not being able to commit enough to a relationship because your priority is your career. It eats you alive when you’re faced with the choice between someone your heart wants and the dream you had since you were 10, and I empathized with Ta-mi even when I hated her for stringing Mo-gun along.

But going back to what I loved most about WWW, for the first time in a drama, I saw a set of strong-willed ladies deciding what they wanted on their own. They showed us that your life is your own to live. I think that’s why if an interviewer ever asks me, “How do you see yourself in 10 years?”, the person I saw myself being was a lot like Ta-mi (with the black Maserati and all).


Search Query: WWW

 
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I never finished WWW, but I can relate to your wish of finding a female character with engineering background whose story actually revolved around that. I'm kind of tired of the usual glamorous image the entertainment gave to female celebrities whose major is engineering. We are more than just "a rarity in a field dominated by male". And no, our biggest achievement isn't being the popular girl whose male colleagues all interested in.

Sigh. Now I want this miracle to happen even more. And while they are at it, probably those kdrama writers can also consider a new job to join the rank of dramaland's beloved prefession choice. Something like researcher, probably...

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I don't even want it to be female. Any engineer would do......
And your comment made me realize that there are some other professions missing from dramaland too. ๐Ÿ˜‚
Hwaiting!

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My Ajushi is an awesome, proud civil engineer. ๐Ÿ‘

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Wow I'm impressed and amazed that offices like Barro exist outside of the drama. Glad to hear it.

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Well I won't go as far as to call it Barro, and it definitely doesn't have any bean bags....

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HAHA I'm genuinely glad to hear the world is better place outside of the legal profession - which is sh*t btw. :) Happy to hear you're at a good place workwise Palaa~

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Wait my office is even better than barro, and it is one of the areas never talked about in Korean dramas a mathematical researcher, female or not. But what I am scared is that they will go for all the stereotypes and not our daily life...

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Barro closely reflects the office work culture of the big tech companies like Google, Facebook etc.

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isn't barro a good place to work?

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The only Engineer profession in dramas I watched was My Ajushi. He was leading a team of engineers.

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Ah, really? My Ajussi has been in my to watch list for ages, but I somehow always ended up watching something else....

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You'll like the engineering part for sure, they take it seriously. They're structural engineers.

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@Palaa
I thought you may have been discriminating between engineering disciplines if you were ignoring My Ajushi.

It is one of the things that blows my mind. It managed to take an ordinary engineer and craft that compelling a story. Sure, its not the engineering that is the drama...no one is pushing the bounds of structural limits. But if you know the realities of an office, agency capture, and business politics of discipline v profit...then this drama is intimately tied up to being an engineer in a money driven world.

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I wasn't discriminating, just haven't watched it. I read the synopsis and skipped it, but now that people here mentioned it has an engineer, I might watch it!

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@Palaa - Apologies, I was using "discriminating" as in: identifying the specialisation. Something most people don't realise about the term "engineer". It was no way meant in the negative.

If you do watch it, just a heads up to look out for the camera work - it's subtle but brilliant as a study of the always in motion camera. This is such a physical drama - it just adds to the milieu.

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Yes, My Ajusshi, the lead was structural engineer and they got it right. All the technical terms they used was quite right, also the character was so close to typical engineers... there was also Just Between Lover with Architects as the main lead, but they messed it up (the architect was going to the construction site every day (meddeling in engineering issues that very wrong) wearing no safety equipment and hurting herself several times)...

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really nice post! i wish we saw more female characters with "brainy" jobs. idk how to put that and i do art but i find the acting, secretaries, people in media, etc allow the characters to be less critical thinkers? idk. i would love to watch an actual good engineering show, seems cool.

i wish i had more interest in www for a couple of reasons, the content and jobs included. i know the show definitely tackled the dominance of men and their influence and was inclusive (from what i saw!) i also like the fact that their workplace was good. i would have to see it myself, but that's def a lot fewer and far between than the reality. the nature of their jobs also being somewhat....or very much so unethical.

idk what i'm saying, i really like this post also i am glad you work in a nice workplace! life is tough, you deserve to be your happiest doing your job and well!!!

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i definitely agree w @gadis -- would love to see something research based. including with news teams! i think when they have journalists or news shows i love the fact checkers and researchers (i think argon may have done this) and producers because they are giving us information.

i just remembered there's a long list of stuff i wish was more represented job-wise in dramaland but then.....not all jobs are fun to share LOL. my parents have interesting jobs in the content but i'm sure filming a day in their life is unbearable. at the same time, they both deal with very important things and drama is all about that conflict. but yea hm

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yes, even I think a good engineering show would be awesome! I used to love Macgyver as a kid. I can assure you that a sh*tload of drama goes down when an unexpected crack is too big on a scheduled plane...... I hope you get your dream job too. โ™ฅ๏ธ

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Internship in airline hangar? While it is not a kdrama, the jdrama oldie "Good Luck" had the girl as a plane mechanic whose job is to check the planes once they land and before they take off again. It has been years since I watched it but from what I remember, it was a fun workplace drama.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Luck!!

I really feel like I have seen engineer jobs in older kdramas, especially the weekend and daily ones, but I am not able to remember any names. I feel like certain jobs come into vogue during certain seasons and so you have tons of dramas that mention such professions.

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i loved Good Luck!!
: )

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Ooohhhhhh now I'm definitely checking that one out. I never got to work on scheduled aircraft because I was an intern.....

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I was pretty excited to see a librarian as the female lead in One Spring Night, even if she didn't do a lot of actual librarian-ing. The look of her office and her co-worker camaraderie felt right. I nitpick librarian scenes and was happy to see that she was mostly pulling books and not shelving them. And then the fact that it was a librarian in a show that I adored... Well, that was just icing on the cake.

You should check out My Ahjussi for more engineers!

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My favorite engineer (civic) was in My Ahjusshi in Lee Sun Gyun, but not a female. Actually, there were no female engineers in that company that I could tell, but there should have been!

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That's what I was thinking, the women in that workplace were there to gossip and to support the men, bleh.

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@palaa, I wish you all success in your career and ten-year plan, especially the Maserati!

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Thank you! TBH, it was a green Porsche in my 10 year plan, but the PPL worked and now I won't mind a black Maserati.

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here's hoping you can have one of each! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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At the rate it's currently going, I will consider myself lucky if I can buy any car in 10 years๐Ÿ˜‚

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I worked in print publishing for 15 years, and Romance is a Bonus Book was REALLY accurate: long meetings over what sells, debates on fonts and covers, checking proofs, and the nightmare of a cover typo. I really hated dramas where magazine editors were glam bitches who just drank coffee made by interns. I was editor-in-chief, and let me tell you, I had NO time to be a bitch. Deadlines leave no room for drama.
But i do like medical dramas, because I once wanted to be a doctor -- a dream that died after dissecting a pig heart in high school. ๐ŸคฎBut my doctor friends say every medical drama is a lie hahaha. Still, so fun to watch.

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Me too! My aspirations to be a doctor died halfway through the digestive track in a medical exhibition, when my digestive system decided to throw up.

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Lol! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Why is this so relatable.

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Well, There were a lot of engineers in Just Between lovers and the female lead was a model maker as an Architect and in the end male lead decided to study to become a civil Engineer, I think.

And then My Ahjussi definitely.

My profession on the other hand is not shown in any Korean drama as well and even very rarely in any TV show other than biographical stuff mostly about men. (A Mathematician) ... and and I don't relate much on professional aspects as in working conditions, but I do relate a lot to detectives, we all are searching for something and mostly get lost and make mistakes, so relate-able.

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@oppafangirl I feel ya. Even though there are some characters who are engineers, I haven't seen actual engineering going down. And, I have to say I admire you for pursuing math because I discovered vector calculus was the upper limit of my comprehension. I actually wanted to be a theoretical physicist before it realized it involved math......

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Wasn't the lead in Liar Games a Mathematician?

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Oh yes, now I remember, he was indeed, haha, although he did no research and had no resemblance to a real life mathematician, but yes.

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well, Iโ€™m a doctor and currently working in a medical field. But, I normally tends to avoid medical drama. I cannot stand when the heroes are overly passionate with less critical thinking. Since, they show such idealistic but unrealistic characters, people start to expect such kind of doctors when they encounter. But, thatโ€™s not the case in real life, in my opinion. Not to mention, the terms and stuffs, sometimes they are even irritating to me. They also have so many hospital politics which are overly dramatized.

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@Palaa
You are setting the bar too low if you think WWW is professional. It drove me up the wall how un-professional it was.

Sure it may not be dysfunctional as normal KDrama offices, or as many really are (world wide). It did bring women into the inside group but that alone is no measure to aspire to that is just universal unprofessionalism over sexist unprofessionalism.

Sorry...but its time to ask for more if that is where you are at.

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I do get the unprofessional part, (because what I meant by professional is that this is the closest to professional I have seen) but I never got the sexist part, even when people commented on it when the drama was airing. I'd be really happy if someone can point out an instance I missed....

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I'm also curious, given the Korean culture, what do you think was unprofessional in that drama? (And not using the lense of other cultures to judge what's professional)

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Agree~~ I've been waiting for Kdramas with Engineers as a profession since they portrays profession well like lawyers. From what I've watched, kdramas that have Engineers are A Gentleman's Dignity ( Tae San) and My Ahjussi(Ahjussi). Hoping to watch more Engineers. XD

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Kang chul in W was a software engineer......

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ohh I think I was too focused that Kang Chul is a comic character only will probably watch it again to see XD

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@palaa, congratulations on being published.
If you would like to watch a drama where there an engineer and even enough of how he does his job, you should try My Ajusshi. The plot of the drama doesn't have much to do with being an engineer in itself, but it is even better!!!!!!!

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I

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@palaa โœจ๐Ÿ‘ My kdrama journey started with Playful Kiss so I was immediately drawn in but WWW remains one of my favourite dramas of this year. The fact that the workplace issues were central towards driving the plot forward and the diversity of female leads in terms of personalities, outlooks, and circumstances (along with the fact that them being in top-tier positions due to their creativity and drive and were not treated abnormally) made me love it to bits!

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Argh! I was beginning to think nobody read the playful kiss part.......
And about WWW, I think I liked how it showed that work actually is an integral part of life, not something you leave behind at your desk when you sign out.

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I sent my son to a world class engineering school- and I am glad that I did. After a number of contract positions he has finally landed a permanent job with a major company.

You are right. We do not see many shows in that feature engineers. The reason may simply be that it is a world that is simply too unfamiliar to the great majority of writers. But there has been at least one Kdrama in which the central male lead is an engineer. It is a family drama so the story does not entirely revolve around the workplace, although that workplace is also definitely a part of the story.

That weekend family drama was broadcast in 2009 and 2010. I saw it under the title SMILE YOU. The central male character is an automotive engineer. In the later part of the story we actually do get a strong female engineer as a secondary character, one that shows that she will be fully able to handle her future chaebol mother-in-law. It is one of the better weekend dramas- I rank it as fully equal to FATHER IS STRANGE and FIVE CHILDREN.

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Completely forgot about it , I hated those red and green outfits,,,,,ุŒุŒุŒุŒ๐Ÿ˜œ

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There is may queen 2012 it's about boats engineering you could try it it's longer about 40 episodes it s a good one but sure who I am to say it portraits their life very well , however the dramas I watched where architects are being played were unrealistic too ideal if you ask me _being one myself_ I can guarantee 24/7 work and certainly not an office work with designing plans and that's it

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You are right- being an architect is a tough life- as bad as owning a restaurant.

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Except for Jenny none of them was an engineer, and they were doing user experience design and design research but labelling it as "marketing". I love this show but the "technical terms" are mostly decorative and while not inaccurate, makes me laugh (it's just almost randomly inserted as if someone looked up tech terms on Wikipedia and threw them in). I'd say the most authentic portrayal of our line of business (tech business strategy) is episode 1, that's it. I had a long rant about this on my wall when this show was airing ๐Ÿ˜‚ at least it's better than how kdramas have portrayed psychologists (also my field) ๐Ÿ™„

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I think I enjoyed it as much as I did because it wasn't exactly about engineering and I think I might nitpick an actual engineering show and end up not enjoying it!

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I see! The way you set up your post at the beginning made me think you liked the show because it had engineers :) agree, we can enjoy shows a lot more if they're a bit further away from our professions ๐Ÿ˜‚

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