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Misaeng: Episode 2

The interns aren’t the only ones who have to worry about their status in the company — the department heads have their own headaches to deal with. For Department Chief Oh, that headache is named “Geu-rae,” and it’s a long day at the office as Geu-rae attempts to prove that his efforts are sincere. But how does someone who spent his life so alone learn to work with others, especially when they don’t necessarily want to work with him?

 
EPISODE 2 RECAP

Geu-rae returns to the office to finish organizing the computer files, reminding himself that he’s here because he’s not a hard worker. He stays late into the night working on a new and improved file system — so late, in fact, that he doesn’t return home. In the morning, he washes up at a nearby jjimjilbang and puts on his father’s old suit, ready for another day of work.

As he’s entering the elevator to go back to the office, Young-yi hurries around the corner and Geu-rae holds the door for her. She’s surprised to see him there so early, but once she takes in his old suit and the way he asks about nearby dry cleaners, she realizes that he never went home last night. Spotting the necktie in his pocket, she reminds him that there’s a dress code that interns must follow, but Geu-rae confesses that he doesn’t know how to tie it.

She offers to do it for him and he gets embarrassed, worried about how it might look if someone saw her tying it around his neck — but she’s way ahead of him as she ties it around her own neck, then loosens the knot and hands it over.

Dong-shik marvels at the way Geu-rae has organized the computer files, and Department Chief Oh admits that their intern has some backbone after all. But that’s all he has, because it’s not like Geu-rae’s going to be working here for long. Geu-rae arrives at his cubicle as Chief Oh is leaving for a meeting, and he tells Geu-rae that he’s at least proven his “effort.”

But Dong-shik waves him over and asks him why he organized the files the way he did, and tells him that he was actually working on a company-wide manual. Just because he organized it in a way that makes sense to him doesn’t mean it will make sense for everyone: “You don’t work alone. Keep that in mind while you’re here.”

Those words hit home for Geu-rae, because his whole life he has worked alone. A flashback shows a young Geu-rae at home, sitting at his computer and going through files of various baduk strategies. Present-day Geu-rae looks dazedly around the office, taking in the buzz as the rest of the office workers arrive, and he repeats to himself: “Here, I don’t work alone.”

Chief Oh returns from his meeting to see the manager of the department next door berating his intern for messing up a simple task. The intern is contrite and apologizes profusely while the department chief rages on, reminding him that they can fire interns. Furious, he storms off, and Chief Oh follows.

As they wait for the elevator, Chief Oh nonchalantly tells the other department chief not to let the interns get to him like they always do. But Chief Oh should be worried about his own intern, as the other department chief clues him in on who Geu-rae’s “parachute” connection is: the executive director.

Geu-rae’s in the copy/break room shredding documents, and ooof, it looks like he overheard Chief Oh’s dismissive “he won’t be here for long” comment. But his reverie is broken when the rest of the interns enter and jokingly remark how it smells like octopus. As they make coffee, they discuss how they haven’t decided on a presentation team partner yet, and then leave making snide remarks that imply Geu-rae won’t be able to find one.

But Baek-ki stays behind and silently watches Geu-rae at the shredder, before suddenly saying that he feels he should do well in order avoid the same fate. He means being shredded and discarded, which is what he believes will happen if he doesn’t pass the final presentation interview.

Geu-rae isn’t satisfied with that cryptic message, and asks Baek-ki what he needs to do to avoid being “shredded,” but Baek-ki just laughs and tells him he was kidding. After all, being an intern at One International isn’t everything — there are tons of other jobs out there. Geu-rae will still need to find a partner, though, because he won’t be able to do the presentation alone. Which does seem to be the theme of the day: You can’t work alone.

As Dong-shik counsels Geu-rae on his work, Chief Oh watches and thinks back to his conversation with the other department chief. The animosity between Chief Oh and the executive director is apparently well known, but the other department chief reassured him that the executive director wouldn’t have been so petty as to assign Geu-rae to Chief Oh’s department just out of spite, either to give his team trouble or to have Geu-rae keep an eye on him. If anything, the executive director just didn’t know where else to put him.

It’s sweet how Dong-shik cheerfully informs Chief Oh that Geu-rae knows how to use spreadsheets and that he told him to organize a report a certain way, but Chief Oh yells at Dong-shik, asking if he thinks he can just hand off important work to a kid who knows nothing. Chief Oh leaves, and Dong-shik calls for a lunch break as he goes to follow his boss, sensing something is wrong.

Geu-rae heads to the roof, where he stands alone with his lunch and stares out across the cityscape. Even though everyone keeps telling him he can’t work alone, he feels like they’re forcing him to be alone anyway. Venting his frustration, he yells out to the world: “What do you mean, ‘You don’t work alone,’ huh?”

Except Chief Oh and Dong-shik are walking below and turn around, wondering where the voice is coming from, and Geu-rae quickly ducks behind the wall to not be seen.

Young-yi has her arms full with fabric samples, and Baek-ki hurries over to offer to carry them for her. He jokingly rattles off a list of reasons that are all “because it’s heavy,” but at her stone-faced silence, he decides to let her carry them herself.

He also reminds her that the decision to choose a presentation partner will be made by tomorrow, conveniently adding that he hasn’t selected a partner yet and that the competition will be fierce as everyone tries to make sure they aren’t left partnerless.

Geu-rae overhears Chief Oh ask if Young-yi’s found a presentation partner yet, and she says that she was rejected by Baek-ki just now; even though she didn’t ask, she knows he won’t want to be her partner. But she’s confident enough that she doesn’t care who her partner is.

As she helps him clean up the break room, Geu-rae takes his chance and confidently says, “Be my partner.” He reminds her that she said she didn’t care who she was with, and promises he’ll work hard and try not to aggravate her.

She’s a little thrown by his intense gaze and asks if there’s something on her face, and he shakes himself out of his daze — he was just imagining having the guts to ask her. He remembers her hair-tie and hands it over, apologizing that he didn’t return it sooner. He leaves kicking himself for not being able to ask her.

He’s still a little worried about not finding a presentation partner, but perhaps he needn’t be. Suddenly all the other interns start coming up to him, acting friendly and offering to help him with his work, as well as giving him treats like coffee and snacks and energy drinks. They all confirm he hasn’t selected a partner yet. As Geu-rae’s desk becomes covered with their gifts, he grows more and more bewildered by everyone’s sudden attentiveness. Baek-ki walks by and takes note of Geu-rae’s bounty, pointing out with his trademark smile that Geu-rae’s becoming popular.

Young-yi is busy trying to juggle all the tasks assigned to the “ace intern,” but she’s still concerned that no one has asked to be her partner. Bitter Intern comes bouncing up, offering to “rescue” her by being her partner. He cheerfully informs her that no one wants to work with her because she’s too good — she’ll stand out too much in an assignment that’s all about teamwork.

Anyone is a better partner than arrogant Bitter Intern, and after a moment’s deliberation, Young-yi asks Geu-rae to be her partner, much to Geu-rae’s astonishment. Neither seems too convinced that this partnership will work out, but Young-yi reassures him that she has her own shortcomings, too, and they’ll work hard as a team.

Geu-rae’s just still dazed that she asked him, and as he continues with his tasks, he smiles as he realizes he’ll finally be working in a team. Dong-shik’s been keeping an eye on his intern throughout the day, noting how the other interns have been acting around him, and decides to pull him aside to give him a little debriefing.

Dong-shik points out that the reason the other interns have been trying to bribe him is because Geu-rae has something they want in a partner: a lack of confidence, comprehension, skills, and talent. Which means that Geu-rae will make them stand out by comparison because they’ll look better and more competent than he is. He warns Geu-rae to be careful about who approaches him to ask to be his partner.

As Geu-rae struggles to come to grips with this truth-bomb, he remembers what it was like when he was younger and returning home from his night job, baduk study notes in hand, fighting against the crowd going to school and work in the morning. He’d gone against the flow, literally and metaphorically, all his life.

But even though he now could blend in with the rest of the crowd, he realizes the ugly truth is that he’s still going in the opposite direction. All the other interns may now smile and acknowledge him, but he’s alone here, too. He gazes around at all the hubbub in the office, realizing that he’s the only one who doesn’t know the strategy of office politics.

Overwhelmed, and a little shell-shocked to think that Young-yi is just using him for her own gain, he steps out of the office and stands in front of the elevator. Chief Oh follows him, and once they’re on the elevator together, he asks why he was leaving during the work day. Geu-rae: “Because I’m alone.”

That’s not the answer Chief Oh was expecting, and Geu-rae clarifies that Chief Oh said he couldn’t do company work by himself. He further explains that all his life he’s been alone. Geu-rae: “So I don’t know how not to work by myself. But you could teach me! You could give me a chance!”

But Chief Oh coolly points out that he still needs skills in order to take advantage of opportunities, and Geu-rae asks if it’s about his lack of education. No, it’s not about his education — it’s about how he got here in the first place.

Does he know how hard everyone worked just to make it into this company, all the sweat and tears they shed to keep from being kicked out? Yet this is a world where some kid with no skills or qualifications can ride the elevator just because of some connections he has. Chief Oh looks Geu-rae straight in the eye and warns him that he doesn’t support that kind of world, not yet.

After Chief Oh exits the elevator, Geu-rae wonders how much more tears and sweat he’ll still need to shed.

KIM SEOK-HO (Jo Hyun-shik) is the earnest-but-ineffectual intern that’s been giving the other department chief such issues, and after being both chided and then encouraged to try and do better, he’s given a new task, but is unable to find a glue-stick in his team’s office supplies.

He goes to Geu-rae’s department to ask to borrow one, and Geu-rae is happy to oblige, since he just finished using it to paste together the expense reports for Chief Oh. But uh-oh! Seok-ho messily glues his contract documents together, and one of the confidential contracts on Geu-rae’s desk (that Chief Oh just warned him about being extra careful to shred) gets attached without him knowing.

As Seok-ho rushes to deliver his own contract, the contract from Geu-rae’s department falls off in the lobby — to be found by none other than the executive director himself. Oh no!

The executive director marches straight up to Chief Oh’s department. Everyone scrambles to stand and bow respectfully, and the executive director hands over the contract he found in the lobby. Geu-rae tries to speak up, but Chief Oh quickly silences him as he braces for the executive director’s reprimand. Everyone else in the office watches expectantly.

But the executive director just pats Chief Oh on the shoulder and tells him to do well. After he leaves, Dong-shik yells at Geu-rae for not being better aware of document security, but Chief Oh just yells at Geu-rae to get out: “Don’t you finally get it? Why you don’t get a chance? Why you’re not qualified?”

Dong-shik takes Geu-rae outside to the roof, where he runs laps as punishment. Even after Dong-shik leaves (telling him to come back inside after two more laps), Geu-rae continues on in his solitary race of shame, forcing himself to squat for extra punishment.

The other department rejoices because, thanks to their intern, they were able to successfully deliver their contract and make the big sale. Chief Oh gloomily looks on, and then returns to brooding over the mistake made by Geu-rae. Except he now sees that the paper that was found in the lobby sports Seok-ho’s signature, accidentally transferred when he was gluing his papers together.

Realizing what really happened, he goes out for a smoke with the other department chief, who can’t stop boasting about how his intern managed to successfully help close their deal. But when Chief Oh realizes that Seok-ho is a newlywed with a newborn, not to mention the eldest son and therefore head of his family, he simply encourages the other department chief to keep a good eye on his intern, and to make sure he doesn’t need to borrow any more office supplies.

Covered in sweat, Geu-rae limps back into the office, his punishment laps completed. Chief Oh and Dong-shik aren’t around, though, and he collapses into his chair. Everyone starts to leave the office — except for one snazzy dresser who beelines for Geu-rae. He immediately asks if Geu-rae’s picked a presentation partner yet, and then introduces himself as HAN SEOK-YUL (Byun Yo-han), an intern for one of the textile teams.

Seok-yul takes him back to the rooftop for a private conversation, making smarmy small-talk the whole time. But Geu-rae’s patience is long gone and he wearily gets straight to the point, asking Seok-yul why he wants to be his partner. Seok-yul rattles off all his qualifications, but Geu-rae just stares at him, unamused, before turning and walking away.

Chief Oh decides to shred the evidence that proved Seok-ho was the one at fault for the document security breach. When he realizes that Geu-rae isn’t at his desk, he panics that he’s left for good. He kicks the empty chair in frustration: “Even though I told him go, did he really leave?” Then he sheepishly notices that Geu-rae’s things are still there, ha.

Geu-rae returns to his desk, head hanging low, and Chief Oh pretends to be focused on his computer — but in reality is keeping a careful eye on Geu-rae. The dejected intern slowly gathers up his things, and just as Dong-shik is about to chide him for leaving before his superiors do, Chief Oh suddenly intervenes and insists on a team dinner.

As Geu-rae grills their meat, Chief Oh downs glass after glass of soju (even breaking etiquette and pouring for himself!). Dong-shik is concerned that Chief Oh is too drunk, but he (drunkenly) insists he’s not, and then continues to explain to Dong-shik how smart and useful Geu-rae is to their team.

Dong-shik and Geu-rae are both astonished, and when Chief Oh brings up the mistake with the glue stick, he tells Dong-shik that it actually wasn’t their intern’s fault, so he should stop blaming Geu-rae. When Dong-shik asks whose fault it really is, Chief Oh cheerfully sings out “It’s a seeeeeecret!” And then falls out of his chair.

As they try to carry their drunken boss down the street, they run into the other team with a similarly drunk department chief, having just concluded their celebratory dinner for winning the contract. The two drunk department chiefs get into a little war of pride, until Chief Oh finally shouts out the truth about Seok-ho being the one responsible, yet “our kid” was the only one who got in trouble.

In a montage, we see all the office workers make their way home, either by falling asleep on the subway, or being escorted into a taxi, or stumbling down the street. Young-yi returns to her officetel, where she still hasn’t fully unpacked all her things; Chief Oh surprises his children as he wakes them up, which causes his wife to yell at him because he’s always coming home drunk; Seok-ho tries to enter his home quietly in order to try not to wake up his wife and baby, but then delights in playing with his daughter once she wakes; and Geu-rae sits alone in the darkness of his bedroom.

He can’t stop thinking about what Chief Oh said (“Our kid got in trouble because of what yours did!”) and tears brim in his eyes as he thinks about being called “our kid,” then he laughs as he writes on a piece paper: “We don’t work alone.”

The next morning, he’s in his new suit that his mother bought him, and confidently makes his way to the lobby elevators, not even stopping when Young-yi calls out after him. He marches straight up to the smarmy intern Seok-yul: “Let’s be partners.”

 
COMMENTS

I’m not so sure how I feel about Geu-rae teaming up with an obvious slickster like Seok-yul, but I’m just glad he’s starting to find his feet and trust himself. Not gonna lie — I totally teared up myself when Chief Oh called him “our kid,” and then I nearly lost it when Geu-rae clung to those words so tightly. After the agony of watching this clueless puppy get continually kicked down despite all his best efforts, I’m so relieved that Chief Oh is finally in his corner. I think it will take a personality like Chief Oh — one that seems to play almost by his own rules in a culture where there are so many rules to follow — to help Geu-rae learn how to manage the messy and fraught reality that is office politics.

While it’s still a mystery why Geu-rae is at One International in the first place, or what connection he has with the executive director, or why he’s in Chief Oh’s department in the first place, I’m just glad he is, because despite the initial hesitation, Chief Oh is probably the best thing for Geu-rae — and Dong-shik, too, since I appreciate that, despite the frustration of working with an intern who doesn’t seem to know anything, he seems to have cheerfully taken on the task of mentoring Geu-rae on how things are done in the office.

And not just how to properly use a glue stick, but how to adjust to the undercurrent of office politics. I loved seeing him quietly keep an eye on everything that was happening during the day, fully aware of the sentiment behind everyone’s sudden friendliness, before deciding he should step in and warn Geu-rae about what everyone’s true motivations might be. It’s not that he was taking the decisions out of Geu-rae’s hands, but rather giving him information about the strategy being used on him.

I am worried about the other interns, though. Geu-rae may have a brilliant mind and can figure out who to trust and not to trust, but there’s still so much he doesn’t know about office culture. Not just office culture, but even how to interact with people in a communal sense.

Which is interesting, because most people spend their lives going to school with different people and learning to navigate the ups and downs of dealing with a variety of personalities, as well as ways to “work the system” in order to succeed. It’s just so telling that even simple tasks that one learns in middle school are the tasks that he can’t do.

Despite what his fellow interns may think, being an intern at One International isn’t exactly a gift. For him, it’s a punishment for not working hard enough when he was younger. Which is why, perhaps, he puts all his effort into his tasks when he gets them — to tell himself that all those years of studying baduk and not succeeding to become a professional player weren’t a total waste. Because if the one thing he has is effort (and the ability to problem-solve), then that’s what he’ll offer. He’s clueless, but he’s not stupid, and he takes all the lessons to heart. Perhaps too much to heart, really.

Honestly, I could probably gush and gush about how amazing these characters are, with their flaws and foibles, yet filled with such humanity that I somehow care so much for everyone. Whoever cast this drama has done an amazing job, because everyone fits their roles so perfectly — especially Im Shi-wan.

The delicacy of his stature and features makes you believe that Geu-rae will shatter into pieces at any moment, and when he shows up in his ill-fitting suit, I just want to scoop him up and feed him cookies and reassure him that everything will be okay. But then there’s that flash of iron will and tenacity we see beneath the neutral expression he carefully wears to cover his emotions, and I’m ready to send him out fighting.

The editing helps, too. There’s a certain understated beauty in the way the show is shot and edited for emotional impact — even though Geu-rae seems to have a poker face, we always know (sometimes painfully so) what he’s thinking and feeling, even if there isn’t a voiceover. Even though he looks like a complete pushover, we know he’s not: He does have a backbone, and he has integrity, and he’s passionate enough to talk back to his boss and vent his frustrations to the world.

I haven’t read the source material, but if this show is sticking as close to the original webtoon as I’ve heard it is, then I can understand why it became such a cult hit. And I, for one, am happy to join that cult.

 
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"The delicacy of his stature and features makes you believe that Geu-rae will shatter into pieces at any moment"

THIS.

My praises for Im Shi Wan has no bounds, I'm so impressed with him - he's like an onion and there's all these and layers, each one making us cry!

I think my favorite scene was the elevator one with the tie...the way Gu Rae lights up for just a moment at the thought that he's going to possibly have his first office scandal - and his cheeky smile when he can barely even look at her, aigoo. The little details in this drama really get me. The "our kid" part was also such a good moment. I feel like Gu Rae's personally cheering squad every time something awesome happens to him lol.

Like others, I really want to know how he got into One International; I mean, was it cause he really knows someone or simply a hiring error (doubt it). I'm also still thinking those first opening scenes are of his past - not the future. No?

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If you are referring to the running scenes a la Jason Bourne lite in Jordan, I believe it's woori kid 2 years later ?

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Really? I assumed it was a metaphor for him playing baduk and in a larger sense, navigating through life.

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I agree with everything you said. I also loved the elevator scene and our kid scene. The scene that emotionally affected me the most was the squatting scene on the roof, that he felt such shame that he had to punish himself so severely was heartbreaking. I'm in love with how eloquently, delicately and sincerely shi wan portrays geu rae.

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The 'woori' really got me as well. I am falling in love with Chief Oh and I love this drama! The hopelessness of the squatting scene, the futility and some what immaturity of the gesture (something you would do when you mess up at school/sports camp) just got me, it was so futile but also so meaningful.

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I've been a huge fan of the actor playing Chief Oh ever since he played the thug in love with the scientist in Miss Korea -- he was just perfect in that and he is perfect in this.

I love this ride.

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I loved him also in king 2 hearts... <3

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Oh, yes! Scruffy gangster and brainy scientist is the best second couple ever. Loved them so hard.

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Just watched Kundo, Chief Oh is there, too... But yes, I love him in Miss Korea... the worst( since really a teddy bear) thug

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Need to put Miss Korea on my to watch list!

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"I really want to know how he got into One International"

There is a small clue in the 1st episode when his mom mentions that the president of some (Sungwon ?) Industrial Co. set this opportunity up for Geurae because Geurae is such a special kid and One International must have called him because Geurae seemed all right to them too. And in the original webtoon, this president is not at all someone mysterious or unrealistic.

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I'm with you on Im Shi-wan, there is no better actor for the role of Geu-rae. Everything about him, from his appearance to his acting, is perfect for this role (and I loved how cutely flustered he got at the thought that Young-yi might actually tie the tie on him.....).

He's really, really good at bringing the viewer along on the ride, and has done decently even in roles which were much worse written and gave him far less to play with (Triangle, I am giving you the stankeye), but I've got no words to express just how good he is here.

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Chief Oh, you're a upright boss...
yes, GR is incompetent, but like me, you see he has potential, a diamond in the rough( that's an understatement)
But you are fair... you can fault GR as a horrible intern but that doesn't mean GR can be blamed(esp a big boo boo)for something he didn't do... When you called GR " our kid", you won my heart...
SNIFF, sniff...Like Il rac 's ( rock violinist) dad in Cantabile, I'm not crying... I just finished cutting onions.... ???

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This is the 1st kdrama to give off the vibe of jdrama. It's slow but not boring, contemplative and it takes its time to explore the characters and their motivation in depth. I'm really impressed with siwan and how he portrays geu rae with this balance of delicacy, strength, integrity, helplessness and intelligence. I also love young yi and chief oh but still iffy about baek-ki and whether he is sincerely nice towards geu rae or pretending to be. I'm loving this drama.

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Hi hyperbutterfly89,

I haven't watched any Jdramas. I did start Partners by Blood but it wasn't my cup of tea, so I stopped after episode 1. Could you please tell me some of the qualities that set them apart from Kdramas?

Thanks,
revlow

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jdrama tend to be more thoughtful, contemplative, slow but not necessarily boring, about everyday people going about their everyday life, it tends to be character driven rather than situation driven. If you want some suggestions, here's a list of my favorite jdrama and movies:
- Beautiful Life
- Buzzer Beat
- Kou Kou Kyouch 1993 & 2003 (2 versions that deal with the same general theme but different stories)
- Nodame Cantabile (there is a kdrama adaptation of it airing right now)
- Producing Nobuta
- Q10
- Taiyo no uta
- Last Cinderella
- Kimi ni Todoke
- I Give My First Love to You
- Lavender
- The Liar and His Lover
- Waiting in the Dark

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Thanks hyperbutterfly89! I really appreciate your help.

I've seen a fair share of Japanese movies -- and even taken a class in Japanese cinema -- but that goes back decades! I haven't seen anything contemporary. Your description fits the classics as well. I will definitely check out your list.

Thanks again,
revlow

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Your welcome & I hope you enjoy them :)

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can I add some for your recommendation?

1. Long Vacation (takuya kimura is the lead)
2. boku dake no madonna (hideaki takizawa) this drama is so funny!
3. Anchor Woman
4. Good Luck
5. Strawberry on the shortcake
6. Itazura na kiss (funnier than playful kiss (korean version)
those dramas were old, but their stories are unique, you won't regret to watch because takuya kimura and hideaki takiwa soooo good looking, haha.

the best thing about j drama is the short episode, so it won't be boring.

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For office-related J-doramas, I recommend:

Anego and Haken no Hinkaku.

Both excellent dramas about the ups, downs and all-arounds of life in a corporate setting.

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Currently on air dramas such as Nobunaga concerto( it is based on manga, played by Oguri Shun) and Gomen ne Seishun are interesting. They just started.

when I watch j drama, I often wonder how translators translate certain nuances in dramas' dialogue. For instance, Nobunaga Concerto is about young guy( high schooler) who were transported back to the Warlord period. All Samurais speak old Japanese while the young guy speaks modern Japanese. the contrast is funny. one of the problems with watching subbed J drama ( also probably K drama) is that their dialogue can be so subtle and sometimes carry other meanings and I sometimes see the translators do not get it or have hard times to translate certain dialogues into English. Still overall, I think what you mentioned about J drama is true.

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Gosh! I just checked in and saw all these new recommendations. Thank you ALL! So kind of you. I'm adding these all to my list!

Thanks again hyperbutterfly89, hahahhahaha, cheetah, Kay, atz, bil, Sirey, auntiemame, alua, JoAnne, km, and Soratobu. (Hope I caught everyone's name!) I truly appreciate you taking the time to share all this information. :-)

cheetah, your English is perfect!

revlow

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in Jdorama, I think the genre is "slice of life".... i recommend One Liter of Tears
Takuya Kimura's past dorama's like: Hero, Pride and Engine

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Thanks!

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My favorite jdramas:

- Pride
- Boku no Ita Jikan
- Smile
- Biblia Kashodou no Jiken Techou
- Ashita Mama ga Inai
- Hajimari no Uta

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Oh, I'm loving this outpouring of help! Thank you all. :-)

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These are some of my fav!

I'd also like to add LIFE, Hotaru no Hikari, Tumbling and Bambino!

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Cool. Thanks Kay!

I've been afraid to venture off the K-path. Too many addictions and too little time as it is. But I'm feeling a bit adventurous. I'm trying to get better about dumping the so-so Kdramas and not just sticking with them because I already "invested so much time". When it's time to move on, it's time to move on.

All these recommendations are very much appreciated. Thanks hyperbutterfly89, hahahhahaha, cheetah, and Kay! :-)

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Someone has seen Smile! I love Smile!!! (And Boku no Ita Jikan and Pride too.)

And let me mention Arifureta Kiseki (Ordinary Miracle) while I'm at it, because not enough people have seen that one.

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Thanks! Adding them to my list. :-)

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I love all of them.

Smile- it's a history of love, justice and humanity.

Pride- love, passion, friendship and perfect Queen's OST

Boku no Ita Jikan - It's much than a drama about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It's a beautiful, beautiful drama. It's about life lesson. Tukuto is my favorite jdrama character. I love him. I love the history. I love Mihura Haruma.

(Sorry, my english it's not good.)

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Also:

Rich Man, Poor Woman
Sprout

and can add support for Boku No Ita Jikan, Last Cinderella

...and then, I loved that one with Kame, the beautiful guys who live in a house together, and the one strange girl moves in - I never remember the name of it. Surprisingly sweet.

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I can recommend you:
Jin
Hana Yori Dango
Life
A long love letter
Koori No Sekai
Yasha
Nazo No Tenkousei (with Hongo Kanata as an extra terrest)

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These are some great suggestions everyone, I intend to check them all out and some of them were already on my to watch list.

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Hi all,

Wrote a Thank You above (at 3.1.1.3) -- sometimes I get confused by the thread of replies.

As I said at the start, my deepest knowledge is of Japanese films that are the Post-War classics.

I searched for "classic Japanese movies" and got 66 million results. Many good lists, nothing that included everything in my repertoire. Here are a few of the better ones:

AN INTRODUCTION TO CLASSIC JAPANESE CINEMA
http://fan.tcm.com/blogpost/an-introduction-to-classic-japanese-cinema

Japanese film - 30 "must see" classics
http://www.jref.com/forum/threads/japanese-film-30-must-see-classics.44512/

These include a few more recent films (post '60s)

The Best Japanese Films Ever Made
http://www.criterion.com/lists/83538-the-best-japanese-films-ever-made

30 MUST SEE JAPANESE FILM CLASSICS
https://mubi.com/lists/30-must-see-japanese-film-classics

Cinema of Japan -- seems like a good history from silent era to present
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_of_Japan

I've noticed one that's been left off all these lists is Boy, by Nagisa Ôshima (1969). It definitely was an art house classic.

Donald Richie at UC Berkeley was an American scholar on Japanese cinema. This includes a list of his books.

Donald Richie
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Richie

Tons more, but this is a broad start. Did a quick check and it looks like many are available at gooddrama/ dramago.

The first Japanese film I saw was Kurosawa's Rashomon. Heavy subject matter for a kid, but by that time I'd already seen several Bergman films, so I was off and running with the dark stuff. I was fortunate to grow up in a family that watched a lot of foreign films. Yea! :-)

Hope this helps for those on the classics quest.
revlow

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Give a try to :
- Bara No Nai Hanaya (melodrama)
- Rich Man Poor Woman (romance. This's J-drama but it feels like K-drama vibe)
- Love Shuffle (romance, comedy)
- Nodame Cantabile (musical, romance, comedy)

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i like dorama a lot, back then before kdrama became hits, my TV always subbed jdrama. and you're right, it has dorama feels, the visual tone, the voiceover, the slow plot, different from kdrama.
idk how many episode misaeng, hope it won't dragged down to fulfill 16/20 episode like other kdrama

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Hi bil. All the sources I use say 20 episodes.

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this should be around 50 episodes!!!

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Nah. I prefer 10 tightly-written episodes and 50 full of filler.

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THAN 50 full of filler

*just having my morning coffee*

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I'm confident it won't drag since it's an adaption which seems to closely follow the source material. That would mean they had the whole plot layed in front of them from the beginning onwards.

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@hyperbutterfly89, I agree. That was the same reaction I had after watching the first two episodes. I'm a fan of J-dramas, and I love when the tone is muted down giving more focus to characters and interactions more than appearances.

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Yeah I love how we as viewers get to know them as people with motivations and intentions, hearing their train of thought and how all of this leads to their actions. While kdrama tends to be an exciting ride while it lasts, jdrama tends to leave a trace of nostalgia.

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Thanks for the initial comment, I got more J-dorama recoomendatuions form this, haven't really enjoyed any good Jdrama's since Hanzawa Naoki and Last Cinderella!

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No one mentioning the Jdrama Hanzawa Naoki? It's a fantastic office drama, I was reminded of it in many parts of Misaeng.

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Well, if we are mentioning office dramas, I'll throw in Soratobu Kouhoushitsu – more on the light than dark side, but I enjoyed that one a lot.

On the other hand, don't try First Class, which is an awful office drama.

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I was just gonna recommend it, you beat me to it!

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Maaaaaan, tvn nailed it again!!!! I love their dramas so much. I love how they produce a drama that captivates the emotions of people in situational events that actually does happen in reality!!! tvn so gooodddd!!!!

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Bwahahhaa like this comment! I first fell for tvn when watching reply 1997 and since then my fav dramas have been mostly from tvn. Theyre unlike the main station dramas that polish or simplify life but they pay attention to whats behind the curtain. Even salarymen with 9to5 life have hearts.

Tvn jjang!

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me too. my most favorite tvn dramas are nine times travel and reply 1997.

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Shit, Nine was such a fresh concept (with kdrama tropes) but compared to the rest of the drivel, TvN is running the show right now.

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This episode hit me right in the feels.

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Thank you for articulating how I feel about this show! There is something so beautiful about how it looks. And honestly, I feel emotions about every single character in only two episodes. Also, thank you for recapping.

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I'm so impressed with TvN. I feel like I can confidently watch any drama they put out and know I'll like it to some extent. To everyone saying it's giving off a jodrama feel, I agree. With better editing and acting imo.

I'm confused why he picked whackadoo as his partner, and I don't know how I feel about it either. Eeek!

Also, if this drama continues to be this heartfelt, I think I'll be crying in every episode, darn it.

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Perhaps, in the presentation, GR will be the one outshining whackadoo, much to everyone's chagrin :D

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That's my guess, too.

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I hope so too. But I fear that his lack of social skills will be a point against him.

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thanks for the great recap!!!
I too teared up when Geurae kept repeating the scene in his head when Chief Oh called him our kid. Im shiwan is doing great here. I can't wait for the next episode!

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I have no time to write (it's late here! I've got lots to do tomorrow!) but I love this drama so far.

Favourite scenes in this episode:

1) The tie scene in the elevator. (Miss Übercool and Mr. Nervous Puppy)
2) The totally heart-wrenching glue incident, fortunately resolved with...
3) "Our son"!!! How touching was that... and Oh-ssi of course didn't even realise that what he just said made a world of a difference to Geu-rae.

Bonus favourite scene: Young-yi asking Baek-ki why he wants to carry the rolls of fabric and he looking like a total idiot. You go girl!

100% cheering for Geu-rae. If I ran into him I'd give him a hug and feed him cookies too.

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Wish I could read the webtoon by the way, but from what I've heard it hasn't been translated. :-(

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That's what I was thinking after watching the first episode! I wish I know how to read Korean :(

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Yep, it isn't translated ...but loved the drawings.

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Oh, and confronting Mr. Oh in the elevator I loved as well.

Basically, I just loved the whole episode, heartbreaking and tear-inducing as it was!

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Ah yes! Tvn has all these awesome female leads and theyre not necessarily weak-outside-strong-inside bubbly ladies living on a rooftop house suddenly bumping into a chaebol. Theyre common women (a highschooler fangirl, a boss, a travel agent who wants to write a book, and now a hardworking intern). It feels like they could be anyone in our lives yet tvn could give us the dramatics behind these seemingly "normal" people. These women are strong in their own ways and im really grateful tvn do this for us.

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Hee... I am trying to guess if we are thinking the same drama- KoHS, Witches' romance, Plus 9??
My fav too ?

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Actually I hated Plus 9 (dropped it), Witches' Romance was okayish, didn't watch KoHS. I also didn't care a whole of of other TvN dramas (Basketball, Emergency Couple, Flower Boy Ramen Shop, Marriage Not Dating, My Secret Hotel --> though some of these were popular).

IMO TvN seems to have a mix of dramas, but a whole bunch of some that I enjoyed or even loved to be from TvN (Let's Eat, Monstar, Nine: Nine Times Time Travel, Shut Up Flower Boy Band) – the first three of which felt different than the kdramas normally do.

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Hee... The guesses were to @alcoholicbubbletea....my fault, should have addressed properly

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If i met him when i was younger i would definitely have fallen in love with him. But now that i'm older, yeah..i'd feed him. I kept wondering about the ahjumma who is in the cubicle next to his. If I were in that position, I would've begun helping him out. The mom in me. Strange that she hasn't helped or tried to guide him but I guess she's on a different team or maybe she's just background music and not someone who is really important to the plot. She's probably a fulltimer and the story is about managers and interns so far.

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Yeah, I've wondered about that ahjumma too. I keep expecting at least one person would be welcoming, you know, just saying "Hi, I'm ---. I do this."

I get that they are all impatient and bothered, but it says a lot about an office if their expectations are unreasonable. It's one thing for Geu-rae not to know how to do photocopying (a skill that with reason they would expect him to have – although in my experience, anything other than single-page photocopying throws the most qualified and experienced people!), another to expect him to know where the copy room is when no one has ever shown it to him. It's like you expect someone to drive your car but then its only key remains in your pocket.

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Yeah..usually there's an orientation for newbies but I guess he missed it cause he entered the company late.

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Yeah, I'm sure he missed the orientation for newbies... but the guy who asked him to do the photocopying knew that. They are just inattentive... that's why they haven't picked up on the fact yet that he's memorised everyone's phone number (though some have been a little puzzled already. I can't wait for that to be revealed and them realising that he's got an amazing memory!)

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I really loved that part: show, don't tell. We just see how everyone perceives his actions, achievements and failures, prejudiced by the knowledge that he is only there because of connections.
Beautifully done!

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Sad that everyone's life is so hard or some folks are so "entitled" by their college degrees that they are so merciless toward someone being helped. They only see that he got in by connections. They don't see that maybe the Exec Director was being merciful to a poor kid who needed a helping hand. Just sad that they don't even seem to understand mercy to the poor.

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@Carole

Yeah, but this is a double-edged sword. Fairness is a very fundamental human concept, people will of course be sensitive to a breach of fairness like that. And because we are human beings, it will influence the way we perceive and filter reality.

It's not just that they are entitled to their degrees, usually they put very hard work into getting there. If others have the same position just thrust upon them, of course that is not fair.

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Thing is that life is not fair. The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong. There are jobs some of us have gotten that we did not deserve. Folks always look to what others have supposedly undeservedly received but not at what they themselves have undeservedly received. For instance, the whole idea of pictures with resumes: a lot of folks who are not good looking (especially "ugly" women) don't get jobs for that reason. Would it be wrong for the boss to give a job to an ugly woman out of fairness?

The idea of helping a poor kid, though, is that back in the day the poor kid didn't have the same advantages that these guys had. So i guess fairness depends on how far back one is willing to go to redress what might be a wrong. Back to slavery times, etc?

What bothers me is that it would've occurred to me that the newbie who has no work history might have been sick or psychologically disabled so for me there wouldn't be any sense that I personallyl was being wronged.

But the folks in this drama never once think that a guy who looks so frail or wounded might have some bad history. His superior is getting some idea that perhaps this is just not a regular parachute but someone who should be given a chance.

So while fairness is a human concept, it is also human that we often don't realize when we have been on the receiving end of a privilege. So why shouldn't someone who didn't have the money or brains or luck to go to Seoul University not get a job if he is as skilled as they are (once he learns the office rules/tasks)?

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Oh, and it's not as if Geu-Rae's presence is taking anything away from them. Right now it's not as if his presence denise them anything or that they will lose anything. This is just a mere principle for them to get all antsy about. Why should the principle of fairness matter to them other than just whining about their privileged life being encroached upon by someone who does not "deserve" to be there? Can we go around judging who "deserves" stuff?

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All your points are perfectly valid.

"The idea of helping a poor kid, though, is that back in the day the poor kid didn’t have the same advantages that these guys had. So i guess fairness depends on how far back one is willing to go to redress what might be a wrong. Back to slavery times, etc?"

You address the idea of "equal opportunities", which is the keystone to the liberal capitalistic society, and you point out that this idea is plain wrong. People don't have equal start conditions, asking for a "fair" race is in itself unfair.

"What bothers me is that it would’ve occurred to me that the newbie who has no work history might have been sick or psychologically disabled so for me there wouldn’t be any sense that I personallyl was being wronged."

But that depends on your disposition to empathise with the person in question in the first place. To empathise is an extremely expensive (in terms of psychological costs) process and you cannot do that with every person you encounter.

For almost all people who interact with you, you only have the resources to treat them as instances of the stereotype of their identifiable group. That's an unfortunate limitation of the human mind.

Now, we watch a television show which puts our focus on this young man, but in real life, he wouldn't enter our focus in this way. We wouldn't be interested in that person. We wouldn't have much of a reason to think about his life and what possible scenarios led to the chunks of information we got about him. Some people do that, people with certain psychological disorders who are unable NOT to empathise with random people. Their life is awful.

I'm not saying that what those fictional people in the show did was right, but I say that it is natural.

(There also seem to be huge differences in disposition to empathise with strangers between different cultures, people in the US are much, much more likely to do that than people in Korea.)

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"Oh, and it’s not as if Geu-Rae’s presence is taking anything away from them. Right now it’s not as if his presence denise them anything or that they will lose anything."

Correct, but ...
You buy 5 rolls at the bakery. The next customer gets 5 rolls for free, because it is already 11 on Saturday and they will close soon. Don't you feel just a tiny little sting of unfairness here, despite you don't lose anything at all? (If you don't, you either need to see a psychiatrist or you should get your beatification started.)

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Not sure about how expensive it is to empathize with someone else. It can be stressing because others may not return the favor but I think we are sometimes trained to identify with the powerful and the rich and the beautiful...so we can feel good about ourselves and side with them. And we are trained at times to believe we are sufferers and hardworkers whose well-deserved jobs/positions the less-thans are trying to steal. So either way we can be very self-serving.

Not sure if Korean culture is any less empathetic than American. Korean culture seems to have a lot of generosity to the poor -- or maybe it's just to those they consider the deserving poor. But generosity isn't necessarily empathy I guess. I suspect though that the poor, sickly, or the wounded in any country tend to be more capable of giving mercy than those who had a fairly normal life with few struggles. Not sure..but kinda think that.

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If the next customer got 5 rolls free, I'd probably just think it's all a matter of luck. Because luck/chance is in the mix. I would also think the other customer was better friends with the bker than with me. Because friendship is in the mix as well and should we be angry at someone because he treats a friend better than a stranger? Yeah, even in parachute business world. In offices, there are friends who treat each other better than other folks in the office. It's life.

Knowing me, I would say "wow! you lucked out. I should've come later." I would say it loud enough and knowing most people, the baker would probably respond, "I'm sorry I have no more left but I'll remember you next time." That's what humans do.

If this thing continued to happen all the time, I would probably assume the baker didn't like me. I can get paranoid like that. But i think most of the time we are pretty easygoing about other people lucking out. We are genuinely happy for folks who win the lottery. This seems to me what happens with a rich company allowing a poor kid like Geu-Rae in.

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"Not sure about how expensive it is to empathize with someone else."

You need to consciously think about that person for several seconds, in an emotionally involved way.
That IS expensive compared to the automatic, unconscious, fractions-of-a-second evocation of the specific stereotype, which has no additional costs at all, because your brain is going to do that anyway.

Do you really try to empathise with a lot of people during the day? The guy half-blocking the door of the metro, the cashier at the supermarket who prefers to chat with his fellows instead of doing his job, ...
I "meet" hundreds of people every day and I don't even get to empathise with 20 of them on a good day. But, maybe that's because I'm male ...

"It can be stressing because others may not return the favor but I think we are sometimes trained to identify with the powerful and the rich and the beautiful…"

That is, of course, another problem: It's much harder of us human beings to empathise with people whose attributes are not attractive to us (that includes things like ethnics, occupation and other group-related things).

One of the reasons why beautiful people are much more successful in life, are much healthier and have better characters is because other people treat them better. And they treat them better because they can much more easily empathise with them. That is soo unfair, but there is exactly nothing we can do about it (short of genetic manipulation of mankind, that is, I'm still working on that part).

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"Knowing me, I would say “wow! you lucked out. I should’ve come later.” I would say it loud enough and knowing most people, the baker would probably respond, “I’m sorry I have no more left but I’ll remember you next time.” That’s what humans do."

I love that response.
One question: Why would you say that aloud? Why do you think it is necessary for you to make the others aware of your reaction? And why do you think the baker would answer defensively? My suggestion here: Because all of you are very well aware of the unfairness of the situation and the acknowledgement of the baker helps you to overcome the perceived unfairness.
And we talk about 5 freaking rolls.

"I'm sorry you had to study extremely hard for a decade while this other guy got the same position simply because he has connections, don't you have some idle, lazy brother that I could hire in compensation?"

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I don't think we really have to go out of our way to empathize with everyone. Empathy happens. It would be strange to walk outside saying "I shall empathize with everyone who crosses my path." And that's not the position we're in. We simply are being asked to be human to everyone and to see them as humans. And an office is like a neighborhood; we get to know everyone.

Re: the rolls:
I tend to be a very playful person in real life. I like getting free stuff as well. So why not stand up for a chance to get free stuff? So it's not about making a big deal out of the rolls. It'd be just part of a playful encounter. I am very very very playful in real life and I turn everything into a joke. In most every encounter, I tend to create human interaction. Alas I'm a very gregarious person. So yeah, why not aim for free rolls?...especially if they look good and yummy!

As for compensating with the hard worker, I think I could manage that as well. It's been said that a legalist is someone who thinks that somewhere someone is getting away with something. And that is what i dislike about some of the folks in that office: they are being very legalistic. They don't want anyone to get away with anything..unless it's of course they themselves who are getting away with stuff. That kind of thing bothers me.

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Wow, we really derailed this one good ...

"Not sure if Korean culture is any less empathetic than American. Korean culture seems to have a lot of generosity to the poor — or maybe it’s just to those they consider the deserving poor. But generosity isn’t necessarily empathy I guess."

Right. In fact, generosity is sometimes almost the exact opposite of empathy. In Christian culture, generosity was institutionalised to take away the high psychological costs of empathy in the very unfair Christian societies. Instead of empathising with that guy right next to you, you simply donate some wealth and everything is fine.

In many East Asian countries, empathy with people outside your own circles (parents, family, work, friends) is very dangerous: you tend to invest emotions and wealth into them that you should be spending on your parents, your family, etc. pp., which is a bit of a betrayal, because your emotions and your wealth does not belong to you, but to your respective circles.

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"I don’t think we really have to go out of our way to empathize with everyone."

But here's the catch: You don't do it that. You choose whom you empathise with: people you are likely you meet frequently, people you want to do something for you, people who give you status. You choose not to empathise with people you'll probably never meet again, you wouldn't want in your social circles, etc.

That's an automatic process to some point.

"Empathy happens. It would be strange to walk outside saying “I shall empathize with everyone who crosses my path.”"

Yes, because as I said, the filter mechanism is automatic and you didn't want to drop that filter and empathise with everyone. That would be hell.

"And that’s not the position we’re in. We simply are being asked to be human to everyone and to see them as humans."

No. Just no. When you take a hike into the woods, you don't see every tree as a tree. You see them as a forest and then by situational necessity, you see some individual trees as trees. When you go shopping in downtown, you don't see every human as a human being, you see them as a forest of people (unless your filter finds a person attractive enough to enter your consciousness).

"And an office is like a neighborhood; we get to know everyone."

Eventually, yes. Eventually, you will be able to empathise with the cleaning lady that empties the waste baskets in your office at 2am. But that doesn't happen on the day you first enter your office, at that point, she is just a shadow that glides down the stairwell without a trace in your consciousness or memory.

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@Jon G
in response to: "Right. In fact, generosity is sometimes almost the exact opposite of empathy. In Christian culture, generosity was institutionalised to take away the high psychological costs of empathy in the very unfair Christian societies. Instead of empathising with that guy right next to you, you simply donate some wealth and everything is fine." and that bit about east asian countries-

am guessing you're not east asian, because that's a whopping generalization to make. yes, by all means, stereotype us as cold, uncaring, collectivistic cultures with no control over our own emotions and wealth. am also guessing that you're white and christian by how you laud generousity as a christian value, completely ignoring how christianity as a religion has been utilized as a pretense, an excuse for slavery and to colonize countries all over the world.
please stop with your nonsense and don't pretend to know about east asian countries that you've never been to.

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"am guessing you’re not east asian, because that’s a whopping generalization to make."

I plead guilty in both cases.

"yes, by all means, stereotype us as cold, uncaring, collectivistic cultures with no control over our own emotions and wealth."

I didn't. Neither cold, nor uncaring, nor collectivistic. And "no control" is not correct either, just less control than the capitalistic, individualistic west asians.

"am also guessing that you’re white and christian by how you laud generousity as a christian value, [...]"

I am white. I am no Christian, but close enough (my father is a protestant priest). I didn't laud generosity as a christian value, btw, quite the opposite. I said that generosity was a tool used by the Christian church to stop people from empathising with other people, to gain more control over people's interactions and keep them mental slaves of the church.

"please stop with your nonsense and don’t pretend to know about east asian countries that you’ve never been to."

I've never been to Korea, I concede this. I've been working with a Korean research group for a while, but that's about it. I've been to China, Japan and several parts of south-east asia, but not nearly long or invested enough to be accused of studying east asian culture.

That's why I used the (admittedly pointed and simplified) description that was given to me by a Japanese-based Chinese mainlander when I told him of my first impressions of Japan (which included the episode of total ignorance of an injured man on the street).

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ok well your point about the episode of total ignorance of an injured man on the street is weak, when considering that the term "bystander effect" was coined by two white researchers following the murder of kitty genovese, to put a term to a social phenomenon they observed in america. it's not unique to japan, or any other east asian country, or any country for that matter.
so, in the future, please refrain from making these sorts of broad, sweeping generalizations of countries you have very limited knowledge of.

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While you are at discussing the "bystander effect", you might be interested that there has been some research towards cultural differences when it comes to the "bystander effect", which shows that this effect is VERY different between western cultures and east asian cultures, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

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I really enjoyed the 2nd episode too. I wish I knew something about baduk strategies and tactics to see the significance of Geurae choosing Seokyool as his partner.

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I actually went and added a Baduk set to my Amazon list. Heck i even went to the misaeng webtoon site. I am now pondering if any of the women in my ESL class play baduk.

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Yeah, I looked up the Misaeng webtoon site as well. It seems like each of the original episodes came with the "gibo", record of the baduk game played by Cho Hoon Hyun and Nie Weiping in the 1st Ing Cup Tournament. They played 5 games in all and at the last, 5th round, Cho beat Nie with 145 moves in all. So the webtoon has 145 episodes and each episode shows at the beginning the gibo of each movement. I guess readers familiar with baduk eventually began to comment on the strategies and significance of each move in the context of the story and the commentaries themselves are worthwhile to read. I am tempted to buy the 9 volumes of Misaeng Season 1.

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can you please link the webtoon site?

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I personally believe that Geu-rae is an idiot for not picking Young-yi as his partner. Sure he mistakenly, I think, thinks she just wants him for a partner to make herself look better but still.

You know it's funny but as I was watching this I kept thinking to myself no one other than Kang So-ra could play Young-yi, no one other than Lee Sung-min could play Chief Oh and so on and so forth.

Can't wait for more.

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Yeah, I was frustrated too. Would a guy do this in real life? Reject the girl he likes because of his pride? He seems to have a big crush on her, and it was the opportunity to spend time together.
However I think she did not choose him in order to stand out. The show made pretty clear that she is an ace, so she does not need that. I think she just chose him when she realized that the others would run from her or try to sabotage her. For sure she already noticed he likes her, and he looks reliable and harmless.

I hope the show keeps up with the good work. I am already hooked and cheering for our dear puppy Geu Rae. :D

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I did something very much like that when I was an undergraduate freshman back then.

I had a huge secret crush on my classmate and when we had to enlist as pairs for a project course, there was kind of a difficult situation as we were 7 people, 6 men and her, in our learning group. Because the two guys she had known for some time already paired, she eventually asked me, but I didn't really understand why she would do that (complex explanation needed, short version: I suspected that she picked me because she might have thought that I would do most of the work), so I declined. She finally had to pick an "outsider", who eventually became her boyfriend.

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Why??!! I'm sorry to hear that, but you should have tried...
I went through a similar story, hehe!! I met him at college, and he was the sweetest guy ever...he was even blushing and nervous around me, and was always trying to help me...all my friends were asking about him, it was obvious something was going on there. He was attractive to me and made me like him with all that chivalry and attentions. But never had the courage to ask me out. I tried to "help" him proposing study together a couple of times, but he seemed to be scared of my moves and I just gave up....never understood what the hell was going on with him, and that was so frustrating then...who understands men?!

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Who understands men? Well, I don't either. We are quite peculiar.

That being said, your original question was whether a real life guy would decline to work with the girl. It sometimes seems like men are single-minded robots who will do anything to achieve their goal. And there is this tendency in men to focus on just one aspect, more than in women maybe. But still, men are human beings too, having a crush does not completely eliminate all the other functions of the human mind.

I don't know "your" guy, I cannot tell you why he would decline to work with you, but that's because there are TOO MANY possible reasons why he would do that.

In my case, it was a rational decision, and I still think it was the right decision. I had been with her in the learning group for a short time and I already knew her temper and ambition, I confidently predicted that we weren't too compatible as working partners on a project were I was more competent than her (while she was superior in most other fields of study). She should have been aware of that too.

She was pressed for time (being a national level track athlete parallel to the studying) and the most reasonable explanation was that she didn't want to invest time in the project, knowing that I would do all the work if necessary. Now, of course I would have liked helping her, but (a) dragging her through is not helping, (b) there is this pride thing, (c) she would have been disappointed with herself in retrospect, (d) I would have given her a hell of a time for both crush-related and professional reasons.

(I invoked the "second male lead" option instead: I made sure that my project milestones were ahead of hers and then worked with her partner on some issues, allowing him to support her on the really time critical parts.)

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I don't think he has a crush on her yet though.

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C'mon, he kept her hair tie, he was fantasizing with asking her to be his partner, and when she finally did it, he was recalling the moment with a silly happy smile and she was glowing in his memories...To me it looks like a proper crush, haha!!

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To me, that's just him being (a little too) attached to his mama duck.

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I think he does have a little crush, but that doesn't mean his crush is the priority in his life and that he lets it dictate his decisions. Even when he planned on asking her earlier in the episode, he did it because he honestly just liked and trusted her more than the rest of them. She'd earnestly helped him, while the others played tricks and THAT'S why he should have picked her. But, unfortunately the thought that the one person he trusted could be the same as the rest probably made him react by choosing someone completely unexpected. Wrong choice, but it does make sense.

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Or well...perhaps "reluctantly helped" is more fitting, but still!

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tVN has had a lot more hits than misses. They aren't afraid to go out of the box. Like Vampire Prosecutor or Reply 1997...etc. Now Misaeng. Can't wait to see how this unfolds.

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Wow. I just looked at a list of dramas tvN has done -- many of my all-time favs!

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VP is OCN. :)

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oops my bad :)

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I loved the first 2episodes but they were so painful to watch. Like you said, it was like watching a puppy being kicked repeatedly. And somehow that suit bought by the mother's savings made everything more heart-breaking.
I'm seriously impressed by the way Im Siwan is acting Geu-rae. Understated but you can feel every emotion going through his head.

Only quibble-I want Kang Haneul in a bigger role.

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Exactly my thoughts. That suit story was too painful to watch. Siwan is doing an amazing job, and Haneul should appear more in our screens...that glasses increase his sexyness in a way I would not have imagined XDD

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The way she pulled out her stack of money and how she repeatedly asked the cashier if she's sure it's a new suit made it really heartbreaking.

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so far so good, anticipating for episode 3~

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I miss this show so much. I'm busy but I honestly just want to repeat those two eps over and over. I can't explain but this drama bypassed everything and went straight to my heart.

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Oh my gosh oh my gosh! You totally nailed the descriptions of Geu-Rae, the office characters, and the office atmosphere! You dramabean bloggers are ust sooo good!!!! Thanks for the recap and the wonderful and always insightful commentaries.

It's so rare that I see a "Candy" man or even a regular "Candy" that I like but when a drama does a great job at showing a good-hearted struggling working class/poor person...I just find myself grinning from ear to ear or tearing up. And the fact that Geu-Rae is emotionally damaged with a bit of the loner to him....with the proud Mama who wants him to be happy and to do well....I'm hooked!!!!

Sometimes one gets tired of all those chaebol and princes.

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Agreed!

*cough* please bring back the 'like' button *cough* *sneeze* (bless you) *thank you* *cough*

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LOL!

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I'm sure they're working on it. Let's not give them too much pressure.

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Where can I watch this??

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You might want to try dramago or Viki( as Incomplete Life). ... Enjoy ?

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Ahh, thanks. I didn't know to look under that.

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You are most welcome ?....we fellow drama addicts care and share

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enable*

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It's also on kdrama.com, now Tv Soompi.

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also on gooddrama.net.

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I like the actor who plays Mr. Smarmy.Although it's his first appearance in this episode, he is such a slimy character and seems full of BS.
Seriously, I've become a fan of Im Shi Wan. He is nailing this role.
Can't wait until next week. Wonder who will team with Young Yi. Poor puppy is stuck with Mr. Smarmy...

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For some reason, I can't bring myself to believe that Young yi was going to use Geu Rae like all the other interns in the firm. She's always treated him differently with respect and friendliness, giving him helpful bits of advice on how to fit in and do his job better. I think he would have learned a lot by partnering up with her and I'm disappointed that his confidence was so shattered that he couldn't take her up on her offer.

I don't trust his new partner one bit, but I am hoping that because his new partner is from a different branch, he MAY have a semblance of honesty (I'm not holding my breath though). The previews for the next episode shows that his partner is a sleeze ball. Here's hoping that Geu Rae and Young yi form a solid friendship. They could use one in that jungle of a workplace.

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Young yi is always the one who seem to spot Geurae in a poor puppy situation. She kinda pity him for being an outcast and somehow she's more comfortable approaching him since she herself is a lone wolf type of worker. I can't wait for these two to develop a good team together sucks that they are not partners for that project....

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I very much doubt she was going to use him. The drama wasn't suggesting that (the way she approached him was quite different from the others – she didn't drop gifts on his desk, but took him out for coffee and talked to him). It's just that her request to partner got lost among the other requests. He picks the slimy guy because at least he's honest: that guy didn't try to kiss his feet but rather when prompted for a reason of why he wanted to partner only praised himself.

Picking Young-yi would have been too easy (and narratively more boring), the new guy will bring out some conflicts which will allow Geu-rae to grow. And hopefully the other guy too – I'm counting on a bromance here (eventually).

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Define "use". She didn't understand why nobody asked her (just like G-r didn't understand why everyone asked him), but she got the heads-up, she seemed to get nervous. Asking G-r was the "easiest" way out for her. Her motive for "using" him is different - and maybe morally less questionable.

I'm 100% with you on his choice. It's not just a plot device decision, it's the absolutely right decision even from a character-driven perspective. Good job, show!

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Use = make themselves look better by partnering with someone that's so bad you will look far superior.

Well, I'm not sure she didn't pick up Baek-ki's approach not being some sort of opening to be partners. She could have asked him then and they would have made the killer team, since they are the top two interns. Asking Geu-rae... honestly, I think she's just picked up on that he's a little different from the others and there's something of her that relates to that (because she's a little different from the others... we still have to find out. Judging from her empty apartment that she seems to just have moved into I'm guess she's all alone too or has some I'm-fighting-by-myself story).

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Y-y + B-k: She said that she was rejected by him, and that really seemed to be her opinion of that situation. (One could try to go subtext and think that maybe she tried to lure out G-r who overheard her discussion with Mr. Oh, but there is not much evidence in her behaviour for that.)

B-k talked with her about the pairing problem without much indication that he wanted to pair with her. She might see him as a confident person who wouldn't hesitate and beat around the bush with her, and as he didn't ask her even when they discussed the topic, that's as good as a direct rejection. She didn't pick up B-k's own nervousness about it (more precisely: HER), if she had, she would have been able to come to a different conclusion.

No, Y-y didn't seem to try to use G-r in THAT way, at least not consciously. She knows, and has been told, that she is far better than most of the others, especially G-r, and it doesn't make a difference to her whether her partner is average or bad, she will always be superior enough to make a good impression.

Why does she still turn to him of all people? Because he is easy. Wait, that came out wrong, let me rephrase: Because she feels that he is less likely to turn her down than any of the others. Why does she think that? There is actually a huge amount of reasons: He is indebted to her for all the favours she did to him. She knows that he has very little self-esteem. She should have picked up some signs of his affection towards her. He is alone, not part of the pack, easy to single out for a hunter. He is like her in that aspect too. Etc. pp.

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Geu-Rae's new partner seems sleazy but maybe that's just seeming and braggadocio. He's so broadly drawn that I can't take him as a serious threat. I trust him way more than I trust the others. He might just be putting on airs and puffing up a whole lotta smoke. That's not to say that he wouldn't try to use our hero but I don't think he can outsmart Geu-Rae and I don't think he will try to. Fingers crossed.

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Quick question: does anyone know how many episodes this drama will be? I'm wondering if it's the traditional 16 episode drama. It'll help me understand and anticipate the pace of the drama. Thanks.

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According to Asiawiki, it may be 20 episodes long, ending on 20 Dec 2014.

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Thanks!

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Hi everyone..where can i read the webtoon with english transaction..thank you in advance

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"I can understand why it became such a cult hit. And I, for one, am happy to join that cult"

I'm already drinking the Misaeng koolaid.
No time to gush on how i felt a visceral pull after the chase prologue scene...but damn...another hit 4 tvn and my top 10 kdrama list- best believe-will b updated

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Ha! "Misaeng koolaid" Well put.

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