Five drama recommendations… with unique professions
by DB Staff
Dramaland loves to use a character’s profession as a way to give heroes their mountains to climb and battles to win. Admittedly, dramas are not always creative with their choice of workplaces and professions, though, and there are an inordinate amount of dramas about lawyers, prosecutors, doctors, chefs, detectives, news anchors, executives, and athletes. But every now and then there comes a drama that throws a more unusual profession into the mix, and we can enjoy how the drama uses it to create a unique setting, layer, or backdrop to the story. Here are some of our favorites.
Oh Hae-young Again (2016)
This drama isn’t a favorite of mine, but its biggest standout for me is the male lead’s profession. Eric played a movie sound director and I spent several episodes wowed by how sound directors work. My favorite scenes – aside from the explosive wall kiss, of course – were those where he went with his team to record sounds from various places and objects, and it was so fascinating to see how these sounds are blended together and inserted into the final product we watch on screen.
His job wasn’t really integral to the plot, and could have been replaced with any other one, but for once, it was really nice to see a character work in a niche profession in dramaland as these professions need representation too! Sound plays such a vital role in movies and on TV, and as a fan of good sounds, it left me with a deeper sense of respect to the guys behind the scenes putting all these together to appeal to our auditory senses. –@unit
I’m Not a Robot (2017)
While Jia (Chae Soo-bin), the leading lady of I’m Not a Robot, may have a part-time gig pretending to be a robot — which is undeniably a unique profession — I’m more interested in her true passion: inventing whimsical products designed to spark joy. Like most small-scale inventors who aren’t part of a team of scientists and engineers being bankrolled by a big name company, Jia’s work is relatively unknown and under-appreciated by the masses. See, she doesn’t create products with consumerism and profitability in mind. Instead, she thinks of the individuals who might one day use her inventions, and she dreams up creations that will bring them happiness. Who wouldn’t be charmed by a set of heart-shaped lamps that are programmed to light up simultaneously whenever someone touches one of the lamps? Or a seemingly magical umbrella that goes from opaque to clear at the push of a button?
I admire Jia’s creativity, but even more, I like the fact that — as far as drama heroines go — her artistry is expressed through a nontraditional medium that has a bonus practicality to it. –@daebakgrits
Run On (2020)
Run On is an underrated gem with some of the best dialogue, a second female lead with a killer fashion sense, and a walking green flag of a male lead. But my spotlight here is on the female lead, Mi-joo (played by Shin Se-kyung) who translates movies into Korean. As someone who relies on subtitles to watch non-English content, I have the biggest appreciation for translators who put in all the effort to pull out the nuances of foreign languages so they can be enjoyed by a local audience. And for us as international K-drama fans, we have to admit that these guys are the unsung heroes of our community.
In terms of how our heroine’s profession worked into the plot, Mi-joo’s skills got her a translating gig with the male lead and that was pivotal to the start of their love story. But what I particularly liked was her dedication to her job, and how happy she is to see her name in the end credits of the movies she translates. It’s something I can relate to, because I also look out for drama translators as the end credits roll (and I really like the fancy names of some of the subbing teams). Their names may not be written in big fonts like the “major” players, but there is nothing minor about the work that they do, and we thank them for their service! –@unit
Business Proposal (2022)
Would Business Proposal even be Business Proposal without the white kimchi ravioli, cabbage tossing, and endless toil in the test kitchen? I would argue that it would be a very different drama — after all, it was their well-tuned palates, likemindedness around food, and deep work ethic, that created common ground between GoFood CEO Tae-mu (Ahn Hyo-seop) and recipe-creator Hari (Kim Se-jung). Well, that and a case of mistaken identity, cosplay dress-up, undeniable attraction, and a whole lot of other hijinks.
Rom-coms with a workplace setting are common in dramaland, but it’s rare that they become such an integral — and fun — part of the drama’s plot. Business Proposal was able to take the yawn-factor (well, mostly) out of the age-old archetype of the young and seemingly cold chaebol CEO/heir who’s in conflict with his chairman. And how did they do that? With a sheet mask-wearing and drama-watching chairman, and enough of a behind-the-scenes look at our characters’ work to make us care whether their latest frozen food venture was a success. Business Proposal became proof that quality food — just like a quality drama — can get straight to our hearts. –@missvictrix
Kiss Sixth Sense (2022)
Office romances are a dime a dozen in dramaland, but most of the time our cubical-working characters shuffle around papers and discuss work using vague business lingo, which provides very little insight to the actual ins-and-outs of their professions. Kiss Sixth Sense, however, is one of the few dramas that actually follows the characters’ latest assignment from start to finish, and when Ye-sool (Seo Ji-hye) and her marketing team are tasked with creating a television commercial for a motor vehicle company, I was as emotionally invested in the outcome of the project as I was the romance between our leading characters.
The visual nature of marketing — and all the behind-the-scenes planning and storyboarding — naturally translates well to television, but the drama also does a good job of integrating the ups and downs of creating an advertisement into the plot of the drama. So as the Zeu.Ad employees are trying to impress their client and sell a car, the drama itself is selling the commercial — and the story behind it — to the audience. –@daebakgrits
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