Gaus Electronics: Episodes 1-2
Zippy comedy Gaus Electronics wastes no time introducing us to our dysfunctional marketing team and their mishaps. Kwak Dong-yeon plays our protagonist, a sunny walking disaster whose zeal, paired with a tendency to wreak accidental havoc, doesn’t make him popular with his coworkers. It’s going to take a lot to get the team in working order, but our enthusiastic lead is sure going to give it his all.
EPISODES 1-2 WEECAP
First things first: I love Kwak Dong-yeon. How is he so endearing, like, all the time? He never fails to make me root for him, and his hapless LEE SANG-SHIK is no exception. Sang-shik is a bit of a mess, albeit a lovable one. He’s overly earnest, honest, and unfailingly optimistic to the irritation of his colleagues. Unfortunately for him, he ends up causing trouble rather than helping most of the time.
He’s a part of the infamous Marketing Team 3 which has a reputation for being useless and a dead end. We see a manager resign rather than face reassignment there. But not only does he resign, he then leaks documents to the media detailing the current chairman’s embezzlement.
And this is where Sang-shik does some serious damage. Amid this media frenzy, he accidentally releases this hilarious marketing video on his personal channel that chronicles Gaus Electronic’s somewhat unsavory rise, starting with the pro-Japanese founder and subsequent chairman who made his fortune off stolen goods. How he thought that would work as a marketing tool is a mystery since it comes off like a hit piece.
Sang-shik insists the video was set to private, but it doesn’t much matter since it’s public now. We do catch a glimpse of someone tampering with the settings on Sang-shik’s computer at work, so we might just have a team betrayal on our hands. Regardless, with the release of that video and the embezzlement scandal, Marketing Team 3 gets audited.
One thing that struck me about this drama is how fast it moves. And I don’t just mean covering a lot of ground, which it does. It has this almost frenetic pace that’s clearly intentional and adds to the zany style and humor.
Speaking of humor, I have mixed feelings here. There were definitely scenes and jokes that made me cackle. I love all the name puns – almost everyone has a name that means something else – and the embracing of absurdity which we see in full force with the introduction of BAEK MA-TAN (Bae Hyun-sung), chaebol heir to Power Group.
Ma-tan is determined to prove himself and mingle with the commoners, and he decides the best method would be making a name for himself at the scandal-laden Gaus. He’s hilariously obtuse and starts off his new job by literally being parachuted in… and promptly gets hit by a car upon landing. Pfft.
Once he heals and finally starts his job, he’s appalled by the commoner conditions but resolute – he will endure. But not without some needed amenities like the actual golden spoon he carries around for meals in potentially unsanitary places.
I just love how seriously Ma-tan takes himself while being absolutely ridiculous… and having that hair. LOL. He treats everyone like his underlings, including his new bosses. He especially bosses around enthusiastic sunbae Sang-shik who is doing his darndest to impart his wisdom to the newbie but just ends up making him copies and coffee.
The other team members are less excited about, well, pretty much everything. They’ve mostly given up at this point, accepting that their team is an unsolvable mess of underachievers. Although, CHA NA-RAE (Go Sung-hee) does seem to have some ambitions and is the one most bothered by Sang-shik’s constant fires that need putting out.
Here’s where the humor didn’t work well for me. Na-rae is so antagonistic toward Sang-shik in a way that’s highly unprofessional, and we get a good dose of workplace bullying that’s treated as a joke. For example, during the audit, the team is afraid Sang-shik will make everything worse, so they actually tie him up and lock him in the supply room.
They leave him there for HOURS until he misses his date with his first love MO HAE-YOUNG (Lee So-hee), although that might be for the best. She clearly uses him and also has this odd habit of referring to herself in the third person constantly. It’s not cute.
What did make me laugh about the situation was that due to the team’s obvious disdain for Sang-shik, the auditor determines that they must’ve all conspired to bully Sang-shik by creating that video and posting it to his account. (Serves them right, really.)
The auditor then sees a tied up and worse-for-the-wear Sang-shik – he got a black eye and lost a couple teeth during his escape from the supply room – in the lobby and has his bullying suspicions confirmed. The verdict: the team should be disbanded. Then, Na-rae has the gall to be mad at Sang-shik like he just ruined their team by inadvertently exposing that they assaulted him.
It’s hard for me to get behind Na-rae as a character since she’s so abusive toward Sang-shik. Besides the actual assault, she’s constantly yelling at him and being unnecessarily mean. No matter how frustrating he might be to work with, her behavior is totally unacceptable, and it’s uncomfortable to see it played for laughs at times.
But I sense a potential enemies-to-lovers romance in the air. Na-rae moves out of her parents’ home to live alone for the first time, and of course, she ends up next-door neighbors with Sang-shik. They’re both equally appalled by the coincidence and decide to ignore each other outside of work.
That said, despite Na-rae’s insistence on maintaining their distance, she’s not shy about breaking her own rule whenever she needs his help. Never having lived alone, she struggles to figure out the basics and then panics when she sees a spider.
She runs over to Sang-shik’s and begs him to help her kill the spider. Sang-shik’s new roommate AZIZ (Sazal Mahamud) even tries to help get rid of her, but Na-rae is persistent.Through a series of mishaps, Na-rae ends up lying on top of Sang-shik on the hallway floor, clutching him for dear life lest the spider get her. That, naturally, is the scene Sang-shik’s crush Hae-young stumbles upon as we end our second episode.
Although some of the humor and Na-rae’s character didn’t land for me, I still enjoyed the premiere episodes. Kwak Dong-yeon is as delightful as ever, and I do like the general style of humor and overall zaniness. If it tones down the bullying aspect and gives Na-rae some serious character growth, I could be all in.
- Premiere Watch: Gaus Electronics
- New stills of Kwak Dong-yeon and Go Sung-hee in ENA’s Gaus Electronics
- Counting down the minutes until the work day ends at Gaus Electronics
- Singing for Gaus Electronics with Kwak Dong-yeon and Go Sung-hee
- Kwak Dong-yeon brightens up the office in Gaus Electronics
- News bites: May 21, 2022