I finished watching the K-drama Misaeng
[미생] (a.k.a. Incomplete Life
) and... started watching it again! It's that good.
. It's available with English subtitles on Viki. Viki also has an app for mobile devices. These are free but with ads, and the ads are rather brutally shoved in about every 10 minutes or so and range from 15 seconds to over 20 minutes(!). You can skip all but the shortest ads after 5 seconds. Viki also has ad-free access for $3.99/month with a week-long free trial.
Why I loved it:
* Found family
* Unlikely friendships
* Value of being different / different competencies outside the expected
* Being your own person
* Not predictable
* ( Sorta spoilery )
* The characters:
Manager Oh! ♥ ♥ ♥ HIS LOVE FOR GEU RAE IS SO PURE! Like, I don't slash them because it's too May/December for me, but if people did I would totally get why because THEY ARE SO IN LOVE. In terms of the show, it's sort of a father-figure relationship but not quite. It's more mentor and crazy uncle than father, to me, but whatever it is, it's ♥! Oh Sang Sik is just a great character, anyway. Someone on Tumblr tagged him as "Papa Bear" and that is so true.
Jang Geu Rae! ♥ ♥ ♥ He tries *so hard*. In everything. He won't give up and he doesn't see the things he can do because he's so focused on what he lacks. The series is basically showing him coming out of his shell and "entering life." And it's never easy, but he keeps going even when he wants to give up. Awww, bae. That being said, he is not only a woobie. He has a tangy side, too, which I looooooved seeing and, tbh, wish we saw a little more of it.
Ahn Yeong Yi: Awesome, competent, and realistically not perfect. Do not be fooled by how her character is introduced. I think the show was playing with us, saying, "You think it's going to be this
kind of office show, huh?" And it is not.
Jang Baek Gi: For me, the hardest character to get to know, but I think that's the point. He's the one who, on the surface, has all the right qualifications and worked hard to get everything he expects to get. And then things don't go as expected. It is great to watch him adjusting and finally learning from the experiences.
Han Seok Yool: His character is one sign of a good show for me: He is introduced in such a way that I couldn't stand him. And then the character developed and I found out more and by the end, I loved him.
Kim Dong Sik: Geu Rae's immediate superior and how can you not love the guy? He's so loyal, but expresses his misgivings. On the surface, he seems like a generic ordinary joe but there's more to him.
Front row, l-r: Han Seok Yool, Jang Baek Gi, Jang Geu Rae, Ahn Yeong Yi.
Back row, l-r: Kim Dong Sik, Oh Sang Sik.
* There is some embarrassment squicky stuff, most of it in episode 1, but it gets better, honestly. The "fish out of water" aspect becomes the "different competencies" aspect. Geu Rae is not
like the other newbie employees and never will be, and the show raises the question, "Why is that so bad?" There are also some scenes of workplace bullying, not just of Geu Rae.
* A few scenes of heavy drinking and extreme drunkenness. Of a frequency and intensity I haven't seen on American TV in a long time, fwiw. Also some scenes of smoking cigarettes.
* Depiction of South Korean corporate culture as traditional, hierarchical, paternal, and sexist. I have no reason to think this isn't accurate. The sexism was the hardest to watch, but the big thing for me was how the show presents it. For me, it's like Agent Carter
: the show portrays realistic sexism but also makes it clear that this is not good or fair, it's actually something very awful and toxic.
Despite the caveats, I truly love this show. All I can say is, things don't go the way I thought they would -- on both the small scale and the larger scale -- and almost every character gets some background that puts them in a new light.
Geu Rae, Seok Yool, and Baek Gi after working hard:( And the complete picture is even better... )