[drama] why MISAENG is a must-watch

If there is one drama you need to watch this season, heck, this year, make it MISAENG.

misaeng

It’s very seldom that I come across such drama that pulls me in and affects me so much that even a quiet scene reduces me to tears. I have never watched a drama that emphasizes the nuance of a scene or a character the way MISAENG does. There is just so much context in its simplicity you can see not only the solid writing but the intelligence behind it as well. The story does not insult the audience nor does it becomes condescending even when it tries to preach. Sometimes it’s so matter-of-fact you forget this is a drama.

Of course it’s still a matter of taste and preference. I’m an escapist who wants the dramas I watch to be entertaining and not as tedious as real life. But every now and then, a gem like MISAENG comes along in an already crowded stage full of rom-coms or pointless melodramas that something like this needs to be highlighted.

So yes, if there is only one drama you might want to invest your emotions and time in, make it MISAENG, and here are reasons why:

1. Perfect casting

I love ensemble dramas and while ZE:A idol Im Siwan is in the lead role, it is by no means his drama alone. From Lee Sung-min to Kang Sora, Kang Ha-neul, Kim Dae-myung and the relatively newbie Byun Yo-han, they each create a character that is so memorable and realistic you could see yourself in their shoes or know of someone who are like them.  Even the support cast turn in very effective performances and manage to bring humanity to otherwise cliche roles.

2. The script

An office drama sounds so boring so what makes it different from the others? The realism. I know it’s ridiculous to say a drama is so good because it is realistic. After all, it is still a make-believe world. If you want realism, then watch documentaries, right? But when we talk about being “realistic”, we always have this impression of something being larger than life, for example: if it portrays poverty, then we see squalor and misery; lots of it that it becomes what we know as poverty porn, or misery porn or whatever you’d like to call it. MISAENG is not like that. Sure, it reflects the daily life of an office worker but it does not over-dramatize it to the point that you are taken to the other extreme of realism and reminded you are watching a Korean drama. It has the right amount of down-to-earthness to make its story credible and the characters relatable, as well as the right amount of dramatic tension to keep you entertained.

3. The OST

Particularly the ending song, which sounds like an old-fashioned ditty. It suits the temperament of the drama that those poppy songs by idols won’t be able to. It’s called Romantic Ideal by Rose Motel.

4. Baduk and lessons on life

Jang Gurae, the lead character, is a frustrated Go (Baduk) player and he applies what he has learned in the game in his work and daily life. There are also countless of quotable quotes inspired by Baduk.

“Your life is a collection of your choices.”

“There’s no choice that will satisfy everyone. You have to take responsibility over your choice.”

“It’s not smart to respond especially when there’s trouble. When you keep your cool while the opponent doesn’t ultimately gives them trouble.”

“You need to kick the ball to make a goal.”

“Do not overlook whatever we think is obvious.”

5. It’s your story

Whether you’re working in the trade industry or in a company or self-employed, well, as long as you’re working, you will find something familiar in MISAENG. It may be your story or someone else’s, it may be your experience or someone else’s, but trust me, this drama is like a mirror in so many ways. Anyone who has been through being an intern and starting out not knowing anything can totally relate to it. Even those who are already established in their work, or struggling or still searching for themselves, will relate to it.

“People think we just wear neckties and work like a block on the wall. We think our actions won’t affect society or the company. But our work is our life.”

“Life is still a game of Go.”

So yes, for me, MISAENG is THE 2014 drama and props to tvN for producing it and to the cast for the superb performances. It’s already halfway through the 20 episodes and it gets better and better each time. So what are you waiting for? Go watch.

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10 thoughts on “[drama] why MISAENG is a must-watch

  1. It is so rare for people to be gushing about one particular drama like this. But everywhere I go seems to have people praising this drama in particular. I’ve been staying away from Misaeng, but think I’m going to jump on the watch wagon now.

    • don’t let the gushing and the positive reviews turn you away from this drama, please. I know it happens coz that’s my initial reaction whenever people spazz so much. but I assure you, the great reviews are not due to hype or from blind fans lol this drama is really worth your time and I hope you like it as well! 😄

  2. Could not have said it any better. Yes! to everything. This week’s episodes were SO good and then they left us with a cliffhanger. A cliffhanger in an office drama, what in the world…?! 😄

  3. I’m very picky in terms of watching Korean dramas. Because my spare time is just so precious, I don’t want to use it watching something that I can hardly enjoy. Especially due to Korean dramas having a very long airing time compared to Japanese dorama. So, I really rely on reviews like this. Thanks for writing it!

    I also got interested because you mentioned that it has this slice-of-life bit, just like in J-dorama. That’s what I think the K-dramas are lacking.

    So, I’m off to check out this drama! Thanks again! 🙂

    • same here. I don’t want to waste time on something I am just compelled to watch. I don’t even watch the dramas of Arashi out of loyalty. I have other things to do lol

      I hope though you like it. dramas are still a matter of preference, no matter the positive reviews on them.

      thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  4. I have skirted KDramas for half a year now, preferring Korean Movies, but this totally sounds like my cup of tea.
    I have yet to find a replacement for the void created by Rich Man, Poor Woman, where the titular figure definitely marks off all the best aspects of a well-developed character.

    I love Arashi but sometimes, some members’s dramas just don’t stand out to me either.

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’m pretty excited to check this one out.

    • I strongly recommend Misaeng!!! the first two episodes are downright depressing but as those who recommended it to me said, it gets better. and it really does! I love the simplicity of the storytelling, the acting, the script… it’s not your typical drama fare, that’s for sure.

      I know what you mean about Arashi’s dramas haha I don’t watch all their dramas either and in fact, my fave Arashi drama would be… Lucky Seven. it’s not the usual choice hahahaha

      hey thanks for all the comments you left!

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