I’ve always had this mindset with me that when I start something, especially I should stick through to end with it regardless of how the process was and that was a principle I stuck with in regards to drama-watching because I don’t like the feeling of starting a drama and just not knowing how it comes to an end. However, I realised myself that this is not an easy principle to stick with. Drama-watching is a leisure activity but once I force myself to watch through something I don’t enjoy, that drama-watching hobby of mines becomes a chore and that makes it a boring and tedious task to do. Especially now with different priorities in life which are all very time-consuming, I no longer have that time to spare to drama-watching as I once did. Not only am I more selective with what I choose to watch now, but I’ve also started to peel away from the mindset I once had.
Misaeng (AKA Incomplete Life) was a drama that received a lot of hype and compliments for its beautiful story-telling and because of that I decided to jump in on the bandwagon and see what the fuss was all about but for me I couldn’t see it. It didn’t work for me right from the get-go but I decide to pursue on with it but five eps in and I still couldn’t see it. I started on Misaeng on a few months back and actually left it on hold after one ep and only resumed watching it recently. I guess my gut instinct told me that Misaeng isn’t for me. While innumerable amount of people fell in love with this drama, I didn’t. Five eps in and I just couldn’t do it any more. My mental mind was tired, tired from watching something that had nothing to keep from continuing on.
One thing about drama-watching is that it will forever be full of bias. People will love dramas other dislike and others will dislike dramas which others may consider amazing. There is no right or wrong answer as to what a good drama is, and there never will be, because if a drama can touch your heart and make you want to continue watching it then it is a good drama. Misaeng didn’t do that for me. I found it quite dry and the pacing too slow for my liking. The beginning of ep one was fast and full of action but once it turned to the office, that all died down and I found myself waiting painstakingly for something to happen, something to liven up the dull office but that never came to be.
Misaeng is not the usual rom-com that is very prevalent in dramaland, it’s of the office life, something that you don’t see in dramaland that often. It’s a genre nicely touched upon emphasising on the white-collar life and the difficulty in getting and maintaining a job. It touched on with the newbies Jang Geu Rae (Yim Si Wan), Ah Young Yi (Kang So Ra), Jang Baek Ki (Kang Ha Neul) and Han Seok Yool (Byun Yo Han) all starting out as interns trying to get a position in the company and then slowly working their way through the office life by securing themselves the cultivated newbie position. They are just trying to survive and in their journey are met with a number of set-backs which provides them with a learning journey. The characters are all nicely written and they all have their own distinct personalities but I found their development quite slow and that made it hard to connect with the characters. Five eps in and I don’t feel like I have really known the characters yet; I feel like I am still getting to know them like the first ep.
The plot is probably the biggest reason why I couldn’t love this drama, or more specifically, the pacing. It was slow and I felt like the characters were going through the same problems ep after ep when really they were new challenges that the characters were going through. For others, the pacing may be and was perfectly fine but for me, I found it progressing too slowly for my liking. There wasn’t enough going on each ep and I felt like the characters were faced with the same challenge for an extended period of time, most probably due to the slow pacing. That took out the curiosity from me and I found myself not excited nor anticipating what would come next.
While the drama did not manage to capture my heart, I did love how well it reflected real life. I really liked the interaction between the newbies. It was cautious, treading on a thin line interaction that was bridging friendship but not quite there. They’re just starting off their careers and right now, more than anything, survival is their biggest challenge. They all have a very sincere conscience and are all tied together for one reason and one reason only – to gain a career. All the while, a friendship forms between them but it gets conflicted due to work priorities, especially due to the conflicts and constant battles between their superiors leaving them to take the fall and clean up the mess that ensues. The relationship between Geu Rae and his superior Oh Sang Shik (Lee Sung Min) is an especially interesting one. Geu Rae always gets on Manager Oh’s toes but Manager Oh can’t help but look out for him and just point him in the right direction. I really like how the drama wrote up their relationship and I found it nicely developed in the midst of the slow pacing of the drama.
Misaeng is an absolutely amazing drama, just that it didn’t turn out that way for me. There were parts that I loved from the drama but there was a lot of it that didn’t work out for me. I guess this drama just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Click here to watch Misaeng.