by Wiam Najjar, November 19, 2014

Currently Watching

Incomplete Life

(a.k.a. Misaeng)


So anybody, who's holding a job or is not, can identify with this drama… Did I start with the conclusion?!

The title of the drama gives it out. This drama in a nutshell is about everybody's incomplete life. It's about how we are wasting our life in the workplace, about what we face there and why we have to go from hell and back to deal with it.


Incomplete Life is a portrayal of modern life with all its abuse, pain, insult, humiliation, selfishness and helplessness. This drama, which Mr. Yoon Tae Ho brought to the world as a webtoon first, is not about what you can do as ''an active part in society''. It's about what you CANNOT do as another member; another number in that very society.

Incomplete Life lays bare the ugly truth of the world's workplaces. It depicts hierarchy and how people can sink so low to gain power. It narrates stories of discrimination based on educational background, connections, and gender. It audaciously presents sexual harassment, and how and why working women usually "grit their teeth and close their eyes". The long working hours and circumstances and how they ruin the workers health is also shown. 


Let's take a look at our poor heroes:


Jang Geu Rae (Im Shi Wan or ZE:A's Siwan, if you don't know him as an actor) is a 26 years old unemployed poor guy living with his mother and doing all kinds of part-time jobs to support himself. He's only got a high school equivalency exam. He used to be a baduk (Korean Go) player. He believes that he failed in baduk, and therefore in life, because he never tried hard enough. One day, through connections he doesn’t know of, he gets hired as an intern in One International, a large trading company.


Gang Geu Rae, on his way to recognition, faces his lack of knowledge of the nature of his job, foreign language difficulties, his boss' pre-conceived idea about him entering the company through connections, and his workmates picking on him. Everything corners him and makes him crouch again in his bubble. For 26 years he has believed he never belonged with others. His inexperience as an intern only contributes to bringing him down… but…

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With Geu Rae's honest and outright personality, with his complex of not trying hard enough, and with his intuition and vision, what is going to happen?


Our second hero is the never-disappointing Lee Sung Min. (Well, if you watched King2Hearts you'd know what I'm talking about.) Section Chief Oh Sang Shik (Lee Sung Min), Jang Geu Rae's boss, is a 43 year old man with a family of four. He's the slowest when it comes to climbing the ladder of success because he doesn't care about his performance and is obsessed with high-risk projects. He's upright, warm and blunt. He cares about his team a lot and wants to be a dad his kids are never ashamed of. He pretends to lose to his bosses but ends up standing up to his beliefs and achieving results. Only his character alone is an enough reason to watch this drama.


The third member of Sales Team 3 is the sweetheart of the drama (for me at least); Assistant Manager Kim Dong Shik (Kim Dae Myung). He's the loyal, hardworking, warm, and funny member of the team. He follows Oh Sang Shik like a shadow: always helping him, covering up his mistakes and preventing the worst consequences from happening. This is my first time watching this actor and I announce: I'm in love!!


Sales Team 3 moments add the flavor and the fun to the drama. They're just too adorable for their own good.

We have three more heroes. Hold your breath:


Ahn Young Yi (Kang So Ra) is a 26 year old talented and outstanding woman. She's admired and envied for her competency and presence. She's calm, patient, upright and clever. She has a secret that's staining her smile. She might be the center of a romance. (Well, she has to be, c'mon!)

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Now comes the controversial Kang Baek Ki (Kang Ha Neul).


If you're thinking of labeling this guy, give up already. Kang Baek Ki can be warm now and cold as ice the next minute. He might defend a person vigorously and attack them the next moment. He's ambitious and wants to succeed quickly. He doesn't read between the lines. He's judgmental and insecure. But you can't help liking him no matter what he does. Well I can't.


Our last hero is Han Suk Yeol (Byun Yo Han). He's handsome, sociable, competitive but a slacker. He's a womanizer and the king of gossip. He's proud of his family and of having worked in the field.


Incomplete Life traces the daily life of our heroes. It presents them in all their moods. We see them happy and miserable, excited and depressed, proud and humiliated, laughing and crying. Incomplete Life drags us into the middle of the battlefield and shows us our heroes battling with bare hands. Incomplete Life is a show that everyone, I mean everyone can identify with.