Disclaimer: The analysis of the drama is subjective.
Caution: The article contains major spoilers of the drama Jealousy Incarnate
In this article, I will focus on the career development of the female lead in Jealousy Incarnate and the trials she faces in order to succeed. This is part 1 of my analysis on the career development of the main leads in Jealousy Incarnate.
Summary of Pyo Na Ri's character development
We meet Pyo Na Ri on television while reporting the weather. As we are taken into the studio where she is recording, we see that her clothes are purposefully made tighter by clips and the PD is telling her through an earpiece to perk up her butt and boobs which she does. Na Ri works hard to do the extra work and goes around trying to please the PDs, who noticeably doesn't have an ounce of respect for her and walk all over her. This is something other female weather reporters hold disdain against her for making them look lazy, and not showing dignity as a professional by following sleazy directions to perk up her boobs and butt.
Na Ri’s resilience comes from the fact that she hopes to someday become an anchorwoman working aside Hwa Shin. She initially applied to the broadcasting company as one but failed to make the selection, instead accepted the offer to report the weather.
I have a high level of respect for Na Ri’s perseverance and her high level of tolerance. However, if I were her coworker it would be difficult for me to respect her also, as there is a line that must be drawn. To Na Ri, all the degrading efforts will be worth it once she makes a breakthrough and becomes successful. I find her flexibility also commendable and feel for how frustrating it must be to settle for a job that is not exactly what you want but is a bridge to the destination you want.
She is very relatable during this time of COVID-19 where some of my friends who worked in the hospitality sector and have been laid off now look for jobs elsewhere, even if it means temporarily settling and taking a detour to their final destination.
Na Ri’s resilience eventually earns her success when she finds creative ways to report the weather. For example, she wears a hanbok in the harsh wind to put an emphasis on how strong the winds are, at her supervisor’s enjoyment. She is an example of allowing her hunger for success and desperation to be a driving force towards it, which seems to work out for her. Like Hwa Shin, Na RI too keeps her eye on the price always.
When she gains the guts to apply for the morning news reporting position, Na Ri is able to gain the respect of her fellow colleagues who encourage her and cheer for her success. We see a development in her audition tape, as she is very forthcoming of her envy of watching other news reporters. She also came to appreciate her current job as a weather reporter, and as people are reliant on her and her reporting to go about the day. Finally, some dignity.
When the time for the live audition test comes she is coached by Hwa Shin the great and does pretty much excellent on it compared to her competitors. She showed skill and tenacity that even gains her some respect from a disapproving shrewd mother in law. Everyone who has criticized and disrespected her is impressed by her. It is a touching moment where we see that they genuinely begin to take her seriously.
Passing the audition and getting the position, the next challenge Na Ri faces is a discriminatory and infuriatingly rude morning news co-star, who looks down on her for being a contract employee. Our girl is very tolerant of his rude behavior, chooses instead to cry it out in the bathroom because it appears the journalism world, too, is a man’s world. The misogynistic prick continues to treat her as his own personal assistant, even his fellow male colleagues are disgusted.
Things, fortunately, look up for Na Ri as her weak and sleazy co-news caster is taken care of by Hwa Shin, and a rare opportunity falls on her lap to report on the mayoral elections. If you were like me and watched the recent US 2020 elections on CNN for the whole week, then you understand that election night is like the Olympics for new reporters. One mistake could be fatal to the network’s reputation! Luckily she has some confidence and her man, the great Hwa Shin to coach her.
We see more inspiring moments from Na Ri as she diligently practices for the big night, even challenging herself to do better than Hye Won, the anchorwoman originally meant to cover the elections, who is also admittedly more skilled and experienced. It's an admirable moment for Pyo Na Ri who sets a goal even higher for herself when she is only expected to just be good enough not to mess up.
It would be boring if things went too well for Na Ri apparently, fate refuses her to meet both what is expected of her and her goal to do even better. The control room has her announce the wrong candidate as the leading one, live on air. Fortunately, Hwa Shin rescues her in a blunder that is too noticeable for her to escape unscathed. It's a series of one blunder after another on Na Ri’s part to the fault of the control room, and the rating tank on an important night, leading the company president to threaten her job if she makes another mistake.
Persevering as ever she does her best to allow her nerves to get to her head and cheers herself, affirming repeatedly that she would do a good job. The pressure is too much, unfortunately, and when Hwa Shin offers her an escape by replacing her with the original owner of the anchor seat, she very reluctantly agrees and watches her dream opportunity snatched away. Pyo Na Ri allows herself one night to lick her wounds, and the next morning she is back on her feet, approaching her seniors to teach her all they know in order to become a capable person (you go girl!).
Now that she is in a relationship with him, Na Ri focuses on her original goal from episode one, to be a news anchor worthy enough to sit next to Hwa Shin.
Two noteworthy incidents follow this; (1) When someone is needed to report on the fine dust particles and their danger to children, a committed Na Ri volunteers and lays on the ground for an hour coughing throughout the reporting. It is the same level of commitment she showed when reporting the windy weather earlier in the series.
The positive momentum doesn't last too long because a noteworthy incident (2) happens while Na Ri is reporting the morning news. The envious former colleague has a health crisis and thus no one is available to do the weather. Always the pleaser, Na Ri volunteers to report the weather, a risk that results in her not making it back to her anchor seat in time to close out her news reporting. Once again earning her reprimanding from her seniors (even I don't get her sometimes).
Pouring more awful news on a terrible day, she learns that the sleazy co-news caster has a wife who saw Na Ri at the cancer clinic, and he threatens to tell everyone she has cancer which would risk her chances of becoming a regular employee.
The one with breast cancer is actually her boyfriend, but she would rather risk her career not his by pretending to be the sick one (IKYFL). Luckily he doesn't allow her to do so and outs himself as the breast cancer patient on the broadcast.
|Opportunities seem to come to our girl just as much as misfortunes, as she is given a week on the 9 pm news anchor slot with Hwa Shin. A long dream of hers, as publicity for the station after Hwa Shin’s public outing, became a hit with the audience. As soon as that weekend, she finds out that the company is downsizing, and her morning new casting position is no longer available. She is given an opportunity to think of what she would really enjoy doing, and you might have guessed it! She decides to go back to weather reporting, which she declares she would do till the day she dies; and surely enough, she lives up to her words as we see her still weather reporting in her old age.|
Pyo Na Ri is relatable. She encounters similar situations many young women face in their careers: when you are sure you want to do one thing only to discover it is not what you want to do the rest of your life. In her autobiography Becoming Michelle Obama, it tells us about her going to Harvard Law school and becoming a corporate lawyer at a lucrative Chicago firm, where she mentors Barack Obama at the age of 26. She describes it as a lot of hard work with a lot of paperwork that allowed her some luxurious spending like having a wine subscription. Only a few years later however she leaves this lucrative job and goes into the public sector, working for a hospital and working at a city hall while making much less than she did as a corporate lawyer.
She became so relatable to me because of how audacious is the society in expecting 17 and 18-year-olds to choose a major that will determine what they want to be for the rest of their lives. Michelle picked law school for grad school in her early 20’s but doesn't practice it now in her 50’s and has not practiced it for decades. While she was hard-working, she was flexible and chose to follow the path that made her happy.
These are the same qualities I recognized in Pyo Na Ri, though I couldn't understand why she volunteered to report on fine dust when she should distance herself from her former image. Neither did I understand her volunteering to report the weather for a sick former colleague while risking the inability to make it back to her seat to close out the news on time. Everything ties in together after realizing that Na Ri did dream to become a news reporter alongside Hwa Shin, and was envious of those who had the opportunity. However, dreams change and she was lucky to have been able to fulfill her dream in some capacity before changing course. The effort and creativity she put in reporting the weather were unmatched. While she put in hard work practicing to be a flawless anchorwoman, being a creative weather reporter came naturally to her, and it was visible how much fun she had doing her work.
Editors: BrightestStar (1st editor)