[First Impressions] “Misaeng” Episodes 1 and 2
Based on the webtoon of the same name, Misaeng is the story of a 26-year old failed badeuk (Go) player, Jang Geu Rae (Im Si Wan), who gets an incredible chance to become an intern for a big corporation.
On his first day there, the poor Geu Rae feels completely lost—having devoted his entire life to learning badeuk (as well as going from one part-time job to another to help his extremely poor family), he knows close to nothing about anything else, except for a few computer skills. On top of that, he keeps getting the cold shoulder and hearing other people talk behind his back because he got in through the back door.
You see, Geu Rae struggles with simply answering the phones, especially since he doesn’t know any foreign languages like everyone else around. Thankfully, he manages to get the number one intern, An Young Yi (Kang So Ra) to help him out, though with lots of begging that eats at his already low self-esteem.
Wanting to convince his team manager Oh Sang Shik (Lee Sung Min) that he deserves his spot on the team, Geu Rae works extremely hard, even ruining his brand-new suit his mother used up her savings to buy him (the octopus/calamari affair). The other workers make it really tough on him, especially two-faced Jang Baek Ki (Kang Ha Neul). Things get tougher, however, when Oh manager realizes it is thanks to the executive director that Geu Rae got his spot as an intern despite his lack of education (he only has his GED) and skills, for neither Oh manager nor the executive director like each other.
On his second day, Geu Rae discovers that all interns must make a presentation with a partner and their results will decide who gets to stay at the firm and who will get kicked out. Despite being ostracized by his own team manager, Geu Rae all of a sudden finds himself the center of attention—everyone wants to be his partner! He can’t hide his pleasure when even Young Yi asks him to join her. But his happiness is short-lived when he finds out people only wanted to be with him because he’s got the reputation of a loser (which would automatically make the other team member shine in comparison).
Dejected, Geu Rae takes care of menial tasks for his team for the remainder of the day. However, even that doesn’t go by without an incident: One of the sheets of papers he was supposed to shred finds itself in the entrance hallway and it is the executive director himself who finds it and immediately walks over to Oh manager to scold him. At this point, Oh manager can’t hold it in anymore and scolds Geu Rae, telling him to leave. But as Geu Rae is getting punished, Oh manager realizes that it’s because of another team’s intern that the paper got lost, and he suddenly feels really, really bad. To ask for forgiveness, he takes Geu Rae out to get some food and drinks, letting him know in his drunken stupor that he’s been doing a very good job and that he was not at fault for the glue incident.
When Geu Rae finally gets home after the really long day, he cries tears of joy at finally getting recognized and accepted and, the next day, strides in the office confidently and accepts one of the workers’ offer to team up. It’s show time!
Thoughts and Conjectures:
Though the show wasn’t as hilarious as some of the previews suggested, I found it quite entertaining. I particularly found it to be truthful in the depiction of corporate life—particularly when it comes to newbies and how they feel on their first day at a new job. There’s plenty of tension between the characters (I’m particularly enjoying Kang Ha Neul in this “evil” role) and am eager to find out how both Geu Rae is going to grow (and how he is going to use his badeuk skills to help him) as well as how his relationship with Young Yi (I’m hoping for a love line, I can’t help it, especially since she seems completely unmoved by Baek Ki’s character).
Favorite moment: When Young Yi offers to tie Geu Rae’s tie, he gets all flustered thinking this will be a very intimate gesture, only to be disappointed that she does the tie knot on herself before handing him his tie back.
What about you? What was your favorite moment?