History of The Salaryman: Half-way mark musings

Oh how much do I love thee, Bang-Yeo Chi-Hang Woo-Woo Hee?! How can all of you be so awesome daebak wonderful in so many many many ways?

Not like this needs reminding or anything, but History of The Salaryman totally rawkz! It rawks so hard like nobody’s business, so hard that I have a hard time containing my inexplicable love for this drama. It’s been ages since I’ve been so in love with a drama because of it’s all around quality (story, characters, dynamics, acting, chemistry, direction..etc…EVERYTHING!). It’s just so full of epic that I can’t help myself from bombarding twitter-ville with my incessant squees and ravings  (I may have been on a bout of spoilers, miahne). It’s pure genius.

We’re half-way through the drama (12 episodes out of 20) and I still cannot see where it’s headed for sure. And while it may be an Achilles heel for the usual fare, here it’s just all around perfect. We’ve got just the right amount of everything: from Bang and Hang Woo’s rivarly to the political stuff in Cheon Ha and right down to the increasingly amusing love-square (which I will get to later). And nothing’s certain at this point in time, which oddly doesn’t bother me at all (it does in other dramas if I don’t see the point of it, take cues Fermentation Family!). It’s just that unpredictable and engaging. So full of surprises and turns the minute I predict something would or might happen, it doesn’t! I love it.

You see, the thing about Salaryman is that it has the ability to get us hooked to the plot and the individual stories of the characters without the need to downplay any of the elements. No single minute is random or wasted, no single scene or sequence is insignificant. In fact, even a 1 or 2 minute scene of a character pouring out her feelings to her granddad’s enough to make me care.  I really have no idea how the PD or writer does it. They’re either on crack or they’re just geniuses, kinds that are out of this world.

There are many significant and important characters in Salaryman, but believe me, none of them are less than ordinary, at least not ordinary in the sense that they’re characters cut-off a card board or anything equivalent. They’re all so….fresh and interesting. The 4 leads aside, all or most of the supporting characters like President Qin Shi Huang, Secretary Mo, Jang Yang, Beom Jeon…etc give so much weight to the whole story. I love that they’re not discreetly bad, and yet are driven by secret ambitions and desires to topple Cheon Ha. And I also love that not all of them are transparent in a sense that they are IN FACT the villains or the good guys.  In any case, like I mentioned in my comment in DB’s Salaryman recap, the drama does a wonderful job in watering down the goodness or evilness in all the characters. Not everyone is a saint, and yet the vicious of them all isn’t all evil either. They’re human, not perfect caricatures of any sort.

Our beloved 4 main characters, who are so winning that you cannot help but love them, how can we NOT? Bang’s just an amazing character. I love his gallant attitude, his boldness in venturing forward, and most of all, his genuine intention in just wanting to be part of Cheon Ha and its legacy (or if not to continue what’s been abandoned by Cheon Ha). It’s great to have Lee Bum Soo play this character because the actor is just full of energy and vivacity. He plays Bang with such ease that the vibrancy of his character transfers on screen. When he’s happy, we’re all happy. When he’s crazy, we go crazy. When he’s serious, we want to know what he’s up to. And most of all, the actor can do all kinds of emotions without having to try. He can cry out with snot and I will feel awfully bad for him. He stretches his funny expressions, I get into unstoppable fits. Lee Bum Soo is just spot on. Can’t ask for more.

Jung Gyeo Woon on the other hand has the most interesting character so far. Unlike some who have professed their dislike for this villain, I think Hang Woo’s very rich character-wise. Mainly because he isn’t entirely the perfect and the oh-so-typical baddie i.e. he has flaws like all of us do. He’s smart, meticulous and calculative, but yet there are times when he falls short. His vanity gets ahead of himself and his falls flat on his inattention to details that might make or break his plans. He also has a very childish naivete communication wise, especially when he’s with Woo Hee and Yeo Chi. It isn’t that common to have dramas portray their antagonists in such a way. I won’t say his character is layered or complex in that it requires really great acting or anything, but I think Jung Gyeo Woon does have what it takes to give that subtle innocence in vindictive Hang Woo. He’s doing great.

Next, the girls. I’ll start with Woo Hee because I’m leaving the best to the last. Oh Hong Soo Hyun, how can I thank you for doing this drama? You left such a great impression with The Princess Man, I can only be even more grateful that you followed up with an even better drama (so far at least IMO). Your character Woo Hee might not be the most significant supporting lead, or may not leave the biggest impact, but I love the support you are giving to both the protagonist Bang and the antagonist Hang Woo here. I think it’s brilliant that the writer isn’t making her take sides in the drama, in that she’s such a genuine friend to Bang, and on the other hand, helps Hang Woo out (cos she likes him more than just a boss). I’m sure as the drama progresses, things will get more complicated and she’ll end up having to choose, but right now, it’s her genuine friendship with Bang and her cute adorable interactions with Hang Woo which count.

But of all characters, I’m sure to a lot of people as well, Jung Ryeo Won’s Yeo Chi is the ONE – stealer of the show, the most loved character in the drama. Yeo Chi is such an awesome character that even “awesome” is an understatement. Her spunk, straightforwardness and cussing nature already spell DAEBAK, but when she dials down to her emotional or quieter state, she’s even better. You cannot hate her. You may even want to be friends with her. lol And it doesn’t help that Yeo Chi’s dynamics with both Bang and Hang Woo are so fun to watch. She doesn’t get overly hung up Bang’s not into her romantically, and yet continues to help him out. She cares for him and yet doesn’t change herself (still cusses a lot) to suit Bang. I love that she’s always HER. And with Hang Woo, she’s even better. I don’t think they’re both interested in each other, but I love how things are going on between them. Hang Woo thinks he has an upper hand over her, but she always has a way around him. Their rivalry underneath their so called “team partnership”, it’s so hilarious and yet is full of tension as well. Jung Ryeo Won is so natural and comfortable in this role that you can say it’s tailor made for her. So effortless that it’s just so… in her. So her. I couldn’t have asked for more. And am glad to have been proven wrong. Well done, JRW!


Drama really does know how to mess with us. Just when I thought President Qin was really going blind, drama drops a bomb on us.  Totally did not expect that in Ep 12, all the while, I was thinking that he’d give up for good and depend on Bang or Yeo Chi to continue Cheon Ha’s legacy after he’s gone. But it looks like the real manipulator and master of the game’s the old man himself. What a brilliant twist, totally got me there. That aside however, I do not think President Qin is totally free from illness. He may have fooled everyone by pretending to be blind, but me thinks he is sick and is just going along with it to test his subordinates’ trustworthiness and loyalty to the company.

Now on to the love-square which I’m getting all excited about. I don’t think it’s the main playing theme of the drama at all, but I can’t help but get all giggly whenever I think about the players in it. 😛 They’re all such interesting characters individually that you really don’t know what to expect from them when they’re together. And each of them pair up with each other SO WELL. Bang-Hang Woo, Bang-Woo Hee, Hang Woo-Yeo Chi, Hang Woo-Woo Hee, each of their dynamics are so hilarious that I wouldn’t mind having the drama play with the possibilities of any pair ending up an OTP on and on and on. But of course, drama is drama. There is always an OTP, or maybe 2? hehehe..

This is just my prediction and gut feeling, but I have a very good feeling that it will be Bang-Yeo Chi and Hang Woo-Woo Hee in the end. I mentioned earlier about a love-square but I don’t think it’s entirely set yet. So far what’s set, Yeo Chi likes Bang and Woo Hee likes Hang Woo. The guys… tho they’re not aware yet, they will be in the coming episodes. The K-drama rule: Bang will end up with Yeo Chi. But for Hang Woo, it’s totally a different game altogether. My guess? Hang Woo is attracted to Woo Hee, and likes her (if not he wouldn’t have acted all childish around her and care for her in such stupid ways LOL) but isn’t aware of it. Some mentioned drama might be setting him up to like Yeo Chi, but I don’t feel nothing out of them so far. I think he does see some good in her, but IMO they don’t emanate the kind of OTP feeling Hang Woo-Woo Hee does. Thru out Ep 11 and 12 Secretary Mo and Beom Jeon kept talking about how Hang Woo might fall for Yeo Chi for realz if they do get married..etc, I think it’s all trickery to get us confused. Hang Woo MAY go along the plan, get close to Yeo Chi and marry her (for all it takes to avenge his father and bro’s death), but ultimately, I don’t think it’s Yeo Chi for him in the end.

So if you think you’ve got Salaryman figured out, think again. Because now that we’ve got players switching sides (from Han Shin to Yeo Chi to President Qin), you never know what will happen next. Will Bang succeed (of course he will, it’s a given haha)? Will Hang Woo ever get to avenge his father and brother’s death? Will Yeo Chi emerge to beecome Cheon Ha’s next president? Will Woo Hee end up with Hang Woo?

I cannot wait to find out!

credits: photos naver / twitter


7 thoughts on “History of The Salaryman: Half-way mark musings”

  1. I do agree with everything you said…and i don’t really care who ends with whom… am here for the fantastical ride… and for the record, my favorite character is YEO CHI!!! JRW is brilliant here…. you just can’t help but love her despite her bratty attitude…. thank you for this post chinggu…

    1. No probz chinggu, you’re very much welcome. I know Salaryman has a steady fan base and a lot of people are loving it like I do, but I’m still sad to see that it’s not as KNOWN (hence not as well received) as other dramas that are airing right now. I’ve searched online e.g. forums everywhere (English and Chinese) and none of them seem to be actively discussing the drama. Which is such a waste because they’re missing out on one of the most original and creative drama ever ever made.

      And yes FYI, Yeo Chi is my favourite character too (in fact every episode I have a favourite character, so things may change, I might love Bang more next hehe). She is just up down right left – AWESOME!

  2. I didn’t read the entire post (I’m still writing) but I’ll be back. I had to say though that Salaryman is one of the best dramas I’ve seen in a long time. Airing right now, it’s probably the absolute best. Everything is coming together or rather playing in ways that I wouldn’t imagine or even try to! Love it, Love it, Love it! And just to know that you’re still loving it, makes my morning!
    All I can say is PTL for drama fans and drama chingus like you 🙂
    Thank you ripgal!

    1. Please come back SOON! If anything, Salaryman deserves a post or comment from one of the best drama/character analyzers ever – unnichan! ❤ I can't wait to read your take on the drama and the characters. I'm sure it will be as daebak as the drama itself. ^^

  3. your thought about this drama is spot on. I’m so into this drama is not even funny anymore. I love all 4 main character and their dynamics…. It’s very unnusual love square….. But In my prediction, the OTP that have certain they are belong together has been decide, Woo Hee and Hang Woo definitely attract to each other, their feeling growing towards each other has been progressing really well from the wrIters… I don’t know if the writers will change Direction. but that’s what I feel.not to mention their relationship resonate with me the most, lol… Hang Woo knows Woo Hee is materialistic, yet, he likes her, lol… Woo Hee knows how jerk Hang Woo can be, yet she likes him….

    I Love the direction they take so far. I Love this show so much, as much as I Love their previous work. hope it will keep getting better…

    1. The writer and the PD team are such a GREAT team. It’s just so amazing that they’re able to churn out SOMETHING in every single episode right? I just can’t reiterate more, I need to take a break from this. Serious.

      1. What I Love about History af a salaryman, is almost all character seems involved for moving the plot, That’s what one of my favorite about this drama, that’s awsome! Compare to some popular drama that create a character just as filler… And They are all interesting..! Yes, I can’t ask for better.. No boring moment. the pace is awsome.. just keep the quality and I will be good….

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