What I Like About History of the Salary Man

10 Jan

I’m seriously loving all these new dramas that are premiering this year. 2011 proved to be a great year for dramas, but it looks 2012 is getting ready to top it. New drama, History of the Salary Man premiered earlier this month with a 8.7% viewers rate. Although that is relatively low, it is understandable since the drama is facing some intense competition from the popular dramas Brain and Light and Shadow.

The first thing that struck me about History of the Salary Man is that it really doesn’t fit into any structured genre. I first though that it was your stereotypical “heartless chaebol families duking it out over company matters” drama, but it also incorporates comedy (a large portion of it), romance, and even a warm family vibe.

The general gist  is that a pharmaceutical corporation, Chun Ha Group, is readying to release some ultra-secret breakthrough technology called Eternal Youth that will prevent people from aging (yeah, okay so that isn’t all that original).  The Chairman of the group, Chairman Jin, is hoping to hand the company over to his  beloved granddaughter Yeo Chi (played by Jung Ryeo Won of My Lovely Sam Soon, Ja Myung Go), bypassing his son Hon Hae. Their rivals, Jang Cho Pharmaceuticals is headed by Chairman Oh and his head director Choi Hang Woo (played by Jung Kyeo Woon of Dr. Champ, Romance Town, and Sign). Jang Cho Pharmaceuticals are also trying to get in on the Eternal Youth project and release the drug first.

The Chun Ha group decides to test the drug on participants of a clinical trial without telling them what the drug is for. This is where our protagonist comes in. Meet Yoo Bang (played by Lee Beom Soo), our klutzy, high-dreaming hero who is having a hard time getting his life in line. His father is dead and his mother is need of treatment that he cannot afford; hence he signs up for the clinical trial along with a disguised Hang Woo and 28 other participants.

The scenes in the lab may be my favorites in the drama so far. It’s hilarious how Hang Woo is being ultra-secretive and inconspicuous while Bang is padding about innocently ruining all of his plans. Although Bang has been employed by Chun Ha’s Ho Hae to steal one of the pills, he thinks that Hang Woo is on his side as a spy comrade (I don’t fully understand why Ho Hae wants to steal from his own company, but whatever).

Our female lead, Yeo Chi is introduced to us as a snobby, snappy and spoiled heiress who has zero interest in company matters. All she wants to do is shop, date, and shop some more. She is extremely rude to every high-ranking company official which shows that she has no respect for her grandfather or her future empire (it’s also hilarious how she cooks her grandfather’s prized chicken which was the only evidence of the effects of Eternal Youth)

As it turns out, Bang soon gets hired by Jang Cho to spy on Chun Ha. He is to apply to Chun Ha as a salaryman, and give Jang Cho all the inside information they need. It’s a win win situation: Bang gets his coveted position, and Jang Cho gets a inside man. I love how the seriousness of this drama is complimented by the comedic element that appears every time Bang or Yeo Chi shows up on screen. It’s genius that the director and writers were able to seam the two genres together so flawlessly. Another thing to note about this drama is the gorgeous scenery. Each scene seems to be right out of a magazine. I also loved how in character each of the actors are. You don’t ever doubt that Bang is a noble idiot who has faced countless trials in his life. His sole goal in life is to get a job with a steady salary (hence the title) to concede to the wishes of his dead father. It is his sole driving force and it’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out in the rest of the series.


Picture Credits: Dramabeans


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