History of the Salaryman: the Review

historyofsalaryman photo historyofthesalaryman_zpsa1d0645a.jpgHistory of the Salaryman
air date:1.2.2012 through 3.13.2012
number of eps:22
I watched it: slow marathon with the husband

In a nutshell: One of the more clever, bizarre and fun dramas of the year, and one that should have been epic. Its basic plot is corporate-shennanigans and the rise of a humble salaryman. But it’s also a loose retelling of the founding of the Han dynasty in ancient China. And a skewering of some beloved k-drama cliches. And then there’s the chicken. This was a fun, fun watch. However, it got a little too plot-driven towards the end, sacrificing character-depth for mystery-solving. And the band I hoped would get together never really did. Which was disappointing. But, I still enjoyed the ride.

I… feel like I should have more to say: The drama was gorgeously shot. There’s an awesome scene in the first episode where a fight at the golf-club gets the epic-historical-battle treatment, including slow-mo’s and orchestral music. And the main actors brought their A-game, with Jung Ryu-won a particular stand-out. hsm photo 9b814_hots2-00056-1_zps44f18a2f.jpgI was used to seeing her playing frail young things, but here she’s spoiled and fierce with a mouth so foul it gives gangsters pause.

I wouldn’t say the drama did anything really wrong. It just… kind of… fizzled there at the end. It became almost a procedural with the characters going static and the puzzle-solving taking center-stage. Which, with such unique characters following such a refreshingly original path, was a bit of a let down. I was glad I watched, but it didn’t change my world like I’d expected it to. (To be honest, a large part of my disappointment was the band that never came to be. I love teams that form against all odds and personalities, and to see such a beast on the horizon but never quite getting it was a pretty severe let down. So your milage may vary.)


5 thoughts on “History of the Salaryman: the Review

  1. Oof. The “I should have loved you”s are the toughest ones. Right now I’m watching (or trying to watch) Reply 1997, and while I adore our heroine, I’m left strangely untouched by the story. I don’t know if it’s because I expected so much from everyone else’s rave reviews, or if it’s because it’s a sitcom and I can’t appreciate the differences in that format, but…something’s off. Something slightly different happened with this show: I watched the first episode and it was BRILLIANT, laugh out loud funny, but I don’t have any inclination to watch any more episodes. It makes me wonder what it is I look for in kdramas, what draws me to the ones I watch…

    • Hype can be such a dangerous thing. On the one hand, it can push a drama forward that might otherwise get lost. But on the other hand? Expectations.

      It makes me wonder what it is I look for in kdramas, what draws me to the ones I watch…

      Such a good question. One where the answer differs from viewer to viewer (obviously) and I think can differ for one person depending on mood and yet… I took a peek at That Winter the Wind Blows out of curiosity, confident I was filled up full of melo and wouldn’t get hooked — and I was seriously hooked so fast I had whiplash. So what hooked me? Can’t have been just mood, because I really, really wasn’t in the mood for serious.

      I don’t have an answer. Not one that isn’t guesses, anyway. (Huh. I just realized though… TWtWB is all about found-family and History annoyed me by teasing at a found-family but never actually creating it so… partial answer?)

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