TV / Movies
K-Drama Premiere: “Feel Good To Die” Amuses With Hilarious But All Too Real Take On Workplace Life And Struggles
KBS2’s newest office drama Feel Good To Die kicked off to a good start as it highlights real life work situations with a touch of the supernatural.
Ordinary employee Lee Roo Da (Baek Jin Hee) is in a time loop. The demise of Baek Jin Sang (Kang Ji Hwan), the much-hated Team Leader of the Marketing Team, is at the center of this supernatural event. As she tries to prevent her boss’ death from happening, she also discovers the value of teamwork and that her office life is not all bad.
Pilot Week Recap
Two men inside a prison cell discuss about the things they want to do the most when they get out. Mr. Na says he wants to be a CEO. Lee Roo Da, wearing all black recites all the unfair things he did to his employees as the Junior Managing Director. After she relegates him to a part-time position, she shifts her focus to the other man, CEO Kang In Han. She eventually fires him after reprimanding him.
A lone man sits in another cell, relaxed and oblivious. Marketing Team Leader Baek Jin Sang is next to receive Lee Roo Da’s punishment. He anger does not bother him and he lets himself out of the cell. The tables are turned as it is Jin Sang who is now listing her faults. He reminds her about the task he assigned her and then hurls some hurtful words toward her. Angry, Lee Roo Da yells at him and sentences him to die. She presses a red button which sends Baek Jin Sang to hell.
Roo Da wakes up to the sound of her alarm and realizes it is all a dream. She loathes her boss too much, just like the other members of the Marketing Team. At work, Roo Da, Baek Jin Sang and a few people are stuck in the elevator. As the other passengers panick, Jin Sang calls for rescue. The elevator mishap annoys Jin Sang as it makes him late for work.
Another member of the Marketing Team, pregnant Choi Min Joo rushes to her seat. Jin Sang catches her and wants to talk to her. He asks the reason for her tardiness and she tells him she actually arrived on time. However, because of the busted elevator, she took the stairs. Jin Sang does not care and tells her she must have loved his country so much that she is having another child. He calculates the minutes she was late which totalled to almost a whole day.
At the chicken-tasting event for kids, a child has an allergic reaction to the food he ate. Mr. Na summons the Marketing Team and reprimands them for the disastrous event. Jin Sang is quick to analyze the series of events that led to the accident. He readily points a finger to Min Joo for being distracted.
During the team dinner, Yoo Deok, Jung Hwa and Roo Da share a table and she watches as Jin Sang gets drunk. The more she looks at him, the angrier she gets to the point she wishes for his death. At the same time, a lady is inside a burning building and as she gasps for breath, the last word she is able to say is “die”. Meanwhile, Jin Sang passes out and together with Kang Jun Ho (Gong Myung), they assist him into getting home. While walking, Jin Sang vomits and Jun Ho excuses himself to get some tissues.
Jin Sang manages to break free of Roo Da’s hold on him and ventures further into the main street. All of a sudden, a truck hits him and causes him to die. Roo Da wakes up again at the sound of the alarm and feels weird about her dream but as the day progresses, she notices that the same events from her dream are happening and always ends up with Jin Sang’s death. The first occurrence happens nine times and as the day repeats itself, she discovers situations that help her understand her teammates more and more. She talks back to Jin Sang and collars him. She thinks the time-loop will reset everything, but she wakes up the next day, she is surprised to see the date has changed.
All her office mates who witnessed her outburst the previous day, are all wary and tiptoe around her. For his part, Jin Sang reports her to the police for abuse and harassment. He wants her to publicly apologize which she does. After her broadcasted apology, Jin Sang still makes shady comments that earns Roo Da’s ire. She is not able to contain her emotions and wishes once again for his death. He backs away and he stumbles. Unfortunately, the wall clock falls on top of his head and that is when the second time loop begins.
She decides to look for another job and Jung Hwa is supportive of her decision. The managers are having a meeting with CEO Kang In Han and he wants to freeze the annual salary increase even though the company is not struggling. He wants to enlist in the stock market and a manager suggests to use the employee evaluation to their advantage.
Meanwhile, CEO Han assigns Jin Sang to take over the employee evaluation and as he does the job, he finds a lot of faults. Lee Roo Da requests for a copy of her employment record and sees an official notice in the shredder marked “confidential”. The notice states that salary increase is on hold and there will be a welfare reduction.
During the employee evaluation, Jin Sang reveals these flaws and drops names, which involves managers. This causes a ruckus and the high-ranking employees are mad at Baek Jin Sang. At that same moment, Roo Da is at her job interview. The first interview is a failure but since she is in another time loop she is able to pass the interview. However, the men who interviewed her are all rude and arrogant to rank and file employees. She reproves them and walks out.
Realizing that the employee evaluation is a tool to fire some employees, she immediately goes to the conference hall where the evaluation is currently taking place. She wants to expose the plan of the management and also to prevent people from cursing at Baek Jin Sang. With the assistance of Kang Jun Ho, they print out copies of the official notice. She throws the papers as the situation is about to escalate. All attention goes to the flying papers and employees are shocked and infuriated upon reading the notice.
Pilot Week Afterthoughts
The first week of Feel Good To Die offered a good balance of comedy and reality with a mystical twist. Office workers can totally relate with the drama’s setting, although work conditions may differ (depending on the country and company you are in). People in a nine-to-five job can easily sympathize with the characters and even the conflicts presented are familiar.
Dealing with an arrogant self-centered boss is an experience most people have to deal with. Baek Jin Sang is the embodiment of such a person. I could feel how tensed and taxing it must be to be a part of his team. Not only is he an insufferable team leader, his social skills are also lacking. Kudos to Kang Ji Hwan for bringing the character to life. His manner of speaking to his subordinates (and even to higher officers) can really incite anger and he is not afraid to speak his mind. I really could not blame Lee Roo Da for harboring bad feelings for him.
Lee Roo Da’s personality type is someone we often meet. Her easy-going attitude and average work-enthusiasm are traits that could describe a friend or a relative. What I like most about her character is her quick adaptability to the current situation she’s in. She has no idea why she is experiencing a time-loop and how it happens, but she uses the opportunity to her advantage.
I was skeptical at first regarding its time-loop aspect but so far the drama has greatly utilized it to provide an interesting twist to the plot. The humor incorporated in the narrative lightened the morbid premise and the seriousness of work-related issues.
KBS has indeed mastered the art of creating good office dramas and Feel Good To Die is shaping up to be another hit series.
Feel Good To Die airs on KBS2 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10PM.
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