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Weekend Binge: Race

Disney+'s latest k-drama by writer Kim Roo-ri (Hyena) and director Lee Dong-yoon (20th Century Boy and Girl, She Would Never Know) just finished its12-episode run last week. Does k-drama still have new stories to tell about the workplace or has it all been said and done before? Read our spoiler-free review to find out.


The Plot

Race follows Park Yoon-jo (Lee Yeon-hee, Welcome to Wedding Hell) who gets an internship at the PR department of a large chaebol-owned company where she must now work with childhood best friend Ryu Jae-mim (Hong Jong-hyun) and executive Goo Yi-young (Moon So-ri, On the Verge of Insanity). Things hit a snag when office politics, romance, and life get thrown in the mix.


The Review

Korea really has gotten its slice-of-life dramas down pat. The short series offers no scintillating office tabloid and no makjang madness takeovers for its viewers. Instead, it focuses on the day-to-day struggles of office workers just trying to make it through the day with their minds and morals intact.


Which is not to say that the issues in the show are shallow and unimportant. In fact, there are rather difficult workplace questions that need to be answered in the Korean work setting: the descrimination against women, the hoesik (office dinners and drinking) culture, and the double-edged sword of social media to name a few. But the show does not try to preach answers nor does it pass shallow judgment. It merely lays its cards on the table and asks its characters to deal with them in way that makes them most human and therefore, relatable.


Unobtrusive and reflective, the show offers mundane scenes that are often written more sensationally in other dramas. How does one deal with the fallout of an unrequited love confession to a longtime friend? How does one relate to a workplace idol who becomes a boss? How does one ask a colleague out on a date?


The strength of Race is that it doesn’t speed itself at all. While the tense scenes about the public relations work are interesting, they’re never more interesting than the characters themselves who make us root for them, even the most unsavory ones. It’s a good worthwhile watch for anyone looking for some hope and affirmation in the ordinary world.

Stream if you want a feel-good workplace drama.

Skip if you want a high-stakes plot with plenty of twists and turns.


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