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Ongoing 40/40
The Ideal City
16 people found this review helpful
Aug 27, 2021
40 of 40 episodes seen
Ongoing 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers

Can Ideal and Reality align?

I watch this drama because of curiosity. It received quite a well received review. And I always like SunLi and Mark Chao.
To be honest, I have dropped episode 1 twice, but after I finished the 2nd episode, I binge it during the weekend 12 episodes straight.

The drama follow story of SuXiao, a young cost engineer, that was put as a scapegoat by her line manager. At the same time, she caught her boyfriend cheat on her. So she lost her job, she lost her boyfriend. Coming from ordinary family, alone in a big city, but yet she want to keep her ideal and morality. She later entangled with many office politics. Many people telling her to be 'flexible', to compromise with her ideal, learn to play along and understand human's heart. Desire to exchange her belief to makes thing better is strong, but can her perseverance be stronger?

I somehow relate with her character. Coming out from university, people will start corporate ladder. You met many people along the way, some can be friend, some passerby in your life. Eventually, how good, how bad, these become a learning experience. Life itself is a war and workplace is another kind of war. How much you want to win the war, exchanging your soul for that one purpose. How people flocking at the side of power. Nobody is forever friend and nobody is forever enemy.

At the end of the day, the show is a very good show compared to most workplace drama. It doesn't mean that all workplace will be like that, but if you are attentive, you should be able to see one or two things happened in your workplace.

I will close it with few idioms, the higher you climb, the harder the fall. The higher you get up the mountain, the stronger the wind blows. And it is lonely at the top.

-- added after watching the full series --

There are bits that I enjoyed about the drama. The office politic feels real. The intense, the suspense, the acting. Yea, the acting is the best part. There are moments that you will just hold your breath. There are moments where there is not even a BGM. Pure acting. And you can feel it, the emotion, it feels real.

However, towards the end, it do feel rushed. They are adding major conflict while trying to close the lose ends. It is all in the last 3 4 episodes of the drama. Some of the incident can't be justified with the timeline. It is showing conflict but do not really show the resolution. Some things are implied but not properly elaborated, this cause difference in perception of some resolution. Some big words mentioned (like merger, IPO, liquidation, etc), but not balanced with the normal professional process. I understand that they can't suddenly introduce external auditor, external lawyers, internal legal team, bankers, administrator, liquidator, validator, consultant etc during the last 3 4 episodes, while they are squeezing 10 episodes in (I heard it supposed to be 50 episodes). Let alone, divorce process, selling house/cancellation of purchase, or even asset division.. I am not even sure if these whole things happened in days or months.

Overall, it is still enjoyable. It tried it best to portray real work environment. Common corporate conflict. Those that expecting love line, it may feel bit rush and have an open ending /interpretation. It is still a solid 9 for me.

Thank you.

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129 people found this review helpful
Dec 10, 2020
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 39
Overall 4.0
Story 3.5
Acting/Cast 5.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

Life is Work in Progress not Pot of Luck

**Fan of the drama.. you are free to press this review not useful. But please refrain from commenting any hate speech. I made this review as unbias as possible, if you disagree, just press no.**

Before I start, I would like to emphasize that I am not KSH's fan nor HJP's fan. I do not follow KSH in Instagram (and not plan to). So do not take me as a salty fan where the 2nd Lead do not get the girl.

I also understand that the intention of the writer is to portray the journey of the start up and not the start up itself. But personally there is something bothering me on the message and portrayal of the drama. Many instances the conflict of the drama is resolved by mere luck than empowering of 'doing the right thing'.

I still give recognition to Nam Joo Hyuk, Bae Suzy, Kim Seon Ho and Kang Hanna (and other supporting characters, most importantly Kim Hae Sook) for bringing the portrayal to life, though to some, many improvement can be done to bring more layer to the characters instead of giving one dimensional character.

Few things I would need to mention to those people that say the drama is inspirational and it become moral compass for some. Tough I agree, some are good but some can't be taken at the face value. It rather become disturbing at some point when the drama justifying some of its flaws

- SDM is a very lucky girl. She has a guy that want to be her pride and trophy, she also has a guy that want to be her sandbox. No matter what she want, she can fly very high or fall softly. In reality, not many people can change the world (despite the inner desire) with low risk.

- NDS always whine on how he become his parent's tool to attain their dream. He is pressurized to be their pride, to be the best in the eyes of his parent. Making his whole lecture and statement on how he should live his own life to go back to square one where he become other people's trophy and dream. Perhaps he don't love his parents as much as he loves the girl.

- "Follow Your Dream" is such an inspirational quote. It tells people to dream high. Aim for the moon, even when you fall you will fall amongst the stars. At the end of the drama, NDS literally "Follow Your (Dalmi) Dream". A great innocent guy instead of being an inspiration for many is degraded as smitten young man at the end of the drama.

- Cheating - I look down on myself but I forgot that I did 9 questions right. It is great the drama address how to acknowledge the mistake but the drama forget to address how to 'own' the mistake. Regretting it, self pity, remorse, shameful of it, is not how one should own and responsible on the mistake. Even worse, later on when he did it again, those feeling become numb and repeating it has no more impacts in his conscience.

- Lastly, this is the most disturbing of all is to sail without a map. Business, shouldn't be taken lightly. As business owner, one is responsible to other people's life. So sailing, should be taken with calculated risk. Can you go to one destination without a map? Is there any phone that do not has GPS nowadays? That show the importance of map in our life. Personally I feel very insulted with this quote.

Youth should work on building their map. Slowly, step by step, learning from mistake, that is their map. Immature youthful Dosan 3 years ago, I can forgive. But Dosan that supposedly has learnt from experience, still sailing without map, that is irresponsible. You are irresponsible to yourself, to the people working for you, to the people look up at you.

Planning doesn't mean do not take risk. It means measuring the risk. To make a preparation, be ready, calculate the risk, mitigate it, plan it. Take the residual risk if you are comfortable. And even if you fail you will learn from it, and that will be part of your map. It is a business, not a gamble.

Entry level engineer (3 years) in Silicon Valley will receive annual salary between 100k-200k USD. It is high but not that high. Imagine thousands of engineers, they do not receive stock option for one or two successful apps. Any profit from the apps will go to the company, not to the engineer. Best performer may receive some bonus for performance, some in the form of bond, stock, but not substantial. Their project, products and intelligence is belongs to the company as long as the tenure of the contract. Especially when they portray 2STO as tech giant - imagine Google, Facebook, Apple.

When they come back to Korea, they will have the good resume. They can work for Samsung, create their start up. But not become celebrity before they even create/ patent their own apps. That is shallow and insulting.

Americans, on average, say that it takes a net worth of $2.27 million to be considered “wealthy,” Charles Schwab reports in its 2019 Modern Wealth Survey. San Francisco locals say you need a net worth of at least $4 million. New Yorkers say $3.2 million. Koreans consider W3. 9b in assets as threshold to be wealthy. South Koreans consider a person who owns an average of 3.9 billion won ($3.2 million) in assets is wealthy, a local survey showed in Dec 2019. According to Private Banker, high net worth individual (HNWI) is a wealthy person with at least $1 million in liquid assets.

You may say Dosan has USD3mil. Remember, 3Mil has to be divided amongst the shareholders, excluding tax. And that's all his money, considering if he want to buy house or car, that amount is reduced even further. He is not rich according to US or Korean standard. But the drama again magically solve the problem by making the start up become a unicorn in 1 year.

In reality, in 2018 survey, New research from Compare the Market has found that on average it has taken seven years from launch to grow these companies into unicorns. 19 made it to $1bn in less than a year - this is not a common story and I do feel it shouldn't be used in the plot to solve all problems.

In my opinion, the drama fail to show how youth are allowed to make mistake and learn from it. Instead youth are making mistake, repeating it and eventually success based on luck. It is not a success story, the writer do a quick fix by making too many luck and coincidence. Life is work in progress and this drama is responsible in misleading many young entrepreneur.

But of course "other people's opinion, shall not make it your reality." :)

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