New K-Drama Review: Race

Working blues has never felt so real, with episodes 1 and 2 of Lee Yeon-hee’s new drama ‘Race’ premiering on Disney+ Hotstar.

Starring as Park Yoon-jo, a tenacious manager working in a small PR firm, conflict ensues when she is later hired at Sejeong, a large company where her middle-school best friend Ryu Jae-min (Hong Jong-hyun) works… To fill up their ‘diversity hire’ quota.

Lee Yeon-hee as Park Yoon-jo in ‘Race’

Despite coming from a no-name school, lacking an impressive degree and looking after her errant mother, Yoon-jo seeks to prove everyone wrong, seeking the guidance of PR maven Koo Yi-jung (Moon So-ri), while also attracting the attention of Seo Dong-hoon (TVXQ’s Jung Yun-ho), CEO of a rival PR firm.

Episodes 1 and 2 lay the foundation of the story, showing the struggles of working at a small PR firm (in this case, Joa PR) while dealing with office and business politics – the trio at Joa pitch to Sejeong, where the result was already pre-determined much to Yoon-jo’s dismay.

It’s not easy working in PR, as Hong Jong-hyun’s character experiences in ‘Race’

The show also showcases the difference in working attitudes between generations, with Yoon-jo coming to head with a well-off intern from Seoul National University, as they argue about work-life balance.

While Moon So-ri only appears briefly, the end of episode 2 sets up a bigger role for her to play, in Sejeong and as Yoon-jo’s potential mentor in the PR rat race. As an established actress, we are excited to see her appear further in the series.

While Lee Yeon-hee’s acting has received criticism in the past, she pulls off the part of the tired, but persistent Park Yoon-jo, together with a supporting cast of well-known K-drama faces such as Jo Han-chul (Vincenzo, Reborn Rich) and Baek Ji-won (Extraordinary Attorney Woo Young-woo).

The main cast of ‘Race’ are here to pursue their PR dreams

Hong Jong-hyun and Yunho are serviceable, although Yunho is still a little awkward. However with only 2 episodes out, there is still time for them to ease into their roles.

The soundtrack is very relaxing and dreamy, and the colour scheme of the show is generally bright, which reflects Yoon-jo’s ‘can do’ attitude. The office politics will resonate with many, but thankfully it doesn’t overload the entire show.

Race is available now, with new episodes out every Wednesday on Disney+.

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