Thoughts on Search: WWW

I love Search: WWW for one very simple reason – the protagonists are kickass women who are professional in their jobs, but are complicated in their thoughts, as well as in their dealings with each other.

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

The show explores office dynamics, ethics in the internet age, and the complex relationships between women in a universe where gender is a non-issue. 

Bae Ta-mi (Im Soo-jung) works at Unicon, the largest search engine in Korea. Once buddies, she’s now on bad terms with her boss, Song Ga-Gyung (Jeon Hye-Jin), who has made some questionable decisions at work as she is a daughter-in-law of the powerful chaebol family which owns the KU Group. After getting fired from her job, Ta-mi starts a new job at Barro, a rival of Unicon, and locks horns with Cha Hyun (Lee Da-hee), whose views are often contrary to hers.

Ta-mi and Hyun also have the best boss in Brian Min (Kwon Hae-Hyo), who constantly tries to wiggle out of odious meetings, and sings of not wanting to go to work.

In terms of romantic relationships, the drama explores three very different threads: Ta-mi starts a frustrating on-off relationship with Park Morgan (Jang Ki-yong), who she had initially filed as a one-night stand. He wants marriage and a family while she doesn’t. Hyun, an ex-judoka with anger management issues and a knack for falling for the wrong guy, becomes a fan of a rising actor, Seol Ji-hwan (Lee Jae-wook), in the makjang soap opera she watches religiously. Ga-Gyung, stuck in a arranged marriage with Oh Jin-woo (Ji Seung-hyun), starts getting closer to her husband as they inch even closer to divorce.

Comic relief comes from Hyun’s obsession with her makjang, and some pretty amusing side characters. Ga-gyung’s growth – from exhausted repression to her bid for freedom – is also a surprising arc. However, it’s the AWESOME ending that makes this one of my favourite shows this year.

Side note: Lee Jae-wook is the actor to watch – from the delinquent Marco in Memories of Alhambra to the sweet and sensitive Ji-hwan here – he shows a fantastic range for such a young (only 21!!!) and new actor (this is only his second show).

The only annoyance I have is the drawn out relationship between the leads – when the fundamental values are so different, it would have been much wiser to walk away from the get-go, as the more level-headed Ta-mi had decided earlier if not for the earnest pursuit from the indefatigable puppy. I had to fast-forward most of their scenes in the later half of the show because their issue was so repetitive.

All in all, I love that there is nothing black and white in this show, that each issue has got a plethora of perspectives, and every decision made now impacts the future in unforeseeable ways. The characters feel like real people – nobody is a saint or devil, everyone takes calculated risks, and we are very much a product of our circumstances, beliefs, and actions. Look no further, the Search stops here!

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