Old School Intern (2020)

Drama: Kkondae Intern (꼰대인턴)
Network: MBC
Episodes: 24
Release Date: May 20 – June 25, 2020
Runtime: Wednesday & Thursday 21:00

Ga Yeol Chan used to be an intern at Ongol Foods and his boss is Lee Mansic. A tragic event forces Yeol Chan to resign from Ongol. Now a successful manager at Joonsu Foods, he was surprised to discover Lee Mansic joining Joonsu as a senior intern. Yeol Chan vows to seek revenge on Mansic.

Main Cast
Park Hae Jin – Ga Yeol Chan
Kim Eung Soo – Lee Man Sic
Park Ki Woong – Namgoong Joonsu
Han Ji Eun – Lee Tae Ri

I started watching this drama as it was promoted to an office comedy type of drama. I imagined kind of like “The Intern” movie. But the first 4 episodes were actually hard to watch. This is because the show started with showing the dark past between Lee Mansic and Ga Yeol Chan. The way Lee Mansic treated Ga Yeol Chan was really terrible that you would root for Yeol Chan to seek his revenge on Mansic. But when they finally met at Joonsu foods, I was surprised how much I sympathized with Mansic instead of Yeol Chan! Which is weird because Yeol Chan was supposed to be the victim and Mansic the bully. I think this is partly because Kim Eung Soo did an amazing job playing Lee Mansic. Second because I thought, “Ga Yeol Chan should know better than this!”

I’ve been in the workforce for almost 20 years and I’ve seen different personalities in the work place. And considering that my job sometimes makes me at odds with my stakeholders, I always thought of myself that, I should always try to understand them and think of how i would feel if i were in their shoes. That way, i can anticipate how they react and also think of how to make the relationship better. Likewise, me and my friends have always said that when you’ve been treated badly at work and you get to be on the other side, there are 2 things people usually do: (1) to seek revenge and be as awful as how you treated previously or (2) be the better person and make sure the other people wont feel the way you did before.

And i put this same principle to Ga Yeol Chan. and that’s why I was mostly disappointed in him for the first half of the show. He knows what it felt like to be bullied, to not be respected and to treat others unkindly. Yet that is what he was doing to his team. On the outside, he comes off as super nice, great boss, compassionate but when no one is looking, he puts them down, thinks that they are all stupid and he’s the magnanimous boss. Grr! Irritated me a lot!

And i compare him to Lee Mansic. He’s so experienced in dealing with people, even when he knows Ga Yeol Chan is treating him like trash, he stood up for himself and treated work as work. Yes, he has done so many bad things in his work life, but as he said during the last few episodes to the board of directors when he was trying to defend Ga Yeol Chan — who hasn’t done things because the boss told them too? It is hard to do it but someone’s got to do it and they become the “bad guys”. And what’s good with Lee Mansic is that he actually reflects on his actions. He knows when he’s done bad things, and he knows when he needs to back down and apologize. He tries hard to grit his teeth and move forward even when things are terrible.

To be honest, i almost dropped the show around episode 5 because I didn’t like Ga Yeol Chan and i didn’t like his team — i thought they were so incompetent – the 2 permanent employees were slackers, the lady contractual had b*tch face everyday, the girl intern was so weird, and the guy intern was creepy and vindictive. The only person I liked was Lee Mansic. And it was enough for me to continue watching, because I couldn’t wait for the day when Ga Yeol Chan wakes up and he and Lee Mansic teams up to take down the bad guys. At this point, i thought the “bad guy” was Namgoong Joonsu, who i can’t understand why he is so intent on pulling Yeol Chan down when he spends the whole day just talking and plotting inane things with the manager. I dont think i even saw him work once!

But i’m glad i stuck it out with the show. I loved all the office drama where they have to fix various issues that happens, like angry consumers, developing new ramen product. And i liked the slow growth and maturity of the team. Well, mostly the gradual realization of Yeol chan of how he judges too easily and puts down people so much (although i thought this should have happened early on).

I especially loved when he said, “That’s when i realized that I had been too quick to judge based on my own standards, without remembering how clumsy I had been in the beginning. I looked down on them just like the people who had looked down on me. You shouldn’t judge a person that easily. They were never useless from the get-go.” I agree with him. Everyone brings something to the table, and sometimes, it is the diversity that makes life interesting because that’s when you learn so much more and you appreciate the people around you.

Likewise, this drama also showed the maturity of Mansic too. He has spent most of his life thinking he’s the older one, but it’s also nice to listen to the young people too. They have new creative ideas that older people dont think of, partly because we are stuck to our ways or we never thought of it. I loved the scene between his daughter when she said, not in an angry tone, but in a loving way, “That’s why you need to stop saying things like ‘back in my days’. You should humble yourself when you approach younger people. And hear them out on their ideas instead of asserting only yours.” I do note that this should go both ways. Younger people also should listen and respect the older generation too.

I still didn’t like the guy intern that much and i didn’t really care for his romance with the lady contractual, but the story wasn’t bad. I also still didn’t like the two slackers.

I did like the girl intern – like i said before, she started really weird and i thought she is immature, but she eventually grew on me. I wished they showed how nice and smart she is early on. and I’m happy they didn’t pursue the loveline between her and Yeol Chan because it felt off from the very start. And the unexpected surprise, learning that she is Mansic’s daughter was so funny, and somehow they earlier episodes finally started making sense. and I loved the father-daughter team/relationship. Again, i wish this happened earlier on.

As for the “bad guy”, I’ve always had some niggling feeling that Joonsu wasn’t the villain of the drama, and I was right. It was the lady! Ugh! *Side note: she seems to be all over kdramaland nowadays, she needs to be careful not to be “too much” out there or people might get fed up with her

Oh, and i want to give a shout out to the 2 other senior interns – they were both kickass! (Especially Anastacia – wow she is so beautiful and elegant!)

Overall, this drama was not bad, it had comedy, action (the warehouse gang fight scene was one of the funniest i’ve seen in a while), drama, lots of food (mostly ramen), lots of lessons learned about life and about work. And of course, the bromance between Yeol Chan and Mansic!! It felt like Mansic became part mentor, part father to Yeol Chan, which i loved.

Rating: 7.5/10