Not too sure whether I will be catching this regularly, given the number of kdramas I am following now, plus those upcoming ones. However, what I’ve watched of ep1 thus far is slapsticky funny, tempered with a little anguish and pity.

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To set the record straight, there is no explicit office bullying in Temper — in case you are uncomfortable with the idea of Yoon Sang-hyun being manhandled by Lee Yo-won. Let me assure you if there IS any indication of bullying, it’s the woman who is the target.

Main cast:

  • Lee Yo-won (from Empire of Gold) as Ok Da-jung, aka “Ms Temper”. She isn’t a femme fatale as her male colleagues like to describe her (they kinda summarise her personality using her thrice divorced status as a gauge). I’d consider her “un-Korean” in her dealings with her superiors and colleagues. She is not afraid to speak her mind, point out glaringly fishy business deals, or even retaliate if her boss physically attacks her. (and oh yes, he did) Her capabilities at work though, is brushed aside as secondary. Her colleagues and superiors are more “impressed” with her short fuse, and label her as “mad bitch”.
  • Yoon Sang-hyun (from Gap-dong) as Nam Jung-gi. The exact opposite of Da-jung. He is self-effacing, and a human doormat. But the reason why he is afraid of placing himself on the fore is not cos he is timid or has no abilities. He just doesn’t like having “extra responsibilities”. Thus, he is ok with his hoobaes over stepping him and getting the promotion which he should deserve, cos he tells himself being promoted = more work, more worries and too much visibility.

Synopsis:

Only for ep1.

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Jung-gi stands on the precipice of a building’s rooftop, and we think he is intending to jump. He re-lives the events that happened in the morning which led him to the roof. After his hoobae (who was promoted in place of him) was arrested for corrupted practices, his boss had assigned Jung-gi to take over the promotion of a new skincare product for their main sponsor. (Jung-gi works in a small time cosmetic firm called “Lovely Skincare”) As usual, his colleagues dump him with all the ppt work and the product design and he had to work over night on it.

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Things don’t start well on the morning of the presentation to the sponsor though. His newly moved in neighbor’s furniture blocked the way out from his apartment, and he falls. His car (which he left the headlights on the prev night) ran out of batt, and he had to take the subway…along the way, he crashed into someone and his bag (containing the new product sample) went flying. Although he and his boss + colleague made it to the presentation, they mistake Da-jung as a coffee girl, and order her to brew coffees for them.

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The boo-boo doesn’t stop there. When presenting the new product to Da-jung, Jung-gi realizes the bottle has broke, due to the impacts from the falls he had in the morning. While tussling with Da-jung (who insists on leaving), Jung-gi accidentally rips off her blouse. Da-jung informs her boss that she will not be signing the contract with Lovely. Her boss, however, gets agitated and throws a glass of water at his “disobedient subordinate”. (Da-jung prob guessed correctly that Lovely has some under table dealings with her superior) Da-jung doesn’t take being splashed very well, and throws her bottle of water at her boss, including the glass bottle.

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Later, Jung-gi tries to repair damages and presents Da-jung with a new blouse. She gets annoyed with his lowered gaze (ahem…breasts’ view) and decides to get her payback — by ripping open Jung-gi’s shirt in public. Cue: rooftop scene. But nah, Jung-gi isn’t jumping. His colleague tells him of a rumour that Da-jung tends to call her male subordinates to hotel rooms for a one-night stand before signing contracts with them the next morning.

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And…that is the message Jung-gi receives on his mobile phone later. A meeting called by Da-jung in a hotel. However, she isn’t requesting Jung-gi to act gigolo. She actually is impressed with the 2 sample sachets of Lovely skincare that Jung-gi accidentally stuffed into her purse. Unfortunately, Jung-gi assumes otherwise…and starts stripping down to his underpants. Da-jung chases him out of her hotel room. Next day, realizing he has misjudged her, Jung-gi sincerely approaches (an annoyed) Da-jung to apologise. He also tenders his resignation as his boss pressured him to “take responsibility” for losing the contract. (when his boss was the one who pushed Jung-gi towards Da-jung, causing the blouse-ripping incident)

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Back home, Jung-gi tries to reason with his supposed new neighbor who he thinks has stolen his son’s new bicycle. The man who opens the door says he will ask the owner to answer — and who else but Da-jung has moved in next door.

Review:

Like I said, the office bullying isn’t juz on Jung-gi. From what I seen of Temper, Jung-gi’s “misfortunes” are largely self-wrought. And in large part due to his own personality. He thinks himself to be “large of heart” and “zen-like”, but in actual fact, he is juz afraid of taking on new things, new responsibilities and new jobs. He wants everything to remain in stasis, which is impossible.

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His colleagues too, recognize this trait and make full use of him. They pile work on him, make him fork out unreasonable amounts of money for meals, over ride his decisions and ideas…cos they know he won’t utter a peep. He even voluntarily gives up the space in the elevator if it beeps due to overloading (even though he isn’t the last one to enter). You can say Jung-gi allows himself to be bullied. His peers and bosses do not necessarily go out of the way to be malicious to him.

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Da-jung, on the other hand, clearly faces discrimination at work. (re: Jung-gi et al immediately assuming she is a lowly coffee girl at their first meeting) From the simple fact that she is a female boss already has people tattling behind her back that she probably “slept her way up”, has “backdoor connections”, etc. Everyone omits that it is her capabilities that promote her to her current designation. And then when she is at boss-level, the rumours of Da-jung having sexual rendezvous with “favoured male colleagues” spring up.

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Her own superior also brands her as a mad bitch. And I muz say, I am kinda pissed at how he chooses to “tame” her, by throwing a glass of water in her face, juz becos what she said (that he probably took bribes from Lovely, seeing how he backed them up without explanation) is too close to the truth. Thankfully, Da-jung isn’t one to take such shitty behaviours lying down. She retaliates, in kind. Plus, she isn’t as “unreasonable” as everyone claims. After trying Lovely’s sample sachets, she does consider giving Jung-gi a second chance…only he ends up ruining the chance himself.

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Tbh, I do have one fear — that Temper will “tame the shrew” and go down the usual Kdrama’s route. Where the sharp, domineering female character is eventually “broken” and her “soft underbelly” gets exposed, in order to have the male lead “save” her, and “reform” her.

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Pls pls pls don’t go that way…

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