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Sunday, March 12, 2023

Start-Up (2020)

I closed a cycle with this show. I first finished it in around 3 days, but I missed parts of it and didn't hear it in its original language. So, I was looking forward to rewatching it. This time in a more paced manner, one episode each Sunday. Last Sunday was the last one. This Sunday, I'll honor it to let it go...

What first drew me to it, besides looking for something other than the usual while browsing Netflix to occupy myself with, was the topic of entrepreneuring. But I was utterly hooked since the first episode, which showed more of the enthusiasm for it. And hey, it revolved around AI! 

Like other K-Dramas, it was sad. However, it didn't seem like it would be depressing forever. K-Dramas are a whole genre by themselves at this point. You can usually expect them to be humbling and endearing, taking you through the ups and downs and many of the sides of the characters involved as the story unfolds. They may have you crying and laughing while marveling at the beauty of different scenarios. As well as rooting for and shipping characters.

Enjoying drama may seem like a form of masochism. But there is more than meets the eye. It can be a catalyst to accessing, processing, and releasing emotions. And if there aren't many pent up to begin with, they can be an exercise in empathy. Oftentimes, people tend to minimize and dismiss or suppress emotions, both in themselves and in others, and it may take being "dramatic" to finally give them the attention that they deserve.

On Start-Up, plenty happpened. A tale about following your dreams and daring to dream big regardless of your current circumstances. No matter how insane it seems!

  SPOILER ALERT!   Keep reading at your own risk. There are spoilers ahead... 

I would never be done writing if I went into precise detail about everything that I appreciated on this show. But I'll highlight a few of the things that stood out for me the most.

As the name denotes, it is about start-ups. And although there is more in it (family, friendship, romance, rivalry, and so on), each episode makes it a point to at least make mention, if not fully incorporate, concepts that you may run into when launching a business. Certainly, not a substitute to doing your own research and practice. But interesting to see them brought up and made a part of it. Concepts such as: Angel, Keyman, Burn Rate, Backup, Risk, Acqhire, Comfort Zone, MVP (minimum viable product), and Scaling Up. If you're into business ventures, this might make you starry-eyed.

But who are we fooling? Some of us were glued to it for the romance. I don't know how many polls have been run and what their results were, but I would bet that Han Ji-pyeong is a favorite among many. Nam Do-san, too, in his own way. Personally, though, I was rooting for Han Ji-pyeong the most. In the beginning, it seemed to me that they represented the difference between caring for someone and wanting to be with someone. And given that Seo Dal-mi had already gone through more than enough pain and suffering, I would have liked to see her with someone like him. Perhaps it is implied that she wouldn't develop as fully if she relied more on him and was his partner instead, but I can't quite agree with that notion. Yes, he is guiding. And yes, he is protective. But not once did I ever view him as limiting or coddling her. Just doing what he could so she wouldn't be hurt. Who needs to be continually hurt, anyway? That's not the only route to character development. Much of the time, it is actually quite counterproductive. And even in their disagreements, Seo Dal-mi is able to speak up and he is able to concede or let her do what she decides even if it is risky or a mistake - unless it is too major, in which case he'd try to stop it. No offense, Nam Do-San stans. But give me an alternate ending or a continuation where they're together!

That said, I obviously grew fond of many of the characters. Of some more than others, not going to lie. And although Nam Do-san irritated the heck out of me at first, I'm no longer as bothered. Given that he went from faking for his own gain (and whims) to being significantly helpful to their causes and common goals. Yet, gotta give more credit to Seo Dal-mi for not taking the whole mess worse. As for the tension between Seo Dal-mi and her sister, I wasn't feeling it. But it's merely more fictional drama, I guess. I applaud Won In-jae for going against big corp and doing her own thing. That takes guts and more. She can carry herself with an air of superiority all she wants. The line about how her participation in the competition would be like playing against kindergarten children had me chuckling. Also, much love for the grandma and all she does for others. And the hilarious cousin coming up with wild stuff! Unfortunately, the father was physically absent for most of it but was essential in moving everything forward and making Seo Dal-mi's spirit resilient.

In real life, things can be crude and cruel. Happy endings not guaranteed. But it was pleasant to see a world where people had each other's best interests at heart and succeeded despite the odds because of it. It is something to learn from and take as an example. 

From what I've gathered, a second season is unlikely. So, what now?
Loved it so much.