On the Verge of Insanityis a 2021 South Korean television series starring Jung Jae-young, Moon So-ri, Lee Sang-yeob and Kim Ga-eun. It aired on MBC TV from June 23 to August 26, 2021 for 16 episodes.
Choi Ban-Seok (Jung Jae-Young) is a veteran engineer, working as a developer in the consumer electronics division of Hanmyung Electronics. He has a calm disposition and a warm heart. He also has a sense of humor, but he faces the biggest crisis of his 22 year working career. To avoid being caught up in a wave of dismissals, he is transferred to the personnel department. He is completely unfamiliar with the personnel department. He decides to survive in the personnel department and not quit this job.
Review : by ME_B (Link)
I just finished On the Verge of Insanity for the KDrama Challenge, and I thought I should post a review to help others discover this seriously underrated gem!
Choi Ban Seok is an engineer that has worked at an appliance company for 22 years. He’s a kind hearted soul and a hard worker, supporting his daughter as a single parent. The company he works at is doing massive layoffs and restructuring, and in order to keep his job, accepts a position in HR. The drama follows this ML in this work life, as office politics and shitty colleagues slowly bring him on the verge of insanity.
What I Liked
Great Ensemble Cast – there are SO MANY actors in this show that I recognized from other shows. Most of them are usually side characters and it was nice to see them get more screen time in this show. Excellent acting from everyone, but I was especially happy to see Ji-Ung’s boss and Ung’s father from Our Beloved Summer, the Chinese restaurant lady from Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Ahn Nae Sang and Park Sung Geun who both play department heads or head of something in literally every drama.
Realistic Characters / Corporate Life – The characters are well written in that they all feel like people you have encountered every day at your regular office job. You have the talented but lazy dev, the incompetent middle manager that’s only good at office politics, the HR employee that only cares about the company, and the by-the-book engineer that sometimes lacks in certain soft skills.
The show also did a really good job in depicting how truly soul-sucking corporate life can be, and how truly despicable people can get when they only look out for themselves at work. Which leads me to…
Great Villains – Lee Sang Yeob made me want to punch his face every single episode. He played such a good antagonist that I loved to hate him. The villians in this show are not your traditional exaggerated villains but rather, they’re morally grey people that are looking out for themselves and their own goals above all else. You feel like you’ve met these people every day at work and you can’t really blame them because you understand their motivations and actions, yet you hate to see it all play out and negatively impact the ML.
What I Didn’t Like
The levels of frustration this drama brought me to because it felt too real. The first half of this drama deals with mass layoffs and HR’s role in those layoffs. As someone who experienced several rounds of those working in a pretty volatile industry, watching it all play out on screen was pretty rough. I hated the position the FL was in because I understood what she had to do but I also hated that she had to do it. I also expected our FL to be a good person, but as mentioned previously, most of the characters are grey including the FL. I really didn’t like how much of a cold-hearted corporate shill she was and at some point I wondered if there was any shred of humanity in HR, or if there was any hope of a redemption arc for her. I don’t think I would have watched this show after work and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it as a chill/relaxing show.
Forgive and Forget – some of the characters, including our FL and the SML did some pretty scummy things throughout the show. I didn’t like how quickly some of those things were forgotten/forgiven and it felt like some of those things were never properly addressed. The show did a pretty good job in making the viewer forget about those things and root for all the characters by the end, but looking back I don’t think I’m 100% satisfied.
I highly recommend this show, as long as you know what you’re getting into!
- This is not a romance – it’s an office drama with great characters and acting.
- Your blood will boil for about 80% of the show but you’ll love every minute of it and you’ll love every character by the end of it.