If you’re in for an underdog-turned-girlboss story, Disney+’s newest K-Drama offering RACE might just tick off the box for you.
The 12-part series follows Park Yoon-jo (Lee Yeon-hee), a diligent and passionate PR professional. She was originally from a small agency PR Joa.
The story unfolds when a top firm, Seyong, hired her through Spec-out. Spec-out is an unbiased hiring project that her long-time friend Ryu Jae-min (Hong Jong-hyun) coincidentally proposed.
Everything seemed like a dream come true, until she discovered that she was just a diversity hire.
Having worked eight years in the PR industry, she was still unable to curb naysayers. Her new coworkers and superiors judged her for her lack of qualifications and resume.
Fret not. Nothing deterred Park’s dedication to the craft she loves. Instead, the rocky start spurred her personal growth as she navigated through the prejudice and curve balls thrown along the way. All in hopes to succeed and defeat naysayers.
Beyond achieving so with the help and support of her friends, Park also sought guidance from her role model, the new CCO, Koo Yi-jung (Moon So-ri), and Earth Communications’ CEO, Seo Dong-hoon (Chung Yun-ho).
Like other office K-Dramas, RACE excelled at depicting office politics with a wide variety of workplace archetypes. This includes morally unjust superiors and the ever-supportive work best friend.
The series also explored the cutthroat nature of the PR industry, looking into the struggles that underdogs like Park, and even Ryu, face when trying to make a name for themselves.
It helped that Director Lee Dong-yoon worked on She Would Never Know (2021) previously, another office and marketing-related drama. It added to the overall authenticity of RACE’s portrayal of the industry.
This made it much more believable and convincing to immerse oneself as a viewer.
At the same time, screenwriter Kim Roo-ri has a knack for creating characters with tenacious ambitions, just like she did in Hyena (2020). She sculpted them into individuals that viewers would ardently root for.
If anything: one critique of the series would be that the friendship between Park, Ryu, and Heo-eun could have been further developed. Perhaps more scenes could have been added for them, rather than merely at their usual bar hangout spot, to emulate a stronger bond between them.
This was a key factor that fell short to bring out the authenticity and tight-knit chemistry expected of best friends.
Nevertheless, RACE is still an exciting series that is worth a watch.
It offered a fresh perspective on the PR industry and showcased the struggles and triumphs of those determined to succeed.