Follow TV Tropes


Series / Incomplete Life

Go To

Incomplete Life a.k.a. Misaeng (미생, 未生) is a Korean drama aired on the cable network tVN in 2014. It's a slice of life story based on the wildly popular webtoon about office life and corporate culture in South Korea. The title refers to a concept from the strategy game Baduk (바둑) or Go where a player's piece could either "live" or "die" depending on the rest of the gameplay. The webtoon uses many detailed references to Baduk as a metaphor for life and its challenges as the main character, Jang Geu-Rae (Im Si-Wan), was once studying to become a professional Baduk player. However he failed to achieve his dream and now must somehow survive in a desk job alongside the rest of Korea's mass of corporate drones. The clueless intern is thrown into a team with the beleaguered Chief Oh (Lee Sung-Min) and his trusty sidekick Dong-Sik (Kim Dae-Myung), leading to conflict as the last thing the Chief needs is an incompetent kid to manage.



  • Arc Words: "Yes!" "Endure!" All courtesy of Chief Oh.
  • The Atoner: Chief Oh Sang-Sik.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't mess with Chief Oh's team or mention his former employee who died.
    • You really shouldn't badmouth Chief Oh in front of Geu-Rae. Or Dong-Sik for that matter. They will both punch you.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Han Seok-Yool is a known pervert.
  • Career Versus Family: A problem for the female workers at One International. One of the characters is a mid-level manager who's just returned from maternity leave and often feels overwhelmed with pulling double duty as a career woman and a mother. Also one background character accidentally got pregnant with her third child shortly after having had a second one, earning her scorn from the rest of the company for having to take time off so soon after returning to work.
  • The Determinator: Jang Geu-Rae. He always pushes through, no matter how difficult or humiliating the task.
    • Young-Yi as well. Despite the crap she has to put up with, she holds her head high and gets her tasks done efficiently and well.
  • Advertisement:
  • Drowning My Sorrows: A lot of the drinking really is a part of the corporate culture. But frequently things do just get too much for a character, and they'll crack open an extra bottle or can without the pretense of socializing, to dire physical effects for many who have been in the game a while.
  • Loser Protagonist: Geu-Rae. He starts out with only a GED and a computer course to his name and has to go through hell and back to prove his usefulness at the company. Can sometimes go into This Loser Is You territory.
  • Nepotism: How Geu-Rae gets his job at One International.
  • Pet the Dog: The managers, especially Mr. Oh, have many small but significant moments involving the four rookies, and Geu-Rae in particular.
  • Salaryman: The series is like a love letter to salarymen everywhere.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The other interns view Geu-Rae's hiring as this and are initially very hostile to him because of it.
  • Script Wank: Geu-Rae's narration often tells the audience what he (and therefore us) is supposed to have learned during the episode, however it is rarely of the anvilicious kind. They tend more toward poetic contemplations.
  • Slice of Life: Focuses on the minutiae of office life.
  • Work Com: Not to the same extent as say, The Office, but it has its moments.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: