Hangul: 검색어를 입력하세요 WWW (literally: Type in Search Word: WWW)
Original Air Date: June – July 2019
Plot: Diving into the corporate world of running an internet search engine, we follow three powerful women and their careers and personal lives.
One aspect of Kdramas that I enjoy is when they take us into an unusual workplace setting and show us all of the inner workings, problems and ethics that come along with that workplace. Romance is a Bonus Book took me into the world of book publishing, Misaeng took me into the world of Corporate Trading, although it wasn’t my favorite drama, I did find it fascinating in Run On when they shared the difficulties and nuances of being a translator in dramas and movies. Similarly, Search WWW? delved deep into the running a search engine. We all have used Google, Yahoo, Internet Explorer or some search engine, but how many of us really thought about what goes on behind the scenes? This drama shares the ethics and morals that go into search engines and how they can influence your every day life, ruin lives, improve lives and even change the outcome of a presidential election. Even as I wrote this blog, I googled reviews of Search WWW? to see what other bloggers had to say and it really made me pause to think of the irony of that moment. I wonder what google algorithm came up to show me those top 5 reviews over probably 100’s of reviews of this drama that is out there. That algorithm determines whether your blog is seen or not. For me, this is just a for fun record of my kdrama musings. I’m not trying to monetize this blog, nor am I trying to increase my viewer count, this blog really is for myself and those of you that care to read my thoughts! But what about small businesses out there that rely on the foot traffic to make money? So much power these tech companies hold over us.
Besides the fascination of the work place depicted in this drama, I also enjoyed that it was lead by three very strong females. Some are calling this a feminist drama, but I caution against using that word. No where in this drama do they touch on the issue of females in the workplace or try to state that females are stronger than males. No, this drama simply has three women in very powerful positions and we see them succeed and we see them struggle. They are intelligent, but they are also imperfect. It simply is a matter of fact in this world, they are not a novelty, they just are. All three woman have a romance story in this drama, but it is not the main story line. The females are all shown to be career woman who often put aside personal lives for career advancement. The males are just one part of their life and if anything, the males play a supporting role in their life, not a main character.
Bae Ta Mi (played by Im Soo Jung) is in her late 30’s and has given most of her adult life to the search engine Unicon. She speaks her mind, she is ethics driven and she thinks outside of the box. I loved that she purposely surrounded herself with people that disagreed with her, because she knew it was necessary to have people that think differently than her in order for the company to have success and be ethical. Her love interest is Jang Ki Yong from Go Back Couple and My Roommate is a Gumiho. He is more your typical romantic lead in this drama.
Song Ga Kyeong (played by Jeon Hye Jin) is the director of Unicon. She once was more ethics driven with Ta Mi, but after being forced into a contract marriage and the pressures of her in laws family to manipulate the search engine results, she enters a crisis of consciousness. Her story arc is perhaps the most fascinating. You hate her, you feel sorry for her and you also love her. What a fascinating and complex character.
Cha Hyeon (played by Lee Da Hee) is the social director of Barro, the rival search engine to Unicon. I loved her the most. She was feisty and uses her fists and judo skills to bring down anyone that wronged her, includes males that sexually harass her. She is sharp and is willing to go head to head with Ta Mi at every turn. Her love/hate friendship with Ta Mi was a wonderful evolution. I also enjoyed her romance story the best with Seol Ji Hwan played by Lee Jae Wok. This was his breakout roll before he eventually got the lead in my most disappointing drama ever, Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him in it, my problem was with the writing. It’s crazy he was only 20 at the time Search was filmed and is now 23. We will be seeing a lot of him in the future.
Do not watch this expecting a typical romantic comedy. This is mostly a workplace melodrama. Search WWW? is a very cerebral watch that makes you think the whole time. The 16 episodes take you through the competition for users between Unicon and Barro and the constant need to change and innovate. They also cover many ethical dilemmas over user content, scandals and pressures from the government to control the internet. It is a well written and well-paced drama. The acting by the female leads are superb and if anything it is just refreshing to see a drama depict strong intelligent women.
Final Opinion: Add it to your list.