The Long Yak

88. The Long Yak – The Uncanny Counter | Run On | Live On

This Long Yak is the second we recorded in February, and we discuss The Uncanny Counter, Run On, and Live On. Just a note: this was recorded before the series of bullying scandals that have rocked the Korean entertainment industry in recent weeks, and our discussion of bullying in this episode is less serious than it would have been with that context in front of us. We talked about this in Episode 87, but also, stay tuned for a special What’s Up in Dramaland episode soon. We’ll be joined by an expert guest to take a more in-depth look at the issue and the surrounding cultural context.


03:18 The Uncanny Counter
19:05 Run On
42:13 Live On
51:45 Jokes!

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This episode was edited by Saya and Anisa.


8 thoughts on “88. The Long Yak – The Uncanny Counter | Run On | Live On”

  1. Hi everyone! I’ve been listening to your podcast for a little while now and absolutely love it. Thank you so much for such insightful, educated, informed and thoughtful, interesting discussion on the subject of Korean dramas.

    Now, my reason for replying to this post. I like the idea of the themes you’ve discussed are in Run On. I have watched the first two episodes… I like the Seon Gyeom’s character. And am (surprisingly pleased) by Dana so far — what a boss character. However, I am struggling with the character of Mijoo, to the point of wishing the drama was without her character. Put simply, I don’t find her likable, as in I also don’t find her character/the actress/her life interesting or compelling. On one hand, I find her character to be a bit unrealistic/unbelievable. I don’t think the show did a good job in setting her up in episode 1 at all. She seems very disconnected, from everything, to put it in one word. The actress delivers all of Mijoo’s lines in a in a flippant, has-nothin-to-lose, “I-don’t-give-two-shits” attitude. I don’t understand her characters financial situation. I would think she’d be struggling or concerned financially as a temp translator (unless they explained something of her background that I missed) but we see none of that. She is also presented as an avid gamer and gun enthusiast in addition to being an incredibly passionate temp translator. She is a character that just is… and personally, I don’t find the components of her character to add up with the most evident/natural ease, and add to that her simultaneously apathetic+passionate+cocksure/unbothered attitude makes her character make even less sense, and thus less sympathetic. She lacks humility and vulnerability, which I think a person living her life would have a lot of. I don’t think the actress playing her is helping as her face doesn’t seem to be showing a range of emotions and her line delivery is also one note, but I also don’t think the show’s production itself, namely the writing, did a very good job in setting up her character to be one that we viewers can understand, be compelled by and root for.

    [I am wholly aware of the criticism of female characters not needing to always be “likable” and I want to say that I’m not coming from a place from wanting Mijoo to be a certain stereotypical gendered character. Absolutely not. However, I think in this kind of drama, coming of age/romcom what have you, the audience is meant to understand and be sympathetic towards the female lead.]

    To give a counter example, the character of Dana makes sense. Her confident attitude and what has been presented about her completely makes sense for a young boss from a family of wealth and influence. She seems smart, clever, confident, knows what she wants and good at what she does. It all makes sense.
    Another example, Seon Gyeom. I know I called Mijoo disconnected earlier, not because she never emotes/makes a surprised face or grumbles, but because everything she does/about her character seems surface-level, and I don’t feel the vulnerable human being behind her lines. Seon Gyeom is the counter to that. Whilst he behaves in a way that is perhaps out of the norm, the actor pulls it off. You just feel his presence and feeling whether he’s saying something or not. He’s connected, even if his character is disconnected in some ways.

    I don’t know if anything I’ve said resonates with any of you– or perhaps this has just been my subjective experience.

    I actually would like to like this drama and even love it. But I’m just not interested in seeing Mijoo on the screen. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have time to respond. What do you like about her? How do you understand/connect/sympathize/care about this character?

    (sorry this became essay-length! lol)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Minnie! A great essay, and essays are ALWAYS welcome!

      I understand what you mean about Mi-joo, and I agree with most of your points! I don’t find her unlikeable so much as…flawless? As in, a perfect representation of a flawed, modern working woman. How does that even make sense? And actually, I have to say, I slowly changed my mind about this after the midway point.

      The problem with Mi-joo is exactly as you said: you’d rarely, if ever, get to see her as her private self – the one with the uncertainties and insecurities. So while I find a lot of things in her life and personality relatable in an offhand, abstract kind of ‘oh yeah, me too’-way, it wasn’t until…oo, when she started flailing about calling Seon-gyum in ep8/9? that I FELT it, like, ‘oh YOU TOO?!’ It’s funny isn’t it that cracked, capricious Danah lets you into her emotions way more than Mi-joo does?

      But largely, I don’t mind so much not connecting to her because for me, this is The Seon-gyum show! Since recording this episode, and writing in a bit of depth about it at about the same time, I actually felt like it gave me a new appreciation for the details of the show, including the character work for Mi-joo!

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, the three of us argued over who would reply and I have pipped them to the post, ha!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Also

        when I say ‘flawless’, I mean…well, you know how BTS recently did a cover of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’? And it is FLAWLESS, and literally listening to that made me realise two things:
        – There is so much polished beauty in this work of technical excellence, and BTS prove their mastery with how they execute it
        – But there’s a raw, crackling, electric imperfection in the original song that is all and only Chris Martin’s voice and it’s simply not replicable.

        So…well, I’m not sure where I was going with that when I started it, but I’ll leave it here 🤣

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Please don’t compare BTS with Mijoo HAHAHA….. I thought their Fix You cover was great. I think it would be brilliant to hear a full cover of the song from any one of BTS’s vocalists. It’s a very simple and intimate song, so it would be cool to hear just one of them sing the whole song. Jimin has such a unique, beautiful voice and interpretation on songs. V’s (Taehyung) voice is always so emotional and soulful. JK has covered so many songs so brilliantly already — love his covers on SoundCloud.
          There’s plenty of raw, crackling, electric originality across BTS’s discography so I’m happy with whatever they do at this point.

          To compare Coldplay and BTS are like comparing apples to oranges. Coldplay is a pop adult-contemporary rock band with one lead vocalist. Where BTS are a performance music group with three rappers and four vocalists with musical influences from hip hop, dub-step, trap to neo-soul, edm, pop and more.


          1. p.s. BTS Fix You. BTS said they covered the song because they wanted to share the message of it, which has helped them in moments, with their fans. 💜


      2. Hi Saya, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

        “I don’t find her unlikeable so much as…flawless? As in, a perfect representation of a flawed, modern working woman.”

        YES. YES. Exactly. This is exactly how I feel about the character… I have to say I honestly skipped the part in episode 2 where she and SG were talking at a pochang matcha I believe bc I was yeah not digging her character lol…. I’ve continued watching the drama and am on like epiode 4/5 I think. I’ve tried my best not skip any more parts and I think will go back and rewatch that pochang matcha scene so i don’t miss on any character development/dialogue in the MJ-SG relationship… I continued watching because I was affected and invested in the bullying storyline with SG’s hoobae runner and needed to see justice come to light in that storyline lol. I knew Seom-Gyum’s BAMF moment was coming, when he bolts into the locker room and goes straight for the jugular on the perpetrator bully with one fell punch. The moment was rather reminiscent of a similar vengeance/revenge-on-bully scene in the film Moonlight. Both brilliant.

        “It’s funny isn’t it that cracked, capricious Danah lets you into her emotions way more than Mi-joo does?”

        Lol.. yes totally!

        I’m on episode 4 or 5 at the moment. I’ve let go of my initial reaction of Mijoo because the show would be unwatchable otherwise lol. I’ve decided to be neutral when it comes to her and the show has been watchable in doing so. I’m still struggling to really understand/care about her, which is unfortunate since she makes up half of the center romantic relationship, which I usually like to be invested in while watching a drama lol. I find her whatever. lol. To give her a lot of credit, I suppose in reality, many people hide their feelings and vulnerability behind a sort of disconnected shell of self-imposed nonchalance. So perhaps she’s a realistic portrayal of a modern struggling woman who has learned to not show her emotions but still fancies a cute guy who comes into her life. hahaha… I like the other characters and dynamics in the show and am hoping these good parts of the show flourish as the episodes go on.


  2. Really enjoyed this episode! Just wanted to say that I really appreciated hearing Saya’s perspective on Run On – I wasn’t falling in love with the show either despite really liking the characters and that discussion made me realise why I was having that emotional disconnect with the show, which I couldn’t articulate myself. And your discussions on both this and Record of Youth are definitely making me more conscious about the way “banter” is used in dramas! Discovering this podcast and getting three different but equally insightful perspectives on the dramas I’m watching has definitely added a new layer to my drama watching experience.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi ottoke! Haha I feel like I’ve ruined ‘banter’ for everybody! 😅😅😅

      I think a lot of how I feel about it is down to how real it feels to me. Like, could this conversation happen spontaneously in real life? And I’m past master of disjointed, non-sequiturly abstract conversation, so my threshold for weirdo fun-talk is extremely high. In other words, it’s not just the words, but also timing and emotional processing space that adds up to a really good conversation for me.

      Now I’m stuck at episode 12 because I got waylaid by all the made-for-Saya Feb thrillers!!

      Liked by 2 people

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