The Best of “Work Later, Drink Now”

It’s one of the refreshing dramas of the year – full of quirks and laughs and nothing should be taken seriously. It’s well-written and the casts did an amazing job at their respective roles. No wonder the show got another season to bless us with! It’s one of my favorite gems of 2021 and let me tell you why in this “Best of” series!

The Girls

The Work Later, Drink Now girls are hands-down one of my favorite drama trios now. I’m all for their daily workplace rants and drunken nights. Kang Ji-gu (Jung Eun-ji) is the group’s protector – their rock, basically. She never minces her words and always makes sure she pulls the girls back to dignity when their paths seem shaky.

Han Ji-yeon (Han Sun-hwa) is the sweetest girl ever. She cherishes her friends because they’re all she has. Already an orphan, this doesn’t prevent her from enjoying life and always looking at the bright side. My favorite characteristic of Ji-yeon was her determination to always make it work. She’s also the one with the highest educational attainment out of them (she’s a registered nutritionist, y’all) – but she decided to “switch off” her brain and just put her heart on her sleeve.

An So-hee (Lee Sun-bin) is the group’s motherly figure, IMO. She’s not as ill-tempered as Ji-gu and not as gullible as Ji-yeon, but she has her struggles as well. So-hee’s arc leaned towards her career dilemma and finding love in between. She dreamed of becoming a comedian, but her audition failure led her to an even better career path where she can still do what she does best (writing) while executing all the fun ideas in her mind. Variety is her niche! I didn’t expect her weakness, though! BUT I have to admit that this clever bit about her is actually dangerous. Mistaking love for pity isn’t really a good thing and can always lead to unfortunate situations, which was greatly portrayed in the drama. Well, at least she got her own car because of this costly mistake, right? Teehee.

The Backstory

Who would have thought that the alcoholic trio met during a collegiate dance-off at the bar with an unlimited supply of drinks at stake? The episode about their backstories took me to nostalgia train with second-generation K-pop playing in the background! They initially participated with their respective groups and got proclaimed as preliminary winners in a three-way tie. Their song choices also perfectly capture the three girls’ personalities so much! I like the detail about So-hee being the one who thought of the brilliant idea of forming a trio with Ji-yeon and Ji-gu (because those two would never even think of it, obvi). Clever writing on the friends’ origin story!

However, what came after the fun college memories were heartbreaking. Ji-yeon’s parents’ death was done offscreen so we never really witness her old self. But Ji-gu’s past as a high school teacher was a revelation. She entered the teaching profession half-heartedly because it’s what her mother wants for her. Ji-gu just wings it at school every day, being the cool teacher everyone loves. Her life turned upside down after meeting one student who suffers from depression. This student struggles with an identity crisis – her parents are against her being a lesbian, which is considered taboo in their country during the drama’s timeline. Ji-gu tried so hard to save her student and blamed herself for what happened. She hit rock bottom, quit work, and isolated herself from the world. Thankfully, she found her way back… through the help of origami and her friends.

The Bar and its sajangnim

Of course, this list will not be completed if we didn’t have the bar! The place where the leads’ lifelong friendship was born! It’s the bar owner (who used to be a really hip DJ lol) who organized the K-pop dance-off and somehow forced the three girls to unite for that highly coveted grand prize! Little did he know, letting the three ladies win meant the start of his bar’s downfall! LOL. The amount of alcohol they chugged all these years is enough to build a new branch of his resto-bar! Hahaha

The Past Loves

I liked the suspense build-up about the ex-boyfriend who visited the beach resto! And Ji-gu’s revelation about being in touch with her former flame was a surprise. We never really got any formal confirmation about the sexual orientation of Ji-gu’s ex except for the blurred confrontation witnessed by the assuming drunk besties So-hee and Ji-yeon, so I don’t think it mattered. What this confirmed though is that Ji-gu isn’t so hard-hearted after all. She still keeps in touch with her ex, remains civil after all these years, and even managed to attend his wedding!

Now for the two others, I don’t really have anything to say except they’re both worms of the earth. Those jerks were users who see women as objects and would cheat on or leave their respective partners at the first chance they get! Good thing, So-hee and Ji-yeon dumped those good-for-nothing idiots.

Just Si-won in general

Kang Buk-gu PDnim (Choi Si-won) is a manchild but is a cute and responsible manchild. I like to believe he fell in love with So-hee during that random encounter at the restaurant. He was so amused by her unusual bottle-opening talent that it made his heart skip a beat LOL. Their love story is a rom-com blueprint, and we’re all suckers for it! Of course, he’s the only one who can do a hilarious gobaek through a variety program! Get a man who can confess his love for you on national TV!

No matter how expensive and fragrant-looking Si-won seemed to be in real life, his peculiar choice of drama characters just hit differently. He can portray a weirdo, but when the scenes call for the regular dependable male lead, he can ace it too. I liked that So-hee can freely take a rest whenever she and Kang PD are together. He laughs at her comedic antics, acknowledges her potential, and acts as a reliable sunbae at work. Kang PDnim became So-hee’s refuge.

The Cameos

Kim Ji-suk, Leeteuk, and Song Jae-rim’s appearances made me blush! More cameo for the second season please, PDnim!

We all love a good K-drama trio. We love the characters equally and root for their happiness in the end. We love to see their journey, their humble beginnings, their heartbreaks, and their life U-turns. And I am proud to say that the Work Later, Drink Now girls are part of my growing (and never-ending) list of K-drama found families. Their friendship is really admirable, mature, and strong. These three girls withstood the test of time – cancer and all.

First Impression: Work Later, Drink Now

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