What happens when you mix the mockumentary style of the BBC classic The Office with one of the biggest entertainment companies in Korea? You get YG Future Strategy Office.
Now, a lot of people may suddenly be very concerned about this – The Office is an absolute classic, after all, and K-Pop is still rather niche even with BTS all over the place these days. But bear with this, because, in my opinion, this has been the funniest thing I have watched in a very long time.
The show follows BIGBANG’s Seungri taking charge of the fictional strategic resources department within YG Entertainment. In the office are other members of YG such as Yoo Byung-jae and Sechs Kies’ Lee Jai-jin with other stars of YG, including Black Pink, Winner, iKON and Park Bom (from 2NE1) making appearences throughout the show as well. Within the series, Seungri is keen to make a good impression and impress Yang Hyun-suk – the founder of YG. However, what he doesn’t realise, is that the rest of the employees in the office aren’t exactly workaholics and don’t take the job seriously and the real reason he has been sent to work there is due to him not holding up his idol image and due to his career slowly fizzling out.
One of the reasons why this show works so well is because of Seungri’s personality outside of the show. To give some context, Seungri isn’t the most popular member of BIGBANG by any means, so the idea of his career “fizzling out” isn’t exactly too far of a stretch for somebody to imagine. (That wasn’t meant to be an insult! Seungri is my BIGBANG bias! But, let’s face it, the personalities of G-Dragon and T.O.P do usually outshine Seungri.) Not only that, but Seungri is also known for his past ventures. In the past, he has failed to avoid some pictures being taken that don’t exactly paint him in a positive light when he was attempting to meet lovers in private. So, ultimately, Seungri’s ‘irrelevance’ and past scandals made him the perfect actor for the role of a failing idol. To top it all off, he loves taking the Mickey out of himself. He’s constantly making jokes with other idols, so to be the main character of a comedy show about a failing idol? I don’t think YG could have picked a better person.
Yes, the show jokes about Seungri constantly, but he’s not the only person in the show to be the butt of a joke. Every person involved in the show – from the people working in the Future Strategy Office to the rising stars of YG, and let’s not forget the older ‘forgotten’ stars – has a joke written in about them. There’s no need to necessarily feel bad for them. There’s no need to think that the writing is too harsh. Everyone is in on the joke, including Yang Hyun-suk himself. Sure, some of the jokes may have hit too close to home for some of them, but I don’t think Netflix or YG would have forced the stars to do something they weren’t comfortable with in this situation. Everyone played along with their mockumentary roles and I think they all deserve some recognition for going along with it all.
The show is well-written, but the viewer who has no knowledge of K-Pop (specifically YG artists) will struggle to understand an awful lot of the jokes. The show suffers no pacing issues, which is nice to see, as is the slight continuation within each of the episodes. Everything is able to be tied together towards the end of the series. This was a concern of mine when I first started watching it. I wasn’t too sure how the show could end whilst maintaining the quality it had, but I definitely was content with the show’s ending.
At the end of the day, this short series was a complete experiment for YG. It could have flopped and done more damage than good. Despite some dedicated fans being somewhat concerned, however, I don’t think this flopped at all. If anything, it’s made me more aware of the different YG artists and it’s made me respect them a whole lot more than I had previously. I loved every minute of this show and I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of K-Pop.
YG Future Strategy Office is available to watch on Netflix!
Render of Seungri used in featured image by MilenaHo.