“Happiness” (2021) is an ongoing Korean series, starring Han Hyo-joo, Park Hyung-sik, and Jo Woo-jin. The story revolves around residents in a high-rise apartment building locked down by the government due to the spread of a deadly disease.
As “Happiness” navigates cure for the infected, it also takes us to the lives of multiple interesting characters representing various human behavior in response to crisis.
1. The Dominant Risk-takers
The dominant risk-takers are the dynamic people who are always aiming at solving problems and achieving quick results.
“Situations like this always require decisive people,” states Han Tae Seok who takes command of the pandemic situation and leads the quest of finding cure.
As a lieutenant colonel who holds the key to the infectious disease, he always sees the big picture, insists on production, and enables his people to seek practical solutions, “We must prioritize. Who is more needed and what is more useful.”
Although sometimes he tends to overstep authority to keep things under his control and direction, he clearly knows where he stands in dealing with the crisis. “I’m doing this to shut down the mad person disease,” he says.
Likewise, Corporal Sae Bom characterizes a dynamic woman who exudes confidence and control in challenging situations. “I was born to fight terrorism,” she says. She is good under pressure, decisive, and quick to find solutions. When others can’t make up their minds, she decides instantly.
Since Lt Han Tae Seok and Corporal Sae Bom are both strong willed, they often clash in the drama.
2. The Analytical Solvers
The analytical solvers are the introspective type of people who foresee problems before they happen and analyze the best plan for their lives.
Kim Se-hun, the resident who lives at 1501 penthouse, is a good example of this type of crisis responder. Even before the apartment lockdown, he already gathered much resources to survive life.
He is always conscientiously thinking and analyzing the world around him. He tells Sae Bom, “The earth is in danger right now. Even without a contagious disease, unusual weather, global warming, nuclear war, artificial intelligence. The end of the world is nearing.” When the apartment ran out of food and water, the residents relied on him to survive.
On the other hand, other characters who resemble this type of personality also focuses more on solving problems with facts, details, and rules. Detective Jung, Lawyer Hae-seong, and Lieutenant Lee Ji-soo are instinctive people who think systematically and set clear parameters. They always ask important questions and strive for accuracy during emergency situations.
Meanwhile, Andrew, who seems to be quiet and introvert, has come up with his own analysis and conscientious solutions. No spoilers.
3. The Impulsive Doers
The impulsive doers are the ones who are more concerned with self than the results. Often, they draw people to them for being spontaneous communicators and the loudest who talk consistently during emergency gatherings.
Moreover, they are always curious, want to know everything, and they say or do something without thinking of the repercussions. Since they also enjoy freedom from rules, they solve problems impulsively and motivate people to join them.
Dong Hyun (the Youtuber), Oh Yeon-ok (the apartment representative), Oh Joo-hyeong (the doctor), and Go Se-kyu (the apartment cleaner), fall into this category.
4. The Low-key Peace-makers
Meanwhile, Na Soo-min, the writer’s brother, and Boram, the mart employee, belong to the low-key group who avoids conflicts. Since they are motivated by safety and security, they often choose to keep peace. They also have the ability to stay calm in the eye of a storm.
The problem with this group is that they are people-pleasers who don’t know how to say no. In particular, Dong-hyun (the youtuber) persuaded Boram (the mart employee) to look for his mobile phone outside the building. Despite the danger and fear, Boram took the risk to please Dong-hyun.
Since the premiere of “Happiness” through Korea’s TVN cable channel on November 5th, it consistently holds the second highest nationwide viewership rating in its time slot across all channels. So far, Episode 9 attained the highest record of 3.7%, according to Nielsen Korea.
It is also drawing attention from international audience through the streaming platforms, Viu and iQIYI.