‘Start-Up’ Love Triangle – 8 Reasons Why ‘Do San’ Was Perfect For ‘Dal Mi’


Start-Up is a popular Korean drama about career and ambition. But it is so much more than that! Its head-over-heels fans (like me) know that it is a refreshing story about realism, dreams, hope, and heartwarming modern-day relationships.

Office dramas have been a usual genre in Korean shows. Regardless, Start-Up stands out with themes of gender neutrality in the workplace and the struggle to make it big, making it relatable for most young viewers. There are several things that fans love about this show. But just one thing that they keep debating about: who among Han Ji Pyeong and Nam Do San was a better match for Seo Dal Mi?

The Boy From The Letters

I believe that Ji Pyeong had excellent chemistry with Dal Mi. The two shared a special bond, not only as former pen pals but also as a solid mentor-mentee duo. While Do San and his friends would (naturally) frown at Ji Pyeong’s cynical nature, Dal Mi saw him beyond his bitterness.

Despite having contrasting personalities, with Ji Pyeong’s impulsive tiffs and Dal Mi’s childish dreaminess, the two had a mature bond of mutual respect. That being said, a romantic relationship between the two would be quite an incompatible one owing to the same contrasting traits. Though the two comforted each other through a rough childhood, it didn’t necessarily mean that they must end up together. After all, the series depicted that true love does not come in filmy “patterns” or genres.

8 Reasons Why ‘Do San’ Was Perfect For ‘Dal Mi’

Ji Pyeong does, however, play cupid in the lives of two true loves by introducing Dal Mi to the “real” Do San. Hence, coming back to the main topic of this article, I staunchly root for Do San and Dal Mi’s romantic relationship and have enough reasons to prove why.

  1. They Shared A Childlike Dreaminess: Unlike the shrewd practicality that Won In Jae and Ji Pyeong possessed, Dal Mi and Do San had a childlike optimism about their careers. As rookies in the Start-up world, the two of them were inexperienced but foresighted and hardworking. Dreaming big and sharing similar struggles was what made them connect with each other. Dal Mi even forgave Do San for lying about being wealthy and successful as she could relate with him.
  2. They Admired Each Other: Dal Mi and Do San shared a unique relation of both comfort and high regard. While Dal Mi would blush at every little text from him, Do San would make consistent efforts to live up to the ideal standards of her former pen pal.
  3. Do San Went Out Of His Way Not To Let Her Down: Do San was a coding geek who had most of his interactions with his laptop and had trouble understanding “human” mannerisms. However, keeping his “technical attitude” aside, he understood Dal Mi emotionally. Without even knowing her, Do San rescued her at the networking event out of sheer kindness.
  4. Dal Mi Helped Him Open Up Emotionally: Despite being a prodigy and a coding genius, Do San had issues with self-esteem owing to a childhood incident. Even so, Dal Mi brought out the best in him with her loving support. She would dote on him, and validate him as the wise and attractive boy she had fallen for.
  5. They Faced Challenges As A Team: The duo faced consistent challenges with their Start-up SamSan Tech. Even so, be it financial issues, technical glitches, or external intimidation, they supported each other as a team and persisted as a power couple!
  6. They Saw Each Others’ Potential: Do San trusted Dal Mi’s leadership to the extent that he made her the CEO of his own Start-up. Dal Mi trusted Do San’s technical creativity to the extent that she took the pain of finding investors without disclosing the problems. This was only possible as the two believed in each others’ capabilities.
  7. Dal Mi Kept Getting Drawn To Him: On finding out that Nam Do San wasn’t her love from the letters, after all, Dal Mi was devastated. However, as a consequence of their precious time together, Dal Mi realized that she had finally gotten over the boy from the letters. She had deeply fallen for every little mannerism, and every adorable flaw of the real Do San.
  8. Do San Let Go Of Their Painful Past: The painful separation of SamSan tech had led to a painful breakup of the power couple! Having mixed feelings about the acquihire, the lies she had been told, and her own future, Dal Mi chose to end things with Do San. While Dal Mi’s decision was understandable, Do San’s decision not to forgive her would be too! Nevertheless, true love conquers the heartbreaks of the past, and Do San proved it. He let go of their past and confessed his feelings for Dal Mi. And we all know which ship persisted as the best one after all.

Start-up is a 2020 South Korean drama produced by HiSTORY D&C, starring Bae Suzy, Nam Joo Hyuk, Kim Seon Ho, and Kang Ha Na. It is streaming on Netflix.

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Anoushka Sinha
Anoushka Sinha
Anoushka Sinha is a Mass Media graduate from Mumbai University and a content enthusiast. She loves to strike stimulating conversations with people, trivial or intense, which fuel her creative ideas. In her leisure time, she loves to practice yoga, watch a heartwarming sitcom, read on a topic that piques her interest, or make herself a cup of coffee!

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