Photo credit: VIU SG

4 lessons I learnt from hit zombie K-drama ‘Happiness’ that also applies to school

To help you deal with bloodsucking groupmates.

Amanda Tan

Skills include buying the same jeans in different colours.

Published: 27 April 2022, 6:31 PM

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Far from what its title suggests, K-drama Happiness tells the sobering story of a group of residents who are locked in their apartment complex after a zombie breakout occurs and authorities order the building to be sealed off from society.

As the residents band together and tide through the tough times, we see how fear, greed and the will to survive brings out the best and worst in them.

While it’s highly unlikely we’ll find ourselves in an apocalypse fending off zombies, there are lessons we can take away from the show and apply to our real lives. And I guess for us youths, the closest we’ll ever get to living hell is school, especially when it comes to dealing with peer-evaluated assignments.

So, here are four takeaways to keep in mind when dealing with groupmates from Hell:

1. Be wary of the most innocent looking one

Overly-friendly, rarely takes the spotlight and always down to “help”. 

These groupmates seem harmless at first but the next thing you know, they double-cross you by talking behind your back or marking you down for peer evaluation.

Just look at the hazmat suit guy (Kim Se Hoon) and Andrew. Those two-faced snakes had a way with words and could easily earn the trust of others that even Sae Bom didn’t suspect a thing. But in the end, the two were out to get everybody.


Who knows what’s under that mask of theirs? PHOTO CREDIT: VIU SG


If you’re beginning to suspect that the sweet person in your group is actually a snake, maintain a safe distance from them and refrain from oversharing private information lest they manipulate you.

2. Be brave and voice your opinions

If you’re dealing with a know-it-all groupmate who constantly dominates discussions, don’t hesitate to call them out.

Most of the time, many others feel the same but are just too scared to voice their discomfort.

Guk Hae Sung is a good example of this. The man might be a lawyer but everything that comes out of his mouth makes no sense. However, due to his domineering presence, the rest of the residents refuse to go against him.


The groupthink phenomenon is real. PHOTO CREDIT: VIU SG


Sometimes these people aren’t aware of how they’re coming off as. By letting them know, it’ll help to dissolve tension within the group and make space for conversation.

3. Don’t be insufferable

Building on the previous point, while it’s good to be a leader and help guide the rest, there’s no need for you to enforce power and be haughty. The last thing you want is to be the one making other’s lives hell.

If that insufferable ahjumma (Oh Yeon Ok) just got off her high horse, many lives would have been spared. But because she was so unrelenting, it resulted in a lot of poorly made decisions.


Not to mention how she practically brainwashed everyone into killing those who had spare rations. PHOTO CREDIT: VIU SG


So when working together on a project, unless explicitly assigned, you should keep your mind open to taking on different roles in the group.

Being flexible and adapting to changes in group dynamics will help prevent many misunderstandings and misfortunes.

4. People may have hidden struggles

Throughout the whole saga, Lieutenant Colonel Han Tae Seok receives the most flak for how he’s handling the situation.

However, most don’t know that his wife has also fallen victim to the zombie virus and that he’s fighting against time to find a cure for her and for the rest of society.


Despite this pressing problem, he prioritises protecting the public instead of the infected. PHOTO CREDIT: VIU SG


Just like how we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, we don’t know everything that goes on in a person’s life.

If a groupmate is falling behind on deliverables or is constantly missing meetings, check up on them.

Everyone has their own struggles, so be understanding whenever you can. Instead of jumping to conclusions, reach out and offer your support.

While group projects can be a pain, applying these tips will surely make schooling life easier!

If you haven’t already, you can catch the 12-part series on Netflix or Viu. Who knows, you might just pick up another lesson or two for school.

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