June 29, 2022

John Oliver created a romantic Korean drama about Subway, and I promise it makes sense in context

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver has taken on Subway, explaining the company’s questionable history of expansion, shedding light on the disadvantageous contracts franchisees must sign — and poking fun at the sandwich chain’s ubiquitous product placement in Korean dramas.

“Every plot point seems to occur in a Subway,” said Oliver, noting a trope that’s well-known among K-drama fans. “Subway even released its own mini drama on YouTube called Someway.

Oliver then proceeded to provide a brief rundown of Someway‘s plot, which involved a love triangle between a Subway employee, a customer, and another Subway employee.

“It’s really good,” said Oliver. “It’s art, and it’s cinema, and it’s sandwiches.”

Such promotions tie back to Subway franchisees’ contracts, which was the main focus of Oliver’s segment. Currently, franchisees must pay 12.5 percent of their gross earnings to the company, with 4.5 percent going toward advertising. It’s an onerous requirement, and one that contrasts starkly with McDonald’s franchisees’ eight percent payments.

Someway does have English subtitles, which is useful for those who feel inclined to watch the short six-episode series themselves.

However, if you prefer your sandwich-themed romances to incorporate unfortunate truths about the struggles of Subway franchisees, Oliver also filmed his own short drama about the chain. His also involves a love triangle but is slightly less idealistic, featuring lines such as “We’re not even sure if the meat in those is real.”