Business Proposal: Arguably this year’s hottest office Rom-Com

By Mulenga Mumba


Rating:


Rewatch Score:


Picture this: You’re in your twenties. You’ve got a good stable job, a supportive family and that one friend who’s always getting you into trouble. Life is Good.

Enter, a blind date, your company’s new CEO and a whole lot of explaining to do.

Based on a webtoon of the same name, by HaeHwa and illustrated by Narak, 'A Business Proposal' is a fast-paced Rom-Com that will have you at the edge of your seat at the end of every episode.


(Image Credit: SBS - 안효섭×김세정×김민규×설인아, 단체 포스터 공개! : SBS)


Characters:

Shin Ha-ri

played by Kim Se-jeong


A twenty-something-year-old food researcher at Go Food’s food development Team 1 inevitably has to disguise herself as a “Vixen” to help her best friend get out of one of the many blind dates she has been forced to attend by her father. Although it took some convincing (and a hefty monetary incentive), Shin Ha-ri agreed to chase away this latest suitor.

(Image Credit: SBS – 사내맞선 : 등장인물 : SBS )


Kang Tae-moo

played by Ahn Hyo-seop


The alleged suitor that Shin Ha-ri was commissioned to “get rid of”. A strong-headed 30-year-old who has just returned from the US to run the family business. The only thing he hates more than being lied to is spending time on anything he deems unnecessary (yes, that includes dating and any form of romance for that matter).

(Image Credit: SBS – 사내맞선 : 등장인물 : SBS )



Jin Young-seo

played by Seo In-ah


The only daughter of Marine Group, a big conglomerate and the source of Shin Ha-ri’s current predicament. Works as a marketing team leader at Marine Beauty, her sense of style is unmatched (maybe matched by one other person but we won’t get into that) and she ultimately finds the romance that helps her get out from under her father’s giant shadow.

(Image Credit: SBS – 사내맞선 : 등장인물 : SBS )



Cha Sung-hoon

played by Kim Min-gyu


The “romance’ in question. Went to live with the Kangs when he turned twelve and is now kind of an unofficial adopted family member (and chief secretary) to Kang Tae-moo. Arguably the only person Tae-moo can fully trust, him being the only person that can call Tae-moo out on his shortcomings. A hopeless romantic.

(Image Credit: SBS – 사내맞선 : 등장인물 : SBS )




Plot x Storyline:

The story starts off quite fast-paced, as we get introduced to all 4 of the main characters pretty early on; Shin Ha-ri being dedicated to her job, Kang Tae-moo having returned from the US to take over the company, Cha Sung-hoon right by his side making sure everything is running smoothly, and Jin Young-seo convincing Shin Ha-ri to go on a blind date in her stead to scare off this latest suitor (FYI these two have done this before).


Dressing in what is considerably one of the most provocative and flashy outfits (according to the drama’s standards),

(Image Credit: SBS – 비하인드 포토 : 김세정, 화려한 스타일링 '부캐 맞선녀' : SBS )


Shin Ha-ri goes on the date with one mission in mind: convince this man that I am Jin Young-seo and subsequently convince this man that I, JIN YOUNG-SEO, am a crazy, outspoken and promiscuous woman. On the date however, she quickly realises that not only is this man outrageously handsome (in a pre-historic sort of way), but he is also her company’s new CEO. Code RED!!! ABORT MISSION!!! Only one thing for it, RUN!!!


(Image Credit: SBS – 사내맞선 : 김세정, 안효섭에 비호감 인식 시켜주기 위해 '4차원' 연기 : SBS )


Shin Ha-ri tries her best to scare Kang Tae-moo off and leave the scene, however, what she doesn’t know is that 1: Kang Tae-moo came on this date determined to marry whoever shows up and 2: he’s now quite intrigued by this situation so why not keep it going and see where things go. Following this date, Kang Tae-moo decides he is going to marry Jin Young-seo (Shin Ha-ri) by any means necessary and proceeds to do everything in his power to make it so.


On the other hand, we have Jin Young-seo (the original), now on the run from her father who is absolutely ecstatic at the fact that the “blind date” was “successful” and that THE Kang Tae-moo has sent word that he would like to marry “Jin Young-seo”. While on the run, she happens to run into Cha Sung-hoon and immediately falls head over heels for this man (afterall he’s her ideal type).


(Image Credit: SBS – 사내맞선 : '찾았다 내 사랑' 설인아, 첫눈에 반해 버린 김민규에 끌리는 마음 : SBS )


Cha Sung-hoon, having spotted Jin Young-seo in a mart earlier and was trying to return the things she had accidentally left there, also falls head over heels for her. Of course, at this point in time, both are none the wiser about the other’s feelings and part ways. Fast forward a bit and both are now living in apartments right next to each other (they’re actually neighbours) but have no clue. When a chance meeting is created by our friend the plot roach,


(Image Credit: SBS – 사내맞선 : [스페셜] 재미 뿜뿜! 원작 뚫고 나온 듯한 웹툰 연출 모음집★ : SBS )

(Image Credit: SBS – 사내맞선 : [스페셜] 재미 뿜뿜! 원작 뚫고 나온 듯한 웹툰 연출 모음집★ : SBS )


both inevitably find out that they are neighbours and after a well-intended but not well-executed knight in shining armour attempt by Cha Sung-hoon, the two once again part ways (for now). Why? Cha Sung-hoon said Bros before…I mean…Cha Sung-hoon politely declined Jin Young-seo’s offer to be friends because by making Shin Ha-ri try to chase away Kang Tae-moo, she had not only put Kang Tae-moo in a bit of a tight spot but had also hurt his feelings (although he would rather not admit that last part). Because of this, their journey towards becoming the spicy couple we eventually get to know (and love) is somewhat of a rocky one.



Thoughts:

Personally, I feel like the introduction to these two main couples was done really beautifully. Not only do we get a glimpse as to how their relationships will progress, but we also get to see how each character’s personality leads into the chemistry of the couple they are in.

In terms of likeability, all four characters have enough character development to at least solicit an emotional connection from the viewer.

That being said, there is a minuscule amount of things that are slightly lacking and some characteristics one may find frustrating.

  1. If you’re an avid K-drama watcher, you may already know about the plethora of K-drama tropes writers like to sprinkle into a show. This was no exception. Forget the fact there’s no actual reason for a low level employee and a CEO to ever come face to face but the amount of times Shin Ha-ri and Kang Tae-moo “accidentally” bump into each other borders on ridiculous. I know it was to get the character Shin Ha-ri on Kang Tae-moo’s radar so that his realisation of who she actually is would be more dramatic, but it was really forced in my opinion. It was quite frustrating to watch.

  2. Shin Ha-ri’s 7-year crush on her male best friend (who is quite the snake if you ask me) was not utilised nearly as much as I would have liked it to be. I love a good second male love interest but this one was lacklustre at best. It would have made for an interesting storyline if our second male love interest was more active in the story. We find out about him in episode 1 and see bits of him in the following episodes, however, he didn’t really stand out as a major part of the show.

  3. Although 12 episodes is a blessing for the regular K-drama watcher, the small episode count meant that a lot of things were taken out of the story. This is even more apparent after reading some of the original webtoon. The show overall felt really rushed which meant that some parts of the story happen all of a sudden without enough exposition to justify them. Because of this, I really wish they had done at least maybe the regular 16 episodes or even 20 episodes.

  4. Linking back to reason 3, because of the small amount of episodes, we don’t get deep enough into the characters’ backstory. All we really know is that Kang Tae-moo’s parents passed away (under very suspicious circumstances if you ask me) and is now in the care of his Grandfather (a very loveable character); Shin Ha-ri is working so hard to help to pay off her parents’ debt (which is why she agreed to help Jin Young-seo); Jin Young-seo is a chaebol’s daughter whose mum now lives in Germany after divorcing Jin Young-seo’s dad (she was in a loveless marriage as you can imagine); and Cha Sung-hoon who grew up in an orphanage sponsored by Kang Tae-moo’s grandfather and parents and is now living as an adopted family member of sorts of the Kangs (although now he’s living in his own apartment). We don’t really get to find out much about how these situations came to be.


Apart from all of that, the drama itself is quite enjoyable and a real easy watch. If you’re looking for an easy-going drama to watch while you pass the time, then I definitely recommend watching ‘A Business Proposal’. A drama guaranteed to NOT keep you guessing while still keeping you very much entertained.


Rating x Rewatch Score:

In terms of ratings, I would give this drama a solid 4 out of 5. Firstly, the low episode count is a godsend for people like me who have various things they are currently watching. It’s very quick and to the point. I would say I thoroughly enjoyed this drama and have even started reading the webtoon because I’d like to see all the things we didn’t get to see in the drama.


In terms of rewatch factor (as in would I watch it again?) I give this drama a 3.5 out of 5. I would definitely watch it again, however, it’s one of those dramas where the conditions have to be right for me to do so.


Overall, I would definitely recommend this drama for those that are looking for a light-hearted and fast-paced Rom-Com, with tons of eye-candy and some very fun characters.


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