Offering to be a blind date substitute for a friend turns into a nightmare for one woman when the company’s President shows up as a prospective partner.
Business Proposal Synopsis
Based on the popular webtoon series of the same name, the drama centres on Shin Ha Ri (Kim Se Jeong) who decides to pose as her friend, Jin Young Seo (Seol In Ah) as a chaebol play-girl eccentric to ward off a blind date candidate but finds herself in a bind when the CEO of her company ends up being her date. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Ha Ri continues her bluff in the hopes of dissuading Kang Tae Moo (Ahn Hyo Seop) who falls for Ha Ri despite all her efforts and sinks her deeper into a web of lies when Tae Moo proposes a contractural relationship.
To make Ha Ri’s life stickier and twisted, Young Seo develops an interest for Tae Moo’s personal Secretary, Cha Sung Hoon (Kim Min Kyu) placing Ha Ri’s false identity at risk and the two women at the mercy of destined fate.
I’m going to keep this short and simple since as a rom-com, Business Proposal isn’t muddled with excessive drama or emotional sappiness – it stays true to being a dual headed genre series with romance and comedy at its core. Think Secretary Kim in terms of childhood trauma and love overcoming all and you have Business Proposal but with the added benefit of being a shorter series (it’s only 12 episodes!) and more slapstick comedy.
Comparisons to the Webtoon
As a fan of the original source material…I know, for once I’ve actually read the webtoon! I have to say, the changes made for the screen adaption were smart and well-executed. Ha Ri for one, doesn’t have the same drive or passion for her work in the webtoon as she does in the drama and it’s nice to see that her 7 year crush on her college friend doesn’t pan out as annoyingly as it did in the comic. Trust me, if you watched the drama and found Lee Min Woo just a bit intolerable then you’d hate him in the webtoon – Thank goodness for the drama writers feeling the urge to swiftly overcome that hurdle.
It comes to no surprise that the two characters that most resemble the webtoon are Tae Moo and Sung Hoon, the former being singular minded in his objectives and the latter having a complex backstory that is somehow easily transmitted to viewers. That being the case, I can’t recall Tae Moo suffering psychologically from the death of his parents and is instead, raised by his grandfather with a general acceptance of their death yet, this is something the drama adds to make him seem less artificially perfect.
I think what people loved about this drama including myself, is how simplistic the show is in addition to being a traditional rom-com with tropes that are easily categorised as belonging to a K-drama. It’s the joy we all need right now, injecting sweetness and laughs when we need it most!
Where It Really Shines
Even with it’s tropes and obvious endgame (boy ends up with girl) I wouldn’t say that the plot is predictable per se since all the comedic moments leave room for speculation or make you wonder what Ha Ri may do next. And as a female character, she’s extremely likeable even with all her funny blunders and lies – she’s still worth rooting for! And I know I said it’s loaded with comedy but even then, it’s centralised in the first half of the drama and dies down towards the end, focusing more on the romance and all things considered, this makes sense in order for there to be any real plot progression.
The biggest win for this drama is the casting as the four main characters have incredible chemistry with their respective love interests but the friendships in the series are as equally lovable and fun to watch. From drunken girl hangouts to the guys spending quality time outside of the office, Business Proposal has managed to create memorable characters that you’ll constantly want to revisit.
But the Ending…
My only issue, and hear me out, is that the finale seemed really rushed and a little choppy with scenes that seem like they were thrown together for the sake of closure. And maybe, a few more episodes might have changed that outcome but it would have been better to either speed things along during the halfway point, providing fans with a better conclusion since there’s plenty of options available for the scriptwriters to pull from the webtoon; the webtoon itself has over 170 chapters and is still ongoing with various arcs…so yeah, there was a lot to choose from or it could have easily ended at Tae Moo and Ha Ri dating happily.
All in all, this was a solid show regardless of the “okay, fine” factor of the finale and I enjoyed myself (I won’t lie, I liked this a lot!) It’s been a long time since I looked forward to watching a rom-com and giddily tuned in so if you’re looking for comfort or romance, then look no further.
Plus let’s not forget, this drama has given us a new rom-com queen. Kim Se Jeong has definitely left her mark and is one to look forward to.
Release Date: February 28, 2022 (Eng Sub available on Netflix)