Business Proposal (2022)
Creators: Seon-ho Park, Sul-hee Han, Bo-hui Hong
Cast: Hyo-seop Ahn, Se-jeong Kim, Min-kyu Kim, In-ah Seor, Duck-hwa Lee
In disguise as her friend, Ha-ri shows up to a blind date to scare him away. But plans go awry when he turns out to be her CEO – and makes a proposal. – IMDB
Despite the fact that I’m incredibly behind on most Chinese drama reviews, something everyone should know here is that I’ve pretty much been swimming in the world of Asian dramas specifically about romance or romantic comedy. Lately, its been a bit of a break to just take a breather and wait for something better to come along. I’m not going to lie that Korean romance dramas are not my first choice since I never got into that hype. However, when my friend recommended Business Proposal, it did sound like a fun time.
The foundation for the story of Business Proposal is quite simple and straight forward. It doesn’t deal with anything different from the basic romantic comedy-drama series. Fake relationships, rich boss-type perfectionist male lead, simple normal female lead: its all been there done that. In fact, there’s quite a big hype of this type of thing (fake relationships/marriages) in the past few years. However, where Business Proposal does stand out is in its comedy. Its story grabs right away with the over the top blind date experience right from the get-go. Nothing goes quite as planned and despite all this, the entire attempt to hide her identity as his employee makes for some even funnier moments. Of course, there’s also a question of how different can someone look with and without the makeup and fancy clothes that can make them unrecognizable apparently.
Running at a 12 episodes, its one of the great elements of Netflix series that keeps things concise and well-paced. Despite that, Business Proposal’s usual plot does still at times make the flow feel slow and predictable but the overall pacing and progression of events is relatively good. The series runs on a parallel focusing mostly on Ha-ri and Tae-moo’s relationship as the focal point with the secondary relationship between Ha-ri’s best friend, Young-seo who was supposed to be paired with Tae-moo but ends up being attracted to Tae-moo’s secretary, Sung-hoon. Between them and the lies that are trying to stay hidden for Ha-ri and then Tae-moo’s grandfather’s constant desire for the marriage to be sealed regardless of the girl as well as the company politics and work colleagues itself, the show already has a lot of elements to work around.
Looking at the casting choices, everyone feels well-casted. While Korean series has been on a new level of hype because of various past successes, the faces do tend to be revolve a lot of new ones rather than a lot of repeat views. However, Ha-ri is played by Se-jeong Kim, who was previously in Uncanny Counter (review) in a different style of role but also was fairly comedic in a different way. It was nice to see how she was able to fit into this romantic comedy role. Ha-ri’s character is the equivalent of a Cinderella-type role which in Asian dramas in general just means that its always lots of barriers to marry rich. It is fun that she does choose to make that comparison with an over-dramatized tv series that is playing throughout the series to add that extra bit of humor that makes fun of these types of soapy dramas. Tae-moo, played by Hyo-seop Ahn is a pretty generic male role. He is a good-looking guy and there’s a good contrast from pre-romance discovery to post-romance. The other familiar face here is Secretary Cha, played by Min-kyu Kim who plays as the secondary male lead and was previously in The Battle of Jangsari (review). In some ways, his role, much like the secondary female lead, Young-seo played by In-ah Seor are much more vibrant roles, especially the latter.
Overall, Business Proposal doesn’t change a lot of the formulaic story. The best way to compare it would probably be to Chinese dramas like Love O2O which featured a relationship that had a supportive male lead despite the challenges that would hit especially after the relationship commenced, it was a level of trust that wasn’t easily waivered which is usually one of the frustrating elements of other shows. Faking relationships is a rather over-used back story at this point but there is a fresh and fun take here that makes this one well worth a watch. Plus, Se-jeong Kim in the female lead is truly an extra fun time.