The focus of this week’s first look is the newly released Korean drama “Business Proposal” (사내맞선). This little gem is based on the web novel “Sanae Matsun” by Hae Hwa. The novel was originally published from August 2017 to November 2018. I am not familiar with the author but after watching this drama I may just have to do some digging to see if she has done other works that might be worth devouring.
Kang Tae-Moo (Ahn Hyo-Seop) has just returned from abroad to take over his family’s corporation and allow his elderly grandfather to retire. Tae-Moo is goal driven, assertive, and views anything not work related as a waste of his time.
Despite certain people’s opinion to the contrary, he is not coldhearted or that difficult to approach. Constantly on the lookout for ideas that could further improve the company, Tae-Moo is quick to acknowledge anyone presenting a good business proposal.
Cha Sung-Hun (Kim Min-Kyu) is Tae-Moo’s longtime assistant and confidant. The two share a bond that goes beyond boss/employee and specially outside of the office seem more like friends.
Much to both their dismay, Tae-Moo’s grandfather is determined to get his grandson married soon. He has personally put together a list of candidates, demanding his grandson go on blind dates until he finds someone that suits him.
Shin Ha-Ri (Kim Se-Jeong) works for a successful food company, where she is respected and beloved by her superiors and co-workers. After work she helps out her parents at their restaurant that they run as a family. Money is and has always been tight in her family, but Ha-Ri has never let this fact get her down.
Jin Young-Seo (Seol In-Ah) is Ha-Ri’s long-time best friend, but their relationship is more one of close sisters. Young-Seo is the heiress to a wealthy conglomerate and enjoys the privilege this ensures, but has never let it go to her head. A down to earth and kind character, she is also a hopeless romantic who dreams of marrying for love.
When Young-Seo’s family leave her no choice but to attend a blind date, she goes to Ha-Ri for help. Not for the first time they agree that Ha-Ri will assume Young-Seo’s identity and go to the date on her friends behalf. Their plan is to scare off for good whichever young man Young-Seo is to meet with.
To Ha-Ri’s utter shock the young man turns out to be her company’s new boss Kang Tae-Moo. To make things worse, regardless of her wildly bizarre behavior during the blind date, Tae-Moo is not put off. Instead, quite to the contrary, he declares wanting to marry her.
Ok…it’s going to be difficult for me to not just endlessly gush about this drama. And I’ve only seeing two episodes of it so far. However, I shall try to contain my inner fan-girl enough to form at least some coherent thoughts on “Business Proposal”.
First off, I L.O.V.E. the fact that they added a manga feel to the overall work of the drama. Aptly so, since it is based on a web novel. We’re talking drawn manga blurbs merging into live action scenes, over the top reactions by the characters, and fireworks going off in the background.
There is nothing new about the plot of this story: rich handsome man meets poor nice girl down on her luck and proposes they fake date in exchange for money. I don’t know about you, but cliché tropes like these is just another reason I love K-drama romantic comedies. In the end, it all comes down to the acting and execution of the people involved. It must be said that both the cast and director did their part to accomplish this.
Furthermore, the friendship between both the male leads and female leads have me enchanted. They just seem so real and non-toxic, a relationship based on similarity of character instead of social status. I’m also strongly sensing that we will not have a love triangle/rectangle/hexagon (?), which is a K-drama trope I can do without.
Let’s finish this by celebrating that the male lead is actually a decent person with commendable character traits. Often times we have to look hard and find redeemable qualities in our leading K-drama man. At the moment, Kang Tae-Moo is making a spot for himself in my top 10. I hope he gets to stay there as the drama progresses.
Until we drama again.