The Blind Date
Episode 1 of Business Proposal begins with the hot-shot new president of GO Food walking confidently through the airport. Kang Tae-moo has been working overseas for his grandfather’s company, but flies back to Korea to take over as president.
Tae-moo is meant to give an inaugural address to company employees. He sends in his place his chief secretary, Cha Sung-hoon. This upsets his grandfather, Chairman Kang Da-goo.
GO Food researcher Shin Ha-ri finds Tae-moo’s absence at the meeting amusing. It’s her birthday, and she receives a message from her crush, Lee Min-woo, about meeting her at his restaurant that night.
Her best friend Jin Young-seo convinces her that Min-woo is going to ask her out. But Ha-ri’s hopes are crushed when he gifts her concert tickets and says that she could take a man with her.
Da-goo goes to his grandson’s house to inform him of a “special project” he has for him. He wants to see Tae-moo with a wife, so he arranged 20 blind dates for him with women from the elite business world.
Tae-moo immediately rejects the idea. However, Da-goo convinces him by faking poor health and conceding to Tae-moo’s wish to fire employee Mr. Park.
That night at her family’s restaurant, Ha-ri and the neighbouring store owner get into an altercation. She accidentally injures him and breaks his store’s sign. Now she has to come up with a large sum to cover the damages.
The next day, Ha-ri gets lunch with Young-seo. Her friend is upset that her father is forcing her to go on yet another blind date–and she doesn’t even know who he’s set her up with this time.
She persuades Ha-ri to go on the date for her and scare the new suitor off. They’ve done the same in the past, but this time Young-seo will pay her.
So Ha-ri dresses up to get coffee with the blind date. It shocks her to discover that she’s dating none other than the president of her own company. She does everything to put him off, but Tae-moo doesn’t seem to care.
Still, she’s fairly convinced that she’s intimidated him sufficiently by the end of the date. She tells Young-seo of her success and they celebrate with karaoke.
But Tae-moo has different ideas. To avoid dates with 20 other women, he decides to marry Young-seo. When Young-seo finds out, she implores Ha-ri to clean up this mess.
The next day, Ha-ri runs into Tae-moo and Da-goo at GO Food. She keeps her back turned to them at all times, but Tae-moo catches sight of her ID and learns her name. He doesn’t realize that she was the woman posing as Young-seo, but he does recognize her name: Ha-ri was the employee responsible for “Bucket List Fish,” a proposal he really admired.
Later, Sung-hoon runs into Young-seo at the supermarket. They don’t find out each other’s identities, but they do experience a moment of connection.
Ha-ri agrees to go on one more date on Young-seo’s behalf. She tells Tae-moo that she refuses to marry him. How could she marry someone she doesn’t even know?
He proposes they go on 10 dates so they can get to know each other before she makes a decision. She still rejects him.
When she goes to leave, she nearly runs into her crush, Min-woo. She panics; he can’t see her dressed as a socialite.
The episode ends with Ha-ri getting into the nearest car and coming face to face with the man she just refused: Tae-moo.
The Episode Review
This rom-com is based on a webtoon called “The Office Blind Date,” and traits of the original format shine through in many of the K-drama’s stylistic choices, from its general melodrama to the sprinkling of animations throughout.
The style might feel amateurish if the show didn’t lean into its goofiness so heavily. Business Proposal doesn’t take itself too seriously, instead inviting viewers to laugh at its absurdity.
Episode 1 gives us a slow build-up to an amusing ending. While the premise may seem ludicrous, it holds a lot of potential for a lighthearted office romance that’s rife with misunderstandings.
Business Proposal certainly won’t be for everyone–but if you can embrace its convoluted nature, you’ll likely have a blast watching Ha-ri’s story unfold.