Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 2/5
Business Proposal is a prime example of a show’s parts being greater than the whole. There’s never an episode of this Netflix original series that doesn’t provide some laugh-worthy antic or shocking twist. But while the romantic K-drama delivers on entertainment and light-hearted comedy, it fails to provide a cohesive story arc and believable romance.
Based on the webtoon of the same name (also titled “The Office Blind Date”), Business Proposal follows the life and romantic mishaps of GOFood researcher Shin Ha-ri (Kim Se-jeong). When she goes on a blind date in place of her best friend Jin Young-seo (Seol In-ah), Ha-ri is surprised to find herself face-to-face with the CEO of GOFood, Kang Tae-moo (Ahn Hyo-seop).
To save face, Ha-ri introduces herself as Geum-hui. What follows is a series of hilarious deceptions, misunderstanding, and a fan-favorite romantic trope: the fake-dating scenario.
Tae-moo and Ha-ri/Geum-hui agree to a fake relationship in order to appease Tae-moo’s meddling grandfather, GOFood Chairman Kang Da-goo (Lee Deok-hwa). What begins as a small-scale deception gradually snowballs into a large and entangling web of secrets, as well complicated feelings neither Ha-ri nor Tae-moo wants to admit to.
The K-drama is bolstered by a charismatic cast of characters. Kim’s and Ahn’s chemistry is one thing, but the entire cast has a charming synergy.
It’s a shame that this chemistry can’t carry the two romance plot lines. While the actors do their best to make us believe in these relationships, the writing and poor character development do them a disservice.
The entire relationship between Young-seo and Seong-hoon (Kim Min-kyu) rests on a single meeting. There’s simply not a foundation to back up their undying commitment to each other.
As for Ha-ri and Tae-moo, theirs is more of a slow-burning love, but interest in their relationship relies a bit too much on plot twists. It’s often hard to like Tae-moo because of his pride and manipulative nature, but the latter end of their romance does deliver a lot of sweet moments, eventually making them a likable pair.
If romantic development is at times forced, so are other plot points. A new conflict crops up every episode, which keeps the show fun and engaging. Yet, these conflict-creating plot twists usually come about in a disingenuous way. They rely upon coincidences, random scenarios, and inconsistent character traits (I’m looking at you, Chairman Kang).
One can’t argue, however, that the end result is a highly entertaining romantic comedy. The show may be convoluted and unbelievable at times, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously and invites us to laugh at its farcicality.
Business Proposal isn’t perfect by any means, but it may be perfect for select viewers. For lovers of romantic tropes–fake-dating, misunderstandings, interfering elders, hate-to-love, insta-love–this K-drama plays into all of these, and heavily.
These plot devices are overkill, to be sure. But if you can suspend your disbelief for its ludicrous moments, Business Proposal fulfills its role as a light, romantic K-drama that’s chock-full of funny antics.
Verdict - 5.5/10