Business Proposal gets off to a mildly amusing start in a scene-setting first episode.
This recap of Business Proposal season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.
Netflix’s k-drama slate is pretty packed at the moment, and adding to the twice-weekly offerings is Business Proposal, an office rom-com adapted from a webtoon that seems to have all the right ingredients to entice an excitable fanbase. Time will tell, obviously, as these things always take a while to get going, but this first hour-long episode was a solid introductory outing that established the core characters and the premise with a good mix of comedy, drama, and stylistic flourishes.
Business Proposal season 1, episode 1 recap
It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t as straight-up a drama as, say, something like Thirty-Nine, and at first glance, it doesn’t have the thematic depth either. That seems intentional, though. Whether or not this show will ultimately have something to say about arranged marriages, particularly those built around business convenience, remains to be seen — it might well just use the idea as a framework for a romantic comedy, and I can’t necessarily say it’ll be any worse if it does. This lighter, more out-there style — peep the opening and closing credit animations, the funny welding-sparks effect of heels scraping along the floor, and so on, and so forth — has its value and indeed its audience, and thanks to obvious and immediate chemistry between the leads and some well-handled comedy beats, there’s a lot to like after just one hour.
Here’s a high-level breakdown of the setup. Kang Tae-moo (Ahn Hyo-seop) is a company CEO whose Chairman grandfather gives him an assignment to find himself a wife and some happiness instead of just working all the time. Tae-moo, a lanky, handsome man who has spent time studying abroad and takes management of the company incredibly serious, doesn’t think he has time in his life for romance until he finally relents and goes on a blind date with who he believes is the well-to-do Jin Young-seo (Seol In-ah). After just that one date, he decides he wants to marry her.
But the hook is that Young-seo actually sent her friend Shin Ha-ri (Kim Se-jeong) in her place, and Ha-ri works for Tae-moo’s company.
There’s nothing all that new about this premise, and truth be told, this episode ventures into some territory — such as Ha-ri trying to sabotage the blind date, and then later to hide her identity from Tae-moo in an elevator — that is too well-trodden to feel fresh. It’s reasonably well-executed, and the actors have chemistry, but all the interesting stuff seems to be in how this is all going to relate to the management of the company, Tae-moo’s relationship with his grandfather and best friend, and Ha-ri’s relationship with Young-seo. In other words, it’s a romance that will matter in terms of how it affects almost everyone other than the two people in the romance.
Still, there’s potential for that too. By the end of the episode, after another encounter during which Ha-ri — still posing at Young-seo — tries to call off the marriage and any subsequent dates, Tae-moo presents a bargain that one assumes will shape the next few episodes at the very least. He offers Ha-ri ten dates to get to know him and assures her that after those she will be ready and willing to marry him. Will she? Well, time will tell. But given how much k-drama tends to favor this subgenre, I’d say the chances are better than average.