Don’t you hate it when the show that once gave you the thrills of binge-watching turns boring? Korean dramas are excellent at doing this! The fresh storyline, incomparable comic timing, and dazzling chemistry between the romantic leads keep you hooked on the screen. But over the episodes, you feel like you are drowning in some icky strawberry syrup and cannot make your way out! The plot goes directionless and starts throwing together cliches to reach the 16-episode mark. These cliches are like drugs that feel euphoric and fairytale-like at first, but become fatiguing after some time! “Business Proposal” is so far the most popular K-drama of 2022. However, the series is the perfect compilation of every cliché in every romantic K-drama ever! And I say this with evidence.
Here are 10 cliches in “Business Proposal” that can be seen in any typical K-drama series.
1. The CEO-Employee Romance
The classic CEO-employee romance is the first chapter in the book called “How to Make a Stereotypical K-Drama”! “Think What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim,” “Strong Girl Bong Soon,” “My Secret Romance,” and many other shows, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Something is incredibly tempting about the attractive, wealthy CEO of your company. The guy everyone finds intimidating is smitten by your beatific simplicity. While the guy tries all his peacocking tactics to impress you, he becomes the perfect tool to make your friends jealous.
Kang Tae Moo’s character in the series has it all: looks, wealth, authority, and a devoted secretary, but not a single flaw. No one doubts his credibility despite the countless meetings he rashly cancels or points out that he is the CEO through nepotism. Every person he comes across is immediately impressed by his looks, but no one except him finds Shin Ha Ri beautiful (what?)! The lack of realism promises little scope for character growth, and the drama eventually becomes boring!
2. Using The Company’s Resources To Get The Girl
Dating the CEO comes with benefits! The guy does not shy away from spending a fortune merely to make the lucky girl smile. While Kang Tae Moo considers the inauguration party a waste of time, he is quick to plan a date and even go on a weekend retreat for “work purposes.” On their first date, Tae Moo books an entire screen at a luxury theater for apparent work reasons, which Ha Ri does not find suspicious at all! Then, he orders everything on the menu list simply because he can’t decide which dish is better. Tae Moo then takes her on a beach date, followed by a stayover at a luxury hotel and a fishing session on a cabin cruiser! This CEO surely has a lot of time on his hands!
3. The Nosy Grandfather
Speaking of free time, the man who beats Tae Moo is none other than his grandfather, the founder, and chairman of GoFood. Chairman Kang seems to have nothing better to do than watch cringy dramas on TV and set up random blind dates for his grandson. In any other K-drama, this place can be taken by the mother, father, grandmother, or uncle. However, his nosy characteristics are what make him a cliché!
4. The Fake Relationship
Now here’s a cliché that is common not only in K-dramas but also in most romantic comedies: a fake relationship! When Kang Tae Moo finds out about Ha Ri’s fake identity (with yet another fake identity), he decides to use her to deceive his grandfather. So, the two agree to a fake contractual relationship where no one suspects the obvious outcome of developing “real feelings.” How naïve! Besides, neither of the two has any idea how they will handle things when their pile of lies is exposed. Yet, fake relationships remain one of the most genius ways to navigate a difficult situation.
5. Taking The Girl Shopping
“A way to a woman’s heart is to take her shopping” is a very depthless theory that many dramas swear by! After all, who wouldn’t want the cocky CEO dude who recklessly throws money to take his fake girlfriend shopping, right? Like any other male protagonist, Tae Moo swollen-headedly takes Ha Ri to a gaudy shopping center and buys her an outfit, which is the last piece available in Korea. Of course! While the “shopping tactic” has been used in countless dramas, few have actually shown a self-respecting girl who rejects such pitiful offers.
6. Going To The Amusement Park
Just when you tune in to an office drama hoping for some sizzling grown-up romance, these dramas throw an “amusement park” date in your face! And not the kind of rides which will give you some thrill. The centerpieces of these amusement parks are lame dash cars and unicorn swing rides! Tae Moo and Ha Ri’s non-date is no exception to this cliché.
7. The Drunk Confession
As responsible working-class adults, K-drama protagonists definitely get drunk like sneaky sixteen-year-olds. Especially the female leads. And instead of throwing up, these girls sneak into random playgrounds and do the cutest things. When Shin Ha Ri gets stressed about her dual identity with Tae Moo, she hides in a tube slide as if expecting Tae Moo to rescue her. When Yeong Seo gets drunk with embarrassment, she makes the cutest confession to Sung Hoon.
8. The Jealous Friends
Most people, in real life, are more focused on their personal problems. However, the female lead’s friends in most K-dramas have enough time on their hands to track her personal life! Despite all the admirable qualities in the girl, all her friends see is a pitiful middle-class girl with a non-existent love life due to her sheer lack of good looks. Shin Ha Ri is no exception to this. And while she is practically incapable of getting rid of these friends herself, Tae Moo steps in as her knight in shining armor. The drama shows how girls are always jealous of each other’s happiness, especially in their relationships. Such storylines popularize an unfair and sexist theory, especially in dramas with mostly female viewers.
9. The Obnoxious Funny Girl
As if the nosy grandfather was not enough, the drama introduces the cliched funny girl, whose life’s sworn purpose is to only be obnoxious. Jo Yoo Jung is Yeong Seo’s peculiar cousin who shops all day and speaks with a strange American accent. Her character is neither realistic nor funny. The only contribution of such characters is to vex the audience!
10. A Childhood Trauma
Speaking of cliches, there is no way we can miss out on the classic childhood trauma arc. More than just a cliché, this is an element without which a K-drama is incomplete. While showing a problem-free utopia embedded with shopping, fine dining, and fake relationships, the makers realize that their drama lacks depth. Hence, they introduce a childhood trauma coupled with a melancholic piano soundtrack for added effect. Kang Tae Moo suffers from a very original trauma: a fear of rain, ever since his parents’ tragic demise. He lived for many years and traveled to various places, always with a fear of a common weather condition. However, he looks oddly comfortable driving despite his parents’ death in a car accident! (Very convenient for a trauma!)
“Business Proposal” is a drama that casts some very talented actors, with brilliant chemistry and spot-on comedic direction. However, several cliches and one-dimensional characters make the series insipid in many places. To maintain the global sensation that Korean dramas have, its makers should realize that it is high time to break the stereotype!
“Business Proposal” is a 2022 Drama Romance South Korean Series directed by Park Seon-ho.