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[Fix That Ending] Bring on the great grandbabies!


By @oldawyer

The last two episodes of Business Proposal were flat and unsatisfying — not horrible, but not a fitting end to an otherwise great rom-com.

It was only when I started to read the webtoon that I realized what may have happened here: several new episodes of the webtoon have posted since Business Proposal ended its broadcast. The screenwriters were forced with a conundrum: how do you end a story that has not ended yet? Faced with that question, they panicked. What they should have done is simply reviewed the logic of the show up to that point and then written what fit. To be fair, they did not get everything wrong, but simply failed to follow the full logic of the story they had built through the previous ten episodes.

The following is how I would fix the Business Proposal ending, picking up at the beginning of Episode 11. Tae-mu still has the accident, and Grandpa is still angry at Hari – and wants her dumped pronto. Tae-mu gives Grandpa the same choice: Hari or no great grandbabies. You pick, Grandpa!

Because of Yoo-ra’s tell-all, Grandpa still decides to gamble on getting rid of Hari and calls her into his office to try to force her out of the company — only partly because of damage to the company’s image, but also fearing that Hari is just a gold-digger. This standard trope was subverted when Hari refuses to resign in one of the best scenes from the last episodes.

Here’s where I would start changing things: I would eliminate the scene where Sung-hoon helps Tae-mu put on his sweater and instead move up the scene where Young-seo takes Sung-hoon to have dinner with Dear Old Dad. Here I’d keep Daddy’s insincere “acceptance” of Sung-hoon as a prospective son-in-law, including the apparent offer to have Sung-hoon eventually take over his company. As we shall see, Grandpa has a different plan anyway, so it was just as well that he did not mean it.

The immediate proposal of marriage by Young-seo on the drive back is actually quite logical. She knows her Daddy, and she knows what is coming next, so she has to strike while the iron is hot — although Sung-hoon thinks that Daddy’s acceptance is real and therefore it’s okay to go ahead and marry. I would also keep the scene where he presents Young-seo with the ring that he had already bought – that scene was a classic.

As Young-seo expected, her Daddy soon calls Sung-hoon to get him to drop Young-seo — but by now it is too late. We get to see her handing her Daddy her resignation, which is one of the best scenes in the final episodes.

It is at this point that Grandpa talks to Tae-mu again, and Tae-mu tells him he will marry Hari no matter what, after which Grandpa fakes his illness. Sure enough, he does have a life-threatening medical situation… and has to go to America. But — sorry screenwriters — if the Chairman has to go aboard for treatment, the one individual who absolutely cannot go with him is the CEO: he has to stay and steer the ship from headquarters. No sentimental exceptions are allowed. In turn, it is this dire health situation that changes everything for Grandpa, because he may be out of time.

Grandpa does the most logical thing for a person in this situation: he issues his own ultimatum. He announces he will accept Hari, but only on the condition that they marry immediately. He throws a double wedding because Young-seo is already pregnant (perhaps even from the first night that she and Sung-hoon slept together). At the wedding, he presents Sung-hoon and Young-seo with the present of a house — one suitable to lodge the future CEO of GoFood.

We learn that all along it has been Grandpa’s plan to have Sung-hoon become CEO when Tae-mu became chairman, thus solving his succession problem. (Officially Sung-hoon may be Tae-mu’s secretary, but he’s really more like Tae-mu’s understudy. And how better to teach him the job than having him right there with Tae-mu every day? Those cash gifts which made it possible for Sung-hoon to bankroll Young-seo’s new business were simply Grandpa’s way of making up for a lower salary).

Sung-hoon is promoted to Senior Executive Vice President as the first step towards CEO, which is also good because they will be able to hire a nanny to help care for the baby, allowing Young-seo to start her business as well. Sung-hoon persuades Young-seo to allow her dad to attend the wedding, if only not to embarrass Grandpa. Dear Old Dad looks bewildered, apparently realizing that his daughter has married very well indeed.

Epilogue – One year later.

Sung-hoon and Young-seo arrive at Grandpa’s house, with Young-seo on the phone firmly telling Daddy that he can see his grandson, but she will handle raising and educating him. Sung-hoon is carrying their cute little baby boy. Tae-mu and Hari come through the door — they’re just back from the hospital with their new little girl. Grandpa finally gets to hold his great granddaughter, and Project Great Grandbabies is now firmly on track.

 
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Ooooh, I like it! Much more satisfying than that really flat, mediocre ending that I must have dreamed (most anticlimactic dream ever, at least in Korean).

I'd love to add a wedding dress shopping scene to parallel the blind date shopping in ep. 1, with increasingly over-the-top floofy dresses being shazammed onto both our heroines until they finally come face to face outside their dressing rooms in perfect, elegant, sparkly white.

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I like your wedding dress scene.

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This is another well deserved ending I'll imprint in my head. @oldawyer, would you consider fixing Monthly Magazine Home.

Now I understand why we got the ending we were given. Still, there's something called character and plot build-up. The screenwriters were in a tight spot, yes; however, they should have just gone along with the flow they had created instead of a 45° veer off the story we know.

Sung Hoon becoming President is surely a good idea. I have a question about that though. If Tae-mu becomes Chairman, what becomes of him? Considering his age, that's a subscription to early retirement because all the company Chairs I've watched that have also Presidents ain't involved in the day to day running anymore.

Let the project Grandbabies begin🥂🤗

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As Chairman Tae-mu would actually be quite busy. The best way to think of it is long-term vs short-term. The Chairman is someone who deals with charting the longer-term vision of the company- what directions to take, etc. He also is the one who has primary responsibility for dealing with the investors in the form of the Board of Directors (hence his or her title) as well as prospective investors. In contrast the CEO is the guy who is tasked with the operations of the company- the man or woman in charge of dealing the various department heads, suppliers and customers of the company. In other words, the operations of the company (hence his or her title 'Chief Operating Officer'). Both Chairman and CEO should share the same vision- it is really a partnership with each partner having unique responsibilities. Both are going to be quite busy.

Grandpa faced a difficult problem: In more normal circumstances his son would have followed him as Chairman with Tae-mu then becoming CEO. But his son died in that car accident. Therefore Tae-mu will have to follow him as a very young Chairman. But then what about the CEO? Answer: have his 'other grandson' fill that role. But how to prepare him for that? Answer- have him be Tae-mu's personal executive secretary for a good while- that is his official title at least and Sung-hoon does carry out those duties but what he is really doing is learning by direct observation everything there is to know about the job of CEO - down to the finest details. IN other words what Sunghoon really is is Taemu's understudy. Grandpa has been subsidizing Sunghoon's salary with cash gifts to make up for the disparity in income (hence his fat bank account and the seed money for Young-seo's business). But, to make the transition acceptable to the board Sunghoon has to be promoted to a more senior position in the meantime- and what better time to announce this than at his wedding?

As for fixing MONTHLY MAGAZINE HOME- I would be the first to say that it needs it- it quite cries out for one. I am still mad at the writer of that one for that complete travesty of an ending. I am thinking about it but cannot make any promises.

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Yeah.
It was really weird that GoFood was left without a head for close to a year. Retiring SungHoon was an utter lack understanding for corporate shenanigans.

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I like this ending too; you’re right that the ending we got wasn’t terrible just flat, so I like the way this version keeps a lot of what was given us but brings in a lot more (better) ideas.

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Love your ending! Well done!

The WEBTOON ended in Korea in 2020, the official translations are only late - the site webtoon does this a lot with completed webtoons and manhwas. I won’t spoil it for you but grandpa is pretty lovely throughout (which might also be why the change is so jarring in the tv show)! This seems like the writers just wanted to create conflict but without source material didn’t end it well.

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Thank you- I did not know this. I have actually been reading the webtoon and the translated episodes continue to drop- but this apparently has to do with the translator, which is understandable.

And the abrupt change in Grandpa is the single most jarring element of the last two episodes. The Grandpa of the first ten episodes would still have been initially angry but, once he heard that Tae-mu was serious about marriage to her would have allowed himself to be mollified once a sincere apology was made- because he is getting what he wants, after all. I simply thought that he would also insist on that marriage happening ASAP- and would have used the situation to accomplish that.

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You also just wrote the WEBTOON plot. Maybe you have a secret career as a WEBTOON/drama writer?? ;)

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Did I really?- I have been reading the Webtoon but am less than a quarter of the way through and thus nowhere near an ending point- and I assume that it will probably not be exactly identical once I get there. Actually, only people who know and can read Korean have actually seen the ending- the English translations continue to post on Tapas. Episode 116 will post in two days.

But I am not surprised that it may be much like the actual webtoon because I simply tried to write an ending that was a logical conclusion to what had gone before. All of which raises my level of respect for the webtoon writers and the original novelist. Many people write fiction but writing fiction which has a truly logical low to it is less common. My hat is off to them.

Not so sure about writing a drama but a webtoon? I might just think about that.

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I meant a logical flow to the writing.

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I love this ending, really love this. In my mind I have changed it and I choose yours!

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Yes! More love for Business Proposal! Great ending, and I liked that you were able to move around a lot of the existing scenes to create a better ending. The scene where Hari refuses to leave her job is one of my favorite scenes from the finale, too, and I can't believe her work ethic didn't win Grandpa over in the original!

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Thank you.

The Grandpa of the first ten episodes would have been won over. He is, after all, a true bottom-line businessman. To him the bottom-line IS the bottom-line. So even if Ha-ri really was a gold-digger that would be okay- as long as she has babies.

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Terrific ending and the corporate succession is most sensible! Thanks @oldawyer.

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I was actually surprised and very gratified that Dramabeans went ahead with posting my alternate ending for BUSINESS PROPOSAL because Daebakgrits had done such a fabulous job of giving us a better ending. I loved that one- and it too flowed logically from what had gone before.

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Trust @oldawyer to tidy up the corporate succession plan. ! Love this ending, too. I wonder how would you treat the Hari's family introduction to Tae-Mu?

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I was trying to stay within the word count, so I did sort of gloss over it. But it would have been similar to the one that Daebakgrits came up with- initial shock, some disappointment that Ha-ri had introduced him as someone else initially but once Ha-ri was quite firm about Tae-mu being her man- and not merely a casual boyfriend- they would have been anxious as to his intentions but would have been mollified when he announced his plan to marry her. And then even a bit of greedy joy upon finding out that he is rich.

Given that this is essentially what we got in the final episodes I chose not to mention it- again I would have exceeded the thousand word limit if I had tries to do this so I simply skipped it.

But my scenario would probably have fallen short of the wonderful one written by Daebakgrits. It would not have been possible to improve upon that one.

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Love this ending too! I'm glad you kept the scene where Hari stood up for herself. I loved that scene. And you're right -- Tae-mu would have to stay in Korea to run the company! Thanks so much for another great ending.

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Yes, one of the glaring defects of the final episodes was the screenwriter's obvious ignorance of practical corporate governance. Major enterprises do not run themselves nor is it even really possible to do it all remotely.

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I love your re-writing of the the Business Proposal; the one that makes me feel closure for the a rom-com

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I feel it weird too why would Gofood without President for a year? why not take Sung Hoon as a vice president instead let it empty and Sung Hooon basically have no work in office while President position has been absent for a ayear? just doesn't make sense. and Who else all this time who work for American Branch when Taemu is Still in America?

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I mean who else who work in American branch when Tae Moo left from US to South Korea? I mean, why did I even care that kind of detail in fictional company? lol

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My (hypothetical) response: Although not spelled out clearly there was a t least brief mention in the first episode that Tae-moo was replacing someone else. I assume that this was a previous CEO who had simply been a non-family employee (no doubt with stock options and a fat pension plan) whose retirement was the occasion for Tae-moo's return from America- where he had already served as CEO of the North American subsidiary. Now that Tae-moo is in the head office as CEO no doubt someone else has been hired or more likely promoted to head the North American subsidiary.

It would not just be weird but disastrous to simply leave the CEO position empty for a year, as we got in the Official Ending. In real life it simply could not happen because the Board of Directors could not stand for it. Please note that I did not say would not but rather could not because they would be utterly derelict in their duties if they did turn a blind eye- which would lead to a Stockholders Derivative lawsuit against the board. This is what I meant when I said that there are no sentimental exceptions to the rule that Tae-moo has no choice but to stay at the Corporate Office if Grandpa goes to America for treatment. He could of course, fly over for visits from time to time but the idea that he could take a year off was ludicrous and irrational.

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I really like your revised ending. For sure, we need the great-grand babies, because Grandpa mentioned it so many times early in the show. With such a chipper show, that kept upturning the tropes in a funny way, that original ending was just lame and fell apart. The audience was expecting more fun and didn’t get it. I wonder if the Korean writers ever read American blogs for opinions and ideas? I hope they see your ending!

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Yoo Daeil in Rookie Cops.
*sniffles*

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Love this! Thank you @oldawyer for your brilliant analysis of corporate governance. I hadn’t even thought about it before but you are absolutely right; the stockholders would not have stood by and watched the ship go down without a captain. I didn’t like that the show had Sung-hoon staying home for a year doing nothing but building doll houses. It was a waste of his talent. Your version of making him CEO is a dignified and fitting ending for that young man.
And thank you for including the grandbabies . . . Oh, how I would have loved to have seen those grandbabies. 🥰

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Thanks for another wonderful ending @oldawyer! I also love the idea that Sung-hoon became CEO, and enjoy the corporate governance analysis. Like many, I love to see how Hari defended her place in the company and believe Grandpa must be happy to see his Geum-hee was a fighting girl.
Interestingly, these two alternative endings remind me of the title of the drama. What is the Business Proposal? I know little about Kdrama and nothing of the Webtoon, so correct me if I am wrong. I thought it was Taemoo's fake dating contract, but could it be Grandpa's grandbabies project? I see @daebakgrits focused on Taemu while @oldawyer on Grandpa. Personally I think a combination of the two endings will be near perfect.
A few thoughts on mind--
1) Development of Young-seo. While Sung-hoon is placed on a vital position in the company and the couple are busy building a young family, Young-seo may have difficulty managing a company of her own. (But she has started it earlier...) Young-seo may also come to a reconcile with her dad, whose chaebol marriage plan was completed.
2) Development of Hari. It seems that she took Kevin's place in the original ending, but this modern Cinderella may need her own fairy dress (the one Taemoo bought did not suit well...) If not advancing in career, Hari can just stay warm, loving and a wonderful emotion healer for people around her.
3) Grandpa's medical trip to US. The operation may not have to take a year long, especially with so much excitement awaiting him at home, and he would surely miss dining at his in-laws' chicken restaurant and chatting with Hari's dad on their favourite show. (But he probably had arranged all before going to US...)
Really in love with this Kdrama. Thankfully, these discussions are prolonging its pleasure.
Thank you!

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The title of the drama is the same as the title of the webtoon that it was based upon (which I am slowly reading). We would have to ask the webtoon authors where they came up with it but my hypothesis is that in fact it is primarily the relationship between Hari and Taemu. But the word 'proposal' is the big difference here: Tae-mu is simply using the dating contract to reel Hari in, but for business reasons because if he is married then he can concentrate on business. Initially there are no actual romantic intentions but in fact, right up front, he does intend on having a legal marriage- because marriage is more efficient than dating. Of course he quickly falls for her so that coldblooded business attitude does not last very long.

Hari is doing what she loves. She probably feels no need to 'advance in her career'. Now she has no economic pressure to do so either. She can stay where she is and do what she loves. She will not be a stay at home mom- but with all the help in the world she does not have to be. Picture her and Tae-mu arriving at work together- everyone bows as she and he come through the door and then she goes to the research department and he goes to his office. She will develop as a mother and of course as a member of her new family but professionally she may pick up new skills but has no need to climb a corporate ladder.

I too thought that it would be quite unusual for Grandpa to need a year in the US for a heart condition- unless he was waiting for a transplant which he almost certainly would not get at his age. But I am not a doctor and so could be very wrong. But in my version he delays just a few days so that he an see the wedding first before he goes.

Young-seo and her cold controlling dad are a special problem. I actually wish that we had at least a couple more episodes to go into what happens next. Their relationship is difficult from the beginning and it made dramatic sense for her to break it off- and to be distraught over it. But Chairman Jn has to see his son-in-law differently now- he has in fact been given essentially the marital tie he was looking for at the start of this story. And then, for both him and his daughter there is her child (and eventually children). His baby grandson is his heir and he needs to build a new relationship with his daughter because of that- and as a mother Young-seo will feel a responsibility to do that as well. But she will absolutely dictate the terms of that relationship which will be vastly different from their past one.

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I thought more about what you said and realized that you are right about the fact that my ending really centers around Grandpa. There is a reason for this- Grandpa's desire to see great-grandchildren born is the motivating force that starts the entire ball rolling and so, as a matter of symmetry, the conclusion should reach that specific endpoint in order to have a whole complete story. A proper ending given the beginning.

But I also thought about why I would make that choice and realized that it had to do with the unique structure of this story. In most k-drama romcoms there are the main leads who are to come together as One True Pairing- and then we have 'side romances'. But in this drama (and the webtoon) we have a different setup: We start with two pairs of very close friends who are actually more like siblings. Indeed, Sunghoon has essentially been adopted by Grandpa while it is actually Hari's family that celebrates Young-seo's birthday. Each meets their future mate through their friend and because of that friendship. Each couple really has an important story which is central to the entire plot- there are no side romances here. Instead of an OTP what we really have is a First True Pairing and a Second True Pairing. What is the central unifying force to this story? Grandpa. Which is why the odd treatment of grandpa in the final two episodes was so disconcerting. The screenwiters had shifted the center of gravity for this story.
It had become unbalanced.

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Thank you @oldawyer. Your reply is very informative and helpful.
I also think Business Proposal should refer to Taemu's marriage proposal out of business reasons. Since Grandpa became a 'central unifying force' in the end, I could not help thinking of his Proposal -- Go Taemu, do the ultimate project of your life: get married. You must do so for you have fired my crony (or what you may call).
Your explanation of Kdrama romcom's 'one True Pairing plus side romances ' mode is very interesting. I love the HaTae pairing and find the acting fantastic, however, I do think Young Sung relationship and acting also attractive. Besides, Grandpa stole the show effortlessly. Maybe a movie version can shift focus to Grandpa leading two couples to carry out his grand proposal?
I think you are right about Hari, who may not have much ambition to advance in career. She's always had a passion for her research job, and is now the woman behind the young Chairman. One of Hari's best qualities is that she was always ready to sacrifice for people she loved, but blessedly life has treated her well.
Young-seo's dad should finally see himself as a winner, for he got what he wanted from his daughter's marriage. I like the detail that you let Young-seo hold her line from her cold controlling father.
So happy that this drama has offered much joy and kept capturing our imagination.
Thank you.

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An ending with grand babies ? Yesssss 🥺😍

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Agree with every point you made. Excellent! Are you sure you are not a screenwriter?

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Maybe I should take it up in my second career? Actually, I have long believed that the problems we see in K-dramas do not reflect a lack of writing talent but rather a lack of good editors.
So often the things that I notice are the sort of flaws that a competent editor would easily spot- and could have been fixed before filming begins.

The problems which I point to in my alternative ending are all things which could have easily been fixed. The fact that Daebakgrits was able to supply an excellent but completely different but also logical alternate ending demonstrates that editorial input does not have to stifle a writer- the screenwriter could have chosen either or, for that matter, come up with yet something else.

I wonder if I could take up a new trade as a Screen Writing Editor?

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Love it! In my head, my alternate ending started at the time skip (I have not read the webtoon). One year later the last scene opens with Grandpa and Hari's parents sitting on the couch together at Hari's house watching TV, each holding a baby: Hari's mom hold's Yeong-Seo's son, Grandpa & Hari's dad are Hari's holding boy-girl twins. The husbands, Grandpa is thrilled with his great-granddaughter; Sung-Hoo & Ta-moo are cooking dinner--making fried chicken-- and the wives, Ha-Ri & Yeong-Seo are also watching TV--it's a video of Ha-ri's & Tae-Moo's wedding. The wedding videe scenes wrap up vaious plots by bringing up memories--grandpa's change of mind before surgery demanding a quick wedding so he can have grandchildren, the proposal, Yeong-Seo's wedding and her successful business that makes household items for children;, the lab people discussing Go-Foods new line of children's food that was developed by Ha-Ri before the babies arrived, with Sung Hoon is the executive in charge. Suddenly, all the babies start crying and the mom's take them to change diapers. Ha'Ri's bored brother sneaks out, and gets in a blue sports car parked in-between two station wagons. As the two mom's rock the now content babies to sleep while Har-ri sings a lullaby, the husbands, who had been secretly watching and smiling, come in and give a hug and a loving kiss to their wives....end of story.

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