K-dramas have turned the office into the perfect setting for a passionate romance. Who doesn’t love a scorching romance between the handsome yet weirdly endearing CEO and his employee? More often than not, the dashing male lead comes with some unusual habits—some cannot stand smiling faces, others are fixated on cleanliness, and some take not being a people person to an all new level. Here’s a look at seven K-dramas with endearing bosses and their quirks while the female leads played the knight in shining armor role.
“King the Land”
The stylishly dapper and handsome General Manager of King Hotel Gu Won (Lee Junho) is aloof and hates smiles. The man cannot stand the sight of people and their wide smiles because according to him, smiles often are a mask of deception. You can’t blame the guy—he has been surrounded by haters including his own conniving sister. He has been deceived for so long and is weary the moment he sees a curve form on anyone’s face. However, when he meets the endearing Cheon Sa Rang (YoonA), a concierge at the hotel, her sunny personality and smiling face have a high wattage impact on his otherwise snarky demeanor. Ribbing her for having a fake smile plastered on her face, he soon falls hard for her genuine smile and nature. The first flickers of a smile break out on his face when he is with Sa Rang as he—in his own brusque and cute way—tries to woo her.
When you have the charismatic Lee Junho and the charmingly effervescent YoonA, it is a recipe for success. Their easygoing chemistry sets apart “King the Land” as a rom-com you need to watch. Plus Lee Junho’s versatility comes to the fore again, and as an effortlessly dynamic actor, he is a scene stealer all the way.
Jang Sun Kyul (Yoon Kyun Sang) is a bright and accomplished young man. He suffers from severe mysophobia, which is the fear of germs. Sun Kyul is very concerned about cleanliness. He is so paranoid about spotting a speck of dust or dirt stains that it gets him anxious, making him feel out of sorts. He takes being clean to a whole new level by establishing a cleaning company. But when Oh Sol (Kim Yoo Jung), a carefree young girl, joins his company, chaos reigns supreme. Oh Sol is a hardworking and cheery soul, but she is sloppy and messy, and cleanliness is not her strong point. But it is the untidy Oh Sol who helps Sun Kyul face his mysophobia.
“Clean With Passion for Now” is a whacky, fun watch, sensitively showcasing Sun Kyul’s phobia, which is a debilitating psychological condition, and how those who suffer from the same struggle to find a balance in their normal life and the impact it can have on their relationships. The love and support he gets from Oh Sol helps him combat his fears and psychological issues. Yoon Kyun Sang as the paranoid and brusque CEO Sun Kyul and Kim Yoo Jung as the awkward yet spunky Oh Sol are perfectly cast and make the drama worth your while.
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A man who can repel ghosts is hard to believe, but the suave Joo Joong Won (So Ji Sub) is that kind of person. However, he does not know that until he meets Tae Gong Shil (Gong Hyo Jin). Gong Shil is a sleep-deprived soul since she is perpetually visited by spirits of the dead who want her to do things for them. It is when she meets Joong Won, the rich owner of a mega department store, that she realizes he is the ghostbuster she needs in her life. She has none of her ghostly encounters when she is with him. In her own eccentric way, she starts hovering around Joong Won, who is super weary and irritated by her clinging to him. Despite his initial dislike, their relationship turns into a full blown love affair.
With Gong Hyo Jin and So Ji Sub together, there is some serious chemistry and delicious romance. So Ji Sub as Joo Joong Won is delightfully funny as he deals with the absurdity of his situation with Gong Shil. And Gong Hyo Jin is one of those natural actors who can make any character some believable. “Master’s Sun” is also healing since through Gong Shil, many find the closure they seek. Some of the stories in the show are sure to make you shed a tear or two.
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You would expect the CEO of a public relations firm to be outgoing and a person who generally enjoys meeting people. But Yeon Woo Jin‘s character Eun Hwan Ki is so painfully shy that he actually wants to be unseen by everyone. If not hiding from people in his penthouse, he wears a hoodie so that no one can see his face nor he theirs. Hwan Ki is sensitive and highly introverted, but the truth is that he is traumatized by an incident of the past. But when Chae Ro Woon (Park Hye Soo), an overtly enthusiastic employee, is hired by Hwan Ki’s company, she never seems to leave him alone. Ro Woon wants to get to the truth and unmask the introverted boss’s real identity. As she helps him to break out of his shell, we see the beginnings of a soft and awkward romance.
Hwan Ki’s issues are sensitively tackled in this drama, which is thanks to the talented Yeon Woo Jin, who gives an insightful performance.
Kim Min Kyu (Yoo Seung Ho) takes not being a people’s person to another level. He is super intelligent and mega rich, being the youngest and largest shareholder of a successful finance company. But Min Kyu prefers to live a quiet existence due to his unique condition. He is allergic and hyper sensitive to people, and any contact with a human being can trigger strange reactions in him. Jo Ji Ah (Chae Soo Bin) is a committed go-getter, who is focused on inventing something out of the box. She hustles between several jobs, which also includes being a personal shopper to some of her patrons. This is how Ji Ah finds herself shopping for Min Kyu, who seems to be the most insufferable of all her clients. They argue and have heated verbal exchanges constantly, which leads to an important discovery—she does not trigger Min Kyu’s symptoms.
“I Am Not a Robot” is a clever drama with a quirky and engaging plot. The characters are well etched and have an interesting arc, and the cute romance is entertaining as well.
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A girl who has super human strength that can literally move mountains, the petite Do Bong Soon (Park Bo Young) is a walking dynamo. Though her physical appearance is delicate, she is tough and fondly addressed as “The Force.” She packs a punch, flexes and flicks men twice her size, and even lifts heavy weight containers like feathers. But the caveat is that she can only use this strength for a good cause. She ends up getting hired as a bodyguard to the charming and goofy Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyung Sik), the CEO of a gaming company. Min Hyuk has a crush on Bong Soon, back tracking to their childhood when she had averted an accident and saved his life. Soon enough, a cute romance blossoms between the two, and it’s delightful to see how Min Hyuk always empowers his girlfriend and has no qualms in supporting her from behind.
“Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” is a complete package that blends fantasy, mystery, romance, and lots of laughs.
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Lee Young Joon (Park Seo Joon) is handsome, and he knows it. He is a confirmed narcissist and thrives in being one. He knows he has the looks, and the bevy of beauties who chase him only confirm what he already knows. He also has the brains and is super intelligent, being the heir in waiting to a fortune. But this god’s gift to mankind gets the shock of his life when his super efficient secretary Kim Mi So (Park Min Young) decides to call it a day and resigns. Young Joon acts as if it does not make a difference, but he is humbled soon enough. He succeeds in making her stay and realizes he has indeed met his match in her. They also have a childhood connection which comes to the surface as we are served a delicious romance between the boss and his secretary.
“What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim” is a perfect rom-com. It is funny, cheesy, and has some delightful romantic moments between Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young, which make it a total must-watch.
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Hey Soompiers, which one of these dramas features your favorite boss? Let us know in the comments below!
Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yoo Tae Oh and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min Ho, Gong Yoo, Cha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram
Currently watching: “King the Land” and “See You in My 19th Life.”