It has been a year since the first season of Unexpected Business aired. Owing to a successful pilot season, naturally, expectations for its subsequent season were high for both viewers and cast alike.
With Cha Tae-hyun and Jo In-sung no longer strangers to becoming unexpected bosses in a country store, one might wonder, how else could the show catch Cha Tae-hyun and Jo In-sung off guard? Yoo Ho-jin, a former 2 Days & 1 Night producer, has just the right tricks up his sleeves. Contrary to the duo’s expectations, this time, they are called upon to manage a supermart that’s more than twice the size of the previous minimart.
Season two, in contrast to the previous season’s minimart and tiny snack shop, features an all-in-one supermarket with a butchery, a larger eatery, and a slew of other new household goods that the cast must know like the back of their hands. Having no prior experience in butchery, Tae-hyun and In-sung’s job is made much more difficult by the fact that they must also make a weekly trip to a nearby wholesale market to replenish their stocks.
The mart’s inflated size, however, works both in and against the show’s favour. While the larger supermarket keeps Tae-hyun and In-sung busy and under pressure to learn the ropes as quickly as possible, this season has the luxury of inviting at least two to four guests per day. From AOA’s Seol-hyun to Kim Woo-bin, Lee Kwang-soo, Han Hyo-joo, as well as recurring guests Park Byung-eun and Yoon Kyung-ho, this season features a doubly impressive cast handpicked by the two bosses. In particular, season 2 marks Woo-bin’s return to mainstream television, which sparked the interest of many.
As Tae-hyun and In-sung personally cast their friends as part-timers, cast chemistry is never an issue and the show never has any awkward moments. Moreover, while many of them are top celebrities, they never hesitate to put their celebrity status aside to befriend the locals, reminding us about the importance of human connection in our lives.
A recurring guest, Park Byung-eun, for example, proved to be a fishing hobbyist in the first season. Despite his initial cold looks and aloof demeanour, upon learning that a young customer is also a fishing enthusiast who caught a 50 cm fish, he quickly turned into a “chatterbox” according to Tae-hyun. Interestingly, Byeong-eun’s love for fishing is so huge that he even shared his phone number and suggested that they should go fishing together.
Veteran actress Kim Hye-soo, who is everyone’s senior, is another unforgettable guest. Playfully referred to as “chairwoman” by Tae-hyun and In-sung, Hye-soo is sweet, genuine, and clumsy, and radiates positive energy. Given this, many believe that she is a respectable adult whom they can have a genuine chat with, like the family who operates the butchery in the supermarket, as they share their life story and challenges with the cast. Although they overcame their hardships of moving to this town with nothing but some clothes and $250, it still remains deep in their hearts. Recalling this story, the female boss bursts into tears as they are leaving and Hye-soo gives her a warm hug as if her tears were waiting for the right time to flow. Unexpectedly, as Hye-soo later confesses, “Many think of me as a good person and a good adult. But actually, I’m not a good adult and I’m honestly not really a good person.” If there’s anything that Unexpected Business excels at, it is that it brings out celebrities’ most human and relatable qualities behind their glitz and glamour.
If there’s one thing that distinguishes the show from the beginning, it is the bonds formed with the residents, which are mainly lost this season. The comfortable smaller mart’s biggest appeal in the first season was to give Tae-hyun and In-sung the ability to interact with their customers while still being able to keep an eye on the store. However, the scale of this season’s mart makes it extremely difficult for them to get to know the town’s residents.
As the shop grew in size, naturally, the friendships forged, the heartwarming stories shared, and camaraderie and warmth felt decreased significantly. At times, Tae-hyun and In-sung are so busy running from one end of the shop to the other to assist their customers that the most they can do sometimes is greet them with hellos and goodbyes. Even when they are open for lunch or dinner, they barely have the time to chat with the diners as they are too busy preparing meals, cleaning up, and managing the counter.
Unexpected Business 2 becomes a dreary watch over time since each episode’s ninety minutes are frequently filled with mundane moments that could have been skipped or better substantiated, in contrast to shows like Youn’s Stay and Kang’s Kitchen that can make even the dullest moments exciting. Despite nothing significant actually happening during this one-week takeover, the show is still uplifting and calming in some ways. With a good mix of friendly part-timers, warm bosses, and approachable residents, hopefully, its next season will see a downsize in its mart’s size, as bigger is not always better.