Korean Drama Review: Personal Taste/Preference

WED/THURS - MBC - PERSONAL TASTE 개인의 취향 (2010)

Image by withhyunbin via Flickr

Personal Taste is available on Dramafever.

SYNOPSIS:

Park Gae In is a naive girl who designs furniture and is the daughter of a famous architect. Gae In’s father is frequently out of town for work and has been distant ever since the death of her beloved mother, which occurred in her early childhood. Therefore, Gae In is desperate for love. Gae In is in love with her longtime boyfriend Han Chang Ryul, even though he barely pays attention to her. Gae In’s friends see the problems in her relationship with Chang Ryul, but she is oblivious to the situation; he never comes to support her at her shows and doesn’t make time to meet with her at all. Therefore, when Gae In finds out that Chang Ryul is breaking up with her and is getting married, she is in a state of shock. Furthermore, Chang Ryul invites accidentally invites her to the wedding. When Gae In shows up at the wedding, Gae In discovers that Chang Ryul is getting married to one of her best friends and current roommate, Kim In Hee. Needless to say Gae In has a breakdown and the whole wedding falls apart.

At the same time, Jeon Jin Ho is leader of a small up and coming architecture firm. Jin Ho’s father used to be in business with Chang Ryul’s father, but some shady business dealings occurred. After Jin Ho’s father’s death, his family was forced out of their house and the architecture firm. Jin Ho’s mother has a vendetta against Chang Ryul’s father and wants her son to surpass their family’s old firm and regain their reputation. On the other hand, Chang Ryul considers Jeon Jin Ho a worthy competitor in design and they often find themselves bidding on the same projects. Unfortunately, Chang Ryul has not been able to enter into a fair competition with Jin Ho, because his Chang Ryul’s father intervenes by bribing people so that their firm wins.

However, a fair competition is upon us, a museum is looking to build a new building. Director Cho is in charge of the task of finding an architect. Director Cho wants the building to be akin to the home of Gae In, Sanggojae, which was designed by her father. Gae In’s father refuses to return to come back to Korea to work on the project. Thus, the winning design could come from any architecture firm. Meanwhile, Director Cho respects Jeon Jin Ho and allows him to compete with the big architecture firms, including Chang Ryul’s firm.

Back to the wedding, Lee Young Sun, Gae In’s best friend, attends the wedding with Gae In. Young Sun spots Jin Ho with his business partner in the elevator. Due to an awkward situation, Young Son mistakes Jin Ho and Sang Joon as gay lovers.

Director Choi is also invited to the wedding, because In Hee (Gae In’s roommate) is his assistant. After seeing the big ordeal at the wedding, he questions the integrity of Chang Ryul and his firm. Director Choi, also feels sorry for Gae In. Knowing her famous father, eventually Director Choi and Gae In build a business relationship that affords Gae In the opportunity to show off her interior decorating and furniture designs. Previously, Gae In has received no recognition for her work.

Gae In’s life is looking a little brighter, but she still needs a roommate, enter Jin Ho. Jin Ho is struggling to find a design for Director Choi’s project and knows that Sanggojae is the secret to success, so he must get in somehow. When Jin Ho discovers that Gae In needs money and is looking for a roommate,due to a bad furniture deal, he has a hard time passing the opportunity by. Additionally, Young Son already thinks that Jin Ho is gay and has convinced Gae In that a gay roommate would be the perfect fit. Jin Ho’s business partner Sang Joon is also willing to play the part of a gay lover.

After Jin Ho moves in with Gae In, sparks fly. Gae In wants Jin Ho to “make her a woman,” so she doesn’t lose another guy to a fast woman. Jin Ho goes along with this idea, but his conscience starts to get in the way when he realizes that he is falling in love with her.

Jin Ho is torn between winning the competition and trying to prevent Gae In from suffering from another betrayal. Furthermore, can Gae In forgive Jin Ho, if he tells her the truth. By the way, Gae In’s mature manner now is turning Chang Ryul’s head and add on to that Director Choi believing that he finally has met the love of his life in Jin Ho.

REVIEW:

There is no top 5 here, because this drama made me discombobulated; by the end I did not care not care who Gae In ended up with, but hoped it would be someone new. Eh, I guess that’s love. Cons and Pros, so that we can finish strong. I recommend this drama, even though I probably couldn’t watch it a second time.

Cons:

  • Gae In played by Son Ye Jin: This character is the one of the most naive, childlike, and downright sorry characters I have seen to date. But see  Pasta. At first I felt bad for her, but then I was just utterly annoyed. So if you keep in mind that this is how she is and she will get better, you are more likely to enjoy this drama. Even her work was subpar, take a good look at that singles’ desk and the chair for kids. Although, she did redeem herself in the playroom.
  • Jin Ho played by Lee Min Ho: It is really hard to even like the male lead. Jin Ho is pretending that he is gay for financial gain to Gae In’s detriment. Jin Ho also is semi-seducing Director Cho. Additionally, Jin Ho makes Gae In want to get a sex change, so that they can be together. Finally, Jin Ho is sneaking around Sanggojae to find Gae In’s father’s plans, so that he can use them. Jeon Jin Ho did not really do anything for me until, he finally took some responsibility for the outcome. Then when he took some responsibility, he took too much. Lesson learned, confess early. Cheers, here’s to thinking that Lee Min Ho can save anything with his charisma.
  • Cameo: Yoon Eun Hye made a cameo and all it made me think was that she would be better candidate for the female lead. I have nothing against Son Ye Jin, who plays Ga In, but I did not find her funny or light.I repeat Gae In seemed desperate, naive, and sad. I am not sure who to blame this on the writing or the acting, probably the writing.
  • In Hee: Sociopath alert. Give up, Jin Ho does not want you. As bad as Jin Ho’s moral compass is, it’s not as bad a yours, not even in the same league. It’s also worse than Chang Ryul’s, Chang Ryul just wanted to be in a relationship with an adult, which Gae In wasn’t at the time. Note: By adult I don’t mean Gae In had to sleep with Chang Ryul, but she definitely needed some emotional counseling based on her and her father’s relationship. On top of that bad self analysis, In Hee also thought she could move back in with Gae In. It was so utterly baffling that it made her storyline unbelievable.
  • San Jun and Youn Sun: Why can’t Sang Jun and Young Sun be together, if you are going to put them together all the time and make them look cute together, I am going to want it to work out. I know she has a child and a husband that is always out of town, but the way it is written I come out disappointed. Moreover, the writers really started to get out of control when trying to put In Hee with Sang Jun, no one deserves In Hee. Oh wait, maybe Chang Ryul’s father.

Pros:

  • “Game Over”: Nice kiss between the leads. One of the better K-drama kisses and a cute storyline attached to this scene. I was relieved that they finally figured out that they liked each other, but then Jin Ho did not tell her that he wasn’t gay —> back to pulling my hair out. I am not sure how many times the camera circled them kissing and then went back and forth between In Hee and Chang Ryul’s facial expression, but I did feel like I was watching a tennis match. And I thought I waited a long time in Coffee Prince for the girl to let the guy know that she wasn’t a guy.
  • Lee Min Ho and Son Ye Jin: As a pair, they look good together and can certainly kiss well. However, she did not seem like best person for this character or this character needed to be better tailored to her acting strengths. If the writing was a bit more serious and more dramatic, then she would make a better fit. I know that there was a bit of drama with the broken glass, but I felt those scenes were over acted. On the other hand, Lee Min Ho’s star did not shine as bright either. I did not have a strong connection to their romance, because after the last episode I was relieved that it was over. I barely noticed that there was no marriage scene or 5 years later segment. Nevertheless, they did have some cute moments, such as when he was blow drying her hair, tampon run, and when her tummy hurt.
  • No Sang Jun and Le Young Sun: The two best friends of the leads, No Sang Jun and Lee Young Sun, really saved this drama for me. Their characters had great chemistry and they were the only source of real comedy. I was really disappointed that Lee Young Sun’s husband came back. It was really awkward that he was never around, then they temporarily broke up, and later he appears in the form of some scary big guy.
  • Chang Ryul’s Father: I am sorry there was another source of laughter, Han Chang Ryul’s father, played by Ahn Suk Hwan. His hair was atrocious, it put a smile on my face everytime he came on the screen. In addition to the hair, that laugh, which was a harsh cackle or something or other, was a source of relief in some of the more serious scenes. It sounded like an evil antagonist from an animated disney film. If he doesn’t already do voice overs he should.
  • Chang Ryul: Unexpected love for Han Chang Ryul, played by Kim Ji Suk. Chang Ryul made a 180 and I really liked his story of redemption. I know what he did in the beginning was really really bad. I am not justifying it. Although, even I was thoroughly annoyed with Park Gae In, even though I knew she was a sweet person. Park Gae In was clingy and too forgiving.
  • Director Choi: Director Choi, played by Ryu Seung Ryong,  is the best character in this drama. He is understanding, serves others to his detriment, is forgiving, and sticks to his own principles. He also dresses very well. I am just sad that he did not get a happier ending.
Some people really enjoyed this drama, however I just can’t say it is better than any of the other dramas I’ve seen so far. Thus, 3 out of 5 stars.



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17 comments

  1. Pingback: Korean Drama Review: Boys Over Flowers « Public Investigation
    • peevishmagnifyingglass

      I started to watch PTB and got annoyed with the some of the extra characters, so I had to break long enough to miss it. Now I do, so I will get back to PTB soon. I just finished one of your other suggestions, spy myung wol, it was good. I have a new appreciation for actor/singers. So that review should be coming out in about a month and PTB a month and a half. I am very backed up over here and I like to try and do a good job. I also have this new addiction for Vampire Prosecutor, which is surprising since I am actually willing to wait for the episodes to come out each week.

      • Becoming Bitter

        Yes, the side characters did get a little too much at times, but I loved the drama! Strong female leads are wins. I’m glad you enjoyed SMW. I’ll be waiting for that review then. Take your time! I’m always waiting patiently MG. I love the idea of VP, but I haven’t had time to see it lately. Swamped with work. The time I do get – I blog. Have an awesome weekend MG. I hope to find more things for you and I to watch, review, and discuss. Don’t forget to watch that movie either.

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    • peevishmagnifyingglass

      Hello Leena,

      Thanks for commenting. I respect and support anyone who has a view point different than mine. I hope that the point that I was trying to get across was not misinterpreted. Son Ye Jin is a very accomplished and excellent Actress. Lee Min Ho is not a veteran actor yet, but is already near the top in his abilities. However, I do not think that the way that writers wrote the characters did either Son Ye Jin or Lee Min Ho justice, considering their other outstanding performances. Here, there were many instances where I was felt the characters’ actions and motivations did not match well. Few could surpass Son Ye Jin and Lee Min Ho’s interpretations of these characters, but even if they did, the plot and characters would still cause this drama to get a 3 out of 5.

      A good comparison would be Playful Kiss, which I like even though the acting was average (not bad, just not amazing). In Playful Kiss the plot and characters were fun and intriguing. However, I soon found out that the reason why the plot and characters were so good was because of the Manga and the even better Taiwanese Adaption, It Started With a Kiss and the sequel They Kiss Again starring Ariel Lin and Joe Cheng.

      -Peeve

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