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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Personal Taste (2010)


Country: South-Korea
Format: drama in 16 episodes
Genre: Romance, comedy
Cast: Lee Min Ho, Son Ye Jin, Kim Ji Seok, Wang Ji Hye, Ryu Seong Ryung, Jo Eun Ji, Jung Sung Hwa, Lim Seul Ong, Choi Eun Seo, Park Hye Mi, Ahn Suk Hwan, Kang Shin Il
Synopsis: Park Kae In is an interior designer whose father is a well-known architecture professor. After dating Chang Ryul for years, she gets dumped by him the night before her bestfriend's wedding. While attending the wedding, Kae In finds out that the groom is no one else than her fresh ex-boyfriend Chang Ryul. At the same time, Jeon Jin Ho is architect who is struggling to win architecture competition against Chang Ryul's father. After many unfortunate happenings bring Kae In and Jin Ho to know each other, Jin Ho ends up renting a room from Kae In and moving into Kae In's modernized hanok (traditional Korean house) called Sanggojae. Everyone have their own reasons - Kae In is in a need of extra money and thinks Jin Ho is "gay". Jin Ho is there to learn about Sanggojae to use it as a base material for his competition work.
Rating: 4/5
Firstly, I admit that I was very disappointed in the drama as it is (at least was) hyped up drama and I was expecting a lot from it. Even though it took me years until I decided to really watch, I was hoping to see an awesome drama. What can go wrong when you have Lee Min Ho, interior design+architecture, doubts in sexual orientation and two totally different characters living together?

Well, let's say that maybe I should start reading the other reviews before watching and get some spoilers ahead. In spite of the strong start it managed to lose its charm at one point and it did not gain it back.
I was most suprised by Park Kae In's character. For some reason, I believed that she has a more positive attitude (of course not about having a cheating bastard as an ex-boyfriend but still). Despite her ability to look gorgeous, she prefers to run around looking like an over-boiled chicken-pea hot pot and still have confidence of a supermodel. In a way I understand that she finds it a waste of time to prepare her looks while she could spend the same time with her loved one, especially when she believes that he loves her anyway, but at the same time, every woman should make an effort at least on occasions when they expect to be proposed.
 Maybe one reason why I was putting expectations on her, is that I am an interior architect too, so I was hoping to relate to her more. I was surprised that despite being in relationship for years, she was still designing "furniture for 1-person" - doesn't it look like that there was something lacking in the relationship for her too, but she just could not figure it out? It was the first time seeing Son Ye Jin acting, but I think for this character it was a pretty good job.
Jeon Jin Ho is young architect who is competing against big companies. He has put all his effort and time to his work and simply does not put relationships in the first place. That is already the first reason that makes people wonder about his sexual orientation. In addition to it, he likes to keep his business to himself and not talk about his worries or anything that happens in his personal life to other people.
I think it is okey to say that he is a "gays-supporter" as he does not find anything wrong with being called gay. I am happy that they give us an insight of Jin Ho's world and we can actually learn what is going in his mind while he says nothing and unfortunately he does not say much at all.
I am not sure if I need to talk about Lee Min Ho's acting as it is on point as usually. At the same time, it gets a bit boring as most of his characters end up being similar to each other, so I am looking forward to see him in different roles now.
While Han Chang Ryul is a cheating bastard / coward who is living under daddy's wing, there is something that in the end of the drama made me understand him. He has been listening his abusive father's orders for all his life and in a way dating clumsy Park Kae In was the only decision that he had control of. But as the drama goes on, we find out that Park Kae In was never formally introduced to the father and I interpreter it as a "wish to keep Kae In separate in different world". At the same time, I do not think Chang Ryul loved her. To him she was something out of this world - someone who took away his worries and stress with her clumsy and naive attitude and made him feel more man than he really is, but it was not "love", it was more "taking care of someone weaker".
I am not sure if he ever loved Kim In Hee either, but definitely more than he did Park Kae In. We see him running back and forth for long time in the drama and was happy to see that he might be a character that makes the biggest development in the drama, grows some balls and actually becomes a man. It was the last drama for Kim Ji Suk before enlisting to the military and having 2 year hiatus from acting.
So now we get to Kim In Hee... well, there is no way to make her look nicer, because with no excuses, she is a selfish bitch who does not know how to appreciate the things she has. She is unable to love anyone and wants to get everything and everyone even when she does not need anything. This way she goes on stealing Chang Ryul from Kae In and then going after Jin Ho. Her actions do not have limits and it is actually sad to see how low someone can drop. The more she tries the more desperate she seems, as if she is dealing with a huge childhood trauma of not being loved and not having anything.
Throughout the drama my favorite characters were Sang Jun and Young Sun, bestfriends of Jin Ho and Kae In. Sang Jun is also Jin Ho's work colleague Even though, they are behind most of the misunderstandings and their actions mess up a lot of things, they are still kind from the bottom of their hearts. They just do not know when to keep their mouths shut and when actually to open. Sang Jun keeps up the act of being gay and eventually becomes great friends with Young Sun. For some moments it seems that they become even closer friends than they are to Jin Ho and Kae In. I was hoping to get some juicy development from their friendship but I guess it was too much  to expect.
As usual for Korean drama, there are tons of different characters and I am not going over everyone. There are the parents who think more about themselves than their children; there is young girl Hye Mi crazy after Jin Ho who has sister-zoned her for all his life and there is a young guy who has his eyes on Hye Mi. We even get a glimpse of Jin Ho's high school sweetheart.
But there is one character about who I would like to write more - Choi Do Bin. He is a the director of the DAAM project, the architecture project that keeps Chang Ryul and Jin Ho competing. He is gay and after hearing that Jin Ho is supposedly gay also, he starts to develop feelings for him. Director is the sweetest character in the drama and in way he becomes adviser and mentor for Kae In. His actions are pure and even when he is given a chance to act on his emotions, he stays rational. At the same time it is unfortunate to see him being mislead.
There are many great things in this drama and it is really funny to watch, even though I was waiting for more comedy and less drama. There are many moments to make your heart beat very fast, but at the same time be ready to go back and forth with some the problems before they actually get solved.

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