Personal Taste, episodes 1 and 2
One huge misconception I think most people were under prior to the drama’s broadcast is that Lee Minho’s character chooses to pretend to be gay in order to move into Son Yeh Jin’s character’s apartment, but this is totally not the case and it makes a difference. If he willingly takes advantage of the fact that Gae In is in an anti-men phase and tries to slide in by pretending to be gay, that adds an ethical taint to the Jin Ho character that might not be easy to overcome when this miscommunication is later revealed. However, because Gae In’s friend misunderstands and thus assigns a perception of Jin Ho that isn’t accurate, there’s less of a grey-area situation to resolve. Of course I’m sure the issue of “using” Gae In for her house will undoubtedly kick in, but for now, sexuality and how this sexuality is presented are not the underlying problems.
(So many dramas! I’m so glad the semester is drawing to a close, so that this rabid drama watching can transition smoothly into the summer of do-nothing-get-fat-sleep-late-watch-TV. I’ll be doing a rundown for each of the four (!!!!) new dramas I’ve watched over the past two weeks. Watch out for them.)
Summary of episodes 1 and 2
Park Gae In is our protagonist. She’s the daughter of a renowned architect who built the house that she is currently living in. She works as a furniture builder and isn’t exactly the best, and this mediocrity apparently transcends to the other aspects of her life as well, such as in love and friendship.
Jeon Jin Ho is our male lead. He’s the son of an architect and is the boss of his own firm. We’re let known that his father used to be in cahoots with Han Chang Ryul’s father, but after he passed away, the firm went to Chang Ryul’s father and Jin Ho left the company. Jin Ho is good at what he does and he possesses a quiet sort of confidence; he isn’t showy and seems to be pretty patient.
Han Chang Ryul is kind of a wuss and there’s nothing impressionable about him at the moment. He is the son of the man who is now in control of the firm that Jin Ho’s dad once headed. Chang Ryul is a playboy who dumps Gae In after a month of leading her on.
Kim In Hee is our female second lead. I think that alone tells you what kind of character she is. She’s presented to us as a backstabbing friend who has plans of marrying Chang Ryul despite knowing that Gae In was dating him and in love with him. Yeah, no further explanation necessary.
THE SITUATION (please, no Jersey Shore jokes)
So here’s the deal. The main premise of the drama revolves around Jin Ho needing to see the interior of Gae In’s house in order to win a project for his firm. Since Gae In’s father is notorious for not allowing anyone into the house for the decades that it’s been built, it proves to be a bit of a problem for anyone who admires the house for its architecture.
When Gae In needs to rent out one of the rooms in order to earn some money, Jin Ho jumps on the chance. Only, Gae In is not comfortable living by herself with a strange new man. Her best friend, however, is under the misconception that Jin Ho is gay, so he can’t possibly pose any sort of problem on Gae In, so the deal goes through.
Obviously there is the big, glaring elephant in the room. Gae In is under the impression that Jin Ho is gay, and that’s the only premise under which he’s allowed to be in the house anyway. By the end of episode 2, we know that Jin Ho has no idea that this was the perception of him when he moved in and hijinks will definitely ensue.
There’s also the little problem of Gae In’s friend and ex-roomate, In Hee. I’ve never read the novel that the drama is based on, but we can tell that In Hee will be that character can’t stand the way Gae In is and what she has, so she will prey on Gae In’s naivete. By law of K-dramas, this will only last so long before good and sincerity triumphs.
Then of course there is the playboy who initially screws around with Gae In’s emotions, ditches her, and then later realizes what a catch she is, only then to lose her to a rival. Oh K-dramas when will you stop being so predictable! (But for some reason, I can’t stay away from them.)
Say what you will about “Boys Over Flowers” (and I have done my share), but Lee Minho is undoubtedly a good actor. I’m a little disappointed to find out that his Jeon Jin Ho character is once again a rich boy who dresses well and has a certain status of wealth attached to his background, but this role is markedly different from the role of Gu Jun Pyo, and for that I am glad.
Jeon Jin Ho is no doubt established and privileged, but he doesn’t walk around with an air of infallibility. He is still prickly and somewhat arrogant, but he doesn’t possess a sense of entitlement, and Lee Minho transitions well into this role. Never once during the two episodes did I go, “Hmm, this is very Gu Jun Pyo-ish of him.” This is a really good thing because this quick turnover in “Personal Taste” has done well to prove that Lee Minho won’t only have the legacy of playing Gu Jun Pyo in “Boys Over Flowers” and that his acting was well-received not only because “BOF” was the phenomenon that it was.
Moving on to Son Yeh Jin. I’m mostly not really feeling Gae In’s character yet. I’m really sick of these do-gooder heroines that are clumsy, clutzy, kind-of-a-loser, doesn’t dress well, never gets the boy. UGH! She’s not as bad as Minam in “You’re Beautiful,” but this transformation into being a “stronger person” vis-a-vis learning from her mistakes backstabbing friend and non-committed player is REALLY old and REALLY overdone. This is of course a personal preference (ha), but I like characters that are affirmative to a certain degree, well-aware, perceptive, and ambitious. K-dramas unfortunately will never give in to anything I want. That’s why at the moment I’m still “eh” about Gae In.