The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Personal Taste / 개인의 취향 / Kaeinui Chwihyang

March to May, 2010, MBC comedy/drama that stars Son Ye jin as Park Kae in, a cute girl living in an architectural dream-home built by her famous, Architect father before his life met with disaster and he ran away to England, where he now teaches at a University.

Kae in isn't pretty, but she is charming and trusts people despite the fact everyone tends to mistreat and take advantage of her.

(actually, when she isn't wearing a frumpy, old-maid hairstyle or whack clothing, she's a half-decent looking girl.)

She's trying to follow in her late mother's furniture designing footsteps, but because of misconceptions about the past and the wrong idea she has about what her father thinks of her, Kae in suffers from lack of confidence in her natural talent, but that doesn't stop her from continuing to try.

At the beginning of this ab-fab, 16-episode drama, we meet Kae in, her conniving boyfriend, Han Chang ryul (Kim Ji suk), and three of her good friends - two of whom stab her pretty harshly in the back within the first, three episodes.

Kim In hee (Wang Ji hye) has lived with Kae in for ten years, and Kae in always treated In hee like a sister, but we discover later on that In hee resented everything about Kae in's nice ways.

Lee Won ho (Bong Tae kyu) is a guy who does everything he can to help Kae in to succeed, but he 'somehow' ends up mortgaging the famous house in an investment scam that results in the house being in receivership of ruthless creditors.

Won ho runs away, never to return to the drama - but Kae in finds out where he lives and arrives in a poor part of town, finding an elderly woman lying on the floor of a one-room shack, and while the uneducated granny begs Kae in to read her a letter from her grandson (a collection notice, actually), Kae in sees a graduation picture of Won ho hanging on the wall.

In tears, she makes up a loving message to the granny and leaves, deciding to figure out another way to get back the astronomical amount of money her supposed friend stole from her so that she can save the house and not incur the wrath of a father she doesn't think loves her.

This all takes place soon after she finds out that her boyfriend, Chang ryul, tells her he wants to break up (since he hasn't got the balls to be honest).
He's actually going to marry In hee the next day, and vicious In hee wants Chang ryul to be the one to drop the massive bomb in Kae in's lap, not her.

Even before all this, Kae in runs into a tall, handsome guy named Jeon Jin ho (Lee Min ho), a budding architect who ends up having to board the same bus as Kae in while being careful not to ruin a model building he needs for a big presentation that morning.

Jin ho notices Kae in's panty line, and she first accuses him of being a pervert when the bus driver steps on the gas, she lurches backward, and he uses both hands to keep her ass from crushing his model.

Jin ho's rival in life and career is none other than Chang ryul, whose creepy father uses underhanded methods to get ahead in the world while poor Jin ho has to rely solely on his talent to succeed.

Kae in and Jin ho continue to bump into one another that day, and after a rigged presentation that Chang ryul wins even after flubbing the presentation portion of the meeting, Chang ryul meets with Kae in to try and break it to her gently, but Kae in mistakenly assumes he is intending to propose.

Jin ho breaks up the conversation to accuse Chang ryul of being a loser, and then Kae in yells at Jin ho for interrupting the anticipated proposal.

Confused, Jin ho knows that Chang ryul is getting married the following day, so he has no idea what Kae in is talking about.

That night at a hotel restaurant, Kae in and Chang ryul meet again so that he can dump her by handing her an invitation to the wedding she is already invited to attend since it's In hee's big day as well.

(Despite the fact they have lived together for ten years, I find it hard to believe best friends can keep from one another the identity of the man one intends to wed - but that's just me, I guess. I mean, you find out your roomy of 10 years is getting married, so wouldn't you be asking a thousand times who the guy is??)

Unable to hand her the wedding invitation, Chang ryul instead takes a half-hour to say he wants to break up.

Devastated, Kae in gets drunk with Won ho, he takes her to a hotel, and he tries to have sex with her when she kicks his ass, chasing him out of the room at about the same time our handsome Jin ho is putting to bed his drunk co-worker, Kim Tae hoon (Im Seul ong), in the room next door.

A really annoying twit named Na Hye mi (Choi Yeun so) has been in love with Jin ho since she was seven and still intends to marry him.

Jin ho isn't interested at all, but Tae hoon is madly in love with Hye mi and keeps begging Jin ho to treat her better while also continuing to pine away for her attention.

Hye mi is the whining, sniveling, bratty annoyance nearly all Korean dramas MUST include in their stories, and In hee is the prerequisite hag necessary to torment the female lead from start to finish.

Anyway, Tae hoon gets drunk again, and it's the reason why Jin ho ended up at the same hotel as Kae in.

While Kae in is chasing away Won ho, Jin ho is walking away when Tae hoon leaves the hotel room in his drawers, whining and pleading with Jin ho to be a little, more sympathetic to the ways of love.


This gives Kae in the wrong impression about Jin ho, and now she thinks he's gay.

The next day, and before the wedding, Kae in's truly good friend, Lee Young sun (Jo Eun ji) has an interesting encounter with Jin ho and his co-worker, Han Sang joon (Jung Sung hwa), in an elevator.

I might be tempted to say that Jung Sung hwa and Jo Eun ji stole the show, but that wouldn't be entirely honest since the entire drama focused on Lee Min ho and Son Ye jin's relationship, and that as the stars, both shone brightly - but still, their best friends were hilarious together.

Good chemistry all around.


So now we get to the good stuff.

Everyone is arriving for the wedding, including Kae in, and since her best friend finds out first what is going on, she attempts to stop Kae in from entering the hall when Kae in see's Chang ryul and In hee walking hand-in-hand in their wedding garb toward the hall.

Jin ho and Sang joon are already seated for the ceremony when Kae in staggers in with Young son trying quietly to get her attention.

Kae in is in a daze for obvious reasons, and slowly she approaches the couple, lifting In hee's veil.

It's then that In hee finds out her cowardly fiance hasn't told Kae in the truth, and while the security lock Kae in and her friend away so they can't further ruin the wedding ceremony, Young son's little boy starts to mess around with some controls and everything Kae in is crying about, pouring out her heartfelt feelings of shock and dismay to her upset friend is being broadcast throughout the wedding hall for all to hear.

Unwittingly, Kae in destroys the chances for happiness of the scheming couple.

In hee snags the honeymoon tickets from Chang ryul, rips all the decorations off a fancy sports car, and she speeds away, leaving Chang ryul to cry before getting his ass kicked by his super-pissed dad.

Jin ho is in bad need of a contract, and his Sunbae Sang joon tells him about a famous architect who teaches in England now but who built a totally cool house somewhere nearby, and if they could just get inside that house, they might gain some valuable information to help them create a concept for a new Gallery that is proposed to be built on tons of acres of land.

Jin ho of course wants that contract, but his inspiration is lacking and with other, mounting issues in his life, he can't think straight.

The guys soon learn that it is Kae in who lives in the house, and since she needs a renter to help her get back the money Won ho swindled, she decides to take in Jin ho since she assumes he's gay anyway, so it won't be much of a problem and no one can gossip about them.

Jin ho, of course, isn't gay but he's not interested in Kae in as a woman, either.
He just wants to gain access to the house so he can study it for his design bid to win the contract for the new gallery.

Kae in is slovenly both in appearance and household duties, and one of the first things that Jin ho does after he moves in is to force her to clean from top to bottom.
He's actually pissed that she would disrespect such a magnificent place while she is assuming 'all gay men are this way'.

There is a funny bathroom scene where Jin ho walks in on Kae in while she is wrapped in a towel while searching for a missing contact lens.
She's turning this way and that, leaning this way and that way, innocently shoving her ass or cleavage in his face, and Jin ho is struggling to keep his cool.
He ends up finding the missing lens that is stuck to the moist skin of her collarbone.
It's an awkwardly romantic moment.

Better still, though, was JIN HO's shower scene!!!

Afterward, and when he opens a striped towel to rewrap it about his waist, Kae in opens the door on him and ~ HELLO! ~
The look on his gorgeous face is hilarious, and after gasping hard enough to nearly faint, Kae in slams shut the door, and then she opens it again, shyly explaining to our embarrassed hunk that she is neither wearing contacts nor glasses, so he needn't feel awkward since she can hardly see anything.

That night, though, when he's dressed and fuming in his bed, he shuts off the light and immediately he see's the two silhouettes of the girls outside his room, and in quiet voices, Young son is asking Kae in about the details of his privates.

"How big?"

"Maybe like, this big?"


You know, typical girl's curiosity questions - only Jin ho can hear them, and he's now beyond furious AND embarrassed.

Another thing Jin ho can't stand about Kae in is her inability to keep his 'gayness' a secret.

She keeps promising not to say anything about it, but there are a number of times when, in public, or in front of people in the Design world, Kae in will come to his defense by letting a jealous boyfriend know Jin ho isn't making a play for his girl since he's gay, or letting a curious friend who wonders about their living arrangements know that it's fine since he's gay.

At the start, Jin ho had no intention of making Kae in believe he is gay just to gain entry into her house.

She took what she saw at the motel between him and Tae hoon to heart and honestly believes that he's a gay man in denial.

His buddy, Sang joon, though is more than happy to play up the gay thing, and he does an excellent job of over-doing it, too.

He and Young son become good friends as a result, and they spend a majority of this drama working together to keep Jin ho and Kae in together.

Personally, I was mortified and dumbstruck by the fact that our sinister In hee had the audacity to try and move back in with Kae in when her jilted fiance took back the luxurious condo they were supposed to share.

In fancy terms, it's referred to as unmitigated gall, and for a few seconds I cringed as I waited for our good-hearted Kae in to let her have Jin ho's room.

Thankfully, Kae in was still pissed enough to put In hee in her place before insisting that she get the hell out before being beaten, and then she went ahead and told her that Jin ho was welcome to take her place since he was gay and not a threat.

Furious, Jin ho ordered Kae in to return his deposit on the room and left the house, but only for a short time.

At the beginning of their relationship, it seemed a tad uncomfortable and cruel to me how Jin ho was able to completely ignore Kae in's feelings every time she got hurt and he wasn't there to comfort her.

He saw nearly everything that she went through, even watched her break down a few times, but his response was always something cold and impersonal - like getting upset about her having told someone he's gay instead of worrying about how it felt for her to have to deal with a bitch like In hee.

Then, when he began to have romantic feelings for her, he did a total 180 and became this gallant romantic able to buy sanitary napkins at a convenience store in front of some gushing high school girls, rub her tummy and sing a silly song when she got menstrual cramps, and so on.

I was never, quite sure if this was written by a guy or a girl, but in the end it didn't matter.

The book isn't quite the same as the drama, but the drama was spectacular and ranks right up there in my list of top-10's for sure.

One of the rare few that I know I'll be watching again at any rate.

Also, and this isn't a bad thing, I got a subtle sense of Hotaru no Hikari meets Coffee Prince while I watched this one.

Taiwan just made a similar story called Down With Love that Jerry Yan and Ella Chan star in, and that's a winner, too, even if the subtitles are for shit and it's taking forever for the episodes to be uploaded at

I just really, REALLY liked Personal Taste, and now I'm completely in lust with Lee Min ho, too.

Here are more images I captured while watching this one - you know, the quirky oddities about the show I just have to comment on.

makes no sense to me, either - how it can rain in sunshine, but whatever!

maybe I'm not seeing this the right way, but the dog-bone floor tiles confused me

please tell me FLOODS aren't back in style!!

this woman made it a habit to show off her ass in nearly every episode - seems a tad on the risque side if you ask me (at least by Korean standards anyway)

I mean - is it really acceptable to wear short-shorts to work? I might be more old-fashioned than I realize, because this is still 'hooker' apparel to me

didn't care for the green walls inside that house


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