aka 개인의 취향 - (Gaeinui Chwihyang) -- aka Gae In's Taste/ Personal Taste
Son Ye Jin as Park Gae In
Lee Min Ho as Jeon Jin Ho
Kim Ji Suk as Han Chang Ryul
Wang Ji Hye as Kim In Hee
Personal Preference, while summarized with a refreshing idea of a man pretending to be gay in order to live with a woman for his own career-related motives, ultimately ends up becoming a personal journey of our female lead wherein she learns how to respect and love herself with the help of her "gay housemate." There were moments when I wondered whether there had been controversy by viewers about how the homosexual roles (or even the pretend homosexual roles) were portrayed, but then I just shrugged and moved into enjoying the series.
Park Gae In is introduced as an indifferent fashion disaster with no respect or care for herself as a woman. She does not care for her appearance and will meet her boyfriend for dates wearing only sweats and no make-up; and she is a total pushover, readily answering to her friends' and boyfriend's every beck and call. Entirely trusting of people is what eventually ended up causing her hurt and pain when her ten year long roommate and best friend ends up stealing her boyfriend with plans for getting married without Gae In's knowledge. (Can you say, total failure in life?)
Jeon Jin Ho is an ambitious and one-tracked business man; as an architect and CEO of a very small company nearing bankruptcy, his one goal is to attain the rights to the popular Dam Art Project which is being granted by Choi Do Bin and his company. Learning that the preferred ideals for the project would be similar to a place called Sanggojae, Jin Ho is determined to study the small home in order to come up with inspiration for his own designs.
Having met Park Gae In recently and getting off on the wrong foot with her, it comes as a surprise as well as a complication in Jin Ho's plans when he finds out that Sanggojae is the home created and built by Park Chul Han, Gae In's father, and that the house is currently home to the chaotic and strange young woman. Due to circumstances, Gae In must put up one of her rooms in Sanggojae for rent after her roommate, Kim In Hee leaves and so Jin Ho does not hesitate to pick up that opportunity. As fate would have it, a few misunderstandings from an earlier moment causes Gae In to mistaken Jin Ho as a man who loves men, thus making her readily allow Jin Ho into her home.
After all, what girl in their right mind would want to live in the same home as the charming, good-looking, sexy Lee Min Ho look-alike? Right? Right? Let's just say that in HER shoes, I would probably pretend to mistaken this guy as a homosexual in order to grant him the rights to move in as well. After City Hunter, I think it's time that this blogger admit that she totally fangirl's Lee Min Ho...
Moving right along: the story continues on from there, following the new lifestyle of Park Gae In, now living with a "gay housemate" and struggling with her recent heartbreak and betrayal by her boyfriend and ex-housemate, Kim In Hee. Along the way, the cliches of any romantic comedy begin to catch up with the story line including humorous scenes, emotional turns, and a sweet and new blossoming romance between land lady and tenant -- a failed woman and a fake homosexual man.
I really enjoyed watching this series a lot, if only for the comedic value and light hearted entertainment. Instead of simply focusing on the everyday lives of a strange set of housemates living together, the story continues on to include Gae In's development and improvement as Jin Ho teaches her how to love and respect herself as well as demand love and respect from others when she deserves it. While starting off with a really refreshing plot idea, the series eventually tapers off into a simple love story, much like any other romantic comedies out there with the same values and ideals being taught as well as the same, predictable events that serve to turn the plot.
This is not to say that I didn't like Personal Preference. The way it was directed and presented was very delightful to follow along with despite some unfortunate dragging moments. Son Ye Jin excellently portrayed the unpredictably chaotic yet trusting Park Gae In, bringing her to life with perfect comedic timing and wonderful emotional ups and downs. Gae In's strange actions every so often tend to make any viewer smile just as Jeon Jin Ho finds her few antics endearing. Lee Min Ho, aside from being a bit monotonous, presented to the viewers an extremely serious and mature young architect with only slight tendencies towards teasing and joking as well as a cute boyish charm. Of course, his character was sometimes so straight laced that it was hard to believe he'd allow himself to simply move in with a woman and live with her so naturally (even IF he often claimed that he didn't see her as a woman). Asian culture is fairly more conservative than many would like to believe, after all.
The characters of Kim In Hee and Han Chang Ryul were both characteristically and predictably selfish third wheels, caring only for what they wanted without even thinking about how they would hurt another -- or even how they had already hurt someone else in their own plights. Of course, Chang Ryul DOES redeem himself by finally realizing that his care for Gae In does not mean that he needs to make her fall for him again, but rather, allowing her to be happy with her own life.
Aside from a few little factors, Personal Preference is a great series. It consisted of a more complete happy ending than a lot of other series usually have; but at the same time it still left much to be desired about the conclusion to all the series' conflicts. The progress of the story line was built very well, but after the final climax, the final ending seemed to have lost all steam and simply ended. Conclusions dropped from the sky like hail and the series wraps itself up in time to meet the sixteen episode quota.
Nonetheless, for an entertaining and funny enjoyment, Personal Preference is one that I wouldn't mind recommending to people for it's intended value as a romantic comedy.
For fans of Lee Min Ho, definitely check this one out, although I wouldn't say that this is one of his best. I certainly wouldn't have paid much attention to him (aside from his good looks and charming qualities) if I had based my newfound love interests in Personal Preference's Jeon Jin Ho. Of course, with only so few series to compare with, it's hard to say which is his best, but as of today, I'm totally going for his presentation in City Hunter as vastly improved from this one. Then again, I might just be too obsessed with Lee Yoon Sung to really give an objective opinion.
Personal Preference had a good and stable story line, excellent characters to relate with, a lovely setting in the home of Sanggojae, and some very laid back and catchy insert songs by Younha, 4minute, Kim Tae Woo and 2AM. Setting aside various cliches and flaws, the series itself was overall a fun experience.
thoughts: Personal Preference (Korean) - *coming soon* - Look forward to a more in-depth look at the series in discusion