The Gist: Architect Jeon Jin Ho (Lee Min Ho) knows he has to win the bid to redesign a huge art gallery to keep his business afloat. When he finds out the theme of the rebuild is Sanggojae, the home of a famous architect, he becomes determined to find his way inside. Luckily, the home is occupied by the architect’s daughter, Park Gae In (Son Ye Jin), who was recently jilted by her boyfriend Han Chang Ryul (Kim Ji Suk) rather spectacularly when he almost marries her best friend and ex-roommate Kim In Hee (Wang Ji Hye). Crushed beyond reason and financially distressed, Gae In leases out a room in Sanggojae to Jin Ho, whom she mistakes as a gay man. His lies become hard to keep up as he tries to help Gae In become more womanly and they grow more attached to each other. Still, Jin Ho is afraid that if he reveals the truth, Gae In’s fragile heart will break at the betrayal again and he needs to figure out the secret to winning the museum design. That leaves Jin Ho stuck between his lies and his affection for Gae In as Chang Ryul and In Hee plot to interfere with their relationship.
There’s a sweet spot that this drama hits between about episode 6 and 11, where Jin Ho and Gae In have a lovely friendship budding. There’s enough tension to be interesting without the lies being too overbearing. You get the sweet hints of the feelings developing between the two. I busted through the middle of this series… now the beginning and ending episodes are a different story, but I’ll get to that later.
2.Gae In and Jin Ho
I love the chemistry between these two. I’m starting to suspect that Min Ho might play the same character over and over – a control freak, jerk with a soft side. Still, you have to love those soft moments. I can’t bring myself to dislike him at all. I think all of the best scenes are with Gae In and Jin Ho alone. PLUS, man that kiss. Every review I read talks about it, but FINALLY! This is what people want.
Ok, the episodes leading up the ending drive me crazy, but the ending episode itself was a nice treat after all the mess. *SPOILERS* So, Jin Ho’s firm gets the project, which I was actually wondering if they were going to do. Jin Ho and Gae In get to be together and be in love. Everyone’s parents become more accepting and Chang Ryul actually gets a bit more closure than I thought he would! I love that this show ended on a proposal – it circled nicely back to starting with a wedding. The only thing left open was In Hee, which I resent sort of. But still, it ended very strongly.
Played smartly by Ryu Seung Ryong, Director Choi is the head of the museum building project. I feel sort of bad about putting him in the Meh category because I did love him as a character. His unwavering support of Gae In and Jin Ho is delightful. *SPOILERS*I love the idea of Choi as a gay character to get some actual perspective, but I thought his interest in Jin Ho was a little too on the nose. As soon as he made his confession, I was a little disappointed. He’s a great character but I think his part would have been better suited as a gay friend with perspective rather than a crushed love interest.
OK, I get that you’re supposed to hate them, but I don’t just think they’re mean – I think they’re unbelievably dumb and cruel. Like I literally don’t believe their actions. First, who gets engaged to someone their friend is actively dating and NOT TELL THEM until they’re standing at the altar. Like, HELLO?! That just doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Secondly, after all that they DON’T get married and Chang Ryul somehow thinks he should be back with Gae In. No matter what Jin Ho does to Gae In, Chang Ryul can’t even be in competition because he LIED ABOUT MARRYING HER BEST FRIEND. That’s just dumb. Also, In Hee just seems to be mean for no reason. I kept hoping for some resolution and didn’t get it.
I was in so much anxiety for the last like 4 or 5 episodes of this series that I actually stopped watching it for about a week. Gae In and Jin Ho seem to find some happiness but there’s still all these lies hanging above them that you know is going to come crashing down, but it takes forever! I couldn’t even enjoy the happy times because I knew it was all about to go horribly wrong. I jumped about ten minutes in episode 15 because it was just that awkward. *SPOILER* Why on earth did Jin Ho not say why he was there when he confessed he wasn’t gay. It should have been obvious like I pretended to be gay to get in your house. Otherwise, why would he even bother lying? That makes Gae In extra dumb. I wish everything got sorted sooner and with less anxiety.
Seriously, I think this drama has the least interesting pilot of any drama ever. The characters all come off as annoying and bizarre. I watched about 2 episodes and then it took me about a year to actually finish it. By episode 4, I was thoroughly enjoying myself, but that’s 3 or 4 hours to sit through before you’re really interested. That is just too long.
So… I have very mixed feelings about Personal Taste. I love Min Ho and Ye Jin really grew on me, but I think the best part of this show was when they were friends. It has such a slow start and gets so bogged down in lies that I honestly found myself hating the show by the end. I just wanted everyone to come clean already! I think if this show was like eleven episodes, it would have been better. Still, after getting to the end of it, I’m satisfied with what it is.
Final Grade: C+