KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

REWATCH: Personal Taste - Episode 3

A meal is more than sharing food
InHee and GaeIn are in Sangojae’s courtyard continuing to argue about whether or not JinHo is a man who would be susceptible to InHee’s female wiles when GaeIn announces that JinHo won’t ever go to her because he’s gay! InHee is shocked. “Gay!?” she squeals in disbelief. GaeIn snits, “Actually, you’re so good at seduction, go ahead and give it a try with him too. You never know, maybe you’ll even change his sexual orientation with your charms.” InHee can’t quite believe it. InHee wants to know if GaeIn is trying to replace her with a gay man. Frankly, GaeIn thinks being with a gay man is preferable than a hetero female friend who’ll stab a person in the back first chance she gets. InHee’s not one to take insults quietly. “Instead of blaming me for stealing your boyfriend,” she advises, “why don’t you ask yourself what you might have done to chase him away?” She points out GaeIn’s lack of attention to her appearance, her inclination for sweats and manly clothing the main point of insult. “What man in this world would possibly see you as a woman?”

GaeIn’s had enough and demands that she leave. InHee has balls of steel and she screeches at GaeIn that she has no where else to go! GaeIn stands her ground and doesn’t care, insisting InHee leave. This surprises InHee who is used to GaeIn eventually/always giving in. InHee nods thoughtfully, “Okay, you’re right, maybe we still need more time to think about what happened.” Even GaeIn is shocked by the other woman’s flippancy. Was this the InHee that had been her friend all these years? InHee does, however, finally leave.

Our heroine doesn’t have very long to wallow in her own misery because the next confrontation comes out of his room, arms crossed and stone-faced. “Who exactly are you calling gay?” he wants to know, trying to control is outrage. She apologizes, “I’m sorry, I know you want to keep it all a secret. I just lost my temper and it came bursting out.” But with an undeniable talent for saying the wrong things at the wrong time, she continues, “Just because you want keep it a secret doesn’t mean it’ll stay a secret, you know. People can tell.” He repeats incredulously, “Can tell!?” She lectures on, “I understand, your personal preference is none of my business and that’s fine, but being a two-timing cheater is not okay with me.” He repeats with even more incredulity, “Cheater!?” She further informs him that he needs to hurry up and decide between the man at the motel and the boyfriend that came today to sign papers with him. He really shouldn’t string both of them along. “Love can really leave long-lasting scars, people who’ve never been hurt like that have no idea,” she finishes. Really, JinHo has nothing to say, absolutely nothing to say to her tirade. From his being gay to cheating on SangJoon for TaeHoon, it leaves him completely speechless and he just stares at nothing, his lips twisting in dismay. He reviews their past encounters in his mind and guffaws, he really can’t believe that this woman actually thinks he’s gay!

Since it’s not in his nature to indulge people in their stupidity or the type that deems it necessary to go at length to explain or justify his actions, he settles for silent seething. Why should he bother to clarify anything when he is not at fault for the misunderstanding in the first place? It is all a product of her own imagination, after all. In his room, he starts throwing his recently unpacked clothes back into his suitcase and stomps into her work shed. He’s dressed to leave but she doesn’t see that because he’s loudly demanding her cell phone number. She gives it to him. He texts her his bank account number, “Wire my lease deposit here. I’ll be back for the rest of my belongings later.” She can’t believe he’s so upset about an accidental case of loose lips that he’s actually going to move out. Driving away, JinHo is still steamed at having his manhood questioned. He is not gay!

The next morning JinHo is sucking down espresso shots and sporting some dark bags under his eyes. SangJoon assumes GaeIn tried to jump JinHo’s hot bod their first night alone together thereby making sleep difficult for his young boss. JinHo is mute. When he attempts to share the story of being mistaken for a gay man…he can’t bring himself to say the words out loud. He just tells SangJoon that they’ll just have to forget about Sangojae and do what they always do, rely on their talents and just do their best for the Dan Art Gallery project. Whatever they do, one thing is for sure, he is not going to live with that crazy woman.

But SangJoon doesn’t like this new plan of action. He takes a trip down the pity party lane and contemplates a future where he’s bagging groceries after M Construction goes into the gutter. JinHo listens to the one man whine fest feeling guilty. And tired of his own life.

Similarly, across town, YoungSun can’t believe GaeIn chased such an awesomely hot tenant out with her big fat mouth. “He hadn’t even officially come out of the closet yet!” YoungSun hollers accusingly. “I clung onto him for you and got him in here and you go and do this, you stupid girl!” GaeIn says it worked out great, she didn’t really like living with him anyway. YoungSun snorts, “Rice is rice! As if you have the luxury to be picky over whether it’s served hot or cold!” GaeIn stubbornly insists that she just needs to find WonHo and get her money back and all will be worked out.

InHee still doesn’t have a place to sleep so she goes to the bathhouse, the cheap ‘motel’ for all unexpectedly homeless people in Korea. The other displaced women there are loudly gossiping about her, most especially the amount of make-up she piles onto her face and how different she looks without it. She gets into a yelling match with a couple of them, but in the end, the problem isn’t the annoying and petty housewives but the fact that she’s there at all. She huffs in frustration.

GaeIn has gone back to the hospital for a follow-up on her ankle and she recalls how nice JinHo had been that day. “I didn’t even pay him back for the medical bills yet,” she murmurs. Back at M Construction, JinHo and SangJoon are brainstorming about the Daum Art Gallery designs and it isn’t going well. SangJoon starts to plead with JinHo again to move back into Sangojae; JinHo doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.

TaeHoon bursts in to announce a guest: Park GaeIn. The JinHo takes her outside to talk, especially since she can’t stay in his office and see that they are brainstorming over Sangojae. GaeIn starts to apologize about the night before. When she rambles on for a bit, he cuts her off, “Your explanation is quite long. I’m busy. Just wire my money back to me.” She yells at him to wait when he starts to walk away. He glares at her. Ungraciously, she shoves a box at him. “A gift,” she barks. He squints at it but takes it. Inside is a tiny table and chair, of the dollhouse variety. “A bribe, you mean,” he says. “No, a gift,” she corrects, “for the hospital bill…I didn’t properly get to thank you...” His expression softens and she notices the shift. She says hopefully, “So you’ll move back in?” JinHo scowls again. “No,” he says flatly. “But I will accept this parting gift.” Immediately she regrets giving him the bribe that totally backfired.

Despite his gruffness and lack of reaction in front of her when he accepted the gift, he obviously likes it, as the miniature desk and chair are allowed to take up prime location on his work table. SangJoon immediately notices it. “What’s that?” A gift, is the brief answer. “A gift?” SangJoon says in surprise, “From who?” Just then HyeMi arrives in a flutter, whining about JinHo moving out. How can he do this to her? JinHo explains that it’s all for her benefit, that a young woman can’t have an unattached man like JinHo living in the same house, after all, it may cause issues with her future husband later on (read: NOT HIM). JinHo makes a quick exit, they need to get to Daum Art Gallery where the competition will be officially announced. But HyeMi is furious. She demands the lovesick TaeHoon to ferret out where JinHo is living these days.

At Daum, President Han has come early to give a token of ‘friendship’ to Director Choi, who politely refuses on the grounds that it would not be appropriate considering the upcoming contest. He will not accept the gift itself but the kind intention behind it. Director Choi clearly sees right through President Han’s slyness. ChangYul is downstairs in the gallery corridors trying to get a peek at his former fiancé when JinHo and SangJoon arrive. “Your little hole in the wall isn’t out of business yet?” ChangYul attacks immediately. SangJoon wants to punch him but JinHo pulls him away, the briefing is about to start.

At the presentation, Director Choi gives the details of the project and the goals Daum Art Gallery wants to achieve. He wants the best ideas from the best architects in South Korea. The curator, InHee, finishes the presentation with the deadlines for the contest. When she exits the room, ChangYul is out there waiting for her. He wants to know where she’s been sleeping and rants at her while she tries to evade him.

Around the next corner is JinHo, who InHee immediately recognizes as the handsome young gay man that has taken her room. She grimaces at being caught in yet another embarrassing situation by JinHo, as ChangYul is grappling onto her. Demurely, she approaches JinHo to apologize for the night before. “Last night—” JinHo starts, trying to respond, but is interrupted by ChangYul, who howls, “LAST NIGHT!?” Feeling vicious and sleep-deprived, JinHo bandies out some vague pleasantries laced with innuendo, and InHee is more than happy to accommodate. She flirts right back. ChangYul is about to blow his head off. He grabs JinHo’s jacket, “What the hell did you do with my InHee last night!?” JinHo can’t hide his grim satisfaction and further fuels the fire, “Curious? That’s too bad. It seems your InHee wants me to keep last night’s affair a secret between us.” ChangYul wags his finger at JinHo, “You had better enter this Daum Art Gallery contest so I can crush you!” JinHo sniffs, “It’s unlikely I’ve made it this far just to be crushed by the likes of you.” JinHo has a way of standing like a calm elm while the skinny palms around him shake and tremble in fury. It would be infuriating being his enemy since he never seems to react to anything and always manages the most perfectly scathing last words.

At that precise moment, President Han turns the corner. He interrupts the confrontation to take another stab at intimidating JinHo, to kick him back down into the dirt where he belongs. What he doesn’t realize is that Director Choi is watching from the second floor landing. JinHo, however, has the last word in this fight too, telling President Han to fight fairly this time instead of fighting like a classless thug and hiding rocks in his fists. “Use your bare fists this time,” JinHo pointedly says, the insinuation that Mirae Construction makes a habit of doing just the opposite. In the car ride back to the office, SangJoon is applauding JinHo’s super kickass awesomeness.

In another car with President Han and ChangYul, it’s less gleeful and more conniving. If ChangYul does good on this project, his father agrees to accept InHee again. ChangYul also wants full authority on the Daum Art Project, he wants to go up against JinHo ‘bare-fisted’ and prove once and for all he’s the better man.

JinHo finds himself at the hospital again when two of his construction workers are injured. Worse, their current client has skipped out of town leaving a mountain of debt on JinHo’s head. Despite his lack of money, he still wants to pay for everything including the medical bills for the injured workers. With troubles upon troubles mounting, JinHo decides he has no choice, he needs to move back into Sangojae. This show is all about comparative levels of hell and in the scheme of things, JinHo realizes that compared to the threat of bankruptcy, being mistaken for a gay lad is not worth prideful stubbornness.

JinHo comes back to Sangojae to find it still in a state of disgusting trash pit distress. “Is this a pig’s pen?” he mutters. When GaeIn comes home to find him there, she’s delighted that he’s decided to forgive her and come back. He immediately drags her back out of the house to go shopping for cleaning supplies. With new leverage, since she so desperately wants him to stay, he demands the house stay clean or else he skips out. “When was the last time you put a rag to this place? Until you return my money, this place must stay fit for a human being,” he declares. She doesn’t understand, “What do you mean fit for a human being…?” When his gaze falls on her hot pink bra tossed on the ground in the living room, she concedes that the place could use some sprucing up. “Okay, okay, but take it back then. Take it back! You won’t move out, right?” He agrees but stipulates that she’s not allowed to bring up his sexual orientation ever again. She agrees happily, she can definitely do that!

The place really is a breeding ground for dirt and grime and he orders her about as she struggles to keep up with his cleaning frenzy. Somewhere along the way, JinHo realizes he’s taken over the cleaning himself while she’s snuck away into her bedroom. He finds her playing with her dollhouse. She tells him not to look down on it because it’s older than he is, made by his mother, who had also been a furniture designer. When JinHo asks about her mother, she clams up and changes the topic. Holding up a cute little black and white puppy miniature, she says cheerfully, “This one’s you, JinHo-shi. Cute, isn’t he?” She’s even given him residence in her cherished dollhouse in the form of a puppy miniature. He senses the importance of this memento for her and quiets a bit, his serious gaze revealing that he may be seeing her as a person for the first time, not just a cartoon character getting in his way or a means to an end.

He’s eager to kill the intimate mood and tells her to come back outside, there’s still work to be done. While taking out the trash, he notices a picture frame with a snapshot of GaeIn and ChangYul. With a bit of a sigh, he tells her that she should at least separate the trash from what can be recycled, meaning the frame can be salvaged into something else, if not the wretched picture it holds. She misses the significance of his words, and comments with judging admiration, “You must really love cleaning, hmmm?”

Later in the night, she comes back out to stand over the piles of trash. She picks out the picture. She remembers the night ChangYul told her it wasn’t love he felt for her but pity for a wet dog. She moves to tear the picture in half, but can’t do it. It may not have been real for him, but it had been real for her. She takes the picture back to her room.

In a more contemporary pad, ChangYul and InHee are still bickering about who owns the anti-newlywed home. This time InHee gets home first and changes the door combination, locking ChangYul out. He still wants to get married to her but not only has InHee locked her out of the house, she’s locked him out of her heart.

YoungSun visits and to her shock, finds a squeaky clean Sangojae. It seems JinHo is a good influence on her friend! GaeIn is exhausted. She explains that in order to woo JinHo back to the house, she had to agree to keep the place clean. But YoungSun didn’t just come by to remind GaeIn to be nice to JinHo so that she can ask him to model later, but she’s brought money! GaeIn may only have one true friend in her life, but her one friend is truly a diamond in the rough. That same friend tells GaeIn she stinks, like literally, smells foul. GaeIn admits it’s been a while since her last visit with soap! She heads on into the shower, only to get an eyefull of naked JinHo. She immediately retreats as JinHo can only stand frozen in stunned disbelief. He barely remembers to slap the towel over his most confidential area. She pops her head back in to mollify him, “I don’t have my glasses or contacts in, so I can’t see anything. Don’t worry too much about this.” In his room, he mourns that he’s going to have no peace because of her. He turns off the lights and tries to sleep. It has been a long day. But voices invade his room.

“Oh my, you saw it?”
“I didn’t have my contacts in…”
“But I saw what matters.”

JinHo bolts straight up at that whispered announcement.

“What about his…”
“You dirty old lady…why do you need to know that?”
“Hurry, spill it. Just tell me…!”
“How was it?”
“It was worth looking at.”

That last is uttered rather smugly. Offended again, JinHo is about to interrupt their dirty gossiping about his anatomy when he gets a call from HyeMi that his mother has gone missing again. He runs out in a tear, leaving the two women to worry that he’d overheard their inappropriate conversation about his body parts.

JinHo knows exactly where his mother is hiding. He finds her having a drink at a familiar swanky sky bar. “Are you here alone?” he asks flirtatiously. “May I sit?” She plays along and chuckles with her playful son. His mother reminisces about the old days when they would come to this particular place where she’d have a glass of wine and he’d have pineapple juice. And his father would just have coffee. “I’m being tacky, aren’t I? Getting sloppy and thinking about these things.” JinHo tells her affectionately, “Keep on going until you really become tacky then.” He’s a momma’s boy and their relationship is so sweet. They only had one another, and also little HyeMi, and their closeness is evident in the way he hugs her close. “I’ll get our house back,” JinHo promises her. His mother snuggles into her son’s embrace. “I have faith in you, my son.”

GaeIn spends the next day trying to track down WonHo. She ends up at his grandmother’s house, who is waiting for him too. The grandmother is slightly senile and she’s been dying for someone to come by and read the letter WonHo has sent her. It’s actually a letter from the bank, but GaeIn doesn’t have the heart to tell her the truth. She pretends she is reading a letter from WonHo. She realizes chasing after WonHo is pointless. She rings him and leaves a message on his cell, “Call your grandmother. Don’t live your life like this. I’ll deal with the money problem myself.”

After treating his employees to a barbecue dinner, JinHo comes home to hear a scream from the bathroom. Worried, he thoughtlessly runs in to find GaeIn wrapped only in a towel. At first she’s shocked, but when she remembers he’s gay, she loses her anger. “JinHo,” she calls, “sorry, I forgot you have no interest in women.” He informs her, “Aside from you, I have lots of interest in women.” She laughs at his big joke, no need to put up a heterosexual façade in front of her, she already knows the truth! She wants him to come back to the bathroom and help her find her contact lens which fell somewhere. He scowls, “Put on some clothes first.” She laughs, “But it doesn’t matter with you!”

Ok, fine, he thinks nastily, he may not be gay but she’s so far from his type, so unattractive, that her nakedness truly doesn’t matter to him anyway. He agrees loudly, too loudly, “THAT’S RIGHT, THAT’S RIGHT! It doesn’t matter with me!” He charges into the cramped bathroom to have a look, but things get uncomfortable when she carelessly sticks her barely-clad bosom and butt into his face. Despite what he’s said, he starts to feel too aware of her freshly washed skin and roughly shoves her away from him. She slips and he’s forced to catch her. The mood between them constricts. Suddenly he’s staring at her and she’s not sure what to do. His hand reaches out toward her. She gulps nervously. Is her gorgeous gay roomie trying to kiss her?

A moment later, he picks the stray contact lens off her collar bone. Awkwardness averted. Her tummy grumbles. “I haven’t had dinner yet…” she tells him. It’s an invitation and he knows it but ignores the unspoken appeal in her face. “Then have a nice dinner,” he says curtly and turns to leave. She grabs onto his jacket with her fingertips as he turns away. His narrowed gaze falls on the offending fingertips holding onto him. “Let’s go eat kalbi (marinated ribs),” she says. He says no. But she won’t give up. “Let’s go eat kalbi, let’s go eat kalbi!” she begs as she follows him around the house like a little duck trailing a mother duck. He stops and turns abruptly and she runs into his chest. “I already ate,” he informs her. So that’s why she’s craving meat! “No wonder I smelled it in the house,” she accuses, leaning into him and taking a good long whiff of his chest.

He dodges her by going into his room. He tries hard to air out the smell from his jacket and ignore the woman outside blaming him for teasing him with the smell of meat then coldly refusing to eat with her when she so desperately wants to eat beef. It’s not like she can eat it alone, why can’t he eat kalbi with her? On and on and on…right outside his bedroom door. She clearly intends to park herself there all night long. He finally gives in, charging out of the room and shouting angrily, “Fine! Let’s go!”

When she comes out all dressed for a night out, he grimaces at the mayhem that is her fashion style, but he’s too impatient to wait for her to change. At the barbecue house, she immediately gets herself plastered with liquor and starts spitting saliva about ChangYul, insulting all men as being scum, except JinHo, of course, who she likes so very much for being different. “I get it,” he mutters. JinHo keeps wiping the area of the table nearest to him. It’s not so much a need to clean the table as an irritated tick. He’s uncomfortable and wants her to finish eating so they can leave.

Things turn worse for him when Director Choi of the Daum Art Gallery waltzes in with a few other men. They immediately recognize one another and JinHo bows slightly. JinHo starts shoving lettuce wraps into GaeIn’s mouth to get her to finish and more importantly, to shut her up. “The more I get to know you, the more I think you’re a good person,” she slobbers. He gnashes his teeth. “Yes, I get it,” he says. “Please hurry up and eat.”

When GaeIn heads off to the bathroom, the waitress brings over another bottle of soju. “I didn’t order that,” he tells her. No, but the lady at the table next to him did. The woman blows him a sultry air kiss and winks. He can’t believe this, a night that continues to become more and more ridiculous. The woman’s husband comes in and sees his wife shooting lovely dovey looks at JinHo and immediately confronts him. He yells, “How dare you try to seduce my wife!” GaeIn is back from the bathroom and immediately throws herself into the thick of it: “He’s not like that!” She starts enthusiastically defending him, drawing the attention of the entire eatery. When the angry husband continues to call JinHo a playboy jerk, she yells out: “HE’S GAY!” All the oxygen is sucked out of the small room. Director Choi’s eyes widen. On the way out, after JinHo is suckered into paying the tab, he offers Director Choi a chastised bow. GaeIn doesn’t know who the man is but she bows too. When they’re gone, Director Choi chuckles.

Once away from Director Choi’s earshot, JinHo fumes, “How many times have I begged you to keep your mouth shut about the whole gay thing?” GaeIn apologizes and starts to sob, that she only did it out of concern for him, because he was being so unfairly accused. She falls to the cement sidewalk and wails about how stupid she is, how she’s ruined everything. She immediately falls asleep on the street bench having cried her strength out.

JinHo stomps away. He makes it all the way to Sangojae’s front door before his conscience kicks in and he turns back to get her. He scowls at the drunken unconscious girl sleeping in the street, wearing her big ugly scarf and even bigger, uglier red jacket. Roughly, he tries to wake her but in the process, she tweaks her ankle again. She looks up at him plaintively. Owweee, her face plainly says. He ends up carrying her on his back all the way home. “How much kalbi did you eat?! Why are you so heavy,” he complains. But she’s in high spirits. “What great night air!” she cheers, countering his foul mood with her euphoria. She starts to wrap her gaudy scarf around his neck. “I’m giving you a gift!” she cries. “Please, stop!” he begs. He’s trying to make it home but she’s dancing on his back, playful and happy and drunk.

When they get closer to home, she’s finally settled down. She clings onto him tightly and snuggles into his back. “Your back is so warm. Would my father’s back have been warm like yours?” He doesn’t want to but JinHo can’t help but ask, “You’ve never been carried by your father?” She says contently, “This is the first time I’ve ever been carried on someone’s back.” She remembers herself as a young girl staring at her father’s back and sighs, “To me a person’s back was always something cold…but now I know it can also be warm because of you, my roommate.” In her mind, GaeIn happily thinks that her life is improving thanks to the warmth of her new life buddy.

At Sangojae, JinHo dumps her on the sofa but feels guilty about leaving her there overnight. She catches him trying to adjust the position of her leg and she’s tickled that a man can touch her leg without getting all weird about it. JinHo tells her to stop talking gibberish and go to bed in her room. But her ankle is bothering her and she begs for a massage. He’s still upset about what she did back at the restaurant but he also feels sorry for her now, especially with her more recent confession during the piggyback ride home, which spoke volumes about her loneliness. Grudgingly, he attends to her leg. She reclines on the sofa with her legs propped over his lap. But after a while, she starts to moan and groan and it’s completely indecent sounding. It starts to grate under his skin. And wind him up a little. He is a man and despite what she thinks, not into men! “Pease be quiet,” he snaps tensely. When she continues to show her massage-appreciation in husky grunts, he tries to get up but she traps him down with her legs. “Just a little more,” she wants. He snaps, “My arm hurts.” She pouts. He shoves her legs off his lap. “I’m your tenant, not your slave!” She calls out after him, “A gay tenant is THE BEST!”

JinHo’s expression is murderous.

Update: End of my introductory recaps. Interested in Personal Taste after this brief 1-2-3? The show does tend to go back and forth between totally cute and sometimes dull, but still an overall fun show. Please do check it out!


  1. wow... 3 recaps in one day... i'm truly impressed. and it was a pleasure going through the recaps. anyways, ep 5 is already out! yay!

  2. Thanks! Trying to catch up before the new eps! Can't wait to watch it later tonight. Yipee.


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