03 September 2021

K Drama Review: Monthly Magazine Home 4.3 || 4.3

We've finally watched a Jung So Min drama!! She's part of Oppa's list even before we've watched any of her shows. I've wanted to watch Because This is My First Life but Oppa refuses to because he claims that we already know its story since we caught it on tvN a couple of times. But here we are and I would have to say that it was worth the wait. :)


Monthly Magazine Home is about the story of Na Young Won (Jung So Min), a magazine editor who has been quite unlucky in life. Her latest misfortune was being kicked out of her apartment and her landlady running away with her deposit. Obviously, she loathes the man responsible for her eviction, Yoo Ja Sung (Kim Ji Suk), an obnoxious real estate mogul. Jobless (and homeless) for a couple of months, Young Won had no choice but to live in a shabby rental home. She finally lands a job a few months later as an editor for Monthly Magazine Home who has Ja Sung as its CEO. The drama takes us through how Young Won and Ja Sung, who seem to be polar opposites in life, meet halfway and adjust  to and grow comfortable with each other. 

Jung So Min as Na Young Won

I guess one of the reasons why we're curious about Jung So Min is because she's cute. And this show proved to us that yes, she's cute, regardless of what she does. She can wear silly glasses and oversized shirts, and appear with unkempt hair but she'd still look adorable. 

And she was great as an actress too. Among all of the characters in this drama, it was Jung So Min who perfected the balance between drama and comedy. She had no qualms being funny and crazy as Young Won, without being over the top. Yet she expressed herself so well in the serious scenes too. She can look convincingly pitiful when the scene called for it. 

My most favorite Young Won moment was probably how she picked herself up after Ja Sung broke up with her. I loved how she told him flat out that she can live without him when he tried to get back together with her. And how he should not have let go of her for whatever reason. 

I love the pleasant aura that comes with Jung So Min (although I know she can handle bad aura characters too based on the few episodes I've seen of Hundred Million Stars from the Sky). And I hope to watch more of her soon. 

Kim Ji Suk as Yoo Ja Sung

While I was so sure I'd love Jung So Min, I admit that I was not so sure about Kim Ji Suk. I saw some episodes of Top Star Yoo Baek on tvN and I was not really that impressed. It was not love at first sight for me either when I first started watching this show. I felt that his comedy was a bit exaggerated. But as the drama progressed, I would have to say that Ji Suk won me over. 

He made me laugh whenever Ja Sung would overshare information and become too defensive that he almost always ends up incriminating himself. Like when the Chief Editor (Kim Won Hae of Run On, Start Up, Hotel Del Luna, Strong Girl Bong Soon, Reply 1994, and Samjin Company English Class) wondered why Young Won and Ja Sung had the same breakfast and why their hair smelled the same. Although the Chief Editor was amazed at the coincidence, Ja Sung freaked out because he thought the Chief Editor was insinuating that he lived with Young Won (which was actually true!). 

I loved how despite his cold and heartless persona, Ja Sung was always there helping Young Won behind the scenes - saving her from an attacker in her shabby home, leasing an apartment to her without a deposit, helping her avoid spending money when her colleagues were asking her to buy stuff for them,  and being Dragon for her in the homeowner's cafe online forum. Yes, he was not perfect. Like how he could not cheer her on when she was planning to buy a home. But most of the time, Ja Sung's heart was in the right place, when it came to Young Won, at least. 

Ji Suk was at his best during Ja Sung's soft moments. Those scenes where nobody's looking, he's all relaxed, he puts his guard down, and he's happily stealing glances at Young Won.  And when he bares his sweet side to Young Won - like letting her pick furniture for his home, lying about his driver being sick so he can spend the weekend with her, confessing his feelings by telling her she did not misunderstand his actions, and just being a dork at dating with his finger hearts and giddiness whenever they're together. Or even that surprise friendship he developed with the Chief Editor. 

His awkwardness and clumsiness around his new girlfriend was adorable and cute. And I loved how Young Won helped him become a better person, especially when he gave out gift vouchers to his staff on his birthday. Young Won humanized Ja Sung. 

I'm happy to say that I ended up enjoying Kim Ji Suk here. It would be interesting to watch another one of his shows to see if he should also make it to my list

Sang Soon and Ui Joo

These two are familiar faces so it was nice to see them again. We've watched Chae Jung An (Ui Joo) in Coffee Prince and Suits, while we've seen Ahn Chang Hwan (Sang Soon) in Strong Girl Bong Soon, Prison Playbook, and Vincenzo

I admit, however, that I was quite indifferent towards them during the earlier episodes. It was quite predictable that they would end up together. But I warmed up to them as their friendship deepened when Sang Soon admitted to Ui Joo that he caught his girlfriend cheating. I liked how they naturally gravitated towards each other and how they began supporting each other more from that point forward. 

Ahn Chang Hwan was quite over the top with his funny scenes but he did so much better in the drama ones. He's probably best seen in serious roles like what he had in Prison Playbook. 

Chae Jung An does not seem to age at all. In fact, she seems to look better now compared to Coffee Prince from more than 10 years ago. She seems to be ripe (or over ripe?) for a lead role and I hope she gets one soon. 

Jung Gun Joo as Shin Gyeom 

Yes, photographer Shin (Jung Gun Joo) is a cutie. And I appreciated that he was a very helpful friend to Young Won and a loyal friend to Ja Sung. But it was really evident from the start that he stood no chance with Young Won. And while I felt bad for him, I don't really think I can say much about him since the show didn't really give his character a lot of opportunities to grow and develop. 

The Struggles of the Working Class

The thing I liked most about the show was how it featured the difficulties of the working class and the various home ownership troubles they faced. People who work day in and day out but can barely save money so they have no choice but to live from paycheck to paycheck. I'm sure that's a very relatable theme for everyone. 

And the different home situations of people - one who wants to buy a house to provide her refuge, one who wants to get one so he can marry his girlfriend, one who's desperately waiting for a reconstruction, one who refuses to buy one so she can continue making her estranged dad feel guilty by paying for her rent monthly, and one who can't wait to get rid of her house that nobody wants to buy unfortunately. 

I loved Young Won's thoughts on what a home meant to her - a refuge that separated her work from her personal life. And I enjoyed the financial advice on saving for a home and buying a home. And how difficult it can be when you're surrounded by colleagues who pester you to buy them food every chance they get. 

I also loved that feature on youth housing and the hacks for rooftop and basement living. I super enjoyed the real talk on rooftop living - how dramas glamorize it and thus becoming a dream for a lot of K drama fans, when in reality, it's too cold during winter and too hot during summer.

Things That Were Not So Okay

My biggest struggle during the start of the show was appreciating its kind of comedy. I felt that they were mostly over the top with a tendency to be slapstick. It didn't help that the main funny guys (Ja Sung, Chief Editor, and Sang Soon) were quite exaggerated. Like that elevator melee with the staff of their competitor magazine. Or Ja Sung dancing in the gym because Young Won complimented him. Or Sang Soon's dance numbers.

It's a hump you need to get over right away if you want to continue watching the show. Fortunately, it gets better halfway through the show. We're not sure though if the show just became really funnier or we just got used to their style. I found that episode where the Chief Editor was stalking Sang Soon and Ui Joo really funny. Although it was not cool that Ja Sung kept letting Sang Soon take the fall for him. It would have been nice if he apologized and owned up to his mistakes. 

There were characters who were genuinely funny - Young Won, Photographer Shin's assistant (Yun Ji On), the assistant who didn't talk a lot (Ahn Hyun Ho), and the colleague they had for a very short time (Lee Jung Eun of Law School, Fight for My Way, Ms. Hammurabi, A Taxi Driver, and Parasite). 

Spekaing of Lee Jung Eun's character, we found it weird that she was only there for one episode. Sure, it might have been a cameo but her position in the office seemed to be a permanent one - she had her own desk, the others knew her, and she knew the company's history. If she were just passing by, I'm not sure if she really had the license to berate the staff. Her role got me quite confused. 

We were not huge fans of Ja Sung popping out everywhere to remind Young Won to save. It felt like a bit too hard sell. 

The online forum chats also reminded Oppa of You've Got Mail. 

I also didn't like the vicious cycle at the start of the show where Ja Sung would hate Young Won for something (she thought he liked her, she unsubscribed to his channel, she believed rumors that someone committed suicide in the apartment she's renting, she complimented everyone, etc.) then he would like her again because she'd do something good for him (she complimented him and she told the building tenants that the suicide rumor was not true). It was quite exhausting. 

Some things didn't make sense either. Like Ui Joo hating on Ja Sung and Young Won for not telling her about their relationship, as if they owed her any explanation. She was obviously overreacting. But I loved how Ja Sung stepped in to defend Young Won. And it was a good thing the show didn't prolong this arc. 

The break up because Photographer Shin also liked Young Won was a classic K drama cliche for me. You know, breaking up with someone to avoid hurting the feelings of your friend but hurting the person you're in a relationship with, without even telling him/her the real reason why you're breaking up. Why make things complicated? Can't they handle these things like mature adults should? And are there absolutely no other possible conflict that can be explored apart from this one? The show could have just used Young Won's dad as the reason for the break up. That would have been more acceptable. 

Things That Worked

One thing I enjoyed while watching the show was looking at the beautiful houses they featured. 

I also liked how the show, despite being repetitive about Ja Sung and Young Won's conflicts at the start, made the confession scene seamless. Ja Sung did not deny he had feelings for Young Won. At least he didn't prolong her agony by letting her think he didn't like her. 

I also liked the bits of surprise storylines the show reserved for the end. Like how Ui Joo did not actually have a sugar daddy (which the show made us believe for the longest time) because rich guy was really her dad. And how Ui Joo didn't hate on Sang Soon even if he prejudged her. And how that paved the way for them to be together. 

I also liked the storyline about Young Won's dad. Although he was mentioned occasionally in the earlier episodes, the twist that he was nature man and the guy who ran away with Ja Sung's money sneaked into the story. The build up was done discreetly. 


I was happy with how Ui Joo and Sang Soon ended up getting married. The road to that wedding was sweet and funny. Sang Soon's parents visited him in the office to ask the Chief Editor to let him go home and not do overtime everyday, when in fact he was just spending the night in Ui Joo's place. And how anti-marriage Ui Joo finally agreed to marry Sang Soon because she saw how his dad treated his mom and she knew that men take after their fathers so she was confident Sang Soon will take good care of her too. Or how Ui Joo asked the Chief Editor to walk her down the aisle. And how Sang Soon sought out Ui Joo's dad because he knew that she really wanted him there despite what she said. 

I also liked how the other magazine staff developed - the assistants were now editors and Photographer Shin's assistant was now replacing his boss. 

And while I was not so happy with how Ja Sung and Young Won broke up, I understood why Young Won had to do it. She probably could not live with the shame of knowing that her dad ran away with her boyfriend's hard earned savings. I just hope that three years was enough time for both of them to heal from that experience. 

Over all, Monthly Magazine Home was a light rom com, good enough to distract you from the worries from the real world. 

Oppa says...4.3.

Noona says...4.3.