First Impression: Monthly House

Drama Profile

Title: Monthly House
Main Cast: Jung So-min, Kim Ji-suk, Chae Jung-ahn, Jung Gun-joo
Writer: Myung Soo-hyun (A Poem A Day)
PD: Lee Chang-min (Laughter in Waikiki, Man to Man
Timeslot: Wednesday and Thursday 21:00H
Network: JTBC / iQiyi
Episodes: 16
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Plot Synopsis:

A magazine lifestyle editor, whose disposition in life is about “living” in houses, falls in love with the company CEO and investment expert who sees real estate properties as assets for wealth.

Major Trope: Enemies-to-lovers / Office romance / Tenant-Landlord Romance

Grumpy’s First Impression

It took me a while to warm up to Kim Ji-suk, honestly. I loved his character so much in Another Oh Hae-young that every single time I watch him in a new drama, I’m always back to square one in terms of brushing off his previous character – especially for Monthly House. This drama screams familiar! Jung So-min is another homeless character with an aloof male lead. I’m still getting used to seeing Ji-suk as a rich tsundere here, but I hope his character will grow on me eventually.

Aside from this very personal (and really subjective) notion, I like the drama overall! Jung So-min is an established editor in the publishing world although she had to start anew in a different company with an entirely different niche. Also, the supporting characters here are all interesting, and the chemistry among the editorial board is chill yet funny!

We open the series with Na Young-won (Jung So-min) getting evicted from her apartment. She has been working for the past 10 years, and yet she still doesn’t own a property. I’m not really surprised, though, because housing prices not just in Korea but all over the world are already unrealistic. Average salary earners like us will never own a real estate property even though we work our butts off. The prices of houses nowadays are steeper than Everest. This is why Yoo Ja-sung (Kim Ji-suk) is very much invested in real estate. He’s the new owner of Young-won’s apartment and is determined to kick her out! We learned that Young-won recently got laid off because her then-employer had to close down their magazine for good, which left her unable to pay her rent. Long story short, she’s homeless, broke, and jobless.

But Young-won’s predicament is not Ja-sung’s problem so he’s determined to evict her. They had a really funny confrontation involving pork cutlets, and a disastrous meet-cute was born. Fast forward, Young-won’s sunbae Yeo Ui-joo (Chae Jung-ahn!) scouted her into Monthly House Magazine. The Editor-in-Chief Choi Go (Kim Won-hae) accepted her right away without even interviewing her or looking at her portfolio. This did concern Young-won a bit, but she’s still so grateful for having a new job. Little did she know, there’s a plot twist waiting for her – she’s the personal editor for the CEO who happens to be Ja-sung! Her primary role is to write feature articles of the various houses being sold by Ja-sung’s real estate business! LOL

Young-won and Ja-sung have many connections in the story – as boss/employee and tenant/landlord. They have professional and personal relationships that make it a bit complicated yet simple at the same time if you get what I mean. At the end of Episode 2, Ja-sung already learned about Young-won’s past, which had similarities with his own struggles. Ja-sung is literally a rags-to-riches success story while Young-won is just starting out to carve her own path. She’s still making ends meet with her finances, but she diligently saves up money for her future. I like her attitude because she’s so relatable.

Aside from the main couple, another character who piques my interest is Shin Gyeom (Jung Gun-joo), a gold spoon who likes camping (or more like glamping). He is a freelance photographer and now works with Ja-sung for Monthly House Magazine. He’s officially the second lead guy and the total opposite of the cold-blooded Ja-sung. I can see myself rooting for him with Young-won in the future and getting heartbroken because of it. (Dohwa-ya, you’re going to hurt noona soon; I can feel it. Let’s look for another love line for you, maybe not in this dramaverse, okay?)

As I see it, Young-won is a character who values her house a lot and turns it into her own personal space. No matter where she lives, her humble abode is a reflection of her personality. She never gives up on whatever life throws her way, and she always makes sure to make her house feel like a home. She’s the total opposite of Ja-sung, whose enormous house is just an empty dwelling place. He doesn’t have any furniture and looks at houses as mere assets he can buy and sell. It’s interesting how these two different people will meet halfway and eventually learn to compromise their beliefs.

[Credits go to JTBC for the still photos]

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