in

[K-Drama Review] ‘Monthly Magazine Home’: A Rom-Com with Lively Characters

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

monthly magazine home kdrama
Credit: JTBC

A boss and his employee falling in love is a common repertoire in the rom-com genre. But who knew it could be this exciting and enjoyable? Monthly Magazine Home is the first drama with a perfect balance of romance and comedy in a long time. The two main characters falling for each other amid various misunderstandings are just adorable, and the company where their relationship begins in earnest puts a smile on your face thanks to their characterful co-workers. At the same time, the series draws sympathy by raising the topic of “preparing my own house,” which is a concern of modern people.

monthly magazine home kdrama
Credit: JTBC

A woman who thinks that a house is a place to “live” and a man who thinks of a house as a place to “buy.” Monthly Magazine Home features a man and a woman so different from each other like any other rom-com. But the focus is on real estate. To Na Young Won, a house is a space where she can be completely herself. But for Yoo Ja Sung, houses are nothing more than the means of investment. The two people’s first meeting was through real estate. Na, a tenant with loads of loans, was scammed of her deposit and was on the verge of being evicted. And the new landlord Yoo doesn’t give a damn about her stories. And their “awkward” relationship continues as the CEO and editor of a monthly magazine Monthly House.

Although real estate intervened between the two, Monthly Magazine Home is a drama that stays faithful to the “romance formula.” Na, who dreams of owning her home one day while watching “Ja Sung TV” channel, overlaps with a Cinderella-type heroine who stays cheerful and vigorously without losing her kindness even in the face of challenging situations. It’s only natural that Yoo, a grumpy real estate tycoon, is influenced by warm-hearted Na. However, this familiar plot comes as a story that you can enjoy comfortably instead of a slew of cliches. And that’s because all the characters come alive.

monthly magazine home kdrama
Credit: JTBC

Na is a person who lives in a reality where the average wages cannot keep up with the amount of money needed to buy a house. Only after losing the deposit money, she becomes interested in real estate and starts tightening her belt. And that’s not so different from our own reality. On the other hand, Yoo calls himself the last man of his time to tell the rags to riches story. And as if to prove that, he’s quite distanced from reality. Instead, he delightfully leads the play with his “softy” charms. His exaggerated reaction to Na is childish yet innocent, giving a big laugh. Especially, the scene where Yoo dances at the gym after getting compliments from Na is undoubtedly the best.

The drama not only fills the narrative with the two main characters but also the supporting characters. Every employee of the magazine has their own real estate story. The editor-in-chief Choi Go, who hired Na as soon as he saw her, only waited for the reconstruction and became a nuisance to his family. Also, editor Nam Sang Soon was left with “apartment-application bipolar disorder” waiting to win the apartment application so he could marry his girlfriend. Yeo Eui Joo, who introduced Na to Monthly House, is a firm believer of real estate crash who enjoys the present while living at an expensive monthly rental. The three people, who are moderately snobbish and full of eccentric personalities, melts in with Na and Yoo’s romance, allowing you the fun of watching a sitcom.

However, the presence of the second lead is relatively disappointing as he’s overshadowed by the intriguing main and other supporting characters. In the early episodes, he was seen building up a relationship with Na as “convenience store mates.” But since he was revealed to be born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he’s laid aside. With the lack in his storytelling, the charm of the character is not fully shown. Now, I feel more emotions for Nam, who broke up with his girlfriend after winning the apartment application.

Monthly Magazine Home review
Credit: JTBC

The actors’ passionate performances offset the letdowns and vitalize the show. Jung So Min has an excellent talent for adding “familiarity” to the pitiful characters. She adds her unique “naturalness” to the overly kind character, making the character more convincing. Plus, Kim Ji Seok’s “relaxed” acting makes Yoo Ja Sung even more charming. The actor also perfects his character, who is a bit hateful at first due to his cold expressions, by making him more human as the story progresses. From his selfish and timid side to the clumsiness in front of love, he realistically portrays the downsides of the character.

Kim Won Hee, Chae Jung An, and Ahn Chang Hwan, who play the company’s trio, also catch the eye with their family-like co-worker chemistry. In a way, I feel like editors like them will exist somewhere in this world. Kim flawlessly plays the indispensable role once again, while Chae and Ahn wow us by taking a step forward from their existing images. 

Monthly Magazine Home has now reached the turning point and is heading towards the grand finale. All the characters will have a happy ending to some extent. If I have one question, what will happen to Na’s dream of having her own house? From the perspective of a viewer watching the series with empathy and support, I hope that Na continues to be an independent person who designs her own life. 

 

Verdict: A harmony of romance and office sitcom (7/10)

Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.

Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.

What do you think?