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Monthly House: Episodes 1 & 2: What is a Home?

Home to some means a future, a place where for most people, is a haven, a place of refuge, a base where everything begins, a sense of being worthy, while for others, it may just be a profit-making transactional space, to be bought and sold without emotions.

Monthly Magazine Home examines that very concept and the true meaning of Home from our characters' perspective and the diverse stories they bring as editors and writers of a home magazine. Yoo Ja Sung (Kim Ji Suk) is the CEO of a monthly home magazine and a real estate investment company. He goes from rags to riches through hard work and many hardships. He is brash, arrogant, crude, and quite condescending at first approach. And despite being wealthy, he is a penny-pincher. He believes that money is the solution to everything and that selling homes is a transactional process and not an emotional one. He is respected by his employees for his business mind but not necessarily liked for it. I think his biggest shortcoming, and understandingly so, is that he believes no one has had the hardships he has, and if he could make it out, there is no excuse why others couldn't. But as is always the case, everybody has a story that influences the type of people they become. And the same is very true of Na Young Won (Jung So Min), a magazine editor with 10 years of experience who has been living alone as a renter rather than a homeowner. She never really considered buying her own home until she starts working for Ja Sung's monthly magazine. She is one of those people who believes a home is a place where one can truly be themselves, be it rented or owned. Her life, however, has been one struggle after the other. Despite being a well-known editor, she loses her job and rental place all in days. And it just happens that the place she was renting is owned by Ja Sung, where he has her evicted. She eventually can find a place and a new job, but unbeknownst to her, the company she works for is owned by the very same person who evicted her.

Naturally, as they start to work closely together, neither Young Won nor Ja Sung really likes each other, which is understandable seeing their past encounter. However, they fundamentally disagree as to what a home really means, and she struggles to come to terms with the kind of editor she has to become to keep her job. And as she resolves to that, she is attacked in her home and is again forced to move. This time Ja Sung comes to her rescue and offers her a studio apartment in one of the many residential buildings he owns, and it is at this time, Young Won is resolute in her determination to save money and own her first home.

As Young Won starts to pinch her pennies, she sees results and is affirmed in her conviction. But even as that happens, an incident at work outside of her control causes the magazine to lose money, and she is forced to use her hard-earned savings to cover for it. And as Ja Sung, who first blamed her for the incident, realizes Young Won's truth, he comes to realize that he may not be the only one that's had a hard life, we start to see a change in him towards Young Won.

It's so good to have Kim Ji Suk back on the screen after the amazing done My Unfamiliar Family; I highly recommend it if you haven't watched it yet. It's also wonderful to have Jung So Min back after her most recent drama, Soul Mechanic, a most touching drama that addressed mental health with the brilliant Shin Ha Kyun. I love that they're both in this light, fun yet poignant drama that tackles the different perspectives of what having a home means based on each individual's past, circumstance, and environmental influences. For some, Home is where love resides, memories are created, friends always belong, and laughter never ends, while for others, it's just a means to riches and wealth.

Having Jung Gun Joo back on the small screen after his adorable role in Oh My Baby is also good. I hope he does not fall into the cliche role of a man caught up in his one-sided love, as the role seems to imply already. A crux of a good drama is in its support cast, and Monthly House has a stellar cast in the ever-talented Kim Won Hae as Choi Go, Monthly House's editor-in-chief, Chae Jung An as Yeo Eui Joo as Editor, Ahn Chang Hwan as Nam Sang Soon, among others. I enjoyed the first-week outing, and I look forward to the continued journey. Watch episodes 1 & 2 here.



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