JTBC’s “Monthly Magazine Home” has aired its first episodes this week and we’re here to discuss the drama, the writing and the casting.
The drama has gained attention for shedding light on the housing crisis and the exorbitant house prices in Seoul and how the youth of today fails to catch up and can only dream about owning a home in their lifetime.
With the drama shedding a light on such an important issue during such times, it caught netizen’s attention and premiered to promising ratings.
Let us begin discussing my thoughts on “Monthly Magazine Home”!
Note: this is a subjective review. I will share my personal opinion while keeping in mind how others might perceive it. This is a spoiler review
The writing- why so cliché?
Its becoming kinda typical for me to be able to tell whether a screenwriter has been writing since the early 2000s judging by the first episode alone, this is not a good look because it shows the contrast between the older screenwriters and the young ones and how the older ones are strugglingm and with what exactly which shouldn’t be hard to determine but apparently it is still a struggle for some.
“Monthly Magazine Home” is written by screenwriter Myung Soo-Hyun who has been writing for quite some time since the early 2000s, most of her dramas have flew under the radar and I don’t know if this one will but I’ll tell you this, the premiere was disappointing.
Its puzzling how you can walk in with low expectations and still be disappointed, this has to be difficult to pull off because I saw that k-netizens were praising the drama so I checked it out, I was planning on delaying the review until the first half was done but here we are.
“Monthly Magazine Home” premiere was probably one of the most typical and cliché premieres of a 2021 kdrama this year and I’ve watched almost all the short (less than 16 episodes) kdramas when they came out, so this isn’t an easy thing to say.
As soon as the first episode ended, I was sure the screenwriter was someone who started writing in the year 2000 because the structure is very similar to kdramas of that period.
If “Monthly Magazine Home” had come out in the late 2000s, it would’ve probably made a splash and garnered even more attention.
“Monthly Magazine Home” premiere hits every.single.typical kdrama trope to the point it becomes annoying.
I know that premieres aren’t what constitutes a good kdrama but it is a good indication of how it’ll progress.
The classical damsel in distress that can’t do sh*t for herself and has to be rescued on multiple occasions is beyond a tiring trope at this point. And the bigger issue is how the screenwriter goes about it, did you have to be so unimaginative with your approach? At least 80% of the scenes of the 1st and 2nd episodes feel like flashbacks to better kdramas with similar tropes that I’ve seen about 7 years ago. The only difference is we’re discussing real estate this time.
And did the male have to be so annoying and rude? And did he really have to save her 4 to 6 times already? we’re only 2 episodes in and basically, she would’ve died without him. Does it really have to be like that? Can’t you approach the topic with more sensibility and a bit more realistically?
The idea behind the drama is nice, it attracts our generation’s attention. The housing bubble and the skyrocketing prices of homes are an issue across the board, its an issue in most nations worldwide. Its a very interesting premise but the screenwriter had to go about it with the least amount of effort possible, its almost sad at this point.
You have a terrific cast, why is the writing for the premiere like that?
If you’re discussing the troubles today’s youth faces with the rising housing prices, why not approach it more realistically? Rather than the impossible cinderella story we were served with. It would’ve been so interesting to see how the female lead would’ve dealt with being escorted out of her home, but almost feels like a setup for the male lead to scoop in and rescue her.
Nothing feels like its an attempt to discuss the issue at hand but rather serve as another impossible tale that wouldn’t happen in real life.
It feels like she’s rushing through scenes to get to the meat of the story and thus eliminating all the nuisance from what would and should’ve been traumatic and life-changing events that should be properly explored.
Then if she’d done that, when we get to the part where she ends up working for the terrible man who evacuated her unethically from her home, we care about what will happen a lot more.
The only thing “Monthly Magazine Home” surprised with in its premiere is just how fast things went by, the same tropes and cliches we usually see in other kdramas get repeated here, but there is often in-between banter and moments of sincerity but here she goes through the same tropes usually used in the first 4 episodes in 2 episodes and it feels jarring to say the least.
It only feels like a setup for the female lead to eventually be caught in an impossible love triangle between the jerk boss and the handsome kind soul second lead who is insanely rich and also finds her attractive. It feels like, again, this will be a focus on the love triangle.
The male lead Ja Sung is impossible to like on paper, the only reason I don’t hate his guts is because Kim Ji Suk is playing him and he’s impossible to hate. The lines this character speak is very annoying, and I already see the flashbacks of how much he’s struggled and all of that, and I honestly don’t care.
The drama does a poor job at making you care for any of its characters, it almost feels like its rushing through events without properly establishing anything in-between.
Young Won isn’t that likeable either and I don’t feel sorry for her. She works hard but then throughout the drama they also show that she over spends here and there and as a result of her actions, she’s unable to save enough to buy a house, again, relegating the issue with the housing crisis to the ‘uneducated’ and ‘overspending’ youth glossing over exactly what causes the issue and how even with the best of intentions and a proper education, this current system we live in will not allow for you to own a home easily.
Then how is this drama supposed to shed a light on this issue if it feels like an older person lecturing a younger person about how their generation sucks ass?
If you’re painting the character we’re supposed to care about as uneducated and as someone who spends here and there badly then how are we supposed to sympathize with her struggles when you’re making her out to be the person who needs to change not the system?
Not saying such people like that don’t exist but when you do that with your character, it makes us less sympathetic with her struggles. How are you supposed to root for a character you know could’ve done better? Much better?
I get her circumstances and all of that but I walked away from the premiere not really that curious about her. Its very sad because Jung So Min does her best but the character needs so much work I don’t know where to begin with dissecting the character so far.
And I hate just how much the male lead pities the female lead and how he only changes the way he treats her not because he was terrible and rude but because her circumstances are so dire it would make even the most shameless person reflect on themselves. It doesn’t show but tells you ‘here.. look, she’s so pitiful… please like the character.’
The only thing we have going for us in the premiere of this drama is the acting of the cast. They’re all doing a good job.
I know this is only the premiere and is not the end of the drama, but it doesn’t mean I’ll go easy on it. I see squashed potential and honestly, I don’t have the biggest hope this shall turn out any different.
“Monthly Magazine Home” is 16 episodes long, as expected. I don’t know what will happen exactly but I highly doubt it deserves 16 episodes.
I am just surprised Jung So Min chose this drama, she tends to pick better projects with better characters, this has to be one of the most underwhelming characters she’s ever played in her career.
Of course, these are my thoughts on “Monthly Magazine Home” premiere only, so don’t twist it and think it speaks for the entire series. I shall be reviewing this drama again after watching the first half if I feel it deserves a review.
So these are my thoughts on “Monthly Magazine Home”, so what about you guys? did you like the episodes? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.