Drama Reactions & Reviews
I Need Romance: Episodes 1-2
by | June 15, 2011 | 96 Comments

New TVN cable drama I Need Romance premiered this Monday and Tuesday, and I checked it out because the premise — thirtysomething single women dealing with life and love – seemed like it had potential for fun. I was actually surprised to like it, and though I don’t have time to recap it (there’s just no way to bend the space-time continuum that way), I think it’s worth sharing my thoughts in an intro/review.

 
EPISODES 1-2 REVIEW

Though it tries WAY, way way way, too hard to be Sex and the City (like carbon-copy music and girls in the city intro) it actually ends up finding its footing in the arrangement of characters and the quick pace of the story. It feels like a risqué version of The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, with three close friends and hijinks, just with lots of frank talk about sex and love. And that’s always a welcome change on the k-drama landscape. (Of course, the fact that it’s not network TV is the main factor in that difference.)

Heroine Sunwoo In-young (Jo Yeo-jung) is actually really relatable, though it probably has a lot to do with the Carrie-Bradshaw-esque first-person voiceover that takes us through the show. I don’t usually mind the use of that as a device as long as a show doesn’t use it as a crutch to tell me what I’m supposed to feel instead of showing me what the heroine is feeling. But In-young is as open and readable as she is flawed, so it works decently.

At the outset she and her friends are 33, and we rewind ten years to see the start of her dreamy romance with Kim Sung-soo (Kim Jung-hoon), when they’re both 23. They’re cute and sexy, and it’s sort of worth watching for the kisses alone. Not gonna lie.

Over the course of the first episode, we watch their budding romance turn into a ten-year comfort relationship, where passion gets replaced with routine, and hot sex replaced with tingle-less touching. The love fades and he starts to drift away, just as his 10-year struggle to become a film director takes off.

It’s a guarantee we’re going to be on her side – she supported him for ten years (with her career in the hotel industry—why, every drama ever, why?) when he was nothing and no one. But the second he debuts, it’s twentysomething actresses and fame. And she gets left in the dust.

But what’s great about In-young (and what convinced me that I liked her) is that when faced with the prospect of being 33 and alone or staying in a loveless relationship, she chooses to break up with him. She follows her friend’s advice, and with a kiss, she says goodbye by the end of Episode 1.

As I did with The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, I find that the girls’ friendship is the best thing about the show. In-young’s two best friends are Park Seo-yeon (Choi Yeo-jin), bold, beautiful model, serial dater, and Kang Hyun-joo (Choi Song-hyun), sweet, virgin, bride-to-be.

The mix of the three girls’ dating experiences gives a range of perspective on all topics, and though the character types are stock, their friendship is really cute. Over dinner the girls run into one of Seo-yeon’s exes with his very pregnant wife, alerting them to the fact that he was totally married while dating her. Oops. But on impulse, she ends up letting him in when he comes knocking, and before she knows it he’s half-naked on her couch.

She calls Hyun-joo in a panic, reminding her that she can’t think straight in these situations, and asks to borrow her brain. She means it literally, and so with the phone pressed to her ear, she just turns to the guy and repeats what Hyun-joo tells her verbatim, and kicks him out, in his boxers.

I love that. It’s so cute that she trusts her friend that much—it’s not just lip-service that she called for advice—she literally needs to borrow her friend’s brain to get herself out of a bad situation. It’s comical and adorable.

Meanwhile, In-young, reeling from her break-up, cleans out her house of all things that remind her of Sung-soo. And the thing that makes her the saddest, that she can’t manage to part with? The condoms. She decides that throwing them away would be like throwing away hope, and “I’m still young, the world is wide, and there are many men.” Holla!

But the breakup turns out to be messier than she’d realized, with ten years of history, and it seems like it’s going to be a big point of contention throughout the show. It’ll be an interesting dynamic, between the ten-year-ex, and her hotel underling-with-a-puppy-crush, 27-year old Bae Sung-hyun (Choi Jin-hyuk).

So far, the drama manages to stand up at both ends of the spectrum, in terms of comedy and drama, because it’s not afraid to go to extremes. Episode 2 ends with Hyun-joo being stood up on her wedding day… via TEXT MESSAGE. Damn, that’s cold.

And her solution? Easy, just hire a guy to be her groom for a day. How’s that for hijinks?

Overall it’s a fun, breezy watch and there are some great moments of girl talk as well as realistic adult romantic conflicts where love and sex are complicated, messy things. I appreciate the way the drama’s sense of humor cuts the dramatic moments and plays with our expectations, but also knows when to let the scene play for emotional resonance. The setup is certainly nothing new in all of TV land, but it feels fresh in present kdramaland, and the execution is light and fun. Looks like I’ll be tuning in.

 
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96 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Jasmin

    It’s finally here! I was just waiting for Kim Jung-hoon return drama to begin. Thanks for the quick review will definitely watch this drama.

     (0)


    • 1.1 mimi

      does anyone know where they are releasing the english subtitles for this drama?

       (0)


      • 1.1.1 Blueseeker

        I saw somewhere that Viki may be subbing this one, but don’t quote me on it, as i just saw it in passing.LOL

         (0)


      • 1.1.2 aznative

        It’s in the upcoming dramas to be aired on DramaFever. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started showing it this month.

         (0)


      • 1.1.3 sMILE4EVER

        ddRAMAFEVER HAS EPISODE 1 THRU 11 NOW

         (0)


      • 1.1.4 Cristy

        English subs on hulu, viki, dramafever

         (0)


    • 1.2 Lenita

      right here with ya!

      and looking at his pics here, he’s the male version of jang nara’s baby faced-beauty, i swear he doesn’t age!

       (0)


  2. ck1Oz

    Kisses?The first few minutes has kisses?

     (0)


    • 2.1 ixx

      I know~~!!!!! >u<

       (0)


  3. D

    Kim Jung-hoon! Kissing?

    sorry, im shallow..

     (0)


    • 3.1 ck1Oz

      I am worse.I just came back from viki to verify.

      Yup kissing in the 1st minute :-)

       (0)


      • 3.1.1 chasen8888

        Please give us the link, would like to check it out. Thanks

         (0)


        • 3.1.1.1 ck1Oz

          http://www.viki.com/channels/3806-i-need-romance

          They are no subs though.IF you are going there for a subbed episode.

          http://kimjeonghoonnews.blogspot.com/2011/06/vid-romance-episode-1.html

          This comes with subs.

           (0)


          • 3.1.1.1.1 hookedonmonix

            wah! Missing channel!

             (0)


          • 3.1.1.1.2 Cap Rice

            Thanks. I really like this show. It’s nice to see adults acting like adults with libidos and not like love sick teenagers. Or crazy.
            The model looks promising. Fun and dangerous. She’ll get hers (in the form of true love).

             (0)


          • 3.1.1.1.3 salina

            thank you so much for the blogspot! i have really been looking forward to this drama!!!!!

             (0)


      • 3.1.2 D

        hey, that’s a lot of kissing.. gadd, my inner 12 yr old had a very good giggle.. but it’s nice to see him again in action (harr harr) cos i missed him so much.

        and thanks fr sharing the link.

        story wise, it’s fun. Jo Yeo-jung is kinda cute – so yeah, she’s forgiven.. LOL.. KJH – well, he does act more naturally here (I didnot watch WA), his character is one of those ‘bad’ guys you know in real life…

         (0)


    • 3.2 SteamyBun

      It’s okay, that’s what I’m thinking right now.
      Did you say Kim Jung Hoon, girlfriday?! Like, one of my first Kdrama crushes ever?! AND KISSING?! Okay, I know for almost a fact that you and jb DO indeed have the ability to bend the time-space continuum. Kindly share your secrets, for I suddenly need to watch this drama but I just don’t have time! Or… you know… someone could just convince me that Kim Jung Hoon in hot make out scenes ISN’T incentive enough to start a new drama. Pff. Good luck with THAT!

       (0)


    • 3.3 mel

      I still remember him as the chaste prince in Goong/Princess Hours

       (0)


  4. yuvee

    Oh man, I’m so going to be tuning in just to see Kim Jung Hoon making out.

     (0)


  5. vic

    “Episode 2 ends with Hyun-joo being stood up on her wedding day… via TEXT MESSAGE”

    hmmm i think we’ve already seen this in ‘will it snow for christmas’.
    but then again,in korean dramas they always repeat concepts,ideas,scenes,lines,ringtones…We’ve seen everything already so it’s not weird anymore the fact that you get to see familiar plots in a new drama

     (0)


  6. LingLing

    Oh I’m liking the sound of this already!

     (0)


  7. Ace

    Wah! Can’t watch another one right now…When do you have the time, GF? I still have kdrama backlogs…

     (0)


  8. alexx

    gf you finally give it a review!!!!!! Thanks so much! I’m (secretly) waiting for it. Cause I’m eager to hear your opinion about it. Being a KJH fan myself, I was nervous to death before this drama aired :D I have even forgiven him for the hot scene lol I so so hope that the drama will keep its quick pace and end up meaningful ^^

     (0)


  9. Linda

    i’ve never heard of this drama BUT the moment you mentioned kissing and Kim jung hoon in the same sentence i was sold.. at least for that first episode :)

     (0)


    • 9.1 Linda

      i went to look for it and all i can say is, if he had kissed YEH like this in Goong he would have gotten the girl for sure!

      http://kimjeonghoonnews.blogspot.com/2011/06/vid-romance-episode-1.html

      It has subs, but i don’t know how spot on the subs are

       (0)


    • 9.2 Dayan

      Yeah I’m with you! But I had to re read and check if I wasn’t making that up haha

       (0)


  10. 10 chloe

    GF, thanks for this overview. It sounds interesting, and I’ll be checkin it out.

    I can’t get excited about Miss Ripley and City Hunter but loving Greatest Love and Baby-Faced Beauty. I think I’ll probably check out City Hunter in the Fall since the recaps have been interesting. Also, Romance Town has its moments…

     (0)


  11. 11 ixx

    where can i watch the episode 2??? oO.. aigoo i just read sorry in the text gggrrrr~~~

     (0)


  12. 12 sb

    KJH’s smiles alone turn me into a pile of goo, so don’t know how I’ll handle steamy make-out scenes, but will bravely risk my health.

    I foresee an addition to my Mon-Tues lineup. Thanks for the review! I had forgotten this was on the horizon.

     (0)


  13. 13 Ladymoonstone143

    Thanks Gf..judging by what you wrote…this sounds so interesting. I definitely be watching this….just have to wait for the sub to come out.

     (0)


  14. 14 carrot

    GF, you could just continue with 2 episode short reviews, just like this kind when you are free.. hahaha.

     (0)


  15. 15 ellewu

    i enjoyed The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry and if this is kinda similar then i’m all for it :) more than anything i enjoyed watching their friendship more than their romances :) girlfriends ftw!

     (0)


  16. 16 QueenPiNAY

    something to look forward to! thanks :)

     (0)


  17. 17 Misheru

    I’ll definitely be watching this. It’s gonna be like a cool breeze on a hot summers day.

     (0)


  18. 18 yukisama69

    Thanks for the review GF. ♥

    However, allow me to go UGH UGH UGH.

    The comparison to Sex & the City is making me doubt even trying to watch. (I think I must be the only person I know on this planet who never liked S&TC)

    However, it IS Kim Jung-hoon. Sooooo as a good, supportive fan, at least I should give it a shot, eh? I’ll just have to get over the S&TC issues. I just don’t know if I can. *cries*

     (0)


    • 18.1 YoSoyHaru!!!!!!!!!!

      No your not, I also never watched that show. I wasn’t planning on watching this drama either because of the whole S&TC comparison. I do love Kim Jung-hoon so I decided to watch it and so far I like the drama even thought I’m hating him at the moment.
      So I was happy and almost died of laughter toward the end of ep 1 when they put a Mexican song, I couldn’t believe it a Mexican song in a Kdrama who would of thought lol :D. Thanks for the review GF.

       (0)


      • 18.1.1 yukisama69

        I’m glad I’m not the only one. I decided to check it out. Yes I will.

        Wait! You’re Mexican? I’m from Puerto Rico! What song were they playing?

         (0)


        • 18.1.1.1 YoSoyHaru!!!!!!!!!!

          Yes I’m Mexican, lol that’s cool boricua! They played Para Que Regreses by El Chapo de Sinaloa.

           (0)


          • 18.1.1.1.1 yukisama69

            LMAO That’s awesome. Have to spread the musica norteña around.

             (0)


  19. 19 Linda165

    Patiently waiting for subs :)

     (0)


  20. 20 Nokcha

    This was completely off my radar and would’ve missed it but for your recap. Seems like fun. I think I’ll be tuning in.

     (0)


    • 20.1 ^_^

      Ikr, it seems like this would be a good one

       (0)


  21. 21 Jenny

    This sounds very good, I wish some japanese channels would make doramas like this sometime.
    So going to watch this immediately!

     (0)


  22. 22 FunnyBunny

    Annnnd another one to add to my never ending list of dramas to watch *sigh*
    Thanks for fueling the addiction ^_^

     (0)


  23. 23 Alvina

    The set-up of the friends reminds me of this T-drama that I watched a couple of months ago (with Jimmy Lin looking ~interesting~ with a weird mix of baby-faced aging :D).

    It seems like a cute watch, as long as the characters dont become caricatures lol. It wigs me out when dramas try to be extra funny but taking the action/comedy to places where it doesnt need to (or shouldnt) go.

    I liked it though. It didnt even register that this KJH is the Goong KJH until I started watching lol. It’s been awhile since he was in anything, no? Sticking to his singing career?

     (0)


    • 23.1 girlfriday

      Army.

      And it shows. ;)

       (0)


      • 23.1.1 alexx

        Hahaha, it definitely shows XDD
        But in a context that I didn’t expected too~

        Gf you cracked me up.

         (0)


    • 23.2 asianromance

      As for the T-drama, are you talking about Single Princesses and Blind Dates, featuring 1. the nerdy-looking, innocent girl who gets dumped by her fiance 2. the tomboy girl with the matchmaking-mad mom and 3. the femme fatale. And then there was also the really chubby girl and the divorced cousin. It was a great drama, except for Jimmy Lin’s character and the dumped-by-her-fiance girl.

      KJH’s arms look niiiiiiiice!

       (0)


      • 23.2.1 Alvina

        yea I am!! And to think, I only watched that drama because of Jimmy Lin (who I liked in My Lucky Star…before it went to hell. As is the case with most T-dramas? Start out well and end on a low note).

        And yea, oh wow KJH. I was never really a fan but you’re cute haha :D

         (0)


  24. 24 fern

    I just watched the first episode and……. I’m hooked! XD Thank GOODNESS my exams are over hahaha..

     (0)


  25. 25 laya

    Oooh, looks good! Thank you! /puts on list of K-dramas to check out.

     (0)


  26. 26 funnylittlefishy

    waaaah… this show is actually… good! i just watched the first episode, and i was surprised how much i liked it. that happened with the last tvN drama, Manny as well… hmm… i’m liking these non major network dramas

    the hot scenes…guh!

    i like that there are the 3 friends who all seem like they’re going to have plot lines because that means more varied plot. much better than when there’s just a main couple and 2nd leads.

    the other thing that i always look for in dramas, is uncertainty as to who the main character is gonna get with in the end. because when i know from the start who’s it is, i just feel bad for the 2nd lead the whole time. and it’s just not as interesting as when i’m tweakin out about who the girl’s gonna pick *claws at eyeballs in suspense* and this drama seems like she could go with awesome cute co-worker, or back with ex, because nothing puts passion in a romance like losing eachother. i sense, passions being reignited.

    i also like that i don’t totally hate her ex, he’s not a caricature of a slimy ex, he’s just a guy who’s been in a relationship for 10 years and he’s being honest.

    anyywayyy… me gusta!

     (0)


  27. 27 obivia

    I hate you, girlfriday. Why did you go and write such a convincing post? Don’t you know I’m already busy with City Hunter, Romance Town, Greatest Love, and Can You Hear My Heart? Why must you be so insensitive?!

    (trudging off to find episode 1…while shaking fist)

     (0)


    • 27.1 mel

      ….ditto….JB, GF I swear you both make my Kdrama addiction worse… another one to add to this never ending list of Kdramas!!!!

       (0)


  28. 28 DB5K

    I have never heard of this drama until now, but from reading the recap, I already know that the main character is going to end up with the older guy, not the younger guy. Prepare for some heartache as you watch the younger guy’s puppy love for the girl, lol.

     (0)


  29. 29 Jomo

    Why throw out the condoms? They should be there for emergency (however unlikely) situations.

    Do we throw out band aids or ointment? I think not.

    As the mother of a daughter, poor thing – since I preach the necessity of protecing yourself at all costs, I like the fact that they show our girl has them.

     (0)


  30. 30 LeMonS

    i totally forgot this was coming up. Thanks for reminding me. now I have to go watch some more stuff…

     (0)


  31. 31 dramaloverrrs

    OMG OMG OMG. I LOVE CHOI JIN HYUK :DDDD

     (0)


  32. 32 Retta

    GF…..Thank you.

     (0)


  33. 33 Mia

    Damn it all,

    Watched the first episode and it hurts so good. Insomnia’s not even being subtle anymore – it’s being planned and reluctantly welcomed.

    Noona and dongsaeng side of the triangle?

    Kim Jung Hoon talking about how he did “all the work last night”?

    I’m addicted.

     (0)


  34. 34 Venus

    I have to tune into this!!!!… I loved Sex In the City, specially the true friendship between the women and how that friendship/deep bond helped them weather many of their emotional issues and life along the way.

    If this drama can be available to balance so many topics, as it seems they are displaying already, I’m stay tune for sure, I mean really who needs a life anyways rite?! LOOOL…thanks JB for recaps!…

    I hope this doesn’t turn into Manny, good idea, terrible execution.

     (0)


  35. 35 emy

    this looksreally good, first episode and I’m hooked; usually the first 3 episodes are boring this one is fast and exciting! Thanks DB for bringing this drama to my attention.

     (0)


  36. 36 E

    Where can I find the raw files? Ah it’s so hard to find Tvn cable dramas at the regular sites… =[

    This looks really good!

     (0)


  37. 37 asianromance

    I love dramas featuring strong friendships between women. I think with these sorts of dramas, even with all the angst, you’d know they will have a great support system outside of mom/dad/brother. It’s sort of disconcerting sometimes to see drama ladies be so unconnected and alone.

     (0)


  38. 38 grany

    Thanks GF… With that kinda review how can I resist not to check it up and I love it.

    Shoot… this addiction is getting worse. More drama less sleep…oh well, thank God I dont have to drive myself to the office in the morning.

     (0)


  39. 39 msposh387

    ooohhhh i love tvN series like Little Mom Scandal 1 & 2 but i haven’t checked this one yet…thanks GirlFriday!

     (0)


  40. 40 Miyoung

    DAMNIT ANOTHER ONE TO WATCH?! I never sleep. The bags under my eyes are getting a little ridiculous.

     (0)


  41. 41 Mia

    I never new what “cable” dramas were before. Are they all this awesome? I’ve long become a bit cranky with some of the regular Kdrama heroines – can someone please recommend other K Cable drams that I never even knew existed but are really really good?

     (0)


  42. 42 aX

    I hope this is better than the one with Kim Bum… a mature drama with mature characters! :D

     (0)


  43. 43 runawaytrain

    http://nokiaprices.blogspot.com/2011/06/i-need-romance-ep-1-eng-sub-watch.html

    english subbed youtube links here :)

    the way in young and sun soo meet is just… ridiculous. i feel like it belongs in a romcom movie and not a drama. when i watched it, i was just raised my eyebrow and went, seriously now. seriously?
    it’s funny. i ate up plots like twin-nun/rockstar-boy/girl-switch-a-roos and 49-days-to-get-your-life-back, but i found a cheesy romance novel-worthy meeting hard to digest?

    i still feel like the whole thing is just a chick flick drawn out too long. i’m just surprised that they’ve ONLY slapped a “15″ rating on it! the better part of the girl talk in the first episode is about sex and how to improve it. but ah, tvN is a cable network, so ratings are probably stricter than say, KBS, which has a “15″ rating on MUSIC BANK.

    still, kim junghoon is yummy even as a jerk and i’ve always loved yeojung (i wish she didn’t lose all that weight! she was cuter before!). will keep watching this because it’s a welcome break from the other fairytale dramas currently airing.

     (0)


  44. 44 GaeinaLee

    From steamy Cola kiss of L2M to another steamy kisses in d 1st ep of I Need Romance…

    Aaaarrrggh.. I also NEED romance!! Urgently!

    I’m currently romancing Kactors with the rest of the drama lovers and live in reverie 24/7..

    Side effects of Kdrama:
    * Continuously live in reverie.. “Awake, but not here..”
    * Smiling unconciuosly
    * Sleepless nites due to watching, DL-ing, chating n anticipating the next episode
    * Insomnia worsen

    …anything else that I miss??

     (0)


    • 44.1 Kim Yoonmi

      Delusions of the perfect man randomly taking off his shirt in the shower for you to witness after he gets back from army duty wearing something like only a towel and then drooling while in a public place, ruining your chance of ever finding a guy that doesn’t match to that ideal ever again….? Or is that just me?

       (0)


  45. 45 more

    I prey someone subs this drama

     (0)


  46. 46 rose

    i try watching this in dramacrazy and was directed to tuduo but sad it havs a virus …….

     (0)


  47. 47 j

    Is there a episode 2 link? @@

     (0)


  48. 48 Aslinn

    Thanks gf…just finished watching ep 1 w/ subs, hopefully it will get subbed soon.

     (0)


  49. 49 pieroot

    saw episode 1 and it was pretty good…I like the honesty of the characters and of the show.

    Looks entertaining. Would have never discovered this if it weren’t for u, Girlfriday!

     (0)


  50. 50 lee

    I like it just watched ep 2 and it was actually really funny, I wish she would just break up it that guy already, ep 3 looks like it’s going to be crazy also. I love the puppy oppa he is very cute and helpful. I kinda likes that he is there for her and can tell what she’s thinking.

     (0)


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