Radio Romance: Episode 3
Unfortunately for Geu-rim, it’s starting to look like convincing Su-ho to be on her radio show was the easy part of this job. She’s got angry executives, jealous rivals, and one very odd PD to deal with, on top of the fact that her new DJ is opposing her wishes at every turn. What’s it going to take to get everyone working together as a team?
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Writer Ra corners Geu-rim and begins berating her about what a bad writer she is, and how she’ll never be a main writer on a radio show. She says that a top star like Ji Su-ho would never agree to work with her, but Su-ho shows up and declares, “I’ll do it. The radio show.”
He pulls Geu-rim away from the gathering crowd, but as soon as they’re alone she frees her hand and asks him what he’s doing. Instead of answering, he asks her why she just stood there and didn’t fight back. Geu-rim says sarcastically that she must have no self-esteem, which is why she followed him around after everything he did.
She turns on her heel and goes right back, but Writer Ra and the onlookers are gone. Her friend Drought says that she saw both Writer Ra and Su-ho looking upset. Geu-rim wants to talk about it over a beer, but Drought has too much work and tells her to text her the details.
Geu-rim buys some beers and goes upstairs to her “hideout,” where she finds Su-ho looking at the view of the city. She asks if he watched her video and he says no, which she knows is a lie or he wouldn’t have known about this spot.
Geu-rim cracks open a beer and drinks it as she muses that she keeps showing Su-ho the worst side of herself. She admits that she was embarrassed while on the drama set, his home turf. But she says that radio is her home, and she’s every bit as embarrassed now.
She asks him to leave, then laughs wryly at herself for using his favorite line. Su-ho asks Geu-rim if she’s crying, and she hotly denies it even with tears in her eyes.
He asks her, “If I promise to be on the radio, will you stop crying?” Awww, that’s oddly sweet, even though he seems annoyed. He tells her to come to his house tomorrow to sign the contract.
He goes home and ignores Jason as he bounces in circles around him, then suddenly rounds on him to ask why he agreed to do the radio show. Jason asks if it’s because of Geu-rim, and he sees right through Su-ho’s too-quick denial, thrilled to see Su-ho react emotionally. He jokes that it took Geu-rim only days to do what he’s been trying to do for months, ha.
The next day, Station Manager Kang can hardly believe that Geu-rim talked Su-ho into being on their show. He gives her the contract and tells her to go get Su-ho’s signature immediately and he’ll consider letting her be main writer. When PD Lee moves to go with her, Station Manager Kang orders him to stay.
Geu-rim loses her nerve at Su-ho’s front gate, retreating to her car to talk herself into facing him. She she remembers his sneer when he tripped her at that party, and his nasty comments in the elevator with drunk idol Mi-nu, but she tells herself that he was actually apologizing at the party and to just forget the elevator.
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Pride vs. career goals
She goes back to ring the bell, but the gate opens automatically so she lets herself in. She finally faces Su-ho, who somehow manages to look both bored and amused at the same time, and reminds him that he’ll have to be at the station for two hours every single day of the year. She adds that they’re probably not offering him enough in pay, but she thanks him anyway.
She gets ready to go over the contract, but he slides her one of his own, with his own conditions. First, he will only do recorded shows, never live. Second, he gets final say on the script and guests. Third, he can quit whenever he wants, and last, Geu-rim has to do everything he says. HAHA.
He firmly counters all of her objections, and when she asks him to just try it for a year, he only agrees to one month. She’s particularly dismayed by the clause that she has to to everything he says, so Su-ho tells her that she can think about it and call him later.
Since Su-ho doesn’t own a phone, Jason cheerfully offers Geu-rim his number. While they’re standing close to each other exchanging contact info, Su-ho’s eyes grow sharp as he watches them like a hawk. After Geu-rim leaves, Jason squeals happily at the idea of watching Su-ho and Geu-rim interacting together. LOL, he ships them so hard.
Geu-rim takes Su-ho’s conditions back to PD Lee, but he’s already anticipating Su-ho’s demands and quickly agrees to them. He praises Geu-rim for winning Su-ho over, and pronounces her his main writer for managing the impossible.
He makes a proposal to Station Manager Kang, that instead of a daily show, he airs a show three days a week. Writer Ra and her PD, Seung-soo, will air a show the other three days, and the show with the higher ratings gets the time slot on Sunday. He argues that the innovative competition will be good for the ailing medium of radio.
Seung-soo follows PD Lee out of the meeting to confront him, feeling as though this is PD Lee’s way of looking down on him. PD Lee gets a fierce expression on his face, but he insists that this is just a friendly competition, and he invites Seung-soo to beat him just once. Oooo, gauntlet thrown.
On the set of Su-ho’s sageuk, Su-ho and his costar, Jin-soo, film a fierce sword battle, ending with Su-ho leveling his sword at Jin-soo’s throat. Being on his knees in front of Su-ho reminds Jin-soo of the night he tried to take the very drunk Geu-rim home from the bar.
Su-ho had shown up and kicked him square in the chest, knocking him to the floor and catching Geu-rim as she passed out. Jin-soo had threatened to call the reporters on Su-ho, who just calmly offered to call the police. He’d told Jin-soo that if he tries anything like this again, he’ll kill him.
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Revenge, with swords
But when the scene is over, Su-ho helps Jin-soo to his feet and gives him a seemingly friendly smile.
In her office, Geu-rim writes down reasons that Su-ho’s demands could work in their favor. Recorded shows will avoid the potential turmoil of live shows. Su-ho choosing the guests will mean lots of top stars. Su-ho’s ability to quit any time will be good motivation to make sure he never wants to. As for Geu-rim being obligated to do everything Su-ho says, well, listening carefully is a good skill in any relationship.
She calls Jason, who shoots cheeky little grins at Su-ho while Geu-rim tells him that they agree to Su-ho’s terms. They make arrangements to schedule a meeting with Station Manager Kang, while Su-ho starts to get twitchy.
First, Su-ho has his agency writers brief him on PD Lee, who has a perfect record for producing top-rated shows and has won several awards. Two years ago he was forced to take a sabbatical due to his hot temper.
Next they go over Geu-rim, who is listed as a writer although no examples of her writing can be found. She’s known for getting guests who are notoriously difficult to secure, but otherwise they know nothing about her, which makes them nervous. Su-ho tells his writers that he’ll do the show with the script they write for him.
He’s summoned to his mother’s office, where actress Tae-ri is begging her for a guest spot on Su-ho’s radio show. She and Su-ho won awards together as child actors, and she thinks that a reunion show could bring her back into the spotlight. She trades on the fact that she was the first to bring Su-ho’s mom photos of her husband with Su-ho’s current costar.
No newcomer to this game, Su-ho’s mom asks Tae-ri if all she wants is a guest slot on Su-ho’s show, and Tae-ri agrees that this is just the beginning. She runs into Su-ho and his not-exactly-manager Joon-woo on her way out, but Su-ho ignores her and goes inside. So does Joon-woo, but Tae-ri stops him to ask for a favor.
Surprisingly, Su-ho’s mother agrees that he should do the radio show, but in return, she wants him to participate in the documentary about their family. When he stands to leave, she reminds Su-ho that a lot of lives depend on his decision. He agrees, but he says that that’s why he needs to do the radio show.
The day arrives for Su-ho to sign the contract, and when he, Joon-woo, and Jason show up at the station, they create a stir among the female employees (and some of the men, hee) as Geu-rim leads them to Station Manager Kang’s office. All of the radio executives are here, and Su-ho awkwardly accepts Station Manager Kang’s weird hug.
He surprises everyone by saying that he wants to sign the contract alone with Geu-rim, making a big deal about how moved he was by her passion for radio. He and Geu-rim end up in her dusty office, where he asks for the script a week in advance. Geu-rim tries to explain that radio doesn’t work that way, but Su-ho invokes item four of his contract — that she has to do everything he says.
He tells her that it’s not a threat, it’s just that he’s unfamiliar with radio and there are a lot of people who monitor what he says in public. Geu-rim is forced to agree, and they sign the contract.
PD Lee joins them and the guys introduce themselves (“I’m Lee Kang.” “I’m Ji Su-ho.” “I’m the PD.” “I’m Ji Su-ho.” “I won two broadcasting awards.” “I’m Ji Su-ho.” LOL). PD Lee asks Su-ho to make some time this weekend to discuss the show, slinging an arm casually around Geu-rim’s shoulders.
Su-ho’s eyes immediately zero in on PD Lee’s hand where it rests on Geu-rim’s shoulder, and he declines the request. Geu-rim chases Su-ho outside to thank him, promising to make this a positive experience for him.
Back inside, she runs into Writer Ra, who demands to see Su-ho’s contract. She mentions their upcoming show battle, scoffing like she’s insulted to be compared to Geu-rim, but Geu-rim just says that she’s going to try her best and excuses herself to get to work.
PD Lee goes looking for an assistant director, but nobody at the station wants to work with him. Eventually he finds HOON-JUNG asleep on his desk, and he literally drags the poor kid into a meeting, giving him no choice. He lays out his rules for their show: Don’t copy other shows, don’t use music to fill time, and don’t ignore listener’s comments.
Next PD Lee and Geu-rim interview for an assistant writer, hiring the first woman who answers PD Lee’s odd questions correctly. The new team of four goes out for drinks, where PD Lee criticizes them mercilessly. He tells Hoon-jung that he’s terrible at communicating, calls Geu-rim a bad writer and a troublemaker, and threatens the new assistant writer that she’d better not slack off.
But then he says that they all have experience with messing up, so they should all survive together. With a great big grin, he adds, “If you can’t do your part in my booth, I’ll kill you with my bare hands.” He says that they may not win, but they should put up a good fight, and they toast.
Geu-rim arrives home later to find her mom has planned a little party with the neighbors, celebrating Geu-rim’s promotion to head writer. They go for a walk, where Geu-rim describes the starless night and large full moon. Her mom asks how it feels to finally realize her dream, and Geu-rim says it hasn’t sunk in yet, but she vows to work hard to make a radio show that Mom will listen to every day.
The next morning, Geu-rim is called to the JH Entertainment building to meet with Su-ho’s mother. Mom informs Geu-rim that her company has its own contracts, instructing her to read and sign the one she’s giving her. It’s huge, and Su-ho’s mother specifically reminds Geu-rim to send the scripts in advance so they can review them.
Su-ho joins them uninvited and snatches the contract from Geu-rim’s hands. He tells Geu-rim that the script is to be sent only to him, and that guests will be chosen only by him, countering his mother’s requirements.
Changing the subject, Su-ho’s mother asks Geu-rim about her writing awards, and when Geu-rim admits she has none, Mom says that’s a concern. She’s also worried about possible dating rumors, and afraid that she’ll find Geu-rim in Su-ho’s house again.
Geu-rim assures her that will never ever happen, because she’d never fall for a guy like Su-ho. HA, his face. Mom asks what she means, so Geu-rim explains that they’re complete opposites. She quickly leaves, taking the contract with her.
Back at the station, Writer Ra and Seung-soo discuss whether they want to get involved in this strange competition. Writer Ra clocks that Seung-soo is intimidated by PD Lee, prompting Seung-soo to sneer that Writer Ra will have a hard time doing a show without Geu-rim to get the guests.
Writer Ra cuts him off and says they’ll do the show, practically threatening Seung-soo to do well. He just tells her to make sure he doesn’t lose to PD Lee again.
That night, Geu-rim falls asleep at her desk. She suffers a nightmare in which she’s a Joseon peasant, wailing to landowner Su-ho that a one-month land lease isn’t long enough for a successful harvest. He just says that’s not his problem, so she can have the land for a month, or get lost.
Her dream changes, and now Geu-rim is writing for a demanding lady, Su-ho’s mother, while she slices rice cakes. No matter how fast Geu-rim writes, she can’t produce the required pages before the rice cakes are cut, and she fails. An avalanche of contracts wakes her with a start, and she finds PD Lee packing up his things, having found a place to live.
Geu-rim gets home to find PD Lee arriving at the same time — HA, he’s renting a room in her building. He says that now they can spend all day and night working, and when Geu-rim balks, he reminds her that PDs and writers are supposed to work together very closely.
She recalls a day two years ago when she’d been on his team, and she’d brought back lunch and found PD Lee yelling at his main writer for breaking his rules (ignoring listeners and copying other programs). Geu-rim had gotten caught in the crossfire, with PD Lee screaming at her for running errands instead of writing.
But what Geu-rim remembers most is that PD Lee was the first person to ever call her a writer. Now he tells her to call Su-ho to come prepare for the show, and not to take no for an answer. She rings up Jason, who says that Su-ho is working out, so she tells him she’ll call back soon.
After Su-ho’s intense martial arts workout, Jason brings him the phone when Geu-rim calls. She tells him to come out for a planning meeting with her and PD Lee, and when he claims to be busy, Jason snatches away the phone and tattles that he’s lying, hee. Su-ho grabs the phone back and says he can’t go, but this time PD Lee swipes Geu-rim’s phone to call Su-ho out for being unprofessional.
He needles Su-ho into showing up, and when he does, PD Lee affably explains that he was only rude to make Su-ho come out. Su-ho says he’s never been out this late, making PD Lee tease him, but Su-ho says he didn’t come to fight. He also refuses to drink, although he doesn’t want to tell PD Lee why.
Frustrated, Su-ho threatens to leave if PD Lee is just going to mess round, but PD Lee tells him firmly, “You can’t.” Geu-rim tries to diffuse the tension, but PD Lee says that he’s just trying to get close to his new DJ. Su-ho calls him untrustworthy and says he’s afraid PD Lee will cause trouble and leave again. Oh, ouch.
PD Lee drapes an arm around Geu-rim again and asks if Su-ho researched her, too. Su-ho shoots laser-eyes at PD Lee’s arm, but he snaps out of it and asks what of it. PD Lee flashes a thumbs-up and a goofy grin, and he calls it an honor that Su-ho chose them. Geu-rim leans away and wonders what’s up with him.
Su-ho confesses that he did look them up, but that PD Lee had nothing to do with his decision to do the radio show. That appears to hurt PD Lee’s pride, and now Geu-rim is wondering what’s wrong with Su-ho. Su-ho says that he’s concerned now (that he’s met PD Lee), and he asks, “So, should I quit?”
It’s so interesting, what happens to Su-ho’s expression whenever anyone touches Geu-rim. He did it when Mi-nu was leaning on her in the elevator, and he does it when PD Lee touches her, just glaring at the offending body part as if he’s trying to telepathically will it to explode. It seems like more than normal leading-man jealousy, because Su-ho is certainly denying any interest he’s feeling in Geu-rim at this point, but he just turns so immediately intense whenever she’s touched. There’s got to be more to it.
As far as PD Lee goes, I find him quite a contradiction. Generally I like second leads as characters because they make me wish things were different and they had a chance at the girl. But PD Lee is very pushy and insulting despite his recent quest for inner peace, and although he’s the only person who believes Geu-rim can be a writer, he’s also extremely bossy and dismissive of her. Right now I don’t see anything between them, but we’ve been told to expect a love triangle, and for once I wish that weren’t the case. PD Lee is going to make Geu-rim miserable, living in the same building, but at least seeing them together so much will force Su-ho to face his growing attraction to Geu-rim.
It seems like lately there’s been a string of drama villains recently who were mostly bark and very little bite, which is fine and even funny when you’re watching a rom-com but not so great when your story really needs an antagonist with teeth. Thankfully, I think that Su-ho’s mom will turn out to be a serious threat, both to Su-ho personally, and to him and Geu-rim professionally. She’s determined to do whatever it takes to control Su-ho, using him as a pawn to make herself and her family look good and thus rendering herself even more successful. She’s got power, money, and the connections that could ruin Su-ho and Geu-rim with just a word from her, but even worse, she has the cold-hearted ruthlessness to actually do it. And that’s just with what little we know of her right now — she displays a lot of the behaviors of classic abusers, so I have a feeling we’ll learn that she’s much, much worse than what we already know.
I’m already impressed with how much Su-ho pushes back against his mother, given that she’s probably controlled and manipulated every aspect of his life for his entire life. Oddly, he’s picked up a lot of her mannerisms, such as her blank way of speaking, her iron control of her emotions, her habit of ignoring anything she doesn’t want to hear, and that creepy, meaningless smile. Getting out from under thumb isn’t going to be easy when Su-ho’s coping mechanism is to be just like her. It helps that he doesn’t seem afraid of her, which is frankly incredible… but it also worries me because I’m scared that Su-ho’s not really aware of what she’s capable of, having never seriously gone up against her before.
I do think that DJing the radio show will be good for Su-ho, and not just because it’s something he’s trying to do on his own without his mother dictating every bit of it. PD Lee is already doing a great job with holding Su-ho accountable for behaving like a professional, and making him take responsibility for his decisions and actions instead of just letting his agency take care of everything when things get tough. Likewise, Geu-rim will hold Su-ho accountable for behaving like a decent human being — I love how she loudly and aggressively objects whenever he treats her disrespectfully, whether it be yanking her around by the wrist or just smiling without meaning it. Between those two, and Jason keeping an eye on Su-ho’s emotional stability, I think he’s going to turn out just fine… whether he likes it or not.
I’ve mostly focused on the serious issues that Radio Romance is tackling, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the cute and funny moments the show delivers as well. As I said before, I absolutely love Jason and his Tigger-like approach to almost everything. Even though Su-ho hardly reacts to the things happening around him, Jason makes up for it by over-reacting, and I love watching his face whenever he gets a whiff of something juicy going down. The developing rivalry between Jason and Joon-woo looks like it could be really cute, too, with all the who’s-the-manager tiffs they get into. Geu-rim and her mother are just the sweetest things together. And the short glance we got at the new team members has me looking forward to getting to know them better. The show does a great job of playing the serious and the light-hearted off of each other, so that neither takes over and the overall tone is very balanced. Let’s hope it can manage not to get bogged down in the drama as the story progresses!
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