If anyone watched the first season of I Need Romance, you would know that it was one of the most severely underrated shows in the KDrama scene. Although it wasn’t given much attention, the plot, acting, and all-round hilarious nature of the show attracted viewers worldwide. As you guys probably know, I love romantic-comedy KDramas, and I try to watch as many as possible. That being said, I Need Romance was the first KDrama of that genre that focused on the 30-something age group. If you are an avid KDrama-watcher, you probably know that most shows remain in the PG arena. Kiss scenes are minimal and are meant to induce the squeals of fangirls (and fanboys) rather than show a realistic romance.
I Need Romance is geared towards adult watchers, and therefore has the freedom to show more risqué scenes and use (milder) profanity. Due to the success of I Need Romance, I Need Romance 2012 will be following a similar plot to the original. The first season tells the story of a 30 year old woman (Sun Woo In Young) who has been with the same guy (Kim Sung Soo) for over 10 years. They’ve developed an extremely close friendship and have equally broken up and gotten back together multiple times. It’s to the point where they own each other’s house keys and can locate the anything in the other’s home. The conflict arises when Bae Sung Hyun, In Young’s coworker develops feelings for her. At the same time, Sung Soo cheats on In Young with a younger actress. It’s a really fun and wacky show that doesn’t attempt surreal or ridiculous plot lines. Everything is down to earth and relatable.
Its sequel, I Need Romance 2012 is trying to go for the same vibe and is failing pretty epically. We’re only two episodes in, but I have already developed some strong opinions on the show.
First of all, I’ve realized that the 2012 version pales in comparison to the original in the area of casting. A strong point of the original was the main characters group of girlfriends who were down to earth, extremely flawed, but completely endearing. In the 2012 version, I’m really not feeling the connection between the friends; at all seems so fake and noncommittal and I found myself fast forwarding through their conversations. The main characters have been shining with their natural acting and chemistry with each other, but the show still feels as though it is lacking something.
Secondly, Jung Yumi’s acting is pretty decent so far, but I feel as though she could take the character (Jung Yeol Mae) to a whole new level. Although she isn’t as bad as Jan Di in Boys Over Flowers, her acting tends to over exaggerate in the wrong situations, and then not show any emotion at all where it is needed. As the main character, it’s standard that her performance reflects on the entire show, so I hope she gets it together soon.
Thirdly, the plot just needs to get a move on. You know a drama’s storyline is bad when the cliffhanger at the end of the episode is a mere 2-foot ledge. And it is never good when you are yawning while watching the preview for the next episode. I know that the background of the drama has to be established during the first few episodes, but at least give us some exciting material to work with. I’m desperately hoping that the show picks up speed.
The good part about this drama is the chemistry between Yeol Mae and her long-term boyfriend/best friend Yoon Suk Hyun (played by the adorable Lee Jin Wook). They literally have the air cracking in the few steamy scenes they have. Kim Ji Suk plays the other man, Shin Ji Hoon, and although we haven’t seen much of him, I like him so far. He has this sultry and skeptic air about him which is pretty hilarious when it clashes with Yeol Mae’s frantic and juvenile one. I’m definitely looking forward to more interaction between the two.
I definitely plan on sticking with this show, so I’m going to try to face it with an optimistic perspective. It keeps me going to remember that I wasn’t hooked on Protect the Boss or Coffee Prince with the first two episodes, but now they are two of my favorite dramas of all time. Who knows? Maybe I Need Romance 2012 will be added to the list!