THE SHORT VERDICT:
I Need Romance 3 is like the milder, sweeter, slightly ditzy younger cousin of the older, more worldly-wise I Need Romance dramas.
While INR3 may look like its cousins on the surface – glossy & modern, complete with real kisses & sexytimes – at its heart, it holds dear many classic dramaland rom-com values about Romance and True Love.
Oh, and the ditziness? It’s coz logic isn’t this drama’s strength, and there’s a fair chunk of stuff in INR3 that doesn’t actually make sense.
If you loved I Need Romance &/or I Need Romance 2012, you’d probably be disappointed in this one. Conversely, if you didn’t like the first two installments, then this one just might sit better than you’d think.
Oh, and there’s Sung Joon. Mmmm.
THE LONG VERDICT:
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about I Need Romance 3.
On the one hand, the drama exceeded my expectations.
Which probably sounds a whole lot more promising than it actually is. The truth is, I really didn’t like the first 2 installments of the show. In fact, I was so upset with I Need Romance 2012 that I promised myself to thenceforth steer clear of any and all future installments of the show.
And then they had to dangle Sung Joon at me. Whom I think is dreamy. And so I wavered, as they say in dramaland.
On the other hand, there is a good chunk of stuff that doesn’t work for me in this drama.
When I stack up all the stuff that doesn’t work for me, there are some big hefty pieces in there that I’m still not sure whether I’m willing to overlook.
Yes, overall, the positives do win out over the negatives for me, but it’s really the kind of win that you need an after-the-fact, photo-finish sort of analysis to determine.
And so, in the spirit of ending on a more positive note, I’m gonna spend some time highlighting the key things that didn’t work for me before I get into the stuff that I actually liked.
[SPOILERS THROUGH THE END OF THE REVIEW]
WHAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME
One of the hallmarks of the I Need Romance dramas has been the female lead being part of a close-knit circle of friends. They talk about romance, love, sex; you name it, they talk about it.
The friendship forms the safe haven of the female lead, and the friends are always there to support her in her time of need.
In INR3, this group of friends is replaced by a group of colleagues. And in principle, I have nothing against that. I mean, change can be good, right? And friends can work together, right?
My problem is that these people are colleagues first, and (not-quite-)friends second. In fact, right away in episode 1, something felt a little off to me. It didn’t quite feel like they were simply friends.
In actuality, our female lead Joo Yeon (Kim So Yeon) is their team leader. And that changes everything.
Basically, these people have to play nice and be friendly with her. And they clearly walk on eggshells around her. Can you really call that true friendship?
The thing that really horrifies me, though, is the tone of this quasi-friendship.
In episode 2, the “friends” show up at Joo Yeon’s house for an emergency slumber party to comfort her after her break-up with her boyfriend PD Lee (cameo by Alex).
First of all, the trio aren’t truly keen to go to Joo Yeon’s house for that slumber party. They feel obligated to go coz she’s their Team Leader.
Secondly, at the slumber party, sex is the topic of choice. And we’re not just talking about general opinions about sex, mind you. We’re talking about personal experiences too.
I.. shudder to imagine having to be on a work team like that. I don’t want my team leader and team mates having so much access to my personal life, and I certainly don’t want to have a sleepover at my team leader’s place and have to talk about and hear about everyone’s sex life.
Ew. Whatever happened to personal space?
And, in case you feel like we need more proof that the friendship Joo Yeon has with her workmates isn’t really friendship, consider the the way she chews out Hee Jae (Yoon Seung Ah) in episode 3, and then how Hee Jae takes comfort in soju and goes to the roof to scream out her curses and grievances at Team Leader Joo Yeon, while Woo Young (Park Yoo Hwan) looks on enviously coz he’s got pent-up grievances too.
That just doesn’t smell or look or feel like friendship to me.
Yes, by the end of the series, some real friendships form within the group, and that’s a saving grace. But until they became actual, true friends, this continued to niggle at me.
Joo Yeon’s Characterization
So I don’t think Joo Yeon’s all bad (more on that later), but I concede that she was not one of my favorite characters on the show.
More important than that, I found the way Joo Yeon was written just flat-out unbelievable in some ways. Many of you know that I am quite the advocate of focusing on the good and shrugging off the bad in a show, to maximize one’s enjoyment of it.
Well, let’s just say that these pieces were more challenging to shrug off than usual.
She’s not very likable at all
I get the idea of writing a character as flawed and unlikable to allow room for growth. In Joo Yeon’s case though, the flawed and unlikable bit is taken to a bit of an extreme. And, that room for growth bit doesn’t play out in a satisfying enough manner to make up for it.
From the very beginning of the show, I found Joo Yeon annoying in that she’s selfish and self-righteous and throws her temper around when she’s upset. In episode 2, the way she starts flouncing around angrily when she realizes that PD Lee has quit is just not kosher.
And then there’s the time in episode 7 when Min Jung (Park Hyo Joo) tries to confide in Joo Yeon about her unexpected pregnancy.
With tears brimming in her eyes, Min Jung haltingly starts to tell Joo Yeon that she’s pregnant, and that the doctor had said that this is likely to be her last pregnancy.
Before Min Jung can go any further, Joo Yeon puts up her hands to stop Min Jung, her words coming out in spurts.
“Wait a minute. Ah…I…you know.. This kind of personal conversation… I don’t want to listen to it. I understand that you’re upset, but… there’s no real need for me to know it… and nothing I can help you with, either.
It’s your situation. You make a good decision. Okay? I’m leaving.”
It’s obvious that Joo Yeon is uncomfortable in the situation, and it’s also obvious that Joo Yeon is aware of Min Jung’s distress. Heck, by the time Joo Yeon’s walking out of there, Min Jung’s sobbing.
And yet, Joo Yeon doesn’t change course at any point and barrels on her chosen path of complete insensitivity.
While I get that Joo Yeon is written as too emotionally shut-down to handle the situation, this scene felt a lot like self-centeredness at work too. Essentially, her own discomfort means more to Joo Yeon than Min Jung’s distress.
And then in episode 9, just when I think Joo Yeon is softening up and becoming more likable, she tips the balance the other way all over again.
Basically, Se Ryung (Wang Ji Won) is desperate to win back Tae Yoon (Nam Goong Min). Sort of as a last resort, she pretends to mend bridges with Joo Yeon in order to hopefully leverage on Joo Yeon’s sense friendship to not pursue a relationship with Tae Yoon.
Joo Yeon sees through the ruse and plays along with it, being all friendly with Se Ryung and leveraging the new friendliness to achieve some good work success. And then she turns the tables on Se Ryung later by asking Tae Yoon out on a date anyway.
I found Joo Yeon’s hardened approach to out-sly Se Ryung by using Se Ryung’s friendship ruse against her, cold, calculated and manipulative.
I mean, I’d like her to be shrewd enough to spot the ruse, but not manipulative enough to use it against Se Ryung.
Call her out on it, or coldly refuse to be friends. But don’t play along and make it work for you, before crushing her hopes by walking all over her heart in your spike heels while you ask out her ex-boyfriend, is what I’m sayin’. Not cool.
Another instance of not cool is in episode 10, when Joo Yeon asks Wan (Sung Joon) for permission to take the soup that he’d painstakingly prepared for her, to give Tae Yoon. Ugh.
That’s basically taking Wan’s heart and giving it to Tae Yoon while passing it off as her own. How insensitive and self-centered can she be??
It boils down to Joo Yeon taking advantage of Wan’s feelings for her, and it doesn’t help to endear her to me in the least.
I wanted to like Joo Yeon and root for her, but pretty much all the way to the end, she remained.. just not my type of girl.
For a smart woman, she’s not very smart
Sometimes, Joo Yeon comes off as more than a little dense.
In the beginning of the show, Wan shows up in her life as “Allen” the famous DJ-genius songwriter-music producer (his job never made sense to me, to be honest. Do genius songwriters DJ? *scratches head*).
And despite Wan repeatedly dropping multiple hints about his real identity, Joo Yeon doesn’t connect the dots at all, which I found a bit of a stretch.
Another stretch? That she can listen to Wan’s voice on the phone one moment, and then when “Allen” calls the next moment, it doesn’t even occur to her that they sound alike. Um. How clueless is she supposed to be? And yet she’s supposed to be a really sharp woman.
I found it just unbelievable. Which brings me to my next point.
The thing that I found the hardest to swallow about Joo Yeon, is her dormant emotional chip.
I mean, I see the irony and the Poetry of Coming Full Circle that the writers are aiming for, but I just can’t buy it.
Yes, I know the writers want me to see the irony of Joo Yeon having been the one who’d taught Wan to be in touch with his feelings and to be honest about them. And the irony – and poetry – of Wan now having to teach it all back to Joo Yeon.
Seriously though, unless the show pulls a case of full-on amnesia on Joo Yeon (yes, I can’t believe I’m saying that amnesia is actually preferable in this case), I just can’t buy that she would be that emotionally removed from her past as to have no memory of it whatsoever, and to lose the ability to feel too.
I have trouble believing how clueless Joo Yeon is in terms of her own and other people’s feelings.
Given that she is portrayed as someone who used to be fully functional and who even taught Wan about feelings and expressing them, it’s hard to believe that she would get to this point, where she is that blind about what she is feeling, without an actual case of amnesia.
(And how convenient, that they blame it all on Tae Yoon having been a hard taskmaster. Pfft. I call cop out).
I get that this is all supposed to further our story and also make Joo Yeon amusing as a character, but to me, it makes her appear unreal and unbelievable.
I mean, I find Se Ryung’s default response of letting people think bad things of her decidedly strange. But I find that more acceptable than Joo Yeon’s missing emotional parts of the brain.
The fact that I found this.. thing so hard to ignore and shrug off really affected my ability to engage with Joo Yeon as a character. Which is a problem, seeing as how she’s the central character of the entire show.
Wan’s Over-Indulgence of Joo Yeon
Much as I liked Wan (more on that later, too), there was one thing that really did aggravate me about him, and this was his consistent over-indulgence of Joo Yeon’s bad behavior.
Wan is unbelievably patient with Joo Yeon, even while she’s at her worst, and while on one level it’s super swoony, I can’t help getting a little annoyed with him for being so nice to someone who’s consistently so abrasive.
It’s such a conflicting experience to watch scenes of Wan gazing at Joo Yeon so dreamily.
Coz while the dreamy gaze on its own is very melty (it’s Sung Joon! Being swoony!), it’s also very dissonant to me, that he looks at her with such indulgent eyes when she behaves so badly. It.. makes me doubt his judgment.
It’s almost like when you see a kid misbehave and act like a total brat, and you see the kid’s parent look on affectionately and indulgently.
That’s love, yes. But it’s also annoying. Coz we expect parents to love their kids in ways that help them to become well-behaved and well-adjusted, rather than indulge them in their tantrums.
Granted, Wan’s not Joo Yeon’s parent and doesn’t have the authority to do anything like that. But to be that indulgent? He has the authority to not look at her like that, at least, is what I’m thinking.
WHAT I LIKED
Like I promised, it’s not all doom and gloom, and there really are some things that I enjoyed in this show.
First, the very reason I wavered enough to check out this show.
Dreamy Sung Joon
Sung Joon. Being romantic and dreamy. Mmmm.
Yes, it’s absolutely a shallow fangirl reason to enjoy a show, but hey, sometimes shallow works, y’know?
I didn’t always appreciate his stylist’s odd wardrobe choices…
And I found the fake DJ-ing in episode 1 rather laughable (sorry, Sung Joon-sshi)…
…But right away from episode 1, I was all, “Augh. So, so handsome. And so swoony.” (Cue hearts in eyes)
I really enjoyed gazing at him on my screen, just drinking in his lanky, handsome presence:
Plus, his buttery, deep, warm voice was music to my ears, seriously. I literally just wanted to sink into his arms and listen to his voice all day.
And then there were the wonderfully swoony kisses.
Let the record show that Sung Joon knows how to deliver the sexy, sensuous, swoony kiss.
Like the kiss in episode 3.
OMG. He makes the kiss look so absolutely delicious, that I totally wanted some of that too.
And the way he takes Kim So Yeon’s face in his hands in episode 4 and the way he leans in and just looks at her:
And then there were multiple instances of very natural, very casually cozy skinship:
I also wanted some of that.
And then there was this:
Hawt kisses. Swoon~
And plus this:
Sung Joon, shirtless, asking for a kiss, in a very sexy, sleepy, slightly slurry drawl in his I-just-woke-up bedroom voice.
To state the obvious, I found Sexy Sung Joon supremely appealing.
Besides Sung Joon the actor, I also had affection for Wan the character.
Yes, I was peeved at him for being over-indulgent of Joo Yeon’s bad behavior. But putting that aside, there’s a lot to like in Wan.
In episode 1, before it became too much and crossed over to the Land Of Annoying Over-Indulgence, I actually really appreciated his instinctive response to Joo Yeon’s bad behavior.
While most people would’ve walked away and spared themselves the bad behavior, Wan’s response to an essentially ridiculously outspoken, ill-mannered and ill-tempered woman was patient, quiet and thoughtful.
That exhibition of self-control and maturity inspired a sense of respect in me right away.
I really liked that he gave her the benefit of the doubt and spent time considering what might have caused her to turn out this way. I found that loyalty endearing, and his measuredness, swoony.
He loves from the heart
In episode 5, Wan answers Joo Yeon’s question of why he likes her thusly: “There is no reason. But I think because there’s no reason, it’s love.” … “Because if the reason disappeared, my feelings would change too.”
Talk about constancy. Talk about simplicity.
Even though I wasn’t on board the Joo Yeon train, I had to admire his simple, uncalculated yet very intentional approach to loving her.
He wouldn’t be changing his mind about her, because his love wasn’t from the head, but the heart.
He’s not self-centered
The deeper we get into the show, the more it becomes obvious that in this love for Joo Yeon, Wan’s never seen it as being about him.
He’s consistently more concerned for Joo Yeon than for himself.
In episode 8, when Joo Yeon realizes that she likes Tae Yoon, Wan’s response is, “Go where your heart leads. Do what you want. Go where you want. Go as far as you can go.”
Despite Joo Yeon’s heart leaning towards another man, Wan still tells her that he loves her, because he doesn’t calculate. And yet in his openness about his love for her, Wan doesn’t apply pressure on her to like him back.
I just really liked that selfless, deliberately genuine quality about him.
What strikes me about Wan is that to him, it’s more important that Joo Yeon regain her emotional abilities than that she likes him back.
When she cries to him that she must really like Tae Yoon, he smiles to himself that it’s good that she’s learned how to cry again. Again, Joo Yeon comes first.
In fact, it’s more important to him that Joo Yeon is loved well, rather than that Joo Yeon loves him back.
In episode 12, Wan schools Lousy Boyfriend Tae Yoon on how to love Joo Yeon properly: “..The people around her should know. Love her so that the whole world knows how much she’s loved!”
Not a word to Tae Yoon about going away and leaving Joo Yeon alone. Wan’s only request of Tae Yoon is to love Joo Yeon well.
Sweet, selfless Wan.
He’s so affectionate
Perhaps the thing that about Wan that got under my skin the most, was his casual skinship with Joo Yeon.
There’s something about how casual it is that makes me melt. Wan’s always holding her hand, or holding her close, and he does it so easily, like it’s a natural extension of himself. And he does it even when she doesn’t reciprocate. I just find it all so melty.
Like this shot of him absentmindedly reaching for her hand and gently rubbing her fingers:
So casually cozy.
And this shot of Wan wrapping himself around Joo Yeon, even when he’s a little upset with her, and even though she’s acting peevishly haughty and playing hard to get (which I found annoying, for the record).
Putting aside my thoughts about Joo Yeon’s behavior, I do like how Wan is so expressive and giving in his love.
Wouldja look at that tenderness spilling out of his eyes?
Of course, Wan’s extreme goodness makes him feel more than a little too good to be true, and many have argued that Wan couldn’t possibly exist in real life.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t like him, right?
A Better Joo Yeon
So I’ve detailed a good number of things that I didn’t like about Joo Yeon.
To be fair, and for the record, there were a couple of times in the show that I did like her.
Like the time in episode 10 where Joo Yeon seems genuinely distressed at being caught between Tae Yoon and Se Ryung. That felt sincere and I liked this side of Joo Yeon that didn’t want to engage in playing games and manipulating people.
Or the time in episode 14 where Joo Yeon has her epiphany and realizes that she loves Wan.
She heads straight to Tae Yoon’s apartment and breaks up with him, saying:
“You were wrong. There is something you can’t be without, something that you can’t get through effort. Love you can’t live without—I know it doesn’t exist…
But I’m going to believe that it does. I’m going to live believing that. I’m going to love someone who believes that. Let’s stop here.”
Y’know, I was expecting her to beeline for Wan, given her sudden epiphany. I mean, that’s what most kdrama heroines would’ve done, I think.
But I have to say, when I realized that she went directly to Tae Yoon first, to set things straight, it gave me a jolt of respect for her.
There’s something about how she’d first sort things out properly with the boyfriend-who’s-not-quite-a-boyfriend, before allowing her heart to go to the one she truly loves, that I find very clean and clear-cut. I like it.
At the end of the show, I also love how Joo Yeon’s perspective of Wan completely changes from annoying Sweet Potato, to most desirable, perfect man alive. Cue hearts in her eyes.
That’s evidence that Joo Yeon’s no longer just thinking from her head; that’s definitely her heart talking.
And I do love that she now wonders “What woman called this man a sweet potato?!”
Talk about a turnaround.
While late in the coming, I do like that when Joo Yeon finally sees Wan in a new light, that she would go so far as to question her past self for being so blind. She’s not hanging onto her pride or making excuses here, and I dig that.
Lastly, I do like that Joo Yeon gets so comfortable with telling Wan “I love you” that by series’ end, she’s telling him she loves him, unprompted.
It makes me happy coz Sweet Wan deserves some love.
Min Jung’s Arc
To be honest, there were times in the show where I was most interested in Min Jung’s arc, over and above the OTP arc.
There’s just something very warm and endearing about Park Hyo Joo and her portrayal of Min Jung that I really like.
I also liked her early-menopause-oh-wait-no-it’s-pregnancy arc, even though it reminded me of Answer Me 1994.
I was interested in how Min Jung would deal with the pregnancy, how baby-daddy Min Seok (Yoo Ha Jun) would find out, and what would happen if & when he did. I found the tension around this all quite enjoyable.
Also, I actually really liked Min Seok as a character.
In episode 10, even after the truth is out, he still leaves his confession and gift on Min Jung’s door.
Not only that, he then apprehensively waits for some kind of response on the other side of the wall, which is so endearingly adorable. Both of them listening through the wall to each other (above) was also very cute.
I really like that Min Seok is the kind of guy who, when he realizes that he likes Min Jung, goes after her and seeks her out, even when she’s trying to hide from him.
And when he finds out that she’s pregnant, his first instinct is that they need to talk it out and make a decision together. I like that from the get-go, he has every intention of being a father to the child, even though he’d never wanted a child before.
Even when Min Seok’s world is twisting and turning around him and everything’s thrown into confusion, I like that in spite of himself and his fear of being a bad father, he ends up doing the right thing.
In the end, I really did like the way Min Jung’s and Min Seok’s arc is treated.
We get to see their growing affection and commitment to each other, and that is endearing and quite lovely.
Even though we don’t see them outright making that commitment, their slow but steady journey towards a committed, happy ending shows in the small everyday gestures, and it’s sweet and hopeful and very nice indeed.
On a side note, doesn’t Yoo Ha Jun look like a dead ringer for Bae Yong Joon?? Seriously. I had flashbacks to Hotelier (2001), with the way that Yoo Ha Jun is styled in this show.
I know there’re quite a few things that I haven’t mentioned in this review.
Like Se Ryung’s and Tae Yoon’s arc(s). And Hee Jae’s arc with Woo Young. And Joo Yeon’s arc with Se Ryung.
Basically, I neither loved nor hated any of these arcs. There were better moments and worse moments in all of them, and I ended up feeling pretty neutral towards them.
In the end, the show has almost all of its characters facing life with brave faces, despite varying levels of uncertainty in their lives, and that’s not a bad thing at all.
Overall, given that I’d really disliked the first two installments of the INR franchise to the point of wanting to swear off any and all future installments forever, and yet I managed to come away from this one without feeling like I wanted to kill the writers, well, that’s.. not half bad, right?
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Unremarkable but generally pleasant, if you’re the forgiving sort. I.. didn’t hate it. And Sung Joon is dreamy. As always. ❤
FINAL GRADE: B-
For those who don’t mind spoilers, here’s a breezy, cheerful track from the OST that quite perfectly sums up Wan’s point of view in the drama:
Wow I’m really late to this party… Last comment in 2018! lol.
I kinda enjoyed this drama while watching it. Sung Joon is just dreamy and kept my interest. I can’t believe he is only 24 in this drama… His melty voice makes you think he’s quite a bit older.
The writing is not bad but it did have poor choices: I found it quite annoying having a young man like Wan barging into this grown woman’s life and lecturing her about emotions… I mean, it isn’t that Wan’s character wasn’t sympathetic or didn’t have a point, but was all his perorating about true love really necessary? I have to admit that I part of me kind of understood why Joo Yeon was so rude to him at the start: who wants a kid friend lecturing you about life, right? I mean, yes, Joo Yeon was ridiculously clueless about her own feelings, but couldn’t the writer find a better way of making her reconnect with her emotions than having Wan sounding so very intrusive and sanctimonious? Perhaps a bit of “show not tell”? A similar annoying male character who was often giving his colleague, and love interest, Hee Jae similar “pearls of wisdom” was Woo Young… but at least with this couple the writer had the good sense of giving Hee Jae a very surprising and unexpected power move by the end: She decides to stall her relationship with Woo Young for a year and go travelling on her own. Super choice: You go girl!
This drama had good things. Near the end there were good conversations among girls that were not always necessarily about men. The drama also described different kinds of love, depending on your personality and/or experience, and it did it well: the passionate and romantic kind (Wan), the obsessive kind (Se Ryung), the convenient kind (Sunbae Kang), the lustful kind (Ming Jung), the perfunctory (Joo Yeon and Hee Jae at the start) and the selfless kind (Woo Young at the end), even though at times it does feel a bit contrived and you kinda see through the artifice. You gave good examples of that, Kfangirl.
Not the best drama, but enjoyable enough. I’m happy that I saw it. Sung Joon is the highlight here. I’ll keep searching for dramas with him, as I have really liked him in everything he’s been part of.
Thanks for the review! I enjoyed reading it.
I guess I’m in the minority because I really enjoyed this.
I haven’t watched the other releases of I Need A Romance, and after watching Something In the Rain, which I also liked, but not as much as this, I’m romanced out. Lol. And will likely not watch anymore romances for some time.
While at times Shin-Joo was annoying, KSo-Yeon added a vulnerability to the character that made her sympathetic IMO. I could understand why she was cold, and had completely shutdown emotionally. Though her staff shared with her and spoke openly about their lives, she did not offer them the same courtesy because she did not see them as friends. They were all “strangers” to her except maybe Tae-Yoon, who ironically enough was her supervisor.
I was with her in how she responded not only to Wan suddenly showing up to move in, but Lee-Min’s meltdown over being menopausal (at work no less in the middle of a critical project deadline). I also understood Shin-Joo not wanting to hear about and discuss Lee-Min’s pregnancy. Again, they weren’t friends and really Lee Min wanting to have a heart to heart discussion about whether to keep or abort the baby was an inappropriate discussion to be having with one’s boss. That said, I did like how Wan gave Shin-Joo perspective surrounding these situations, ultimately melted her cold heart and got her to learn and grow, to lower her walls and allow friendships and love to blossom.
Speaking of Wan, I thought he was a dream, very swoon worthy . Certainly too good to be true Lol, and Sung Joon was very pretty to look at. I loved how patient he was with Shin-Joo, never giving up even when they “broke up.” Though at times he came off as naive and immature while wooing her and dealing with Tae-Yoon during the “triangle,” I thought he was a very endearing character and quite realistic when he gave her the ultimatum and wouldn’t return until she finally gave him what he wanted. The only thing I did not appreciate about his character was the constant arm grabbing and not letting go. That was a bit much for my taste and just stopped short of being abusive IMHO.
The other romances were descent. Jung Hee and Lee Woo were very cute, but I didn’t buy their love. I think they liked each other a lot. However, I did not believe for one second that their relationship would last with her going off to travel the globe, whether he was paying for her luggage or not.
I could not understand why Tae-Yoon was so done with Se-Reoung. They seemed well matched to me, but out of all the romances they were the least interesting. Like others, I found myself fast-forwarding their scenes.
Lee-Min’s romance was hilarious, but that ending was something straight out of a fairytale. No way the tide would’ve turned in her favor after her jump off expressed his vehement displeasure with her being pregnant. However, this show was a romance/drama and with romance dramas it is rare that the love/relationships are completely realistic.
Still, I enjoyed this. The main romance was one of my favorite tropes. Kim So-Yeon and Sung Joon looked great together and had a natural chemistry that made their romance believable. I laughed throughout at some of the more ridiculous moments and thought the fashion was on point. I liked all of Shin-Joo’s outfits. Wan’s outfits were great too. Though I will admit that some of his sweaters were a miss. Lol. I did like how he was often dressed in non traditional colors for a man.
I’d give this a 8/10.
Glad you enjoyed your watch, Ursa! 🙂 You are definitely more forgiving than I was, with this one. But I did definitely find this one a more pleasant watch than the other I Need Romance dramas, so there’s that. In Show’s feeble defense, the arm-grabbing is a very common sight in kdramas, so it’s not doing something outstandingly bad with that, even though it’s not doing something outstandingly good either, lol.
As for the menopause breakdown not being appropriate.. this was my whole issue with the friendship among the colleagues. That initial sleepover with them all talking about sex made me super uncomfortable, and I considered it inappropriate among colleagues, but Joo Yeon was up for that, because she was the one who needed support and comfort. And so when Min Jung needed a listening ear about her menopause-related fears, Joo Yeon’s refusal to listen despite Min Jung’s teary pleas, felt selfish to me. Min Jung had been there for Joo Yeon when she’d been down, so why couldn’t she return the favor, is what I felt.
Currently watching it. I feel you about the girl lead character. Swooning over Wan. Good review!👌 thank you.
Wan really is very sweet & dreamy <3 And Hi5, that we feel similarly about the female lead character! Enjoy the rest of your watch, Elisa! 🙂
Thanks for your review. It captured exactly what I’m feeling while watching “I Need Romance 3.” I’m currently on episode seven (7) and I am debating whether to stop watching. I find Joo Yeon’s character to be so unlikable that I don’t want to waste any more time observing her bad behavior. Sung Joon as Wan is dreamy but his unselfish and unconditional love for her is baffling to me. She’s a nasty person at work and at home. I know the writers want to show a personality evolution but I don’t want to wait nine more episodes to see it. I’ll just read the recaps and probably move on to another drama series.
Lol. Good decision there, Arabella! 😆 I liked this one the most, out of the I Need Romance series, but that’s not saying a whole lot, because I didn’t like the first 2 installments much at all. I was sucked into this one mostly because of Sung Joon. 😅
My journey of noona romances continues…
I agree with your review and with the general bland of this drama. It’s not like I liked or disliked it. It just kind of… exists.
I did like watching a Kdrama that acknowledges that women have a sexuality. It’s a breath of fresh air, actually, as were the number of kiss and sex scenes. Not that I need them to make a drama work. I just find it weird that kdrama is so obsessed with romance while pretending that sex doesn’t exist.
And while a lot of the plotlines didn’t draw me in – I admit I fast forwarded through almost every scene with Tae Yoon and Se Ryung – I did appreciate the way in which the main romance was an inversion of the classic ‘cold and reserved man saved by warm-hearted, selfless woman’ trope. Having a cold, heartless woman saved by the love of a warm-hearted, selfless man was another breath of fresh air.
Wan teetered on the edge of Noble Idiocy but was then waved by his eventual tantrum, which I also thought was surprisingly realistic. His utter selflessness to that point was obviously causing his emotions to bottle up.
5/10 for me. Plus an extra point for the seduction scene at the end. Because, yowza.
Heh. 5/10 sounds fair – this wasn’t one of the best noona romances – or any romance, for that matter – but it was miles better than the first 2 installments of the I Need Romance series. I didn’t enjoy either of the first 2 installments. So this felt like a big upgrade, in that context. 😉
If you’re in the mood for more noona romance, and want something more realistic, with a bit of real-world grit – and a lot of art film sensibility on top of that – I highly recommend Secret Love Affair. It is magnificent. <3
I’ve started watching Secret Love Affair actually. But while I can binge-watch a show like this with a fast-forward button on hand, Secret Love Affair is so good that I’m taking my time watching it. It’s a work of art. The direction, score, acting, writing are all 10/10.
I’ll wander by and review it when I’m finally done. In the iterim, I’m sure I’ll watch another really bad one to fill my time.
Oh yes, SLA is not something you can fast-forward.. it’s so meaty and so good that you really need to savor it. <3 Would love to know more about how you like it, once you're done! Also, I loved it so much that I wrote it a monster review (here), which you might enjoy, once you get to the end 🙂
Oh!!! This movie was extremely nice. I loved the romance
Glad you enjoyed the show, Abua Jane! 🙂 I didn’t love it as much as you did, but this was the INR installment I liked best, so that’s something! 🙂
Hello. This is A.K.I.A. Talking…
Thanks for the great review of I Need Romance 3! I enjoyed it a lot.
I added it to my collection of reviews for the show. The show has now an average score of 70.4%.
Here is a link to the page if you would like to give it a look:
Thanks again for the review.
Thanks for including this review in your list, AKIA! 🙂
Oh boy… this drama… of all the dramas that I have watched to date I liked this one the least. It was a physical struggle just to queue up the next episode. I watched it live and recapped all the episodes as I watched them. If I hadn’t committed to doing that I would have dropped the drama before the halfway mark. I ranted and complained enough in my post back on my blog, but man I was so disappointed that I’d lost all that time to it lol.
Lol, I do remember how upset you were with this show, Jaime! XD I have learned that the recapping process forces one into a very detailed, analytical frame of mind, and not all shows can stand up to the scrutiny. That’s part of the reason I prefer to just talk about the show as a whole. That gives me the freedom to adjust the lens with which I view a drama. If I’d been trying to deconstruct this drama, it would’ve driven me batty, I’m quite sure of it! With a looser, more casual lens on, I was able to finish it and turn a blind eye to some of the things that didn’t make sense to me or annoyed me. If it makes you feel any better, INR3 is far from being the worst drama I’ve ever seen.. 😉
This newbie to the drama world and blogging learned that lesson the hard way! INR3 is one of the reasons that I just couldn’t get back into episode recaps, well along with just not being able to handle it within my blogging limitations. Recapping makes you look at everything with a microscope and it can take the sparkle out of any drama no matter how good.
I am much-much happier now that I’ve made the choice to just review a show as a whole. Oh boy if INR3 isn’t the worst I truly don’t want to see what you think is the worst! lol
Tee hee. I’ve seen far worse dramas than INR3. Let me just say, avoid Dream High 2. That comes to mind as one of the worst dramas I’ve ever seen, if not the worst. There are other contenders, of course. But I didn’t actually finish some of those dramas, so I can’t exactly speak with full authority. I completed Dream High 2, and can say with full authority: Stay Away. For Your Sanity. XD
Thank you for the warning! I won’t watch Dream High 2! Even though I cringed and raged watching INR3 I am sure there are worse ones out there hehe but I guess my feels are still in a funk from this one. I’m holding a grudge! lol
Heh. I perfectly understand the drama grudge. Our feelings are involved when we watch drama, so when a show lets us down, we can definitely feel cheated, not only of our time, but of our feelings too. My grudge is against INR2. That upset me so much that I wanted to swear off any and all INR future installments. It was Sung Joon that broke my resolve, I tell ya. It’s all Sung Joon’s fault 😉 Dreamy boy.
The drama grudge! That sounds like the kernel of an idea for a blog post lol! But I really do hold one towards this drama. It is so hard not to. IN2 was that bad? Since I loved IN 1 so much I have been considering it, but knowing that you grudge it then I may not heh. Sung Joon is so dream I can see why you were tempted into watching the show.
Lol. Feel free to write about the drama grudge in a post, Jaime! 😀 And well, INR2 was that bad, for me. I know not everyone hated it, but I really did. I was very annoyed and upset with the leads, and the writing around the leads. If you’re very curious about it, you could check it out sometime and then we can compare notes to see if the show had a similar effect on you? 😉 I’m not pushing you towards what I perceive as a bad drama, but… if you’re that curious and want to check it out, then I’m curious to hear what you think! 😉
I don’t know if I’ll check it out or not. I loved the writing and story and characters of INR 1, but INR 3 made me so frustrated and the writing was so ugh that I’m just not sure I could commit to the second one if you say the writing was that bad. I think I’ll need to put some more time between myself and INR 3 before I commit to another INR hehe. I have a few other dramas that I’d like to watch first and then maybe I’ll tackle the second one. When I get there I’ll be sure to compare notes!
Lol. I think you can put INR2 wayy down on your list – if at all! XD Alternatively, you might want to consider Discovery of Love, which is by the same writer. Honestly, I’d been wary of DoL because it was by the same writer as the INR franchise, since I hadn’t loved any of the installments. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by DoL. So if you’re looking for a similar-but-better sort of INR drama experience, this might be a worthy addition to your list! 🙂
I only watched it for HIM and I love the noona romance. Since, I am a noona and we enjoy these things. However, I did enjoy the sunbae’s voice. That swept over hair look didn’t do it for me. Although, he gave the lead a serious kiss. I had to clutch my pearls a bit.
Lol. I watched this for Sung Joon too, so I know that frame of mind, dynerdiva! XD There were several scenes where Nam Goong Min came across as quite dreamy, and that has piqued my interest in him as an actor. Not to the extent of actively seeking him out on my screen, but I’ll be more open to watching him when he next happens to be in a drama I’m watching 🙂 I wanted to keep thinking of his character as dreamy in INR3, but the writers wouldn’t let me go there. I found sunbae’s behavior increasingly not swoony as the show wore on. Still, long tangent later, I do concur about his voice. I also liked the gentle gaze that he wore quite a bit.
Love your comments and agree… I liked Woo Young too, he was very straightforward and honest and never pushy. I felt like the chemistry Sung Joon had with Kim So Yeon was good, although they turned her from a ridiculous character into almost a pushover, but not quite, I could see she was just happy and the void was filled in. Nam Gung Min showed a lot of faces too, the mean, the cute, the firm boss. I did like that they tried to let you get to know the characters well, development was good, if not always believable 😉 I was hoping for even more cuddly kissing scenes between the reconciliation and the bed scenes, somehow it felt disconnected, maybe I need to use my imagination more ;). All in all I was happy that at least Wan got what he wanted in the end. It was irritating to have that sucky waiting period where Joo Yeon dates Tae Yoon… And Wan is not that far away and she just doesn’t even think to go after him… And her character being so mean.. I’m thinking those are probably common reasons for dropping it… I think the first time I wasn’t in the mood for it and dropped before the swoons stuff started, in ep 3… The chemistry in Wan’s imaginary scene was sweet! Hehe…
Oh yes, Woo Young was definitely one of the more likable characters in the show. I liked him more than Hee Jae. Somehow, Hee Jae came across as overly calculative and materialistic, and I never did feel her kissing scenes with both her men. Woo Young grew on me, though. He really was much more forthright, and I liked that he was the type to give Hee Jae space. I also liked his hair makeover – he looked way cuter with the shorter hair! Did you know that he’s Yoochun’s younger brother? I didn’t make the connection till much later!
I also disliked that period where Joo Yeon’s busy dating Tae Yoon. That’s the period where she tramples all over Wan’s feelings the most. That made it hard to sit through for me, more than anything else. That scene where she took his soup and passed it off as her own to Tae Yoon? Argh. Made me so mad, I tell ya! >.< Which means, yeah, I pretty much watched this entire show for Sung Joon! XD
I didn’t know he was Mickey YooChun’s brother! Yes to the haircut! much more suave lol. Makes me think that some acting runs in the genes and I should retry Rooftop Prince that I was never quite in the mood for somehow.. or maybe Mickey’s newer drama, when I can handle darker action. The actress who plays Hee Jae, she’s kind of ok in all her roles… Bit whiny voice, I think it’s just how her voice is… And bubbly. Good for sort of campy stuff. I haven’t started anything yet after finishing Cunning Single Lady yet, will finish off Fall in Love With Me this week and not sure what to pick up next yet… Have to figure what mood I’m in…
Isn’t it fascinating how we don’t see any resemblance before knowing the brotherly connection, but then once we know they’re related, it’s hard to not see some similarities in their features? At least, that’s how it was for me. At the beginning of the show, I was wondering who this guy with the odd bowl haircut was. His new haircut definitely made him more suave, but I still didn’t make the connection to Yoochun. It was only after I was done with the show and looking at cast lists more closely that I learned he was Yoochun’s little brother! After that, I was all, Ohhhh.. I see the resemblance now..! XD
I liked Rooftop Prince, actually. Fair warning though – the ending is the kind of ending that you need to make sense of yourself. It’s open to interpretation, and if you’re ok with that, then I do think it’s worth checking out. I haven’t seen Three Days, but have heard some good things and it’s on my list. If you choose to watch that one, let me know how you like it! 🙂
Yoon Seung Ah had been hit or miss for me. I liked her in Playful Kiss and MoonSun, but felt extremely aggravated by her in Panda and Hedgehog. Her outing in INR3, unfortunately, leans more aggravating than appealing for me. I do think she has potential, though, so I’m hoping she’ll do better in her next role.
I never saw this series of dramas and they’re not on my K-dar any time soon, but I just love reading your reviews. I was trying to think where I saw Sung Joon before and it was Gu Family book. When you pull these guys out of the Joseon era they look far less fierce and imposing. But he looks adorable here. No matter how many dramas I watch Kim So-Yeon in, she just turns me off. Maybe because she’s always playing abrasive characters. She’s very talented, no doubt about it, but not on my favorites list.
Aw, thanks Lady G!! 😀 Coming from someone who loves to read and write, I take that as a huge compliment! ❤
Yes, Sung Joon was in Gu Family Book! I heard he was woefully wasted in there, though. And his hair was NOT glorious either, unfortunately. I did love him in White Christmas and in Shut Up Flower Boy Band. Both shows are worth watching for different reasons. White Christmas is creepy and thought-provoking, while Shut Up is high school drama done right. It’s got loads of heart, and just enough grit to make it feel real and a little edgy. I’m not big into rock music, but I really, really liked that show. Lee Min Ki has an extended cameo in it, and is a total scene stealer!
I’m with you on Kim So Yeon. I only really liked her in Iris, and I rather liked her in Two Weeks as well. Other than that, her characters haven’t really resonated with me, despite her obvious talent. I wanted to like her here, but it was an uphill battle that I ultimately lost, despite the show’s best efforts. At least there were moments when I liked her a little? 😉
Lovely, insightful review, as per usual. A joy to read.
Well, this was a strike out for me, so that’s three out of three INR’s I dropped at some point. Guess the franchise isn’t for me. Swoony Sung Joon aside (and boy, is he delish! ^^), I just got bored half way through and never felt the urge to finish. Reading the recaps was quite sufficient to wrap this puppy up. 🙂
Aw, thanks Timescout! I’m so glad that you enjoyed reading the review, even though you didn’t finish the show! 🙂
Y’know, I don’t really think the INR franchise is for me, either. I mean, the only reason I watched it is coz I just couldn’t pass up the chance to have Swoony Sung Joon on my screen. Kim So Yeon is hit or miss for me, and this time, it was a miss. I struggled to like her character and failed, mostly. I feel, though, that if I say now that I will swear off all future installments of INR, that the franchise will then dangle Woob at me or something, to make me change my mind! XD
Wonderful. You say everything here I felt while watching this drama (which by the way I decided to watch based solely on the fact that G.O had a song on the OST that you so sweetly included here – I have absolutely NO SHAME in admitting that). I personally could not stand Joo Yeon throughout the entire drama. She irked me from the get go and I could not fathom how Wan could even waste his time. But you point out something key. Wan lived from his heart. OMG…this is something not too many people ever learn how to do and he did – and the irony is that SHE is the one who taught him to do so. It also gave me hope that reprehensible people are not exempt from finding a special someone who will love them unconditionally no matter how ugly they are!!!
I actually liked Min Jung the best. I guess I could sincerely empathize with her and I just liked her personality. And then there was Wan. Yes, he most likely is too good to be true, but I like to think there are knights in shining armor out there who will always do the right thing, say the right thing and love, truly love from the heart. Sigh…..
For once….I actually finished a drama BEFORE you came at us with a review. Hehehehehe…..! Great read….as usual! <3
Tee hee. I am so not surprised that you watched this solely for the fact that GO has a track on the OST, my dear! XD I know how much you love that man, and the lengths to which you’d go, to express that love! GO should feel touched to have a fan as dedicated as you are! 🙂
I liked Min Jung best too! And for the same reasons as you did. I just liked her personality, and how real she felt. Her insecurity and struggle with feeling alone and trying to be brave felt convincing and heartfelt, and I really just wanted things to work out well for her. I also loved how awesome she was with forcing Joo Yeon and Se Ryung to stop their petty fighting and just grow up already.
And as unbelievable as Wan sometimes got, I couldn’t help but like him. I mean, how could I not like swoony Sung Joon? The only thing was that I sometimes felt aggravated with how indulgent he was with Joo Yeon. But oh well, he loved her, and being with her made him happy somehow, so in that sense I found a way to root for the OTP, by rooting for him first. Not the most gripping reason to root for an OTP, but whatever works, right? 😉
I think it’s because GO’s got something to do with this drama, and because this drama doesn’t have that great of a reputation, that you jumped in so quick and I dragged my feet so much! XD But yes, it’s really nice that you’re all ready to talk drama the moment the review is done! 😀