WWATD?! I Need Romance 2012
Another WWATD?! post wrapping up a Kdrama we finished a little while ago. Fear not, gentle readers, I have a solid excuse for our reduction in posts these days and will share it with you- as soon as I have a chance to post about it!
Sunnie and I started watching I Need Romance 2012 because we were looking for a light-hearted romantic comedy to help us relax at the end of long days. We hadn’t seen the original series and thought we’d just give it a try as no other dramas had really grabbed our attention. Very shortly after starting to watch, we almost stopped. The show was initially short on romance and on comedy, focusing instead on the passionate, frustrating, and ultimately destructive relationship between Joo Yeol Mae, played by Jung Yoo Mi and her longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend Yoon Suk Hyun, played by Lee Jin Wook. The two live together in a duplex that is more of a divided, single house that was left to them by their parents, and have dated and broken up with each other since they were in high school. The series starts with their moving from friends who are exes to friends “with benefits”, and Yeol Mae, who despite her denials wants more than this from Suk Hyun, quickly starts transitioning from her cheerful self to a frustrated, manipulative, and clinging woman, who is not very likeable, while Suk Hyun’s boyish charms soon seem more like dense immaturity.
As I mentioned, at this point, we were about ready to jump ship. Who needs the stress?! But we just couldn’t find another drama to pull us in, so we came back to give it another go and were very happy that we did. Yeol Mae soon finds herself drifting more and more towards a new man in her life, Shin Ji Hoon, played by Kim Ji Suk, who we last saw as the uber-annoying boy friend in Personal Taste. Here, he’s very likeable and brings the maturity that the other two in the love triangle seem to lack.
Additional characters also lighten things up as we get a very Sex In the Cityish trio of friends, with Yeol Mae’s friends Sun Jae Kyung, played by Kim Ji Woo, who is very much in the unapologetically sexy and devil-may-care Samantha role, and Woo Ji Hee, played by Kang Ye Sol, who plays the prim and proper Charlotte character. Things are further shaken up in Yeol Mae and Suk Hyun’s home when the younger Kang Na Hyun, played by Kim Ye Won, starts living with them while collaborating with Suk Hyun on a project, and unaware of the duo’s history together, starts to fall for him. Her character, kind of annoying in her youthful bluntness and awkwardness, really starts to grow on you as the series progresses.
While we never do get full on rom-com hilarity with this series, what we do get is a very interesting triangle of the three leads, who are all enjoyable to watch. It’s always interesting to me to see someone like Kim Ji Suk, who was so obnoxious and annoying in Personal Taste, get the chance to show he can be charming and likeable in a series like this. We’re currently watching him in Alice in Cheongdamdong as well. What you get with this show is a view of Yeol Mae and Suk Hyun’s long relationship, and all of its passions and frustrations, revealed as more and more is revealed as they peel back the layers. You know there is a strong love on both sides there, but what is that Suk Hyun knows that has kept him from ever being fully there for Yeol Mae but unable to let her go?
We really enjoyed this show. Unfortunately, like too many Kdramas, they just couldn’t nail the conclusion. It’s hard to think of many shows that do – I could count them on one hand, and I Need Romance 2012 is no different. Really enjoyable, building towards an interesting conclusion after episode after episode of hinting, innuendo, and back steps, and finally – eh, ok. Not horrible but not fully satisfying. Here, once again, it’s the main course that is the star and the dessert an afterthought. So because we so thoroughly enjoyed this series, we’re left again wishing for more and what could have been if they just could have nailed the ending! I Need Romance 2012 has solid acting throughout, and a very clever and unique photographic approach to the editing that really lends a nice touch and atmosphere to the series, particularly in the many flash backs to previous moments in Yeol Mae and Suk Hyun’s relationship. We liked the series enough to go and briefly check out the original I Need Romance, but, eh… not so much.
Several nice songs on the drama’s OST too. Somehow, some of the songs remind me in some way of my favorite Kdrama OST ever, Coffee Prince: