e third installment of the I Need Romance series is here and I bet you thought you learned something about romance in the first two series, right? Pfft. Those two were chickenfeed compared to this drama which is pulling all the stops when it comes to romance. And to show just how serious they are about it, there’s French everywhere. The first words spoken are: “J’ai envie de romance” which means I might need to have Google Translate open to keep from missing anything. *** The drama begins with a little girl walking in the first snowfall of the year with a cute French song playing in the background. Where’s she going? The male narrator tells us that she was going to see him shortly after exiting his mother’s womb. Seven-year-olds don’t have tact when it comes to describing a newborn’s looks so she tells him that he looked like a sweet potato. The baby grows up and returns to Korea after 17 years of living in America. Let’s just hope that if they have him speaking English, he doesn’t sound like Hyun Bin in My Lovely Sam Soon a.k.a the coal standard for fluent English speakers in Korean dramas. He’s a hit record producer who goes by the name of Allen Joo (Joo Wan in Korea). He’s young, hip and rebellious which explains why he ditches his manager at the airport. And he’s also a romantic who’s holding onto the image of the sweet and innocent Shing Shing he’d left behind. Who is Shing Shing? To everyone else, she’s Shin Joo Yeon, a sexy, successful producer who has inappropriate conversations with her coworkers-cum-friends, one of whom has scheduled monthly sex because she’s dating a broke guy and can only afford to rent a motel once a month. Just how much does it cost to rent a love motel for an hour? And why have a boyfriend if he can’t fulfill your most basic needs? The good thing about learning about her friend - Hee Jae – is we get to see lots and lots of kissing. Is this a hint of what’s to come? Shin Joo Yeon gets a call from her mother telling her to put the recently returned Wan up for a year which is just crazy talk. Does it really take a whole year to find a place? She doesn’t know how to get out of it till the Samantha in her crew, Min Jung, reminds her that she has a boyfriend. Meanwhile, Wan, who’s got a romantic spirit, drives by the Han River and gives her a call. He speaks like a character in a 50′s romance, talking about seagulls and snow which confuses Joo Yeon. Like, really, who talks like that? He’s being sweet and cute because he came back for her but she pointblank tells him that he’s not welcome at her place especially as she and her boyfriend will be sexing every night and he wouldn’t want to be subjected to that, right? Hey, he could be a pervert who gets off on that… just saying. Why is she being mean? Because he’s ugly and she doesn’t want to be reminded that her mother worked for his family. After all that, he tells her that he missed her. Ah, first love really makes you endure all sorts of bullshit, doesn’t it? After a successful show where her home shopping goods get sold out and she plays it cool to her coworkers, our meanie runs off to her sunbae’s office to brag about it. He’s clearly the only one she shows her real face to and is this poor sod the second lead who won’t get the girl? Let’s hope he’s in love with someone else. While she brags to one man, she gives kisses to another. He’s PD Lee Jung Ho and she rushes off to the stairwell to rain kisses on him. While she’s enjoying herself, he’s less receptive because he has something to tell her at dinner. Oh oh. I don’t need to fast-forward this video to know it’s not good news but her friends lead her astray and make her believe that she’s getting a proposal – with a necklace no less – because her male friend, Woo Young, saw her man at a jewelry store. However, at dinner, he drops a bomb: “Let’s break up!” Her response? “Cool. Let’s get some ice cream.” My kind of girl. Instead of being glad that she’s not making a scene, he’s hurt. Hurt that she doesn’t react. Hurt that she doesn’t ask why. Hurt that she isn’t upset. Perhaps this is indicative of their relationship – she wasn’t as emotionally involved as he wanted. So he gets up, walks out and sticks her with a $200 bill. Ouch. As far as I can see, he’s a jerk. Even if it hurts that she doesn’t seem to care, the dumper can’t demand that she cry for him. Self-centered git. And if the breakup was a threat meant to lead to an important conversation, bully for him that it backfired. Asshole. But her expressionless face is just a facade as flashbacks show how she’d previous clung to men who’d dumped her. And how she was usually the only one in pain when the relationship ended. We also see the incident that turned her into the woman she is today – an ex begged for one last shag after getting dumped for only wanting her body. And instead of kicking him in the nuts to “cool” him down, she got so disillusioned by love that she gave in to his request. Eww. And I bet we can all guess that this guy probably sucked in bed (not in a good way) so what a waste of time. So right now, I’m in the men-are-bastards mode because this girl deserved better, right? After her fifth relationship, she no longer fully put her heart into her relationships so she didn’t cry after they ended. As she walks home sadly – her wallet $200 lighter (I think this is what pisses me off the most. LOL) – the news of their breakup spreads amongst her coworkers and we learn that the broke boyfriend-having friend is enjoying her monthly nookie and Samantha is involved in an internet romance. Let’s just hope the guy doesn’t turn out to be her father. Mr. Romance calls Ms. Reality because it’s the first snowfall and he wants them to meet. She points out that it’s a day to be spent with someone he loves. People really go searching for their lover on the first snow day of the season? I usually look for my winter coat. He tells her that he knows why she’s a prickly person who treats him like shit despite claiming to be in love – she’s not. Because if she were, she’d have a different attitude and cherish memories better. So he gives her unsolicited advice to dump her boyfriend. Uhm, but a girl needs some body heat on 20-degree nights. Instead of going home, she goes to her sunbae’s apartment and grabs an expensive bottle of wine. Learning that she’s been dumped is all it takes for him to grab two glasses and forget the cost of the wine. Le sigh. This show sucks. After saying that I absolutely, totally will NOT even consider second lead shipping, the show does this awful thing to me. He’s the one guy she can show her true self to, be it bragging about a great day at work or finding solace on an awful day. And they still want me to ship her with a root vegetable? Pourquoi? The episode is winding down but our leads haven’t yet met. How do we rectify this? By making her attend a hip party he’s DJing because this is how genius composers spend their evenings. He recognizes her on the dance floor then gets off the stage to find her. When he does, he stares at her like he’s been fasting for a month and she’s a juicy steak. Her friends notice and she arrogantly compliments his good taste. He starts to approach her but is thwarted by her nemesis’s sudden appearance. It’s her successful former classmate Oh Se Ryung and based on her reputation for sleeping with all the guys in high school, I’m going to guess she “stole” Joo Yeon’s man. To add fuel to the fire, Woo Jung notes that she’s wearing the necklace Joo Yeon’s ex bought like it was the only copy ever made. Se Ryung extends her greetings, telling Joo Wan that she’s a friend from school but Joo Yeon clarifies that they were only classmates. Se Ryung plays fake nice but Joo Yeon has no time for that and points out that she’s an easy woman. Joo Wan thinks she’s rude and crazy and refuses to believe that she is the Shing Shing he grew up with. No, she has to be a look alike. For some reason, Joo Yeon thinks it makes sense to ask Se Ryung’s date if he’s happy with her. Like who even does that? Then Shing Shing and Sweet Potato have this weird scene where he asks her why she’s so weird and she replies by tease-flirting with him then telling him to worry about himself before walking out. It all is a little forced if you ask me. After she leaves, Se Ryung confirms that she’s indeed his Shing Shing so he chases after her in his red cape but she’s already in a cab. Luckily for him, she hasn’t moved in 17 years and I feel bad thinking of her climbing those steps with heavy groceries. As he walks up the steps, he thinks of the Shing Shing who’d taught him to play music by emotions and is a large reason for his success. He remembers giving her his tooth and telling her he’d be coming back to get it. Why do I feel bad for him that the Tooth Fairy didn’t get to it first? That dude made me rich as a kid. She’d taught him to never hold back and always express his feelings which was when he told her that he’s heading for the States and will miss her. Shing Shing is at a nearby restaurant filling her belly with food and liquor when he calls her. She tears into him, lamenting about her hard time raising him then hangs up. Mr. Romance is once again shaken by who she’s become. Shortly after, he walks past the restaurant, sees her and walks in. She’s surprised to see him, wondering if he’d followed her there. Then she claims to be his fan, repeating what her coworkers had said about him earlier on. He knows she’s lying because a true fan would know his real name. As he sits with her, he realizes that instead of being a bad woman, she’s a sad one. She talks about how there’s no point in being nice and that nobody loves her. And she loves being lonely because even when you’re with someone, you’re still alone. She’s clearly in denial. Then he does his annoying thing of asking her if she’s always been like this. Like shut up with your weird question. Then he asks the person who just said that no one loves her if anybody loves her. Dude, were you not listening? Do you need us to rewind the tape for you? Girlfriend already feels terrible so can you quit this line of questioning? He follows her home and she ends up yelling out her door code. I wonder how this will come into play. Joo Yeon’s home is full of memories shared with Jung Ho and it’s clear that even though she tried to stay detached in her relationships, she still hurt when they ended. Her friends show up to cheer her up and tell her that they think he was cheating on her. She connects the dots and concludes that the other woman is Oh Se Ryung. We also get an update on Samantha’s one night stand who luckily for her, wasn’t her father. Well, now I expect him to have a weird fetish. The next day, Romantic Potato meets with Oh Se Ryung and gets the full details. She and Shing Shing were best friends before she stole her first love. Duh. So they stopped being friends but Se Ryung still likes her because despite the venom she spilled when they met, she didn’t mention what she’d done. Then there’s this mini plot about Joo Yeon’s having a hissy fit because her team didn’t win a contest. She whines about it to her sunbae and he gives her an assignment to find a style director who might end up being Se Ryung. Everything’s going well – they even get a new office for their project – when Big Baby PD quits. Apparently, he can’t deal with someone being apathetic after he dumps her. Self-centered mofo, I bet you think this recap is about you. How in the world does someone dump another and quit because it’s too difficult to see them everyday? Is he insane? Joo Yeon goes to his place and confronts him just as Romantic Potato drops Se Ryung off at the same place. Is some drama about to go down? JERRY! JERRY! JERRY! She breaks down for his sake, saying that it’s hard for her too and why does she give in to these stupid men? Se Ryung knows the pass code and walks into his house so Joo Yeon slowly walks towards her and asks if she’s done it again. Se Ryung smirks and asks what she’s going to do about it. Joo Yeon shows her by breaking her necklace then slapping her. Then they bitch slap each other and fight as Joo Yeon thinks back to how much it hurt to see her boyfriend with her best friend. I’m guessing Alex (the actor’s real name) is like Se Ryung’s cousin or something? The only thing I liked about this scene is that they wrecked Alex’s place. I wish they’d done more damage, though. Rotato stops by to return Se Ryung’s phone that had been left in his car, witnesses the chaos and helps separate the ladies. Long story short, Joo Yeon mistakes his car for Se Ryung’s and takes revenge on it. And in an attempt to stop her, they end up like this. I suppose it’s too early for him to grab her face and kiss her, huh? She grazes her hand and he tends to it in a scene that mirrors one seventeen years earlier where he’d been on the receiving end. As he dresses her wound, he remembers how she told him that it’s best for one to be honest and not put up a front and hide their pain. He repeats it to her and says that the person who’d taught it to him had changed and he wanted to change her back. After they are done, it’s time to part ways. She tells him to send his account number to her so that she can pay for the damage to his car but he tells her that she needs to come to a hotel with him. Is he hitting on her? His voice-over is amused by her interpretation but Bro, can you blame her? He flirts back, asking if she would come if he was and we’ll have to wait till next week to hear her response. *** Pretty solid episodes although I’ve already had enough of his fake Cyrano shtick. The kid held onto his 9-year-old self’s feelings so it was great for him to get a rude awakening although I’m not sure I like how he wants to change her back. She’s clearly miserable and needs to grow and find her happiness but I don’t like that he’s taken it upon himself to turn her back to the girl he fell in love with. Not to say that I don’t see the romance in it but still…. Having said that, it’ll be interesting to see his love evolve from a childish one to real love and witness her fall for the kid she helped raise. Will she go back to being the girl he once loved? Or will he fall in love with the woman she now is? Good thing they gave them a 17 year break. I think the actors work well together although chemistry-wise, I feel he’s doing more of the heavy lifting which makes sense given where we are in the story. As for Sunbae, I’m still not going to ship him and hope they can keep the relationship platonic on both sides. It appears like he might have some history with Oh Se Ryung and I hope that Joo Yeon doesn’t mess with him just to get back at her former best friend for “stealing” her man. Mr. Romance cracks me up because it really sounds like he’s reading his lines from a romantic novel. Not that they are cheesy or anything but we have this one person who idolizes love while the other one has given up on it even though it’s pretty clear that she wishes that someone would make her change her mind. The friends are okay and I’m looking forward to their love stories. Will the unemployed guy stay with Hee Jae once he gets a job? Will the one night stand have a strange fetish or will they end up developing a real relationship? Will Woo Jung find a woman outside of his circle of friends? We’ve got lots of weeks to get the answers to these questions. Till then!