The Korean version of “Sex and the City” frustrates more than it entertains, but Sung Joon looks cute.
It’s hard being the only likeable characters on “I Need Romance 3”.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★★
Only 만: ★
Before moving to the US, Joo Wan (Sung Joon) was cared for by Shin Joo Yeon (Kim So Yeon) who was a mere six years older than him. Seventeen years later, Wan returns to Korea in search of his long-time crush. Joo Yeon fails to recognize him, and little of the girl he remembered is left. Joo Wan makes it his mission to selflessly revive Joo Yeon’s emotions.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: I would like to start by apologizing for proposing that we recap “I Need Romance 3”. I was blinded by Sung Joon and the noona storyline.
Only 만: Well, it’s not like it didn’t seem to have some possibilities. We didn’t know it was going to go this badly wrong.
중국어 캐나다: As you know, I couldn’t even finish “I Need Romance 2012”, and so, I had an inkling of how frustrating this latest installment of “Korean Sex and the City” was going to be.
만: On the plus side, though, we had Sung Joon.
중국어 캐나다: Yes, I got angry, and then Sung Joon smiled and spoke, and I forgave him the same way he forgave Shing Shing.
만: We were as foolish as he was, I guess.
중국어 캐나다: I suppose the easiest thing to start with is what we disliked about the series.
만: Yes, since we’re already done with what we liked about it. The writing and the pacing was terrible. The whole story seemed to come in the last three episodes, with everything before just seeming like random fuckery. I wasn’t a big fan of the main character, Shin Joo Yeon, who started out self-involved and robotic, and ended up cloying. It’s like she went from one kind of stereotype to another.
중국어 캐나다: Yes, first she was a psychopath, and then, she was an idiot. I don’t know which was worse.
만: And the depiction of gender relations was offensive at worst, insipid at best.
중국어 캐나다: Though, to be fair, if they are trying to model themselves after “Sex and the City”, then the battle of the sexes was going to be more like catty hair pulling and pouting.
만: This is true.
중국어 캐나다: It is quite amazing how the writers found new ways to make me cringe. Initially, it was at Wan’s creepy come-ons. Then, when he suddenly became the moral authority, it was time to cringe at Joo Yeon’s robotic insensitivity. Most disturbing to me, I always shuddered whenever Wan and Joo Yeon became intimate. I don’t know why it felt so wrong.
만: I think because of Joo Yeon, but also because I felt like the groundwork for the relationship was laid really poorly. Shin Joo Yeon went from being a robot who treated Wan as a convenient little brother, to suddenly being a woman in touch with her emotions, who lusted after him. It seemed to come out of nowhere.
중국어 캐나다: I am usually all for an increase of skankiness in K-dramas. I think this is the first time I wished they had kept it chaste.
만: In actual fact, there wasn’t a whole lot of sex on this show. It seemed like they talked about it more than anything else.
중국어 캐나다: Well, the series is called “I Need Romance”, not “I Need a Good Boning”
만: Though it did come down to that on one level at the end, where Joo Yeon’s transformation was suddenly accelerated by sex with Wan.
중국어 캐나다: I can’t believe they turned the entire story into the rehabilitation of Joo Yeon. I thought this was supposed to be a sexy romance, and instead, we get an afterschool special?
만: It’s true. I felt like I was being preached at a bit, about the perils of modern life for women. But even that fell flat because I had no idea what the message was.
중국어 캐나다: Now for some random nitpicking to help myself unload. The mothers never showed up, and they would have added some drama that didn’t involve Joo Yeon rehab. The ex-boyfriends of Joo Yeon and Hee Jae were unpleasant to look at, so you knew they were on their way out. Why did they choose to wait until the final episode to introduce any conflict in the relationship of Hee Jae and Woo Young? I can go on and on.
만: I thought the Hee Jae and Woo Young relationship was a pointless add-on. You recall that he suddenly got a random makeover partway through the show, as well.
중국어 캐나다: Ha! Yes, I was surprised, because I thought he was a gay character.
만: I never figured out the reason for it, how he suddenly he comes in looking completely different and ends up with Hee Jae. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it was as if they picked up in the middle of a different story.
중국어 캐나다: I guess he worked in fashion, so a makeover was par for the course?
만: Can we bitch about Min Jung and Baby Daddy, formerly known as the Stalker?
중국어 캐나다: I can’t muster the enthusiasm. Their relationship was offensive, yet surprisingly boring. Remember that Min Jung’s initial crisis was early on-set menopause, which would have been interesting. Then, they went the more reassuring baby route.
만: The actors had so little to work with in terms of character development; it was all just a series of random events for maximum drama. And mostly unsuccessful at that.
중국어 캐나다: I did like Wang Ji Won’s depiction of Se Ryeong. Her acting made me cringe the least. There was an ease to her acting that provided some much-needed relief.
만: She seemed the least fake?
중국어 캐나다: Or, just the most plausible as a human being. I mean, Kim So Yeon (Joo Yeon) and Namgung Min (Tae Yoon) seemed incapable of depicting anything other than robotic and controlled romantic.
만: I agree with you about Wang Ji Won. She’s the only one who played like a human being, and not as a walking stereotype.
중국어 캐나다: Too bad she took a back seat in the final episodes. Well, I’m happy she didn’t end up with Tae Yoon. Hopefully, while he’s in Hong Kong, she’ll find someone better. See? She got me to care about her character’s love life.
만: If the show had been about her and Wan, would you have liked it more?
중국어 캐나다: I don’t know if there would have been enough drama, but even their interactions on the show were a nice reprieve from Joo Yeon.
만: “I Need Romance 3” had awful pacing, and one-note characters, plus the central character’s overacted and underscripted redemption narrative was painful to watch. But, there were small bright spots in the cuteness of Sung Joon, and the acting of Wang Ji Won.
중국어 캐나다: I am amazed to realize that I was never bored with “I Need Romance 3”, probably because I was too busy shouting at the screen in frustration.
만: Hate-watching can be entertaining too, I guess.
중국어 캐나다: It was interactive television, and who can be bored with that?