I Need Romance 2012: Episode 3

Oh this episode is so sweet! We have new cast additions, that I think make this drama even better: Heo Tae Hee (all clean-shaven and looking very different from his roles in Coffee House, Athena, and Romance Town), and Kim Ye Won (Operation Proposal, Flower Boy Ramen Shop, Romance Town). I am so excited to see their roles develop in this drama!

This episode actually has a title – “The Sixth Abnormal Relationship,” referring to the sixth phase of Yeol Mae and Seok Hyun’s relationship. I actually went through a gamut of emotions with this episode – from laughing crazily to feeling particularly sad when Yeol Mae cries. These actors and the script are really good at tugging my heartstrings. Keep this up, and it just might be my favorite rom-com of the year.

Yeol Mae and Seok Hyun play a game of catch with those velcro ball and catchers that I love because you can never miss catching a ball! This is the aftermath of their night of dancing – though they’re not really together, they’re kinda together. After Seok Hyun’s proposition, the two of them slept together that night. Yeol Mae was in for a rude awakening when she realized that Seok Hyun was not beside her on the bed when she woke up. In fact, he was nowhere in the house at all! He had gone for an early showing of a movie and ditched her!

Yeol Mae goes to exercise with her girlfriends, feeling very perplexed. She wants to cuddle with him in the morning, but he just left her hanging. Jae Kyung reminds her that they’re not really a couple – they’re just friends with benefits. It doesn’t matter what he says, promises, or what his eyes say. What matters are his actions: since he slept with her, then left her, it’s clear he just wants to keep the relationship strictly sexual. Jae Kyung also reminds her to establish firm footing on the relationship as well – Yeol Mae shouldn’t just follow Seok Hyun’s decisions, but make him follow hers as well.

That’s easier said than done, as Ji Hee is having problems with her man Ho Joon. He recently installed a mirror overlooking her bed to help with their sex, but it actually freaks Ji Hee even more. She definitely can’t get aroused by him anymore, and she’s so disappointed that Ho Joon is just so terribly bad at it. Her friends tell her to tell Ho Joon that she doesn’t like the mirror, but Ji Hee refuses. To her, it’s only fair to like what he likes, since he always does what she likes.

Yeol Mae returns home wondering what kind of relationship she wants with Seok Hyun. He arrives just in time with sushi for lunch, and tries to feed her her favorite salmon sushi. But Yeol Mae wants to set some rules first. 1) Define their relationship in clear and simple terms: They both agree on just being a couple at night. 2) Skinship? Not allowed unless they’re in bed together. That includes touching shoulders and holding hands. 3) How often? Yeol Mae wants once a week; Seok Hyun wants to do it whenever. They set up codes to express when they want it. If Yeol Mae wears the shoes Jae Kyung gave her, then she wants it. If Seok Hyun puts the kissing cats together on the lips, he wants it. Both can reject if they want to. 4) Always use protection. 5) Make sure to entertain each other with good foreplay. 6) Most importantly, if either of them start seeing someone else, the friends with benefits situation is over.

At a manicure session with the girls, Yeol Mae can’t believe how brazen she’s gotten. During her first time with Seok Hyun, she had felt so nervous, and felt like an adult after she did the deed. Ji Hee felt a certain amount of embarrassment too, but Jae Kyung thinks the two girls are overreacting. To her, sex is just an experience, just like drinking coke for the first time.

Ji Hee even receives a gift of lingerie from Ho Joon at her work place, making her doubly embarrassed. She’s so conservative that she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it. It’s the last straw for her, so she plans a date to Namsan Tower and hopes to break the news to him about his bad sex skills privately.

They have a pretty relaxed dated until they get to the love locks section of the tower. Ji Hee is hoping that they’ll have some private time, but another person by himself – Kim Tae Woo (Heo Tae Hee) sits at a bench across from them. Ji Hee refrains herself from talking to Ho Joon about their “issue” because someone’s around (even though Tae Woo’s got earbuds on). But Ho Joon plows right on ahead. He flatters Ji Hee for being the perfect girlfriend and wife, but he has a bad experience with her in sex. So actually… Ho Joon is complaining that Ji Hee is so bad at sex! He gets louder and louder, telling her to get better at it and dissing her at the same time, and Ji Hee worries that Tae Woo might be listening. (She doesn’t know his name by the way – to her, he’s a stranger.)

And whaddya know – Tae Woo is listening – he can hear every single embarrassing detail!

Ji Hee gets so fed up with Ho Joon that she grabs Tae Woo’s drink and throws it at Ho Joon. HUZZAH FOR GIRL POWER!

They go down the mountain, and Ji Hee refuses to get on the bus with Ho Joon. She waits for the next one, and that’s the one where Tae Woo joins her at the bus stop. As she gets on the bus, she passes Tae Woo a replacement soda. Aww…

Tae Woo suddenly chases after the bus, and gets it to stop. Through the window, he says:

“Listen to me. Whatever happened to you today is nothing. I’ve had a similar experience like that, but don’t cry because of it. Ji Hee!” (And to that she jumps, realizing he heard everything, including her name.) “I’m sorry I heard everything. But you’re cute and sexy – he’s the weird one! I guarantee he’s the problem, and not you! Don’t blame yourself and be brave. Fighting!”

That. Is. The sweetest confession by a non-love interest ever. What a way to boost up morale! Woohoo Tae Woo!

At work, Yeol Mae gets a call that the LP to her favorite French music director has arrived at the record store. However when she arrives, someone’s already beat her to it and purchased it – Ji Hoon! She tries to turn on the charms to buy it from him, but she lacks the aegyo to do it, and fails. She even tries to treat him to lunch – but he takes her to a super expensive restaurant instead. Haha. Ji Hoon asks why she wants the LP so badly, and Yeol Mae says that this music director inspired her to become a music director. He had done the music for “Love Story” – her mother’s favorite movie. (What the hell. Same movie reference for Love Rain!) Ji Hoon asks if she’s looking for another LP he did – because he has it!

He invites her to her home and he has a massive collection of LPs, along with a vintage set of turn table and speakers. They belonged to his father, who had passed away. Ji Hoon hadn’t appreciated it before, selling bits of the whole set just to get some money. But now that he appreciates it, he’s trying to buy back his father’s collection.

Yeol Mae won’t be able to buy the LP she wants from him, but he gives her permission to come over anytime and listen to it.

Back at home, Seok Hyun and Yeol Mae get a visitor from a writer named Kang Na Hyun (Kim Ye Won). She’s a newbie to the screenwriting world, and she wants to talk to Seok Hyun. (I guess Seok Hyun is just a screenwriter, not a director as I thought.) Seok Hyun had adapted her prize winning script and turned it from a mystery to a romantic comedy that takes place in a psychiatric ward. She wants to know why, from writer to writer. Seok Hyun bluntly says that her script wasn’t commercial enough. Na Hyun wants to maintain her artistic integrity as a writer; didn’t Seok Hyun ever feel like this at one point? Seok Hyun flatly says no – he was popular always from the start because his films were commercial and good.

Wow – Seok Hyun can be really mean sometimes.

Yeol Mae ushers a crying Na Hyun out, and gets mad at Seok Hyun for being so mean. But he gets into one of his moods, where he shuts himself inside his room and locks the door. Yeol Mae now understands that Seok Hyun just wants to be alone. However, years ago they had their second break up over this.

Seok Hyun had cut off all contact from Yeol Mae for several days, making her worry, until she was able to track him down outside of Seoul. His script had just been canceled from pre-production, and he was feeling terrible for it. He swore to not return to Seoul until he had another script and wanted to be left alone. Yeol Mae thought it had to do with Ki Hyun – who might be Seok Hyun’s brother that died? – but Seok Hyun clammed up. He refused to talk about his family to her. Yeol Mae got so angry at him that she gave him an ultimatum: if he doesn’t return to Seoul with her that evening, they’re over. So they broke up.

Now, Yeol Mae knows to just ride it out. And on a sunny day, Seok Hyun finally opens his window and returns to civilization. (By the way, the shot screams “SET PIECE!!!”)

The two of them go herb shopping, which is insanely cute because they act like a couple wo know each other too well, and still like to run around playing with the plants. As they drive back home they pass by the motel where they supposedly had their first night (as Seok Hyun remembers it). Just for fun they go inside, and find out that the whole thing is self service now. Out of curiosity, they get a room and check it out.

Everything is fancier now, so in the ten years that they haven’t been there, it’s changed a lot. Seok Hyun admits that this is not the hotel where they had the first night, that Yeol Mae was right all along.  The two of them spend a romantic hour or so, and then sneak out of the hotel like school kids. Seok Hyun even checks if the coast is clear before Yeol Mae comes out.

The elevator doors open. Inside is Jae Kyung, and a friend named “Jung Min.”

Who’s Jung Min!?

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