I Need Romance 3: Episode 4


If I could re-title this episode, I’d call it “New Loves, New Neighbors.” Honestly, that’s pretty much what happens in this episode – to some hilarious results. But thankfully, the truth comes out about Joo Wan/Sweet Potato/Allen Joo.

Episode 4: I Promised that I’d Be Back

Let’s take a closer look at that FRICKIN’ AWESOME KISS. Not only do their mouths move, and they’re clearly French kissing, but there’s some mighty passion heating up on my screen. *Cough* Anyways. The kiss is magical for Joo Yeon as she realizes that she just might have fallen in love with Allen Joo at this very moment.

High School-Se Ryung, Hee Jae, and Min Jung’s wise words about kissing and falling in love ring through Joo Yeon’s ears as she evaluates on how perfect the kiss is. She deems it pretty perfect, and they spend the entire day by the beach, holding hands, riding a tandem bike and hugging. By the time he drops her off at home, she’s hopelessly in love with him and back on that tumultuous roller coaster hell called ‘dating.’ The first hill to overcome? Wondering when on earth he’s going to call.

(One more close up. Okay. Done!)


By the following morning Joo Wan still hasn’t called, leaving Joo Yeon feeling doubts about the burgeoning relationship. It’s barely been 24 hours! While she tries to rationalize their relationship, Joo Wan is busy shopping at a supermarket for all the household items he’ll need for when he moves in to her house: detergent, toolbox, shampoo, and even matching aprons. He is consciously not calling her because he knows she’ll call him first.

And too right she does… because he unexpectedly sends all of his purchases by courier to her house! Joo Yeon angrily calls Joo Wan, ready to yell at him about not moving in together and about all his stuff he just dumped at her doorstep, but then the courier hands her take-out sushi; Joo Wan got her lunch too. She softens, and wonders if he wants to eat together but he hangs up on her first. HAH!

‘Sweet Potato’s’ moving shenanigans are but a temporary distraction. Soon she’s back in the playground where she shared a sweet potato with “Allen Joo” the other night and wondering if she should call him at his hotel first. Once she reaches the receptionist Joo Yeon thinks better of her actions and hangs up. She really hates being in ‘dating’ mode.


The following day at work Joo Yeon lays all her troubles about dating to her coworkers. Min Jung hates ‘dating’ the conventional way because it’s all just too much emotional trouble that she doesn’t need. They then head off to a meeting with Se Ryung, which is another relationship that causes too much emotional trouble for Joo Yeon. Tae Yoon also joins in the meeting although he largely ignores Se Ryung. She’s clearly still pining over him, while he’s purposely being aloof.


The meeting does not go off with a smooth start. Se Ryung lays out her disagreements with the contract, noting that she does not want the home shopping network to use her name in any which way. She must first approve all products that they’re planning to sell with her name or no dice. Joo Yeon and Min Jung are offended because it seems like Se Ryung is being condescending of their talents. After all, they’re more familiar with their audience than Se Ryung is, who is used to top celebrities instead of stay-at-home ahjummas. Se Ryung won’t listen to them. If they figure out a solution for them to work together, then they should contact her.


Tae Yoon takes Joo Yeon aside. The meeting was far too heated than it had to be and he scolds her for each of her mistakes. First, she didn’t keep an open mind about Se Ryung’s ideas. Second, she clearly wasn’t listening to Se Ryung. Joo Yeon assumed that Se Ryung was going to bring in luxury designer items that the audience wouldn’t be able to afford, but that might not be Se Ryung’s intention at all. Third, Joo Yeon interrupted Hee Jae when her junior tried to explain the selling process, which led to Se Ryung disrespecting Hee Jae indirectly. And fourth, as the team leader she set the tone for how her teammates would act and regard the client. By being so abrasive, she allowed her teammates to be rude too.

I love how Tae Yoon is so methodical in training Joo Yeon even though she has completely outgrown them. He’s also such an excellent boss, scolding her for her mistakes but also mollifying her by saying he trusts her to find a solution. He also praises Hee Jae for trying to speak up to two strong-willed women in the meeting despite her failure to really get to say anything. But the one thing he falters in is Se Ryung, and he doesn’t seem too happy to receive her text: “You’ve become more handsome, Kang Tae Yoon.”


After work, Hee Jae goes to see her boyfriend at a gositel – a form of a hostel that’s suitable for college students on a budget to live at. He sneaks her in, as he shouldn’t have anyone over, and they quickly succumb to their urges. Unfortunately the walls are thin so when they both leave there are a bunch of sticky notes on their door telling them to quiet down. Hee Jae is hurt and angry by the notes because it reminds her of their situation where they have to sneak around to have sex and have to keep dating on a budget. She wants to break up but almost immediately regrets it. Even though she and her boyfriend make up, he looks so heartbroken for not being able to provide for her at all. My heart even breaks a little for him.


While Joo Yeon is at work, Joo Wan comes over to her house for a little visit. He’s shocked by the mess one woman can make if she stays home all weekend and proceeds to clean everything up. It takes forever for him to finish, and he adds his old workbook on the table as a finishing touch. Just as he’s about to leave, Joo Yeon arrives home on the phone with Tae Yoon. Joo Wan runs and hides behind a wall, and then peeks into Joo Yeon’s room.

Joo Yeon changes into her pajamas while on the phone with her boss, which I find really weird. But I guess they’re that comfortable with each other. She wants some advice on men. Joo Yeon describes her date with Joo Wan, and how perfect it went, but can’t understand why he won’t call. Joo Wan laughs quietly to himself, but the reason is because he doesn’t want to keep deceiving her anymore. He’s just waiting for the right time to reveal the truth. Having heard enough, he sneaks out of the house.

Tae Yoon is amused by Joo Yeon’s problems because, despite her tough exterior, she’s an insecure woman on the inside. The only reasoning he can give her is that the guy kissed her because he was attracted to her, and that is all she needs to know. She shouldn’t worry about whether or not he’s still interested or why he hasn’t called yet.


Joo Yeon then notices the workbook and realizes that Joo Wan must have been home. Then she finally notices that her house is all clean. And that she’s in pajamas. She phones Joo Wan right away and demands to know where he is. Did he see her change into her pajamas? Did he overhear her conversation?! Joo Wan admits he did, and offers up some advice about her guy problems. The most important thing she should focus on is that she fell in love again after kissing him. Joo Yeon’s too disturbed by the fact that he must have seen her naked that she hangs up on him again.

She goes to change the pass code on her door so he can’t come back, but he’s already beaten her to the punch! He changed it to his birthday! And to make matters worse, she doesn’t even remember his birthday!


Joo Yeon looks through Joo Wan’s old workbook. It’s full of his drawings of them together, and he writes stories about his ‘Shing-Shing’. He explains that ‘Shing-Shing’ means fresh, and that he calls Joo Yeon that because it makes him feel good. Another I Need Romance 2012 shout out: Joo Wan writes, “Seok Hyun (Lee Jin Wook) and Yeol Mae (Jung Yoo Mi) are best friends. Shing-Shing and I are best friends.” He clearly looks up to her, and relays about the time she got sick and he sat by her side, and about the time he made a miniature snowman for her to keep in her freezer. He promised to be her savior in the future when she can’t get a job because she has no long hair (thinking that long hair equals one’s livelihood), and gave her his piggy bank so she could buy herself a birthday gift. It’s super touching, and I seriously love this little Sweet Potato. I don’t understand how she could hate him so much!


The next morning, Woo Young bumps into Hee Jae at a cafe and get a coffee together. She tells him about her brilliant solution to get Se Ryung on board to work with them. However, even though her idea is good, she never gets a chance to present it because Joo Yeon presents her idea first and it’s similar to hers. They all end up going along with Joo Yeon’s idea, and Hee Jae never gets to show off her skills.

Hee Jae looks for her secret stash of soju but they’re all gone! Woo Young took them away because he doesn’t want her smelling like alcohol, and comforts her on the roof with a canned drink. One day they’ll be the team leaders and the seniors, and they’ll have junior employees who will feel adequate and struggle to catch up to their level of wisdom.


Joo Yeon heads over to Se Ryung’s office with the amended contract because she has to be “more considerate” to a business partner, according to her boss’ orders. Se Ryung is curious as to how Tae Yoon is in the office, but Joo Yeon is suspicious of her intentions. Does Se Ryung want to “steal” him away too?! Se Ryung is highly amused, since it’s not like Joo Yeon and Tae Yoon are dating. And, to be clear, Se Ryung only stole one man. Joo Yeon grumbles about having made friends with a bully in the past, while Se Ryung teases that Joo Yeon is a total pushover. I love how Joo Yeon is the only one being really emotionally affected even though she pretends not to be. Also, Se Ryung knows how to push her buttons oh so well.

Joo Yeon throws the pen at Se Ryung childishly, who then playfully threatens to rip up the contract. I can’t believe I’m saying this but Se Ryung is too cute. They end up in a petty fight on who should pick up the pen, as bending down would practically show one’s subservience to the other. Despite how expensive that pen was, Joo Yeon’s pride won’t let her pick it up, and she kicks it back at Se Ryung to get herself.


On the way out of the office Joo Yeon bumps into Joo Wan. Both are surprised to see each other: she because she hasn’t heard from him in days, and he because he was hoping the next time he’d see her he’d be ‘Sweet Potato’ in her eyes and not ‘Allen Joo.’ Joo Yeon tries to walk past coolly but he grabs her wrist. He asks why she hasn’t called, since she must have his hotel number on her caller ID. He’s confessed his feelings, so the ball is now in her court.

Joo Yeon frees her wrist in a “Is this a joke to you?” kind of way and walks off. He turns away and mutters, “Please stop… Shing-Shing. Come back to me…” And stop she does. And come back she does. But not because she heard him say it or because she heard ‘Shing-Shing’. It’s because she now realized that she got played by him. She smiles at him and says, “I had a really great time that day.” And then turns back to the elevator.

At that moment Se Ryung runs up to Joo Wan and gives him a big bear hug, happy to see that he came all this way to see her. What great timing!

Joo Yeon goes to the parking lot and notices Joo Wan’s car. It’s all nice and fixed… which gives her a great idea.

Joo Wan is noticeably stiffer towards Se Ryung and stops speaking to her so familiarly. He’s only going to be sweet to the one he loves now (cough*Joo Yeon*cough). They get to his car and Joo Yeon angrily drives past them. And that’s when Joo Wan sees it. HIS SIDE VIEW MIRROR IS BROKEN AGAIN! HAHAH!

Joo Yeon returns home and realizes that she doesn’t know the pass code because Joo Wan changed it. She remembers it was the first snowfall and looks it up on her smart phone. His birthday is on 12/10, which is tomorrow. (In her world, mind you.) Since it’s his birthday, she makes some seaweed soup and invites him over the following morning for breakfast. He has to come by 9 AM.


As for Min Jung, she returns home to discover that her next-door neighbor is holding her dry clean since the messenger came by during the day. She rings at his doorbell, but no one is home, so she leaves a note saying to come by when he’s home. Min Suk returns home to see the note, and rings on her doorbell with the clothes. The secret is out!

Min Jung freaks out when she sees that Min Suk is her neighbor through the video intercom. Pinching her nose to make her voice higher, she asks that he leave the clothes on her handle as she can’t come out to get it at the moment. Hehehe. What’s worse is, she later gets a text from him of three different types of rice cakes that he’s planning on handing out to all of his neighbors! Eeek! How long can she keep her identity a secret?


The following morning, Joo Yeon prepares a nice breakfast for Joo Wan. And just before nine, he lets himself in.

Joo Wan: “Let’s live happily together, Shing-Shing.”

Thoughts and Comments:

I am glad the truth is out for a lot of these characters. I don’t like secret identities being dragged out for long, although the way Joo Wan toys with the information is pretty fun to watch. But at least he let the cat out of the bag before she falls even more deeply in love with him and the revelation would be much harder for either to bear. Min Jung learning about Min Suk’s identity was a bit unexpected but a welcome surprise too. A weird thing I noticed that I find really funny is that Joo Yeon and Min Jung share a syllable of their name with their love interest (Joo Wan and Min Suk, respectively). Heh.


Se Ryung is quickly becoming an awesome character and I love the snippets of seeing her interacting with people other than Joo Wan because it gives more insight to her character. I loved her entire interaction with Joo Yeon when they were signing the contract since she knows she has the upper-hand, which Joo Yeon is hating. I get this feeling that they just might be the best couple in the series (go ‘wo-mance’!) because they’re perfect opposites. Se Ryung is in constant need of affirmation while Joo Yeon does not need it because she is confident of herself. That’s why Se Ryung broke up with Tae Yoon as a way to test him and see if he really cared for her; she needs to know that someone cares for her. On the other hand Joo Yeon can shrug off a break-up because she blames external forces. It’s a flaw that Joo Yeon refuses to look internally to see if she’s the problem but at the same time that makes her far more confident than Se Ryung.

I struggle with Hee Jae’s story because as much as I like her, I dread the way her romance is evolving. I guess her relationship with her poor boyfriend is the most relatable for me, too. The whole situation where she can’t stand having a student-boyfriend is something I can identify with. I know she seems a bit old-fashioned because she wants the man to be the breadwinner so she can just stay at home. At the same time I’m not faulting her for it. I don’t really see an anti-feminist character in her but rather just a need to be taken care of. I don’t think she minds working; Her conversation with Woo Young showed how ambitious she can be. I think she wants someone to take care of her for once rather than being the sole provider.

If her boyfriend is a student it means that she’ll have to take care of him like a mother rather than be taken care of by a man. It also throws their financial future in flux; an instability no one wants in today’s world. It just makes me sad because she and her boyfriend could work, but the way he treats his studying makes me wonder if he’s really serious about going into civil service. I wonder if he wants to do something else, but feels obligated to follow the civil servant path to make Hee Jae happy. I would feel terrible if they broke up because he needs to be noble and all that.

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