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I Need Romance 3
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by PurpleJem

Feb 5, 2019
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 7.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 10.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
This review may contain spoilers
This kdrama is one of the more real ones I’ve watched – it’s still very definitely a kdrama, uses the typical tropes, but done in an often original way, and it also holds a lot of realism that makes it stand out from other kdramas.

Firstly, the characters. The leads are a reversal of the norm – you have a genuinely nice, lovely male lead, and an imperfect (real) female lead. The male lead doesn’t make the female lead better, but he does make her comfortable enough to open up and deal with life in a healthier manner. Speaking of which, their relationship is incredibly healthy for a kdrama. They’re straightforward with their feelings, the guy admits to liking her by the third episode or so, and respects her when she doesn’t reciprocate. They communicate like real people and become genuine friends; he listens to her vent about guys and gives advice, actively helping her date other people despite liking her himself. He just wants her to be happy. And she genuinely cares about him too.

The second male lead and his ex – creating two different love triangles, almost a love square (two girls like the same guy and two guys like the same girl) – are not shown to be bad, as you would expect. The second lead is nice, but nothing compared to the male lead, we don’t mind him with the female lead but we much prefer the male lead. He does eventually show behaviours that remind me of a (mentally) abusive relationship: doing something bad, feeling sorry, making it up to her, being nice for a while, then doing something bad again and the cycle repeats. It’s very realistic and interesting to see depicted.

The ex-girlfriend is definitely an antagonist, but we can empathise with her and want her to get back with the second lead dude. The two women (female lead and ex-gf) actually have a lot in common, hardening themselves to the world after difficult situations and so on, so it’s wonderful to see them become good friends by the end of the show.

There are two other side couples: one young, one more middle-aged, and they’re so well done, unlike many kdramas (in my opinion anyway). They are used to depict people and relationships at different stages in life experiencing different problems. They’re all well-rounded, complete people with dreams, insecurities, and so on. They aren’t just there to push the main romance along, they are their own people. Every character in this show is neither fully good or fully bad, they’re real people.

Another important point to this show is the topics it covers, ones I would never expect from a kdrama. The characters openly have sex – even flings, not just within stable relationships – and have discussions about sex (fairly PG ones, but still!) They also kiss realistically: eyes closed, mouths moving, hands in hair or on backs. It’s honestly crazy to see, makes it not feel like a kdrama during those moments, but also shows that they’re mature relationships and people, unlike your usual kdrama characters who shy away from a peck on the lips. Which reminds me – the women even initiate kisses and sex!! SO rare in kdramas.

A character also ends up accidentally falling pregnant, and with that abortion, adoption, and the judgement she’ll receive for having a baby outside of marriage are discussed. I’m sure there are many conservative South Koreans who by watching this storyline would learn to stop judging single mothers, who from my little knowledge seem to be quite rare there.

The genuinely healthy relationship depicted between the leads is also so important for everyone to see; you can get used to seeing unhealthy tropes being romanticised in kdramas, but in this one they even seem to point them out as bad. It’s important to be reminded that jealousy, possessiveness, and lack of communication aren’t signs of a healthy relationship, in fact they can be signs of an abusive one. Your partner should be your friend as much as your lover, and that’s shown through the main couple in this show.

There is also a completely platonic relationship between a man and a woman in the show, which is always nice to see.

The pacing of the show is great; they don’t let any problem go on for too long. It’s also awesome how it doesn’t follow your usual romance kdrama formula; I genuinely didn’t expect most of what happened. I laughed a fair bit, mainly because of the male lead, he’s so lovely, which is such a nice change! And I squealed in delight when couples had happy moments, especially the young couple, I found them so sweet.

The music in the show is very enjoyable and adds to the mood of scenes.

I really like one technique used around three times in the show where a scene will play out and then it ends up being that a character had just imagined it, as real people often do, going through a scenario in their head.

Final good point: I love the ending to the show. Any kdrama that depicts the main couple together for a decent length of time will make me happy. They tied up loose ends, but not too unrealistically. I was very satisfied with it.

However, the show definitely isn’t perfect. My problems with it: there is one unconsented kiss (it’s pretty brief and between people who do like one another, but it’s still not nice to see the woman pushing away the man and him not stopping immediately); audio visual series style moments – mid-scene it’ll freeze into a photograph and continue the dialogue, it’s weird. You get used to it, but I didn’t like it. They also, weirdly, have really long moments of showing the characters stare at each other while one character is thinking; this would be the opportune time to use the audio visual series style, have a photo of the scene, frozen while the character thinks, but no, they don’t use it then. It’s just unrealistic for the characters to sit there in silence for five minutes while the character thinks. Also, they definitely overuse over-voice. Sometimes it’s worth using, but a lot of times it’s stating things we would understand based on the actors’ facial expressions; it makes me feel like, as a viewer, the makers of the show think we’re dumb and need to be told exactly how they’re feeling. Lastly, I feel like they made the female lead a bit too oblivious and dumb at times; she took far too long realising the two men fancied her, and that she liked them back, seriously. I know that’s a typical trope in kdramas but they took it too far in my opinion.

Overall, far more positives than negatives. I wouldn’t re-watch (I only re-watch shows I absolutely adore, and this show, while very important and good, didn’t quite have my heart) but I would recommend!
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