Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I Need Romance 3 Episode 1 - How I love my Noona, let me count the ways.

I'm Back!
Soooooooooo  I was planning on lying low for a while, recharge, and find the perfect drama worthy to be recapped.  I was thinking that it would probably be a month or so before I began weekly recaps again since nothing was interesting me.  I planned out blog posts that I could put out in the meantime (still going to do my weekly top 5, it was so much fun picking out my favorite moments) and now here I am finding  my new kdrama five days later.  Oh well I guess if I have to have a problem, this is not the worst one to have.

For those of you who are checking out the blog for the first time, WELCOME to Crazy Ahjumma's where we try to take a fun, quirky, and sometimes a tad bit sarcastic view on the best and worst kdramas available.  I tend to do a blogging style where I talk about my favorite moments of the episode, or occasionally I will hook it up to a theme.  So if you are looking for someone who goes step by step over every scene then I am probably not your best source.  However, if you are looking for that little extra thrill after watching an episode (you know that moment where you are not ready to let the show go so you search out blog posts and OST MV's) then you are in the right place.

Do you need to watch I Need Romance 1 & 2 before watching #3.
No you do not!!!!!!  They are all independent stories with different characters.  I personally am NOT a fan of the first two dramas in the franchise.  I did not like that the women would be in this really toxic dysfunctional relationships, get out of them, and then find themselves right back in those same relationships.  I am firmly of the opinion that if it does not work out the first go around and you break up for valid reasons then those reasons are not going to just disappear the 2nd time.  Obviously the writers did not share my ideas on healthy relationships.  All of this made me really really hesitant about even watching INR 3 let alone blogging about it.  What is the point of watching the same plot for a third time.  But then they announced the cast.........I have no clue who most of the girls are but the lead is Sung Joon (Shut Up Flower Boy Band, White Christmas, Gu Family Book) and his voice + looks combination are unbeatable.  For those of you that dont know, I am totally a sucker for a sexy voice.  Give me a guy with an amazing melodic and or deep voice and I am in heaven.  This of course made me take a second look at the drama.  Then I heard it was going to be a noona romance!!!!!  YAY for noona romances. They just make me happy.  So what all this condenses down to is that I am going to take the plunge and review this drama.  If nothing else I will be able to wax poetic about how pretty Sung Joon is and at worse I will have a lot of fodder for some really sarcastic blog posts. Its a win win situation.

The Cast of Characters

Our Musically Gifted Hottie Hero
Sung Joon plays Joo Wan also known as Allen Ju in the states and Sweet Potato (due to the fact he was an ugly baby/youth) to our heroine.  He, for some reason we are still unaware of, grew up with Shin Joo Yun and her mother for the younger years of his life.  He then (again for unknown reasons) moved to the US for the next 17 years where he became a musical wonderkind who happens to be very very sexy.  He comes back for professional reason as well as personal ones.  Seems he made a vow to Joo Yun that he would return to her (not that she has any interest or memory of that fact) and since she is his first love, he is determined to woo her now that he is legal and hot.

Our Hard Hearted Realist Heroine
Shin Joo Yun (Kim So Yun - Two Weeks, Iris 2) is a successful businesswomen (produces a home shopping network show) and has all of her besties working with her.  She also has a boyfriend and an impending house guest in Joo Wan who is planning to move in with her for a year.  But on closer inspection you can see that a lot of her personality is part of a hard defensive shell developed from heartache after heartache.  Over time she went from someone who was your traditional kdrama heroine all bubbly and impulse to the sophisticated city feminist who seems to take the end of relationships in stride.  Just ditched by her long time boyfriend, she is very defensive and sometimes an out and out witch towards Joo Wan (or at least she is on the phone since they dont meet til the end of Ep 1).

The Fashion Squad
We find a very close knit group of Besties working with Joo Yun.  They along with and her Senpai Kang Tae Yoon (Nam Goong Min -I Can Hear Your Heart, Unemployed Romance who might or might not be heading towards a romantic interlude with our heroine) create her support group.  I will just call them The Fashion Squad (meaning her three best friends) unless the scene is specific to one of them.

The Evil Nemesis
What is a drama without some kind of evil bottom dwelling scum.  Turns out that in this drama that part goes to Oh Se Ryung (Wang Ji Won - Heirs, Good Doctor) who looks like she stepped out of a Disney cartoon (as the villainess of course). With her harsh haircut, succubus vibe (not to mention the Fashion Squad come right out and tell us that she was the school hoochie back in high school) and a necklace that could double as a torture device in a sci-fi flick.  She is open to flirting with our hero (she was in charge of his photo shoot so I am guessing she is in charge of some kind of promotions something or other) and all hints lead to her being the "other" women that Joo Yun's boyfriend left her for.

She's My One And Only Noona
When they said this was a noona romance  they really meant it (for those of you who are not kcode savvy a noona romance is where the boy is younger then the female, usually by 5 or more years.  In Korea where everything is related to age this is a bigger thing then it might be here in North America).  We see the episode open with a 7 year old Joo Yun walking through the snow to the hospital where a newly born (again have no clue to the history behind his birth or why he went home with Joo Yun and her mother) Joo Wan.  She is obviously not impressed by his "homely" looks and nicknames him Sweet Potato because he is so wrinkled and ugly.  He recounts how when he turned one she started calling him Baked Sweet Potato since he was even more homely as he grew older.
I love this whole segment.  The colors with the mix of white, brown, and that burst of red are beautiful.  They had me hooked within the first 3 minutes.

The Duckling Returns A Swan
17 years later he is a super famous musician/composer who uses the name Allan Ju.  He has returned to Korea to do musician type stuff and is obviously really well known and rich.  He has all of the signs of success, awesome outerwear (and can I just say I really appreciate all the amazing coats and scarfs the stylists are putting him in), a flashy car, and the ability to call his own shots.  But he is a hottie on a mission.  He has a first love (yup his noona who he calls Shing Shing) and he aims to make her his.  I really like that he is totally ok with going after what he wants and is obviously a alpha male without being a total jerk.  He calls Joo Yun who immediately starts telling him that there is no way he can stay at her house for the next year (her mother had offered her apartment for his use while he was in Korea) because she has a boyfriend and it would be way to uncomfortable for him to be in the next room while they got "frisky".   Not knowing what to say Joo Wan tries to keep up with the conversation but is a little miffed at Joo Yun's curt manners.  She hangs up on him telling him not to think of coming to her house before he can really say much in response.  Poor guy wonders what happened to his sweet innocent noona.

Getting Dumped Just Sucks
We see a huge montage of bad boyfriend experiences all resulting in her getting left behind.  Slowly but surely she becomes harder and more brittle until she has reached the point where she does not even react when a relationship ends.  I can feel sorry for her but at the same time maybe she should choose a different type of man since she seems to go for the selfish/lying pond scum type.
On an up note, at least that leaves lots of free room in her apartment for a certain young musician to move in.  And so far he seems to not be made in the same mold as her exes (I swear writers if you screw this up I am totally ordering a bunch of voodoo dolls and pins).

Memories, Nothing Left But Memories
While our leading lady is having a really really bad evening,  Joo Wan is reminiscing about his beloved Shing Shing and how she had such an impact on his life.  We see her teaching him the piano and how to project emotion through music.  He is all kinds of adorable gazing at his noona and smiling and she in turn is actually sweet to the younger version of him.  You can see why the kid (at least in the universe that is Korean Dramas where you find your soul mate at the age of 6) could be infatuated with her.  He reaffirms his decision to pursue her regardless because of how much he loved her before he left.
Perfect Timing?
With renewed passion Joo Wan calls Joo Yun who is still very unhappy about being dumped.  He suggests that they meet, and she is snarky and says why.  He quietly says that she seems very different from the Shing Shing he remembers.  He then says that she lied earlier when she said she was in love.  If she was in love and loved in return she would know how precious memories are.  So if she really has someone she is dating then she should break up with him since it is not real love.

Awwwwwwwww  Not only is he super sexy, has one heck of a bedroom voice, and is nice to her despite her snarky ways.   He is also extremely eloquent which when combined with his deep voice is totally swoon worthy.

He then tells her that even if she does not want to meet up with him now he would be seeing her soon since he is the type of guy who keeps his promises then hangs up before she can answer.  Which is probably a good thing since she is emotionally not in a good place.

Fate is so Fickle
To cheer herself up after her horrible evening Joo Yun gets tickets to the hottest party in town.  Just so happens that the lead draw is a certain Allen Ju was DJing the event.  Dancing with abandon Joo Yun forgets her troubles and is noticed by our sweet hottie.  How he figured out she might be his "true love" is beyond me since there is no way that the 15 yr old her looks anything like the 32 yr old her but hey the heart knows.  He rushes to find Joo Yun and stands gazing at her and the Fashion Squad.  And obviously interested, she subtly eye flirts back.
But that all changes when Se Ryung (aka evil nemesis) walks up to him and hands him a drink.  He barely notices but the instant loathing in Joo Yun's eyes is hard to miss.  She goes into instant witch mode and starts verbally attacking Se Ryung, each comment more barbed and hurtful then the next.  This completely turns off Joo Wan whose attitude goes cold (since she of course can not be his Joo Yun and only looks like her) and he pretends to be interested in Se Ryung just to poke at the poor mannered women in front of him.  It is only after Joo Yun storms off that he learns that it is indeed his Shing Shing.  Running after her, he is to late as she drives away in a cab, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.
My Thoughts:
I am loving the cinematography of this drama.  The director keeps using those splashes of red to make a statement throughout the whole episode.  It provides a visual cohesiveness that I really enjoy.  I also like the subtle music that fit the moments and that french song in the very first scene was superb.
So far I am not really interested in the side characters. I know this is one of those dramas where the best friends are also going to get their own romances and that is fine, just not really feeling it much yet.  That is probably since most of their plots were just teased at in the first episode.  The stars of the drama so far are the main couple.  
To be honest Joo Yun is not really likable.  She is prideful, rude, and one step away from being a "mean girl" character.  That being said, I really like the little breaks in her sophisticated demeanor.  Her bursts of awkwardness or spontaneity (i.e. Her yelling at the waitress in the restaurant after getting dumped, and her jumping around in Senpai's office) are very endearing.  I hope as she starts a relationship with someone who knew her before she developed her outer shell she will begin to thaw and let more of that personality through.  
Joo Wan is the exact opposite where his character is very likable from the start.  He has that slight bad boy player edge without it crossing the line into typical Korean jerk territory.  I also like that he takes the time to think things through rather then jump forward emotionally.  He is a very deep character and likes to ponder the why and how of the situation before coming to a conclusion.  And of course he is easy on the eyes and has "that voice" so how could I not like him.  I am looking forward to them having more interaction face to face in episode 2.  I hope that there chemistry is as strong in person as it was on the phone.
I am really excited to start this journey with you all and am excited to hear all your comments.  Also be sure to check out my weekly Top 5 Kdrama moments where I tell you what were my favorite scenes in the current airing dramas every week.  And Dongsaeng has just started reviewing My Love From Another Star.  I always love reading her posts since she has a way with words that I just don't posses.  Have a great week filled with kdramas and we will see you soon.



  1. ohmyghad is that Young Do's hideous orange coat?! hahahaha! and he's friends with Kim Woo Bin in real life so i won't be surprised if it's the exact same one. hehehe!

    1. That would be so cool if it was. They have a similar build and I love the long coats on both of them.

    2. I love your musing in this posting, articulate to the T to what I had in mind.. pls continue to do so as I have watched all episodes up to date, many times but each time refreshing as ever. Suffice to say, I wasn't enamoured with the previous two installations but Sung Joon managed to grab my attention within the preview itself. As I am watching this drama, I can slowly lose myself and dreaming away a noona romance with a guy like Joo Wan, tall, deep voice, intelligent, articulate and successful to boot!


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