K-Drama Review: Two Person with Complicated 12 Years Relationship in ‘I Need Romance 2012’

i need romance 2012

What’s Wrong with Getting Married to Your Long Time Girlfriend?

In determining “the one” for us before marriage, everyone goes through the friendship first, then steps to the next stage of being “in a relationship”. The process must happen at its own pace. From the start of the relationship, the key to keeping the relationship together is communication. Friendship is a key mechanism that could help explain the causal relationship between marriage and life satisfaction. Presumably, if you are looking to get married, then you specifically want to get married to someone you are compatible with. The fact that marriage gives you, as a couple, more respect in society is entirely incidental.


We live in a time when plenty of couples date for a long time before getting married, but when you have been still dating someone for more than 10 years, it makes the time become embarrassing instead of impressive. It can almost seem like a relationship, without marriage, is like building a house and putting the wooden beams in place perfectly, but it hasn’t been nailed together. When you are in a serious long-term relationship, the terms “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are insufficient for describing your level of commitment.


So, what’s wrong with getting married to your long-time girlfriend or boyfriend? The drama I Need Romance 2012 will show you the reality of boredom that may set in a relationship of that kind, or how when it does not advance to the stage of marriage.


5 Times Breaking Up and also 5 Times Making Up


As we know, I Need Romance 2012 is the second series of “I Need Romance” that tells about the everyday life of work, friendship of thirty-something women, and love. I Need Romance 2012 is a loose spin-off, with different characters from the first series, but it still discusses sex and his realistic depiction of complicated relationship issues.


The drama is mainly about Joo Yeol-mae, played by actress Jung Yu-mi, and Yoon Seok-hyun, played by actor Lee Jin-wook. They are childhood friends. Yoon Seok-hyun used to live near Joo Yeol-mae’s house. Their mothers were best friends and built a conjoined house for their families when their respective husbands passed away, so the two of them grew up together. When Joo Yeol-mae’s mother passed away, Yoon Seok-hyun was there for her to take care of her until they eventually began dating each other, but they kept it a secret from their families.


They were dating for approximately 12 years, breaking up on five different occasions, but always getting back together again.


The story takes place when they have broken up for two years after having broken up five times. They are now back to being friends but they still live together without having an intimate physical relationship, denying they have any emotional feelings to each other. Even so, deep down in Joo Yeol-mae’s heart, she actually still loves him very much, but he keeps her at arm’s length and doesn’t seem to want to get married. Joo Yeol-mae is jealous when Yoon Seok-hyun takes on an assistant writer, Kang Na-hyun, played by Kim Ye-won, who is young, fresh, and totally has a crush on Yoon Seok-hyun.


Not long afterwards, there is a guy named Shin Ji-hoon, played by Kim Ji-suk, who comes into their life and is an alluring new love interest who shakes up Joo Yeol-mae’s world and lands her in a love triangle.


Meanwhile, Yoon Seok-hyun sees the moment Joo Yeol-mae and Shin Ji-hoon together, he realizes that he is still in love with her.


The drama also has a sub-plot, like the previous series; it tells about the life of Joo Yeol-mae’s two best friends, too.


This drama really depicts about the complexities of having a long-term relationship but not geting married as the main focus, but it also depicts messy relationships, like Joo Yeol-mae’s best friend who is a rich and chic shoe designer but only a few months into her marriage she found out that her husband cheated on her. The drama was directed by Lee Jung-hyo and Jang Young-woo, and was written by Jung Hyun-jung. It aired on tvN channel with a total of 16 episodes.


The Cast


Now that we’ve looked at a summary of the plot, let’s take a look at the cast behind I Need Romance 2012!

  • Joo Yeol-mae, acted by actress Jung Yu-mi


She is the female lead in this drama. Joo Yeol-mae is a 33-year-old music director for films. She talked a lot and is forgetful, self-centered or selfish, aggressive, and also hypocritical, but she is a fairly loyal person. Her ability to keep going, keep loving, and keep striving in the face of rejection by the man she had loved since high school.

  • Yoon Seok-hyun, acted by Lee Jin-wook


He is the male lead in this drama. Yoon Seok-hyun is a 34-year-old scriptwriter. He was adamant that he would never marry but would not reveal the reasons why. He is uncommunicative and closed off about anything remotely emotional and close to the heart. Because of his anti-marriage stance, his character came off as uncaring and harsh when Joo Yeol-mae begged him to marry to her or she would move on. However, Yoon Seok-hyun truly loves Joo Yeol-mae even though he doesn’t know how to communicate it.

  • Shin Ji-hoon, acted by actor Kim Ji-suk


He is the second lead in this drama. Shin Ji-hoon is a straightforward person, such a wonderfully warm, grounded, and nice character. He is patient, level-headed, generous, humorous, and made it a point to see the good in others, and he knows how to treat a woman nicely.

  • Seon Jae-kyung, played by actress Kim Ji-woo


She is one of Joo Yeol-mae’s best friends. Seon Jae-kyung is a shoe designer who is rich, fashionable, and chic. She was married already, but only a few months into her marriage she found out that her husband was having an affair. They pretend to be a harmonious married couple for the reputation of her husband, who wants to get into politics. She is forthright, aggressive, and comfortable seeking love with her ex-boyfriend, Han Jung-min, played by In Gyo-jin, outside her loveless marriage. She finally dumped her husband during the drama, she persevered and rebuilt herself, and shored up her business.

  • Woo Ji-hee, acted by actress Kang Ye-sol


She is one of Joo Yeol-mae’s best friends. She is the most calm of her two friends. Woo Ji-hee is a naive, nice woman. She is a cute and innocent person. She is very concerned about her actions. She is only looking for men who are handsome, well-off, and look nice. As she extracted herself from a bad relationship that she had, she met the man named Kim Tae-woo, that was acted by Heo Tae-hee.


The Soundtracks


The soundtracks of the drama really support the drama’s storyline. I Need Romance 2012 OST has 12 tracks in total, performed by various artists. You can listen to the soundtrack list of “I Need Romance 2012” on spotify. Here are the songs featured in the drama’s soundtrack.

1. Waru Waru by Han Soo-ji (The drama opening song)

This catchy and addictive, yet annoying song is the opening song of this drama. It fits to the storyline, how complicated yet fun the drama is. Even though it sounds annoying, you will love the song sooner or later.

2. Only U by 10cm

This fun and happy song makes you smile. The song depicts how cute love is. Like the lyric says, “I wanna be with you, and You want it too“.

3. Cocktail Love (칵테일 사랑) by OKDAL feat. Shin Jae

If you like indie folk or indie pop songs, this song is for you. This song is perfect for the mood of this drama. Moreover, the song was often played during the sweet moments from the leads’ past.

4. Ride the Wind (바람을 타고) by Deli Spice

The song has a soft rock feel. Its music is mostly about love and memory and gives a nostalgic feeling whenever you listen it.

5. You Are Mine (그댄 내꺼예요) by PAGE

The song is a pop/ballad. Its emotions, sung by the singer PAGE, clearly fit the feelings Yoon Seok-hyun had after seeing Joo Yeol-mae dating Shin Ji-hoon.

6. I Could Give You Love by Lasse Lindh

This song went perfectly with the drama’s storyline, it touches anyone’s heart who listens it. The song was always playing when the characters were sad, it made us understand the sadness they had.

7. Have You Heard (혹시라도 들릴까봐) by LeeSA

The song give a nostalgic vibe. You want to remember the moments that can not be forgotten. It brings back some crazy sad or happy memories.

8. Gloomy Day by Park Sang-hee

As the title of the song has said “Gloomy Day”, it tells about the gloomy days filled with conflict that the characters had.

9. Let’s Go! by Park Sang-hee

The song has naughty and playful sensations and you can not stop to listening it. The song fits when a playful mood was happening in some scenes of the drama.

10. When Love Begins (사랑이 시작될 때) by Nam Hye-sung, Park Sang-hee, Kim Hee-jin


Sadly, there is no video with this song, as it has been copyrighted. But, do not worry, you can still listen on spotify or genie or bugs or itunes. And the song also has a comfortable feeling, like when you close to someone, you want to tease him or her.

11. Time in My Mind (내 마음속 시간) by Nam Hye-sung, Park Sang-hee


Unfortunately, there is also no video with this song, as it has been copyrighted. But, the song is already on spotify or genie or bugs or itunes, and you can listen it anytime. The song has a sense of surrender to the past, and the fact is the past is past, just like that.

12. Lalala (랄랄라) by Nam Hye-sung, Park Sang-hee


And there is no video with this song too, as it has been copyrighted. Well, you can still listening on spotify or genie or bugs or itunes. The song brings the joy and happiness, also it reminds you of happy memories from your childhood.

8 Reasons Why You Should Give ‘I Need Romance 2012’ A Try


If you do like watching Korean dramas and are interested in the romance and comedy genres, we think you should watch I Need Romance 2012. As the previous series was popular, this second series is not a bad thing to watch. Let us prove it with 8 reasons that you should give this drama a try!

  • It gives a realistic view of relationship these days. This drama gives insight into realistic relationship issues. Many misunderstandings and lack of communication become a trigger for a breakup conflict. It was clearly portrayed by the lead couple in this drama. Yoon Seok-hyun is an uncommunicative person and Joo Yeol-mae is either. It was really interesting to see both parties’ perspective on relationship issues and how they resolved it. Because of the relationship issues, this drama gives you a lesson that you must try to communicate to the people you love about what you feel and what you want. It is a matter of how deep the love is and willingness to understand and compromise. It also portrayed a real relationship, best and worst moments included, between two adults who have spent almost their whole lives together.
  • The drama’s storyline is also smooth and captivating, not too long yet not too rushed. Even though it takes time for the characters to realize that they should improve their attitude and show their true feelings each other, overall, the story flows like a water. This is good for you if you do not like a long-winded story, as the drama has only 16 episodes which is pretty standard.
  • The plot isn’t too heavy and won’t make the audience scratch their heads trying to understand what each character is feeling. Instead, this drama is like being on a roller coaster, sometimes up but sometimes down. If you like a light-hearted and funny drama, we recommend this drama for you.
  • Although many viewers linked this drama to a previous series, as if I Need Romance was associated with Sex and the City, or many called it the Korean version of Sex and the City. However, the adult relationship they had didn’t seem excessive and did not give the impression we were watching a porn movie. As you watch the love scenes from this drama, there were real, passionate kisses for a change, not those pretend one. The kissing scenes looked real and believable. They were not shy on showing their feelings, no holding back. Unlike the other romance dramas, though, this drama tried not to expose excessively as the drama follows the film ratings “19” by the South Korean television rating system. For your information, the film rating “19” means children under 19 are prohibited from watching this program/film. 19-rated programming is banned from airing during the hours of 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM, and 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Programs that receive this rating will almost certainly have adult themes, sexual situations, strong language, and disturbing scenes of violence, according to Wikipedia.
  • The characters were honest, like it was like a real life. Although the character of Joo Yeol-mae was so annoying at certain points, she had opinions and needs and feelings and she expressed them instead of leaving people to try and read her mind. Even though she sometimes behaved like a spoiled and childish woman, and wanted people to read what she wants, but woman is a woman, after all. It was refreshing that the drama is realistic, considering most Korean dramas show people over 30 actings like they are teens. The visual of characters are pleasing to the eye too.
  • The most important thing about a romance drama, of course, is the chemistry between the lead couple. The chemistry between the leads in this drama is kinda great. The chemistry shown up from time to time as the episodes progressed on. The feelings strike through the heart. What is really engaging, is that it was not only the two leads’ acting, but the male support role’s acting was so strong that made you would get a second lead syndrome. Shin Ji-hoon is too good to be true. Shin Ji-hoon is an extremely charming and likable character. Unintentional meeting with Joo Yeol-mae turned out to mean something else for Shin Ji-hoon because he remembered they had met each other several times. For Shin Ji-hoon this meant they were indeed matched. This is what made him a strong rival from this love triangle.
  • The friendship between the girls is on point. The friendships between the female lead and two female support role are believable. It is fairly true-to-life. These three characters are completely different in terms of temperament and personality. Differences in personalities make for better friendships. Indeed, they have a heartwarming dynamic for being one another’s safe haven as best friends should support each other. The friendship in this drama can be used as an example for the friendship between adult female best friends which are always frankly conversing about sex, amusing, and of course, men.
  • Unlike other romantic dramas, this drama has also interesting and entertaining sub-plots which you should not miss. One of the interesting sub-plots is the story between Kim Tae-woo and Woo Ji-hee. If you ever watched the previous series I Need Romance, you will find Kim Tae-woo was an ex-boyfriend who dumped Kang Hyun-joo, a supporting character of the first iteration of the series, and in this drama, he made a return. Their comic timing was very good as Woo Ji-hee’s ex-boyfriend embarrassed her at the top of Namsan Tower by blaming her for the bad sex, while Kim Tae-woo accidentally overheard her entire sex life.

We would say that this drama is fun and worth a watch since all the cast fit with their character roles. Now that you’ve read our review, what do you think of I Need Romance 2012? Should give it a try?