Mini recap: Unemployed Romance Episode 1

I've almost forgotten that this short new drama is airing before receiving an invitation to review this drama a couple of days ago. Its stars Nam Gong Min who won my heart as Maru oppa in Can You Hear My Heart - him with the tortured soul and eyes. I jumped ship constantly because of him even though I know there's no way in hell he's getting the girl. Too bad his follow up dramas are not my cup of tea but I missed him on my screen so this is really good news. I'm okay with Lee Young-ah, whom I've seen in Iljimae (Lee Jun Ki version), Baker's Kim Tak Gu and Vampire Prosecutor series. She's almost always tomboyish in her roles so when the teaser for Unemployed romance dropped, I thought she looks really different and hopefully this is one project I'd really love her for.

Episode 1

The story starts with a scene right out of Makjangville. A woman  is mistreated by her father-in-law ever since her marriage. She's an employee at his company and has since hooked up with his son. By now you'd know this is an imagined sequence because several voices are actively discussing the plot in the background. Anyway, the woman finally has had enough and decides to confront the father-in-law and threatens divorce. Then we have a banjun where the father-in-law actually admits he loves her for himself. *shudder* Quite the nightmarish confession. She runs to her room hoping to calm herself but finds her husband making out with her sister-in-law. *Facepalm* They defend their "pure" love and the woman is left spinning by this turn of event. LOL. I'm busting my gut already.

The same characters in the story are actually part of a team brainstorming for a refreshing plot - too bad there are none. LOL. Meet Im Seung-hee (Lee Young-ah), an aspiring writer. She doesn't seem like a good one at the moment and the company she's working with doesn't appear to be well off either. The CEO implores her to consider working on another programme, which should be beyond the scope of her job description. After much reluctance, CEO manages to wrangle a grudging yes from her.

Seung-hee shares a work studio with Moon Sun-joo (Bae Seul-gi) and they are fairly polite on the surface. Sun-joo are pretty straightforward in her criticism and Seung-hee accepts that, but makes fists at her behind her back.

She escapes to the convenience store for a breather and a flashback to 2010 explains her current relationship with Sun-joo. She was on the brink of success and Sun-joo was at her beck and call. Somehow, she got into an accident and that opportunity becomes Sun-Joo's. So now Sun-joo's the successful writer while she just writes anything for money. Hmm...explains Sun-joo's patronizing tone.
In fact, the dynamics have totally reversed and she's the one who's at Sun-joo's beck and call. She doesn't hate Sun-joo for it because to her- the source of all her misfortune begins with that man. Cuts to Seung-hee running after a man she calls Jong-dae (Nam Gong-min) on an escalator. She falls, dramatic music and all, and there goes her golden opportunity.

She shakes herself from the memory trip and this is when her sister calls. Sis is leaving home, with two kids on a tow, after another fight with her husband. It seems quite a common occurence but now sis wants to crash in at her place. A big no no since she's sharing with Sun-joo. So they all end up at the jimjibang.

At the jimjibang, she wanders around sniffing for some ideas (aka gossips). She's in good luck because a group of ahjummas are gossipping like nobody's business. LOL. She soon joins the discussion by pretending to be acquainted with one of the subjects in their discussion and the ahjummas quickly take her into confidence. She continues to bond with one of the ahjumma - the most informative of them all - but has to lie about her marital status and all...since she's supposed to be an ahjumma herself. LOL.
Sis nags her into switching jobs and getting herself a man but she's saved by the bell - more precisely her brother-in-law who's here to collect his errant wife and kids. She sold them out. Good thinking. Hah.
She goes home after submitting her new idea but finds a suspicious man in the lift with her. It's Hwang Wan Ha (Seo Jun-yeong), our second male lead actually. Her mind goes into overactive drive and she imagines him trying to take advantage of her. LOL. Even in her imagination, I don't see how he could have succeeded with her scratching and pawing with all her might. He gets off after her and when he approaches her at her door, she starts screaming and scratching until he finally holds her still and explains he's here to see Sun-joo.

She treats his scratches and apologizes for the misunderstanding but he's pretty nice about it. Sun-joo calls and tells her to bring him out to dinner first since she won't be home in a while - with her credit card. Of course, Seung-hee agrees with a smile.
Over dinner - meat of course - he makes small talk and ask about her writing projects. She rattles off a few titles like "Makjang survival: how to kill your husband", "The divorce show", "The wife and the mistress". LOL. He has never heard of them and could not offer a polite response.
On the walk back, they chat more comfortably with a coffee in hand. He's a fan of Sun-joo's dramas and are here to collaborate with her. He stops suddenly, with a burning question, "Have they met before?" To Seung-hee, it sounds awfully corny and a mismatch with his looks but she's willing to overlook that if he's interested in her. *Oh gawd, cringing already* The atmosphere does seem charged but she's saved from answering by Sun-joo who finally made it back.
Sun-joo invites him for coffee in a nearby cafe. He glances at the coffee cup in his hand but agrees. But before he leaves, he tells her, "See you next time." Omo, he's truly interested? Okay, he's a dorky kind of cute. Seung-hee smiles a little and heads home.
 Seung-hee is at home bawling her eyes out at a Leslie Cheung movie (awww...) when her assistant writer calls. She's required to come up with a new plot in three days. She starts to get frustrated when it occurs to her she's got a muse - the ahjumma!  
It turns out to be pretty fruitful and she's almost crying in gratitude as the ahjumma feeds her another outlandish story about a mother-in-law who selects a bride for her son by making sure the bride has a compatible liver for a liver transplant to herself. LOL.
Meanwhile, her CEO is fast becoming a game addict, burning a hole through his pocket at the games arcade. He spends hours in there, barely stepping a foot outside. When he does, he finds a flyer advertising for more gambling. Is he about to gamble away his company?
Seung-hee asks ahjumma about the follow up to the story but ahjumma can only update her the following day. And since she has to bring her kid out to play, she invites Seung-hee to do the same. Now if only she has got kid. Hah. Cut to her sister telling the son he has to meet up with Seung-hee in Seoul the next day, dressed as an adorable 7 year old. LOL.
The company is not doing so great with the CEO's credit card bouncing even when paying for a few jajangmyun. Worse, he's called and apologized that their salary will be delayed. Well, the CEO has just pawned his car...hopefully not for more gambling...because his company is running on empty without funds even for coffee and refreshments. The specky assistant writer is uneasy and worried that the company is going to bankrupt but Seung-hee think it is unlikely since they do still have running programmes.
It's playdate day. Seung-hee's nephew is indignant at having to dumbify himself. Seung-hee is apologetic and he complies grudgingly. Seung-hee gets her update  where it's the bride's father who needs a kidney transplant and asking the son-in-law for it. LOL. Who thinks up all these!?!
As they part, the ahjumma invites herself to Seung-hee's place despite her excuses. She hangs her head glumly as they approaches her place but two burly scary men are at her door. The ahjumma quickly excuses herself. The men leaves a card asking her to contact them if she has news of CEO Kim. As Seung-hee tries to process the news, ahjumma has already jumped to conclusions and waste no time in spreading the word. Efficient, she is. Seung-hee belatedly receives a call from the assistant writer informing her what we have already known - the company is no more!
As first episode goes, this one is kind of a little dull. I understand the need for set up but I feel it took way too long even though the show is barely 50min long. I didn't mind her excursions with the ahjumma because the outlandish stories were vaguely entertaining. But evidently episode 1 is more about her work than it is about her love life. The only part that had me at full attention and rewinding was where she had a sort of dugun dugun moment with the lawyer dork but it was SO SHORT. But they definitely had chemistry and I'm itching to see if she has the same or more with Nam Gong Min! From the BTS, she totally did and that can only mean good things. 
I do applaud the creativity of the type of storytelling here. I've read that the story will be told from the girl's perspective and later from the guy's perspective. That sounds very well on paper so I hope that it delivers on execution as well. Because I think it needs a little extra something to hook viewers. I'm staying because of the actors but a less keen viewer might not have that kind of patience. It's not the kind of rom-com I've come to expect. There's little rom and surprisingly not that much I fear it might not offer the kind of pull an average rom-com do.
So now we have fleshed out one half of our title and I'm hoping to see a little more of the second half, and preferably the sooner the better. As in STAT. Or pronto!

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