Lovable younger character pursues insanely powerful crush on older character. Older character abandons many socially accepted forms of behavior, is brutally honest, rude, dismissive, and indifferent to suffering of others; but younger character still loves them. Characters end up cohabiting, with younger character attempting to soften the stony, cold, indifferent object of their affection and eventually win their love through daily un-wavering optimism and aegyo. Sound familiar? It should.

This is the plot of Playful Kiss, Mischievous Kiss, It Started with a Kiss, and I Need Romance 3.

Plot recycling, especially of tried and tested tropes like the unlovable, cold lead that is softened by falling in love with the cheerful, hard-working lead with heart of gold, happens all the time in K-drama. And we love it, or we wouldn't still be watching show after show about a poor but kind-hearted girl who falls in love with her cruel but richer-than-Midas boss, who runs a Mall/Department Store/Home Shopping Network while carefully concealing the secret trauma (such as claustrophobia/dyslexia/aquaphobia/motorphobia) he endured during the kidnapping/horrific accident of his youth.

There's just one tiny difference between our current leads and the stars of the beloved adaptions of that popular manga.

It's a week high in work and light in sleep for some of your drama clubbers (I feel like Jae Hee, poor little lamb- although without the pair of boys hanging around being adorable). So you get to be treated to this weeks events, and our responses, through the lens of my (Mariam's) current I Need Romance 3 conspiracy theory.

What- you say you don't have I Need Romance 3 conspiracy theories? Aigoo-I bet you sleep too.

So before rethinking my life choices, lets launch into the ways this week's developments in the characters of both Sweet Potato and Shing Shing (or Joo Won and Joo Yeon, whatever you prefer) play out like a brand new, gender-bent, 18+ version of a classic drama fairy tale.

The unrelenting, unwavering love of the younger - sometimes annoying- character- usually continuing on despite all protests to leave them alone.

Original strategy: Old school public confession by letter

New and imprewwww'vd: This elaborate ruse is cute because...remember that sweet incisor I gave you?

Aunnie: To be honest, I would have expected “Hi Shing-Shing, I’m Sweet Potato...I know I’ve deceived you and I’m really sorry for that, let me make it up to you” and produced a lot of aegyo--to be more his style....I think she had a less than normal reaction to his pronouncement. By that I mean, I would have been livid and slapped him way sooner.

Mariam's Conspiracy Theory: He needs to study up on his Xiang Qin Art of War. Aunnie's way is definitely how she would have played it. And look how well things worked out for her. But he has time to change his game. And WHY would you bring up the tooth?!

The grumpy, anti-social anti-lead: dismissive of the feelings of mortals and generally emotionally constipated.

Original flavor: Male lead ignores friend of family as she is molested on public transport

Extra Bitchy: Female lead ignores co-workers recent tragic diagnosis

Jocelle: Their friend is going through a crisis and for them to just push her feelings aside was really harsh. It’s understandable that they had a deadline to meet but their friend was in need of comfort.

Aunnie: I would have blacklisted this woman looong ago... I am really trying hard to like this character but she’s truly too abrasive for me. .... How inhuman do you have to be to truly not comprehend the “Premenopausal’ situation? And I truly mean inhuman.

Mariam's Conspiracy Theory: I actually think it makes her more human than most K-drama ladies are allowed to be- in the sense that she is more awful. Normally a kdrama heroine is never allowed to cross that line into “unlikable” the way Joo Yeon does.

Take if from a genuine fake actress:

(But Baek Sun Jo & Co totally got away with being absolutely horrible brats- so our girl is on schedule for eventually succumbing to the spud stud.)

Younger character frequently fantasizes about love interest, only to have fantasies shattered.

Younger version: Mistakes fantasy guy for fairy prince

Mature version: Mistakes fantasy woman for fairy godmother

Jocelle: I feel Joo Won mistakes Joo Yeon's care for him and raising him for love, especially since his mother wasn't around. It would be really interesting how this all plays out because Joo Yeon just sees Joo Won as a little brother.

Aunnie: I’m glad she came out with her personal POV on their history and I think if her character would have lead with that piece of information/backstory then I wouldn’t have thought she was as much of a bitch as I did because at least we’d have a reason for her complete disregard to him as a person and her subsequent rudeness. I think revealing this information in Episode 5 is bad on the writers part.

Mariam's Conspiracy Theory: We never learn the hero's secret trauma right away (be it a freak elevator accident/kidnapping/mom sending him to swim class as a girl/kidnapping), but eventually the persistent snail sweet potato will work its way in and fix what was broken- at least a little bit.

Grumpy lead only reveals hidden feelings in private- and almost never to the person who adores him.

Be that secretly kissing the girl you say you don't like

Or secretly enjoying your piggyback a little more than you want to let on

Jocelle: She starts to realizes JW’s feelings for her, because of the rose and the flashback to when they were kids

Mariam's Conspiracy Theory: This is why we hear her mutter to herself so often. Although I kind of like how all bets are off with drunk Joo Yeon. I don't think we ever get drunk Sun Jo- only a hilarious drunk Ha Ni.

Persistent character is often the only one around to comfort grumpybutt in times of greatest need.

Comforting crush after he confides the pain of being forced to give up his dream

Consoling crush as she drinks away the pain she tries to hide- and preventing drowning

Jocelle: I was so amused with the childish grin he had when he walked away. It was so cute!

Aunnie: I think this episode was a continuous eye opener for him starting from the last episode.

Mariam Conspiracy Theory: At last, I completely approve of Joo Won’s behavior. Is it because he finally is starting to act like I'm used to seeing the girls act in this kind of a role? Or is it the flannel dress thing he wears? But that is a whole different conspiracy theory.

So what do you think? Does viewing Joo Yeon as following the familiar arc of the mean male lead and Joo Won as Noah's Snail Spud make you more or less patient with their behavior? Will we ever see as many unlikable women in K-drama as we have unlikable leading men? And more importantly- will there ever be a female equivalent to the cult of Young Do? Does anyone even read these bolded questions? Reveal yourselves in the comments.

Want more from the I Need Romance 3 Drama Club? Check out our individual blogs or get in touch on Twitter!

Aunnie- @Asherette06 or wordsofaunnie.blogspot.com

Jocelle- @jocelleraeee or sarangraeee.tumblr.com

Mariam- @MariamWatt or lucymontero.tumblr.com

And catch up on earlier episodes (much more coherent than today's fever dream) here:

Episodes 1-2 [Part 1] [Part 2]

Episodes 3-4 [Part 1] [Part 2]

Episodes 5-6 [Part 1][Part 2]