My First First Love

Overall Rating: B (oh my gosh is this the lowest grade I’ve given a show yet?)
Subtitles: In general the subtitles were strong, as the Netflix co-production subs tend to be. However I am not a big fan of the way names are translated in the Netflix subs–I’ve complained about the name order thing before (which wasn’t much of a thing in this show as family names were just like, not mentioned) but I don’t like the way letters are dropped to make the names appear cleaner. I know there is no really good way to romanize Korean sounds but when I look at the Hangul and all Korean-originated articles and posts and see the names romanized like I would expect them based on the Hangul and then they’re shorter with missing letters on Netflix I am just very???? Why though. Why.
Brief Synopsis: A college student who lives alone in his grandfather’s old house is searching for the perfect woman when a group of his friends move into his house due to various unfortunate circumstances. One of them is his best friend who he used to really like but who has never shared his feelings. Watch it on Netflix here.

**Full show spoilers below the image. If you do not wish to be spoiled, do not proceed**

Ending Type: ??????????????? It didn’t end so really hard to categorize. Like literally it felt like it ended in the middle of an episode. I’ve heard rumors about a Season 2 but I hate shows that end with a huge cliffhanger specifically so you’ll watch the next season so that was a huge negative for me.
Characters: All of the characters in this lil drama were fun and sweet and had their own charm, even if none were especially dynamic.
Tae Oh (Ji Soo) was the most dynamic of the characters which was appropriate since he was the lead, though even he didn’t feel super deep. Tae Oh is charming and confident (sometimes overly so) but very sweet and approachable. He can get stubborn sometimes but will always be there to take care of his friends and is extremely caring and considerate. Pretty much he was the full package in terms of male leads, and Ji Soo brought his natural charm and sweetness to the role. I’m a fan of Ji Soo’s and I’m happy he got a lead role, even if it was not the most interesting or emotionally involved role. I suppose in eight episodes you can’t do too much with the individual stories of an ensemble cast (though honestly I’ve felt like the first eight episodes of other shows have done more than this entire show so who knows).
Song Yi (Chung Chae Yeon) is Tae Oh’s best friend from childhood who is like family to him. She’s self-sufficient and resourceful even if she sometimes seems callous or cold, especially towards Tae Oh who is constantly just trying to be there for her. I enjoyed her natural charm and her determined nature, but she fell a bit flat to me compared to the other characters. She shone the most when she was getting excited about her budding romance with Do Hyun which was odd to me since it felt like she was going to end up with Tae Oh (more below).
Do Hyun (Jin Young) is introduced as this oddly detached, very smart but cold character. He mostly exists as a love interest for Song Yi and naturally warms up towards her throughout the story and has a lot of cute and sweet moments with her, but that’s pretty much all there is to him.
Hoon (Kang Tae Oh) gets kicked out by his parents because he wants to pursue his passion for musical theater and was the most outrageous and fun character in the group. He over-reacts to every situation in the best way and has that sort of forced charm that is fun nonetheless. I felt most compelled by him and his story because it had a clear arc and there were measurable stakes, though he didn’t get much screen time compared to the others.
Ga Rin (Choi Ri) was a very very rich heiress who knew Tae Oh somehow (is it ever explained how???) and decided to run away from her stifling life and have a bit of fun. She’s ridiculously cute and charming, and her desire to live a normal life is really sweet. Her optimism and cheerfulness and her belief in everyone else to succeed was awesome and great. Like most of the other characters she didn’t have much of a story or much emotional range but I enjoyed her in every scene she was in.
Ryu Se Hyun (Hong Ji Yoon) was a very pretty rich girl who was a bit stuck up and entitled but still had her own charm and was sweet with Tae Oh and a fun character in most situations. As a sort of rival love interest who I felt like was supposed to be clearly wrong for the male lead she was surprisingly likable and interesting.
Relationships: I have very little to say on this subject which is frustrating considering this was a rom-com and was basically entirely about relationships.
The main four roommates had a cute and fun dynamic but there wasn’t much in the story to get them there–one day they’re all living together and everything is fine and it stays fine. That was all there was to it. There wasn’t much in the story that addressed them as a group or put pressure on their dynamic or made them need to be there for each other, etc, so it was just kind of one of those fluffy fun group dynamics that existed but did not evoke any particular feelings.
Tae Oh and Song Yi’s relationship was sweet and cute, with their devotion to each other, trust in each other, and the incredible comfort they had from a lifetime of close friendship. I think the story was building towards their relationship but that was kind of unclear.
Tae Oh and Se Hyun had a fun, fluffy, meaningless sort of start to a romance that was very standard in many ways, not very deep, but cute to watch.
There was more to Song Yi and Do Hyun’s relationship because you see it build and it’s clear that both of them are really fond of each other and don’t really know what relationships are like so they are exploring together, but this was another case where there just wasn’t much to it. There was nothing to make me feel personally invested, no emotional depth, just the cuteness of watching two young people get excited about each other.
High Points: It’s cute and fun and all of the characters were cute and fun so there was that.
Low Points: WHICH COUPLE AM I SUPPOSED TO BE ROOTING FOR? Very unclear throughout most of it. It sure felt like the set up of the show was aiming for Song Yi and Tae Oh but then the majority of the show was focused in their side romances and I could never really get into either? Tbh? Because I was just confused about what I was supposed to be wanting so I didn’t want anything. Like “oh yes these two friends are cute, so comfortable with each other, I could go for it but they don’t seem to be into it” and then “oh these side romances are really precious but wait it kind of seems like the story is headed elsewhere so maybe not?” I don’t know when I watch a rom com I wanted to be invested in the romance so this ambiguity was a big problem for me. I guess it was mostly Song Yi who seemed like the problem–Tae Oh was clearly into her from the get go and even if his romance was kind of cute with Se Hyun it was clearly not going anywhere, but Song Yi was very adamant from HS on that Tae Oh wasn’t for her and she didn’t feel anything except for friendship towards him. Her romance with Do Yung was like super a focus of the story and very cute and it was just hard to imagine she she’d wake up one day and be like, “Oh wait lol I like Tae Oh though” so it just… didn’t work for me.
Also was there a plot to this show? It was kind of slice of life I guess but it felt like it was supposed to have an overarching romance plot but per the above that was kind of convoluted and messy so. There was just nothing compelling for me. Like was it painful to watch? No. Was it hard to watch? No. Very cute and fluffy and sweet and fun. But not in a way that made me at all interested in any of it.
ALSO ALSO ALSO in the first scene when Tae Oh begs his father for the house and his dad says, “Fine but I’ll drop in unannounced often and there better be no girls there ever” THAT SURE FELT LIKE IT WAS GOING TO BE A PLOT POINT. But it super was not??? Dad never came, Dad basically didn’t exist after that scene, Tae Oh is casually LIVING WITH two girls and this never becomes an issue? Just weird like. I felt like this show didn’t even know what it was doing with itself, way too many baffling things for a brief 8 hour thing.
Final comments: I think this would be an enjoyable experience if you just want to watch something cute happen for about eight hours. For me it was really boring and I was absolutely not invested in it in any way so it was not my favorite. I honestly wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish it and it was only eight episodes–I just never cared about anything that was happening and didn’t feel invested in anyone or anything. This was clearly set up for another season which also is not my favorite thing–I hope this won’t be a trend for Netflix K Dramas because the strength of K Dramas, to me, is that they are contained, one season, one arc stories so you get your fulfillment at the end. This was disappointing in that regard and overall I was just not a fan.

One thought on “My First First Love

  1. I haven’t seen this so I didn’t read past the break, but the naming thing would probably annoy me too! Then again, I’m torn because I’m used to seeing things like “Lee” but then I learned recently that in Hangul that name is usually just 이 and now my mind is blown. I think it would weird me out to see that spelled “I”.

    Like

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