My First, First Love is a feel-good TV show that ticks many boxes, covering romance, friendship, despair, tragedy, happiness, and bitterness; there is something for everyone.
New to Netflix, My First, First Love is an uplifting and affectionate look on what it means to be a young adult in the modern world as the characters try to navigate friendships and romance in the face of adversity.
Netflix has introduced another charming addition to its collection of young-adult Korean dramas. My First, First Love tells the story of a group of diverse young people who are brought together through a series of hopeless events. Four of our protagonists find themselves in a sticky situation as they struggle with personal dilemmas that lead them to be without a place to stay; they must each find a new place to call home. This is easier said than done as they all end up asking for refuge at the same house, soon learning that they all have the same friend in common. It doesn’t take long before the group realizes that if they want a place to call home they’re going to have to live together in harmony or risk being kicked out. These surprising circumstances lead perfect strangers into a world of uncertainty as they come to learn that life doesn’t always have to be tackled alone.
My First, First Love is a coming of age series primarily centering on themes of friendship and romance. The show is incredibly diverse when it comes to providing characters from differing backgrounds, giving the rich and the poor, the fortunate and the unlucky, the pessimists and the optimists. Although seemingly very black and white in my mentioned parallels My First, First Love actually combines all of the above attributes in ways that I’ve scarcely seen in young adult media before. The ‘rich boy’ is not a snob, the ‘jock’ is not a jerk, and the ‘beauty’ is not catty; all of these characters offer audiences an alternative from the stereotypical norms, bringing fresh takes on modern-day problems.
The subjects and issues that arise in My First, First Love are often very dark and sensitive as the show explores themes of abuse, homelessness, and suicide. Even so, the show as a whole is surprisingly uplifting, the characters friendships blossom and their relationships show genuine heart, displaying their personal growths alongside those of their peers. As a young adult, moving out on your own for the first time can be daunting and this narrative could have been an interesting premise on its own, but My First, First Love goes the extra mile, not shying away from more serious subjects. My First, First Love offers it’s young audiences scenarios that fulfill the need for relatable arcs with its portrayal of youthful ambition, fears, and struggles. The show also satisfies the want for these somber circumstances to be tackled in a way that doesn’t encourage bleak or final outlooks, showing a positive attitude and reminding viewers that it’s not all doom and gloom.
The main cast of My First, First Love is a fine collection of young talent including 3 actors who are also players in the K-Pop industry. It is not uncommon for TV shows to borrow the fame of these young stars as they make the smooth transition from stage to screen. Given their musical roots the stars from groups such as DIA ( Jung Chae-yeon), B1A4 (Jung Jin-young) and 5urprise (Kim Yoon-hwan) have made their journey to the big screen look remarkably easy as they give enjoyable and convincing performances throughout the episodes. My First, First Love’s cast as a whole display amazing chemistry, delivering amusing childish energy for characters trying to enter the life of adulthood with adolescent naivety combined with the all too real existence of youthful angst.
Overall My First, First Love is a feel-good TV show that ticks many boxes, covering romance, friendship, despair, tragedy, happiness, and bitterness; there is something for everyone. My First, First Love aims to shine a light on hardships that could easily befall us all, exploring themes of a taboo nature with honesty and gumption. My First, First Love is stimulating and thought-provoking whilst also being playful and funny. The characters are lovable in their own quirky ways and I began to feel great empathy for the people on screen, I yearned for them to move forward and wanted nothing more than their happiness. Each episode had me eager for the next as I wanted to continue to follow the juvenile relationships of the group as they learn what it means to lean on other people and grow to understand that you don’t have to fight the world on your own.
Maggie has been a film critic for Ready Steady Cut since 2018. Maggie gained a BSc in Film Production and Technology leading to her most notable credit for the production designer for a short film screened as part of the London Film Festival line up.