The structure of "Because It's the First Time" is, somewhat confusingly, much closer to that of a web drama that what we usually see even from cable TV dramas. This episode consists of three mostly self-contained segments, with the main running thread being the hideout and angst of Tae-oh (played by Minho), a young person who struggles with the fact that he is young and stupid. There's five friends, the main important one being Song-yi (played by Park So-dam), who acts as a love interest with her own personal angst issues.
Grumpy though that basic synopsis probably makes the drama sound, "Because It's the First Time" is actually a comedy merely done with a not-terribly-nostalgic view of youth. It's a style of humor that has a lot in common with "Twenty"- the phrase of being twenty-years-old is itself brought up fairly frequently as a reference point. While the cast is fairly attractive, this is zero help in dealing with the stresses of the modern world. For that, they need friends.
One montage I rather liked simply involved one character running back and forth between various part-time jobs, and it's not a problem of the work being hard. The issue is that unsteady, faithless work is a reality for any young adult in the modern job market. It's not a system we can really do anything about either, short of the occassional goofy fantasy and maybe a distressed phone call.
There's no solutions, just means of letting off steam. And sometimes this valve of stress relief comes in the form of goofy stuff like running around outdoors without very many clothes on. The contrast is interesting and well demarcated. Writer Jeong Hyeon-jeon has fairly effectively struck a balance between making youth seem fun while at the same fun admitting that a lot of the stupid behavior we look at nostalgically was just being motivated by other unrelated problems which are nowhere near as fun to remember.
"Because It's the First Time" succeeds best, I think, precisely because the title itself recognizes the only reason why we think these kinds of experiences are important. "Because It's the First Time", that means we have no reference point to think about whether or not we're reacting or behaving in a stupid manner. It's easy to see Tae-oh some point in the future looking back on the events of his life now and thinking, wow, I was such an idiot. If you've ever had a moment like that (and let's face it of course you do) there's a lot to identify with here.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Because It's the First Time" Episode 1"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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