I can't decide whether "Because It's the First Time" actually wants its two leads characters to get together or not. With Tae-oh, Song-yi keeps alternating between being a jerk and being emotionally needy, all while insisting there's no mutual attraction. I've seen the whole "combative relationship is proof they should be together" countless times...in fiction. When I see it happen in real life usually they just genuinely dislike each other but don't have any better friends. Tae-oh and Song-yi look more like a real couple than a fictional one in that regard.
Or maybe it's just general incompetence. I like how the flustered Tae-oh keeps charging right after Se-hyeon, who is indisputably much more attractive and cool than Song-yi. Se-hyeon is constantly just about out of patience with Tae-oh getting distracted by Song-yi-who-is-totally-not-my-love-interest, yet time and again Tae-oh's just barely able to get a word in edgewise and keep his chances alive. The aprobation scene is a great highlight, as for all her best efforts Se-hyeon is unable to discourage Tae-oh's latest attempt.
Elsewhere, Ga-rin simply states what her feelings are unambiguously and of course none of her friends have any idea how to react. This much is especially funny when later we get more context implying that Ga-rin makes these kinds of statements on a regular basis publically and every time no one ever has any idea how to react to them. It's a good thing Ga-rin doesn't actually expect anything in return.
That's the kind of young person logic "Because It's the First Time" excels at. Its central group of characters want emotional support and stability, but they don't really want a relationship, so they try to get these things without extracting definite commitments. This was what was really going on with Song-yi's request to live together. Sure, it sounds all serious, but she meant that very literally. Song-yi just wanted a place to hang out between all those part-time jobs, it wasn't an definite plan, just an indefinite one.
"Because It's the First Time" is really easy to relate to. This is a drama about people who don't have any real roots. Writer Jeong Hyeon-jeong neither romanticizes the lifestyle of these characters nor does she pity them. They just life life on their own terms, one day at a time, saving the moments of emotional genuflection for when they're absolutely necessary. It's a bittersweet story- well, story's not really the right word. The plot, much like the characters, doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Because It's the First Time" Episode 3"
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