Premiere Watch: This Life is Our First [Because This is My First Life]

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Since Falsify ended, I haven’t had a Monday-Tuesday kdrama yet. I know, I’ve seen Lingerie Girls’ Generation in the interim but I made the grave mistake of not following it week per week and just binged it the weekend before finale week. So I couldn’t say that I’ve followed that drama. But that’s gonna change right here because whatever happens, whether it’s good or bad or middling, I’m gonna livewatch (and even livestream) This Life is Our First [Because This is My First Life]. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been sharing its promotional materials and I even made a Youtube playlist of everything tvN releases about it. I AM SO READY FOR THIS SHOW. (Spoiler alert: I’m hooked!) [Also, this post has been long overdue. It was supposed to be up two weeks ago but I got so busy with my SoKor trip cramming for the itinerary that I wasn’t able to blog anymore. Gah. Sorry for being me. Hahaha!]

Reasons for Watching

1. This is Lee Min-ki’s first time to headline a drama in a decade. IN TEN YEARS. His last was Dal-ja’s Spring and that was eons ago. I’ve graduated high school, and college, and have been working for four years now. I WOULDN’T MISS THIS DRAMA FOR THE WORLD. (Needless to say, he’s one of my OG oppas.)
2. Jung So-min is adorable and a good actress and after loving Father is Strange, I’m ready to watch her in ANYTHING. (And have been watching her backlist too.)
3. DID SOMEONE SAY COHABITATION? YES, THIS IS A COHABITATION DRAMA. I AM SO IN.
4. It vaguely reminds me of We Got Married as a Job!, also known as the cutest jdrama of possibly ever and the one that made me come back to watching jdramas in general.
5. KIM MIN-SEOK YOU CUTIE PIE

***Unlike most of my premiere watch posts, I’m not recapping This Life is Our First. For one, Dramabeans is already recapping it so you’ll be better off reading their recaps (and I would save six hours or more per episode). Sadly, even though I want to (IT’S LEE MIN-KI!!!!11), I don’t have time these days. With that, I’ll just comment on the episodes. I will be talking a little bit about what happens in the episodes though so there will be some spoilers. Beware! Lastly, I’ll be talking about the first two episodes instead of just the first like most of my premiere watch posts.***

COMMENTS (more like storytelling)

Since this post is two weeks late and I’ve actually already seen five episodes by the time this posts, it’s kinda hard to box in my feelings and thoughts for just the first two episodes but I’ll try. As of writing this, I’ve seen and read the recaps of the first two episodes so many times already so I hope I’ll be able to compartmentalize. (Compartmentalization is needed because if you ask me now, all I’ll do is squeal out of love for this show.)

I’ll be honest here: I expected This Life is Our First to be wackier and funnier than what it presented in the first episode. After following and watching every bit of news, teasers, trailers, and whatnots for the show, I expected it to be so quirky and hilarious that I was kind of surprised at how it isn’t what it appeared to be when I saw the first episode. I even left work a bit earlier than I usually do (I come in late so I go out late) to livestream the show (9:30PM KST is 8:30PM here in the Philippines). I mean, it’s Lee Min-ki’s first time to headline a drama IN A DECADE and I’m not gonna miss it for the world. Lee Min-ki is one of my OG oppas so this moment was so momentous for me. (Heh.) I don’t know Korean so obviously I didn’t get everything the characters said in the first episode but I know that it wasn’t what I expected.

It was slower and more contemplative and thoughtful and ~real~ and I wasn’t prepared for that. I thought this was going to be a full-blown drama of cohabitation hijinks and shenanigans. Not that I’m saying that I hated the contemplative tone but it just wasn’t what I expected. So while watching the first episode, I had this niggling feeling that I should temper my expectations and realign what I want from the show. Don’t get me wrong, I laughed at all the PPL meta even though I didn’t fully understand it and I thought it was funny but it wasn’t THAT funny. After livestreaming it, I even thought that maybe I shouldn’t livestream it because it’s not crack-y enough. (Hello, Dianne, why do you expect a show to be giving you crack drama tendencies right off the bat??) I know, it’s my fault for having high expectations but I couldn’t help it. The hype was so much because Lee Min-ki! And I guess because I’ve seen most of the first episode in the teasers and trailers, I knew what was about to happen so I wasn’t surprised by anything.

Anyway, after livestreaming it, I decided to have low expectations. The next day, subs came out and I couldn’t delay watching it so I got to work late just so I can watch the first episode with subs. (I am the best employee there is.) AND OH MY GOD, I laughed so hard. I cackled for a full minute several times, with having to pause the show just so I can compose myself. Understanding everything made the show so much funnier and nuanced. The characters were so alive and amazing and the sass/banter/dialogue gold. Everyone was doing great and I got to appreciate the script. I also got to connect with the characters because I now understand them. And right then and there, I started loving the show. Who knew all it took was to understand it, right? Hahaha!

I then livestreamed the second episode and oh boy, the second episode really cemented that love this early on. I was squeaking with joy to see a character who was so logic-driven, he even makes graphs to rate his tenants. Se-hee is so one-of-a-kind and I love him. I don’t think he’s robotic like the promos initially touted him to be. Sure, his face is almost always blank but Lee Min-ki just delivers it with his acting and eyes that you KNOW what he’s feeling and thinking. He’s so thoughtful and sweet, without even trying and being calculating. He’s just kind. AND ADORABLE.

And Ji-ho, oh Ji-ho. I was already rooting for her to succeed and win in life during the first episode but the second episode made me love her so much. She’s so goddamn relatable and it broke my heart to see her struggling and being sexually assaulted. That bit was hard to watch as I was so afraid for her. She’s such a strong character that I just admire Ji-ho and Jung So-min nails it with her portrayal of the character. The vulnerability, the strength, she embodies the character so much.

The side characters were all very interesting too and they all have their own stories and backgrounds and motivations, which makes me gleeful. No one’s stereotypical and just a prop for the leads but they all have their own story and growth arcs. I’m so excited to see their stories alongside our main characters.

The writing in this drama is so good that it made me want to see everything this writer has done before. Not only the meta and the jokes (how unexpectedly hilarious are they), but how she incorporates societal issues into the show. She addresses and touches upon them without being preachy, and just shows such a realistic take on reality. I know we mostly watch kdramas to escape but to have a drama be so grounded in reality makes it all the more closer to my heart. The premise of This Life is Our First may be wacky but the emotions and thoughts it bases its premise on are very real and grounded. I also LOVE how this writer subverts tropes and stereotypes (gender stereotypes, let’s crush them all) and clichés in this whole drama. Just when you thought a character would react this way because that’s how it goes in kdramas, they do a completely different thing that’s so refreshing and realistic. Characters actually communicate! The female friendship in this show is also A+ and YAY FOR STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS.

The directing also elevates the drama into something that is pretty visually and not only that, to something that showcases just how strong of an actor everyone is. The director captures all the micro-expressions everyone makes and the editing keeps the pace languidly moving. Or so you think. Sometimes it feels like the show is slow because it’s taking its dear time on building the plot and the emotional depth it’s gearing up for then by the end of the episode, the show delivers such a cliffhanger that you end up wanting the next episode right away. Seriously, for such a low-key drama, it’s so good at making you want to have the next episode right away. It has a slice-of-life feel even if the plot isn’t actually one that’s usually partnered with that storytelling method. And don’t get me started with the brilliant music director because THAT PERSON SLAYS. The humor sometimes just comes from the sound effects and good lord, this drama is just so good at it.

VERDICT: I’m in love with this winsome drama. Give me more of this trope-subverting, low-key drama about a contract marriage between a cat-like, logic-driven landlord and his sweet, kinda-quirky tenant who loves to clean. I feel like a proud momma about this show because it proved that it was the little show that could. It might not be flashy (the set-up is flashy in a way that it is wacky but the execution is anything but) but it is so full of heart and so low-key and grounded that it feels like a humble show taking strides to win our hearts. I never thought I’d say this but: I HOPE IT’S ALWAYS MONDAY. Ever since this drama started, I’ve been looking forward to Mondays, which sounds crazy. But Lee Min-ki and Jung So-min are winning hearts left and right in here and I’m all aboard with wherever this drama takes me.

*gifs are from episodes 3, 4 and 5 (and some BTS clips) because I haven’t made anything for the first two episodes (and because I want to hook you right in MWAHAHAHA)

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