KDrama Review: Because This Is My First Life

My officemate, Rei, has been doing Asian drama reviews on her personal FB page. I was so intrigued when she gave Because This Is My First Life a rating of 100/10. Yup, hindi typo ang extra zero before the over sign! I was even more intrigued when I saw a couple of online articles which included Because This Is My First Life as one of the most underrated Korean dramas. I figured that I needed something like this after watching a much talked about KDrama like Crash Landing on You. In case you haven’t watched this KDrama yet or this is the first time that you’ve ever heard of this, you’re probably wondering whether I would also give this a 100/10. I’ll get into that later.

Photo from asianwiki.com
Because This Is My First Life is about Nam Se-Hee (Lee Min-Ki), a very stiff and frugal geek, and Yoon Ji-Ho (Jung So-Min), a writer who is struggling in every aspect of her life. Se-Hee just wanted to get by his very boring daily life. He had everything planned out until the day he dies. His mind only has two things – his cat and his house mortgage. Ji-Ho, who comes from a very patriarchal family, felt stuck at her job as she had been an assistant writer for dramas for five years. Struggling with her career and her finances, Ji-Ho found herself homeless. Due of a big misunderstanding, the two became housemates by accident. And because they both felt like they are able to give what each other needs, a home for Ji-Ho and a responsible housemate for Se-Hee who could tend to his cat, do household chores and even help him pay for his mortgage, the two carelessly decided to get married. I know that you’ve seen other dramas with the same plot. I’m also pretty sure that you find this situation very unlikely to happen in real life, but this is the only thing in this KDrama that seems to be a little unrealistic. Everything else are so realistic, and I know that viewers from different age groups will be able to relate to at least one of the characters from this drama.

I honestly liked Lee Min-Ki’s portrayal of Se-Hee. He was effortless in being awkward and stiff. I remember telling Rei while I was watching the first episode, “Hindi masyadong pogi etong si Lee Min-Ki, ano?” In which she replied with, “Oo, pero malakas charisma niya diyan.” As his character unfolds, viewers will actually appreciate his demeanor more than his looks. I think it was also good that his looks didn’t distract me from the story. Wala ring pakitaan ng abs dito kaya walang distractions sa story. Wahahaha!!! I also liked his versatility - from scenes na mukha siyang timang to scenes that require him to throw out all of his emotions.

Senior KDrama Tita Fans will probably remember Jung So-Min from Mischievous Kiss. She still has the same innocent look from when Mischievous Kiss was shown a decade ago which made her really suitable for the role of Ji-Ho. I initially had second thoughts about Jung So-Min playing Ji-Ho. I wasn’t able to engage with her portrayal at the beginning, but I finally understood as I continued watching her. I realized that Ji-Ho was supposed to be plain and unassuming because people around her painted her as a pushover. I finally connected with her character as soon as I understood her dilemma. As a person who loves to write and still dream of becoming a writer someday, I could really relate to Ji-Ho’s struggles. What started out as a boring character, I eventually embraced all the changes that Ji-Ho had to go through. Tawang-tawa din ako sa mga facial expressions niya!

Just like what I said, there are a lot of things that viewers can relate to in this drama. People who question their career choices will surely relate with Ji-Ho’s struggles. Those who were scarred by past relationships and failures will see themselves in Se-Hee. I really like that the side stories were built up well along with the story of Se-Hee and Ji-Ho. Couples who have been in a long-time relationship will find the story of Ho-Rang and Won-Seok very relevant. It’s nice that they posed an important question about marriage and relationship. Here are two couples, one is married without love, while the other love each other but are not married. Does marriage equate to love, and love to marriage? Believe it or not, I got a bit scared with how their story would end up. I’m just glad that I got the ending I was hoping for. Their story somehow reminded me of a subplot of Fight for My Way. And then there was the story of Soo-Ji and Sang-Goo. It’s nice that the drama was able to discuss the difficulties that women go through in the corporate world! Very good sila dun ng 1,000 times! I also appreciated the fact that the story of Soo-Ji and Sang-Goo provided a different perspective on marriage. Ang sarap din na ang CEO niyo ay parang si Sang-Goo na pwedeng i-bully ng buong office! Hahahaha!

I liked that Because This Is My First Life just focused on being relatable. This drama doesn’t have the antagonists that viewers will hate. Chill lang lahat! The conflicts presented were those that usually happen to ordinary people. I think this is why I ended up just watching it without stretching my brain cells. There was nothing really overly dramatic in this series except for one episode because Kim Sun-Young almost made me cry. She’s one of my favorite Korean actresses, by the way. She’s one of the tsismosas from CLOY. Hihi.

Photo from asianwiki.com 

I also appreciate that Because This Is My First Life showcased women empowerment when the three friends Ji-Ho, Ho-Rang and Soo-Ji finally stood up and walked away from the things that have been dragging them down. I would really want to discuss each because that’s my favorite part of this drama, but I don’t want to spoil those who have not yet watched it. Hihi.

Did l like Because This Is My First Life? Definitely! Will I give it 100/10? Not really. There was one thing that I didn’t really like about this drama. Well, I didn’t like it while I was watching it, but I somehow understood it after pondering over it for a couple of hours after I watched the last episode. I just felt that the last two episodes were a bit stretched only for the main conflict to be rushed at the last episode. Watching Korean dramas for years made me get used to this scenario, to be honest. It’s just that Ji-Ho’s decision wasn’t fully explained. Why did she decide to “punish” herself and Se-Hee when they both wanted the same thing anyway? I understood the reason behind it because I’ve been married for years, but I guess it would have been nice if it was explicitly explained in the end. So ayun, may gamitan din ng brain cells na magaganap sa dulo. Hihi. At dahil pinag-isip niya ako ng slight, mga 9.5/10 ang rating ko. But I have to agree that this is such an underrated KDrama. This will make you smile, laugh, sad and reassess your life choices. At may kilig din sa mga linyahang, “Should we sleep together?” Wahahaha!!!

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