In all of its quirky and brutally honest glory, Because This Life is Our First captured my heart from the get go. It was sincere, refreshing, and simply a joy to watch from week to week. This drama paid homage to its characters differences and complexities through a story that was equal parts, entertaining, pessimistic, and whimsy.
The main plot running throughout Because This Life is Our First is the contract marriage between Nam Se Hee and Yoon Ji Ho. While it is a contract marriage, it also serves as a marriage of convenience because their needs are mutually beneficial.
Yoon Ji Ho, an assistant drama writer, is a very kind, hard-working, and dreamy idealist. She loves to write, watch soccer, and craves love but has been single her entire life. Ji Ho has just returned home after six months to discover that her brother, who she lives with, is now married and his wife is pregnant. Needless to say, it’s a very awkward situation that prompts Ji Ho to get out of there as fast as she can, especially when she’s interrupting the couple’s space and personal time together.
Nam Se Hee needs a roommate to help him pay rent, take care of feeding his cat (who is later named “Woori” which means “us” in Korean!), and someone to take care of recyclables. When he realizes that the girl who randomly kissed him at the bus stop is his new roommate, things become very awkward, but the facts stand: she’s Se Hee’s ideal roommate and has scored the highest of his previous tenants.
Ji Ho eventually decides to move in with See Hee.
While the contract marriage seems like a very iffy venture if the beginning, it doesn’t take a whole lot to warm up to both characters and their quirkiness. They both spend so much time skirting around each other because of their awkwardness and it’s so dang cute to watch.
As far as leads go, Nam Se Hee is an extremely fresh breath of air in k-drama land. The reason I say that is because he avoids a lot of the typical k-drama stereotypes. Sure, he’s a bit cold, stiff, and has no problem vocalizing his opinions, but he’s also awkward, smart, honest, fair, and dedicated to name a few.
He isn’t rich, either. While Nam See Hee owns his own home, he has many years of paying off a loan before it’s his free and clear. He only seems to care about his house and cat, which we later learn isn’t entirely true; he’s been masking his own feelings by burying them deeper and deeper until he feels nothing at all. In college, he cohabited with his girlfriend.
Life takes an unexpected turn when she becomes pregnant. They marry, but when she unfortunately suffers a miscarriage, they separate. His father did not approve of his girlfriend, and to this day, Nam see Hee has a poor relationship with his father. Antarctica isn’t as cold as this father-son duo are.
Even better, we have interesting side characters who are all lacking in different ways, which affects their romantic relationships and puts strains on them. Woo Soo Ji is brash and prickly, but underneath that tough exterior, she’s actually incredibly caring and vulnerable. She dotes over her mother who has a bad leg and wants to do everything for her, but Soo Ji has been neglecting herself, which makes her mother uncomfortable and heavily burdened. Then enter, Mr. Ma. He’s gentle and endearing and finds a way to ensnare Soo Ji’s closed off heart. It’s not an easy relationship, but I love the balance, stability, and moral support they gave each other.
Then there’s Ho Rang who feels her internal clock ticking at 30 years old. All she wants to do is get married and have children, but Won Seok isn’t on the same page as her. He doesn’t feel her urgency and is often missing important signals in his obliviousness, which leads to conflict, distance in their relationship, and a devastating breakup. Spoiler alert: They do get it together in the end. Phew!
And then there’s Ji Hoo and Se Hee — our main couple. Their metamorphosis from strangers to romantic partners by the end of this series is stunning. Both come with their fair share of baggage and relationship concerns, but as they spend time together and bond over soccer and married couple activities, their relationship evolves brilliantly. The biggest turning point for me was when Se Hee started making big strides and sacrifices for Ji Hoo. (And same goes for Ji Hoo.) Even if he didn’t love her in the beginning, he was a good person that had her best interests at heart.
More than the romantic relationships, I really treasured the friendships in this drama. Because This Life is our First is a shining example of true, lasting friendship. No matter how different everyone’s views were or what their personalities were like, at the end of they day they were friends and rallied together when the other needed them.
As far as life lessons, this k-drama easily won 2017 for me. Chalk full of great life lessons and a loveable cast, Because This Life is our First is a home run with the bases loaded. I can’t sing enough praises for this drama and recommend it to any k-drama fan.
This was my number one drama of the year with Strong Woman Do Bong Soon taking a very close second.