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A Moment at Eighteen: Episode 1

It’s time to meet the young cast of A Moment at Eighteen. The many new faces suit this story of high school life, a study of young people on the brink of adulthood — but not necessarily ready for everything that’s expected of them.

A transfer student upsets the balance at his new high school, pitting him against the “perfect” class president. Our transfer student doesn’t think of himself as anything special, but he seems to have a knack for reading people and he’s able to see beyond the class president’s ideal image. What he discovers is anything but perfect and it places the new student in a vulnerable position. Since he’s new, our student has no allies, but there’s a smart and popular girl who’s noticed him and it just may make all the difference in his world.

  
EPISODE 1 RECAP

A teenaged boy, CHOI JOON-WOO (Ong Sung-woo), rides to his new neighborhood in a moving truck and narrates that time has moved so fast and now he’s eighteen.

In the morning, Joon-woo gets a closer look at the neighborhood when he bikes to school. YOON SONG-HEE (Kim Sun-young) is driving her daughter, YOO SOO-BIN (Kim Hyang-gi), to school and she almost hits him. When Joon-woo hops off of his bike, Soo-bin urges her mother to check on him. Mom decides that Joon-woo looks fine and drives away, leaving Soo-bin unsettled. It turns out that Joon-woo is fine, he just stopped to check on a stray cat.

Soo-bin gets dropped off at the school gate and is soon joined by her friends. They immediately notice the new backpack that Soo-bin’s mother picked up on a recent business trip and tease that it must be a knockoff.

Soo-bin recognizes Joon-woo when he wheels by and she follows him to the bike rack where she yells out, “You in the checkered shirt. Are you all right?” Soo-bin explains that her mother almost hit him and after Joon-woo successfully passes her assessment, she tells him her name and asks him to find her if there are any issues.

Soo-bin’s friends can’t believe that Soo-bin gave her name to a stranger so she explains that her mother almost ran him down. Soo-bin and her friend, Da-hwin, look back at Joon-woo as he locks up his bike, repeating Soo-bin’s name.

Joon-woo finds the school office and is directed to OH HAN-GYEOL (Kang Ki-young), who gets caught coming in late. As Joon-woo’s home room teacher, Mr. Oh reviews his file and learns that Joon-woo was forced to transfer. When Joon-woo admits it out loud, Mr. Oh quiets him and warns, “You should never talk about that openly.”

Mr. Oh is in the middle of explaining where Joon-woo can get a school uniform when he gets distracted by a text informing him that he won a chance to buy a coveted pair of sneakers. So when class president MA HWI-YOUNG (Shin Seung-ho) walks in, Mr. Oh enlists him to help Joon-woo.

Hwi-young introduces himself and soon, Joon-woo is outfitted in a used uniform. Hwi-young hands him a nicer pair of pants and Joon-woo protests, “I’m fine with anything,” but Hwi-young argues that he shouldn’t have that attitude. Hwi-young is scratching at his arm when Mr. Oh texts, asking him to handle Joon-woo’s introduction to the class.

As they walk to class, Hwi-young tenses when he gets a reminder on his phone to memorize fifty English words. He shakes off the interruption and explains what Joon-woo needs to know about the school, including the student assessment groups, but when Joon-woo looks overwhelmed, Hwi-young offers, “If you have any questions, ask me anytime.”

In the classroom, the students entertain themselves while waiting for Mr. Oh. Hwi-young enters and once everyone is seated, Joon-woo walks in to introduce himself, “I’m Choi Joon-woo.” When he has nothing more to say, Hwi-young explains that he transferred because of his parents but Joon-woo immediately denies it.

Before Joon-woo can explain, Hwi-young cuts him off, “He’s new here. We should all help him out.” From the back, Yoo Pil-sang points to the empty seat next to him but Hwi-young sends tardy arrival, JUNG OH-JE (Moon Bin), to sit there. Soo-bin expects Joon-woo to recognize her when he walks by but he doesn’t even see her. Once Joon-woo is seated, Soo-bin makes eye contact but he quickly looks away.

Mr. Oh walks in and while he jokes around with the class, the student next to Joon-woo introduces himself, “I’m Lee Ki-tae.” Later, Ki-tae helps Joon-woo with his locker while Hwi-young mentions that Joon-woo got a good seat thanks to him. Joon-woo answers, “You didn’t have to do that,” and then reminds Hwi-young that he lied about his parents.

Hwi-young shrugs that he was just trying to help and when Joon-woo insists, “That doesn’t mean it’s okay to lie,” Ki-tae comes to his defense, “Our class president was just being thoughtful as always.” The tense exchange ends when Soo-bin arrives at her locker and calls out, “Hey, checkered shirt.”

Surprised that Soo-bin knows Joon-woo, Hwi-young explains that she’s the study leader and Ki-tae adds that she’s also Hwi-young’s girlfriend. Soo-bin laughs that they’re just friends and Hwi-young clarifies that they’ve known each other since kindergarten. When Ki-tae reminds Hwi-young that Joon-woo needs to join an assessment group, Soo-bin surprises everybody when she offers, “He can join my group.”

Joon-woo has a meeting with Mr. Oh, the vice-principal and the coach to discuss his transfer. The vice-principal cuts off Joon-woo to warn that if there’s any more trouble, he may be asked to drop out. Joon-woo wants to know, “Can’t I do that right now?”

After the meeting, Mr. Oh mistakenly calls Joon-woo “Tae-ho” thanks to the tag on his used uniform. He warns Joon-woo to keep quiet about the transfer and suggests, “Why don’t you make a fresh new start? Forget all your past.”

While Soo-bin and her friends hang out after school, Da-hwin searches the internet for information on Joon-woo. It’s Chan-yeol who discovers that Joon-woo was forced to transfer due to assault and theft.

The girls are panicked because Joon-woo is in their group but Soo-bin reasons, “It’s not like he’s a gangster or a criminal.” Chan-yeol finds a photo of Joon-woo’s bike, taken near a spray painted happy face, and Soo-bin confirms that it’s his.

Joon-woo parks his bike outside a convenience store and inquires about a part-time job. The clerk asks, “What are you good at?” While Joon-woo thinks of an answer, he notices a customer stuffing items into his jacket.

The clerk shrieks and the thief runs away with Joon-woo in pursuit. Joo-woo picks up the stolen items that fall out of the thief’s jacket and he doesn’t give up until he’s recovered everything that was taken.

Back at the convenience store, the clerk hands Joon-woo a basket so he can return everything to the shelves and he asks, “…does that mean I can work here?” She hands Joon-woo a vest that already has a name tag and tells him, “Park Yeong-bae. I have a little errand for you.”

Hwi-young’s math tutor reviews some basic concepts for Hwi-young, who can’t understand why he missed a problem. The tutor sits down to help him and exclaims, “I thought you’d be good at this.”

Classmate Cho Sang-hoon complains that he’s hungry and Hwi-young assures him that his mother is sending snacks. Sang-hoon notices Hwi-young’s paper and warns, “If you keep this up, I’ll come in first place.”

Sang-hoon wanders over to the tutor’s desk and waves around his watch before moving on to the chalkboard where he easily solves a problem. Hwi-young seethes when the tutor claims that Sang-hoon would be the perfect student if only he’d quit smoking. Everyone steps outside for a short break but Hwi-young stays behind, scratching at his arm, before standing up.

Joon-woo arrives with the snacks for Hwi-young’s group and the tutor asks him to take the recycling on his way out. The room is empty when Joon-woo drops off the snacks and grabs the recycling.

Hwi-young runs into Joon-woo and stares at the bag. Joon-woo explains that he was asked to take it out but Hwi-young exclaims, “Gosh, how could he make you do that?” Hwi-young reaches for the bag but lets go when Sang-hoon returns.

As he walks down some stairs, Joon-woo realizes that the bag has a hole. While he ties it closed, Joon-woo sees a watch mixed in with the recycling. That’s when Hwi-young finds him and explains, “I think I threw something away by mistake.” Hwi-young turns his back while he searches the bag and when he hands it back to Joon-woo, the watch is gone.

Later, Joon-woo sorts the recyclables at the convenience store and puzzles over the watch, his thoughts interrupted by the arrival of the night clerk.

When Hwi-young gets home, his mother is on the phone with Soo-bin’s mother so he heads up to his room. Hwi-young drops onto his couch and scratches at his arm, still upset over the tutor’s comments.

Soo-bin hears the end of her mother’s phone call and asks what Hwi-young’s mother wanted. It’s Soo-bin’s mother who wants something — she wants Soo-bin to join Hwi-young’s math class at the academy.

Soo-bin refuses but Mom reminds her daughter that Hwi-young is the top student while she’s ranked 28th. Soo-bin shuts her bedroom door to escape her mother’s nagging and checks her phone. Da-hwin texted that she sent in her work and asks what Joon-woo was assigned to do.

Soo-bin thinks of the reason for Joon-woo’s transfer and tells herself, “It didn’t seem like he could do such a thing.” She looks at the photo of Joon-woo’s bike on her phone, not sure what to think.

When Joon-woo is almost hit by a car as he bikes home, he thinks of Soo-bin and smiles. Joon-woo walks up to his rooftop apartment and when he smells his mother’s cooking, he runs inside excitedly but all he finds is a note and the food that his mother prepared. The note includes loving words of encouragement and the explanation that his mom had to get back to the restaurant.

Joon-woo’s mother is at the restaurant when Joon-woo texts her to be careful so that she doesn’t fall again. Mom texts back that she’s sorry that she couldn’t be with him during the move.

Joon-woo’s mother has to get back to work, and Joon-woo tries to remove the name tag from his school uniform but he doesn’t have any luck. Joon-woo goes to bed and does his best to get to sleep with the light on.

The next day, Hwi-young performs Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for his music class. Pil-sang uses the opportunity to warn Joon-woo to stay away from his crush, Ro-mi, and Soo-bin, because Hwi-young likes her. The coach walks in just as Hwi-young finishes his piece.

The coach takes Joon-woo to see the vice-principal, who’s with the math tutor. Joon-woo’s absence bothers both Soo-bin and Hwi-young, who raises his hand and asks to visit the nurse. Hwi-young is distressed when he gets outside and sees his tutor’s convertible.

The tutor accuses Joon-woo of stealing his watch and Mr. Oh arrives just as he denies it, “No, I didn’t.” The vice-principal updates Mr. Oh, “Apparently, Joon-woo stole his watch.”

When Hwi-young joins the meeting, his tutor accuses Joon-woo of stealing the watch when he made the snack delivery the day before. Mr. Oh is shocked when the vice-principal shares that the watch cost $25,000. After Hwi-young insists it can’t be true, Joon-woo remembers that he threw something away by mistake that day.

Aware of the reason for Joon-woo’s transfer, the tutor decides to involve the police. Hwi-young and Mr. Oh follow the tutor out when he leaves while the coach escorts Joon-woo to an office and leaves him all alone.

During lunch, Soo-bin grills Hwi-young, “Are you sure? Did Joon-woo really steal it?” Hwi-young replies, “I hope not. But it seems so.” He reacts with surprise when Soo-bin whispers, “He doesn’t seem to be that kind of person.” Sang-hoon plops onto the table in front of Hwi-young, having just heard that their tutor, Sohn Jae-young, made a scene.

After giving Mr. Oh their report, the police officers leave just as Hwi-young returns to check on Joon-woo. Mr. Oh explains that there wasn’t enough evidence to implicate Joon-woo but the vice-principal wants him transferred to another school anyway. When he’s summoned by the vice-principal, Mr. Oh asks Hwi-young to update Joon-woo.

Hwi-young takes Joon-woo outside and hands him something to eat since he missed lunch. After explaining that there wasn’t enough evidence against Joon-woo, Hwi-young expresses confidence that everything will be fine. When asked if he thinks that Joon-woo stole the watch, Hwi-young quickly answers, “Of course not,” but he has to look away.

That night at home, Hwi-young recalls his answer and feverishly scratches his arm. His mother walks in and reminds Hwi-young that scratching aggravates his atopy (a susceptibility to allergies).

Hwi-young notices his mother’s good mood and learns that his brother is the top student in his department, again. Hwi-young’s father is even happier and his mom admits, “I wish every day was like today.” Hwi-young’s face tightens when his mother tells him how to make her happy, “Just do as well as your brother.”

At the convenience store, Joon-woo worries about the school’s request to bring in his mother but he gets an idea when the night clerk arrives for work. In the morning, the night clerk accompanies Joon-woo to school and practices what to say, “Yeong-bae would never do such a thing.” Joon-woo reminds him, “My name isn’t Park Yeong-bae,” but the man is even more confused when Joon-woo has to explain that the name on his school uniform isn’t his either.

Mr. Oh walks up and announces, “Your mother is here,” forcing the night clerk to greet Joon-woo’s mother, “Hi, honey.” Joon-woo’s “parents” meet with the vice-principal, who feigns concern that “Tae-ho” will be victimized by the rough kids at school. Joon-woo starts to say, “I didn’t…,” at the same time that his mother offers, “I’ll make him transfer.”

When Joon-woo’s mom explains that she wants Joon-woo to join her in the countryside, the vice-principal agrees because unstable kids do better with their mothers. Mr. Oh chases after Joon-woo’s mother when she leaves to argue that she needn’t take such drastic action. Joon-woo’s mom insists that Joon-woo isn’t a thief and calls the school trash for not accepting him.

Mom needs two days to find a place and asks Mr. Oh to take care of Joon-woo until then. Joon-woo’s mother hugs Joon-woo and then waves to the night clerk, “Let’s go, honey.” Mr. Oh tells Joon-woo, “Your mother is quite feisty. You don’t take after her, do you?”

In class, Chan-yeol announces that the transfer student is transferring again. When Mr. Oh returns to class, Hwi-young protests that it’s not right to send Joon-woo away. Joon-woo walks in and overhears Hwi-young tell the class, “We shouldn’t be biased against Joon-woo…We should…be on his side.”

Hwi-young promises to speak to the vice-principal and is surprised when Joon-woo announces, “I’m not leaving now.” Mr. Oh explains that Joon-woo has two more days and when he resumes studies, Joon-woo steals a look at Soo-bin but turns away when she glances at him.

After class, Soo-bin explains to Joon-woo that even though he’s leaving, he should look up references for the group assignment. Bothered by his name tag, she asks if he’s going to remove it but Joon-woo admits, “It’s hard to take off.”

Joon-woo completes his assignment in the library and surprises Soo-bin when he turns it in. She reminds Joon-woo that he could have turned it in the next day but he confesses that he won’t be back. Soo-bin scolds, “You just do as you please, don’t you?”

Soo-bin’s eyes land on the name tag and Joon-woo explains that he’ll be returning the uniform and then says good-bye. During the afternoon study session, Soo-bin gets an idea when she sees So-ye’s embroidery scissors.

Joon-woo sits at a table by the athletic field to write his letter of apology. Instead, he sketches flowers for a ladybug that landed on his paper and he doesn’t notice when Soo-bin approaches.

Soo-bin asks Joon-woo to stand up and when he flinches as she reaches for his sweater, she teases, “I won’t bite you.” Soo-bin snips off the name tag and asks Jun-woo, “You’re barely visible. Don’t you resent being a nobody?”

Soo-bin throws the old name tag away and replaces it with a paper label. Joon-woo smiles when she writes in his name and Soo-bin jokes, “So you do know how to smile.” Once she’s done, Soo-bin tells Joon-woo, “Bye, newbie. I wish you all the best. Keep being a nobody.”

On his way to turn in his letter, Joon-woo wonders, “Is it necessary to be a somebody? I’ve never cared about things like that my whole life. Why should I change now?” But when he removes Soo-bin’s label, Joon-woo smiles.

Joon-woo pauses outside of Mr. Oh’s door when he overhears Hwi-young telling the teacher that Joo-woo is guilty, “I don’t want to believe it either, but Sang-hoon…said he saw it.”

Joon-woo catches up to Hwi-young near the field and is told, “I explained everything to Mr. Oh. Let’s wait and see what happens.” Joon-woo follows Hwi-young at a distance and when Hwi-young turns around, Joon-woo announces, “It was you. You’re the one who stole it.” Joon-woo figured out that’s what Hwi-young retrieved from the trash bag.

Hwi-young starts to walk away and when Joon-woo tries to spin him around, he mutters, “You punk.” Joon-woo wants to know why Hwi-young expects him to take the blame for something that Hwi-young did.

Hwi-young looks around before calling Joon-woo, “a piece of trash,” but Joon-woo doesn’t back down, “Shouldn’t you call yourself that?”

  
COMMENTS

I can’t resist a young man who loves his mother as much as Joon-woo does. I’m convinced it’s this devotion to his mother that’s behind Joon-woo’s tendency to blend into the background, because it’s obvious that Joon-woo doesn’t want to add to his mother’s burdens in any way. Joon-woo would rather settle for being invisible than for causing his mother any trouble.

Unfortunately, it’s this very trait that gets Joon-woo into a jam because he ends up becoming Hwi-young’s scapegoat. There’s no way that Hwi-young will tolerate any blemish to his image but something seems to have shifted in Joon-woo after a few days at his new high school. That final face off where the two boys literally exchange trash talk may be the first time that Joon-woo has stood up for himself, no longer willing to be ignored.

As funny as the confusion over Joon-woo’s name was in this episode, it underlined his anonymity and it bothered the popular, yet sensitive, Soo-bin. She sees Joon-woo and it not only annoys her that no one else does, but that Joon-woo doesn’t seem to care. Soo-bin reminds me of Joon-woo’s mother, there’s a feistiness to her that’s not only attractive, but a complement to someone as seemingly mild-mannered as a boy like Joon-woo. Soo-bin knows how to survive without losing her soul, something that class president Hwi-young hasn’t figured out at all.

We get an interesting triangle right off the bat between Joon-woo, Soo-bin and Hwi-young. Soo-bin isn’t used to being ignored but Joon-woo does a really good job of it, which only makes her more interested in the new student. Hwi-young takes control of Joon-woo from the start and is upset to learn that Soo-bin and Joon-woo already have a connection that he knows nothing about. Hwi-young has known Soo-bin since kindergarten, for crying out loud, and their mothers are in regular contact. Hwi-young must think that there’s nothing that he doesn’t know about Soo-bin and he’s terribly uncomfortable when he learns that’s not the case. Hwi-young’s reaction just accentuates how claustrophobic Soo-bin’s existence must be. The dynamics between these three characters gives us lots to think about.

Hwi-young’s control issues aren’t his only problem, the boy has so much stress and repressed anger and he’s barely holding himself together. Hwi-young’s constant scratching betrays his body and his theft of Tutor Sohn’s watch is proof that he’s having trouble controlling his resentments. Hwi-young can’t stand being compared to others that he can’t measure up to, his older brother and math whiz, Sang-hoon. It may have been a rare lapse to steal that watch but now Hwi-young has a huge problem. Lucky for Hwi-young, Joon-woo already has a history of assault and theft and thanks to his good rapport with the teachers and staff, Hwi-young is busy spinning a web for poor Joon-woo.

But Soo-bin has just shined a light into Joon-woo’s mediocre life. She tells Joon-woo, “Keep being a nobody,” and it’s rattled him. Joon-woo questions why he has to be somebody but I’m pretty sure that he’s finally tired of being a nobody. Nobodies get blamed for thefts that they didn’t commit and get called trash. As Joon-woo proves in the final seconds of this episode, he is so done with that.

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Loved this drama from the start. I won't speak about ep 2 that is already out but i will tell you this much that you will cry.

The actors are doing a fantastic job. Characters have complexities and at least three characters are ripe for character growth. I am going to be looking forward to that.

Great BGS. The soft Piano tones and the songs themselves are just so fitting to some scenes that they elevate emotions.

Overall, this drama is feels good.

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I watched ep 2 and cried like a baby. I'm already rooting for these kids already.

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I think we are not supposed to discuss spoilers here *wink* wink*. But yeah, i was an emotional mess in ep 2. Dude can act.

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Oops, okay I will be on my best behavior. Thank you for the heads up!

I think there will be more of these heartaches in the future I can feel it.

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I'm enjoying the drama. The story doesn't really offer anything new but I like the characters and I'm keen of seeing how they develop.

The drama isn't exactly plot-driven but more character-driven and I can relate to some of these characters having demanding Asian parents myself.

Even with mostly rookie cast the acting is actually fine, no one is glaringly awkward. Joonwoo and Soobin are really cute together.

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Right? I enjoy the little moments in the drama. Like when he comes to school, how he is almost not there as everyone ignores him. And when Vice Principal learns he is coming from that school, he is like 'ah, you are that one' with a big sigh. Junwoo is like used to such behavior or something. I immediately could figure out that is how he has lived.

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I think he is used to not caring about anything and that's why he is so passive. The passiveness can be seen as him being 'weak' but I think he isn't that he stood up for himself but not in an antagonizing way because he still thinks there's a reason why Hwiyoung behaved that way.

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Following Seo Kang-joon and Cha Eun-woo, Fantagio has finally found a face genius who can act. Ong Seong-wu was born for acting. The third time's the charm. (Albeit Seo Kang-joon learned to act since Cheese in the Trap, so there is still hope for Cha Eun-woo yet.) Kim Hyang-gi is the standout as expected, but I always struggle to see the child actors as believable love interests. Hwi-young's scratching makes me think he is cutting himself. High school dramas are my catnip, especially when the male leads are a transfer student and a tsundere.

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I think his mom refers to it as some kind of allergy that he scratches when he gets under pressure or something.

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Fantagio really lucked out with Ong Seong-wu. I did a little reading on him out of curiosity and this is his first acting project on TV. He did a short movie and college theater before this. He doesn't look awkward at all.

It's always good seeing raw new talent flourishing. I'm keen on seeing how he handles Joon-woo's character development later on.

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Atopy manifest with skin conditions like eczema, and painful itching is main symptom of that.

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I actually suffer from Dyshidrotic eczema but in the feet 😫 It doesn’t have a medical reason, which is really frustrating because it can’t be cured. It just comes and goes, but is generally worse in the summer (when feet tend to sweat). It is exacerbated by stress and contact with socks, so I have to wear only cotton socks and change them often.

Also, back in the day I was #1 in my class but I worked hard to get good grades in Math (and kinda resented those easygoing students with a knack for it), so I was feeling very sympathetic towards Hwi-Young... until the watch issue. Not cool dude. But then again, I never had pressure from parents, so I hope he apologises and is redeemed.

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I suffer from psychogenic itching - basically, stress and anxiety make me itch. Usually my lower legs and feet. I suspect this is actually what's going on with Hwi-young, since he only scratches when he's stressed and it's always the same spot.

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A lot of dermatitis gets worse because of stress unfortunately. I hope you have yours under control

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Luckily it's just itchiness, and cortisone lotion helps a lot! So did quitting my crappy day job, lol.

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I love this deep characterisation....I think it's harder to develop a good story within a simple world we also live in than to write a story about a new world and new characters...every little act and even the way the characters are wearing their clothes are psychological signs of the characters...the way joon woo cared for the cat wich means he's not just what he SEEMS to be and has a heart of gold..the way he looked so lost and surprised and thought soon in was calling someone else while she first called him...the way he wears his uniform which shows he doest care so much for not just school but everything happening around him....And how huh young fears not being accepted by the others is shown but how careful he is not to be seen arguing with joon woo...I feel the lonely side of joon woo so much because I used to new like that for years in school . Only two episodes in and I'm so madly in love with the show .too adorable .two perfect while simple . I was getting tired of visualy distracting dramas ...I think his going to be this year's best show ..

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*too many errors .sorry^_^

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OMG. This drama is a treat.

From the first scene in ep01 this world was already so full. The story just rolls along but with every moment/every event it just builds. Almost without noticing it, by the end of ep02 the drama is palpable.

This is not just another teen drama. The directing shows so much intelligence. Its never static and the story is always shifting in multiple arcs so we are never looking at just one event...even when its physically the same it has 2 different readings. The director is always making the world larger by repeatedly using space outside the camera frame. I.e cleverly play out scenes where the action in frame is expanded by events outside of it. That moment where Joon-Woo is signing up with Teacher Oh and the Vice Principal is explaining it all in a different phone call of screen...simple & brilliant.

The cast have so much to work with here and it shows in how early they are grounding their roles. This is the best I have seen Kang Ki-Young. When he gets to play it straight, his humour makes him so human. Kim Hyang-Gi's performance makes it feel like she has more screen time than she actually does...and already you can see the complexity of her arc...its built into every little action/reaction.

This is defiantly a sibling of GG1979 - but so refreshingly different I love how this writer sees parallels in modern SK to the conservative authoritarianism of late 70s...I think the fluidity of the drama is because this writer doesn't turn away from the pressure of society and the strains it forces on people - its like for them, the only way out of this darkness is through the middle head on.

Bring on next week.

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GG1979, Dance Sport Girls and this one, I love how they are not like teen dramas, but slice of life dramas about growing up rather. And no matter what setting they are in, there is something to identify with, because they touch struggle that are somehow universal. I love it.

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I really like the directing as well. She directed this TV movie Summer Days; Yeo-Reum that I really like and I can see the same approach on this drama.

The drama is really refreshing, I can't wait for next week.

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@Midnightblue
So glad you posted that info RE: Summer Days; Yeo-Reum

I am excited to see more of her work. For such an early career director she manages to cast some really strong actors to her projects.

Does anyone know the DP?

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AGREE...the directing is really smart. Not distracting the viewers with beautiful custome and locations..

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I really love the small nuances.

Like Junwoo notices the teacher winning that raffle and you can almost see him judging. It is so subtle but it is there. Then Hwiyoung gets that text and clenches his jaw and nothing escapes Junwoo. He is quiet but notices everything.

I found these details so important because you know junwoo perhaps actually cares and pays attention. Things register and he connects the dots. Except it is all internal.

He looks so droll some other times.

But how cute is he with the noona at the store?

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He was adorable with the store noona, I hope we get more interactions between them because I think she can also pull him out of his shell.

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I like this episode a lot. A very good introduction to the pace and characters. JW may act like he didn't care and blends with the background but he actually aware of his surroundings. It makes it interesting.

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That bumble bee landing on his page, him drawing a flower path and then pretending to move it from his page made me wonder if that bumble bee was real or just what he imagined. If it was his imagination, then i am curious if we are going to see something coming out it. If not, then, i was mistaken!!

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Lady bug actually!! Not a bumble bee. I am not very familiar with bugs :-D

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I think it was really there and it was a way to show one of his talents (drawing).

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You had me at hello, Show. I may need to prepare tons of Kleenex as Jung-woo's relation with her mother had already made me tearing up....

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Thanks @teriyaki
A show worth savouring, slowly and with an eye for meticulous detail.

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I'm loving the drama so far! There isn't much hype around it and I've seen a lot of people calling it boring/cliche but i got pulled in from the very first episode. I'm a sucker for slice of life genre and character-driven stories. I'm already invested in the main three characters and want to see how they develop as the story goes on. The acting is natural, ost is really great and the cinematography is gorgeous! Can't wait for next week!

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I really liked the episode (as well as the 2nd). Joon-woo is an interesting character and I can't wait his character development. Like it is mentioned in the recap, he blends into the background to avoid causing trouble but that never seemed to help because people like HY will exploit the fact that he does not speak up and stays silent.
His connection with SB is so lovely. The way he smiles while no one is looking is so damn cute. He is a lovely underdog!

It is interesting to see under how much pressure these 18y old kids in Korea (as well as in China and Japan) are under. Completely different from the west.

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It's when i see this kind of drama that I see i'm more a "character-driven drama" enthusiastic. I've watched so many dramas that I rarely ever cry now, but with those two episodes, i'm already so invested in those kids, especially Joon-Woo of course. I'm hoping At Eighteen will stay this way, not too much centered on the relationship of those three as a love triangle (that you're supposed to fantasize about), but will explore it in a human kind of way.

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This show hurts me but in a good way. We rarely see characters who we feel are real people: with the subtle emotions and motivations (whether good or bad). I am actually loving how slow and calm the show is just like we are seeing things, even the little ones, unfold on Joon-woo's eyes.

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I'm kind of hoping we get to see real single parent moms too.

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I hope we see more of Joon-woo's mom. It hurts me to see Joon-woo's mom as I can feel his pain as a daughter of a single mom. More people should know how hard it is to be a single parent, especially being a single mom.

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Not sure how much focus the parents will get. I think we will see a lot of SB's mom since she is the one controlling her daughter's life.

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I think we will get enough focus on the trio's parents so that viewers will know the backgrounds of the leads. Not sure if show will give us enough to understand the motivations behind the actions of their parents though.

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They have some great actresses playing the moms. I hope we see more.

It is interesting they are showing three different perspectives. One mom who is gets self worth through kids achievement, another mom driven probably by sexist society and want her daughter not to go through it and third who is just struggling to survive and needs her son to be happy.

I enjoyed how they showed that with minimum mom presence.

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I'm really enjoying this drama. One of things I have never understood about bullying and this is a form of bullying is the Why of it all. Why blame someone else that has nothing to do with you? Jealousy may explain a little of it, but not all of it. It is just very strange, episode 2 goes into a little bit, but it still doesn't make much sense to me.

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the way i see it is that HY looks perfect on the outside and if he gets caught having that watch, eventually that image of him would be broken and he would not want that to happen to him. i think it was easier for HY to remove that possibility by pushing the blame onto JW who 1) happens to be there at the site of the incident, 2) suspected of stealing the watch and 3) a transfer student with rumours of theft and assault.

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These are all good reasons, but he could have just put the watch in the teachers car or his desk and no one would have been the wiser. People misplace things all the time. Ao the fact that he specifically targeted him, especially when he was telling everyone(at least in public) JW was innocent and should be believed. He litera)y stressed his own self out for no reason, that is what baffles me. Lol, I know it's just a drama, but honestly generally bullying baffles me.

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@kafiyah-bello Your question got me Googling it ... Here's what I found.
https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/general/the-top-reasons-why-people-bully/

Hwi Young could be having the 'Need to Control' among other things, mentioned in that article. He definitely is unhappy with his parents' attitude towards him vs towards his brother and could be compensating for that as well.

I'm guessing in Hwi Young's case, he has a serious problem in dealing with disapproval in any form. He seems to hate so much being found out to be not as good as someone else, that he takes action against the one who exposes him or makes him feel small. He threw away the teacher's watch because of this. Then he retrieved the watch when Joon Woo collected the trash, possibly with the idea that he could make himself look good by 'finding' the watch, while at the same time clearing himself from suspicion because Joon Woo was the perfect candidate to take the fall.

It's possible that Hwi Young did not like Joon Woo because the latter had pointed out that HY had lied about the reasons for being transferred, and because Joon Woo did not care to be controlled by him, although he was 'nice' to him in getting a good seat, etc.

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This is a good analysis and interesting article. However, as I mentioned in answer to @rosesun, why didn't he drop it somewhere hidden, lie and say he found it, he would still be the hero. He would also have embarrassed the teacher who he feels insulted him when he said the other kid was a genius. Why pick on my main man. Lol, i obviously have too much thinking time.

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Honestly, I think Jun-woo unnerved him from the start. He didn't react to Hwi-young's "kindness" the way everyone else does. I think Hwi-young was nervous that Jun-woo could see through him. Plus, once he found out that Soo-bin was getting to know him, I think Hwi-young felt threatened. Which could be why he ultimately decided to have Jun-woo take the fall rather than just "finding" the watch and returning it.

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Fair point, that gives a good rationale for his crazy. I'll go with this.

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What @growingbeautifully wrote plus I think none of it was intentional and planned at first, HwiYoung acted on impulses as typical teenager, and then probably try to rationale his behaviour.

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@kafiyah-bello
There is something so beautiful when someone can't understand the darkness in people...it gives hope that there are good people out there.

Asking why people bully is like asking why does battered wife syndrome occur...it is a weird combination of individual circumstances and the system they inhabit. A civil, just society is a fragile thing and took some of the greatest minds in history to push it forward.

In a society that has a common term for bulling so severe its more systematic group violence - 왕따 (wangtta) - it is hard for anyone not on familiar with it or its consequences to fully grasp what is being hinted at. However this brings the flip side to that beauty of innocence, a sadness that its invisibility to good people is a kind of gas-lighting victims.

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wow this is so beautifully written.

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So far, I really like the drama's realistic and sombre feel. What let it down was the ways in which tropes were used here. It was still a good episode, but youth dramas could be touching on far more than overbearing parents and love triangles.
Jun-woo's lack of a correct nametag in this episode was such great symbolism, though! The fact that he was passed from adult to adult, and half of them were already judging him before they even knew his name. For the principal, a glance at his nametag was enough to know him. I think it's Kang Ki-young and Kim Hyang-gi, the people who actually want to understand him, that'll help him bloom.

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This was a solid start to the drama. So this is not going to be an easy watch eh?

I especially loved Soo-Bin's introduction- She has this fancy backpack, which obviously she is happy about. But when the friend teases her it may be fake, she doesn't get offended nor does she defend it, instead takes it jokingly that may be its fake and moves on. That is her character in a nutshell.

I loved Joon-woo's mom. I am glad he is not the typical lonely abandoned kid, but he has a loving mother who deeply cares for him and vice-versa.

It was hard to watch Shin Seung-ho in this character after seeing him as an adorable dude in A-teen.

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I am instantly hooked to this show from the get-go. Not too extravagent but simple enough to show the dynamics of school. Loving the setting of this. The Nobody Jun Woo is going to teach so much things to the new school he transferred to.

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This is what I needed this summer! I’m horrible at explaining things, but this type of mood that the first episode brought is what I was looking for. For the longest time, I always avoided high school dramas, but if they are more like this maybe I’ll just watch them all!

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I love this so far. It's so understated and raw. I love a show that knows how to use quiet moments, and this one does. Even the more dramatic aspects aren't overblown. I hope it stays this grounded as it goes.

I'm already really into the characters, who I think were well cast. They all feel like real people rather than stereotypes or stock youth drama characters. And since it seems like this show will be largely character-driven, that's a relief.

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I LOVE school dramas, but the thing is most of school dramas feel so staged and cliche. However, this one has been perfect so far. Everything flows naturally, the conversations feel real and the characters' struggles feel close to our hearts. It's safe to say that I CARE about these characters and that's a very good sign because most school dramas can't do that.

Not gonna lie, I started watching this mainly because of the cast. I haven't watched a lot of Kim Hyanggi's works so it's easy to see her as an actress instead of a child actor. I'm pretty much a kpop fan and was/is a fan of Wanna One too so I want to see Ong's first drama. I watched Shin Seungho on A-Teen (which I wish I liked but it's one of those dramas that made me feel that everything was staged, despite all the hype) and I think he has potential. And these three definitely didn't disappoint. They did GREAT, and I'm excited to see them grow.

Oh anyways, I love the BGM? Especially that one that plays everytime someone is going to do something rather extreme.

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I forgot one thing! I hope the writer gives Oh Je more parts, he seems like an interesting character

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He will definitely get more screentime in the coming episodes. The synopsis for his character stated that he will befriend junwoo and has a secret he's hiding.

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The feeling I get when I watched this drama is what I felt when I watched School 2013. Though they are very very different but Junwoo's general indifference kinda reminded of how Namsoon started off in School 2013.

That drama has special place in my heart as I am die hard LJS fan and that drama was soooo good.

But my passion for this drama reminds me of my passion for LJS dramas.

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I get School 2013 vibes from this as well!

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I get Sky Castle vibes from this show.
The never-ending expectations from parents and their kids who constantly strive to meet those expectations.

What a wonderful 1st episode :)

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Just completed ep1. Was debating with self to either watch this or Class of Lies and this won out as I hope it deals less with rich kids being brats and less serious matters.

And for a chance to see little jewel growing up, Kim Hyang Gi in a drama again, I shouldnt miss the golden opportunity. And add to that Kang Ki Young in a teacher role.
Hope the show meets my expectation of keeping it mostly light and breezy with uplifting stories to share with its viewers.

And what a change to show us girl students wearing pants, which is something I never seen b4 in Korean high school dramas.

Ong Seung woo is a bit green in his role and the other actor who plays the class president looks like he has alot behind that facial expressions.

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