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My First First Love: Season 2 review

My First First Love is back! Netflix might be calling it Season 2, but we know it’s really the second half of the drama they cut in two. While the drama’s sweet tone stays the same, it also manages to shake up some loveline norms we’ve all grown used to.

The production team might have chosen to release My First First Love as a two-season affair, but really it was one contiguous drama with a giant pause button in between. Technically, it’s Episodes 9-16 we’re watching here in Season 2. If you haven’t watched the drama yet, ignore the “seasons” altogether and watch it straight through like the drama gods intended! The three-month break in between episodes didn’t do the drama’s momentum any favors — but, once I got back into the swing of the story, it was as if it had never been paused. And though this is a bit crazy to be able to say about a drama, I think I enjoyed the second half more than the first.

When we left off at the close of Season 1, Tae-oh finally realized that his feelings for his childhood friend Han Song-yi went beyond friendship. We realized it way before he did, by the way he harrumphed around taking care of her and masking his jealousy with irritation. But Tae-oh himself doesn’t realize until it’s seemingly too late: she’s got an awesome boyfriend in Tae-oh’s good friend Seo Do-hyun.

Where My First First Love really stood out for me was how it totally changed the rhythm of the standard K-drama loveline. It was enjoyable to get invested in a story that chose to take a different path to get to the same destination (viz., the happy ending). But, it was doubly satisfying for Ji-soo fans that are so used to watching him be thwarted in love (Angry Mom, Sassy Go Go, Strong Woman Do Bong-soon, and on into infinity), because this drama let him play both the first and second lead in his romance.

In your most typical story, the hero and heroine meet and interact (usually with some antagonism), until they realize they’re attracted to each other. There’s some kind of culminating moment (confession, kiss, etc.) at the peak of the drama, but then something to tear them apart until they find their way back to each other. The end.

My First First Love was refreshing because it didn’t come close to this. It starred a pair of childhood friends who would obviously drop Thor’s hammer for each other — but had no interest in each other romantically. For three quarters of the drama, each are invested in their own romantic relationships. Tae-oh wins the ulzzang girlfriend he had always dreamed of, and Song-yi has a tender and touching romance with Do-hyun. In fact, they made such a sweet couple that I could picture them walking off into the sunset together at the end of the drama. Don’t tell me Ji-soo/Tae-oh is doomed in love again?!

My First First Love holds Tae-oh in second-lead love status for a bit — and we get just enough storytelling juiciness of unrequited love and pining to keep it interesting. But even after Tae-oh realizes his feelings for Song-yi are shifting into the romantic direction, he doesn’t interfere with their relationship, which I greatly appreciated.

What does happen, though, is that Tae-oh and Song-yi’s affection for each other becomes apparent to everyone that’s around them — not because of what they say, but because of what their actions say.

Choi Hoon, one of Tae-oh’s housemates, sums it up quite well. He says being in a relationship is about having the one you love as your top priority. This is one of the drama’s main conceits, and many of the storylines illustrate this in action — but of course it’s Tae-oh and Song-yi’s story that does it best.

When Song-yi needs a home, Tae-oh takes her in. When she runs into trouble on campus with a naughty sunbae, it’s Tae-oh who flies to her rescue (and has a pretty impressive front kick, too). And when she’s in a crisis with the mother that abandoned her, Tae-oh is on the bus right beside her.

Of course, Tae-oh and Song-yi’s reliance on and closeness with each other creates ripples in their respective relationships. Tae-oh’s girlfriend’s ultimatum (basically, “it’s me or Song-yi”) didn’t bother me one bit — but watching Do-hyun lose Song-yi’s heart was quite bittersweet.

On the other hand, it created an interesting twist on the usual love line. As Tae-oh and Song-yi slowly come together, Tae-oh (and Ji-soo!) transitions from second-lead sidelining and reaps the first-lead rewards: a wonderful, loving relationship with Song-yi, who he calls his friend, his family, and his love.

The evolution of their romance actually reminded me of a favorite one from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, where two characters who grew up together, slowly fall for each other. It’s not loud or dramatic; it’s soft and natural. That’s exactly the emotion that My First First Love captures in this friends-to-lovers tale.

But that softness doesn’t only run through the main romance — it also runs through the secondary storylines and subplots as well. Both Choi Hoon and Oh Ga-rin (the other two friends staying at Tae-oh’s house) had only a simple plot arc each (okay, and a hilarious romance). While their storylines felt a little needlessly stretched out, and not particularly new, the sweetness won me over.

Hoon, who dreams of being a musical actor, has his ups and downs and heartbreaks, but eventually earns his big break. And Ga-rin, the runaway heiress, not only gains her independence, but finds her calling and puts her money to good use helping others. And when it’s finally time for Tae-oh’s own story/conflict, these friends/housemates rally around him, and it’s totally touching. They give back to him as he’s given to them, and everything comes full circle.

Though he’s the main character of the drama, most of what we see of Tae-oh is him reacting to the people around him. By the time we head into Tae-oh’s story, it’s at the tail-end off the drama, so it feels a little rushed and perhaps too quickly dispatched.

In fact, I could have probably done without this entire subplot for Tae-oh. While I want to complain about the ubiquitousness of the family secrets + reuniting mother/son storyline in dramaland, the conflict was so nicely handled here that I don’t feel it warrants a full-fledged complaint. Also, this section of the story was some of the meatiest for Ji-soo, as he copes with the shocks in his past, and gives us a good deal of the puppy dog angst he does so well.

While some of the minor storylines in My First First Love weren’t that strong as stand-alones, when mixed with the other characters and plots going on in this drama, the common denominator was just pure sweetness. Not the kind of sweetness that’s sugary and cheap, but a rich one that leaves a smile on your face for a long time to come.

My First First Love told a simple story in a simple way. It wasn’t full of gasps and chilling reveals — and it wasn’t trying to be that kind of drama. My First First Love was entirely content with being a sweet, simple story told with beautiful colors, poignant narration, and thoughts about what it means to love someone.

  
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Ji Soo finally got the girl. This was a really sweet drama. It ended as it was meant to, sweet and awkward. Tae Oh was just such a good dude, so I'm glad he got happiness in the end. I felt bad for Do Hyun, but he'll do fine. As for Song Yi, she navigated her first loves beautifully and with as much poise as a young woman could. Oh Garin And Choi Hoon were meant for each other, that was a forgone conclusion, lol. But this was a fun little drama that didn't require 2 seasons, so hopefully Netflix will do better next time.

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I'm just starting this web series and I'm here to find out if ji soo got the girl and he did. Now I can watch in peace

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This long break... really doesn't do any justice to this drama. Was there any reason why Netflix split it into two? I hope it wasn't an attempt of 'forcing' multi-season series to mimic the western style tv. It took me a while to get used to the single season drama style but I'm now fully converted and I think it's one of the reason why Koreas drama industry produces such strong contents.

I really liked the first half but for sone reason i just couldn't get myself invested in the second half. I could not pin point the exact reason. Maybe it just the lost of momentum, or maybe it just my current mood.

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The best thing about KDramas is the single season. I like the relatively short-term commitment.

I've mocked their pseudo Season 2 efforts where an entirely new cast returns, but I still prefer it to the 8 - 20 Season slog of American Dramas. I so hope that Netflix doesn't throw enough money out there to change the system.

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This show was so cute. I loved Ga Rin and Choi Hoon the most. They were perfect for each other 💕💕💕
I posted this on my wall earlier and thought I would post it again here:
My main complaint is we never saw how Tae Oh and Song Yi started dating. She was dating Do Hyeon but then they kind of broke up and next thing I know Tae Oh is calling her his girlfriend. I wanted to see the awkward confession, the shock, and the decision to start dating! Why was that part skipped???

The other thing I didn’t like was how uncomfortable Song Yi looked in their relationship. She always seemed slightly stunned whenever Tae Oh would touch her or kiss her. She seemed much happier with Do Hyeon (at the beginning of their relationship). I was never really convinced that she actually liked Tae Oh as more than a friend.

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I know, right? The confession felt rushed somehow. I remember thinking, 'that's it'?

Also felt the same way about Song-yi's expressions about Tae-oh. I get the feeling he is more into her than she is into him. She knows it and just doesn't know what to do about it.

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You're right, Song Yi was much happier with Do Hyeon. Which makes me like the original even more.

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I'll have to try the original. I think I heard it has SHINee Minho in it. Is that right? Or am I remembering wrong?

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Yes with other familiar faces like Kim Min Jae, Lee Yi Kyung and Park So Dam. It's short, a tad more realistic and doesn't end the same way. If I remember it also has a wonderful cameo.

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I have to watch it then since it has Minho 😍

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Agree. The confession part seems rushed... But Im still happy since My Tae Oh got to smile in the end. 😅 Yes please do try the original version. 😊

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I will if I can find a place to watch it!

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oh gosh i felt this too, i was thinking 'did i skip a scene when did they start dating??' like i get he sort of confessed but i really wish they showed it properly, i think one complaint i have for this show is there wasn't enough song yi and tae oh moments and like you i wasn't convinced of song yi's feelings towards tae oh

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I was also convinced I blinked and missed it. It was such a light show you could get away with only paying half attention usually, so it seemed feasible I'd missed something!

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My heart aches for Do-hyun! Also, Jinyoung is always the 2nd lead, never gets the girl.

I acknowledge that Tae-oh and Song-yi belong together, though. Just wished they realized it sooner so Do-hyun's heart won't be broken. He has been incredibly patient and understanding about their history and friendship. He's been juggling family issues, work, studies, and love and I totally understand why he can't be there for Song-yi sometimes. He just got the short end of the stick. Tae-oh, on the other hand, never seems to have any problems and issues like he does, so he can freely be there for Song-yi whenever needed.

Hopefully, Jinyoung will have another drama where he gets the girl; he's still away for military service.

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He has this KBS drama special with Chae Soo-bin where he got the girl but in general, this drama short was painful. "If We Were a Season" was its title!

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...I don't even think we can say he did "get the girl" in If We Were A Season, that drama was quite deliberately ambiguous about who Hye-rim had feelings for by the end.

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Thanks for this review @missvictrix. I had no interest in watching the show, but the story you described makes me curious. I'll be noting this on my "to-watch" list. :)

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The episodes are short and it doesn't take much brain power.

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Yeah, thank you @missvictrix, for the recap. I started this drama because it was a remake of one that I liked before (yes, friends, I'm so easy to please). However, I didn't much like the ending for that one. This time, it made me really glad that Tae-oh got the girl and still have his friendship with Do-hyun. Being an old romantic, I could easily see that Tae-oh loved Song-yi since before she moved in to his house. That's why I marathoned season 2 when it got out.

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Light and sweet with shorter episodes. Better if you haven't seen the original version, or maybe that's just me.

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I really enjoyed this drama on Netflix. It was a sweet story with great acting. Jisoo and Jung Chaeyeon are so cute. They make a perfect pair as each other's first loves. I was really annoyed when Netflix divided this into 2 seasons because it made me lose interest in the 3 months in between. It took me a while to get back into it so I hope they don't divide a Korean drama into 2 seasons anymore when it is just 1 complete drama.

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okokokokokok yo you peeps!!!! Can. We. Just. Talk. About. Those. Puppy. Eyes?!! Jisoo my heart T-T

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This second season was all coat porn! It's terribly hot here in Central California but all I could think about while watching this show was how much I wanted every coat that Ga-rin and Song-yi wore.

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Omg I understand you! I am heavily influenced to buy all the winter coats even though my climate is very mild!

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This explains a lot . . . WHERE is the 2nd season 'KINGDOM?' I need some more Korean zombie action. 'Train to Busan', 'Kingdom (1)' and 'Rampant' were not enough. Even if 'Rampant' featured Binnie gasping in irritated frustration: "There are so MANY of them." Right in the middle of a horde of bloody-faced undead.

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like @yn00na, i was rather invested in the first half (i can't call it a 'season' lol) over the second! totally in Team Do-hyun then and just kept rolling my eyes through the whole Tae-oh and his 'girlfriend' arc. this time though.. it seemed like Tae-oh shined a little brighter than Do-hyun, which made me a little sad. still, it was cute seeing Tae-oh and Song-yi together eventually.

think one of the more impressive parts of this half was hearing Choi Hoon's words of wisdom haha. for all his misgivings... he somehow seemed to have hidden a mature and observant streak in him, that only emerged later in the show. glad that we got to see it!

don't even get me started on some of the loose ends of this show heh - like why Tae-oh's (ex?) gf was never called out for her two-timing. anyways, it was still a nice watch :) and it makes me wanna go to Jeonju on my next trip to Korea!

you can check out the locations we have for the whole of MFFL here (and more to come)!

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The two-timing girlfriend is bugging me too. We only really saw her get in a car with a man, so I
was fully expecting some kind of 'he was a cousin' reveal, but it was odd to get nothing at all.

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The one time where I don't want Jisoo to get the girl, he does :(

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Ga Rin and Choi Hoon were the highlight of this season for me! i need to see more of these actors works

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I am so glad I waited until both "seasons" were available on Netflix to watch all of it - I so wanted Ji Soo to finally get the girl

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this show was squishy and soft and wonderful. if they hadn't done a cut in the middle, it would have been a perfect show for what it was trying to be. i loved everything about it; it gave me hints of a reply 1997 or age of youth vibe where you were just relaxing with old friends and following them through their lives. it made me very warm and comfy inside.

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This show was super cute!! I actually waited to start this until the second half was posted and thanks to a foot injury I was able to binge it the last 3 days. I felt like this drama was a perfect balance between slice of life (finding your dreams, growing up in friendships and love) and romance. I loved that it broke the mold of your typical kdrama and there was no unnecessary angst and separations. Just two friends who finally realized that they needed each other after going through their own loves and then coming back to each other.

And Jisoo FINALLY got the girl! Twice!

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