First Love (1996) is the highest rated Korean drama of ALL-TIME; period. Speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
Although I started watching this drama because of its ridiculously high ratings, having completed this series, I can say without a doubt that popular doesn’t always equal mediocre or cheesy (which I believe is true in most cases). In fact, this drama’s a classic, one that will forever remain a gem-of-a-show.
So, what’s the plot about? The title gives it away, actually!
Choi Soo Jong has the role of the elder brother of Bae Yong Joon in a drama that gives us the impact of having love for the first time. He plays the role of Sung Chan Hyuk who is gifted with artistic talent. Bae Yong Joon plays the character of Sung Chan Woo, who gives in his secret first love to his older brother and tries to become “a seed ofthewheat” by sacrificing himself for the family’s happiness instead of going after his own ambition. (Quoted from Asianwiki)
Admittedly, this drama didn’t hook me the first time I started watching it and I don’t know why – I must’ve been drunk! (Hint: It’s a bad joke. I do not drink in reality!)
After a time-lag, I decided to give it another chance, and voila – I got hooked into it instantly. Under normal circumstances, I don’t watch dramas exceeding 20 episodes. Moreover, I’m a reaaally picky viewer – c’mon, time’s precious so I ought to watch something I’ll love instead of wasting my time cursing it. The fact that First Love has 66 episodes, each an hour long, is what scared me most when I started watching it. However, the fluidity of the storytelling is what makes this drama so watchable (and addictive).
Of course, that’s not it’s only plus point. It’s witty, funny, realistic, poignant and everything else that makes for a wonderful time-pass. 66 gigantic episodes, yet never a dull moment! This one’s a characteristic, old school 90’s drama – perhaps that’s one of the reasons why it stole the heart of this 90’s girl. The starring actors were the top stars of the time, and consequently they’re all great actors. I believe that they’re largely the reason why this drama secured its soaring ratings. The screenplay is light years away from that of your average family drama – it’s nuanced and truly well-made. What I love most about this drama is its feel-good factor. For me, a drama is a winner when it makes you smile or relieve your stress no matter how downcast you may be and ‘First Love’ triumphs on that.
The only issue I have with this drama is that it’s got a lot of drama, at times dipping into melodrama. However, it must be stressed that drama is one of its charms – it’ll succeed on drawing your sympathy, but you can’t help but feel that it’s not exaggeration, that rather it’s the ugly truth. Truth be told, First Love is the only kdrama to date that has moved me to the verge of tears. OK, to tears. In case you didn’t know, I’m stone-hearted!
Special mention goes to Oh Dong Pal (played by Bae Doh Wan), my favorite character here. Yes, I even like him better than Sung Chan Woo – an uber cool character. Dong Pal is just such a good person, be it as a friend, a son or a husband. For me, he was the most likable character here. *strokes own nose with thumb*
Heck, all the good guys were oh-so-endearing!
Winter Sonata (2002) co-stars Bae Yong Jun and Choi Ji Woo had a love-line in First Love.
Fans of this OTP must check the drama out!