BECAUSE IT’S ONSTYLE’S FIRST DRAMA
Five childhood friends figure out about life and love as they grow into young adults. Amongst the group is Yoon Tae Oh (Choi Min Ho), a free-spirited college freshman, who lends out his rooftop digs as a place for his friends to hangout. In high school, Tae Oh’s first love has been his best friend, Han Song Yi (Park So Dam). Despite the fact he believes he’s gotten over his feelings for her, Tae Oh’s jealousy ignites when he learns the Song Yi harbors a crush on someone else. Unbeknownst to him, that crush happens to be their other friend, Seo Ji An (Kim Min Jae), who has mutual feelings for Song Yi.
As for Oh Ga Rin (Jo Hye Jung), she runs the local hair shop and has yet accepted the reality that her father has passed away. Choi Hoon (Lee Yi Kyung) chases after his dream of becoming an actor despite his parents’ disapproval.
I was drawn to the drama after watching Jo Hye Jung on Please Look After Father. As Jo Hye Jung chases her own dream of becoming an actress in her father’s footsteps (Actor Jo Jae Hyun), what better drama than a coming-of-age tale? The main cast members in the drama are all effervescent and enjoyable to watch. I suppose that’s exactly what you would want in a drama about youth, love and friendship. Choi Min Ho, Park So Dam, Kim Min Jae and Lee Yi Kyung have all established themselves as decent actors in other works and Jo Hye Jung does a great job in reaching their level with her quirky acting. Sure, part of her role is just an extension for her own personality but she does sell the part as Ga Rin.
Besides Jo Hye Jung, Jung Yoo Jin is the other newbie of the group. Truthfully, I liked her role better in Heard It Through the Grapevine just because I think she had more to work with. As Tae Oh’s new love interest, Ryu Se Hyun, her character was a bit dry on substance. In fact, one of the biggest issues I have with the drama is that most of the characters lack depth. I’m not sure if the writers felt that because the drama is meant for tweens that they didn’t deserve to create multi-layered characters but frankly I think tween audiences are more sophisticated than what the drama delivers.
And since the character lack depth, the story lacks a multi-faceted arc. The most irritating thing about the drama is watching Tae Oh chase after Song Yi and treat her with kindness, only to turn around and give her the cold shoulder. In some ways, I realize that this behavior is reflective of real life since people can and are immature like this. However, as a viewer, it’s tiring to watching the repetitive rigmarole of the same storyline. I’ll admit that this is also a problem I find with Kim Jung Hwan in Answer Me 1988. The only difference is that as much as I’m irritated with his character, there are many other storylines to focus on in that drama but not in Because It’s the First Time.
As for OnStyle’s first time in trying to expand their programming towards drama, I think they were lucky to get a decent cast. However, I think it might be worth noting that you don’t need to dumb down your storyline in order to tell an upbeat story about youth. The good thing about the drama is that it’s only 8 full episodes long (22 miniature-sized episodes when broken down) so it’s not something that I really had to commit to.