When I began to watch My First First Love on Netflix, I thought it was cringe-worthy. Honestly, I did cringe multiple times. The main male protagonist (Tae-o was self-centered and the main female protagonist (Song-i) was whinny. Both characters were annoying. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get into this story. Once I reached the end of episode one, I began to see a story develop and it’s a story that we can learn a lot from.
At its core, the first season of My First First Love is a story is about growing up and relying on your will versus depending on others to work through your issues with or for you.
There are sub-themes as well. The characters in this story deal with depression, selfishness (especially regarding their parents), the growing pains of friendship, and abandonment ( a lot of abandonment).
In this series, fathers take the forefront of parenting and are mostly stern. Most of the characters have a strained relationship or non-existent relationship with their mother. As a result of the difficult relationships with their parents, the main characters seem to struggle to find themselves healthily. They seem to go through a depression and only find happiness out on their own.
This series is very emotional at points. Especially during the transition from campy to serious. Characters deal with betrayal and misplaced anger.
For example, Song-i moved in with Tae-o (her best friend of 20 years) after she was evicted because her mother left in the middle of the night leaving her in a foreclosed home. However, she was reluctant to stand on her own feet willingly. She eventually began a romantic relationship with another man (a friend of Tae-o’s) and only moved out when he expressed his discomfort.
Song-i relied a lot on Tae-o at the beginning of the series. That fact is mentioned a lot. And before she was evicted and her mother ran away, she relied on her mother who ended up verbal asking not to be bothered.
Tae-o’s perspective is a little different. His main conflict arrives when he is faced with defining what his friendship means with Song-i versus a budding romantic relationship. He struggled with how to define the boundaries of his relationships. Plus, he had to come to terms with his blooming feeling about Song-i in the process.
Acceptance of Truth
Season two became a story about acknowledging one’s feelings no matter how painful they may be. At this point, both Song-i and Tae-o were in romantic relationships with other people. However, the relationship that they built of 20 years never allowed them to fully invest in their partners.
For example, Do-Hyeon (Song-i’s boyfriend) had to figure out what being with Song-i meant to him versus accepting that she would never be fully his. Was holding on to her worth being a nervous wreck all the time?
Ryu Se-Hyeon (Tae-o’s girlfriend) also suffered from this realization. However, because she was never truly invested in her relationship with Tae-o, she was able to let go.
There are several other examples of acceptance in this series. Both O Ga-rin and Choe Hun came to terms that being with their parents hindered their ability to thrive and be happy. And Tae-o had to accept this his parents made a decision that they thought was best for him and despite how hurtful it may have initially felt.
Power of Friendship
Lastly, friendship is a key theme. Through the entire story the friendship that Tae-o, Song-i, O Ga-rin, and Choe Hun have carried them through their tribulations.
In this series, the power of friendship encouraged each character to be better than they were before. Many great moments showcased the importance of friendship in this series.
The story of My First First Love may have centered around Tae-o and Song-i realizing their feelings for each other, but the overarching themes of relationships, self-worth, growth, and acceptance are what made this series worth watching.