The South Sonder Verdict: #1
Updated: Feb 16
BECAUSE THIS IS MY FIRST LIFE (2017)
This drama is about two housemates who get married but soon face a whole bunch of obstacles complications, like dealing with one another's families, careers, and their 'fake' relationship with one another. In this post, I'll be discussing all of the reasons why I enjoyed this drama and why I recommend it. From the chemistry to the side characters to all of the stories and reflections on society that are shared throughout, this drama about marriage and just adult life, in general, was EVERYTHING and more.
Let me start by saying, when they finished introducing Se-Hee's character, I was like... who is this robotic, monotone, no expression having man? He really just sitting like (👁️👁️) at all hours of the day.
He doesn't blink, he doesn't laugh, he doesn't smile, he doesn't even frown. He just stares. I went into this drama thinking that I'd really be so disinterested by the main male lead, so tell me why I've grown to LOVE his character???
Throughout the show, we got to see in many ways how he cares for the people he loves by his actions and not by his words. Like, when he instructs one of his friends going through a rough patch in his relationship that he should be honest with his heart. Or, when beats the absolute BRAKES off of a sexual predator. Or, when he goes out of his way to look into a potential stalker and protect Ji-Ho from him. Or, just in how he ensures to uphold all of his responsibilities both in his workplace, in his "marriage," and in his personal life. From start to finish, he was such a dependable male lead.
I think what I loved most about his character was that, FOR ONCE, in a Korean drama, he wasn't controlling or showing signs of being too domineering and borderline abusive. He supported Ji-Ho and her dreams while promising to never be a hindrance to her. Can you imagine a man NOT being a hindrance???
He never promised to make her happy because he acknowledged that a human being can never be responsible for another human being's happiness, but he did promise to respect her, support her, and never get in the way of her goals. THAT is what I'm talking about!!! I'm so used to seeing male leads in romantic TV shows and movies manipulate their way into their partner's lives by constantly forcing them to either change who they are or change their views on life to be with them. Whether that is forcing their partner to leave their job, cut off their friends, or whatever else that's suffocating and disgusting, so it was really refreshing to NOT see that with Se-Hee and Ji-Ho.
Ji Ho, on the other hand, was so adorable yet relatable. There were times where I was like, "Damn. Miss Girly's head is EMPTY!"
Without spoiling too much, I almost ripped my wig off and ate it up when she first declined her dream job because she said "she's married." I was like, sis???? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity???? But, I also understood her reasoning in the end. There was also that moment when she first kissed Se-Hee and that was just another, "SIS wtf...." moment.
But, just like Se-Hee, I grew to love her, as well. I don't want to spoil too much of the show, but I really appreciated Ji Ho's constant resilience. Even when life was playing her for a fool, she always tried to find a way to solve it (even if it resulted in her marrying her landlord just to secure a comfortable place to live). The scene I loved the most was when she decided that she wouldn't want to live a life being a man's comforter or maid. Women are often told that we need to coddle and groom men so that they can mature and become the type of men that we want and can respect, but Ji Ho decided that that's not the kind of love she wanted to experience.
I also absolutely LOVED her friends and how completely different yet authentic they were. . Woo Su-ji Thee Stallion reminds me so much of myself in the sense that she is incredibly hard working, goal driven, and aims to live a life of financial stability and independence without having to rely on a man for SHIT.
She was so fierce and I also loved how tall she was too. She was standing tall and powerfully over everyone in her life, both physically and in her career too. More than anything, I loved her determination to champion her way through life, but also her ability to be open minded and accept love when it was finally presented to her the way SHE wanted.
Ho-Rang, on the other hand, was just so cute. At first, when she said her dream was to become a wife and a mother, I couldn't help but think how old school and traditional her values were. But, over time, I really understood why she wanted that sort of life. She just wanted what she felt was normal and what she knew would bring her peace. Child-bearing and being a homemaker may sound like the absolute ghetto to some people, but to others, that means everything to them. It may seem old fashioned to me, but just because that doesn't necessarily align with the plans that I have for my life, that doesn't make it any less purposeful. The pain that Ho Rang experienced throughout her relationship with Won-Seok was so hard to watch. I know that they loved one another, but to date someone for over 7 years and not know where the relationship is going in the future sounds like a damn trap, especially when either party aren't are on the same page about the relationship's future. It reminds me so much of what the people I know in real life experience in relationships, as well. Sometimes they date someone and just kind of hope that they're on the same page, but how can that happen when neither party will communicate what's truly in their hearts? How can you complain that you partner doesn't understand you and what you want when you don't tell them?
Ho-rang and her boyfriend really went THROUGH it, but it felt really real, especially knowing that I've seen so many people I know go through that same situation.
Another thing I'd like to mention about this drama was just how FRESH and AUTHENTIC it felt. I've seen a lot of dramas that I absolutely love, but can acknowledge how unrealistic they are. The scenes of the female protagonist falling over in slow motion while her soon-to-be boyfriend comes flying over like Superman to save her right before she drops while the camera alternatively pans between the both of them holding deep and intense eye contact? Girl, that shit does NOT happen. Can we speed it up???
But, you know what does happen? People getting married because it's convenient. Marriage is an institution anyways. People who get married solely for love are destined for a life of clownery, if they're not careful. Marriage is about finances, economics, family relations, sharing the same values about parenthood and the future you want together, and so much more. Love is obviously important because you don't want to end up getting married to a literal demon who hates you and treats you like you're subhuman, but I don't believe love is enough to sustain a long-lasting and healthy marriage. And, this drama really portrayed that. However, I also don't believe that getting married SOLELY because it's convenient is responsible either. We got to see that by how Ji Ho slowly started to feel about Se Hee and their marriage overtime.
From Su Ji decking a perverted and entitled man clean in the face to Se Hee running down alleyways to protect Ji Ho from a potential threat to all of the accurate representations that were displayed about my generation and how we are often forced to sacrifice our goals to survive, this drama had a lot of ICONIC moments.
I recommend it to anyone looking for a romantic comedy that isn't too impractical, but also isn't too boring. This is a funny yet heartwarming, slow burn romance with just the right touch of seriousness and critiques about our capitalistic society. With all of that being said, I absolutely loved this drama and I recommend it to anyone who's looking for a new show on Netflix to watch.
Because This Is My First Life: 8.1/10