Dropped: First Love Again [China]

When I saw that Patrick Shih was the male lead in this show, I sat up and took immediate notice, because I’d really enjoyed his outing in 2020’s Someday Or One Day (which is an amazing show, by the way – and we’re planning a group watch of it too, so do join us!), and I was excited to see him switch it up from beta second male lead, to alpha male lead.

Unfortunately, my friends, upon checking this show out, I’ve decided to give it the dubious honor of being one of the few shows that I’ve hard dropped, after only a single episode. 😅Here’s a broad look at the whys, I hope you guys enjoy. ❤️

Also, to be fair, Show has its fans. If you check out Show’s page on MyDramaList, you’ll see that there are lots of very positive comments on it, too. So just because Show didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean that you’ll hate it, necessarily?

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Ye Youning (Patrick Shih), a respected physicist, suddenly time travels from 2019 to the year 2006, where he finds himself abruptly thrust into high school life, all over again. He’s determined to find a way to return to 2019 as soon as possible, so that he can take care of his grandfather, whose health is failing.

SILVER LININGS

The only real silver lining to this show, that I could see, was the opportunity to see Patrick Shih channel an alpha male lead, for a change.

I’d say that Patrick Shih does a reasonably good job of the strong alpha male vibe, in that he manages to effectively come across as the strong, silent type without leaning over into aggressive territory. I also liked the glimpse that we get, of his connection with his grandpa (Yue Yao Li), in the 2006 timeline.

Unfortunately, the rest of the show doesn’t serve Patrick’s first male lead outing too well, which I’ll talk about next.

MY MAIN ISSUES 

You could say that my main issue is with the writing. That would effectively sum it all up, really. But just to give you a flavor of what I mean, here’s a bit of a breakdown, of where and how I feel the writing just didn’t work very well.

1. Amy Chen as Xia Wenxi. Our female lead is a beautiful woman, no doubt about it. The problem is, she’s required to act as an 18-year-old student, and she really doesn’t look the part. To make matters worse, Wenxi is played really young and really broad, so much so that she comes across more like a tween, than an actual 18-year-old. So.. Xia Wenxi, as a character, looks a fair bit older than her age, and acts much younger than her age. It was strange and whiplashy and very perplexing, all around.

2. Everyone else in high school acts younger than 18, as well. I’m far from against high school stories; in fact, some of my favorite dramas are set in high school. But this rendition of high school felt like a weird parallel universe where teenagers all look older than their age, but act like they’re twelve. Or nine. Lots of exaggeration abounds, with everyone trying to look and feel as young as possible. It’s jarring and weird, and far from natural or believable, to be honest.

3. Our male lead is weirdly written too. While I enjoyed seeing Patrick Shih in the male lead space, I did not enjoy the writing or execution of his character. The moment Youning finds himself back in high school, he starts using his brilliant physics mind to try to calculate how it all happened, and how he can find his way back to 2019. The way he focuses on this, to the exclusion of all else, is supposed to be funny, I think. But it’s not. It’s just exaggerated and strange.

ATTEMPTING A LENS ADJUSTMENT

I did try to maybe think of this one as a live manhua, to see if it worked any better, and I’m sorry to say that the difference it makes, is quite marginal.

I then wondered if this one’s targeted at tweens (thus causing the writing to lean so cartoony), but that doesn’t feel quite right, either. I’d halfway believe you, if you told me that this show – well, this episode, at least – was a group project for a bunch of 11-year-olds who have not yet experienced what it’s like to be eighteen, and therefore have no choice but to use their imaginations.

SAYING GOODBYE

Ordinarily, I like to withhold judgment until I’ve given Show at least a few episodes to get settled, but almost everything about this drama world lands in such an awkwardly unnatural manner to my eyes, that I just can’t muster up the interest nor goodwill to give this one even one more episode, unfortunately.

Like I mentioned earlier, there are absolutely people who love this show and who think it deserves more love. And maybe Show does do an excellent job of other things, even if it’s not so great at portraying 18-year-olds in high school. Like, maybe Show is really good at exploring the Butterfly Effect, for example. I wouldn’t know, though, because I just can’t see myself sticking around to find out.

I feel rather sorry that I won’t get to see the full extent of Patrick Shih’s delivery of an alpha male lead, but y’know, given how much I didn’t take to episode 1, perhaps this time around, it’d be wiser to keep that in my imagination? 😅

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Nati S
1 month ago

A Chinese show I LOVED recently was “Nothing but thirty”, I highly recommend it to you and I would love to know your thoughts on it. It is a ‘slice of life’ type of drama so I think you would like it

Medea
Medea
1 month ago

KFG, what are the other shows you’ve dropped within an episode?