Hidden Gem: Go Ahead

Found families, sweet OTPs, and the best drama dads in the land. Come find out why Go Ahead is a must watch drama.

(Want to hear even more about what we had to say about Go Ahead? Check out our Go Ahead podcast episode — just click HERE to listen!)

Thanks to @Asiandramalils on Twitter, Drama Geek and Karie the Maknae fell down the rabbit hole of Go Ahead and binged the entire series in less than 2 weeks. We are eternally grateful for this recommendation because the drama has ended up being one of our favorites.


Drama Geek: We could put the summary from MDL, but really the story centers around three amazing young people who all lose or are abandoned by their mothers, who end up being raised by two dads. Tragedy and a dash of noble idiocy pulls them apart after graduation, but they all find their way back to each other, and live as one big happy family eating Dad’s noodles all day long.

Okay, so that isn’t exactly the plot, but it’s close. This drama is a slice of life show with a sprinkling of makjang. I fell in love with all the main characters and the FOOD. I’d have Noodle Shop Dad make me lunch every day, if I could.

Karie the Maknae: Drama Geek did a great job summing up the plot. This is really a found family’s slice of life, and it definitely reminded me of Reply 1988 in all the best ways.

The Dads

Drama Geek: Li Hai Chao is the widowed father of the spicy Jian Jian and ends up becoming a coparent to two boys. He cooks with his heart and is such an amazing dad. He lets all of his children choose for themselves, and just tries to push them in the right direction. He’s also kind of hot when he cooks. 🙂

Ling He Ping’s wife suffered from severe depression after their youngest child died, and she left him and their son. He gets flack for working all the time, but throughout the drama he is there for all three kids, and treats everyone of them as his own. The scenes of him co-parenting with Hai Chao are some of my favorites.

Karie the Maknae: Hai Chao (Noodle Shop Dad) is hands down the best dad in all of dramaland. His heart is HUGE, and his love for the kids — all kids, really — shines through the entire drama. If it wasn’t for him, this drama would be a tragedy. Instead, he rescues all of the children, and even rescues He Ping in a way.

It was delightful to watch these two single dads become best friends, bonding over their losses and working together to make sure their children felt loved and supported and cherished. I was really impressed by the fact that they never pushed the other to be a different kind of person or resented each other’s abilities as a parent. Instead, they worked with their strengths to be the best parenting team they could be. It was brilliantly written.

The Kids

Drama Geek: I love all three kids. Little Jian Jian is a ball of spunk, and when she claimed Ling Xiao as her own, she meant it. When she gets older, she follows in her father’s footsteps and becomes the stable pillar that holds the two boys up, and her friends too. He Zi Qiu has a chip on his shoulder for a good portion of the drama, but he still brought a smile to my face and made me want to see him break away from his abandonment issues to embrace the love his family gladly gave to him. Ling Xiao felt the most tragic to me. His mom leaves him, and he seems happy with his life the way it turned out, only to have his early adulthood stolen from him by a selfish mother.

Karie the Maknae: JianJian is a ray of sunshine, and her heart is just as big as her father’s. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like her as an adult — as a teenager she was just silly — but she matured in believable ways. I loved that she found her occupation early in life and that her dad didn’t push her to be anything but herself.

Ziqui’s longing for family and connection hit me hard. He was such a good brother to JianJian, following her as they got into trouble together, and just taking care of his found family in small ways that melted my heart.

Ling Xiao was the brooding type, but not in a way that annoyed me. He was intense and a deep thinker, but his loyalties also ran deep. It also cracked me up that he accepted his role as the person that did his best to pull JianJian and Ziqui OUT of trouble. And he saved his best smiles for when he was with those two.


Drama Geek: Even though these two were raised together, essentially in the same household (two different apartments), I actually never saw them as siblings after the initial change in actors. Song Wei Long is really good at intense stares, and the moment he took over the character, you could tell he didn’t think of Jian Jian as his sister. She was his world, in a way a sibling just isn’t the same. It took her a little longer to understand how she felt, but once she did, it was such an easy transition and you could see how much joy their relationship brings her. My only complaint is they needed more kisses at the end of the drama.

Karie the Maknae: This OTP was so believable. It helped that there was the distinction in their living situation — Ling Xiao’s home base was definitely upstairs — and that his loyalty was obvious from the time they were children. It bugged me a little at first that JianJian had a hard time accepting their situation, but discussing it with Drama Geek helped me see all the emotions she was dealing with — it wasn’t just Ling Xiao in front of her, waiting to be accepted, but the fact that she knew his mom didn’t like her. Once I got through that, I empathized with her and cheered for them.


Drama Geek: If watching horrible moms is an issue for you, then run away. Almost every mom, even the side characters’ moms, were horrible. Some of them do get redemption arcs, but they are hard to swallow for most of it. The one thing I will say about the moms is that circumstances and mental illness are at play for some, and should be a part of how we interpret their actions.

Karie the Maknae: Yeah, the moms are ALL terrible for most of this drama. And all for different reasons. So if you’re looking for a multi-faceted look at imperfect moms, this is the drama for you. Suffice it to say that we gave the moms nicknames like Noble Idiot, Holy Terror, and The Steamroller.

Side Characters

Drama Geek: The roommates and friends of our lead characters are all such a joy, and many of them have their own storylines that I was very invested in. So much so, I’d watch a second season to see what happens to some of them.

Karie the Maknae: I loved that the secondary characters’ storylines never felt like filler — they were important to me because they were important to our leads. I would definitely watch a second season to see more of them.

Final Thoughts:

Drama Geek: This drama is like a warm comforting soup on a cold day. You want to wrap yourself in a blanket and just watch and enjoy all of their lives as they unfold. The love story is a nice refreshing dessert that made my heart very happy. I 100% recommend this drama to everyone.

Karie the Maknae: I liked this drama so much that I’m watching it again with my teenage girls. I think it’ll help them have a good perspective on families that don’t look like their own, and I think they’ll enjoy the story as much as I have.


Drama Geek & Karie the Maknae

Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

14 thoughts on “Hidden Gem: Go Ahead

  1. Hi Ladies,
    Thank you for this recommendation. It came at a good time and it is truly the most wonderful show. I am really enjoying watching it as non stop as possible.

  2. Go Ahead is such divisive drama, people either like it, or hate it with the passion of thousand suns and can’t find any redeeming qualities, even noodle Dad is too much!

  3. Hi. I binge-watched this drama within a week. I loved it too. I really want to taste those noodles and have even googled a few recipes to try. There are so many things I love about this drama. It’s so hard to pick one. I am actually thinking of re-watching it again.

  4. Dear god this show was so incredible. I binge watched this in two weeks too, it’s just that good! Each character and actor was so engaging to watch. This drama was simply all heart and I enjoyed every minute of it!

  5. Started this a couple of days ago based on this posted and several mentions on your podcasts . Am seven episodes in and loving it. I think this might feature the best dad in dramaland. I think I could learn some lessons on parenting from him. So far, it doesn’t some of the issues I’ve had with Chinese dramas (snail-like pacing being one). Highly recommended.

    • YAYYY! Another Go Ahead convert! It’s so true — Li Haichao is an AMAZING dad and I can only aspire to be like him.

  6. Thank you so much for recommending this show. It is one of my favourites now. I’ve re-watched it a few times and can’t seem to let it go. I’m not ready to leave them and move on. Loved the characters so much!

Leave a Reply