Once upon a time, in a faraway place called Twitter, this Maknae ran a poll to let the loyal Dramas with a Side of Kimchi readers decide her next binge watch. The race between Forever Love and When We Were Young was tight, but Forever Love triumphed in the end. Come find out if I enjoyed my binge watch enough to let strangers on the internet make decisions for me again!
A Little Background Info on the Drama
From MyDramaList.com: “A story that follows two people’s brave pursuit of love from their campus days to their humble beginnings as they enter the workplace to chase after their dreams together.
Xia Lin Xi’s senior year is full of radiance while Jiang Zheng Han’s is in peril. Jiang Zheng Han is doing everything he can to earn money and ends up becoming the tutor of a very unwilling Xia Lin Xi who still hasn’t forgotten their terrible first meeting.
When the two felt love for the first time, it was sweet and pure. It’s the kind of love that you want to profess to the world but it wasn’t until after their exams that their feelings became more clear.
Just as they wished, Xia Lin Xi and Jiang Zheng Han are admitted to the same university. From their youth to adulthood, from the school to the workplace, from a school uniform to a wedding dress, they have each other as a lifelong companion.”
Did I like the characters?
Zheng Han, played by Wang An Yu, was solid. It was so much fun to watch his journey! His list of ways he would help the kids in the internet cafe (and charge them for the privilege!) cracked me up. His growth from that point to becoming the CEO of his own tech company was believable and admirable.
Lin Xi, played by Xiang Han Zhi, was adorable and believable as a high-school-to-college student. She was the quintessential sweet rich girl, moving through the world with an ease that she didn’t quite realize came from money, but then pulling herself up by the bootstraps when the money disappeared.
Both of the leads, as a commenter mentioned previously, felt more real because they didn’t feel overly pretty or pampered. They were fresh and relatable and I loved how constant they were towards each other.
The secondary characters were pretty fun and complete too. I wanted to slap Lin Xi’s whiny cousin around for more than a few episodes, but he eventually matured and grew on me. Her breathy best friend’s devotion to him was a bit of a mystery, but I guess it was a case of “the heart wants what it wants.” Zheng Han’s college roommate, Prince Duan, was suave and memorable and a REALLY good actor — I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on his upcoming dramas. Lin Xi’s older friend/second lead, Qin Yue, wasn’t an overly obnoxious second lead, but man-oh-MAN I wanted him to get out of the way instead of hopelessly pining over her.
Did I like the story?
I’m a huge sucker for a coming-of-age story, especially one that leads on through to marriage. I love marriages! Anyway, this one moved quickly through high school and college, staying focused on our lead couple, their steady love, and the obstacles they had to overcome to get to that wedding.
There was an opposing tech company that wanted Zheng Han, and they were doing their best to eliminate all his other options so he would come work for them. The resulting rivalry went on faaaaaar too long, in my opinion. I was liberally using the fast forward button in the last five or six episodes — that conflict wore me out and didn’t hold my attention. Most disappointing was that the bad guys didn’t get any justice served to them. They didn’t grow up or change their ways. They just….stopped being bad? Not fun. I did love Zheng Han’s mentor. I wish we could have seen more of him.
Would I recommend?
Forever Love was a good watch. I enjoyed it while I was in it, and I was happy with where our main couple ended up. On the other hand, I binged When We Were Young immediately afterwards, and realized it was the stronger, more memorable of the stories. Forever Love was a good one-time watch, but When We Were Young is the drama I’ll be going back to again. You can find both of them on Viki.
Keep your eyes open for my next poll, drama fans! I love having your input into my watching decisions. You can find me on Twitter — @KarieTheMaknae.
Until the next school bell rings, I remain —
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi