Can the pure love of 17-year-olds endure through all the challenges of adulthood?
Chen Xiao Xi (Shen Yue) and Jiang Chen (Hu Yi Tian) are high school friends and neighbors who grew up together. Xiao Xi is happy-go-lucky and doesn’t like to study much but she has a talent for drawing. Jiang Chen is popular for his good looks and high grades. Their friends include swimmer Wu Bo Song (Gao Zhi Ting), who will do anything for Xiao Xi, and Xiao Xi’s best friend, Lin Jing Xiao (Wang Zi Wei), the most beautiful girl in school.
How will the realities of life shape the friendships and love of these young adults?
There’s a lot to love about this drama. It’s cute, simple, funny, and well acted. The story follows a group of friends through high school and college, and the relationships (or lack thereof) that they work through. I (and others on the internet) have compared it to Mischievous/Playful Kiss, as it’s about a tiny, slightly annoying but delightfully charming and adorable girl who is madly in love with Mr. Tall, Handsome, and Cold. There’s not really a reason that she loves him, since he’s really not nice to her for quite some time, but the audience can’t help but become emotionally invested in their romance.
There’s a nice grouping of characters here within the friend group, and they’re all delightful. Second Lead syndrome is strong here, as Wu Bosong is the sweetest boy I think I’ve ever seen in Dramaland. It doesn’t logically make sense why Xiao Xi prefers Jiang Chen (mr tall handsome and cold) to Bosong, and the live comments on Viki were team Bosong for most of the show. He’s just really sweet and thoughtful all the time, while Jiang Chen is…well, not. He gets there eventually, but not anywhere near the level of Bosong, who is a literal ray of sunshine the entire time.
From what I gather, this is the first big project for the leads, Shen Yue (Xiao Xi) and Hu Yi Tian (Jiang Chen). Shen Yue especially should look forward to a massive career. Her Xiao Xi is adorable, hilarious, and loveable. I’d be very interested to see Hu Yi Tian in another role, as the tsundere character doesn’t give him much of a range to play (tsundere: initially cold and even hostile towards another person before gradually showing a warmer side over time). Every time he smiles though (which is a bit rare), he absolutely lights up the screen, so I imagine he’ll have a decent career as well. The rest of the cast is well done, and I hope to see some of these young actors in more roles in the future.
As I said earlier, this is a simple show. It’s sort of slice-of-life, so there are plenty of episodes where not much happens. There’s also a lot of “Jiang Chen was mean to Xiao Xi, but then he gave her ride home on the back of his bike so all is forgiven,” which I know annoys lots of people. I think it’s important to remember these characters are supposed to be 16, and 16 year olds don’t always know how to express themselves. I definitely preferred the second half of the show (when they went to college and beyond), although there is something truly charming about the first half where they’re in high school.
The dreaded love triangle was a bit much in this one. I hate when love triangles take two friends and turn them into enemies because of a girl, and that is exactly what happened here. Also, the love triangle conflict got worn out by the end.
Anyway, I wouldn’t say this show is for everyone, but I binged it in about 3 days, so obviously I was entertained. If you’re looking for something simple and sweet that will make you laugh, this is a good drama to settle into!