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5 reasons why you should watch the C-drama ‘When We Were Young’

Most Chinese dramas (C-dramas) are worth-watching as they reflect our childhood and culture. C-dramas are totally relatable that they hit a special place in your heart because of the nostalgia and familiarity in the plot. With the strong aspect of the Chinese culture intertwined in the story, these series definitely let you embrace your Chinese identity with the characters in the story. 

Genres of school, youth, romance, friendship, and a slice of life are favorites among viewers of C-dramas. You really can’t help but look back and reflect on your life when you were still studying in a Chinese school, as well as being friends and classmates with people who live near you. If you’re looking for a nostalgic series that is similar to the Korean drama Reply 1988 and the Taiwanese movie Our Times, When We Were Young is a must-watch for you! 

Photo courtesy of Tencent Video

When We Were Young (人不彪悍枉少年) is a nostalgic school drama sets back in the year 1996. High school friends Yang Xi, Hua Biao, Li Yu, Si Tu Er Tiao, Yang Xiao He Mei face ups and downs during their third year in high school. They face various adventures and challenges in school, home, and choices in their individual careers and college. However, they all conquer these because of their strong friendship. Not to mention, their caring teacher Mr. Kong and their respective families who truly love and support them in a uniquely Chinese way. With short yet sweet 24 episodes, here are 5 reasons why you should watch When We Were Young.

1. Realistic portrayals and three-dimensional teenage characters

Photo courtesy of Tencent Video

What captivates the viewers into watching When We Were Young is how realistic the teenage characters are. Even if it is set in the 90s, the characters are still relatable in their ambitions, fears, feelings, and inner motivation as teenagers. These high schoolers truly make you reflect and look back at your young teenage self when you were still studying in a Chinese school. Yang Xi, Hua Biao, Li Yu, Er Tiao, and He Mei may be different from one another but you’ll end up finding a part of your teenage self in these three-dimensional characters. 

Yang Xi is a free-spirited athlete who has trouble focusing in school. Both of her smart friends Hua Biao and Lu Yu both help her with mathematics, science, and English. Hua Biao is an independent son living with her grandmother while Lu Yu is Yang Xi’s neighbor who is close to her family. He Mei is a shy and modest girl who loves all things fashion and beauty. Er Tiao is a business-minded individual who has a lot of connections. Seeing teenage self in these characters, you’ll totally grow fond of this group of friends.


2. Strong friendship and bond with each other

Photo courtesy of Tencent Video

With their unique personalities, they also come from different social backgrounds that set them apart. However, that doesn’t stop them from being good friends with one another. Yang Xi, Hua Biao, Li Yu, Er Tiao, and He Mei have a strong connection and bond with each other. Their group’s interesting dynamics attract any viewer because of how they balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Whenever one of the members in the group has a personal problem, they always give support and provide any possible solution to help their friend out. Their true friendship really makes you think of your high school friends and barkada. Their strong and solid relationship with one another make the drama so special. You’ll end up growing attached to these characters and root for all of them. 


3. The importance of family and filial duties as children

Photo courtesy of Tencent Video

The different families of the characters play an important role in the drama. Their relationship with their parents and siblings may vary from different characters, but they still express love to their families in the same manner. They also become proper sons and daughters who fulfill their filial duties to their families. The characters also go to their homes of their friends and interact with their friends’ families, which make their bond stronger. When We Were Young portrays different Chinese families and their situations that are realistic and relatable. There are some familiar scenes that are heartwarming and tear-jerking, which bring depth to the drama. Their relationship with their parents and friends’ families truly make you feel a sense of home and belonging. 


4. Familiar and relatable Chinese school moments

Photo courtesy of Tencent Video

Studying in a Chinese school, you’ll definitely relate to most of the scenes in the drama. As there are a lot of academics involved in the drama, there are also familiar school activities that every Chinese student has gone through. Even though there’s no gāo kǎo (高考) in the Philippines, you’ll still relate to how the stressful and nerve-wracking college entrance exams are. You’ll also empathize with the characters when they go on their separate ways, after they had graduated from high school. 

When We Were Young will make you feel nostalgic about your high school days in a Chinese school. The dynamics between the class are colorful just like how they unite and help each other during tests and activities. There are a lot of familiar scenes like the students chatting before class and doing physical activities like basketball. You’ll also laugh and remember how you’re also like the students who are afraid of their strict teachers and school administrators.


5. Wholesome love as teenagers

Photo courtesy of Tencent Video

Experiencing puppy love and crushes as teenagers are normal for every high school student. When We Were Young captures how the characters develop their high school crushes, as well as experiencing unrequited love. Although the romance in the drama is light, there are heart-fluttering scenes between Yang Xi and Hua Biao in several episodes. Yang Xi and Hua Biao’s relationship captivates the viewers on how their feelings slowly develop. The drama will really remind you of your high school self back when you had a crush on your classmate or schoolmate! The way the drama portrays romance is realistic and wholesome. You’ll also appreciate what will happen to Yang Xi and Hua Biao’s relationship at the end of the drama. 

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