Nineteen to Twenty Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
This series begins on December 24th for good reason: it’s a Korean custom to celebrate your birthday on New Year’s Day, so for this group of 19-year-olds, whose birthdays all fall throughout the year, they’ll enter adulthood together by symbolically turning 20 on January 1st. So for the week they spend together from December 24th until December 31st culturally marks the end of their adolescence and their entrance to adulthood. The series will spend one week with the group as they end their 19th year in “School 19” and a second week with them as they transition to adulthood, where they move into what the show calls “House 20,” where they can be a little more free (read: drink, and maybe even hook up).
The show spends an awful lot of time on the slowly-paced entrances of each of the eight participants – four boys and four girls – who all seem anxious and uneasy as they meet one another, in fact several of them state that they’re not entirely sure how to even interact with the opposite sex after spending years in single-sex schools. Unlike another show that premieres this week on Netflix, Too Hot To Handle, whose contestants are roughly the same age, the students on Nineteen to Twenty are shy and demure, and seem to have truly waited until this adulthood rite of passage to start exploring life, sex, and things beyond what’s familiar. Still, they all seem disappointed to learn that the one rule or School 19 is that they are not allowed to date each other while the attend classes over the next week. Making things even more complicated is that during their school lessons, they’ll be seated next to a member of the opposite sex which is occasionally uncomfortable but eventually becomes sweet: the seatmates share their lunches, loan each other their coats and hand warmers and generally become closer and more intimate with one another.
The students are allowed to break off, with the girls talking about which boys they like and the boys talking about the girls. Even though they’re here to learn about becoming adults, they are all doing the one thing they are explicitly told not to do by comptemplating who they want to date. They just can’t help their raging hormones.
There’s a rule in improv (What has two thumbs and took classes at UCB? This guy!): Don’t play a character that reads as nervous. Because watching someone be nervous onstage is generally off-putting to the audience. Nineteen To Twenty starts off incredibly slow, with eight incredibly nervous participants meeting for the first time to spend two weeks together as classmates and friends (and perhaps more) by the end. But the primary emotion throughout the first episode is nervousness, and even though each of these eight people seem very sweet, a lot of the tension that exists in the first episode is due to their anxiety and a hesitance to open up. Even though I really enjoy the premise of the show and find the cultural component fascinating, I hate to say it but it drags.
I’m definitely coming at this as someone used to watching American reality TV where no one is ever filtered or demure, and I really don’t want this show to be that, but I do wish they moved that needle and got people to open up sooner. Ultimately, when they do start to open up, it starts to get more interesting, especially as each person develops off-limits crushes on some of their classmates. And I really love that a lot of the criteria around what makes someone crush-worthy has to do with how kind they seem. (One girl expresses an interest in a boy, Sang-won, who she praises for having taken off his shoes to stand on a chair in order to take a group selfie. We have a no-shoes rule in our house and I deeply appreciate this, too. It’s such a specific and polite reason to have a crush and I’m charmed by it.)
While I don’t think this is a show everyone will love on account of its slow pacing, I’m glad it exists because I’m glad people like this exist and are celebrated on reality TV, sometimes niceness is necessary, even if nothing much happens as a result.