Single by 30, a YouTube Red Original series where Joanna and Peter make a pact in high school to marry each other if they found themselves single by 30.
In Single by 30, created by Philip Wang and Wesley Chan using Wong Fu Productions who are known for making several YouTube Red Original Series, we start with our main characters Joanna (Kina Grannis) and Peter (Harry Shum Jr.) meeting at a diner after school having a conversation about Peter’s earlier failed dating attempt.
Joanna lets Peter know she would have been happy to be Peter’s backup date for the night if only he contacted her. Peter is shown as a decent guy when he explains that he didn’t want to make Joanna a backup date. Joanna then brings up that she had heard that her friend Wes has a new Nintendo Gamecube that she wants to play with and invites Peter to come play with her at Wes’s house. We learn that Joanna has a free spirited personality than Peter that distinguishes itself with Peter’s more serious personality. The talk about the Nintendo Gamecube sets the timeline for us because the Nintendo Gamecube was launched in 2001.
Getting back to their conversation, Peter declines the offer to play video games because he wants to apply for colleges. In this chat, we learn that Joanna and Peter are in their senior year of high school and that Peter is more focused toward being successful and his future than Joanna who wants Peter to relax and enjoy his senior year.
Peter then explains that going with the flow is going to lead him to have a future where he still lives with his parents, as a single and jobless free loader. This leads Joanna to share with Peter that they can make backup plans so that they would have a more certain future. This backup plan is that if they were single by the age of 30 they would marry each other.
They make this pact, which gives us the underlying bond between Joanna and Peter, by hitting their milkshake glasses to a toast and then we fast forward quickly to the lives of Joanna and Peter a decade later.
Peter has gotten into his family printing business where we find he is single and about to turn 30. Joanna has a new look and is back in her hometown from her adventure in Singapore single after a long-term relationship.
We learn about both Joanna and Peter slowly as they seem to have both forgotten about each other due to where their lives had led them. It doesn’t take long until Joanna is settled in her apartment and eventually Mark (Eric Ochoa), Peter’s best friend, creates a birthday party event for Peter because he wants Peter to enjoy his last day at 29.
Joanna’s mutual friend with Peter gets invited to his party and so Joanna decides to go see Peter at his birthday party to reconnect with her new roommate who is the sister of their mutual friend. When Joanna and Peter finally saw each other they said their hello’s and a bit relieving to see their characters finally together.
It’s the conversations after their hello’s where Joanna and Peter catch up and learn about each other once again. Their slow reconnection is a change from other shows where you’re rushed into learning about each character’s morals, personalities, and past.
Joanna brings up their pact after a couple conversations and Peter agrees to go through with their pact after Joanna brings up a twist. They’ll both help each other date other people up until Joanna turns 30 in the next few months. If even then, they have not found another person to marry, then their original pact still stands. This is what leads us into the next few episodes in the season.
Currently, there are only four episodes in the first season of Single by 30. Each episode is about 25 minutes and each episode begins with a flashback of Peter and Joanna’s memories in high school which further confirms their friendship history to the audience.
The connection we receive between the characters of Joanna and Peter makes the viewer want to root for them to begin a relationship even while they date others. We are left at the end of episode four with the contrast between Peter and Joanna’s friendship relationship and their best friend’s relationship between Mark and Chloe (Hillary Anne Matthews), Joanna’s roommate, that is spontaneous and sexual.
Tiffany Lo and Ethel Lung who wrote the script for Single by 30 did a fabulous job establishing the relationship between Joanna and Peter and leaving us wondering what will be next of these two. Will they ever get married? Will they meet someone else before Joanna turns 30?
This series will have you subscribe to Wong Fu Productions YouTube channel anticipating the notification for the next episode of Single by 30.