Answer Me 1988 ~ Episode 1 Diary ~ DramajjangKwon Sang Seung 2016-01-18
“In the end, what helps you overcome obstacles isn’t brains,
But someone who will take your hand and won’t let it go.
In the end, that’s family.”
I decided to enter the world of Reply 1988 right after it ended. You see, I wanted to remain unaffected by the renowned ship wars concerning who the husband would be simply because the previous two installments, especially Reply 1994, were so much more than shipping, including shipping! This is my only expectation concerning Reply 1988, to witness South Korea from 1988 and on through the directing team’s lenses, the storyline’s flow and the cast’s interpretation along with the vibes that accompanied that era of one of my favorite countries.
I am going to watch Reply 1988 as another grand declaration of youth with everything deriving from it while taking into consideration the chronological period it takes place and gradually marching towards the future. I am not a fan of lengthy episodes, not at all, but Reply 1994 managed to change my point of view concerning the drama itself simply because it became one of my favorite dramas for everything it preserved. I could relate to it in many ways and negative opinions here and there will never be enough to outweigh even a grain of sand of what it means to me.
Having Reply 1994 feels in my heart and putting my trust in Reply 1988’s background I was more than ready to set aside the lengthy episodes for one more time hoping for another great journey while wishing that it will reach Reply 1994’s grandeur to say the least; or even surpass it! Eventually, I will start guessing and shipping as well. After all, a drama-watching experience without shipping is like an ice-cream forgotten out of the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes. However, I won’t let any forthcoming shipping vibes and/or complications ruin my journey for reasons I already explained, or at least i will try! I mean, it worked in Reply 1994!
Oh, I nearly forgot, I also want to witness Hyeri nullifying all these haters that were badmouthing her ever since she was announced as the main female lead, but after the drama started airing all these voices somehow were silenced! Hyeri is doing more than fine i presume, but i wonder, where are all these haters? Quite a rhetorical question, don’t you think?
Alright, the first episode, as expected, introduced the families living on the same block while laying a bit more emphasis on some of them since it was just the beginning of Reply 1988. I loved the neighborhood vibes the drama evoked at its birth pangs as they were highly representative of how neighborhoods used to be two and more decades ago, not only in Korea, but pretty much “everywhere” I think. Nothing was going unnoticed, but not necessarily in a bad manner of speaking since one way or another people were closer, unlike nowadays.
Nostalgia has always been one of the Reply series’ most essential factors and I am glad that it stroke me gently from the drama’s very beginning! To name just a few, the reference to Ms. Jimena from Carrusel and the main theme from Ghostbusters echoing in the room were enough to do the talking! Along with the overall neighborhood ambiance, Reply 1988 intends to dive in the very core of every family involved in the drama which automatically takes Reply 1994’s approach to a brand new level. There are also characteristics that were more powerful back then, like the whole family waiting for the father to come back from work, the mother taking care of the family’s money, families exchanging dishes, etc.
We found ourselves days before the 1988 Seoul Olympics’ opening ceremony while witnessing Duk Sun’s course as a picket girl. Her arch devastation the moment she found out that she wouldn’t appear at the opening ceremony since Madagascar had canceled its participation due to affiliations with North Korea was set aside since she eventually appeared on the TV with Uganda’s team because of her hard work! She may not be the greatest student, but she’s got a quirky and dynamic personality!
Being the middle child of her family left its own impact upon her since she wasn’t enjoying the same “conveniences” the firstborn and youngest child of the family were treasuring. Her outburst was emotionally charged and justified in a manner of speaking as a plea for affectionate attention in order for her parents to start taking into consideration her own wishes. The moment her father unveiled his own course on parenthood and the different points of view after each of his children were born was heartfelt while explaining that he was still learning how to be a father and granting her the wish of celebrating her own birthday in that humble way.
When it comes to her emotional eruptions, but also being unafraid to look “ugly” while remaining hilarious to the fullest, Hyeri was wonderful in the first episode. Her comical side was more than apparent in Seonam Girls High School Investigators and I am glad to find it here as well and to a wider extent! And it’s only the beginning! That love-hate sisterly relationship between Duk Sun and Bo Ra (Ryu Hye Young) is definitely something!
I am also intrigued by the various faces of familial approach when it comes to their children concerning smoking and other issues they may be facing, but they prefer to keep as a secret. The fact that Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa are once again our main female lead’s parents in the third installment of the Reply series made me more than happy, they have left their own impact in dramaland when it comes to parenthood through hard times and quirkiness! The block ahjummas are hilarious even though they have to face their own problems and I like how they try to filter their concerns through a brighter prism by standing united. It was a great surprise finding here Reply 1994’s Samchunpo as Jung Hwan’s father, I couldn’t stop laughing with his ever-expanding lunacy! I am eager to find out the destination of his attitude!
Except for Duk Sun, the episode laid emphasis on Jung Hwan (Ryu Joon Yul) mainly and secondly on Dong Ryong (Lee Dong Hwi) as it was steadily weaving just one side of seniority’s most ill-natured characteristics ending up in humiliation, exploitation and bullying. Jung Hwan’s emotionally rigid by his own demons face was definitely brightened by Duk Sun’s appearance on the TV! Go Kyung Pyo’s character’s side of the story as Sun Woo was also heartfelt with his mother being overly concerned about him in the absence of his father who had passed away. There’s a sense of economical struggle lurking in the air, but Sun Woo’s loving attitude towards his younger sister and his mother were keeping the clouds away at times.
The first impressions of Reply 1988 were the ones i was craving for, as for the 2nd episode, i am looking forward to dive deeper in Taek (Park Bo Gum) and Dong Ryong’s backgrounds! Nostalgia, humor and feels i can’t wait to greet you to a wider extent, but at the same time i intend to keep watching at a slower pace since i’m not in a rush due to the carbon monoxide! Until the next time, diary.
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Kwon Sang Seung
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