It is finally the end of my journey to explore Ssangmeun-dong, Seoul in 1988 where I was not even born yet, but my heart was there through the drama. This adorable heartwarming drama series has been my drugs for these gloomy January days in 2016. It is like a warm cup of tea for every episode I watched, or a mom’s stroke, or a friend’s hug. It just feels so comfortable. I was a fan of 1997, I haven’t seen the 1994, but all the raves and the soundtracks (I heard the soundtracks first yesss!), I was determined to watch this drama no matter what. As soon as I knew the drama came to an end, I rushed to get the dvds and watched them night to night. I missed doing house chores and stuff, and believe me… the episode is quiet lengthy. It is almost 2 hours long per episode, I never felt bored. Not even once! It is one of those dramas that I was dying to know the ending but want it to last forever.
It is the third installment of ‘REPLY’ franchise. I love how’s the director, Shin Won Ho keeps the element of the flashback galore from the previous installments. We see the same parents (Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa being parents for the main girl for the three installments). Maybe, it is a bit confusing if we related the timelines, but I learn to not trying too much to rationalize it. Instead, I enjoyed to see familiar things around. I believe every other people will agree that they enjoy the squeaking lamb sound, the parents’ Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa, and the warmest feeling from families and friends.
We are in the setting of a neighborhood with 4 houses and 5 families. We are introduced to a girl named Sung Duk Seon (Hyeri), a guy who is called,dog, Kim Jung Hwan (Ryu Jun Yeol, my new fave oppa!!), the class president, the noble boy, Song Seung Woo (Go Kyung Pyo), Ryu Dong Ryeong (Lee Dong Hwi) and Choi Taek (Park Bo Gum) the professional baduk player as the five pions of this installment.
Sung Duk Seon as said is not really bright in study so does Ryu Dong Ryeong whose father is actually the dean in his high school. While Jung Hwan and Sung Woo are the brightest among them. Taek on the other hand is the professional Baduk player (and I love seeing the same Baduk academy and the baduk president in Misaeng); thus, he goes to Baduk academy instead of the regular high school. They grow up together, sleep together, and watch movies together, sharing the bads and the goods together. Taking care of each other.
The show also showcases the families of the five. Duk Seon’s poor but warm family with parents, an older sister (Ryu Hee Yeong), and a younger brother (Choi Sung Won). Jung Hwan is the rich family with parents (Ra Miran and Kim Sung Kyun) and an older brother Jung Bong ( Ahn Jae Hong). Ryu Dong Ryeong lives with his busy parents (Yoo Jae Myung and Yoo Ji Soo). Sung Woo lives with her single mom (Kim Sun Yeong) and an adorably cutest little sister Jin Joo (Kim Sul). Lastly, Taek lives with his single dad (Choi Moo Song).
The five have spent the brightest days of their youth with first love lane in line. There was a real fight between love and friendship. Also, to my liking, I love how the parents are also showing the same things. Parents have stories too. It has been made in a realistic way. Many side stories along our five heroes; brothers’ love story, a classmate’s story, and so on. For other perspective, it can be the down-parts, but surprisingly, the magic works, it turns out to be their strength. Albeit episodes were too long for a drama, viewers were kept and stayed tune. Every story is the right supply to the main story. We can see our five heroes’ relations to their parents. Ryu Dong Young who actually misses her mom’s cook, Choi Taek who finally knows that his father cares so much about him, Sung Woo who is trying to understand his mom more, and I love to see the affection of Jung Hwan and his mom while he is just a very preserved man, but deep down in his heart, he definitely has a very soft and warm heart.
Again, tvN gives us a plate of reality. It was well-made. Not a boring cliche. They put drama element in it for sure, and at the same time raises an everyday issue. We will not see a big company fighting for winning stokes, or a mysterious murderer, we just see sisters fighting in the morning, a mother who gets through a menopause, a father who gets an early retirement, a friend who has a hemorrhoids, or friend in love with another friend, and other friend knows about it. The damned part, he is too hesitant to admit that he also likes the girl ;).
Overall, I am so thankful to be a witness for this roller-coster emotions drama. One time I laughed, other time I cried, I gave my sympathy, and I love them. Aaah… thank you 1988. You are one good show.
We will not move on without mentioning the casts and soundtracks right? It is my bad habit to root on these two. I have been seriously aware that I pay attention too much on characters/casts and soundtracks these past months (blaming one particular drama *cough..misaeng..cough*). We will see familiar casts from previous installments. Also, we will see the new ensemble of friendships.
I have seen Hyeri’s performance once before, and getting to know that she is a girl group member, my expectation was hitting low. However, she nails it a big time! She’s actually lucky because she gets into a right direction and with other amazing casts, she successfully portrays Sung Duk Seon nicely and I just grow so much love on her.The four men are just perfect. I am not expecting to love Jung Hwan’s character very much, and also sympathize Teok’s character in the end.
Ryu Jun Yeol is not the handsome guy that we spot immediately (be honest!!), but he plays his own charm to make us love Jung Hwan’s character more and more. He successfully portrays Jung Hwan as the fidgeting man of men, but he is actually super cooooolll!!! I definitely pick him as my number one oppa! (LOL!) Sung Woo is the boy next door, the dream guy of every innocent girl as a lover or a brother, Go Kyung Pyo is the perfect fit. I always put my eyes on Kyung Pyo for every drama that he appears. He is a total handsome guy, but he can pull off any character finely. I love his affection to Jin Joo the best, and to his girl friend too. And how can Go Kyung Pyo cry that well??? (spoilerrr! haha).
Lee Dong Hwi is just a fun to watch. Hahaha, without him, this 5 friends is not completed. Park Bo Gum on the other hand is just super cuteeee. Toooo cute. If there is a fan battle, I am originally a Jung Hwan’s ally, but trough the end, I now know why Teok is so loved. He’s toooo cuteeeeeeee ( I love him in Hello Monster too!).
As for the parents, my favorite mom is RA MI RAN!! Do You hear me??? She is that mother who only deals with men at home making him looked like a super cool mom. And oh that chemistry with Kim Sung Kyun is just… melting my heart. I also salute to Kim Sung Kyun. I want a father like him! hahahaha. Hiiiii Kim Sajjang!!! Kim Sun yeong as Sung Woo’s mom is also catching my attention. Where have I been? How on earth, I never knew about her. And oh, these three ahjummas are very pretty in real world!!
I love to be back in the 80s and 90s. I recognize the familiar surroundings, I was there when walkman was a hype, a baggy jeans were on, and transition from analogue to digital. It’s nice to be back. Reply 1988 is really emphasizing the communal living. Old ways of living, when people don’t own an individual gadget, where living room is still lively with parents fighting with their kids what to watch, eating together at dinner time, and when people have times, they would spend their break at their friends’ houses. Whereas now, we eat at restaurant with our parents, but out attention is on our phones. Dining table is not busy, only one person eat there, living room is empty, and people now prefer to meet at coffee shop instead of visiting each other houses. I was there once where I followed my mom to visit her friend’s houses once in a while. It was so much more friendlier and cozier. Ah… Salute to the production teams who worked hard on details. Old brands and advertisements, not to mention the goofy old school hair styles 🙂
As for the soundtracks, sigh, nothing much I can say. I am an old school person, pretty conservative, and i enjoy oldies. I am pretty familiar with Korean oldies because of Immortal Songs 2 show. But, this drama is just like a radio show about oldies. I love the original recordings and the remakes. And yes my favorite singers are there for remaking; Kim Feel, Lee Juck, Oh Yeok, Noel, and December. However, I got struck by this phenomenal rock band named N.E.X.T.
Thank you 1988 for taking me back in time, making me thinking of what I have been doing for this 27 years of living. I am glad to know about how parents are only worried about their children, seeing hesitations of friends who is in love with other friend, the struggle we face when our parent is re-marry. I have been there, and I really knew about Jung Hwan’s and Sung Woo’s situation. Ah.. I hope that the world is just like this neighborhood where you are dare to stand for each other from the smallest to the biggest matter. To be always there, to share food, and give shelters, or only a small pat on the back. Cheerrs!!!
“A time so warm and innocent that I miss it painfully. Do you hear me? If you do, answer me, my ’88, my days of youth.” – Duk Seon
NOTE: all pictures are credits to Dramabeans
Production House: tvN
Director: Shin Won Ho
Writer: Lee Woo Jung
Casts: Hyeri, Ryu Jun Yeol, Go Kyung Pyo, Park BoGum, Lee Dong Hwi, Ra Miran, Sun Dong Il, Lee Il Hwa, Kim Sun Yeong, Choi Moo Song, Kim Sung Kyun,
Site: ASIAN WIKI