Reply 1988 : drama discussion

Friday, April 14, 2017

Reply 1988 is a South Korean drama set in the year 1988 which focuses on the lives of 5 childhood friends, their families, and growing up. Reply 1988 aired from November 6, 2015 to January 16,2016 on tvn.

Greetings! This is my first ever korean drama review on my blog. I have been anticipating on reviewing one since I do watch a handful of these. It is my greatest pleasure to review an amazing drama that made me laugh, cry, and realize that youth is truly a beautiful thing.

Sit somewhere comfortable, get some tea, sit back, this will probably be long.

Reply 1988 is the third installment to the Reply anthology. Following the release of reply 1997, and reply 1994.

I have yet to watch Reply 1994 but I finished Reply 1997 years ago. I had no intentions of watching this drama, I felt that Reply 1997 was a nice drama and all but not enough to make the other shows appeal to me. However, one day I saw a clip of Park Bo Gum’s scene in the series and as petty as I might sound, I watched it because of him. I had no background of what the story is about. I dived into the series blind. And as I went through each episode I fell in love with the people of ssangmundong.

Reply 1988 is one of the most heartwarming and familiar drama I have ever seen. Unlike its predecessors, Reply 1988 focused mainly on the family aspect and not about who marries who, still the bitter sweet romance between the characters is still there. This drama has the perfect combination of family, coming of age and romance, that’s why it came out poignant, beautiful and touching.

The characters are well rounded. I have never seen a cast of actors be as comfortable as these  people are in the set. The perfect casting resulted to  a  well-blended chemistry of the contradicting personas of the leads. They are like a rainbow. Shining, wholesome, beautiful on their own but when mixed together they create a magnificent view. The Dooly 5, also known as the Ssangmundong 5 are the epitome of the friendship one could ever ask for. It’s real that you can actually imagine 5 kids in your block having that kind of relationship. The parent’s friendship is also a vital point in this story that will move you to tears.

Like I said earlier, this drama’s focus is not on the romantic love alone. The friendship in this drama is astounding to the point that one will sacrifice his love for the sake of keeping the loyalty intact. The family drama will hit definitely hit home. Since most of the characters are young adults, the parents had a lot to say and played a great role in their character development.

This drama is set in 1988, meaning you actually see Korea in a time capsule. It’s fascinating to learn about the pop culture trends at that era and the political issues that shaken the country. I think that this drama is well researched, the retro vibe, thanks to the music that I’m currently listening to right now, adds a sense of nostalgia.

The romantic development between characters is good as well. However, I will not go deeper on this topic because I could go on, and on *coughs, especially Kim Jung Hwan* .

The ending of 1988 is a bitter sweet moment for me. Looking at the ending disregarding my bias over some other characters, I can still  say that it wasn’t executed flawlessly. I didn’t like the way the feelings of Deok sun was shown, it was very 2 dimensional and baseless I daresay. Deok Sun is a strong woman, despite experiencing struggles towards her studies she still became a successful person in life but  I’m afraid her emotional development became vague as the final episodes aired. I didn’t see the fire in her eyes to get her love, I didn’t see her fight for it, unlike the fact that she worked so hard for her dreams to come true, I felt that her romantic relationship became very convenient, it was she was just standing on the receiving end waiting for someone to “love” her. In summation, her voice was lost, taken from her. Despite this, the sweet story of the family and friends of ssangmundong still lives on, the scene where everyone started leaving the compound was emotional to watch seeing these people grow together and learn from each other. There were also characters I felt were given in justice by their endings, but it will take ages for me to stop writing.

A little bit of sloppy scriptwriting cost Reply 1988 to be at the top of its game, but still, the heart, the purpose of the show to showcase a story about family and friendship is still there, the friendships, laughter, heartaches that we will forever cherish and is still embedded in our mind and hearts, and for that. I thank you Reply 1988 for giving me a story that I will never forget. 

All in all, this drama is a must watch one! It is definitely one of my top 5. Have you seen Reply 1988? What are your thoughts? Are you #TeamJungHwan or #TeamTaek cause I’m on the former, definitely.

"Time will always flow. Everything will pass by and age. Maybe that is why youth is beautiful"


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