<– (I’m going to kidnap him!)
Someone pinch me! Did I really finish watching 16 eps of Reply 1997? I just can’t believe that I finished it. It was amazing! I just did not want it to end; it felt too soon but I guess all dramas have to come to a finish, don’t they? This drama was 16 eps of complete goodness and nothing else. This drama was amazing and I am ever so so so glad that I decided to give it a go and watch it. When I first heard that this drama was about the past, I thought that it would be boring and not my style. But when I watched it, it was just my style.
This drama really delivered in portraying the life of a teenager, especially during 1997 in Korea when fangirling was a a tradition. This is something that almost all viewers can related to, whether they were alive as a teenager during the 90’s or not and whether they live in Korea or not, because the way that this drama was made is very accurate. The ups and downs of a teenager was done so well, especially with other subthemes in between including that of high school, romance and relationships.
This drama is really one of the better k-dramas that I have seen ever since I started watching k-dramas. I know that I say a lot of dramas are creative (because honestly, they are) but this one is beyond creative. I don’t even think creative is fit enough to describe this drama, maybe smart would be a better word for it. It is because how this drama smartly flashes back between the past and present time that makes this drama so interesting to watch. Furthermore, there are clues leading to the two mysteries that we all want to know – who is the couple that is getting married and who is Shi Won’s hubby – that keeps viewers intrigued with ep after ep. Everything in this drama, from the flashbacks to the clues and everything in between, leads to question after question for the viewers and these questions are not answered until the end/near-end. This is why I loved this drama, because it kept me interesting throughout its entire run.
Watching everything unfold, especially the secrets, I was surprised that the mystery couple was revealed in six eps, because honestly I actually thought the couple would be Shi Won (Jung Eun Ji) and Yoon Jae (Seo In Guk). Then again, I guess if the mystery couple was Shi Won and Yoon Jae the story would kind of be quite boring since it is almost a given that they would end up together. After the revelation I thought that nothing more shocking could come but when the “whose the baby’s daddy” mystery was revealed, I was just going “OMG, whose the baby’s daddy?”. From the bottom of my heart I knew it was Yoon Jae, but what this drama does so well is make you doubt your answer! Her tight relationship with the Yoon brothers really makes me wonder who will succeed and hold onto Shi Won’s heart. Of course I was rooting for Shi Won and Yoon Jae but this drama just makes me doubt the outcome. The deal was litereally sealed by ep 14 when Shi Won and Yoon Jae confessed their feelings for each other but yet they still had to make the hospital scene at the end of ep 15 and start of ep 16 when both brothers coming rushing in, huffing and puffing. See, this drama has the charm to make you doubt yourself! Ahhhh, this drama just leaves you wanting to continue watching because there was so much that for me as a viewer that I desperately had to know.
See, the reason why this drama is so smart is that it manages to hold onto its viewers. the mysteries was just one of the magnets. I especially loved that clues were left here and there for viewers to pick up and glue together. And then when we think we have the pieces together, another clue is thrown in to make us doubt our result. I really love the way that this drama tries to lead viewers in to different directions. Once we think we are heading in the right direction, we are made to doubt our path. We know what path we are heading but the way that this drama is set out, it tries to lure us to head to a different path.
What I also really loved about this drama is how each ep is structured. Each ep was based around a theme and by the end of it, it solved a lot of questions yet made you ask some more questions. I especially loved how each ep began because some of them would being quite randomly (like one ep where it began with Yoon Jae at hospital with a broken arm) and that would make you question what happened. Then it will take you on a ride either before that event or after that event. I loved this ending where the group were taking a picture and Yoon Jae fell and broke his arm before Shi Won scared him with a fake frog because a. that explains his broken arm, b. that reminds us of them back when they were still together as a group of high school friends and c. how Reply 1997 started.
The themes were beautifully executed here, and none of them hindered behind one another. Instead, each theme helps to establish one another. This drama is amazing in the way that they re-created a teenager’s life. It shows all the ups and downs and problems that one would face from love, school, friendship and family. Furthermore, set in the 90’s and in Korea, it really allowed fangirling to grow and develop on each of the characters. I actually really enjoyed how the pop stars managed to influence each of the characters, whether it was directly or indirectly. For Shi Won and Yoo Jung it was only natural for them to fangirl and as for the boys, they were affected one way or another by the girls’ fangirling. The other themes were all brilliant with the way that they could connect to one another. One of my favourite themes here is family. For Yoon Jae, he only had his brother as a family. The two bros would do anything for one another, even giving up a girl. During ep 15, when Tae Woong (Song Jong Ho) told Yoon Jae that he would not give up Shi Won for him, I am sure that it is a lie because whether he wants to admit it or not, firstly, Shi Won does not like him and secondly, he loves his baby brother more than anything. If Yoon Jae told his brother back then, 8 years ago, that he likes Shi Won, Tae Woong would give up Shi Won, just like 8 years later when he gave her up. (Sometimes while watching this I think that Tae Woong says that he likes Shi Won because of what happened to her sister.) I just love Shi Won’s relationship with her parents! Her relationship with her parents are the way that all child-parent relationships should be! He father would yell at her but that’s because he loves her while her mother would always stand by her side regardless of what she does. Even though the family for Yoo Jung and the other three boys were not emphasised, it doesn’t mean that family does not play an important role in their lives because the six of them as friends is a family right there.
I actually can’t believe that the majority of these stars are just idol stars with scant acting experience. They have great chemistry together and their acting skills actually exceed that of newbie actors. I believe that this is due to such a strong cast, strong storyline and great chemistry that they all share. I’m not an actor or anything but with all the dramas that I have seen, all the cast here really do share great chemistry and acting skills for newbies (seriously, compare it with To The Beautiful You (AKA For You In Full Blossom) and you will see). I actually find that all of the characters, but especially the leads, have a really close chemistry with each other. Watching them you can see that they are all really at ease with each other. Maybe it is the cast themselves or the story but there is something that bonds them together to have such powerful chemistry.
One of my favourite relationships here is Yoon Jae with my darling Joon Hee (Hoya from INFINITE). Poor Joon Hee who has a crush towards Yoon Jae since high school but never revealed his feelings because he knows who Yoon Jae likes. I love that even though Yoon Jae found about Joon Hee’s feelings he never told Joon Hee that he knew. He didn’t even change the relationship or atmosphere between them and instead kept it at that close friend feeling. I really love that Yoon Jae is able to retain such a relationship despite his knowledge because if he reveals it, it will potentially alter their relationship and plus, if Joon Hee wants to say it he will say it.
Shi Won, oh Shi Won! Isn’t she the strongest character of the bunch? I love her! She gets what she wants and it doesn’t matter what she wants because she is going to get it. She wants a ring on her birthday? It’s there. She wants to get into college/university and she does. She wants to have Yoon Jae and she gets him. Whether it is with her friends or her parents, she manages to do what she wants. See, what I love about her relationship with Yoon Jae is that she got him when she wanted him. When Yoon Jae wanted her he didn’t get her because he lost her to his brother. I think that when Shi Won was with Tae Woong she was still trying to figure out where her feelings lies but really her feelings were all there, all that she has to do is to dig inside her and find her feelings. For us as the viewers we could definitely see that when she is with Tae Woong she doesn’t have that charisma and flutter that she has when she is around Yoon Jae. Even though it is around 8 years later, I am glad she figured out her feelings or else Yoon Jae would have been lonely forever!
<– Such a cute family!
Why must Yoon Jae be such an adorable guy!? In his life there are only two people who he loves most – his brother and Shi Won. I really love this one scene when she was being stalked and he dropped everything just to rush to her side! Adorable! He cares for them both and would do anything for them, even giving up Shi Won for his brother. However, despite how much he wanted to remove his heart for her it did not work. He skipped off from seeing her for 6 years and despite that, when he met her again his love for her come rushing back. Like Joon Hee said, “You can’t choose who you love” so you have to work towards who you love! I love his relationship with Shi Won because they aren’t just a couple but they are also two friends who grew up with each other. He treats her how he always has and unknowingly fell in love with her. I just love seeing them together, because even when they become a couple they don’t change for each other. They still talk with each other the same way that they always have and I just love their hand gestures with each other (he would swipe her face and she would tickle his chin).
Tae Woong is such an amazing brother. He would do anything for his brother, even give up a chance at a better career. I really love the way that he treats Yoon Jae. When Yoon Jae wasn’t answering his phone, Tae Woong dropped everything to rush home just to make sure that Yoon Jae was safe. I just love how these two brothers are willing to make sacrifices for each other. When he was with Shi Won, I had doubts about his feelings for her, and like I have mentioned before (I think) I think he was with her because she could not let go of his feelings for her sister. But who knows? Luckily he and Yoon Jae did not end up fighting for the same girl!
I actually enjoyed Shi Won’s and Yoo Jung’s (Shin So Yul) friendship, that is until it died away once Yoo Jung got herself a boyfriend. I miss seeing them together and watching them fangirl over H.O.T. What they both have is true friendship. I was so touched when Yoo Jung cut her hair for Shi Won. Now that’s friendship! I enjoyed watching Yoo Jung as both a friend and a girlfriend. She has similar yet different personalities when she assumes the different identities. When she is with the group she is more closed off but when she is with Hok Chan she is very demanding and open.
Ahahahahas, Hok Chan (Eun Ji Won, former Sechs Kies leader/member) (btw, I did not know he was in his 30’s! I thought he was in his early 20’s!) is such a sweet boyfriend! He is scared around girls so I was surprised that he managed the courage to ask Yoo Jung out. I love that whenever he gets her mad he will always make it up to her (and she falls for his ways too easily). I loved it when she said that they should break up at the crab restaurant and he didn’t even take the hint that it was her birthday! Dork! I totally LOLed when he gave her that pillow as an apology/birthday present. She is really going to break up with you when she finds out that that pillow is not meant for her! I can’t believe that she doesn’t see through all the things that he has hidden from her which includes not being pure! I was actually surprised that they were the mystery couple because I honestly did not see them being a couple until the lead up in ep 6. Anyway, they look so adorable together and you would not even recognise any age difference between them.
Joon Hee, my Hoya! Why must you be so damn cute, good-looking and innocent for? I loved loved loved his character! He has so much feelings that he kept hidden insider him because he knows that if he reveals it, it will change everything. He did so much for Yoon Jae; he even wanted to go into the army force because Yoon Jae wanted to get in yet he is willing to put his feelings hidden because he knows what his friend feels and so he would rather hurt himself. As long as Yoon Jae is happy, that is all that matters. I am just glad that he is able to move on because he deserves to be loved! (I love you!) He is also such an amazing friend, to everyone of them.
I was actually quite disappointed with the limited role of Sung Jae (Lee Shi Eon) but then again, I preferred the other characters over him. I just enjoyed that he was there to round up the other characters. What I loved the most was the touching scene between him and the granny whom he helped to change the light bulb. That was sweet!
What is there not to love about mummy and daddy Sung? They are easily amazing parents! Ahahahas, I just laugh every time when daddy Sung has that shock expression whenever he sees the factory of food that his wife has made. Mummy Sung must have a lot of time on her hands to make that much food! I love that they are always there for Shi Won, despite Daddy Sung constantly yelling at her. Regardless of what they do, they both love Shi Won very much.
I loved all the cameo appearances here and I was glad that Tae Woong was able to score himself a wife, so that makes a happy ending for the brothers!
My biggest surprise from this drama was that Shi Won and Yoon Jae were on their way to having their second child already! Things happen fast between them! Really, I just can’t believe that they managed five years together as a couple with a child between them. Ahahahahas!
I loved loved loved this drama to bits! This drama just AMAZING! This drama ought to be on everyone’s must-watch list!