Answer Me 1988 Episode 16: Skewed Focus

We only have four episodes left of 1988, with no new episodes next week . (Sorry about the misinformation in the last post.)

I loved this episode, there were so many great/funny moments. I feel so close to all the characters, I consider them friends more than fictional characters.

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When the happy afterglow wore off, I started asking myself some questions. Like, if we only have four episodes left, why are we only in 1989? I wonder if it has something to do with needing new sets and costumes for the future when production is already behind.

Maybe that’s why it was delayed a week. I just hope they don’t rush a crap ending because of this. Long as the episodes are, not much progress has been made on the plot since the beginning.

I’m not mad or anything, I just want it to end well.

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Okay, well, maybe I’m a little upset, but none of the OTP triangle has had a kiss yet. What’s up with that?

Moving on. This episode doesn’t take any time to warm up, opening with a conversation between Taek and Jung Hwan. Jung Hwan is doing what he always does, that is, taking care of Taek. Taek is doing the same-old stuff, too. i.e. saying he’s fine while we can clearly see he’s tired/hurting/in-need-of-love.

All the boys know Taek is going to confess to Duk Seon soon, and now we finally have a day. It’s going to be Saturday, after Taek’s last baduk match. Like, right after. Makes you wonder if he’s excited or if he has other motivations. Hummm…

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Duk Seon, of course, is oblivious as to why Taek is asking her out. She really is clueless about guys.

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While Taek is setting up for the date, the other three boys are discussing the possibilities.  Jung Hwan is trying to play cool like it doesn’t bother him, like always. And he gets upset when Dong Ryong suggest they tag along, like always. I’m starting to feel like we’re in a holding pattern here.

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Jung Hwan needs to stop caring about what everyone else thinks and start being himself. Because teenagers always have their identities figured out. Looks like the only cure is growing up, but when is that going to happen?

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Finally, we start a non-OTP story-line. The National Singing Contest is coming to the block’s neighborhood, and the ahjummas question entering, until they remember what happened the last time they tried to audition.

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Can these outfits be more perfect? Who wants to dress up for Halloween?

We know it didn’t go well because of the conversation beforehand, but I didn’t expect them to not get the chance to sing. All three ladies are so nervous, they end up boozing until they pass out. Ha!

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Next up is my favorite couple! Jung Bong is so cute. Can we just…

*sigh*

Jung Bong even asked Duk Seon about everything his lady likes, and he took notes.

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Forget the two hotties, I want the thoughtful one!

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#teamjungbong

If that wasn’t cute enough, Jung Bong is making his girl 1,000 paper cranes for her birthday. AND he’s going to grant her whatever she wishes. *MELTS*

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I’m really sad we didn’t get to see the rest of this story-line followed through. I want to know what she wishes for, dang it! Which reminds me, anyone else still curious about who Duk Seon got for the Secret Santa? Just me? Okay.

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The pressure is on to compete in the singing competition. Mr. Kim can’t enter himself because of his hip, and it’s his one wish. So he makes his wife promise to do it for him. There’s only one way this can end, with laughter.

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I’m going to shift gears for a second to talk about two other couples. First, Sun Woo and Bo Ra. Bo Ra is leaving to live in a hostel (the same one in 1994?) and poor Sun Woo is heart broken. Bo Ra isn’t breaking up with him, but she’s not exactly helping him either.

Second, we have Mr. Choi and Sun Woo’s mom. Finally, finally, Mr. Choi tells Taek what he’s feeling. It’s too cute. Now he needs the courage to say it to the girl he likes. *Throws hearts*

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Skipping forward to Dong Ryong, because this outfit wins. And I love that he makes everyone watch Dirty Dancing with him. Did you hear they’re doing a remake? I’m not going to see it either, blah.

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Back to the OTP, Jung Hwan left his wallet at Taek’s house. I thought Duk Seon was going to notice a picture of her in his wallet or something, but it turns out Taek is the one who see’s something. Sure enough, there is a picture of Duk Seon, and Jung Hwan has his arm around her.

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I really don’t want to be suspicious, because I like the Duk Seon/Taek ship even if it’s not going anywhere. But, as much as Taek loves his friends, he loves competition more.

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Dong Ryong is once again the sage, enlightening the viewers of the depth of Taek’s character.

Turns out there was one time when Jung Bong got the high score on a video game, and Taek went and beat it. Duk Seon thinks it’s just because Taek has a lot of free time on his hands, but he beat the score on the day of a match.

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He likes to win, just like his dad. And that’s why he’s a baduk champion. Dong Ryong assures Duk Seon Taek will win, because he has something to win for. Duk Seon doesn’t ask what, leaving her clueless about Taek’s feelings.

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As predicted, Dong Ryong is right and Taek does win. But it’s what he does with that win that scares me. I’ll talk about that more at the end.

Coming back to the singing competition. Jung Hwan’s mom has been working on her “skills” (pronounced like Napoleon Dynamite) by putting together her best dance routine.

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Dong Ryong is going to enter the competition too. And he has a great voice. His choice of song?  I Just Called to Say I Love You. Side note: I’m glad this show is before the Kpop surge so they use more songs I grew up with. It makes the nostalgia more potent as  foreign viewer. I was lost about the song choices in the other two series.

On the audition day, Jung Hwan’s mom buys some eggs. The egg seller is playing a tape for his egg sales, but the tape is stretching out. Earlier Jong Bong showed his mom how to freeze a tape so it’s like new. Major facepalm as the egg seller takes the background music for the mom’s performance.

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We come to the waiting room where the two neighbors are auditioning one right after the other. The person before them is missing. I really thought it was going to be someone else from the neighborhood. Wrong.

It’s a foreigner who has pipes to match Stevie Wonder, and he’s singing the same song. Poor Dong Ryong. I really thought he had a chance.

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Of course, his embarrassment is only upstaged by bad dancing to an egg seller’s monotone voice.  (Insert crying laughter emoji here)

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But there is someone on the block who made it through, and it’s not Duk Seon (despite her being a singer in real life) Nope, it’s grandpa-faced No Eul. His performance really was touching, and I’ll be cheering for him.

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The episode ends in a similar way it began, with Taek being Taek. We know he won his competition, but he’s cancelled his date with Duk Seon.  Why? Is it because of Jung Hwan and his love for him?

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Clearly he’s torn, but would Taek really give up the girl for his friend? I’m not so sure. Taek is a hard worker, and we know by his confession to his friends he doesn’t care about what they think of Duk Seon. So what could it be?

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I’m afraid the answer was given to us earlier in the episode, and Dong Ryong was the one to give it. Taek is competitive, and suddenly there’s a competition where there wasn’t one before. I think since Taek is a sportsman, he wants to give Jung Hwan a chance. Which is stupid.

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If I remember correctly, we’ve been here before. And it ended with my heart breaking over this beautiful smiling face. Writer-nim, if you’re going to stiff my puppy the same way you stiffed Chilbongie, I’m out.

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