Must Watch TV: Girls’ Generation 1979

I just finished a little gem of a drama and wanted to make sure everyone checks it out. This is a pretty spoiler free review. Which means there are only a few things in here that you wouldn’t find in a synopsis. But if you hate any kind of spoilers then you may not want to read, just go watch the drama and come back and I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with my love for this coming of age feel good show. Girls’ Generation 1979 centers around a group of teens in Daegu in 1979. The story seamlessly weaves the simple bliss of first loves, with the harsh truths of that time.

Lee Jung Hee is the main character and the one I connected with the most. Her relationship with the new girl Jung Hye Joo ends up being the true love story of this drama. Everyone hopes they were more like Hye Joo: sweet, smart, beautiful, and always seemed to put others needs before her own. But I bet if we are all honest with ourselves we really were more like Jung Hee: who was selfish, petty, easily jealous and whined when she didn’t get her way. Okay, maybe you were a saint as a teen, but I wasn’t. But I grew up, and I learned to care about others.

The love triangle the girls find themselves in (okay it was really a tangled ball of yarn because everyone liked someone other than who liked them for most of the show.) is the source of the tension between Jung Hee and Hye Joo and the way they navigate through their problems was so realistic. Each time feelings were hurt or there was a misunderstanding, they’d eventually come back together and talk things out. It was funny how many times Jung Hee admitted to herself that she hated Hye Joo, but in the next scene she’d do something to support her.

Of course, we can’t forget that tangled ball of yarn. One fateful day Jung Hee meets the local heartthrob Son Jin Oppa. And at first there’s a glimmer of hope that he’ll pick her out of all his adoring fans.

But fate also brings a new girl around the same time. You can’t fault Son Jin for falling for Hye Joo. She’s from SEOUL, and really pretty.

Son Jin is a very normal popular boy played by Yeo Hoi Hyeon who I hope to see more of in the future. But his character is completely overshadowed by the dorky and totally sexy under those glasses Bae Dong Moon. This boy’s undying love for Jung Hee and his persistence was everything to me. He’s goofy and awkward and I loved him for it.

I felt like most of the side characters were plucked from the writer’s memory and it created such a rich story. Jung Hee’s overbearing father never treats her equal to her twin brother, and the way he talks to her made me cringe so hard, yet I knew those very words were spoken to so many girls of that time.

The two teachers at the girls’ school that stood out are the bra snapping homeroom teacher. Yes, he snaps their bras as punishment. The way he caters to Hye Joo when she shows up, because she is smart and has a professor for a father, is super slimy and made me want to slap him.

Then there’s the drill sergeant gym teacher who is stern and punishes anyone who disobeyed, but she cares for her students and looks out for them. She also has a hilarious crush on the local thug.

The local thug being the totally swoony Young Choon played by Lee Jong Hyun. This is my favorite character from him so far. His back story is kept hazy, but he’s hard working and the way he takes care of his little sister just warms my heart. He is also part of that ball of yarn because Hye Joo becomes smitten with him pretty fast. I loved their romance and would say it’s equal to Jung Hee’s relationship in importance.

There are more characters, but those are the main ones that make up the landscape. This eight-episode drama unfolded like a novel (probably because that’s what it was based on). It takes you through the highs and lows of falling in love and then realizing they like someone else. The feeling of hating the new girl but not knowing why. The hopeful first glimpses of women’s rights: rallying against injustice and being willing to run your ass off to stand by your opinion. Eventually getting past your petty ways and realizing that your friendships are more important than those silly crushes.

I feel like all the main characters grew before our eyes, struggling and trying to make their way in the world. Being a teenager is painful and awful while you’re living in it, but it can be delicious to watch from a far. Especially if there are cute boys and smart girls to endure all the hard parts for you.

 

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Drama With a Side of Kimchi

 

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2 thoughts on “Must Watch TV: Girls’ Generation 1979

  1. I also just finished watching this gem today and loved it as well but you forgot to mention the awesome music that truly enhanced the joy of watching this drama.

  2. I really liked this drama as well. Some major plot points from the novel that were touted in the publicity for the show weren’t addressed (I’m assuming due to the short length of the series),but even without them the show was very well done and I enjoyed the nostalgic vibe. This drama really flew under the radar while airing, so I hope more people will watch it now.

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