“Answer Me 1988” Episode 3 – Being a Teenager is Hard….Being an Adult is Harder

a21 Sometimes it is hard being a teenager and swimming in the pool of life.  But if nothing else, “Answer Me 1988” shows that being an adult is even harder.  Because when it comes down  to it, being a teenager comes with a self absorbed mental buffer, which puts all the pressure on the adults to make things right.  But in either age it is friends that help you get through the hard times.  It is this concept of supportive friendship that I find to be the real theme of this drama.
w8So let’s chat friends and life hardships as we glance through my favorite scenes of episode 3.

Friends Give Good Advice

It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help. ~Epicurus

We open episode 3 with Duk Seon and her two school girlfriends sharing some ramyun at a local shop.  Who should also enter, but 3 of the 4 block boys, also getting their snack on.  All of them were being treated by Jung Hwan and Duk Seon gets in on the free food action by ordering more food on their tab.


Duk Seon treats the boys like usual, so it’s a good thing that Duk Seon has two girlfriends nearby to make her realize that her neighbors are  a bunch of potential soulmates.  Otherwise, she might have continued to eat free ramyun into spinsterhood.

And the future Mr. Duk Seon (at least according to her school besties) is none other than sweet, dependable, overly nice Sun Woo.  Look how he worried about Duk Seon eating….. look how he asked you for water…… look at how he touched your shoulder as he left.  It’s official, you have a boyfriend.  Queue music “Guess I Have Fallen in Love”.  Judging from Duk Seon’s expression, she really hadn’t contemplated this whole “love” thing ahead of time.


And now that Duk Seon is officially in love with the poor unsuspecting Sun Woo, things are changing around the house.  For example, when Sun Woo comes to her house at dinner time, poor Duk Seon rushes to change out of her jammies and into a skirt and top.


Doesn’t she know that someday she will dream of a time where she can relax in jammies, wooshing off her bra the first chance she gets?  (I know all you ladies out there know what I am talking about).


It probably would have worked out OK if Duk Seon also hadn’t applied a healthy amount of foundation and lipstick.  Poor thing, this is just not a good look for you.


A good friend is cheaper than therapy. ~Author Unknown

While our younger group is just starting their love lives, their parents are having to sustain the love through financial stress and in one case, a lack of a sex life. I about died laughing as Jung Hwan’s mother stares sadly at a phallic shaped sweet potato, calling her husband a thief.

a5  Then his father comes up and asks what the ahjummas are talking about (turning everything into a joke).  When one of the ahjummas says they were talking about how he is a thief, dad throws out  “A thief?  Because I stole her life from making her laugh so hard?” HAHAHA the ahjumma’s expressions says it all.

But one’s sex life must come secondary when your child’s future is at stake.  Something that is becoming apparent as we catch up with Jung Bong who is supposed to be studying for college entrance exams.  Instead, we witness him intently trying to remove a stamp from a letter for his stamp collection.


When his parents question his lack of school ambitions Jung Bong simply replies, “President Roosevelt once said there is more to be learned from stamps than from school.”


To which his mother answers with a stream of curses about his lack of consideration for his parents you (*&@)(* #$(*)$)#($#)($#*)@$#.  Which, of course, is a fantasy, while in reality she simply supports his stupid decision.  I can so relate with that feeling of wanting to lose it when your kids do stupid things.  This drama is keeping it real.


You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job. ~Laurence J. Peter

There is just something so fun when the writers make an actor play against type.  It is just such a moment when they have Duk Seon (who is a top female idol in real life) not able to do basic dances.  The poor girl has agreed to compete in a talent contest with her school besties.  Sadly, after attempting to learn the dance for three months, Duk Seon is still rhythmically lacking.  So she turns to her block boys for help.  Jung Hwan, San Woo, and Dong Ryong had done this very dance the year before and won first place.  So if anyone could help her, they could. Only it turned into a mutual horror/giggle fest.  Poor Duk Seon has no moves.  The boys offer to save up and buy her the first prize since winning it through her dancing is hopeless.

It is at this point that we finally get our first Taek moments.  Sadly just a glimpse of my favorite character.  Is it too early to start a petition for more Taek?  I don’t even care if he gets the girl or not, I just want more of his fish out of water awesomeness.  Look at that face.  Who doesn’t want to just squish his cheeks and see more of him on their TV screens? #TaekTimeIsTheBest #ILoveTaek


I guess it is hard to give a character screen time when his life is so different than his friends.  While they are busy dancing and planning overnight school trips, Taek is flying all over Asia and earning some serious award money.  While all his friends see him having the high life, Taek is actually yearning for the simple things, specifically the school overnighter.  Something his dad discovers when he catches his son reading the flyer.  Let’s hope this motivates dad to put his son back in school and help him have a normal childhood.


Friendship isn’t a big thing — it’s a million little things. ~Author Unknown

I don’t want to focus too much on the parents issues, not because they are not important to the show’s theme, but because sometimes they hit a little too close to home.  It is hard being an adult and dealing with finances.


I like that we saw both sides of the financial problem.  One family is having a hard time dealing with wealth (they had previously been dirt poor) while Duk Seon’s family is falling apart because of their poverty.

While I won’t go into the long details (although I will say it is wonderfully done since I sincerely felt sympathy towards all four people involved) it was the friendship between the mothers that made me teary eyed.


It is the night before Duk Seon’s overnight trip and there is no money to give her.  In a desperate moment, her mother heads up to Jung Hwan’s mother to ask for a loan to cover the trip fees.  She can’t bring herself to ask for more money when her friend tells her to not worry about the previous loan and sits up worried about finances.

Late that night Jung Hwan’s mother comes down with a bunch of corn for her friend.  Inside the bowl of corn is an envelope with money for Duk Seon’s trip and a note telling her to give the extra to Duk Seon for spending money.  I swear I teared up not only while watching the scene, but also again as I type about it now.  This is truly an example of true friendship.


Does a Camera Count As A Friend?

I say it does since I really wanted to chat about this scene and there was not a lot of friend focus to tie into it. Being a photographer myself this scene lies near and dear to my heart.   Before I start my mini mom rant, lets set the scene. Duk Seon is all prepared to leave on her first overnight school trip.  Her parents reluctantly give their daughter their prized camera to bring with her.  Remember that this is back in the days before digital photos, which means a real camera with film.  Before she leaves the house, they warn her not to be a space cadet and lose or damage the camera.  Being from a poor family that can not even afford food, this is something that is nonreplaceable.


So what is the first thing that our ditzy leading lady does upon arriving at her destination?  LOSE THE CAMERA!  Being an amateur photographer myself I can totally relate to the horror of a destroyed family camera.  It would have been more just to have Duk Seon break an arm and a leg than lose this treasured family heirloom.  The horror of this scene shall haunt me and I can guarantee it will be a cold day in hell before any of my children get their grubby little hands on my camera.

Also, how awesome was the teacher giving the bad news to Duk Seon’s mother?  Her constant smile and reasonable tones just made me laugh


Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together. – Woodrow T. Wilson

Talking about broken limbs, Duk Seon is positive that they will win the talent show.  She has her moves down pat and even goes so far to tell her besties that the only way they will lose if they break their legs.  Hmm, anyone else feeling the cold breath of foreshadowing upon their necks?

a16Inside the dorms the night before the talent show, the girls are all set to practice.   That is until they notice a happening party going on in the boys dorm just along the way.  Boys + Party = disappearing besties as they race off to get their party on.  They climb over a low fence (at least on their side) and jump towards khottie freedom………and fall……..fall…….far down to the other side of the retaining wall, breaking their limbs.  I know this should be a bit of a tragic moment.  But this had me laughing so hard my sides hurt.

Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm & constant. – Socrates

So now it is Duk Seon alone that must get up on stage and perform.  But this is a tragedy since our plucky heroine knows that she won’t win first place (and that walkman) all on her own.  So she takes desperate measures and hunts down her block besties.

Despite a lot of grumbling and finagling Duk Seon’s block boys come through and perform in her place.  They, of course, bring down the house and win first place, giving Duk Seon the walkman …… which they suspect will soon be gone when Bo Ra takes it from her.


The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. ~Elisabeth Foley

Walking her block boys back to their dorm, Duk Seon and Jung Hwan linger behind the other two talking about the liquor she had lost on the trip (she really sucks on keeping track of things) when Dong Ryong’s father  catches them all out past curfew.  The boys run, dragging Duk Seon along and in the end Jung Hwan and Duk Seon end up in a small alley (A very very small alley) touching from the tip of their heads to the bottom of their toes.


Breaths were mingled, physical reactions were felt, and uncomfortably acknowledged.  This was one heck of an awesome, yet awkward, intro of Jaung Hwan into the Husband Game.


I loved that just as you thought the scene was over, they just changed camera angles and the awkwardness continued.  Beautifully done and has officially made me a Jung Hwan fan


I think I am building a new ship starring Jung Hwan.  Sorry Taek, but they don’t let you in the drama enough yet for me to ship your love.  But that doesn’t mean I would not mind the Jung Hwan ship to pull the Taek dingy behind it……..just in case.


I would write a long and lengthy conclusion on my feelings about episode 3, but my computer is fighting me (to the point that I have been struggling to get almost anything typed in the last three hours.)  With that in mind, I am just going to conclude that I continue to enjoy this drama and hope that the writers continue to focus more on the friendships than a million red herrings about future relationships.  There is something really enjoyable about the feeling that you are discovering the feelings at the same time as the characters.  So until next week I bid you adieu and hope you enjoy the show as much as I am.



0 thoughts on ““Answer Me 1988” Episode 3 – Being a Teenager is Hard….Being an Adult is Harder

  1. Loved that awkward scene. It will go down in kdrama history. I may have watched it several times. LOL. The parents troubles bring back bad childhood memories but they really ground this show and make it feel so real. I love the mother’s friendship. Her dad drives me a little bonkers though. Great recap! 🙂

  2. Pingback: ANSWER ME 1988. TVN. | IKurate

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