It’s not often that I let people make decisions for me. I may be the DWASOK Maknae, but in real life I’m the oldest in my family AND the mother of four children. So, you see, usually *I* am the one making the decisions.
But I have NO REGRETS. Oh, you guys, ZERO REGRETS. I loved Reply 1997/Answer Me 1997. I loved it so much I accidentally had a marathon! Thankfully, I had a day with very few obligations and the kids are more than old enough to fend for themselves — and to feed me. 😀 Yeah, I’m that kind of mom.
ANYWAY. My thoughts. Reply 1997 had some fantastic actors, a great plot with excellent tension (I have a hard time leaving a mystery unsolved — yet another reason I had to binge watch!), and was an excellent introduction to the “slice of life” genre. I also experienced some serious nostalgia — the drama may have been set half a world away, but I was finishing high school and starting college right at that same time, so I remember the sound of the dial-up modem, the constant battle between wanting to use the phone and the computer, the boy band craze (Backstreet Boys 4ever!!), and graduating high school and having only a vague idea of what I wanted to do in college. It definitely intensified my drama-watching experience.
I think one of the most intriguing things to watch was the volatile friendship between Yoon Jae and Shi Won. They were both hard-headed people with definite opinions about the right way to do things. They often butted heads, but they still clicked so well. I think their passionate approach to life created a strong bond between them, something that ran deeper than their surface conversations. I really loved how they would steal each other’s food ALL THE TIME. It demonstrated the familiarity and comfortableness they shared, which I adored.
That characterization — that passion for life — was carried over to Shi Won’s dad. It made sense that they would battle throughout her adolescence, but also still love each other. I didn’t feel like Shi Won had the same connection to her mother, because as much as she and her dad fought, he understood her the best. I loved Shi Won’s mom too — how could I not love someone who just let the eccentricities of her family members wash over her and not stress her out?
Shi Won’s fits of childishness were hard to watch sometimes, but I understood where they came from, and they provided a greater contrast with her older self. What I struggled with the most was the love triangle between Shi Won, Yoon Jae, and Tae Woon. Tae Woon was just so much older than Shi Won! But I could see how he was attracted to her for herself, and not because she looked like her sister, and that relationship was an excellent foil to demonstrate the deep love and respect the brothers had for each other. So, it may have bugged me, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
The side characters were all fantastic in their own ways — bumbling Hak Chan, flighty Yoo Jung, verbose Sung Jae with his unexpected heart of gold, and steady Joon Hee. I loved how Joon Hee was the oil to Yoon Jae and Shi Won’s individual troubled waters, and how he was such a good friend to them both.
Reply 1997 is definitely going on my re-watch list, and I am so thankful to Amber for suggesting it and to you, dear readers, for voting for it. There will be another poll going up after I finish Reply 1988. You all may take the blame for my new fascination with slice of life dramas.
(Gentle Viewer Alert: If you’re of a more morally conservative bent, you might not find Hak Chan’s primary hobby very funny. There are a few swears, the worst of which were bleeped out, and a few implied adult situations. Nothing beyond a PG-13 level.)
0 thoughts on “The Maknae’s Journey Through the Classics: Reply 1997/Answer Me 1997”
If it’s slice of life you’re after, Misaeng! And Dear My Friends. Loved both!
I’ll add them to my list!
Oh Maknae! Can we be Chingu’s?!?! (I won’t lie, you had me at “BSB 4ever”!😂) I’ve been watching K-dramas for about 6 years now, but had not delved into any of the Reply/Answer Me series… I’m SO glad I did, after reading your review!! You were totally right- it is a great slice of life, remembering late teen years, comparison of past self/future self (of the main characters, and myself!) drama! And the Busan accent is killing me. 🤣 Even Koreans make fun of it, haha!
All this being said, I think my house and poor children are going to be neglected the next few days as I work my way thru this series. 😝
And can I make a viewing suggestion?! One of my first ever dramas was Secret Garden~ it still remains in my top 3 (along with – W and Healer). My bias is Hyun Bin 😍 and I am patiently waiting for him to come back to the small screen… (and no, I don’t count Hyde, Jekyll and I – it was an absolute mess that even Hyun Bin couldn’t resuscitate!) Secret Garden is an early 2000’s classic- please give it a go too! 😁
Oooops, I meant early 2010’s! 😜
Oh, and thanks for the “Gentle Viewer” warnings, they are much appreciated! ☺️
😀 I’m happy to include them, because *I* always appreciate a heads-up!
I will absolutely include Secret Garden on my list! And we can DEFINITELY be chingus. I always need more kdrama-watching friends! And I am very, VERY glad I was able to convince you to watch Reply 1997 — it’s worth the viewing time. 😀
Reply 1997 was the first Korean drama I loved so much that I bought on Amazon Prime. My husband’s family lives in the country without Internet – no, they are not Amish! – and I bought it to download to my Kindle. I have never regretted it and rewatch regularly. I’m so happy you enjoy it as well.
NO INTERNET . . . My brain just goes full stop at that thought. I may have to check out my purchase options on Amazon. That’s a very good idea.
I read the first three paragraphs of your review and I stopped. I decided to go watch the drama, you make it sound so appealing. I’ve heard rave reviews about the Reply series but never really felt tempted enough to start it. Thanks for the review. I’ll be back to finish reading it after I’m done.