The Maknae’s Journey Through the Classics: Answer Me 1988

dramas kimchi answer me 1988 title card

You know what’s really hard to do? Marathon a series whose episodes are regularly 90 minutes long. SERIOUSLY, Y’ALL. That takes commitment! Fortunately for you all, I am a committed sort of person. Or maybe I just need to BE committed . . . .


After having so much fun with Answer Me 1997, I couldn’t wait to give Answer Me 1988 a spin. I am very glad I did! The pace is less frenetic, which allowed for a complete development of all the relationships between the five families sharing the block and a deep appreciation from me for those relationships. By the end of the series, I felt like I knew them as well as if I had lived there. Well, maybe not there, but close by. :D

Answer Me 1988 has another “who is the husband?” mystery, but I found myself less concerned about solving it. I knew exactly who was right for Duk Seon and watched the developing romances without concern. I would have been rather upset had it turned out any other way.

dramas kimchi answer me 1988 ahjummas

The relationship between the ahjummas was impressive — I loved how they could be friends without trying to change each other. They were so supportive! And in the first episode, when the kids were trotting around, taking the various side dishes to be shared with the other families? I loved it. I lovedlovedLOVED how they all shared with each other all the time, and how the families with more just helped the others with less without being asked. It was those little touches that added such depth to this drama.

drama kimchi answer me 1988 gang of five

But, of course, the focus was the gang of five. They had wonderful, complicated characters and realistic relationships with their families that didn’t immediately devolve into the “I hate you” parent-adolescent relationship that I often see in American television. They learned and grew together.



I adored how they took care of Taekie, genius baduk player who couldn’t use chopsticks or tie his shoes properly, and how adorable he was with them, especially when he was sleepy but just happy to be with his friends. Jung Hwan was the fantastic strong but silent type who struggled with expressing his feelings, but when he smiled, my heart melted. Dong Ryong cracked me up — he was the clown, but a wise clown who really just wanted his parents to pay attention to him. When he finally got to eat with his mom on his birthday, I may or may not have teared up. *stuffs the tissues away in the cushion* And Sun Woo the filial son? Can I please have two of him — one for each of my daughters? His little sister, Jin Joo, was COMPLETELY adorable. I loved how she had Taek’s dad wrapped around her little finger.



I’m glad I got to watch Answer Me 1988. I don’t think I could watch the entire series again, but I would definitely rewatch the episode where Duk Seon chaperones Taek while he was at a competition in China, and that 19th episode. For you who have already watched it, you know what I’m talking about. Plus, older Duk Seon is adorable with her husband. I wish there had been more of the older set, but I’m glad Duk Seon was our focus character. She was herself — combative with her sister, yet caring towards everyone she loved — and wasn’t screechy or hard to watch. Hyeri really did an excellent job.

dramas kimchi answer me 1988 hyeri

And last, but NOT least, I am very glad to say that there were a couple of kisses in this series that landed in my Top Ten Cinematic Kisses of All Time. Yep. They were THAT epic. *swoony sigh* *goes to watch them again* Yeah, much love. :D

(Gentle Viewer Alert: There were just a few swears, and the worst one was bleeped, of course. That was it. Really.)

Until next time, be well and get some sleep, my kdrama friends.

Karie the Maknae

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

P.S. Watch for another poll on Dramas with a Side of Kimchi Twitter/The Crazy Ahjummas Facebook page! I have a few dramas I’m torn between starting and I turn to you, dear readers, to help me out! It doesn’t help that now I’m a huge Park Bo Gum fan (could he BE any more adorable???), which has re-ordered my priorities a bit.

0 thoughts on “The Maknae’s Journey Through the Classics: Answer Me 1988

  1. So I don’t wanna be THAT person but I also really think you should watch Reply 1994! Honestly, I can’t choose between the 3 of I had to save my life, they’re all fantastic but in different ways. I think ’97 as the original, lead the way for a different kdrama concept and had a sweet couple with a hint of goofy family relationships. Reply 1988 was pretty much solely based on the family aspect of the drama. If I had watched it just for the Who’s The Husband game I would have been devastated but, like you, enjoyed it mainly because of Taek’s dad and Jin Joo. As for Reply 1994, for the romance aspect, this was my favorite. I was happy with the cast, screamed and stomped my feet at the comedy and adored the uniqueness of each and every character. *attempts to insert gif of Trash drinking expired milk* The Answer Me dramas are definitely marathon-worthy and if you enjoyed the others, please continue on and watch the 2nd season. They’re all special in their own way but I really loved the characters in ’94. BTW thanks for doing a review! I’m super glad you like these dramas!

    • I really want to watch Answer Me 1994! I saw the Go Ara teaser scene they threw in there and I was like “WHAT is THAT??” So I’m intrigued, but my next drama is in the hands of the readers. :D Go vote for Reply 1994 for me in our Twitter poll!

  2. I am watching Reply 1988 for the first time right now and its really nice. I delayed it all this long because of the episode length but time usually flies by. I could never get into Reply 1997 probably because of the high school setting, which I haven’t been able to watch after BOF , however I like that 88 isnt set mostly in high school and revolves around family more than on the love stories.

    • I really couldn’t get into BoF, honestly, but I understand what you’re saying. Heirs was partially set in a high school, To The Beautiful You was in a high school level boarding school, and I wasn’t sure about watching YET ANOTHER drama set in high school, but Answer Me 1997 was so much MORE than the high school setting. Also, I am very biased because I loved that series so much!

  3. Well alrighty then, this makes me wanna go watch it. I’ve actually seen the 1997 one and thought is was awesome. But I coulda sworn when this came out people were quite split on the main pairing. O_o Maybe I’m wrong though.

    • Oh yes, people were definitely split on who Duk Seon should have ended up with. But there was a difference in how the boys approached her — one wanted to change her and the other loved her just the way she was. A good relationship, in my own humble opinion, is based on people who love each other the way they are withOUT trying to change each other. So that was my perspective and why I was quite happy with whom she ended up with. (I am trying SO HARD not to spoil this while still giving my opinion of why I loved how it turned out!)

  4. I’m so excited to see a post about this show, I couldn’t even finish reading the post. This is hands down my favorite drama!!

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