Hello everyone! It’s been so long since the last time I shared my thoughts on a show that I watched. I am super excited to talk about this. So last month, while I was waiting for the ending of The King: Eternal Monarch (the struggle of watching ongoing shows), I decided to watch this drama.
Reply 1988 (2015) is a remarkable South Korean slice of life drama about family, friends, and youth. It revolves around five childhood friends living in the same Ssangmun-dong neighborhood in Seoul back in 1988.
💭 My Thoughts After Watching
The drama portrayed the simple life of these five families in the same neighborhood and the typical real-life problems that arise. All the families are good friends, and they are like one big family living in the same street. They celebrate together, console each other, support each other, and take care of each other. They showed how hard life is and how it can sometimes make you feel like it’s unfair, but being with the people you love makes it bearable.
It is a pretty long drama with almost 2 hours each episode, and there’s a total of 20 episodes, but I assure you, you will not get bored. Each episode is pack with the everyday lives of the families, and you will get attached to each character and feel like you’re living with them. There’s no character to hate, which is refreshing. Their interactions looked real and natural, and the pacing of the story is just right, not too fast and not too slow either.
This drama brought back so many memories of my childhood and high school days. I was born in the 90s, but I still experienced using landlines to communicate with my friends, trading or sharing goods with neighbors, shouting parents outside your house to call you for lunch or dinner, waiting for your favorite show to be streamed with your whole family or friends, playing at the arcade and beating high scores, tuning in to your favorite radio station to listen to your favorite songs and to wait and hope for your letters to be read, etc.
The 5 Childhood Friends
These are the 5 childhood friends: Ryu Dong Ryong, Sung Deok Sun, Sung Sun Woo, Kim Jung Hwan, and Choi Taek (from left to right). As I’ve said, they are more like family than friends. Their favorite place to hang out is Taek’s room, where they play monopoly, eat ramen, read comic books, and watch movies. I had fun watching them go through their youth experiencing first loves, rejection, being the 999th placer in school, struggling to be the middle child, etc.
We all show our love differently. Some are very vocal and very sweet, but some are not spoken and just use small gestures to show their love and some even do it without them intending to even show it. There’s Deok-sun who is the sweetest daughter and who is loved by everyone despite her struggles being the middle child. She just lights up the neighborhood. There’s Sun-woo who is the perfect son. He studies hard to get a college scholarship because he hates to see her mom work and that’s also why he doesn’t ask for branded clothes and shoes. The scenes where he eats up the rest of his packed lunch before going home even if it’s salty. It’s very touching.
There’s also Jung-hwan’s hidden sweetness and hidden smiles. He doesn’t say it, but his love for his loved ones speaks louder through his actions and small gestures. There are so many times he did something for his loved ones even when it’s out of his character. Like, for instance, when her dad is feeling down, he tried doing the signature hi of his dad that he finds uncomfortable to do because it’s corny and childish just to cheer him up. It was such a funny scene.
There’s Dong Ryeong who dislikes studying but got so much wisdom and people usually turn to him for advice. His parents are always working that he doesn’t get to have meals with them. He causes trouble or runs away from home to get attention. There’s also Taek, the treasured gem of the group and the famous Baduk player, whose love is quiet. He rarely says anything, but no words needed. Just look at his eyes. He’s very adorable. His friends are very protective of him and always lectures him because he always gets scammed.
Lastly, there’s Bora, Deok-sun’s older sister. She’s not part of the group, but she’s worth mentioning. Her unspoken love for her parents speaks volumes. She has this somewhat badass image and all the other kids in the neighborhood are scared of her. She seems tough on the outside, but actually soft on the inside. She just doesn’t show it because it’s not in her character and it makes her feel awkward. I don’t know for you, but I understand her and I can relate to her. That’s probably why her character development affected me the most.
It all boils down to making your parents proud not only about your achievements but also on showing them that you grew up well as a way of thanking them for raising you and for all their hard work and sacrifices. This drama will show you the struggles of parents. We always think that they are strong and capable of handling everything because they are adults already, but they are humans too, and like all humans, they cry, they get tired, and they get frustrated.
Lastly, we are only at this age once. We can never go back to our youth. We can only remember.
Who is the husband?
This is one of the Reply series, the other ones are Reply 1997 and 1994. I haven’t watched the others but I’ve read that they all revolve around a group of friends and it will span across their youth days and it will make you guess who the female lead ends up with through the few scenes from their adult life.
To tell you honestly, I considered dropping this drama when I was almost halfway through because I got spoiled who she ends up with on youtube. It was an accident. I was looking for one of the OSTS and saw one of the video recommendations with the thumbnail photo stating who it is. I got disappointed because I’m really rooting for the other one. Their chemistry is just too strong. But after a day of not watching, I can’t stop thinking about how did that happen and what made her choose the other lead so I decided to finish it. It didn’t disappoint because the other person is also really deserving. Also, I realized it’s not mainly focused on romance. It’s more about family and their tight friendship.
All in all, there are not enough words that would describe how good this drama is. It felt so real and raw. Yes, I’m a bit disappointed with the ending because I want to see them get together as adults but I think that’s life. Even our closest friends, when they move away, we lose contact. But other than that, I can’t hide the fact that I enjoyed this drama so much. There’s so much wisdom that can only be gained through time.
Goodbye, Ssangmundong! This story will forever be in my heart. Thank you for the valuable lessons.
Wow! I didn’t know it will be this long. If you’re still reading this, thank you! I hope you enjoyed it. It has been a month since I finished watching this but I still feel emotional. There were a lot of funny scenes but there were also scenes that will touch you. For those parts, I can easily hold back tears. But while watching the last 2 episodes, I lost it. I bawled my eyes out.
Also, there are too many quotable lines so expect a collection of quotes on my future posts!
For some reason, my review got cutout. 😅 I copied and pasted it from notepad paragraph by paragraph, scheduled it, and went to sleep last night. My apologies! I just edited it and included the missing ones.
Have you watched this drama? What are your thoughts? Which character stood out to you? Why?
[Photos from Google and Tumblr]