Reply 1988: (aka Answer Me 1988) Eungdabhara 1988
June 21, 2022 7:58 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Reply 1988 centers on the lives of five families living in a small neighborhood in Seoul. No cell phones, just one TV in the main living area, and absurdly large family meals (frequently shared with the whole neighborhood). As with Hospital Playlist, Prison Playbook, and the rest of the Reply series, shows from this writer & director pair are about relationships; in Reply 1988 the relationships are between the childhood friends as they slowly mature, between parents & children, and across all the adults. It’s a slice of life drama, with a lot of comedy, romance, culture, and history mixed in. 20 episodes, most over 90 minutes.

My Drama List


Afternoona Delight Podcast: Deep Dive and Reply 1988 Q&A

Blog: Reply 1988_Baduk: “Baduk is often compared to life, as you make “choices” that can’t be undone and every move you make along the way will determine final outcome . . . At the end of every Baduk game, players do what is called “Bokgi” (review match) . . . It is basically a replay of all the moves during the match. . . Through Bokgi, the loser identifies his own mistakes, face his weaknesses and learn from them . . . at the end [of Reply 1988] JH revisits all his mistakes from the past to present and faces it like a man. He thinks about what he could have done, and learns a life lesson to step up.”

Best of Korea: “Loud, brash and tightly permed, ajummas are out in full force in Reply 1988. From financial hardships to menopause to problems with their husbands and kids, there is no challenge that the sisterhood of the Ssangmun Dong ajummas don’t tackle together.”

HelloPop: “Hands down to the extent of the research and the meticulously vibrant writing that were fused together to bring up a chronicle that warms the heart and lingers in one’s mind. The setting, side stories and the cast ensemble will make viewers feel like stepping to a time-warping machine and bringing out the best memories we could ever have in our lives.”

SlayPop (Blog) – Reply 1988: History Lessons through Pop Culture: “Modern history of Korea is something that not many people are aware of maybe because the US played an active role in stifling democracy in one of its own partner countries. Also because much attention was being paid to Cold War and the so-called vices of communism in the eighties. Hence it is through dramas and movies and pop culture that one can get a glimpse of history from a different perspective.”

Re-Thinking the Future - An Architectural Review of Reply 1988: “The house that we spend the most time in, the main character’s house, is one of the most interesting as it houses two families of contrasting social and economic status. . . The main wing of the house is what catches the eye first, with a series of steps leading up to the front door and interiors that clearly show that it is owned by someone of a high-middle class standing . . . The secondary wing of the house comes in the form of a semi-basement unit underneath the main unit. This concept of a semi-basement or a Banjiha is a product of history.”
posted by kbar1 (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I like that Reply 1988 doesn’t just focus on the shenanigans and possible romances of the young adult characters (although this is a big part of the show). The parents have their own stories; some of these stories involve their kids, but others are just about them as adults. I especially appreciate the friendship across the three moms and the many ways they support each other - financially, emotionally, and just with kindness – it’s lovely.

I rushed through my first watch – feeling like I needed to hurry before a new show dropped. It’s been a few months, so now I’m doing a second watch, taking my time, and I’m enjoying it even more. There’s a lot of history going on in the background of this show (the summer Olympics, student protests, and a shift in the economy from poverty to middle class), so I’m doing a lot of pausing and googling. It’s also more emotionally powerful on my second watch – I’m noticing that there are many scenes in which a character states how much they love or miss their mom. (excuse me for a minute while I wipe my eyes)

As with so many Kdramas, there is a love triangle in Reply 1988 and there’s been heated debate over who should have been endgame, but for me, it was just great storytelling. With the advantage of hindsight, I can see the clearly planted seeds of who will end up with whom – it’s fun to realize that the signs were there all along.
posted by kbar1 at 8:03 AM on June 21, 2022

I finished watching Reply 1988 weekend before last -- I'm not sure how many weeks/months I took to get all the way through, I took it pretty slow at the start, watching an episode whenever I was all caught up on my weekly-broadcast kdramas and other shows, so I'd go weeks without watching sometimes. It was only after I'd gotten more than halfway through that I started caring enough about the characters to start watching more often.

I liked Reply 1988 much more than I did Reply 1997. The 1997 show's nostalgia was for such a specific era, whereas 1988's felt like a more universal nostalgia for youth. Dealing with the realities of my own parents' looming mortality, the ending really got me in the feels.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:27 PM on February 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

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