Five childhood friends, who all live in the same Ssangmundong neighborhood of Seoul, lean on each other to survive their challenging teen years and set a path for their futures. Sung Deok Sun struggles for attention as the middle child in her poor family while also carrying the burden of her 989th ranking in school. Kim Jung Hwan only has a one-track mind for soccer, even after his family becomes rich overnight. Sung Sun Woo is the perfect student, student council president and a caring and dependable son in his family. Ryu Dong Ryong is a geek who knows more about girls and life than the rest of his friends, but his poor academic score prevents him from being able to go to college. Choi Taek is a genius baduk player who dropped out of school to go professional. As the group of friends gets into and out of mischief around the neighborhood, what experiences from these memorable times together will they carry with them into their future lives?
Cast & Credits
There are some dramas that makes you remember them forever and Reply 1988 is definitely one of them. It's simply remarkable. If I could give a 100, I'd gladly do that with the full heart. Because it freaking deserves it.
I've been always been bound to 70's and 80's, because it's a time of my parents, their youth, happy days, their life and exciting stories and I've always listened them with a whole heart and a glowing eyes when they talked about their days. So, as this drama brings nostalgic feeling that's probably why I even LOVE it more. The lives of five teenagers, their parents and siblings are shown to the perfection that I wished I was with them there, sharing happiness and sadness together. That's how much influence this drama had and still has on me.
Out of all Reply series this is the BEST one for me. I loved how this drama showed problems our families face every day, where everything is not only black and white, yet grey, where we need to make a decision between what is right and what we want. The caring and loving of a family is the biggest gift we have, because no one will love you as your family do, especially your mom. Oh yes, since I'm on a mom theme, this drama the nearest shows how our mothers sacrifices everything for us, our happiness. That notion stroke me right into my heart, because my mom is the big victim for me and my brother. And that's probably why I got into this drama characters and stories. Another facinating thing is that great friendship we have only once in our lifetime. No matter how tough and hard it gets, besides your family, your friends are always there to give you support and to consule you. That was the case in this drama too. All five characters showed a true and pure picture of friendship. Five characters with different personalities, interests and thinking are together since childhood and became inseparable since then. Together they were stronger, together they were braver and together they loved more. I'm getting goosebumps just writing these words.
Characters are everything to this drama. Every single of them is written with a much thought that you really wanted to know all of their stories. I liked Deok Seon. She is funny, caring, loved by everyone and she's the only girl in their group. So, I wanted to be her with all those gorgeous and funny men. Ryu Joon Yeol, that man is a pure hotness. His character, Jung Hwan, stole my attention, I have to admit. His character is perfect, a man every girl wants. On the outside you think he doesn't care about anything, but in fact he's very caring and loveable. He doesn't know to express himself and as he said himself, he always misses timing and that's why he was always late for some stuffs. However, his heart is pure, honest, his smile very alluring and that's why he won me over. I experienced Choi Taek (Park Bo Gum) as someone who needs protection, clumsy, but very intelligent man, but through the whole drama I felt him like their dongsaeng, they cared and prepared everything to him, like a baby. He is the cutest one. Then, it comes Sun Woo, the man which I love dearly. He's such a cool character. Sun Woo is smart, the only man in his family he protects his mother and little sister, but also a man who needs love and attention. As the drama goes, his story becomes very interesting, so I can say that he's my favorite right after Jung Hwan. And last but not least is Dong Ryong. Oh man, I laughed so hard whenever he's on screen. His awesome sense for humor, charm, care is just to be wished for. A man every person needs for a friend. The ace of a group. ;)
However, what gives charm to this drama is parents and supporting characters. The family which I adored the most is definitely Jung Hwan's and his mom so much reminded my of my mom and I guess that's why I felt his family more than others. Ra Mi Ran is mom to be proud of, just like Jung Hwan and his brother are, a wife to love and respect forever and a friend on who can always lean on. Gosh, I love that woman from the bottom of my heart. Along with her, Bo Ra is my second favorite character. She resembles so much of me in every single way. Do I need to say more? :P Every character is written in its own way, with faults and virtues, but together they try to overcome it and be happy.
Music is brilliant. Those old music has always been dearest to me, innocent, pure and brings nostalgic feeling. With so many great soundtracks, famous singers from that period they really tried to find them use them all at the right scene and moment. I've been listening the whole playlist all day, that's how much I loved it.
Reply 1988 became my top 5 drama. The whole drama exudes strongly, leaves the feeling of love and happiness and you just feel complete after watching every single episode. I simply lived with this drama.
“The reason I miss that time and that street isn’t only because I miss my younger self. It is because my parents’ youth, my friends’ youth – the youth of everything I loved was in that place. I regret not bidding a final farewell to the surrounding of my youth that can never be brought back together again. To the things that’ve already gone, to the time I can’t return to… I bid my belated farewell. Goodbye, my youth. Goodbye, Ssangmun-dong” -Deok Sun-
Reply 1988 outshines its predecessors. The story primarily takes place in a singular setting, and yet the narrative does not stagnate; it does not become boring or trite; it does not make you sleepy when watching daily interactions of the families. Instead, the story of R1988 pushes at the heart and makes you yearn for friends who love each other this closely, for parents who love each other this much, for a life as simple and yet as hard as these characters' lives were. It takes you out of 2015 and 2016 and supplants you into 1988 where you take that same journey with the characters.
Perhaps the star of the narrative of R1988 is its ability to exert both laughter and tears at the passing of a few minutes, yet it never feels stilted. It brings us richness and variety of character within just the five friends, let alone the parents and siblings surrounding them. With that, we see intricate details of each person's character--like Bora's unspoken love for her parents, or Dong Ryong's inner philosopher, or Jung Hwan's hidden sweetness, or Taek's competitive strength. There are so many elements of character that we see, often unspoken, rise to the surface with the passing of a quick moment or a prolonged incident.
Not only did the narrative of R1988 promote emotions from the viewer, it also brought the winds of unpredictability with it. The writers, in their infinite wisdom, flipped the switch and delivered a romance not built on the standard female lead being the only one in love for the majority of the series nor a male lead who said nothing but ended up the romantic star. It gave the person who stepped up and took a risk the chance to shine (and shine he did-delivering kisses to die for and a sweet chemistry with the lead that was noticeable from the get go). Furthermore, the show gave many couples a chance at love, both new and renewed, lost and found. It was never unrealistic or unfair to anyone in the cast (as some are quick to say); instead, it offered options and chose the best one.
The laughter and tears that made me giggle until wheezing and leak all over my crooked glasses came from an illustrious cast. R88's five friends gave their all to show us their characters' fears, tears, love, admiration, consternation, that random move in Baduk, and so much more. I have to hand it to Ryu Joon Yeol and Park Bo Gum; they made me root for both of them and create #TeamPolyamorous as a hashtag. Their performances were so spot on, and a new star was born. Go Kyung Pyo has always been a personal favorite, and as the sweet, slightly nerdy but quite handsome Sun Woo, he once again stole my heart--this time, though, not with laughter so much as with sweetness. Lee Dong Hwi as Dong Ryong was simply adorable; I would like to see more from him. Hyeri's Duk Seon, though the weakest of these performances, was true to Duk Seon's character--bubbly and outgoing, if not a little bit kooky.
I could talk all day about the parents' roles as well. Ra Mi Ran, Kim Seon Young, and Lee Il Hwa trumped most drama mothers for being the most awesome trio of moms in a drama. They were not only funny, but they all showed signs of vulnerability and strength, and true to form, they were an unstoppable force on screen and in front of their husbands. Speaking of husbands/dads, all the dads were awesome as well, but Kim Sung Kyun takes the cake. His President Kim routine will forever been ingrained in my memory, but also his relationship with Ra Mi Ran showed a great example of how love grows with age.
The music of Reply 1988 also played a special role, not only in the background OST, but in the characters' lives. From Duk Seon trying to win a Walkman to her waiting anxiously outside a concert venue, to Dong Ryong's cover of "I Just Called to Say I Love You," to Ra Mi Ran's special dance, the power of music pervaded the narrative of Reply. It gave us warmth and it made us want to dance along.
Even at 1:30 to 2 hours per episode, I'm going to watch this again. I enjoyed it too much and loved it even more. There was never a dull moment in this series, and I will treasure it for a lifetime. However, now it is time to move on--to leave the streets of Ssangmungdong 1988 and flash forward to Dayton 2016. I look at my neighborhood--siding coming off of roofs, puttering old cars emitting exhaust, the paint on the doors of my house chipping, and the possibility that after I leave in a year or so, it may be the last time I see my home of nearly 22 years. It may be the last time I get to say goodbye to my neighborhood, just as it is my time to say goodbye to my youth.
For all things considered, the first 28 years have been a good run. That is my Reply.