22 August 2020

K Drama Review: Reply 1994 / Answer Me 1994 (2013)

Oppa, my siblings, and I agree that Reply 1988 set the bar very high for the Reply series and K dramas in general. So far, it's the only drama that got a 5 from me. It didn't help that when I checked The Fan Girl Verdict's ratings, Reply '88 also had the highest grade among the three shows. But we still looked forward to Reply 1994 because the entire Reply series was highly acclaimed. Oppa also scanned through some episodes and he said Go Ara seemed as funny as Hyeri. 

We knew better this time. Oppa looked for a copy with no cuts and blurs. And it really helped us better appreciate and understand the show. 

Story

Reply 1994 - Wikipedia  

Reply 1994 revolved around the lives of the boarders of the Sinchon Boarding House in Seoul. The newly-opened boarding house was owned by the family of Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa who were natives of Masan. Dong Il was appointed as the coach of the Seoul Twins baseball team. His daughter, Na Jung (Go Ara), was a freshman at the Yonsei University. The boarding house welcomed four Yonsei freshmen from different provinces (plus an adopted one who was the cousin of another boarder). Apart from them, Trash (Jung Woo), a very close family friend of the Sungs, also stayed in the house. The story focused on how these strangers grew close to each other and became family. 

The Good

Execution

Since this is our second Reply drama, I would say that we're becoming more familiar with the director and writer's style. There's love for doctors and hospitals (Sun Woo in '88, Trash and Binggeure (Baro) here, and Hospital Playlist). There's also the love for baseball (Dong Il and Chilbong (Yoo Yeon Seok) here, Dong Il in Reply 1997, and Prison Playbook). They love sports as shown through references to the Olympics, World Cup, football, and basketball. Just with their favorite themes alone, we already love them. 

 Reply 1994” Finale Spoiler: Na Jung's Husband Is…? | Couch Kimchi

We loved how the show kept the identity of Na Jung's husband a mystery, revealing it only during the finale. Throughout the show, we can see the groom's body, feet, back, or blurred face. And the show kept giving confusing clues on who the real husband was. 

In the beginning, all five guys were candidates. They all had nicknames either based on their hometown (Kim Sung Kyun as Samcheonpo), personality (Trash and Chilbong, which means seven shut outs in baseball), or a baseball team (Son Ho Jun as Haitai and Binggeure). So although the husband's name was revealed early on as Kim Jae Joon, you won't be able to guess who he was because the guys were all called by their nicknames. The real name of the guys were only revealed when they were already eliminated from the race, i.e., when they already had girlfriends whom they all ended up marrying. That was a really brilliant way of adding mystery to the story. 

I also loved how the sped up years were handled. This drama showed us the painful reality that no matter how close people are, they are bound to go their separate ways either voluntarily or involuntarily. In this case, Haitai had to leave for military service, while Chilbong had to leave for Japan and eventually for the US to pursue his baseball career. Trash was temporarily assigned to Busan and Na Jung worked in Australia for two years. Although the show still breezed through some years as was done in Reply '88, it still gave us glimpses of what happened during those fast forwarded years. This was done quite differently from Reply '88 where some years were totally skipped and we had no idea about what happened during those times.

I was very grateful that the adult versions of everyone was featured. This was one thing I sorely missed in Reply '88 where we only saw adult versions of some of the characters. It was great that even Dong Il and Il Hwa made appearances during the present scenes. It provided some sort of closure for me. 

I also loved the confusing previews they showed at the end of each episode, which threw the viewers off track. An example was the episode for the wedding of Trash's brother. The preview showed Trash's first love attending the wedding then the next scene was a crying Na Jung walking alone. One might conclude that Na Jung felt jealous. However, the full episode would reveal that her tears were totally unrelated to Trash and his first love. She was actually crying because she thought Chilbong was trapped in the Sampoong Department Store that collapsed. I absolutely love shows that do not spoon feed their viewers.

And of course, I loved the historical stuff - the department store collapse, the 1997 financial crisis, and the 2002 World Cup. They also had fun facts about the Korean entertainment industry (Seo Taiji, Kim Min Jong who was in Vagabond, etc.). 

It's great that although Reply '94 already had a great story, it still made sure that the show was well executed, making it more interesting for its viewers. 

Cast and Characters

Similar to Reply '88, Reply '94 also had a perfect cast. Everyone played their characters really well, that as Oppa said, it might be difficult to dissociate them from their Reply '94 characters. 

Answer me, 1994 (Reply, 1994) – First Impression – The cat that watches TV

Na Jung was the daughter of the boarding house owners. She's crazy, funny, and ill-tempered. She loved shouting and nagging her friends. She had this weird habit of biting people when she's drunk. She loved basketball and was crazy about Lee Sang Min. And she's madly in love with Trash. Although they practically grew up like siblings, she's crazy for her oppa. Her loyalty to Trash was just so admirable. I can't remember how many times she had to clean up after Trash.

Na Jung was a great and dependable friend. She was there when Yoon Jin (Min Do Hee) was depressed with Seo Taiji's retirement. And she made sure to break the rejected boy's heart honestly but gently. 

And the best thing about Na Jung was how she fought for her own identity. It would have been more convenient for her to just marry Trash instead of working overseas. But she wanted to be her own person and she refused to be solely dependent on her husband. Atta girl! :) 

Go Ara was perfect as Na Jung. She was absolutely funny. She delivered the punchlines really well. And her beautiful huge eyes greatly helped complete her funny look. But just like Deok Sun in Reply '88, you can also see that beyond the funny faces, Na Jung was very pretty. Oppa's so fixated with Go Ara as Na Jung that he's been complaining that she looks so different now.

 Answer Me 1994 – Ep 11 Thoughts | Carrotblossom Patch

Trash was a close friend of Na Jung's deceased brother. When his friend passed away, Trash vowed to be a son to Dong Il and Il Hwa and a brother to Na Jung. He never left their side. I was totally clueless that they were not related by blood until that was revealed in the second episode. 

I absolutely loved how Trash valued his extended family. He had special relationships with each of them. I loved how he worried for Il Hwa when they thought she was going through menopause. I loved his thoughtfulness in finding a seal stuffed toy for Na Jung that was similar to what she had when she was young but she gave it to her brother when the latter died.

Trash, as his name suggests, lived like trash. He's absolutely gross - survives without baths, wipes his body with a floor mat, rarely changes his clothes, including his underwear and socks, that Na Jung has to strip him naked so his clothes can be washed. If you knew how he lived, you won't probably like him. 

But the amazing thing about Trash was that despite his flaws, he's actually a cool guy. He's very smart. He's on top of his medical school class. Patients loved him because of his happy personality. Even kids listened to him. 

You know he'd make a great doctor because he was very compassionate and kind. I loved how he helped a sick mother tell her children that she was terminally ill.

Official Thread] ღ Sung Na Jeong ♥ Sseureki Kim Jae Joon a.k.a "NAREKI  Couple" from REPLY 1994 ღ - Page 570 - shippers' paradise - Soompi Forums

Trash was naturally funny too. I loved his funny faces and how he annoyed Na Jung. 

Oppa said Jung Woo is a good actor and I definitely agree with him. And coming from Oppa who rarely has nice things to say about actors, that is definitely a compliment.

Overall Review (Part II) of the Show that Takes Me Back in Time: Reply 1994.  – you do know my dramas! 

Chilbong was the adopted boarder of Sinchon. Unlike the other boarders, he was not a country bumpkin. He was raised in Seoul. He was the cousin of Binggeure, the legit boarder. He's a popular baseball player who's also the starting pitcher of Yonsei's baseball team. He went on to play baseball in Japan then in the US. He was in love with Na Jung and he came up with crazy ways to be closer to her. 

Although he's extremely popular, Chilbong was actually lonely. His parents were divorced and both of them were busy living separate lives. Chilbong found his family in Sinchon. There, he was treated like all the other kids - no special treatment (like how the '88 kids treated Taek) except perhaps from Dong Il who was wooing him to join Seoul Twins. 

Being an athlete, Chilbong was naturally competitive but that didn't stop him from being kind. He was there for his friends. And he was very selfless. But we'll talk about that later. 

Yoo Yeon Sook was great as Chilbong. He had the body of an athlete. He handled the drama parts well. I just wanted to hug him when he was heartbroken. But he delivered his funny lines perfectly too. Who can forget his hilarious pronunciation of Tous les Jours? 

Although I was not initially rooting for him, Chilbong definitely grew on me and I found myself on Team Chilbong in the end. There's just something charming about him, especially after knowing that beneath that accomplished athlete was a sad boy.

K-Drama Review: Let's Travel Back in Time with the Drama 'Reply 1994'! |  Channel-K

Although his role was not as prominent as the other characters, there were still a number of lovable things about Haitai. I loved that he was a very dependable friend to Na Jung and the other guys. He volunteered to find an original song for Binggeure's Campus Music Festival audition. And while he was probably embarrassed to be seen with Samcheonpo, they always did things together. And the best thing about Haitai was that despite his flashiness, he was really a softy and a romantic deep down who could not get over his first love (and the fact that Sook Sook ditched him upon seeing Il Hwa). Son Ho Jun was adorable as cocky yet mushy Haitai. 

Binngeure was the baby. He seemed weak especially after quitting med school after less than a year, earning him the Puppy nickname from Trash. But I loved how he bounced back. His experience in Seoul turned him into a stronger person. He worked to avoid depending on his parents. And while he dreamt of doing other things, he gave up his dreams in order to make his parents happy. I loved his major transformation when he started dating Die Die, which he subtly but maturely announced to Trash by telling the latter that he will no longer ask him to buy food and he was going to call him Hyung moving forward. How the puppy has grown!

This was my second exposure to Baro. I first saw him on Angry Mom, which was shown later than Reply '94.  Although he still has that baby face, I'm proud to see how much he's grown and matured from Binggeure to Sang Tae in Angry Mom.

K-Drama Review: Let's Travel Back in Time with the Drama 'Reply 1994'! |  Channel-K

I absolutely loved Yoon Jin. Her face was often hidden behind her hair during the first few episodes. She was mostly quiet and aloof. But she was actually very observant. She knew everyone's secrets and she had this nasty habit of revealing these secrets when she's drunk. I especially enjoyed her babbling in episode 8 when she announced that Na Jung liked Trash. And I loved it that during the rare times she talked, she was brutally frank. 

Although she seemed distant, she was actually a very caring friend too. I was amazed at how she grabbed the bus keys from the driver to force him to wait for Haitai who was still eating at the rest stop on their way back to their provinces. 

Another reason why Yoon Jin was endearing was the fact that she had a mute mother. That was probably why she mostly kept to herself. It was a secret she kept until Samcheonpo discovered it. 

And while it's difficult to understand, I'm just amazed at her loyalty to Samcheonpo. 

Min Do Hee was very effective as Yoon Jin. She was the epitome of a small but terrible girl (those eyes were really scary). And I loved her glow up in the 2013 version of Yoon Jin.

Although he was annoying, I'm sure we all had fun watching Samcheonpo. Kim Sung Kyun really handled the funny parts well. But he showed us that he can do drama too. I loved how despite his physical flaws, uptightness, and inflexibility, he actually had a good heart. He gave up his planned trip because he was concerned about Yoon Jin's mother who was waiting at the bus stop for a long time. So I guess we can say that he's also a good catch.


It was definitely nice to see familiar faces here. I loved Dong Il and Il Hwa in Reply '88 and they were just as lovable here in '94. Or maybe even more lovable since they were the only main parents in the cast. Dong Il was his usual funny self, while Il Hwa remained charming.  I loved how they treated all of their boarders as their own kids - with love and scolding when needed. They became their boarders' family away from home. 

Pyeongchang-dong Mansion No. 26-4 – Korean Dramaland
 

One of my most favorite Reply '94 character would be the Sinchon Boarding House. It witnessed all the sad and happy moments of its boarders. If it could talk, it would probably reveal more than a drunk Yoon Jin can. 

It was a very cozy place. Its mere presence was probably very comforting for everyone. It was really heartbreaking for me when Dong Il and Il Hwa decided to close it down in the end. 

The Funny Scenes

The first few episodes were extremely funny. There was always at least one scene per episode that would leave me gasping for breath because I was laughing too hard.

K-dramas of 2013: Best Memorable Moments

Who can forget about Samcheonpo's 10-hour journey to reach Sinchon, only to end up in the police station after being found with protest fliers?

Or the 40 KFC biscuits that Haitai and Samcheonpo ordered to impress their dates. Such country bumpkins!

And how Dong Il peed on the phone booth. Or how Yoon Jin sat beside ahjummas during a Seo Taiji concert. Or how Il Hwa always cooked a feast enough to feed a village. Or how Trash kept on being clumsy with Dong Il during the finale. Or how Na Jung confessed to Trash on April Fool's Day making the latter think she was only joking. Or how nobody guessed that Samcheonpo was Yoon Jin's boyfriend even if they were already wearing couple shirts. And how Dong Il tagged them as the Beauty and the Beast. And how Samcheonpo was always mistaken as Yoon Jin's uncle or professor. Or Chilbong's dinosaur-like pronunciation of Tous les Jours. Or how the guys called the huge discount Na Jung got from renting Chilbong's apartment as a first love discount. 

While there were also dramatic scenes, Reply '94 made sure I would laugh super loud at least once per episode.

Friendship

Reply '94 was different from '88 since its focus was more on friendship unlike '88 which also touched on family stuff. 

 Yay Bromance ❤ | 天青色等煙宇、而我在等妳

I totally loved the Trash-Binggeure bromance. Although it seemed superficial at first, I loved how their friendship deepened. Trash encouraged Binggeure to try out for the Campus Music Festival. Trash was there when Binggeure's mom was hospitalized. Trash helped Binggeure during the med school hiking even if he called him an ahjussi. Trash gave his notes to Binggeure. I loved how Trash was really a sunbae-nim to Binggeure. And how Binggeure showed his loyalty to Trash when he stayed on the groom's side during the wedding. 

I loved how Reply '94 showed us that family ties are not always formed by blood. This group of friends formed their very own family in Seoul through the Sinchon Boarding House. They were always there for each other - Haitai and Samcheonpo during Binggeure's audition, Haitai was Na Jung's shoulder to cry on, they were all there to send off Yoon Jin during her first day of work, etc. I loved how they kept in touch even if they were far from each other - Haitai sent them letters while he was on military service and Chilbong called them when he was in Japan and exchanged e-mails with them when he was in the US. Na Jung also sent them e-mails when she was in Australia.

SHINCHON BOARDING HOUSE CLOSES ITS DOORS: ANSWER ME 1994 E20-21 (SERIES  FINALE) DISCUSSION POST: omonatheydidnt — LiveJournal

I super loved this last photo they took before the last boarder (Haitai) moved out. I could not help but feel super nostalgic watching this.

Love

Of course it won't be a complete K drama if there's no love story. But I loved how apart from the main love storyline, Reply '94 also imparted some other nuggets of love wisdom. 

I could totally relate to that scene in episode 6 where the girls were trying to help Haitai figure out if his girlfriend wanted him to visit on her birthday or on some other day. The girls captured it perfectly when they said that sometimes, girls are not really asking for answers. When we rant, we are not asking for you guys to solve our problems. When we rant about how much work we have to do, we're not telling you that we want to quit or that you should find us another job and we're definitely not asking you to get two jobs. We rant because we want to rant, because we're tired, and we want to unload our feelings. We are not necessarily asking for solutions. We are asking for a listening ear and we want to feel your care and concern. That's all. And I loved how this was expressed through the analogy of what Na Jung was supposed to do if there was suffocating air inside the house. :D

I also loved that episode where Trash was telling Dong Il to be more patient and caring towards Il Hwa because they thought she was going through menopause already. Trash told Dong Il to focus on the little things to make Il Hwa feel loved and needed. 

I loved how the Reply series deviates from the abusive guy character that we usually see in most K dramas. When I think about it, the girl characters are actually the abusive ones - Deok Sun, Bora, Mi Ran, Na Jung, and Yoon Jin. :D

I also liked the love stories of Binggeure and Haitai. 

I was happy to see Haitai reunited with his first love. 

Die Die, the outgoing and carefree noona, was perfect for our baby Binggeure. 

SPOILER] Who Did Tiny-G Do Hee's First Kiss Go To? | Soompi

And when it comes to true love, no one definitely can beat Samcheonpo and Yoon Jin. It was totally unexpected since they were always fighting. But when it happened, things happened so fast. I loved how stiff and inflexible Samcheonpo scrapped his plans to be with Yoon Jin's mom in the bus terminal. And how he told her that he was the closest one to Yoon Jin. 

Samcheonpo and Yoon Jin loved each other immensely. Who can forget that time when Samcheonpo brought home Seo Taiji's toilet bowl to comfort Yoon Jin who was so hearbroken with her idol's retirement? I was laughing so hard but I ended up crying when I realized that he was professing his great love for her by showing that he was willing to do anything for her. 

Yoon Jin loved Samcheonpo as much. She was angry because Samcheonpo announced to everyone that they had no plans of getting married yet. But she still showed up when Samcheonpo begged her to attend his office's karaoke session because his bosses wanted to see her. That was huge, knowing how much she hated gatherings.  

And the best part of their love story for me was when Samecheonpo proposed to Yoon Jin with his passbooks. I loved how he had a passbook for savings, the house, and wedding. How can you say no to someone as dependable as that? :)

The Love Triangle

Ahhh, Young Love: Answer Me 1994 (Reply 1994) Korean Drama Review

This was a confusing one for me. For the love triangle in Reply '88, I was fine with either one getting the girl. I loved them both and I would have been heartbroken either way. 

I started out rooting for Trash - so much that I spoiled the show for myself by researching Na Jung's groom online. But towards the end, I found myself switching teams. If we were choosing the husband solely based on effort and love for Na Jung, I would like to think that Chilbong was more deserving of the girl. Let me explain.

K-Drama Review: Let's Travel Back in Time with the Drama 'Reply 1994'! |  Channel-K

I probably started favoring Chilbong in episode 10. The kids were off to celebrate New Year at Samcheonpo, except for Trash who was on duty, Binggeure who was working, and Chilbong who had a meeting. Their appointments all got cancelled. I was hoping Trash would follow Na Jung but he went to play billiards with his friends instead. Chilbong, on the other hand, travelled for 6 hours to Samcheonpo to stay there for three hours, and went back to Seoul with another 6-hour bus ride, just to spend New Year's eve with Na Jung (who was unfortunately knocked out most of the time due to tear gas). Such great love.

Oppa and I also felt that Trash confessed to Na Jung only because he was challenged by Chilbong. Chilbong, on the other hand, was brave enough to tell Na Jung how he felt. After they broke up, Trash only pursued Na Jung again when he saw her with Chilbong. If he truly loved Na Jung, he should not have needed any challenge to make his move.

I loved how the show confused the audience by naming both Trash (Kim Jae Joon) and Chilbong (Kim Seon Joon), Kim and Joon. Or how Binggeure joined the groom's side during the wedding pictorial, which could make you think that Na Jung married his cousin.

I liked that scene where Chilbong gave Trash a baseball that was valuable to him. Chilbong told Trash that he can keep it for now (as he keeps Na Jung) but he will definitely get it back (and Na Jung too). In the 2013 scene, we see the ball displayed in Na Jung's house. One would initially think that Na Jung and Trash did end up together. But that would not have made sense when they broke up. So did Chilbong get the ball back because he and Na Jung got together eventually? Then did Trash finally get it again when he got back together with Na Jung? I was confusing myself and I shared my theory with Oppa, which spoiled the show for him too. In the end, my theory was proven wrong. Chilbong never got the ball back because he never got the girl. 

I liked how things didn't go awkward among the three even after Chilbong was rejected and Na Jung and Trash got married. Their friendship was not as solid as Taek and Jung Hwan's in '88 yet they overcame the awkwardness of the situation. Much respect of course for Chilbong. He did not need to maintain that friendship but he did. He even leased his apartment to them. He must have really loved Na Jung.

Using Reply '88 standards where the guy who wanted the girl more or who was more persistent succeeded, Chilbong should have gotten the girl. But the difference was Na Jung was madly in love with Trash and from the beginning, she already made up her mind that Trash was the one for her, unlike Deok Sun who was undecided.

Although I ended up going to Team Chilbong, I'm not saying that Trash was bad. Na Jung was very lucky to have two great guys after her. Both of them were worthy and there were moments when I wished Na Jung could marry them both.

Chilbong and Na Jung

❤Chilbong &Na Jeong❤ "Cider~Miracle" Couple: Our Beautiful Memories of Reply  1994 - Page 38 - shippers' paradise - Soompi Forums

I've said a lot about Chilbong already but allow me to elaborate some more. I loved Chilbong because he was persistent. That episode about his persistence in baseball when he was younger was a sign that he was going to be as persistent with Na Jung. I loved his fighting spirit especially when he said it ain't over 'til it's over. I loved the creative excuses he came up with so he can spend time with Na Jung, like taking the driving test even if he already had a license. 

Initially, I found it problematic that despite Chilbong's competitiveness and the huge threats he told Trash about stealing the girl, he did not really do enough to pursue Na Jung. Yes, he confessed. And he probably respected Trash. But he already had feelings for Na Jung even before he confirmed that Trash liked Na Jung back. And when he came back from the US for a vacation, he knew that Trash and Na Jung were no longer together so he could have actively pursued Na Jung then. I initially felt that he was all bark and no bite, like most guys. But I saw the light in the end. My poor Chilbong tried his very best. But when he saw that Na Jung was in despair because she could not be with Trash who was sick at that time, Chilbong decided that it was time to give up and let her go. 

Na Jung said it perfectly, Chilbong was nice. And Chilbong's realization was so painful - he was nice that's why he was ruined. He kept on giving way. And as they say, nice guys finish last. He was so nice and I was so proud of how great his love was for Na Jung that he bravely let her go. That breakup scene on the baseball field was so heartbreaking. But I loved how he got the closure he needed.  

In the end, I picked Chilbong because he had a sad life and I really wanted him to be happy. I just find comfort in the fact that he did get married as he revealed in the finale (presumably to Jung Yu Mi whom he bumped into during the show's last episode. Happy with the Jung Yu Mi cameo because we're watching some episodes of Live and Summer Vacation on tvN.).

P.S. I loved how only Chilbong and Na Jung remembered the new millennium reunion that the boarders planned. This paved the way for their "almost" relationship.

Trash and Na Jung


Official Thread] ღ Sung Na Jeong ♥ Sseureki Kim Jae Joon a.k.a "NAREKI  Couple" from REPLY 1994 ღ - Page 542 - shippers' paradise - Soompi Forums

Yes, I spoiled the groom for myself. But it did not actually ruin the show for me. I was still curious about how they were going to end up together. It even made me more alert to the hints on who Na Jung was going to marry (like how Trash's older brother was named Jae Young and how some Korean families use similar syllables for their kids' names, which would make you think that Trash is Jae Joon).

I started out rooting for Trash because he had more history with Na Jung. They go way back. And I know Na Jung loved him dearly. Between him and Chilbong, it would have probably been more heartbreaking for Trash if he did not get the girl. 

It took time before Trash finally confessed his feelings to Na Jeong. Looking back, however, Na Jung is partly to blame too. Everytime Trash tried to tell her that he liked her or when her friends told her that Trash liked her, she would completely ignore them. But then again, I would still blame Trash for not saying it formally and properly right away. Girls hate being assuming so we tend to ignore signs, unlike guys like Haitai who often assume that girls like him. 

I felt bad for Trash because he must have been scared of admitting his feelings. He might be accused of taking advantage of his close relationship with Na Jung's family. I acknowledge that the circumstances made things more difficult and complicated for him. But it must have also been heartbreaking for Na Jung to be "family-zoned," like when Trash picked Yoon Jin over her because she was family. 

But despite all the complaints I have about Trash, I would have to say that he gave the most passionate kisses. His kisses made me smile from ear to ear. 

I loved the straightforward way he proposed to Na Jung. They were in his hospital dorm and he casually gave her the ring and asked her to marry him because he no longer wanted to worry about losing her. I loved how he revealed his insecurities, unlike most guys who probably would be too proud to admit that.  

I respected Trash when he allowed Na Jung to leave because she wanted to have her own identity too. This issue is probably often ignored by couples but I believe it's something that must be discussed. Both should be on the same page regarding this to avoid problems later on. 

I loved how long distance relationships were discussed in this drama. It showed us that men and women have different expectations about LDRs. Guys feel that as long as they don't cheat, they're already doing great. But for women, not cheating is already a given. It's probably not even a bare minimum. Women expect men to put in time and effort to keep in touch. We still want to communicate, to be updated, and to feel your presence even virtually. 

I absolutely hated Trash when he distanced himself from Na Jung when his mom died, which led to their "break up without having to break up." Yes, he was probably sad and depressed. But as Na Jung told him, he should have said it. If he was hurt and having a hard time, he should have said it. If he fell out of love, he should have been straightforward about it. Although it may hurt, the truth will still be much better than being ghosted where you're left to doubt your self-worth. 

Despite the break up, I loved how Dong Il and Il Hwa's love for Trash never changed. I loved that conversation Il Hwa and Trash had about going to neurosurgery because of Il Hwa's deceased son. I felt Dong Il's pain when he told Trash that he felt like he lost another child when the two broke up. I loved that Dong Il gave his family gloves to Trash, as if telling him that even if you're no longer with my daughter, you will always be family.

While I favored Chilbong, I was just happy for Na Jung because she got the guy she truly loved.

The Other Stuff 

I super loved the references to sports. Oppa was excited when he saw the previews because Na Jung was a basketball fan, while Chilbong and Dong Il were on to baseball. Football was featured too through the World Cup. 

I loved how they featured real basketball players from the '90s. I can totally relate to Na Jung's fangirling. Na Jung was crazy over Lee Sang Min, who coincidentally caused the Philippines' heartbreaking loss in the 2002 Asian Basketball semi finals. Oppa was saying that he'd give Reply '94 a perfect rating of 5 but would need to deduct some points because it featured Lee Sang Min. 

I liked how the show used English songs from the '90s like What's Up, Love is All Around, and All I Want for Christmas is You. It was really much better to watch the original version of the drama because when we checked, the Netflix version did not use these songs. The version we watched also had subtitles for the Korean songs so we were able to appreciate them more. You'd be surprised at how perfect the lyrics were for the scenes where they were played. 

I liked how the show gave us glimpses of what happens during military service. The show also had the usual throwback stuff - backmasking, beepers/pagers, first generation mobile phones, etc. 

I really appreciated how the show featured what city life was like for country bumpkins. It was funny most of the time but I liked how the show explained that while city life was obviously more convenient, there will always be something charming and appealing about living a simple but happy life in the province. I could totally relate to how heavy the feeling is every time you leave the province to go back to the city. My cousins based in the province always had that problem whenever they had to go back to Manila for school. Because of the focus on country bumpkins, I'm sure this show will be so much more nostalgic for those who came from the province and stayed in boarding houses and dorms.


Reply 1994 : Who is Na Jung's Husband? | Addicted To Lipstick 

I absolutely loved how the show ended. I'm glad they closed the loop on everything, including the literal closure of the boarding house when Dong Il posted a sign saying they were no longer accepting boarders. 

It was great to see the older versions of everyone, including Dong Il and Il Hwa. It was a very sentimental journey seeing how everyone has evolved. You can still see traces of their old selves (annoying Samcheonpo, innocent Binggeure, and flashy Haitai) but they've all improved as well (Binggeure seemed more sure of himself and both Yoon Jin and Na Jung seemed tamer). It was a great way to end a show that reminisced about the time when they lived passionate and pure lives. 

The Not So Good

The show had some flaws and we could not just ignore them the way we did in Reply '88. Probably because Reply '88 trained our eyes already and we are a bit more discerning this time. 

The explanation about who Trash was in relation to Na Jung's family was a bit confusing. We had to repeat the scene to understand things better. Although it might just be a translation problem or even a comprehension one. 

I appreciate that the version that we watched had explanations on some of the Korean references that non-Koreans might not know (like the collapse of some companies). However, some of these explanations were too long that we were not able to catch them at all.

There were inconsistencies/flaws in some scenes too. Oppa noted that when Haitai and Yoon Jin were going back to their provinces, Haitai was almost left behind by the bus and he left the restaurant in a rush when he realized he was late. However, when he was already settled on the bus, he offered to share his twin popsies with Yoon Jin. When did he exactly buy it? If he bought it way before he left the restaurant, it would have melted already. It didn't make sense either if he bought it just before leaving the restaurant because he was already pressed for time. 


Na Jung and Yoon Jin were both basketball fangirls during the first episode. While Lee Sang Min's posters remained in Na Jung's room, her fangirling was barely mentioned in the succeeding episodes. However, we learn during her wedding that she was still into Lee Sang min and her groom allowed her to watch the weekend games. 

Similarly, Yoon Jin was a huge Seo Taiji fan. She was so depressed when he retired. The retirement was short-lived because he became active again after about two years. However, it was mentioned very sparingly (she handed out copies of his new album to her colleagues in 2000). I would like to think that someone like her who was so crazy about Seo Taiji would have done/celebrated more when he came out of retirement. 

Unlike Reply '88, I found some episodes dragging although the show would put in an exciting scene or two to make up for the drag. I remember feeling this way in episode 10 where the highlights were the kisses between Chilbong and Na Jung and Samcheonpo and Yoon Jin. 

I wish they featured Sook Sook more prominently. I understand that during the first few years he might have been stuck in the room most of the time since he was still a baby. Although that was also odd for the scenes where all the grown ups were outside. Who looked after Sook Sook then? But what bothered me most was even during the final days before everyone moved out of the boarding house, Sook Sook still did not join them even if he would have been big enough at that time. They all ate breakfast together but Sook Sook was not there. Was he in school already? I hoped they featured more of him the way Jin Joo was shown in '88. 

Reply 1997” Cameo Not Enough To Boost “Reply 1994” Ratings : Celebs :  KDramaStars

The thing that I disliked the most was the cameo of the Reply 1997 cast. I felt that it was overextended and it was on the slapstick side. And it's definitely not because I was unfamiliar with them. I did not know Trash and Na Jung either when they appeared in '88. But their cameos in '88 meshed nicely with the story. It was as if it flowed naturally from the original plot. I would even say that their cameos were pivotal because it led to the reunion of Bora and Sun Woo. The cameo of the '97 cast, on the other hand, felt disjointed from the entire '94 plot. Would you really get into a fistfight with strangers on a bus over some loud music? 

If you're planning to watch the entire Reply series, it might be advisable to watch them in the order they were released ('97, '94, and '88) so you won't spoil '97 the way we did. Now we know who will end up together in '97. At least I won't need to spoil it for Oppa. :) And based on how we felt about '88 and '94, I would like to think that the series progressed for the better so it's best to watch '88 last. 

Over all, '94 was also great. It was definitely much better than your usual K dramas. But compared to '88, I think it paled a bit in comparison because as I mentioned in the beginning, '88 really set the bar so high. What set '88 apart for me was the focus on family. It gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling that '94 was not able to match. But '94 is still a must watch. 

Oppa says...5 (supposedly the perfect score), but he's bumping it to 5.2 because of Go Ara. It could have been higher if it were not for Lee Sang Min. 

Noona says...4.8. :)


 


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