DRAMA OF THE MONTH: Reply 1988

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Promo poster for Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988)

Every once in a while you come across a drama that’s so refreshingly real and relatable that as you watch it you become so immersed in the story you forget the characters aren’t real people and their lives are completely made up. As the story goes along, you find yourself becoming so convinced of the reality of these characters that they start to feel like your best friends, your neighbors, and your family. So much so that by the end of the drama, you’re left bawling your eyes out because you’ve been forced to say goodbye to people you’d much rather keep around forever. To find a drama this incredible is a rare thing indeed so when I find one, you can bet your sweet bippy I’m gonna be recommending it to you which is why I’m sitting here now, trying not to bawl my eyes out as I talk about this month’s drama, Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988).

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I wanna move in and be the next door neighbor to every single one of these families. (Screencap from Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988))

The third installment in the Reply series, Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988) originally aired on tvN from November 6, 2015 – January 16, 2016. Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988) doesn’t focus on a single character but rather tells the story of a whole host of characters whose lives are all interconnected during this one brief moment in time. In the case of Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988) we get to catch a glimpse of life in a little neighborhood in Seoul and the five families that call it home.

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How did Deok Sun get to be so lucky, having all these guys as her best friends? (Screencap from Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988))

With 20 characters to follow, it’s nearly impossible to tell you exactly how this story goes because it’s doesn’t really follow any set pattern. The story flows from one character to the next, touching on issues that include: love, friendship, poverty, death, wealth, success, failure, family, dating, menopause, dreams that come true, dreams left unfulfilled, the fear of an unknown future, the relentless march of time and the way it pushes us ever forward…

While this slice-of-life method of storytelling isn’t new to the Reply series, the depth that was reached in the 1988 installment struck a chord with me. There was just something about Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988) that I could so easily relate to, I found myself aching with their pain, rejoicing over their victories, and understanding their fears. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, I’m more sensitive to stories such as this, I’m not really sure. What I do know is the sting of reality hurt this time as the show wrapped up and we were very painfully reminded that time is always passing, life is always changing, and once a moment is gone, you can never get it back.

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This brings back so many memories from my childhood it’s not even funny. (Screencap from Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988))

In the midst of all the emotional roller-coastering that Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988) inspires, you’ll find the standard series “who does she marry” sub-plot laced throughout the entire 20 episode run. As usual, the mystery of the future husband is one that brings about much sighing and crying and wailing and moaning and nail-biting and table-flipping and once again, it’s not until the very end that you find the answer to that almighty question. Of course I’m not going to tell you who makes the cut this time but I will tell you that I FINALLY SHIPPED THE RIGHT GUY AND I’M SO DANG HAPPY ABOUT IT I COULD DANCE ON THE ROOFTOPS FOR 1,000 DAYS! (Except it’s freezing out and I can’t dance and I’m not really willing to risk slipping on the ice and falling to my death just to celebrate but internally, I’ve been doing the happy dance of joy since I realized my ship was actually gonna sail.)

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I’ve never cried so hard at the end of a drama ever in my entire life. Seriously, I still get teary-eyed thinking about this drama. (Screencap from Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988))

No matter how much I write about this drama, I don’t feel like I’m going to be able to do it justice. It’s that good. There’s just so much about this drama I loved, from the acting to the script-writing to the directing, really the stars aligned just right with this one and what came about as a result is nothing short of wonderful. This drama moved me in ways no other drama has ever done before and I kid you not, I spent the last 1.5 episodes bawling like a baby. (Yes, literally.) I really want to talk more about this drama but I don’t want to ruin it for those of you who haven’t seen it so I’m going to wrap up here by telling you this is one drama you need to watch. Immediately. It’s just so good. Of course if you’ve already watched it, I want to know what you think so be sure to leave me a comment below!

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