Reliving My Adolescence, Korean Style: Answer Me 1997 (Reply 1997) Review
|Reply 1997 Poster|
But, I digress. I wrote this post to tell you that I loved watching Answer Me 1997, and give it my full recommendation as a great Kdrama for beginners and connoisseurs alike. It has a distinct vibe, different from the typical Korean romantic comedy plot and characters, which makes it feel fresh and unique. The characters are relatable and lovable, and the situations will likely remind you of your own adolescence.
Answer Me 1997 is a coming-of-age story, visiting key moments in a group of friend's journey from adolescence to adulthood. Each episode focuses on themes and events that are the quintessential parts of growing up, complete with first loves, evolving parent/child relationships, teen idols, and awkward encounters with the opposite sex. The main characters take turns narrating the events and the life lessons they learned from their point of view. The best comparison I can make to it is the old American show from the 1980's, The Wonder Years:
2. This drama is especially engaging because there really is a question as to who the main girl is going to end up with. Will she finally return the love of her long time best friend, or choose his older brother? The drama flows in a flashback format, opening with the main characters reuniting at a class reunion in 2012. We're then taken back to 1997 where the circle of friends is in the full throngs of high school. We're not quite sure from the beginning who is married to who or how their lives progressed to that point, but each episode slowly reveals it. This drama keeps you engaged in anticipation of finding it out until the very end. I really enjoyed this aspect of the show because in most Kdramas it's pretty clear what the outcome will be from the beginning.
4. Everyone always comments on how the kiss scenes in Answer Me 1997 are so great and among the best, but despite the great chemistry between the main couple I have to disagree. While Seo In Guk delivers, Jung Eun Ji does not do her part. The kiss scenes felt a little strained because she was not the most passionate kisser. I'll give her a break though, since she is pretty new to acting. The main reason there is chemistry between them has mostly to do with his intensity, so it's still worth watching. Good job Seo In Guk! Can I get in line?
There really aren't very many drawbacks to this Korean drama, but Answer Me 1997 can be a bit hard to follow for non-Koreans three reasons:
1. There were a lot of references to Korean pop culture from the 1990's, which I unfortunately did not get because I was too busy listening to N'SYNC and Britney Spears instead. There were also a lot of cameos from current and past Korean pop stars that I didn't recognize, so I didn't get to enjoy the full effect. But don't worry, with a little research you can get on board. All I can say about this is, thank goodness for the site Dramabeans! If you've never checked them out, they do an amazing job at recapping and explaining Korean dramas, with a good dose of humor and insight.
2. It can be hard to follow the story line because its travels around a bit in time.
3. Some scenes feel totally unfinished and unresolved and leave you wondering what happened next.
Overall, though, I truly love this Kdrama and have added it to our list of Korean Drama Recommendations for Beginners. What did you think of it? Did it remind you of your adolescence and favorite Pop bands? Comment below.
Check it out on DramaFever or Viki and enjoy!
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I really liked the main character story!! I was much less excited about the porn scenes, that kind of ruined it for me. Other than that I thought it was great!ReplyDelete
I totally agree about them talking about porn being terrible! Just to clarify to other readers though, there was nothing pornographic in this show, they just talk about one of the character's addiction to porn, which is annoying.Delete
This show is one of my favorites <3 I can't wait to see Seo In-Guk in The Master's Sun!!ReplyDelete
I really like the memes you make for you posts :) Is there a program you use?
I can't wait for that either! I use Photoshop.ReplyDelete
You haven't mention yet that in this drama, there was NO evil character. For me, Reply 1997 was one of the best K-Drama in 2012. I just love how unique and fresh this drama is. The characters were relatable and likable. The voiceovers were so great. And I love that this drama is not all about love between the main couple. This drama showed love in every aspects. Love between the main couple, love between friends (I envy the friendship here, to be honest), love between family, even love from fans to their idols. And who can forget the nostalgia factor? Even though I didn't know about the cultural references here, I know abot dial-up internet, tamagotchi, Dance Dance Revolution, pager, brick phones, floppy disk, etc. Attention to the details were awesome! So basically, I'm still in love with this drama. The final narration is still ringing in my ears: "It was fiery and pure, the time I long for. Do you hear me? If you do, answer, my 90's me"ReplyDelete
That's all very true! I hadn't even thought about there being no evil characters.Delete
I LOVED this drama it totally took me back to my junior high/ early HS days. While all my friends were fighting over *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, I became a big fan of H.O.T. because I thought it would bring me closer to the very attractive young Korean man who helped out at his parents' corner store near my house. At the same time, my best friend and I had started writing ridiculous fanfic and shared it with each other via floppy disks. Many other late-90s references were also relate-able.ReplyDelete
I really enjoy how it touches on a variety of issues in a realistic way; even though some things seem like a huge deal at the time, obviously time passes and its not so major after all.
I love that you loved H.O.T. for the Korean guy. Did it work?Delete
Thanks to your glowing review I now have a new favourite! I watched this immediately after the unspeakably awful Summer Scent, and the contrast could not have been greater. After a series featuring a psychotically possessive second male lead and a one-dimensionally self-obsessed female second, Answer Me was the perfect antidote. In fact, it was damn near perfect, period. Most of all I loved that it showed how to make a funny, touching, involving series without endless angst. I missed all the in-jokes, of course, but the characters were so well-drawn and so deftly brought to life that I didn't feel left out. With the possible exception of a slightly saggy penultimate episode, this show came within a hair's breadth of flawless. THANK YOU for the tip off!ReplyDelete
Just finished watching this drama... So out of the ordinary, refreshing and hilarious.. Thanks for recommending this guys..ReplyDelete
I kind of gave up on K dramas for a while since most of the stories turns out to be the same but this drama is hands down one of the best and just like what Stuart says borderline perfect (if not for the abrupt stops during some scene where I thought that may be I might have not downloaded the episodes properly???).
I'm usually not a person who cries watching KDramas (Except for Full House where I broke down each time Song Hye Kyo cried) but I was so close to loosing it especially during the cancer scenes with Shi Won's father.. Gosh that was hard..
But it was funny at the same time especially when Yoon Jae tries to be romantic with Shi Won and she keeps texting him things like "pooping" and "psychopath".. I thought that was hilarious..
Anyways it was so hard to think that Seo In Gu was the same guy who came on 'Love Rain' (which by the way was a beautiful drama) where he acts like this super geeky guy in the 60's and here he is this freakishly HOT high school student.. Ohhh bliss...
Keep up the good work guys.. Now I have watched quite a few KDramas from your list.. I always visit your site because you guys give quite accurate reviews on most of the dramas I have seen. And one thing I noticed was just because a drama has poor ratings, it does not necessarily mean that it was bad (like the drama 'Love Rain', which had terrible ratings but I thought it was so beautiful especially the way they recreated the 1960's).
So good work 'my chingoos' ('friends' in Korean).. You guys always deliver..
Dush from Melbourne
I also cried in this drama and rarely do. I'm so glad you liked it and that our site is helpful to you! Thanks for the compliments :)ReplyDelete
just finished this drama......smart writing & direction... most of the kdrams more or less have same story lines.. two guys one girl..2nd lead best but yet left heartbroken :( ..blah blah blah..( but i still watch them anyways) it was different & it was smart & logical..for a change i wasnt biased with ledy going to end up with one particular actor.. it wasnt buildup that way..female character was SASSY.. loved her spirit.. parents were adorable..every character had its own significans..loved it,..best one soo far..ReplyDelete
Hello. This is A.K.I.A. Talking…ReplyDelete
Thanks for the great
review of Reply 1997 / Answer Me 1997!
I enjoyed it a lot.
I added it to my collection of reviews for the show. The
show has now an average score of 97.5%.
It is now the top scored show of 2012
Here is a link to the page if you would like to give it a
Thanks again for the review. If you want to do something
with my blog, please contact me.