|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!