Series Review: Answer Me (Reply) 1988

Where to begin?

To be honest, writing this is more difficult than I thought. How could I be heartbroken, again? Well, I’m not alone on this one. Big hugs to all Team Jung Hwan!! After three weeks not reading any related articles, I can finally move on.

PD Shin & Writer Lee made Reply 1988 frustratingly amazing and heart wrenching all the way. Kudos! I can’t even compare it to the first two series. Though Reply 1988 became a bitter chocolate to swallow, it is definitely on a league of its own.


If you have watched the franchise from Reply 1997, you know by heart that the central theme will always revolve around family and friendship. I decided to watch Reply 1988 without the husband hunt purely on my mind because I know that I will be drawn loving each family and its members.

Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa is still the best couple. But I was so happy to be introduced to another couple that made Reply 1988 memorable. The chemistry of Kim Sung Kyun and Ra Mi Ran far outweighed any of the love team in this series. I know I already love Kim Sung Kyun as Samcheonpo in Reply 1994, he just proved the reason why I shouldn’t let go of that love here. And since they are the married couple who produced Jung Hwan and Oppa Jung Bong, their family is truly blessed! I think I cried more watching their family grow closer. I’ve witnessed how they struggled and how they went through the hardship together with their heart intact. Amidst the wealth, they never forget to share their blessings to all the people that surround them. Ra Mi Ran had me laughing and crying like there’s no tomorrow. I just love her character!

Each family brought different emotions that touched the deepest corners of my heart. Once again, The Reply series reminded me the importance of family, the importance of our parents!! We always read that as we add years into our own life, we forget our parents are getting older too. We sometimes forget the value of hard work our parents went through to help us get to where we are now. The tribute of Jung Hwan and Deok Sun to their parents is so sweet, to say the least. It’s a great reminder that we should be grateful to our parents and they deserve our love more than what they have given us. That kind of love is still the best love we can give because we are honouring the most important people in our life.

What an amazing display of love! That alone still makes me a satisfied viewer of this franchise.


This was a refreshing way to see a beautiful relationship between two amazing men. When both of them found out that they like the same girl, they never thought of challenging each other for Deok Sun. Instead they decided to give way for each other, even though it hurts, for the sake of their friendship. When Taek backed out to give way for Jung Hwan, that is undeniably a showmanship of respect. I cried along with him when he did that.

I was looking forward to hear them talk about Deok Sun. They really surprised me for not doing so. This proved the depth of their friendship because without any explanation, they just understand each other. Taek and Jung Hwan managed to show us a different level of love and respect between two friends. No woman could ever break them apart! Great job guys!

I never thought that neither Taek nor Jung Hwan is better than the other. Both of them are endearing on their own. The story explained to us that, its not the best guy who will get the girl. It’s actually the guy who had the courage to love, without holding back. Since there is a bigger risk at stake, it takes a man who is daring enough to lose everything to gain the woman he loves.


Taek, I knew you’d be deadly. His facade is so innocent but he is bursting with confidence within. He’s fierce and invigorating despite showing us that he’s tired most of the time. He is a beautiful contradiction. He should not be brushed aside simply despite of his weaknesses.

I usually fall for the nice guy *coughChilBongcough* so Taek is really my type. Taek took his chances whenever possible, without fear or hesitation. He went after his love and proved to Deok Sun that he can give up anything for her. The moment I watched Episode 18 with subtitles and heard that Taek forfeited the game to go after Deok Sun, I just knew this was a big move for him that will change the course of his love story.

Since Chil Bong made my heart stronger after the heartbreak, I can happily move on because it is Deok Sun’s decision after all. I am not upset that Taek (Park Bo Gum) was the husband but I’m not ecstatic that this was the ending either. I will not say bad things about Taek because I love him as an individual character who showed us that it takes courage to go after someone you love and risk everything for. He knows how important Deok Sun is in his life. For that alone, I rest my case.


It all started at the alley scene. I’ve felt the intense chemistry right then and there, they were too close for comfort! Jung Hwan discovered for himself that not only does he like Deok Sun but she’s a woman to him. The sexual tension he felt confirmed it. Then the bus scene happened wherein Jung Hwan’s veins almost exploded out of his skin, then the umbrella scene.. I can go on and on you know! And his biggest struggle all this time was, keeping his feelings all to himself. That’s difficult dude! Concealing what you truly feel is harder than expressing it out loud. He was acting coolly, but deep inside he’s going crazy in love already.

The confession scene felt more meaningful to me after I’ve watched everything again. In Jung Hwan’s perspective, he thought he’s the only one who likes Deok Sun. At some point he was on the same page with her, but upon looking closely he grabbed the wrong book! I mean, when he said that the early bus scene ride going to school was a coincidence, I cried after listening to him. If only he knew that for the first time in Deok Sun’s life, she woke up early just to catch up with him and ensure they are together going to school that day. She even waited for it to happen, it was not a coincidence!! Deok Sun was smiling from ear to ear upon seeing Jung Hwan. He was so stupid not to have noticed that he was the reason she went to school earlier than usual.

Add to that, at one point she even faked a sprained ankle just to hold your hand, Jung Hwan-ah! Damn. This is why Jung Hwan’s unrequited love felt more painful than any other I’ve seen. The fact that he did not confess what he truly feels at the moment where it matters, crashed my heart a million times over. It is true, we regret the chances we didn’t take.


The possibility of what could have been will only be left in our imagination now.


Every time he smiles, the heart ache is gone.

That’s why, no matter how frustrated I was with his character, his smile is my soft spot! It was Ryu Joon Yeol‘s fault that I became so forgiving. Coz honestly, Jung Hwan is infuriating. But damn, because of Ryu Joon Yeol’s impeccable charm, I fell for Jung Hwan! Ryu Joon Yeol stole my heart on this one when I wasn’t even expecting anything from him. He made Jung Hwan more than just a character in my Korean drama book. This guy surely knows how to make any woman’s heart flutter a million times over and break it all at the same time. Personally, more than the husband hunt, it was really Jung Hwan’s story of love that I cared more about. His love story is very relatable because love can be painful, not just sometimes.

Taek and Jung Hwan were given a chance equally. Jung Hwan made a huge mistake. He was given so many chances, to think he was living near Deok Sun already! Dude, she was literally few steps away from where you are! Jung Hwan said that his love was not something to regret nor is timing at fault nor the red lights. Actually, the fault was in the wallet. For me that wallet scene was the turning point because Taek backed off for him. But stupid Jung Hwan instead of stepping up to move forward, he stared at the wallet for days and thought harder than usual.  He allowed love to slip away from him, countless of times.

Every episode we saw how he struggled with his feelings, and develop his love for DS. Jung Hwan was showered with chances that he didn’t take. It was his hesitation that truly made a difference, it left a piercing throb in the heart. If only his love was stronger than his fear, things could have been different. Every time I look at him, I could easily understand what he feels. Even if I don’t understand Korean, Jung Hwan speaks in a language that feels familiar. His facial expression was profound that I can hear his heartbeat for Deok Sun.

We’ve watched Korean dramas and the centre theme is always on “first love” that is framed to last forever. First love has become a “be all and end all” of most Korean love stories but we know in real life this often happens. Finally we have a character who represents those hearts that are broken by their first love, and learned the value of love because of it. He represented the kind of first love that could have been beautiful. Though it was planted, it didn’t bloom. Surely most of us made that mistake of not loving someone wholeheartedly when we still had the chance. For those who haven’t experienced this, let this be a lesson in love. There is nothing worse than holding back – every second counts.

It’s that time to say farewell again. This was really hard to write! But as much as I cried, I still felt the love for this series. PD Shin and Writer Lee made me an avid fan. Though I have one request – on the next Reply series, please don’t break my heart for the third time. Jebal.

See you next time!!



  • Twinkie says:

    Love your comment “If only his love was stronger then his fear, things could have been different”… true.

  • Aoi says:

    R88 is just one of those timeless , thoughtful stories that stay with you forever. It’s been a week for me, but I can’t get the feeling of that recreated nostalgia of the 80s , nor the immediacy the friendships and bonds of family lent to the drama.

    Gosh ! I only wonder what the writer director duo would come up with next.. R97 was the benchmark of showing teenager hood and pop culture , similarly R88 getd the award for family and friendships. I don’t think anything can supercede these dramas , I’d wish them to work along another theme for the next Reply series…

    Maybe a political/ social one set in the early 80s ? Felt a lot more could have been done with Bora’s protesting storyline..

  • mariazzang says:

    I still hold a grudge at Lee Woo Jung. She made it sure Junghwan fans will be heartbroken until the end of time. At least we were able to see Chilbongie happy and knew he moved on and got married and still stayed friends with everyone. How about Junghwan? What happened to him?

    I do not disagree about Taek being the husband. He is the one who has more courage to get hurt and put his feelings out there for everyone, including Deoksun to know. He made his chances count. But even though Taek is the husband, I believe that Junghwan is the lead for this series. Junghwan’s story arc with Deoksun, his parents, his brother and his friends constitutes a very big part of 1988. We were there for every character growth, pains and struggle he went through from the very first episode.

    If only Lee Woo Jung didn’t shun Junghwan’s character on episode 20, if only we saw Junghwan grew up to be Lee Seo Jin (well this is just me imagining it) in the present timeline, fans won’t feel betrayed. There was no emotional payoff and satisfaction seeing a beloved character getting their own happy ending.

    If only.

    At the end of the day, no matter what my opinion was, nor how many more articles published about the ending of 1988, or how many more interviews come out about the casts’ reactions to the finale, the drama ended already 3 weeks ago. There is no changing that and no turning back.

  • juliesean says:

    I’m still traumatised over JH. I can accept Taek as the husband but I’m pissed that there is no closure for him. So what happened to him in 2016? Is he married? How many kids does he have? Is he happy? There’s also a strong disconnect in the personality of the 2016 husband from earlier episodes vs the husband in the later episodes. In the beginning, he behaved exactly like JH. But by the last episode, he behaved like Taek.

    Among all the moms, I love Mi Ran the best. Her expression of love to her family is through her cooking and nagging. It’s the kind of love that asian moms expressed in their own way compared to modern moms these days. I also love the slow burning love of Sun Woo’s mom and Taek’s dad. I like how they just ended up together without much fanfare or of any love declaration, which is still comparable to the love of the young couples. It’s just a different kind of love. Love of a matured couple.

  • dwarf says:

    I’ve always been able to stand apart and tell myself it’s just a show no need to get upset when I watch them. But this! This! Jung hwan!!!!!! I’m actually scarred by the ending. It’s horrible really regardless of how awesome the rest of the show was. Really it’s just a show but why do I feel like JH and that I really wished I could turn back time to right the wrongs?! Ughh

  • lovcom00 says:

    Me too, I’ve been Chilbonged before, but that was nothing compared to how deeply they hurt me with Junghwan. Honestly, this time it was bitter for everyone: us, the netizens, the characters, the actors (I mean, they had to stop filming the confession scene multiple times because Hyeri was crying too much? Really?? I didn’t sign up for this, NOT AGAIN lol), they sure surprised me, but unfortunately they weren’t able to convince me. For the sake of keeping all the possibilities open until the very end they choose to not explain anything and just go “here’s the husband, it’s TK” not really giving us the possibility to understand, or the time for TK shippers to get some fanservice, I mean, ok, JH wasn’t the husband, but why they waited the last week, made this so hard to believe that Hyeri had to ask why TK was the husband and when her character fell for him and why they didn’t even give us the chance to see what JH was up to in the future? Yes, I didn’t even watch the last two episodes and deleted the whole thing, because I’m THIS hurt. If a new Reply thing will come I must be REALLY careful to not be invested, it’s dangerous indeed.

    • bmore says:

      It’s wrong to say that 88 was my favorite, because I think I will say that about every one of them. But oh how I loved 88. I must start it again soon!! I was lucky this time as far as the husband thing. I knew pretty much early on that Jung Hwan wasn’t going to be it because they made us believe it was him too many times. And for me, Taek’s love for DS was as powerful and passionate as JH’s, so it was difficult for me to take sides. I guess it comes down to I’m always going to be hurt no matter which one gets left behind and always going to be happy for the one who wins his girl. I really really really wish they will drop this in future installments. I know it’s their shtick, but I’m already tired of it. I think that’s why I wasn’t AS upset by the one left behind this time. But oh that confession scene nearly killed me. I too agree that it would be nice to have had more present time with our couple and some closure for JH….. like we did in 1994 and 1997. I think they filled up their 20 episodes too quickly with so many characters and so many beautiful stories that deserved our time and attention. There was not a single wasted person or story or time spent with anyone in this. I loved everyone. There are often times in a drama where we leave the ‘chosen’ couple behind and I groan to have to have my attention diverted to someone I don’t care about. But I loved every single person in this one. Amazing writing and directing and acting. Another brilliantly done drama for me. Maybe my favorite so far??

    • bmore says:

      Never saw that about them having to stop filming the confession scene…can you post a link? I love reading anything about a series where I get so invested in the lives of the characters!!! That was a brilliantly done scene…one of the most heartbreaking I’ve ever seen….but when I saw the title of the episode at the beginning, there was no doubt what was coming. 🙁 Cried like a baby!

      Hyeri knew when she got the script for eps 15/16 that Taek was her husband, according to her interview. But the dream kiss that was not a dream sealed that for me. Poor girl blames her acting for not showing us more about how much she loved Taek all along. I thought she did amazingly well for her first time. But PD Shin is a brilliant director, as we have had ample proof of. His shows are definitely star makers.

      I so agree with you that I WISH 1988 would have had SOMETHING about the characters in the present time. That continues to bother me. They did that for us in 1994 and it helped a bit. (though I was Team Trash all the way from the beginning-my heart was still broken for Chil and I cried so much for him). Since PD Shin is talking about 1970’s for his next installment, we are screwed for any more info on Jung Hwan, which is SO depressing. 🙁

      • lovcom00 says:

        @BMORE RJY said Hyeri basically cried a river during his interview on V-app, I didn’t have the heart to watch the whole thing (RJY also actually cried during this interview lol), but I can give you the link to an article that summarize it:

        Also, I completely agree with the ones who are saying how wonderful was the neighborhood family setup, my favorite from all the season, and it’s because I’ve loved it so much, that all this love triangle tragedy felt even more painful to me, they wasted a lot of time just to drag it on to the point of sickness, then they didn’t even had time (in like 40 hours) to give it a proper closure, this will haunt like forever..

        • bmore says:

          oh thank you for that. I must share it will my other 1988 fanatic!! 🙂 I too will dream of something in a future installment that gives Junghwan…and us….a beautiful and happy endig of his own. First loves do not have to be last loves, nor greatest loves. They just seem to hurt worse because there is no scar tissue from prior losses.

  • nix says:

    I guess it was really painful for Team Junghwan because what Jung Pal thought as unrequited was actually once requited. I think the latter hurts more.

  • Fei says:

    It breaks my heart when people focus more on the love story of DS-JH-TK than the story of 5 families living together for nearly their entire lives. This drama offers so much more than just boys vs girls love; it’s all kind of love the world can offer. Parents, siblings, friends, youths. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the trajectory of DS love story, but this drama means so much more than that: the ode to youth, the ode to old way of living, the ode to the old neighborhood, the ode to the friends you grow up with. The way it ends, it leaves a huge lump on my throat that I don’t know if I can move on from it; keeps me longing for answers. Well done, R1988, well done!

  • @nur_iffah says:

    Oh. You. Makes. Me. Cry. Again.

    The other heartbreaking thing for me is that Ra Mi Ran and Kim Sung Kyun characters don’t get Deoksun as their daughter in law.

    I’m always glad to find another team Jung Hwan!!

  • sydaaaa says:

    Junghwan ending happens a lot in real life. His story is so familiar that almost everyone who has experience first love heartbreak was heartbroken again with his story. It as if the writer had intended to show us that not all love story ends beautifully. In real life first love almost always end up bitterly. My first love is also like that. I end up not telling him that i love him not even once. Almost the same as in junghwan case as i just cooly do things for him and act like it was no big deal at all. And in the end it hurts me like hell up to this day. And the fact that we have not seen any closure for junghwan just left a big hole in our chest that certainly will stay there for a very long time. I cant help but get the feelings that the reason they give no closure for junghwan is because he never moved on. He love deoksun and will always be.

    • mariazzang says:

      But then that kind of ending is even more tragic.

      Maybe if I win the powerball, I will invest for TVN and Lee Woo Jung and Shin Won Ho for a sequel, but this time will be focused on Junghwan after the year 1994.

      Or you know, just give me a new drama with Ryu Joon Yeol and make sure he gets the girl. But of course not before some good angst and swoon worthy scenes for fanservice.

  • Cinderellarockyfellar says:

    “It takes a village to raise a child” Taek got his heart broken when he lost his mom. Everyone was pouring their love to him. He didn’t asked for it but he needed it. Same reason why they always hang-out in his room not because of convience but it’s loneliest place to be. JH has a loving family & money. He’s already blessed. Deoksun choose the person whom she’s the most happiest with. I do agree that the ending could have been better for JH also I want more DR. I miss everyone! Sunwoo who will eat anything you give him even if it doesn’t taste good & DR who will make you laugh when you badly need it.

  • Winona Cher Brua says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for this review. I just finished this last night and I was having a hard time with accepting the ending. Jung Hwan!!! </3 But then your explanation made me realize that indeed, that's really what should happen. Not taking risks means being in the same spot. No matter how much you want something, if you're not doing anything to get it, you will never have it. Not today, not tomorrow. In terms of crying, I can definitely say that this third Reply franchise really made me cry my heart (and lungs) out. It was a roller coaster of emotions! But I still consider the first one to be my favorite. You're right, though, that you will be drawn to love each family and member. There is just a tug in the heart that just can't shun. While I'm typing this, I still have a heavy heart. But at least I was enlightened by your point of view. Gomawo. <3

  • Suzanne says:

    What ending would we like to see for Jung Hwan? Happy family? yes! What would that look and feel like? A wife with spirit and spunk like Mrs. Cheetah? Or someone who needs looking after, like his brother, or Taek? You see this very caring and protective person in the quiet moments when we get to watch him from a distance. Maybe the writers left this up to us for a reason – we care about what happens to him – so we get to decide his fate! Happy – yes!!! I think someone who deeply needs him and loves him will give him the courage to show it!

  • Norie Eda says:

    I’m in Team Jung Hwan.. Initially, i resented the fact that they made Taek the husband.. I even deleted all 18 episodes that i downloaded.. After few weeks without reading anything concerning this series, your post makes me realize that Taek deserved to be Deok Sun for the simple fact that he goes after her with all his heart without holding anything back…
    Jung Hwan ah, you should learn a thing or two from Taek regarding matters of the heart..

  • maitri says:

    I still can’t accept that it’s not Jung hwan….
    that’s the reason I haven’t seen the end episode…
    it broke my heart….

  • Dokkojinlover says:

    you made me cry again..
    even though i m so happy after watch ryu jeon yeol in YOF,but my heart still weak when people talk about junghwan..he’s the most beautiful character i ever meet..
    he never shows his feelings but you never know that he can love you unconditionally
    you are so true,IF junghwan can be brave enough to confess his feeling without think about anyone else….
    however,i m now can accept TK as the husband*about 0.0001%* ..
    but for me to watching reply 88 back..i don’t think i can..
    i m so proud to be in jung hwan team and never regret for it..

  • Janet says:

    Leleh, what should I watch now? I cannot move on from this drama. haha!

  • Anne says:

    I really dont have any idea that Reply 1988 is so Great! As in no words can describe how much happiness and lesson i received, i just finished watching it last night and im just feeling lost and depressed, i just loved all the characters the settings the family the bromance the squad goals and all the love and lessons in life!! Im really thankful that i got to read your review about the series and help me accept jung hwan’s/ jung pal ending. Im really hurt for him, i know he has reasons for his hesitations and one of it is taek, it really shows that jung hwan is really kind person maybe it isnt about timing, maybe its about how he cares for deok son and taek as his friends that’s why fears and hesitations wins in the end. Regardless he really showed how he love and care for deok son and for me its enough. Thanks again 😀😀😀😀

  • Helena says:

    This drama made me realize a lot of things in love and life. We all feel sad for Jung Hwan but his narration in the story gave peace to me. During that pouring rain where he was inside his car, a lot of realizations came to his mind. He even quoted a line from the movie Forrest Gump. He may not have ended up with Duk Seon but he loved her with all that he is, he might not able to express the love in words but we all know…he really, truthfully loved her. And he will always love her because Duk Seon is more than just a girl, she is a family to her.

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