Review: Answer Me, 1997


A sincere, heartfelt drama populated with characters who feel familiar, complex and real.

Even if you didn’t grow up in the 90s, and even if you have no prior knowledge of the popular idols of that era, you’re likely to still find a lot to enjoy in this drama.

A small drama with a lot of heart.



The way I see it, Answer Me is a drama that can affect you on 2 different levels.

One is a very specific Omigosh-those-are-MY-teenage-years sort of level, and that is reserved for those who grew up in the 90s; even better if you grew up in the 90s in Korea. Beyond that, there’s a whole other dimension from which the drama can speak to you, that’s simply universal, and it doesn’t matter where you grew up or how old you are now.

Those are the things that get you in the heart.


Here’s the OST album in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.


While I liked this drama a lot, the way it affected me was definitely not in the first way.

This show didn’t really help me relive my teen years, simply because my teen years were very different. Because of that, a lot of things depicted in this drama didn’t speak to me in the same way that it spoke to so many others.

AM3Here’s a breakdown of some of the ways and whys that this drama’s specific context didn’t apply to me or resonate with me:

  • I didn’t know who H.O.T. or Sechskies were until this drama, so all the history of the fan wars between their fan camps was new to me. All the meta references and cameos were lost on me until I read about them on Dramabeans. That kind of belated appreciation of the meta is better than no appreciation at all, for sure. At the same time, it really isn’t quite the same as recognizing it in the moment, squealing in surprise and enjoyment the minute it appears on my screen.
  • I hadn’t been a stalkery fangirl in my teen years, so the overwhelming sense of amazing hyper-reality when in the same room and breathing the same air as one’s idols was also a fairly alien thing to me. The most I’d ever done was collect posters and buy music of the pop groups that I liked, and I did that in a fairly limited fashion too, mostly coz my allowance wouldn’t go very far. And also, there weren’t a lot of local pop idols around, so the objects of our fangirling were mostly American boy bands who were really, really far away.
  • My parents hadn’t related to me in a similar fashion as Sung Shi-won’s (Jung Eun-ji) parents related to her. My parents are the type of traditional Asian parents who love you but don’t say a whole lot. So the chatty, noisy, boisterous family that Shi-won had growing up was interesting to me, but didn’t resonate with me.
  • Because I went to university locally, I never had to go away to college, so that whole packing up and going off to college milestone in life and all the emotions it stirs up made sense to me, but in a purely mental, vicarious way. I could only imagine what it feels like, and that’s just different from having lived through the same thing.

Context may not be everything, but it does count for a lot.

Many others who grew up in that same era in Korea love the show to pieces, and I can understand why; it’s like reliving your teens through watching the show. Because of my different context, I think I may not love Answer Me in the same way or perhaps to the same intensity as those who fall into the Omigosh-that’s-my-life category.

Having said all that, though, there were a good number of things that I genuinely enjoyed about Answer Me. (Yay. Now we’re getting to the good part!)


AM10All the actors were so natural and believable that they really made me believe they were friends, and that really brought back memories of being part of a clique in school; of having a small group of friends who spent a lot of time together, and who were more special than regular friends. These were the friends that you talked to and cried with, that you stuck with through thick and thin. You literally thought that the world began and ended with your friendship.

It brought me to reflect on the friendships that I have kept up, that had their beginnings in my teen years, when friends – and who they were and what they said – had such a huge impact and influence on who I was and who I chose to be.

AM21I especially enjoyed the friendship between Shi-Won and Yoo Jeong (Shin So Yool).

Being the only 2 girls in this group, I found their alone time very real and true to life. Yes, picking out hair accessories and getting your hair done together and being fashion victims together and picking out makeup together is totally what girlfriends do, not only in your teen years, but possibly beyond too.

I still remember buying my very first foundation as a teen, standing in front of a rack of Cover Girl cosmetics with a close girlfriend, who had complete deciding authority in terms of what shade and formula I should buy. She’d worn makeup for maybe all of 3 months by then, and I believed every single thing she said and let her take complete control of my precious, significant purchase. That’s the power of teen friendship.


I particularly liked how Yoo Jeong and Shi-Won made up after their big rift over Yoo Jeong liking Sechskies instead of giving all her devotion to H.O.T.

Yes, it really isn’t a big deal on hindsight, but to them, in those intense teen years, it meant a betrayal of the hugest, most unimaginable kind, and the fact that Yoo Jeong cut her hair to match Shi-Won’s ugly punishment-cut was the epitome of support, solidarity and loyalty.

I mean, seriously. A girl and her hair? Only a truly prized friendship could rank as more important than the relationship between a girl and her hair.

AM5 AM6The fact that they made up wordlessly across the hallway made it all the sweeter. Words aren’t needed when your hair speaks volumes. Loved that moment. So much.


AM7I also really enjoyed the friendship between Shi-Won and Joon Hee (Hoya).

Joon Hee’s steady, quiet energy was a great foil and anchor to Shi-Won’s brash, blunt and exuberant ways. She was the loud, outspoken one, and he was the calm, thoughtful one, and they each brought balance to the other while not only accepting, but enjoying their differences in personality.


I particularly liked how their friendship went to a deeper level when Joon Hee confessed to Shi-Won that he liked Yoon Jae.

She never saw it coming, and up till that moment, clearly had never thought that he might be gay. But she never did anything but accept him and treat him just the same afterwards.

That quiet, unconditional acceptance and love for a friend was affirming and moving to witness.

Later in our story, when she realizes that she and Yoon Jae like each other, she hesitates and stops to seek Joon Hee’s blessings, even though it is clear that Yoon Jae would never reciprocate Joon Hee’s feelings. That she instinctively did that even though there was no possibility of Joon Hee’s love being reciprocated, speaks volumes about her respect for his love as well as her love for him as a friend.

So matter-of-fact and so sweet at the same time.


AM14I really liked the quiet, subdued way Answer Me treated Joon Hee’s crush on Yoon Jae (Seo In Guk).

There wasn’t any drama in how this crush was portrayed. Instead, it was in all the quiet moments that Joon Hee’s love was unveiled, layer by layer.

A lot is left unsaid, and it is Hoya’s portrayal of Joon Hee’s awkwardness and self-conscious restraint around Yoon Jae that shows us just how much he likes Yoon Jae.

At first, one might think that this is just a teen crush that might fade like so many other teen crushes do. But as the show progresses, we realize that this is no small-time crush that we’re talking about; Joon Hee’s love is deep and sincere.


I was really very surprised when I realized that Joon Hee was literally planning his life around Yoon Jae’s. I mean, he wanted to go to the air force academy only because Yoon Jae wanted to go. And Yoon Jae only wanted to go because he believed that Shi-Won would like him if he were a man in uniform.

I’m so glad they didn’t go. That’s a really big life decision to make, and to make it purely to be with the one you like is rather unwise, in my books.

When Joon Hee became flat mates with Yoon Jae, there were many poignant moments between them, which made me really feel for Joon Hee. He was so near the object of his affection, but yet at the same time, so far.

AM13The way that Answer Me resolved Joon Hee’s love for Yoon Jae was both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. When Joon Hee decides to move out and let his heart move on, it was the silent moment between Joon Hee and Yoon Jae that spoke volumes.

AM15 AM16So much was communicated in that one quiet back hug: Thank you. I’m sorry. I value you. I value our friendship. I still want to be near you.

I don’t often tear while watching dramas, but this scene brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.

It was so understated and yet so powerfully full of pathos and love at the same time. Definitely one of my favorite scenes of the show.


Of course, there’s the whole premise of the show, which was at first, which couple in the group made it to the altar? And then it turned into, who’s the father of Shi-Won’s baby?

I need to get this question out of the way in order to carry on with this review and talk about our OTP, so here we go:


AM18From early on in the drama, Shi-Won has 2 potential suitors in Yoon Jae and his hyung Dae Woong (Song Jong Ho).

I have to say that I was rooting for Yoon Jae to win Shi-Won’s heart all the way. It’s true that Dae Woong was sweet, mature and steady, all of which Yoon Jae wasn’t quite, but I honestly wasn’t quite sure if he really loved Shi-Won, or only thought that he loved her. After all, he’d been deeply in love with her unni, who had died tragically in an accident.

I think getting over losing someone who died is a much more complex and difficult thing than getting over someone who simply dumped you. It’s just so much harder to let go. Plus there’s the guilt of letting go. I believe Dae Woong struggled with all of that, and when he decided to turn his affection towards Shi-Won, it seemed like just that: that he just, y’know, decided that he would like her.

And sweet as Dae Woong’s character was, I found him rather dull, to be honest. I was definitely rooting for Yoon Jae on this one.

So when the drama dragged out the daddy question episode after episode, even after Yoon Jae and Shi-Won had overcome their obstacles and started dating, I found it quite annoying.

Let’s just say that I’m happy that Yoon Jae turned out to be the father.


AM17And now, we finally turn our attention to our OTP.

The relationship between Yoon Jae and Shi-Won was a completely believable one from the very start. As childhood friends who had grown up seeing the best and worst of each other, they were comfortable, at ease and full of affection of the bickering sort, replete with special gestures of aggravated attachment towards each other.

I liked that recurring display of grudging goodwill towards each other; it made me smile every time Shi-Won scratched Yoon Jae under the chin as if he was a puppy, and every time Yoon Jae ran his fingers down Shi-Won’s face. Those little gestures were constant reminders of their much longer, deeper history than that of their other friendships.

I enjoyed the way Answer Me treated Yoon Jae’s burgeoning romantic feelings towards Shi-Won. His struggle to come to terms with it and find out whether she might possibly feel the same way felt organic and real. The way he went about it also felt true to his character. He was a proud, passionate and hot-headed teen, and that pride, passion and hot-headedness came to the fore and were magnified in the way he dealt with his feelings for her.

Similarly, Shi-Won stayed true to her character, and responded to Yoon Jae’s efforts in her usual blunt, brash way.

AM19Clearly, the fountain kiss wasn’t pre-meditated. He was caught up in the moment and was rolling with his feelings. He decided to just kiss her, to see if he was feeling what he thought he was feeling. Only, he got rewarded with a resounding kick to the shins, a good yelling at from Shi-Won and for good measure, a good chase around the fountain. I think if he’d thought about it, he would have seen that kick in the shins coming.

As the drama progressed and as their friendship ebbed and flowed with the high and low seasons, I was caught up in the will-they-or-won’t-they of it all, and I loved – really, LOVED – the culminating moment when everything finally, finally came together and Yoon Jae kissed her in the stairwell.


The. Kiss.

Such a sweet, real kiss imbued with a palpable sense of wonder, restraint and desire. Swoon.

Even though our OTP had several other kisses in the drama, this was my favorite, hands-down, toes-down.

But, since we’re talking kisses, let’s have a lookie at the others anyway 😉

AM22 AM23Crackling. Crazy. Chemistry.

Seo In Guk and Jung Eun-ji had fantastic chemistry in this show. The ease with which they related to each other was clear and believable, and their romantic chemistry sizzled and sparked in all the right ways. Seriously. No wonder netizens think they might be dating in real life.

In terms of how Answer Me treated our OTP’s relationship, the show remained consistent in terms of having the characters stay true to the essence of the way they had always related to each other.

Just because they were now on kissing terms didn’t mean that they stopped bickering or teasing or being gruff with each other. And that felt authentic and organic and oddly sweet.

It made them feel real.

AM25A review of Answer Me wouldn’t be complete without turning our attention to Eun Ji Won in his turn as the earnest, cool Hak Chan who was hilariously awkward around girls.

I practically cried with laughter at his extreme awkwardness around the female species, turning from a confident cool dude among the guys to a deer in headlights, replete with eyes as big as saucers, the moment a girl so much as breathed in his direction. Too funny.

Eun Ji Won blended in with the much younger cast surprisingly well, and I have to say, all the meta references about his idol days were funny even when learned second-hand. Some didn’t even need any explanation, coz his photos and posters and even his movies from his idol days peppered the show.

AM27How cute is he, in all his idol glory?? I think I’m in retro-love.

I also really enjoyed Hak Chan’s romance with Yoo Jeong. From the very beginning when he was struggling just to function in her presence, to how they finally started dating, it was funny, cute and just plain adorable.


I loved that he was smitten with her even though she had her sights set on Yoon Jae. The way he went along with her request as she tried to stage a date with Yoon Jae was sad and sweet at the same time, and then when her efforts all came to naught and she cried in the bus, he was adorably sweet as he wordlessly sat with her and put one of his earbuds into her ear.

AM26Knowing how much courage it took for him to do that made it all the sweeter. I especially loved how he told her to meet him at the mall the next day, not to do any of the things that she’d tried to get into for Yoon Jae’s sake, but to simply do what she wanted to do.

So. Sweet. 

No wonder she surprised herself by kissing him on the spot 🙂



I have to say that I really, really enjoyed Shin So Yool in Answer Me. The character of Yoo Jeong suited her well, and she brought out the cheery, flighty, good-naturedness of her character perfectly.

There’s such a sweet, endearing quality about Shin So Yool, and I absolutely love her smile. I definitely want to see more of her 🙂


Jung Eun Ji was very, very good as well.

I wouldn’t have guessed that she’s an idol actress, but for the promotional material. She was fully committed to the role, and even got uglified with gusto.

There was no pretty, dainty crying with her. She all-out bawled in the crying scenes, especially when it involved her beloved H.O.T. Neither was there any static, fish-lip kissing from her either. She was fully committed to every kiss scene, and helped make those moments all the more real and believable.

Her feisty turn as Shi-Won was completely convincing from start to finish, and I’m really curious to see how her real personality stacks up with Shi-Won’s. That’s how believable I found her. She became Shi-Won for me.

That’s quite a feat, even for a more seasoned actress, so kudos to Jung Eun Ji indeed. I hope she stretches her acting muscles more in the future.

AM30Seo In Guk was such a revelation to me in Answer Me.

I’d first laid eyes on him in Love Rain, and I had found his character in Love Rain completely obnoxious and annoying. I actually believed that he was obnoxious and annoying.

So I was completely surprised to be swept off my feet in Answer Me, by his very different, equally convincing turn as Yoon Jae. His Yoon Jae was an appealing, just-a-touch badass, rogue-ish sort of character. Not conventionally good-looking, but very likable and quite hot. Especially when he’s kissing you 😉

I hadn’t realized that Seo In Guk actually started out as a singer, having won the Superstar K contest in 2009. Since he’s primarily a singer and acting was something that came about afterwards, it’s such a bonus to find that he’s actually quite a natural at acting too. He is so competent that I am surprised that this is his “secondary” skill. He holds his own in the midst of actors who are solely actors, and even sometimes outshines some of his co-stars.

Color me impressed. He’s definitely someone I’ll keep on my radar.


To be honest, I didn’t love the last 2 episodes because they tended to feel draggy. The last episode felt especially draggy at almost twice its usual length. It felt like the show was giving us fanservice by dragging out the finale episode to give us more time with the characters, but I personally could have done with less. I found it draggy and too indulgent, and the longer episode also translated into a looser, more meandering feel to the episode.

Still, that is a minor quibble in a sea of goodies.

Answer Me was a meaty drama offering that had complex, faceted characters with relatable cares and concerns. I developed a genuine affection for the various characters, and enjoyed being a fly on their collective walls as they lived, loved, laughed and cried together. The story beats were genuinely funny and heartfelt by turn, and the quiet, understated moments spoke the loudest of all.


A very worthy watch. Universally appealing in some of the best ways. Nostalgia never gets old.



The great thing about having Seo In Guk and Jung Eun Ji as our leads is that they really can sing, since they are primarily singers. What a bonus, to have your OTP sing the OST, and actually sound great! And then, to have them appear in the MV, looking all natural and adorable together? That’s a rare, rare thing indeed.

Check it out, not only for the easy breezy tune, but for more OTP cuteness 😉

75 thoughts on “Review: Answer Me, 1997

  1. Pingback: Review: Fight For My Way – Dagmawit's Drama Picks

  2. Prashil Prakash

    Hello Kfangurl

    And I finally watched it!

    I remember this being mentioned by a friend of mine when I was really new to the dramaland (prolly just 2 dramas in) and I remember totally dismissing it.
    Luckily through “My Mister” I found your page and it became my prime source of “should I watch it or not” ( I even commented there, though it’s basically me rambling there😅)

    Reply 1997 was really heartfelt. And I’m so glad to have watched it, although now that it’s over I miss it already!

    Having watched other shows by director Shin, I suddenly notice so many references from each shows. And its so cool.

    The concept of Dae woong being “Daddy long legs” and in Hospital playlist the social program for patients also was “daddy long legs”
    Joon ho(prison playbook) has a thing for his best friend’s sister, or rather a thing dating his best friend’s sister in secret!(both wise prison/wise doctor life)
    The “answer me, I’ll count till 3” being defused by a kiss from the guy in form of an answer both in reply 1997 and Prison Playbook.
    The book “3 kingdoms” shown in reply 1997 had a longer Cameo in Prison Playbook than Go Ara in Hospital playlist. Lol

    There are more and I’m sure when I watch 94 and 88 there will be even more!

    References aside. Even I found it so annoying with the information withhold about who’s the dad.
    And honestly I know that people would automatically assume it’s Yoon Jae(cuz trope, duh) but I’ve been hurt too many times with seemingly false expectations so many times that I had to hold my breath till they clearly showed that “Yes! Yoon Jae is the Dad.” Phew!

    All in all. I really loved this one!

    Cheers and thanks!😊

    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi Prashil! You are moving fast! It doesn’t feel like so long ago, that you mentioned you were planning to check this one out! 😅 I’m really glad you enjoyed it, and that’s so cool, that watching all the shows close together, has given you cool insights about this team’s motifs and styles! I didn’t notice them, because I’ve been watching the shows as they aired, and never actually got around to marathoning them as a rewatch, so this is so nifty, that you’re unearthing these little nuggets for us! 😀 Thanks for sharing!

      And also, YES, Who’s The Hubs is, unfortunately, an annoying device. Fair warning that it shows up in 1994 and 1988 too. I was most annoyed with it in 1994, but found it better handled in 1988. Just a heads-up, so that you can manage your expectations accordingly! 🙂

      1. Prashil Prakash

        Yeah, I started 1994 and 2 episodes in. “Who’s the hub’s” device is already in play!

        I’ll just brace myself 😅

        1. beez

          @Prashil Prakash – Just please don’t let the “mystery hubby” format turn you off before you get to Reply 1988. That show is really special.

          1. Prashil Prakash

            Oh don’t worry about it! I’m 6 episodes in already and its not so annoying yet (plus I have faith in this team. I’ve Loved all of their works dearly)
            Plus I find it a lil interesting by how they are going about this (by already revealing the name but keeping the names in the show semi secret)

            Thanks for the heads up, and yeah I’m already excited to look forward to 1988!😊

            Cheers and thanks for the revert!

  3. Pingback: Flash Review: When The Camellia Blooms | The Fangirl Verdict

  4. Meong

    When many people really like this drama i think this drama is just meh.
    I know Seo In Guk from Shopping King Louie then Task Force 38, High School King, The Smile Has Left Your Eyes and finally Reply 1997.
    Compared to all of that characters, idk Yoonjae just looks so dull. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to see Seo In Guk as cheerful characters.

    The story itself isn’t special.
    I enjoy the gayness of Jun Hee ofc, that’s something’s uniqe in kdrama.
    But the other? Idk. It’s meh.
    I already know that Shiwon will end up with Yoonjae because they’re both main leads so no guessing who’s the baby’s dad. No mystery.

    The scenes are so jumpy. I must double check sometimes when in the previous episode the character is doing this and suddenly in next episode they’re doing something’s totally unrelated.
    I’m like “Do i skip an episode or something?”
    And no. It’s just how the drama works.

    I only watch this drama because i want to watch Seo In Guk anyway so it doesn’t matter.

    1. kfangurl

      Well Meong, since you mentioned that you don’t enjoy dramas the focus on family life, then I honestly think the Answer Me franchise may not be for you. The strength of the Answer Me franchise is how the shows are able to tease out the warmth and meaning from the everyday moments, and for those of us who enjoy those types of stories, the Answer Me dramas are very enjoyable indeed. Since you enjoy shows that have more fantastical types of premises, I guess this series is just not a good fit for you. 🙂

  5. MC

    Hey there! Guess you’ve been busy, not sure if you have time to read comments still but I wanted to drop a note because I finally watched one of the Reply series!! Was totally convinced by you to get around to watching and decided to do it chronologically (also if AM1988 is so awesome I shouldn’t start with, save the best for last amiright).

    I honestly really enjoyed this one! I’ve been kinda in a drama rut lately, dropping shows / not being super into shows. TBH I tried to watch this right after Wise Prison Life/Prison Playbook cos I loved that one so much but I just couldn’t get into it and couldn’t connect with the HOT/Korea in the 90s vibe so I dropped it about 10 mins in. But lo and behold I tried it again after watching some other shows and after getting a feel for the characters and style, I really found myself loving it and wanting to watch more and more.

    Similarly, I didn’t relate to this in a “THIS IS MY CHILDHOOD” way but more in terms of “THESE GUYS ARE SO RELATABLE AND HOW THEY FEEL IS SO UNIVERSAL” way. On a side note, very thankful for Dramabeans who filled in all the gaps and the meta/inside jokes! If I had really grown up in Korea in the 90s this would have been a super special snowflake of a show.

    2 things I loved about this show:
    1) The teenage vibes – The PD/writer team really did an amazing job fleshing out the highs and lows of being a teenager, I would cringe yet smile when they did silly/immature things, because I too would’ve done all that (or worse!) in my teen years. So nostalgic! The Tamagotchi! The caning in school! The recess bell! Actually I saw a lot of similarities with ALSB – the warm girl, the “colder” guy, the funny friend group, so I guess this show really impacted many of the retro-ish shows that came after that. Hahha.
    2) The real-ness of the characters – I don’t really have your way with words so I hope you know what I mean when I say that this show reminds me of Coffee Prince, in that the characters feel so realllll and I felt like I wasn’t just a viewer watching characters following the writer’s script, but real friends, real people with real highs and lows. Some of my highlight were dad and mom bickering/loving each other (such a cute couple! so much of Dramaland has nonexistent/absent/bad parenting/parental angst that it was so nice to see a normal family on screen!), Yoon-Jae confessing at the karaoke and giving the ring to Shi-won (my heart broke for him…), Joon-hee’s face whenever Yoon-Jae hugs him, Joon-hee’s goodbye to Yoon-jae when he moves out (that backhug and all in silence… my heart!!!) Also loved Hak-chan and Yung-jung they were adorableeee <3 and it was so touching when Sung-jae helped the grandmother out and realises how lonely she was. That was really beautiful.

    I was always team-Yoon-Jae (Shi-won and hyung dating just felt so weird….you could see he was the only one interested and he was so much older and it was sooo awkward) so I'm so happy they were endgame. Seo In Guk and Jung Eun Ji had such sparky chemistry, feels a bit like your favourite OTP in Coffee Prince haha. Thanks for the MV at the end, so adorable and these 2 really can sing! I think I'mma find myself more Seo In Guk shows – he's really good (and handsome lol).

    Agree that eps 15 and 16 were too long and draggy, they could've cut it to 45 mins each and it would have worked out better. But anyways! Small issues for a really lovely show. <3 Thank you for recommending it. It was wonderful and I look forward to more AM shows!!

    1. kfangurl

      MC!! I’m so glad you ended up enjoying AM97! 😀 It does take a while to get into it, but you are so right, one of Show’s draws is how REAL everyone feels. And I’m happy to share that this trait remains throughout the other AM shows. The characters ALWAYS end up feeling like friends and neighbors that you’ve come to know and love, and it’s always bittersweet to get to the end of the show, because it feels like you’re saying goodbye to friends. 💔

      I think depending on your own growing up experience, at least one of the AM shows will have at least a bit of that “THAT WAS MY CHILDHOOD!” feel. I found myself feeling those feels more in the other installments, AM1994 and AM1988, heh.

      Yes, I recall the older brother was not a convincing match for Shi Won, and I thought she and Yoon Jae were a much cuter match. Such sparky chemistry! 😀 Ah, as for Seo In Guk, he’s been a bit hit or miss for me, mostly because I don’t jive well with a lot of the k-humor that dramas serve up, and he’s done several comedic roles that just didn’t land so well for me. I’ve heard that he’s very good in I Remember You, but because I wasn’t into the genre (crime, thriller), I haven’t yet seen it. 😛

      Oh, about Mom and Dad.. perhaps I should give you a heads-up that they are also Mom and Dad in Reply 1994 – except to a different bunch of kids. So it felt weird to me, like the new kids had stolen Shi Won’s parents. But I think if you can get used to the idea (Mom and Dad ALSO show up in AM 1988, AGAIN), it becomes a nice constant feature, to have their combined warm energy be part of the show. 🙂

      Also, I do think you were wise to start with AM1997.. I personally liked AM88 best, followed by AM94. This way, if your reaction to those shows are similar to mine, you’re on an upward trend! 😀

      1. MC

        Yes! I can see why the Reply series is such a beloved one, and I’m not even at 94/88 yet. I will get to them soon! It’s true what you say, that these characters are all so real and it’s so hard to say goodbye to them. They really do feel like my neighbours down the street. Some shows start out so strong with beautiful characterisation, but you feel very meh about the characters towards the end (usually cos they end up doing out-of-character-things to satisfy certain plot requirement). This show is the total opposite – a bit slow going but each character is written and performed in a beautiful and relatable way.

        I understand what you mean about Seo In Guk. I try (sometimes fail) to separate the actor from the character so that I won’t be biased if I dislike the character or the way the character was written. Trying being the operative word. I haven’t seen him in his comedies but so far he’s been a good actor! Supremely impressed by him in Hundred Million Stars In The Sky/ The Smile Has Left Your Eyes. I briefly took a look at the poster for I Remember You/ Hello Monster – he does have that cold stare down pat. I can see why he would be good in it.

        I see what you mean about Mom and Dad. I’ll try not to be too affected that Shi-won’s parents suddenly had new children! Maybe it helps that it’s been a while since I saw AM97 so hopefully I won’t be too affected?? But the parents are so fun and warm (that’s the perfect word!) so I think it’ll be awesome to have them back on screen. I look forward to more AM shows and will comment on your reviews, once I get round to them! 🙂

        1. kfangurl

          Ooh, I have a feeling that you’ll like AM94 and AM88 even more than this one, coz I feel like this team’s strength, of making the characters really come alive, becomes more pronounced as they go. By the time I got to the end of AM88, my heart literally ached for having to say goodbye to the characters. Which is such a bittersweet thing. :’) I can’t wait to hear how you like both of those shows. <3 And yes, once you get past the fact that Mom and Dad just keep changing families, they are a lovely presence in all of the shows. <3

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  9. Akisa

    While I was doing something,I got reminded of this drama and I wanted to watch it so bad but I don’t have the time to do so,so I came to read your review instead.I honestly love this so much .I adore even the small moments to bits like how Yoon Jae always took Shi Won’s drink like it was no big deal,and how they fought over small stuff with Yoon Jae always getting hit at the end xD. I have watched two of the Reply series and both are in my top 5 🙂 Thank you so much for this review,the reviews you write are all so awesome and fun to read. 😉

    1. kfangurl

      Aw, thank you Akisa! You are so sweet. ❤ It makes me happy that you enjoy the reviews, and that you find reading them akin to reliving some of the drama moments. I enjoyed all 3 of the Reply series, with my favorite being AM88, and my second favorite, AM94. Since you’ve still got one more Reply series to go, I’d recommend you to watch that 3rd one, whichever one it happens to be! 😉 Ah, my (epic) reviews are here and here, if it helps!

      1. Akisa

        I have actually read all three of the reviews and watched AM88 and AM97 (I love the former more though I adore both). Because I love two of them so much, I am scared if the third will be able to live up to my expectations or whether I will feel disappointed (I already know whom she’s gonna end up with because I watched AM88 first)

        1. kfangurl

          Actually, knowing romantic endgame might actually help you enjoy AM94 more, Akisa! People who got upset with the show were mostly rooting for the other guy, and were upset when he didn’t get the girl. I really enjoyed the characters in AM94, and Go Ara is especially natural. Honestly, I’d say give the show a shot, I personally don’t think you’ll be disappointed! 😊

          1. Akisa

            Thank you for encouraging me to watch it,I will give it a shot 😀 I am watching Go Ara in Hwarang right now,so I am not really impressed by ther acting though -_-

            1. kfangurl

              I know what you mean, Akisa.. I’m watching Hwarang now as well, and I have to agree that Go Ara’s acting in Hwarang isn’t really doing anything for me. I did love her in AM1994 though, so at least you know that she’s definitely better in AM1994 than in Hwarang! 😉

  10. neve

    At the risk of getting stoned by the fans, I have to say that Reply 1997 was meh. I couldn’t get into it at all, despite being close to their age in 1997. I was even a fangirl, although not of Sechs Kies or H.O.T, but of ballad king Shin Seung Hun. I got a Korean guy to buy all SSH’s CDs for me, and I almost hopped on a plane to see him in concert… So I expected to be able to relate to Reply 1997, but somehow none of the story arcs resonated with me. I really couldn’t get into both the main leads. The romance side is just not very believable for me… I don’t know how to explain it, but both her and Yoon Jae’s and hyung’s lovelines were just very artificial. Seo In Guk’s acting was just really flat for me, his expressions barely changed throughout, and his eyes are rather cold and dead. I felt the same with his character in Hello Monster, but I thought it was because his character was supposed to be cold. Here he was just really, boring. Jung Eun Ji was just… OK. She was much better than Seo In Guk, and made their interactions cute. But she had zero chemistry with Yoon Jae’s hyung… I couldn’t believe he had any feelings for her. I started watching this with high expectations, having just finished Reply 1988 which blew me away. I guess I was let down by my own high expectations. I really really loved Reply 1988, and had many onion-cutting-ninja moments, and so many memorable scenes that anything less was bound to be disappointing. I’m not even going to attempt Reply 1994 after this… The leads are not very appealing to me, and it probably won’t live up to Reply 1988.

    Hak Chan to me was just creepy, what with the porn-watching and fear of real-life interactions with girls. I guess he’s supposed to be the Dong Ryong of 1997? Dong Ryong was weird, funny, and lovable, but never creepy. The only mildly interesting arc for me is Joon-hee’s crush on Yoon-jae. That’s something new, I’ve not seen it in any drama (I watched 32 dramas in 2016, and the year hasn’t even ended yet!). Like you said, they handled this arc very well. I’ve only seen gay lovelines treated as a joke in other Asian movies/dramas, so it’s refreshing to see it treated like a legit loveline here.

    I hope they make another Reply drama, because it seems the series just get better and better! And bring back Ryu Jun Yeol, Go Kyung Pyo, and Park Bo Gum! I loved their chemistry most of all.

    1. kfangurl

      Aw, I guess I didn’t have your struggle because I watched the shows in the order in which they came out, and I liked each installment more than the last. I love AM88 the most out of the 3 shows, so I can imagine that if you loved AM88, that following that up with AM97 might feel like a bit of a let-down. I felt that AM88 did a much better job of building a sense of community, which I loved. I think that’s possibly why I felt like I related more to AM88 than to either AM97 or AM94. I will say, though, that a good number of other viewers that I’ve come across actually have the reverse feelings; ie, they like AM97 the most, and AM88 the least. I can’t fathom exactly why, but as they say, to each their own. 😁

      If you’d like to see a gay loveline treated with sensitivity, I highly recommend family drama Life is Beautiful. It’s a lovely drama that I count as my favorite family drama of all time. There are several lovelines in it, as with most family dramas. The difference is that one of the lovelines happen to involve a gay couple. Well worth your time, even at 63 (or was that 64?) episodes, and if you’re anything like me, you won’t want it to end! 🙂

      1. Aritra Bhowmik

        I totally concur with NEVE .I too watched Reply 1988 first and absolutely LOVED the sweet interactions between all the different families. In most forums though ,Reply 1997 was called the best of the lot. I went into it with a lot of expectation but…it just isn’t grabbing at my heartstrings in the same way Reply 1988 did.The difference in acting ability between the leads is palpable.Also I don’t really appreciate the trolling regarding “who’s the husband”.It essentially reduces the whole show to a binary component.It’s totally overblown in Reply 1997.
        Also. another key difference was how Jung Hwan and Taek never jeopardized their friendship even though they were “rivals”
        On the other hand ,here Seo in Guk(Yoon-Jae) behaved very boorishly towards his friends ,especially Yoo Jung and Joon-Hee in his pursuit of Shi-Won.for example.When he asked for the tickets to the basketball game .I found him to be VERY UNLIKABLE.

        1. kfangurl

          Aw, yay for more AM88 love! I personally consider AM88 the best of the 3, and when so many viewers see it differently and even consider it the worst of the 3, it pains me. 💔 I absolutely agree with you that AM88 is just warmer all-around. Like how Jung Hwan and Taek never jeopardized their friendship even when they were in love with the same girl. But well, as they say, one man’s meat is another man’s poison – I may never love AM97 as much as others do, but I’m always glad to find fellow fans who love AM88! 😉

  11. Pingback: Review: Answer Me, 1988 [Reply 1988] | The Fangirl Verdict

  12. otterodd

    1. There’s a scene of Hak Chan and Yoo Jeong that I really love. It’s when they had broken up and Hak han went study abroad. Yoo Jeong’s dad passed away and she sat at the same position she always sat on a bus and cried silently. I always cry when it comes to family you know, dads and moms. So I can’t help my tears when I watch her cry. So I don’t really understand but I know Yoo Jeong was really hurt, it feels like she had lost almost everything, it’s her dad y’know. And now Hak Chan- another person she loves the most is not arund anymore, I feel really bad for her. I also feel really hopeless at this point, cuz I had expected Hak Chan to appear right in the funeral when she needed him the most, but he didn’t. And then all of a sudden, when things were falling apart, when Yoo Jeong was crying and in so much pain, Hak Chan just came and sat next to her, quietly. OMG *cry so hard* I cried you know, cuz I understand the feeling of losing everything and then have at least one very big thing back. It’s so heartwarming

    2. I know right along who the hubby is though. All along, I know it must be him. It’s so obvious you know. But then the brother appeared and mixed things up. I know he was talented, amazing and all, but admittedly, he was dull. But Shi Won looked like she DID like him so I’m confused you know. There is a lot of chemistry between her and Yoon Jae but she never seemed like she liked him. And then when his brother came in the picture, she liked the brother. So my question is quite simple? How can she like Yoon Jae after this? I mean she already dated and liked the brother. But the later episodes answered it quite thoroughly to me.

    1. kfangurl

      Aww, yes, I really liked that scene between Yoo Jeong and Hak Chan. They were such an adorable couple! <3 I thoroughly enjoyed both characters on their own, but what a bonus, that they had a loveline and turned out to be so cute as a couple! 🙂

      I agree, it did seem clear that Yoon Jae was the hubs, but then again, I was worried that Show was going to mess things up and pick the wrong guy for her. I never did get on board that loveline between Hyung and Shi Won. I wasn't convinced that he really liked her, and felt mildly (or not so mildly) disturbed that he was courting his dead girlfriend's sister 😛 I was so glad when Show stopped toying with us and allowed Shi Won's relationship with Yoon Jae more screen time!

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    1. kfangurl

      Aw thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the review, bunny-axe! Ooh, retro Eun Ji Won is very appealing indeed, thanks for the links! 🙂 And yes, the parents are pretty special.. It’s probably why they got to be parents again in AM1994, and then coming up again, in AM1988. They’re just so natural together! Did you also watch AM1994? I really enjoyed that one too 🙂

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  16. Jemerald

    One of my favorite drama and the reason why I became a fan of Seo In Guk…

    Murdering the reply button in “All For You” music video.. (Exaggerated)..Hehehe

    1. kfangurl

      Oh, I can’t blame you, Jemerald! This was the first time I really liked Seo In Guk too. I’d seen him in Love Rain, but didn’t care much for his character in that show. I liked him SO much better here, and I came away with a MUCH better appreciation for Seo In Guk. ^^ And yes, isn’t that “All For You” mv super adorable?? 😀

  17. gweyun

    Hello. This is A.K.I.A. Talking…
    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 look:
    Thanks again for the review. If you want to do something with my blog, please contact me.

  18. ~Xia~ (@xiadfreaky011)

    Hi kfangurl! 🙂
    This got to be one of my favorite dramas – ever! Unfortunately, I haven’t been watching much Kdramas as I had been back to school this year. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this review. It made me revisit the drama scenes and the OST! 🙂 I might have the urge to replay the entire show once Christmas break finally ensues.

    Your blog is one of my favorite in relation to kdramas, I’ve been checking for new reviews and random eye-candy posts once in a while. Haha! I seldom post a comment here but rest assured I’m pretty good at lurking behind the scene. Can’t you tell? ^_^

    1. kfangurl

      Hey there, Xia! Sorry to hear you haven’t been having time for kdramas lately – that’s a bummer indeed. But, glad that Christmas break is coming, and that you’ll have some drama time then!

      I really enjoyed this show too, and can totally understand your urge to rewatch it. At the same time, with so little drama time available to you, would you want to check out any new shows? There’ve been some nice ones this year. Aside from obvious picks like You From Another Star, I also really liked Witch’s Romance and Marriage Not Dating. 🙂

      Also, thanks so much for the encouragement, Xia! Y’know, I was dragging my feet a little with writing my latest review, but your comment gave me the push I needed to really get in the writing zone. And now that the review’s been posted, I wanted you to know that you contributed to that! Thank you! ❤

      1. ~Xia~ (@xiadfreaky011)

        Awwww…that’s so sweet of you kfangurl. 😀 I saw your recent post and I stopped my self from reading everything because…spoilers! Waaahh! I dunno if it’s purely coincidence but I was actually thinking of watching It’s Okay It’s love during the holidays. I’ve been contemplating which drama to watch first and my bff highly suggested that one. Thank you for your suggestions though. If i can squeeze in more time I’d surely check out your kdrama picks.

        Keep writing! Your blog keeps me refreshed at times when I feel like taking a break from the crazy school life. See you around! 🙂

        1. kfangurl

          Aw, thanks Xia!! 😀 It’s very encouraging to know that you enjoy the blog and that it helps to pick you up! That definitely helps with the ol’ motivation to write 😉

          It’s Okay It’s Love is a nice watch, although it can be pretty strange at times. It’s not perfect but I enjoyed it quite well. I’d say go with your mood, when it comes to picking a drama to watch. Sometimes I try to watch a show when I’m not in the right mood for it, and I end up feeling meh about it. If you’re in the mood for a bit of wacky fun rom-com, Marriage Not Dating would be more fun than IOIL.. Also, if you’re in the mood for something contemplative and arty and thought-provoking, Secret Love Affair is actually really good. Just, in an art film sort of way, rather than a typical kdrama sort of way. 🙂 Let me know if you’d like recommendations for your mood; I’ll do my best to help! ^^

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  20. Jan

    Hi Kfangurl,

    I’m going over the dramas you reviewed and…lo and behold, you have watched and reviewed Answer Me 1997!!

    I definitely agree with your comments—the latter half is actually dragging—for me, for some reason the drama hit me right in there, since then I’ve watched it four times. Maybe it’s the SW-YJ love story, SW’s wonderful and bubbly parents, the camaraderie among this group of friends, family’s love and affection or may be all and combination of them… the way the drama was written, directed and acted upon–I have genuinely cared for the characters. Would like to talk about the characters but that would too long.. 😉

    Keep up the reviews Kfangurl, I’ve been reading a number of blogs and your approach is entertaining, though not an episode-by-episode recap, the way you analyse the drama, as if removing each sensitive layer one by one is refreshing (and thought provoking at times =)). All the best and looking forward reading more of your reviews and takes…

    Thank you very kamsa!

    1. kfangurl

      Hey Jan! Thanks for poking around and revisiting some of the older reviews! 🙂 I really enjoyed Answer Me 1997 too – well, except for the fact that it dragged in the last part, and how they kept playing the Baby Daddy game even really late into the game! Like you, though, I really enjoyed the characters, and I enjoyed the care and fun that was built into both characters and their relationships with one another.

      Thanks too, for your encouragement about reviews in general 🙂 As you poke around some more, you’ll probably realize that not all the reviews are created equal. The earlier ones that I wrote when the blog was still very young are much skimpier. And while I’ve given some dramas the Epic Review treatment, I’ve also written much more condensed reviews for many shows. Despite their varied shapes and sizes, I hope you’ll find at least some of the reviews helpful &/or entertaining! ^^

      1. Jan

        Sure will! Read your review on ‘Secret Love Affair’, stopped watching the show after 3 episodes, but I may have to resume watching it after that review. 🙂

        1. kfangurl

          Aw, thanks for reading my SLA review even though you stopped watching it quite early! I really was very impressed with SLA, and the show definitely lingered with me afterwards. I hope you’ll give it another chance sometime, when your mood’s right. The art-house sensibility isn’t for everyone, and you do need a specific sort of mood to be able to get into it. I know that the first time I watched episode 1, that I had trouble getting into it. When I came back to it later with a more appropriate mood though, I was blown away. SLA is a very deserving watch, imo. I hope you’ll like it better your second time around! 🙂

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  23. lyricalpeach

    I can’t avoid spoilers, so I have to avoid the entire review 😉 But I promise when I’ve finished anything this is the first place I’ll come.

  24. lyricalpeach

    I noted the short vs long verdicts, I think that’s a great idea 🙂 I’m actually planning on peeking just at those for a few dramas to decide what to see next… off to see the rest of your replies 😀

    1. kfangurl

      Yeah, I liked the idea of having 3 distinct sections. I figure you could possibly combine the Short Verdict with the Final Verdict to make a drama decision safely without getting spoiled ^^ Of course, you could also live on the edge by reading the Long Verdict and challenging yourself to actually skip the spoiler alert sections ;D That can be hard to do, I know. My eyes have strayed into spoiler territory more than once, against my will! XD

  25. lyricalpeach

    I think for those who haven’t seen the dramas yet, it may be a bit spoilery, unless those people like to know what to expect at that level. If I’m really on the fence I will read reviews, but sometimes it’s best to have a trusted source that can basically give a rundown on whether it satisifies my criteria for enjoyment – emotional draw, good character development, well-acted, good storyline and flow, eye candy that I connect with. A great OST is a plus, those are the ones I seem to be way more willing to re-watch.

    1. kfangurl

      Yes, I definitely can get spoilery! I try to provide spoiler alerts in the Long Verdict, but those who don’t want to risk getting spoiled at all can still potentially make their drama decisions based on my Short Verdict – at least, that’s the plan! XD I do have readers who read the whole thing but avoid all the spoiler alerts, only coming back to read the rest after they’re done watching the show. I try to offer enough flexibility for however readers prefer to consume the reviews ^^

      Completely agree with you on your criteria for enjoyment, I look for many of the same things myself! No wonder we get along! ;D

  26. lyricalpeach

    Reading your reviews after having seen a show are pure satisfaction 🙂 I’ll resist reading the ones I haven’t seen, unless I’m concerned about what I’ve seen so far (i.e. DH2 was worth a check to find out if I should continue watching).
    Thanks for all your wonderful efforts – excellently written!

    1. kfangurl

      Aw, thanks for the encouragement, lyricalpeach!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the review! <3

      It's also really lovely to know that people enjoy reading the reviews after watching the shows too, coz when I first started the blog, I'd only really thought about helping people decide which dramas to watch. As my reviews have evolved, though, there's now a lot more, for people who've already seen the show, and it's great to know that it's welcome and appreciated! <3

  27. amfgk93

    As I was reading this I was getting teary-eyed and I couldn’t tell if it was because I was laughing at some of the comments you made (not in a bad way, you’re just funny lol) or because you reminded me of the really awesome/heartfelt parts of the drama that I probably teared up while watching. Either way, this recap was awesome. I agree with everything you said – the good points and the very small list of bad points. I’m someone who wasn’t a teen in the 90s and didn’t grow up in Korea, nor am I even Korean, but I really appreciate how great it was and real it felt. I finished watching this drama months ago but it will always be one I’ll remember.
    Also, I have a friend in Korea who absolutely adores Seo In Guk, apparently he is “soooo cute”. I didn’t know him before I watched the drama, but he definitely grew on me.

    1. kfangurl

      Aw thanks! I’m so glad the review helped to bring on the laughs and the memories! I have to agree that this is a memorable drama indeed.. One that grows on you in sometimes surprising ways, and then lingers with you afterwards. I loved Seo In Guk in this – perhaps all the more becoz I’d been so annoyed with his character in Love Rain, heh. Now I do find him quite adorable, which is a bonus side effect from watching the show. I even checked out some of his MVs on YouTube, and I don’t even listen to much kpop!

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  29. rainbow

    ya…..i was also not aware of H.O.T. or other references, but our dear guide dramabeans helped me a lot. Also, I read about Eun ji won after his entry in the show, and so I could understand the meta references 😉

    1. kfangurl

      I know, there were so many inside jokes surrounding his idol days! And OMG I was rather taken with the old posters of Eun Ji Won – doesn’t he look adorable in them??! Makes me want to turn back the clock 😉

        1. kfangurl

          I know! I think lots of people are completely in awe of how he hasn’t really aged all that much! But I still think he’s cuter in his idol days, hee! 😉

  30. Eye Candy

    Yes yes yes! I love your analysis of the friendships between characters. Spoiler alert! I got major goosebumps when Yoon-Jae confessed his feelings. That scene was soooo intense I could barely handle it! I also was one of those viewers who had to check Dramabeans after every episode (or sometimes during) to understand the jokes. Glad I’m not the only person who missed some of the moments. I agree the last two episodes dragged but I only really cared once during a conversation the dad had with his older brother. I got…a little bored. Then I felt bad because they were having a moment and I just wanted more of Yoon-Jae. And I too just discovered Seo In-Guk, and I hope he’s in a new sixteen episode drama because I’m not brave enough to try to watch the sit com he’s in too many episodes!

    1. kfangurl

      I KNOW! I loved that scene and replayed it, then replayed it again!! And that kiss. Replayed multiple times – gave me tingles!

      Omigosh, I did exactly what you did! Sometimes I would pause mid-episode to get on Dramabeans coz I couldn’t quite get what was going on! >.< High five, Eye Candy! 😉

      I was going to pass up on Rascal Sons, but after watching Seo In Guk in AM1997, I had to resume downloading it, just so that I know I get to see more of him 😛 I haven't started on it yet, but apparently it gets better after the first 10 or so episodes, in terms of his character's growth 🙂

      1. Eye Candy

        I know I keep wanting to watch it but I still fear the commitment! Let me know once you start watching it, and I might have to check it out. I feel like at some point I need to watch a Korean sticom and if Seo In Guk happens to be in…well that’s just some delicious icing on the cake!

        1. kfangurl

          I know that 50 episodes sounds like a lot, but there are some 50+ episode weekend dramas that I really enjoyed! I recently finished Life Is Beautiful (63 eps) and loved it. Another one I really liked was Family Honor (54 eps) which starred Park Shi Hoo. I fell hard for PSH while watching this! If you’re in the mood to try a weekend drama, these are 2 that are worth your time 🙂

          In terms of sitcoms, I’ve only finished one so far, the first High Kick. At a whopping 167 half-hour episodes, it took me almost a whole year of casual watching to finish it! But, it was so much fun watching young Kim Bum, Park Min Young and Jung Il Woo(!!) in action! They are so cute as teenagers! >.<

          1. Eye Candy

            Thanks for the info! I think I’ll be checking Rascal Sons out now because I realize I need Seo In-Guk in my life! Wah…he really got me with this show

            1. kfangurl

              Oh I feel ya! I was pretty taken with his Yoon Jae too! 😉 I plan to check out Rascal Sons too – soonish. I hope we won’t be disappointed!

  31. cherrycordial

    Yep, this is my experience watching Answer Me, 1997. I really loved it, but not on the level of the people who grew up then or were fangirls like that. Thanks for the great review 🙂

    1. kfangurl

      I know, right?? That was a big part of the show’s appeal that was befuddling to me instead of resonating with me. But I still really enjoyed it, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it too! 🙂

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