I luff this show. So much. It’s rare to meet a high school drama that genuinely makes me go, Yes, that’s what it was like! This series isn’t afraid to let its characters feel every ounce of embarrassment, insecurity, and earnest joy—the honest, lovely, and sometimes ugly truth about what it’s like to be eighteen. I already loved the characters and the world, but then came the birth of the best love triangle ever. And now I just want to live here. Wake me when it’s 2012.
SONG OF THE DAY
K2 – “소유하지 않은 사랑 (A Love I Don’t Possess)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 3: “What You See Is Not Everything”
Summer of 1997. Mom and Dad argue up a storm over Shi-won’s latest antics. Dad calls her names, Mom calls Dad names, and ’round and ’round we go. Must’ve been something bad.
We backtrack to three days earlier. Shi-won plans out her route in Seoul to get to… Tony oppa’s house. HA. She’s determined to see him this time. Now I get why Dad was livid.
She joins the small group of diehard fangirls already camped out in front of Tony’s house with various gifts, and they all jump to attention at the arrival of his little blue sports car.
He greets them nonchalantly and tells them that he’s not going to come out for a while, so they should all go home. They sigh disappointedly, but most comply. By 9 o’clock that night, they’re down to three other girls and Shi-won, who’s looking more haggard by the hour.
6 A.M. Shi-won pokes her head out of… an appliance box? Dude, you did not spend the night in a box outside oppa’s house like a homeless fangirl stalker!
She groggily wipes off her face with a wet wipe, and by 1 P.M. she’s a walking zombie, stopping for instant ramyun in a convenience store in a sleepy haze.
The longer she waits is just fuel to the fire: “I can’t go like this!” And by nightfall the second day, she’s climbing the wall. Oh. No. Does this end in jail?
She sneaks up to the front door, which happens to be cricked open for the dog to do its business, and Tony comes out to fetch his little poodle. She scares him half to death, and he just sighs, clearly immune to the crazy.
He starts to shut the door but she pleads, “I came from Busan!” Tony: “I came from America!” He slams the door.
Shi-won berates herself for scaring Oppa, and acting so stupid. Aw, she’s not even upset that he shut the door in her face?
She sits on his front stoop, crying so sorrowfully it’s adorable.
Suddenly a voice calls out, “Hey, Busan!” Yay! She whirls around and Tony oppa signs her t-shirt, telling her this is the last time, so she shouldn’t come around anymore. He asks if she has train fare to get home. D’aw.
With her head still hanging, she ekes out, “Oppa, I love you.” He laugh-sighs at her like the little girl that she is and pats her on the head as she cries.
Back to Dad, who screams that he’d like to see Shi-won love her father like she loves “that monkey,” and Mom screams right back that he went too far with Shi-won’s punishment this time. He says yelling doesn’t get through to her anymore.
We pan over to see Shi-won in the aftermath, her hair shorn off and still stifling her sobs. Aw, *hugs.*
2012 Reunion. Yoo-jung waits for confirmation on some concert tickets on her phone, and the girls sigh that being a fan doesn’t mean what it used to—not like the days when they’d have to stand in line and put in the time to see their oppas.
“A Love I Don’t Possess” plays on the stereo and Shi-won immediately identifies it as Yoon-jae’s favorite song. That takes him back, as he reminisces about the time he heard it sent to his pager as a song message, from mystery sender “1004,” aka “Angel.”
In the morning after the hair debacle, Mom and Dad have another knockdown fight over the breakfast table, when Dad discovers that they’ve run out of his mother’s kimchi. He whines like a giant baby that he can’t eat without his mother’s kimchi, going on and on about how perfect she is.
Mom snaps and takes away his food, and tells him to go live with his mother then, and ask her to breastfeed him while he’s at. HA. I love her.
Shi-won drags Yoon-jae out before he can ask what’s going on, and as soon as he sees her new hair, he sighs, “What’d you do this time?” He totally sides with her dad about her going all the way to Seoul, and she snaps at his nagging.
They catch up to Joon-hee on their walk to school, and he sweetly compliments her new hair, saying she looks like Audrey Hepburn now. Aw, it’s a lie but it’s very sweet. He asks why she’s so down and Shi-won says it’s because her parents are always fighting.
She decides she’s going to the local government office today, because someone needs to put a stop to this: “People from Kyungsangdo and Jeollado shouldn’t legally be allowed to marry!” Lol. I hardly think you need a law to reinforce generations of feuding between the regions, but it says a lot about her parents that they managed to marry anyway.
Joon-hee tsk-tsks that she probably didn’t get to eat breakfast then, and offers to buy her something before class. She points out the vast difference between I-told-you-so-Yoon-jae and caring Joon-hee. They go off arm-in-arm, leaving Yoon-jae scowling.
Sung-jae is busy that morning tending to his Tamagotchi, those little virtual pets before there was an app for that. Unsurprisingly, I always killed mine. Yoon-jae takes his bitter mood out on Sung-jae.
Joon-hee walks Shi-won to class and asks if things are still icy between her and Yoo-jung since her jumping ship to you-know-who. He tells her that Yoo-jung wants to make peace, but Shi-won still feels betrayed—not that Yoo-jung became a Sechskies fan, but that she lied to her about it.
But when she reaches the top of the stairs, Yoo-jung is standing at the end of the hallway with determination. As the music swells, she takes off her hat… to reveal an identical haircut to Shi-won’s, in solidarity. That’s. So. Cute.
Shi-won looks up in shock and Yoo-jung smiles sheepishly. They stand there grinning at each other, already made up without a word. I just love the smile on Shi-won’s face. Is there anything better than a best friend?
They linger in that perfect moment, and then Sung-jae comes through with a mop to undercut the earnestness: “Are you two shooting a commercial?” Pfft.
It turns out Sung-jae’s on cleaning duty a lot, because it’s the go-to punishment for not getting the right answers or generally misbehaving. Not a surprise.
That day the boys get a new classmate, a student who transferred from Seoul because of his army dad. Enter DO HAK-CHAN (Eun! Ji! Won!). He’s well-spoken and very polite, and introduces himself to the class.
Sung-jae makes cracks about his weird accent but then gets put on show-the-new-kid-around duty because he’s the clean-up guy today. He turns around and purposely speed-talks unintelligibly that he’ll show him around later, leaving Hak-chan confused.
The bell rings and the girls dash out of class to line up at the payphone. Shi-won calls to hear the announcement that H.O.T.’s second album will go on sale tomorrow. Time for squeals.
Yoon-jae comes by to ask if Shi-won is “Angel,” the one who sent him the song, and she scoffs that that would make her crazy. He doesn’t even give Yoo-jung a second look, even though she’s batting her IT WAS ME eyelashes at him. You dolt.
Sung-jae half-assedly shows Hak-chan around, and then leaves him standing in the middle of the hallway with his milk crate while he runs an errand. When he comes back he finds Hak-chan being hit by the principal.
Turns out Sung-jae spilled milk the whole way up the hall and then left Hak-chan standing there with the evidence, and cringes. But Hak-chan’s totally chill about it, which makes Sung-jae decide on the spot that he’s cool after all.
At lunch, Shi-won asks Joon-hee to page her early tomorrow so she can line up to get her H.O.T. album as soon as the record store opens. Yoon-jae doesn’t understand why she’d have to do that just to get an album she’s already reserved a copy of, and she spits back, “Well YOU’RE the person I least understand in the entire world!”
He’s been sipping her drink from her straw and she snatches it away angrily. Yoo-jung sweetly offers him hers, and he tellingly pops her straw out before drinking it thoughtlessly.
Sung-jae joins them with big news: the new kid’s going to give Yoon-jae a run for his money as the “king card” (best catch) in their class. He says he’s asked around and then rattles off outrageous rumor after rumor, of how Hak-chan stuck a pencil in a kid’s head for messing with him, or tossed back a drink with the principal of his last school, and how he supposedly has a porn collection AND a manga collection that anyone would kill for.
I love that in Sung-jae’s mind, Hak-chan has gone from that kid from Seoul who thinks he’s better than everyone to his new hero, all in the span of half an hour.
Shi-won finds Mom and Dad having another screamfest that night, and early the next morning she tells Joon-hee that she’s worried about them. They won’t listen to her and she’s asked Yoon-jae to say something, but he refuses to get involved. Joon-hee says that’s Yoon-jae’s charm and Shi-won scoffs at the idea that Yoon-jae has any good traits.
They get their precious copies of Volume 2: Wolf and Sheep, and walk into school sharing headphones, and talking about Yoon-jae the whole time.
Joon-hee points out that Yoon-jae likes K2, and Shi-won sighs that everything down to their musical tastes are complete and total opposites.
She rattles off a litany of weird and picky things that Yoon-jae does, from food choices to his insistence on tighty whities. Joon-hee: “There’s really nothing you don’t know about Yoon-jae.” Shi-won: “We’ve been together since the moment we were born. There hasn’t been a single day I haven’t seen him. I’m sick to death of him!”
Behind them, Yoon-jae watches them walk in together, chummy and laughing. He’s especially bitter that he’s carried her lunch all the way to school, to be greeted by that.
He storms into Shi-won’s class to drop off her lunch, setting off the rest of the girls in a flurry of mirror checks and waves. But all he cares about is asking Shi-won if it really wasn’t her—Angel, the one who sent him the song.
Urg, it’s so obviously not her, but it pains me that he wants to believe it was her badly enough that he’s asking again. She asks why on earth she’d do such a thing, and he does his trademark move, running his fingers down her face. She sticks out her tongue childishly.
The other girls ask jealously if she’s going out with Yoon-jae and Shi-won just sneers at them too, like they’re all crazy.
Yoo-jung tries on a headband to work her best Lee Seung-yeon look, and tells Shi-won she could be Kim Nam-joo in Model. I totally wanted to be her. She says she’s going to grow it instead and be Kim Hee-sun in Propose. I wanted to be her too! Yoon-jae: “You’re both ugly!” Pfft.
Today Sung-jae brings Hak-chan to the lunch table. But Hak-chan goes white in the face as soon as he sees the girls, and awkwardly tries to squeeze on the boys’ side of the table so he doesn’t have to sit near them.
He’s SO AWKWARD, I love it. What happened to smooth introduction guy? This is hilarious. He perches on the verrrry edge of the bench and Yoo-jung watches curiously, and then yanks him closer for a good look. The girls introduce themselves, and Hak-chan can’t even look at them as he mumbles his name.
Everyone’s like, what’s with this guy? Sung-jae mutters that he’s not normally like this…
Yoo-jung has to practically accost him to get a look at his face, and then immediately squeals at his long eyelashes. But the attention just makes him even more awkward, and when Shi-won puts her hand out for a shake, he closes his eyes and reaches blindly behind him like a crazy person, shaking at nothing wildly.
Shi-won narrates: “A face like a prince, charisma like fireworks, athletic skill, and even leadership ability… God gave Hak-chan everything. But to be fair, he left one thing out. Do Hak-chan, who learned of women through porn: in front of a real woman, becomes a complete and total idiot, a first-class moron.” HA.
Shi-won and Mom watch tv that night, and the news reports that the Busan Seagulls have broken their losing streak and finally won a game. Soon Dad arrives in the driveway and starts honking his horn and shouting for Mom to come down and they start yelling at each other as she heads out.
Shi-won sighs as she chats with Joon-hee online, saying that their fights are just getting worse and worse, even when he’s won a game. She goes outside to check on them after a while…
Only to open the car door on Mom and Dad gettin’ busy in the backseat like a couple of teenagers. Hahaha. That’s not fighting! Shi-won’s so shocked she can’t even look away.
Dad finally has to tell her to go inside, and she awkwardly complies, and then he closes the door: “Well we got caught anyway, might as well…”
She goes back to her computer, stunned, as Joon-hee asks if everything’s okay. He puts on his jacket to head over, and she tells him she’ll see him tomorrow. Joon-hee: “Tell me what happened…Is it a secret?”
Shi-won: “Yes, a secret, one that I’ll never tell anyone for the rest of my life.” Joon-hee: “Then I’ll tell you my secret. Tell me.” Shi-won: “Your secret won’t compare.” Joon-hee: “Mine will be stronger…” If it’s what I think it is, he totally wins.
She finally types: “I saw… my parents… doing it…” She figures her secret’s got him beat, but after a pause he types: “Truthfully… I like…” and we don’t get to see the rest. But whatever it says, Shi-won’s eyes turn to saucers.
She narrates: “Anyone’s secret tells a truth that I could not have known. And then when what I knew is no longer real… secrets have more power. How much of what I know is actually true?”
In the aftermath, Shi-won and Mom sit awkwardly on the couch trying desperately to ignore what happened and watch some tv. Dad comes in with ice cream for everyone and they sit together, all acting way too cheery, but trying to be normal.
Mom hands Shi-won an ice cream cone, and then goes to hand Dad his… as it lands smack dab in his lap, cone-side-up. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Their eyes dart back and forth in the most awesomely awkward silence, and Shi-won gets up to scootch to her room without a word. *cringe* I’m dying.
Yoon-jae stays up late that night, listening to another K2 song sent by Angel over and over again, wondering who the hell it is.
Fifteen hours earlier. Shi-won and Joon-hee get to the record store to get their H.O.T. albums. It’s Joon-hee’s turn up to the counter and the shopkeeper asks for ticket and birthdate. Joon-hee: “October 4.” OMG. Ajusshi: “1004? Angel.”
Eeeeeee! I knew his crush would be on Yoon-jae! I totally didn’t expect him to be Angel too, just because Yoo-jung had been set up to be the misdirect with her pager stalking. But how sweet that he’s the one sending Yoon-jae’s favorite songs. My heart, it already bleeds for you.
As we go over the day’s events we see the chat from Joon-hee’s side. He types: “I like… Yoon-jae…” and hesitates. He presses Enter and bites his lip. Shi-won narrates:
Shi-won: A person’s heart has countless levels. Its depth cannot be known. Its limit can’t be known. You could fight to the death, and then exchange affection as if nothing ever happened. A red-blooded male could turn into an imbecile in front of the opposite sex. Yes, the truth is uncomfortable. But if we don’t embrace that discomfort, then we must live the rest of our lives believing what’s fake to be real. Even uncomfortable truths must be embraced. What you see is not everything.
Reunion, 2012. The girls take Hak-chan’s picture to run it through the celebrity lookalike app. The result: 100% match for Eun Ji-won. Ha. Yoo-jung says she doesn’t see the resemblance, while Hak-chan throws a fit.
Joon-hee tells them to stop teasing—Hak-chan hates being told he looks like Eun Ji-won: “How old is he and he’s still a choding?” Shi-won tells the guys to take a group photo with superstar Eun Ji-won and Yoon-jae makes his way to the other side of the table.
He puts his arm around Joon-hee who remains separated from the group, so Yoon-jae pulls him close. Aw. If you two end up the couple in the end, Show, I will luff you forever. But even if it’s just an I-love-you-as-my-friend-no-matter-what, which I sincerely hope it is, I will love you just the same. *sniff*
EPISODE 4: “Fair Play”
SONG OF THE DAY
Sarah Vaughan – “A Lover’s Concerto” [ Download ]
Reunion, 2012. The group argues over whom to vote for – Kim Soo-hyun or Han Seok-kyu. Ha, for the Daesang? Shi-won tells Yoon-jae to massage her back and he complies without batting an eyelash.
Yoo-jung votes for the young hottie, of course, while Shi-won argues for Han Seok-kyu and how his face ought to be on the 10,000 won bill anyway. Yoon-jae laughs as he thinks back to ’97, when Han Seok-kyu was still the topic of conversation…
Fall, 1997. Joon-hee and Shi-won watch Han Seok-kyu and Jeon Do-yeon’s movie, The Contact. Shi-won swoons over Han Seok-kyu and argues that he’s way better than that annoying Busan kid, Yoon-jae.
Joon-hee: “Do you know that everything you say ends in badmouthing Yoon-jae?” Shi-won: “Does it?”
At the same time in Seoul, Yoon-jae’s brother Tae-woong walks down the street and hears a familiar song. It’s “A Lover’s Concerto,” made popular again because of The Contact’s soundtrack. He stops at the tape vendor’s stand to ask for the album, as he flashes back to a young girl he tutored back in 1991 (played by Standby’s Kim Ye-won).
She was madly in love with him, wanting everything that he ever touched: his pencil, his lip balm, the sweater off his back, or the cushion under his ass. Everything was: “Oppa give me that!” She made it into college with his help and that day asked for his lips, surprising him with a kiss.
Back to 1997. Shi-won comes home late to join Yoon-jae and her parents at the kitchen table. They wonder where she went and she says she went to see The Contact. Annoyed, Yoon-jae reminds her they were supposed to see that together this weekend. It totally slipped her mind.
Did she see it alone? “No, with Joon-hee.” He gapes, “The TWO of you?”
Mom smiles and asks if Shi-won is dating, and Dad gives her the side-eye: “My daughter, last place in school and dating too… you’re the busiest person in all of Busan.” Shi-won swears they’re just friends, but Mom smirks, “There’s no such thing as friends between boys and girls!”
Shi-won: “Sure there is, right here.” She nods at Yoon-jae. Ouuuuuch.
That night, Shi-won gets online, ready to live out her own version of Han Seok-kyu and Jeon Do-yeon’s internet-chat movie romance, only to find that 60,000 other people already beat her to Jeon Do-yeon’s screen name from the movie. She settles for being number 65342.
She chats with a college student in Seoul in the ROTC, but when he asks about Busan like it’s a tiny town in sticksville, she says her mom needs the phone and ends the chat abruptly.
It’s the day of the Korea-Japan World Cup Qualifying Match, and Dad and Yoon-jae are already parked in front of the tv. Dad calls out to Shi-won to make sure that the chicken’s been ordered, and she looks up in a panic.
She was too busy going through her latest idol magazine with Yoo-jung to remember. Whoops. She pokes her head out to face them with her sincerest apologies, and confesses the whole truth.
Dad grumbles at her use of “fair play” and she explains to Yoo-jung that “fair play” is a surprise tactic: they think you’re going to lie, but you attack with the truth and therefore cannot be argued with. She smiles, “I’m not a coach’s daughter for nothing.”
One by one the boys arrive. Hak-chan is back to being his smooth eloquent self and immediately gets on Dad’s good side by saying he’s a fan. Then Joon-hee comes in, and Dad is impressed with his looks.
Sung-jae he knows only too well, and bribes him with Park Jung-tae’s bat if he can watch the game with his trap shut. Joon-hee’s the only one who goes to see Mom in the kitchen, and he sweetly compliments her, saying she’s looking younger every day.
She says loudly so everyone can hear, how NICE it would be to have such a husband, a son, or a son-in-law. Yoon-jae throws some eye-daggers his way.
Then Joon-hee joins the girls in Shi-won’s room as they’re squeeing over a message from the college boy Shi-won chatted with last night. He wants to meet in the chatroom again.
Yoo-jung: “You might date a boy from Seoul!” Joon-hee grabs Shi-won’s face with both his hands and tells her to do well… which is exactly when Yoon-jae walks in to tell them the game is starting.
He looks back and forth between them silently, and they stay frozen like that too, her face still in his hands.
Finally Yoon-jae tells them to hurry in his usual gruff way and walks out, leaving them behind in the room, smiling awkwardly.
Shi-won: “Still like him now?” Haha. This is the Best. Love triangle. Ever.
Joon-hee prods her to chat with ROTC guy, and meanwhile the game starts and Yoon-jae sits there stewing and wondering why they’re not coming out of the room.
Yoo-jung tries to get Yoon-jae’s attention any way she can, but he’s so distracted he can barely hear her. She tells him that Shi-won’s busy chatting with her soon-to-be ROTC college boyfriend, and you can practically see steam coming from his ears, like, There’s another guy?
Meanwhile, in Seoul, Tae-woong comes out of a friend’s wedding as his buddies urge him to move on with his life and get out of Busan. He says he will after he sends Yoon-jae to college, and then passes a street artist doing portraits.
It flashes him back to 1992, when he and his girlfriend had their portraits drawn together, and he had written a marriage proposal on it, using her original bad-English wording from when she was still a high school student. She squeals in delight.
Back to the soccer game. Shi-won and Joon-hee finally join the group and when they sit next to each other, Yoon-jae snipes at Joon-hee to move his head because he can’t see. So petty.
The game starts to get tense and Yoo-jung wraps her arms around Hak-chan, who can barely keep himself from spontaneously combusting right there in the middle of the living room.
And Yoon-jae has his arms around Joon-hee, whose omg-my-crush-is-hugging-me moment just kills me.
Suddenly the doorbell rings with a chicken delivery—a mistake, since they clearly forgot to order theirs. Yoon-jae is the only one to protest that they shouldn’t steal someone else’s chicken, but he’s outvoted and Mom says on a day like today, it’s okay to bend the rules.
He protests that the chicken shop owner knows them and will probably call, and Mom says they won’t answer the phone then. Shi-won whines that her ROTC oppa is due to call, which then makes Yoon-jae change his mind. Convenient, romance-killing chicken.
The game starts winding down 0-1, and they call it a day and filter out, sure that Korea’s never going to turn a loss around in the final moments of the game. Only Sung-jae is left to watch the rest in silence.
But of course, as soon as the room empties out, Korea scores its first goal. Sung-jae breaks his vow of silence and screeeeeeeeams.
Everybody runs back and gathers in front of the tv, and then they watch as Team Korea scores another goal and wins the game. The living room explodes in a sea of happy screams and hugs, and Hak-chan nearly has a heart attack at Yoo-jung’s show of affection.
Sung-jae finally gets to open his mouth, letting loose a barrage of things he’s been holding back since the start of the game, and Yoon-jae hugs Dad and then turns to Shi-won…
…who’s too busy hugging Joon-hee to notice him. Oof. His face darkens. They scream for joy, locked in a seemingly endless embrace from his point of view. He narrates:
Yoon-jae: I knew in that moment, that when you like someone, you have eyes for her in the sides and the back of your head. And that if you don’t knock, there will be no answer. Standing in place will not get you what you want. There’s no such thing as fair play anymore.
And then… the phone rings. Everyone freezes.
Yoon-jae is the only one who gets up to answer. He picks it up and everyone holds their breath, and Yoon-jae apologizes to the chicken shop, owning up to the deed and promising to stop by the shop later. They all commend him for his fair play.
Only… on the other end of the line is ROTC boy (Im Shi-wan? Is everyone from Standby coming for a visit?), asking over and over for Shi-won, as Yoon-jae jabbers on about chicken.
Damn, Yoon-jae’s not messing around. In voiceover, again: “There’s no such thing as fair play anymore.”
Back to 1992, when Tae-woong couldn’t go on a trip with his girlfriend because the Seagulls were about to play the final game of the Korean series. She pleaded and pleaded but he said no, and let her borrow his prized possession, the walkman his dad gave him before he died, with a tape of their song, “A Lover’s Concerto.”
They wave goodbye as she gets on the bus. The Seagulls win the series and Dad calls Mom from the locker room, on cloud nine. He’s talking at her a mile a minute, but suddenly his face freezes. Oh no.
He lets the phone drop as he turns his attention to the tv. The bus crashed, didn’t it? Ohgodohgod… The list of victims gets read over and over on the screen. As the phone falls to the ground, we hear Mom’s voice screaming in terror, “Our Song-joo! Our Song-joo! What about our Song-joo?!”
There’s her name on the screen: SUNG Song-joo. She’s their DAUGHTER? Holy crap!
And then Tae-woong comes in looking for Dad with flowers in his hands. Dad can barely manage to say, “Tae-woong-ah… our Song-joo…” He turns to the tv, and sees the news. Augh.
1997, post-soccer game. Dad yells for Sung-jae to go get Ajumma’s wallet from the nightstand so he can treat the kids out to dinner. He opens a door and Yoo-jung stops him, “That’s Shi-won’s unni’s room. The master bedroom is this way.”
And through the cracked doorway, we see the framed portrait of Song-joo and Tae-woong sitting there on the shelf. Heartbreak.
Tae-woong gets back from Seoul that night and Shi-won runs into him on her way back from walking Yoo-jung home.
She sees that he’s got a shiny new portable CD player and asks for a listen. It’s still playing “A Lover’s Concerto.” She swoons at the thought of listening to H.O.T. on it and puts on her aegyo smile, “Oppa, give this to me!” Aw, exactly how her sister used to say it.
It stuns him at first, and then he smiles sweetly, “Sure.” She lights up and he pats her on the head.
But as she runs off with a skip in her step, a different feeling comes over him, perhaps reminded of Song-joo, or perhaps noticing Shi-won for the first time.
Reunion, 2012. Tae-woong walks in the door (!) and everyone gets up to greet their teacher. He sits down next to Shi-won and pats her head sweetly, as we get reminded in voiceover that at this dinner, one couple will announce a wedding.
A twist! I love it!
Omo, what a wrench to throw into the final mystery. I like that we have a new player in the game, even if I’m still rooting for Yoon-jae. Competition in his older, nicer brother is going to complicate things in a big way. I didn’t expect that the circle would expand, but now that Tae-woong is here, I feel like someone’s going to give Yoon-jae a run for his money because the other boys weren’t likely candidates if Shi-won is one half of that final couple. Right now I’m rooting for Yoon-jae in 1997 more than in 2012, because I’m not one for first love having to be the end-all be-all, but Tae-woong’s arrival suddenly shifts things and I want Yoon-jae to step it up.
I really love the careful reveals on this show—when we first met Tae-woong, he was just a teacher, and then Yoon-jae came home and we found that he was Hyung. Suddenly it changes everything that we’ve seen in retrospect. And then again here with Song-joo, who I just assumed would be a painful memory of Tae-woong’s first love, but she turns out to be connected to everyone. What heartbreak this family has, though you wouldn’t know it in the everyday. The reveal was so perfect and so heartwrenching, and something about Yoo-jung’s very casual, “That’s Shi-won’s unni’s room,” killed me.
But the best reveal of all was Joon-hee’s. I suspected they might be dropping hints that he was gay when he said he like Cha In-pyo in Star in My Heart, and then quickly defended himself by saying that he was watching for Choi Jin-shil. Or when Sung-jae and Yoon-jae were naming dirty magazines and he had no idea what they were talking about. But they were small clues, and nothing to jump to conclusions about.
So when he confesses that he likes Yoon-jae, it’s a surprise because I certainly didn’t expect to find out so soon, let alone the fact that he’s in love with his best friend. I love everything about his nervous moment, of hitting Enter and waiting to see what Shi-won will say. And I love her even more, for being his friend just the same, without judgment.
And what follows is great because they’re naturally spending more time together—she’s the only one he’s come out to, so they’re going to be close—which sparks Yoon-jae’s jealousy because of course he only sees that his best friend is suddenly moving in on his girl. Everything about their love triangle is going to break my heart, but in the best way. This is teenage angst at its best, and dramaland on its A-game.
- Answer Me 1997: Episodes 1-2
- Character introductions for Answer Me 1997
- Answer to 1997 starts filming, adds to cast
- Eun Ji-won stars in new sitcom