Drama Casting & News
The Answer Me 1997 love keeps growing, along with ratings
by | August 18, 2012 | 105 Comments

Yay for Answer Me 1997, which is seriously the best show airing right now. Ratings are climbing at an impressive rate for the little cable show that could, and this week’s broadcast netted a notable 3.25% rating (with a high of 4.56%). Whoa. Them’s serious numbers for cable.

I was happy enough when it broke 1%, given that it’s a drama that kicked off with so little buzz, but now I’m tickled that it’s getting so much recognition as a high-quality production AND a buzzworthy “syndrome” show (meaning, it’s becoming a real hit with an ardent fanbase).

What has the ratings climbing every episode is strong word of mouth, coupled with a burning need for us to know who actually ends up together, which the 2012 scenes hint at with clues dropped at regular intervals — just enough to satisfy us for a moment, but more tantalizing than anything.

After all, we just need that confirmation, even with all the clues being dropped along the way. Because we all know who’s going to end up together, right? Wait, or do we? Because will they do the obvious thing and give us what we’re all rooting for? Or will they throw in the twist? Or is it more of a twist to twist the twist… and give us the original pairing after all? Is the first love the endgame, or is it a beautiful thing of the past? Who is it? WHO? Answer meeeeeeee, 1997!

It helps that the two leads are adorable together as the best-friends-since-birth pair Shi-won and Yoon-jae, and Jung Eun-ji and Seo In-gook have palpable chemistry. Take, for instance, the behind-the-scenes clip below, where Seo In-gook prepares to make his confession on his “D-Day.” (He gets down on one knee, and Jo Eun-ji squeals and yells, “Get lost!” So cute.)

What I love about the show, and what I think is connecting with so many people, is that it’s got a really strong sense of identity and an unwavering faithfulness to its heart, its emotional core. It works in tons of hilarious ’90s references and is loaded with fun cameos, but the show doesn’t build its plot around them; those are icing on the cake. It’s got a smart, witty way of addressing the growing pains of its adolescent cast that is just as relevant today as it was back in the late-’90s setting of its primary plot.

Another of the show’s charms is its Busan setting, which is just a matter-of-fact thing in the show. It’s not a show about Busan — not like, say, Haeundae Lovers which makes it a point to work in the locale — but these characters feel like real people who belong there. (Aided by the fact that much of the principal cast is actually from the region.) I appreciate that for once we have a show that doesn’t treat Seoul as the standard, and shows us that normal people live in normal cities outside of the capital.

In fact the popularity of the show even has fans talking in showspeak, making the Busan Saturi dialect the trend of the day. Ha. Saturi as the coolest thing ever? Are we in alterna-Korea, run by hipsters?

Answer Me 1997 airs on Tuesdays; up next week are Episodes 9 and 10.

Via TV Report


105 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. kelinci biru

    I luuuuuuurves this show. At this point I don’t care who’s going to end up together (kinda). I just want this show to never end.

    • 1.1 pabo ceo reom

      I am so with you! This show is puuuurfect. I don’t want it to end!!! T_T

    • 1.2 Aquila

      I know it won’t happen but…

      I want Yoon jae and Joon Hee together!!! Kya! <3

  2. Piopo

    I’ve been really wanting to watch this do you know if it is subbed anywhere?

  3. Artemis

    Ahhh, so happy to hear it’s such a ratings hit. I LOOOOOVE it!

  4. cinthy

    first? love this show!!!! and Jo Eun-ji and Seo In-gook are so cute I hope their characters end up togheter

    • 4.1 cinthy

      sorry jung eun-ji

    • 4.2 MsB

      I don’t think they will for some reason. When she mentioned husband, for some reason, I don’t think it was him! I hope to be wrong!

      • 4.2.1 smiles

        I hope you are wrong too. If they don’t end up together i would be DEVERSTATED! Such heartbreak for the cutie with his heart on his sleave!

  5. panshel

    Super happy for the cast and staff! Seems like tvN can do no wrong this year…

    But her name is Jung EunJi, not Jo. I adore the confession made by Seo In Guk of how he had developed feelings for EunJi in real life during filming, even though I’m sure he only confessed to generate buzz for the drama.

    What’s better is a couple of the cast members, like EunJi and Hoya, are actually from Busan and have real accents. Unlike Haeundae Lovers where SoYeon, for example, are faking satoori.

  6. JoAnne

    Adorable show even if I barely catch any of the in jokes at the time I see them – love the main pairing – all the cast members really – Very well done and so pleased to see it succeeding!

  7. Rashell

    YAY!! Because I love this show, it makes me so happy to know that it’s being given love in the native country as well.

  8. Arhazivory

    I know I’ll love it, wen I marathon it at the end of its run.

    On another note, I love the Busan accent. I think its cute.

  9. Frnk

    This drama is cute and fresh,you know!, i’m not korean,but when i watch this show i see lots of things that are usual and same in every nationality,so i love watching it and i enjoy it a lot,thank you so much;-)

  10. 10 Quin

    Will you continue recapping this drama? I hope you do… Please.. Please.. Please..Btw, thank you for the recaps from ep1-6. Much appreciated! 🙂

  11. 11 은지

    Her name is actually Jung Eun Ji hehe ..

  12. 12 Daisy

    Awesome news! This show deserve the attention it’s getting I wish subs would come out faster though

    • 12.1 news

      Yeah, I’ll say. I watched episode 6 without subs, and I’m already sad knowing what the main conflict is. ㅠㅠ

      • 12.1.1 news

        Oops, I mean episode 8.

  13. 13 tazzy

    This drama …. ugh you can’t help but love it for how close to real it is. Reminds me of my younger days *sigh*

  14. 14 iim

    please give me recap the episodes 7&8 as soon as posible because I LOVE THIS DRAMA so much…thank u.

  15. 15 hanyuja

    i RARELY watch shows, even if i ‘mark’ them to watch, just due to time commitment and the fact that dramabeans has just such good summaries :). Very once in awhile i will read summaries and THEN watch an episode here and there, just to see what i miss.

    Not only am i watching this show, i have LOLed and cried out loud throughout it AND i want to watch it before i read the summaries (a huge rarity for me).

    I started watching Arang and the Magistrate as well because of my love for Shin Mina, but honestly the added bonus of actually watching the show instead of just reading summaries is not as great as Answer Me 1997.

  16. 16 toritorisan

    I haven’t been watching this drama, but it’s on my radar. I’m glad to hear it’s doing well though because I want the cable companies to keep airing dramas. Some of the better dramas I watched this year were from cable (i.e. Queen In Hyun’s Man, Padam Padam, Kimchi Family, Flower Boy Ramen Shop). It’s always nice to have more dramas to choose from.

    • 16.1 ian

      I hope you’ll also check out Shut Up! Flower Boy Band 🙂 It’s also from tvN. So far, it’s my favorite drama this year. However, it seems like Answer Me, 1997 might bump it down to #2…

  17. 17 lovin it


    • 17.1 dangerousgoods


  18. 18 myrahEeeeeeee

    Wow! The ratings are impressive and Answer Me 1997 deserved it. I’m still at episode 5 and 6 but totally enjoying it more than any other drama I’m currently watching. 😀


  19. 19 limegreenglo

    OKAY, this show makes my day. I’ve been watching Busan saturi tutorials on Youtube and prodding my mom to teach me more. I wanna be cool, too!

  20. 20 becca_boo

    Thanks for posting! I’m so glad this show is getting the attention it deserves, and it was great to hear your thoughts.

  21. 21 Dionisia

    I am so confused! I thought there were only 8 episodes! Grrrr….school is starting soon and I need to focus!! But instill adore the show even though there are still 8 more episodes!!!! Grrrrr

    • 21.1 Lizzie

      They say it is 8 episodes because two episodes have 1 hour, usually one episode alone has 1 hour, and other funny thing is they aird 2 episodes in the same day (tuesday) so it is like the time of 8 episodes instead of 16 hours normal drama.

  22. 22 Rong

    I need to declare my liking towards this show again! Really, really in love with it. The stuffs they did, the feelings they have, the paths they walk – yes, yes, yes – those are us in the 90s. I keep asking my hubby to watch it – the hairstyle the guys were having was what he used to have! Haha… Even though we live in singapore.

  23. 23 Mar

    In this case, the more band wagon jumpers the better! Great show!

  24. 24 MUSE

    Thanks so much for this, I was fearful that this show ended at 8 episodes. Does anyone know the final episode count for this drama?

    • 24.1 panshel

      16 episodes, but it has been advertised as 8 episodes because two episodes air back-to-back with the second episode usually shorter than the first.

    • 24.2 javabeans


      If there’s confusion, it’s because initially the show description originally said 8, but that’s because it was considering each Tuesday broadcast one episode, rather than two back-to-back.

      At some point they realized that was confusing, and gave each episode its own number and changed the final count to 16. (There have been no extensions or changes in plan.)

      • 24.2.1 MUSE

        HURRAH! Thanks heaps panshel and javabeans~

  25. 25 panshel

    Would it be possible to request earlier Answer Me 1997 articles be retroactively tagged with the “Answer Me 1997” tag?

    Sometimes I wish to refer back to them, but sadly the articles are not readily available via the lovely EunJi avatar under Recapped Series.

    A huge THANKS if the tag can be added!! ^^




  26. 26 tapioca pearl

    I need this show right now. It’s exactly how I wished my high school days had been. Sigh, I’m resigned to the fact that high school was probably tons better in the 1990’s than in the 2000’s. Better music and TV (in the U.S., anyway), less technology. I seriously miss the days of VHS 🙁

    • 26.1 Michelle

      You are being ridiculous. VHS didn’t make my time in high school better; (I graduated in 1996) it was my friends, my family. The people I chose to spend time with and my ardent love of biology and world history. YOU make your childhood and teenage years the happiest NOT surrounding technology. If you don’t like the people around you then find better friends instead of being nostalgic over a time you didn’t experience anyway.

      • 26.1.1 tapioca pearl

        The 1990’s WAS my childhood, so to say that I never experienced it is silly. And I never said that VHS would’ve made high school better (even I think that’s odd). I’m just saying I miss that decade, plain and simple. Don’t need the lecture on how to be happy. I’m perfectly content with the people in my life. Can’t a girl dwell in the past once in a while without being called ridiculous?

  27. 27 ck1Oz

    Oh boy I am going to watch this show now.Not because of the cute but because it doesn’t sound like a cop out.Yay.New drama and a good drama always makes me happy.

  28. 28 DB5K

    I beg to differ 🙂 The best drama airing right now is May Queen. I just watched the first episode and was highly impressed. I see 30% ratings in store for this drama~~

    Anyhow, 3.25% ratings!! Wow!! That’s almost as high as under performing over-the-air dramas (Heartstrings, Love Rain). Is every single woman in their teens/twenties/thirties watching this drama or something?

  29. 29 neener

    I’m loving it!! and I can’t wait for the episodes to be subbed!!!

  30. 30 Autumn

    It has been such a long time since I was obsessed with a drama. Gah! I can’t wait for the next episode. YJ & SW for the win!

  31. 31 katiamon

    yes!!!!! this show is amazing! even though i’m not familiar with 90’s kpop, i think about the BSB and NSync rivalry of the late 90’s and my teenage years of yore 🙂
    Reply 1997 fighting!!!!!

  32. 32 Ivoire

    Thank you!

  33. 33 misso

    Patiently waiting for girlfriday’s ep 7-8 recaps!!! watched the raw.. because i needed to at least pretend that I know korean.. hehe =)

  34. 34 kels

    men, my love for TvN keeps growing, when I hear a drama is on their network, I have to at least try one epi and this one is not disappointing so far.

  35. 35 Lise

    Gave in to temptation and watched ep 1 then stopped right there, not gonna repeat the same mistake i made with Japanese ‘rich man poor woman’ and ‘sprout’ cuz now am literally having the shakes waiting for upcoming episodes! Am more of the post Big Bang idol era fan but even i can tell H.O.T must have been living up to their name back then, plus av seen Tony Ahn in RM and he is…well HOT!

  36. 36 UJ

    watched episode 5 and 6 yesterday!! still waiting for episode 7 and 8 subs T_T
    I seriously love this show!! everyone needs to watch it! 😀

    • 36.1 pigtookie

      yes, the slight drawback of it not gaining as much buzz before it premiered is that two weeks ago it was hard to find (good) subbed videos, even on trusty chinese tudou streaming sites. Now it’s picking up, so it might be faster to find them afterwards. At least it was worth my wait 🙂

  37. 37 eternalfive

    Aww, so glad that it’s gaining so much recognition and popularity! I can’t say anything about its nostalgic appeal, seeing as I’d barely learnt how to talk in 1997, but the show definitely has heart and is really relateable – and has the CUTEST LOVE TRIANGLE EVER.

  38. 38 Catherine

    I hope this show blows up (in a good way). Almost everyone is an amazing actor, especially Eunji. I would have NEVER known it was her first time acting because she’s such a natural. All other shows and script writers should learn from this show, because this show is amazing, and it keeps on bring twists and turns that you would never expect to see.

    • 38.1 Michelle

      I find that she is a natural because as she herself said, SiWon is just like her in real life. She doesn’t even have to fake an accent because she is also from Busan. Her mother told her that seeing her in that show was just like watching her in real life. I hope this is a solid start for her career but umm…”great actors” are those who can act out of their element. This is her only project so I wouldn’t assume too much.

  39. 39 spinach

    what i love about this show besides the incredible chemistry of the cast, the depictions of normal human beings, the trend of the day and most especially how a lot of people can actually relate to it.. for koreans a lot but for international fans some parts maybe like me for instance. for example, the depiction of teen age life: the seemingly complicating treatment of matters that are very trivial for adults. I also love that its not makjang-ish and over glamorous like some of the kdramas Ive watch int he past which tends to get overwhelming in some moments. And also given the fact that most of the lead cast is not that crazy popular well except eun ji won makes me feel comfortable watching them.

    • 39.1 pigtookie

      Yeah there’s something about fresh faces that make me watch the story solely for the characters at first. Being that of course, the actors had to have assumed their personas comfortably.

  40. 40 pigtookie

    twist to twist the twist – yes please!
    it breaks my heart, and then fills it up again.

    so cute! might that be a picture of them in college days in the BTS video, with the different uniform?

  41. 41 happygirly

    OMG. I love this show so much! T^T
    I love the tone of the drama! It’s both funny at times and then heartfelt at others. But the show really makes you fall in love with the characters and the relationships that have with each other. I seriously haven’t watched a drama that so heart warming in a long time <3

    GAHHHHH!! I love it!

  42. 42 Ariel

    Loving this show so much, love the cast, writers and director. The accent is wonderful on the ears i could listen to them forever. Mwaaah!!!!

  43. 43 graceface

    Words cannot describe how much I love this show!!! It’s definitely the closest a drama has come to PERFECT. hahahhahaha… You could not have described my frustration to the twist to the twist any better… ANSWER ME 1997!!! I wanna knowwwww!!

  44. 44 Onees

    Loving this show and Arang and the Magistrate! So glad finally something else to love since QIHM.

  45. 45 talking2me

    Love this gem! This shows making me falling in love with all the characters.

    After watching the last 4 episodes, I started to have an urge wanting to watch how Shi-won went through her university life, her first job hunting, her first time spending a night with her man, her wedding, discovery of her pregnancy… I want to watch how she went through all these with her friends and family. It will make my day if they decide to have a second season with the same cast!

    By the way, I am hoping Yoon-jae is Shi-won’s husband – that poor guy is suffering too much!!! Finger crossed! Also I feel sorry for Joon Hee – hoping him to have an awesome boyfriend better than Yoon-jae!

  46. 46 jjwu

    urgh!!!! Tell me who will end up together already!!!! Been rewatching the first 8 episodes over and over to find clues!!!! So frustrated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  47. 47 JenJen

    Busan Saturi~<3! I've been a fan of non-Seoul dialects for at least the past year after watching Ha JiWon in Haeundae (which wasn't a spectacular movie but I loved the accent) and after watching Padam Padam and King 2 Hearts. I hope non-Seoul settings (and their cooresponding saturi) become a new norm in kdramaland~ <3

  48. 48 mtoh

    I really wish we have faster subs for this drama, which is awesome…seriously on the top of my list lately.

  49. 49 bd

    I’m so happy for tvN.

    AM1997 has joined “Joseon X-Files” and INR2012 on my list of best/favorite shows.

    While I like the humor in AM1997, it’s more situational humor than one based on witty/snappy dialogue (which I prefer), but the comedy elements here are just an added element to what really carries the show, its heart.

    From the small moments like a glance here and there to the big ones – this show really knows how to tug at your heart (not at all artificial, forced or sappy like in so many K-dramas – ahem, “Big”, RTP. SG, etc.).

    And while AM1997 has certain K-drama elements, such as a storyline which includes an accident and a disease, they are done so well that there is absolutely no rolling of the eyes here.

    Not at all “cookie-cutter” like in so many K-dramas, being fresh and original in how they were handled – esp. the reveals, which made them so powerful (like a punch in the gut), whereas most K-dramas telegraph these things so one can see them coming from a mile away (which totally ruins any emotional impact where one ends up laughing at how bad it was done instead of feeling the emotion one is supposed to feel).

    The fact that AM1997 also has a “mystery” element is just the icing on the cake.

  50. 50 blendedcarrot

    This show has a lot of heart and originality. Frankly it’s great for tVN. Hopefully the other cable producers will follow suit and make good quality shows for us to watch! I’m all for more great drama! Bring ’em on! The more the merrier.

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