Drama Recaps
Answer Me 1997: Episode 16 (Final)
by | September 21, 2012 | 224 Comments

It’s the end of the road for our journey back in time to the ’90s, and the goodbye is bittersweet. We get rewarded with some answers and even some new surprises, as we close the chapter on first loves and find out how everyone grew up—along with, in spite of, and because of them.

The finale set a new record for cable programs: average 6.22% ratings on tvN, a combined 7.55% (with all four networks that aired the episode), and an episode high of 9.47%. Hot damn.


Kim Gun-mo – “Beautiful Goodbye” [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

EPISODE 16: “The Reason First Love Can’t Be Realized”

We open the same way we ended Episode 15: Shi-won’s parents wait outside the maternity ward in 2013, as the doctor comes out and asks, “Who’s the husband?” Yeah, get in line, lady. Some of us have been waiting eight weeks for that answer.

Both Tae-woong and Yoon-jae arrive, huffing and puffing.

Fall 2005. Yoon-jae goes out for dinner and drinks with his coworkers, and his boss points out what a nice couple he’d make with the colleague next to him. She’s a classmate from college and admits coolly that she tried for four years, but Yoon-jae never budged.

Another guy says it’s because she drinks too much, but Yoon-jae says he likes it when a woman can drink…

Cut to: Shi-won, downing a giant beer with her coworkers. Her sunbaes wonder if her boyfriend doesn’t mind her drinking like a fish, and she laughs, “He doesn’t know!”

Aaaand, Yoon-jae is standing right behind her. Ha. He came to pick her up after his dinner, and joins them. Here he gets asked the same question, and he growls, “It’s the thing I hate most in the world!”

He mutters at Shi-won that if she drinks and sleeps at the station again, she’s dead meat, and refuses to pour her another beer. Aw, but look at her pout! Give the girl her beer!

Once they’re alone, it turns into a bigger fight, with Yoon-jae naming all the times she slept at the station, got carried in by some other guy, or caused a giant scene with her fanclub friends.

She mocks his awesome memory and scritches his puppy chin, and he runs his hands down her face. Some things never change. He screams, “I’m not kidding! If you do this one more time…”

But that’s as far as he can go, and Shi-won knows it. “What? Then what?! WHAT? You gonna kill me?” She knocks her head into his chest, challenging him to a fight. Pfffft. Don’t do it. She’ll kick your ass.

He backs down immediately, “…then I’d get… really mad.” He whines like a little kid that her boyfriend doesn’t like it, so can’t she just stop drinking so much? She has a demand of her own—can’t he stop with that annoying Seoul accent of his? He immediately changes it back at her request.

He tries to follow her up to her apartment for “coffee” again, and gets denied. He argues that they practically lived together their whole lives, and she points out how different now and then are.

He can’t resist, “Why, do you see this oppa as a man now? Does your heart race when you see me?” She kicks him in the shins and calls him a cab before she heads inside, and he sighs that he’s so close.

He gets in the cab and it drives away… and then zooms right back. Awww yeah. He falls all over himself to run up the stairs, but then gets stumped at her door, wondering how to proceed.

Omg, are you trying to unlock her door without ringing her doorbell? Dumbass. I hope she kicks you where it really hurts. He tries his birthday, her birthday, and then wonders, “Nah, it couldn’t be…”

He looks up Tony oppa’s birthday and tries it… and the door opens. Ha. Once a fangirl, always a fangirl. She gapes to find him walking through her door like he owns the place.

He sits down and demands freshly brewed coffee, and she snaps back that he can shove whatever she gives him in his face. Pfft. He asks if she’s gained weight, and she points out that he asks that every time she ties her hair back. Well that answers that question.

He drinks his coffee and she tries to rush him out, and he desperately searches for ways to bide his time. Finally she’s shoving him towards the door, and he agrees to leave… if she gives him one kiss.

She agrees just to get him out the door, and backs him up against the wall. She grabs his face and gives him a little peck on the lips.

He lets out a sigh and chucks his jacket on the floor, “Are you kidding me?” and slowly starts to back her up against the kitchen counter. Rawr.

She’s practically lying down on the thing by the time he goes in for the kill. Swoon.

They come back up slowly, still kissing, and we fade to black.

Back to the hospital in 2013. If we have to watch this scene one more time, I will hurl something. Tae-woong and Yoon-jae run up, and Yoon-jae stands, barely breathing, “I… I’m the husband.”

Well of course you are! Huzzah!

He hands Tae-woong his stuff, and Hyung gives him a pat of encouragement before he goes in. Mom and Dad wonder how Tae-woong found the time to come by, and urge him to go back to work.

He says he just stopped in to name the baby—Yoon Seung-ho—and rushes back out. Dad figures that since the husband is here, they can go grab a bite to eat, but Mom has a hard time leaving, worried for “our baby.”

Dad says she’ll be fine, but Mom means Yoon-jae: “She’ll pull all his hair out, the poor thing!” Dad: “That’s his lot in life. It’s his fault for marrying a gangster.” HAHAHAHA. I luff Dad, so, so much. They run off like a pair of teenagers playing hooky.

Inside the delivery room, things are going exactly as predicted. Shi-won expends most of her energy yanking Yoon-jae’s hair out, screaming, “THIS! IS ALL! YOUR! FAULT! You son of a bitch!”

They’re crying, and he’s apologizing, and I’m dying of laughter.

Back to the reunion in 2012. By now, Yoon-jae is a judge in Daejeon, and he and Shi-won are a weekend couple. Their friends tease them about when they had time to make another baby (Whaaa?), and worry that Yoon-jae will have a hard time making it up to Seoul when she’s due.

Shi-won says she can do it without him, and Hak-chan tells him it’ll be better that way—he’ll just get his hair pulled out and get cursed at up and down. Shi-won: “I wouldn’t do that! What am I, some gangster?”

Their friends all wonder how they were when they were dating, and Shi-won swears they were just like any other couple, with the coyness and the push and pull. Yoon-jae just stares blankly and completely contradicts her.

Back to 2005. Shi-won’s getting better with the goodbye kisses after each date, and Yoon-jae does his adorable fist pump after she’s closed the door. Why so geeky?

He sends her cute little text messages, wondering what she’s up to, and she sends back replies like: “Pooping.” And “You crazy bastard.”

He sits around getting no attention while she plans fan events for Tony oppa, and he grumps at her to show him half the love she has for Tony. She calls her love for Oppa pure, while Yoon-jae only has a one-track mind.

He stammers, “Wh-wh-what, like I was the only one who liked it?” Ha. He argues that her head is filled with nothing but Tony, and says he’ll crash and burn, calling him a monkey bastard.

Shi-won yanks his hair and they go at it like little kids, punching and screaming. Yoon-jae narrates:

Yoon-jae: Locking a wild lion up in a zoo doesn’t mean that overnight it’ll give up raw chicken for carrots. No matter how much an environment changes, a lion is a lion, and a rabbit, a rabbit. Sung Shi-won is Sung Shi-won, and Yoon Yoon-jae is Yoon Yoon-jae. We met, and dated, and loved, in our own way.

Shi-won visits Yoon-jae’s apartment for the first time, and they share a plate of mandoo sent by Mom. I love that he eats the filling and she eats the cover.

He asks casually if she thinks this is okay for a newlywed apartment… but gets no response from her. It starts to make him nervous, “Wait, are you planning NOT to marry me?”

In their usual manner, she remains completely silent while he jabbers on nervously that he’s not asking but he’s just asking, yunno. After a long pause, Shi-won asks, “Is this… a proposal?”

He swears it isn’t, and then gets upset, wondering if she plans to marry some other guy “after making me like this.” Ha. Or maybe she has a special proposal she wants to receive? But she tells if he does some stupid romantic and mortifying proposal, she’ll kill him and then die of embarrassment.

That gives him the courage to ask now, “So then you’re going to marry me, right?” He uses her own move back on her, and gives her till the count of three to answer, or he’ll kiss her ten times.

He inches closer as he counts: One… Two… Three…

Shi-won: “Okay.” She says it like an answer to Mom nagging her to clean her room.

He smiles and tells her to say it to his face, so she turns and yells it over and over. He leans in to kiss her and she jerks back, “What? I answered!” Haha. He tells her that this is what people in love do, and kisses her.

She looks around the apartment while he does dishes, and stops at a picture of Joon-hee and Yoon-jae. She asks if he’s been to Joon-hee’s new place (he has) and if Joon-hee said anything when he was leaving.

Yoon-jae hesitates, and says no. Shi-won sighs.

Back to the weekend when Joon-hee moved out, right after the big dinner date switcheroo by Tae-woong. Joon-hee marvels at Tae-woong’s honesty—the fact that he was able to be honest about his feelings for Shi-won and not sweep them under the rug, even telling him the winner could tease the other about it. Otherwise they might’ve spent the rest of their lives feeling awkward about it all.

Joon-hee sighs that it’s better to be ridiculed for something than to keep secrets. Aw, Joon-hee. Yoon-jae says he knows Hyung better than him, and suggests Joon-hee go into psychiatry and look into people’s hearts and help them out.

Joon-hee: “But I don’t know my own heart. Maybe after I figure mine out.” It kills me that he can’t say it, and that Yoon-jae knows it already. He packs up the rest and the mover tells him to check one last time to make sure he didn’t forget anything. He goes back up and lingers in his room.

Yoon-jae comes out dressed for work, and asks if it’s so bad if he leaves something behind. Aw. He says he’ll come visit the new place. The only thing Joon-hee can manage to say is to do well on his test at work and buy dinner if he gets a promotion, and with a hand to Yoon-jae’s arm, he just says, “I’m going.” But then Yoon-jae calls out after him, “Joon-hee-ya…” Eeeee!

He stops by the door, but doesn’t let himself turn around. Yoon-jae walks up behind him, and backhugs him (awwwwww) and just stands there without saying a word. *tears*

It’s such a bittersweet moment, and done so perfectly without words. Joon-hee smiles, and Yoon-jae says they should have dinner soon. He just pats Joon-hee on the shoulder, still holding him, as we fade out.

A few months later. Shi-won and Tae-woong chitchat over ice cream, and he teases that he’s better looking and taller and richer than Yoon-jae, but she still likes him better?

She nods with this goofy grin and says in her totally honest way that she never had sparks with Tae-woong, but does with Yoon-jae. She says that she didn’t feel it before even when they kissed, but now, she’s happy just seeing his face. Aw.

Yoon-jae arrives at Hyung’s office to find them giggling together and immediately pouts, “What were you doing?” Shi-won says “date,” while Tae-woong spills the beans that she was telling him how much she liked Yoon-jae.

He immediately changes his tune and sidles up to her, saying she should tell him that to his face. He wants the three of them to go out to dinner, but Hyung says he got roped into going to some concert, complaining that his students are crazy fangirls. That elicits a defensive rant from Shi-won about the merits of fangirldom.

He leaves and they wonder whose fangirls they are. Cut to Tae-woong rolling his eyes as he drives a group of his students singing along to DBSK. His students insist he has to attend, and hand him a pair of tickets, asking him to be the contact for a member of their fanclub, since they’ll be too busy screaming.

He waits near the concert venue and then the ticket owner calls to find him… and it’s the doctor. She’s embarrassed to be caught in full fangirl mode, but he surprises her by (quoting Shi-won) and saying that she must’ve used her fandom passion to succeed in other areas of life.

She’s impressed that he gets it, and he smiles and says he’s got pretty long history with fangirls. Heh.

Shi-won and Yoon-jae go to eat, and she orders the exact same way she did when they were in high school—loads of food for her, nothing for him.

She whines for him to let her have one drink, which connects her to the same request to “jagi-ya” at the reunion, where the boys all tell her no. And this time we see Yoon-jae specifically answer her no, and to think of the baby.

Then we see Tae-woong introduce the doc to Yoon-jae and Shi-won, and he calls Yoon-jae “the brother I love,” and starts to introduce Shi-won.

That connects him to the reunion, where we heard him introduce Yoon-jae the same way, and then we get to hear him finish this time: “and the sister-in-law I love.”

Back to introducing the doc, where Shi-won arrives to the table with a tray of two extra-whip iced mochas and regular coffees, and Yoon-jae reaches for his, wearing his couple ring.

And then to the reunion, where we see the same hand reach for the mocha, and Yoon-jae bop down for a mouthful of whipped cream. He complains that she wears that couple ring because she lost her wedding band not one month after they were married. Ha.

Back again to the meeting with the doc (Show, you’re giving me whiplash here). Tae-woong’s wife-to-be insists they don’t have to cut in line to get married first, but Yoon-jae says Hyung should be first, and they can take their time.

Shi-won agrees wholeheartedly, “and besides, we could break up.” Yoon-jae scowls. Doc says it would delay their baby-having though, and Shi-won gapes, “Baby? Why would you say something so scary?”

She swears up and down that they have ZERO plans to make babies anytime soon, and Yoon-jae scowls again.

The very next morning, Shi-won comes out of the bathroom utterly peeved, and screams at Yoon-jae to wake up, waving a pregnancy test in his face. Hee.

She beats him silly with the nearest stuffed animal, “I TOLD you to be careful! You careless ass!”

Pffft. He doesn’t even know why he’s being pummeled.

Reunion, 2012. A little girl runs up to the table calling for “Mommy,” and runs into Shi-won’s lap. And then Daddy swoops her up in his arms. Aw. She came with the grandparents, who come bearing sacks of food (of course).

They wonder how Tae-woong found the time to come, and he says he wanted to see everyone, and anyway he’s here to give Shi-won his car.

Shi-won tells her parents it’s past Daughter’s bedtime, but Mom says she’s glued to the TV these days, staring at her new idol crush, and running around saying that she’ll marry him.

Dad says that’s right—where you plant beans, you get beans, and where you have one fangirl, she’ll give birth to another. Hee. He tells Shi-won to deal with it, like it’s payment for the hell she put him through.

Yoon-jae says that stuff doesn’t matter to him, and Dad admits now that he always thought Yoon-jae one marble short for marrying Shi-won. HA.

Mom still fawns over Joon-hee, asking if he’s married yet and still wishing he were her son-in-law. Cute. Dad still berates Sung-jae, and smiles at the news that Hak-chan and Yoo-jung are getting married… and then asks if they aren’t getting married after making an accident baby like those two over there. Hee.

Yoon-jae swears they were going to get married on that day anyway, but Mom asks if he thinks them idiots, knowing full well they hijacked Tae-woong’s wedding because of the pregnancy.

Before they head out, Dad turns back to tell them to make good memories, because there’s nothing better (that doesn’t cost a cent) in all the world. He sighs happily, thinking of his memories with Tae-woong and Yoon-jae’s dad.

Tae-woong smiles warmly and says he’ll be home soon so they can play Go Stop tonight. (Awwwww, do he and his wife live with Mom and Dad? So sweet.)

The reunion comes a close and everyone streams out of the restaurant and into the rain. Sung-jae stands in the doorway between Hak-chan and Yoo-jung talking about where to go on their honeymoon, and Yoon-jae and Shi-won cuddling.

He stares back and forth between them, growing increasingly agitated, and finally blows up, asking if they don’t feel sorry in the least. They’re all like, why?

He reminds them of all the teenage tears and recriminations, and sighs, “They say first love doesn’t can’t be realized, but you guys are amazing.” Yoo-jung responds by inviting him along on their honeymoon, and he storms off in a huff. The funnier part is, she wasn’t kidding.

Yoon-jae says that if Hak-chan and Yoo-jung get married, they’ll have attained their first loves, but Yoo-jung corrects him—Hak-chan wasn’t her first love. Uh, awkward, since clearly this is the first that Hak-chan’s hearing of this.

He asks who it is, but Yoo-jung just glosses over it. He pulls her old line, “Let’s break up,” and runs into the rain. She shouts that she doesn’t even remember who it is (and betrays a tiny glance up at Yoon-jae) and runs to his side, saying, “Who cares about first love? The person next to you now is what matters!” And they walk off arm in arm.

Yoon-jae (voiceover): First love. The reason everyone’s first love is beautiful is not only because the love was pretty. At the time of first love, there was a youthfulness that didn’t know how to be wise, a me who was pure to the point of cruelty, and a you whose fire I couldn’t handle. It’s because I already know that I can never go back to that youthful, innocent, passionate time.

Yoon-jae says the weather is nice (“Because I’m with you,” awww) and Tae-woong and Joon-hee come out to join them.

Yoon-jae (voiceover): First love is reckless. Without calculating, it throws everything in with pure passion, and inevitably fails. But that’s why it’s dramatic—the reckless tales wrapped up in experiences or feelings that you can never have again.

Joon-hee comes out and Shi-won offers to drop him off on their way. He says someone’s coming to pick him up. Yay! She smiles knowingly.

Yoon-jae looks at him in surprise, and they just smile at each other. I’m so happy Joon-hee found someone. He’s the last to leave the party, and there’s something so bittersweet about that.

He waits in the rain, and a car pulls up. We don’t see who picks him up, but Joon-hee smiles as he gets in the car.

Yoon-jae (voiceover): First love is a time. Once it passes, it’s gone. Now you have to give a new love and a new time a chance. It might not be the experience or the purity of first love, but out of that scar is a love that grows and becomes a little more mature—you have to wait for an adult love. Only those who wait can dream of love.

We see the fateful moments that we thought were Tae-woong’s first encounters with the doc, but then a flashback shows that they actually ran into each other the day he went into the record store to buy H.O.T. CDs for the first time.

Back to 2012, as Shi-won drives the brothers home. Yoon-jae asks what kind of medical seminar is keeping Hyung’s wife in Japan over the weekend, and he sighs that it’s not a seminar—it’s a DBSK concert. Haha.

Apparently she also became the entire fanclub’s president, which is hilarious, for the two very different reactions it gets from the front seats. Yoon-jae sighs that Hyung’s gonna have a hard time spinning that as a presidential candidate, while Shi-won is freaking out that their family finally has someone important in it.

She grumps that Busan chapter president is as high up as she could get, and blames the city she was born in. She and Yoon-jae bicker the rest of the way, and as Hyung gets out, he tells them not to fight.

Yoon-jae’s like, that’s not fighting. Shi-won (still calling him Oppa), says that when they actually fight, cops have to be called. They drop Tae-woong off and then the rest of the car ride gets dicey, as they start to argue.

Yoon-jae (voiceover): When romance passes, life comes. Purity gets dirtied, passion freezes over, and youth turns to shrewdness as you age. That innocent era’s first love becomes fatigued and exhausted daily routine… and is why first love appears to be something that can’t be realized. Because those who succeed at realizing their first love… don’t tell you.

Yoon-jae says he hasn’t asked in a long time, but if he and Tony oppa fell in the water, which guy would she save first? She vaguely remembers being asked this before, but he says (quite nervously, which cracks me up) that some things have changed since then.

This time her answer is: “You. Just you. Who else would I save before my husband?” He beams, calling it his life’s great reversal. Hee. But then when she says she loves him, he calls her out on being the mother of two and still going to visit Tony’s mother’s store. Well clearly, the girl’s loyal. You should know.

Yoon-jae (voiceover): Succeeding at first love is nice too. There’s comfort that’s even better than your favorite sweater, but also an excitement that you can find when you’re tired of that comfort. As childhood playmates, as first loves, as lovers, and as husband and wife, we live through the same times, share the same memories, and grow old together. A familiar excitement. It’s nice.

As they drive away swearing at each other, we see the license plate on the car: Live forever 1997.

And then the final flashback, to 1997, when the group gathered for a photo in the park. Hak-chan sets up the camera, and Shi-won berates Yoon-jae for ruining her once-in-a-lifetime signed t-shirt from Tony oppa, when he used it to sop up some spilled soy sauce.

Sung-jae says he’s lucky to have walked away with his life. As the camera timer starts to wind down, Shi-won asks if he’s really sorry and feeling repentant, and waves a fist in his face…

And then just before the shutter goes, she opens her hand and he leaps back, terrified at the frog sitting in her palm.

Yoon-jae: “I think I broke my arm!” Haha, so that’s what landed you in the hospital?

Yoon-jae (voiceover): It was fiery and pure, the time I long for. Do you hear me? If you hear me, answer, my ’90s Me.


I feel the same way about the finale as I did about Episode 15—that the show is better when it’s shorter and tightly edited, without letting conversations meander indulgently. But by the last two episodes we’ve come to love these characters so much that we indulge the excess, which probably helps to ease our goodbyes to the show as well. Overall I’m happy about the finale and it delivered exactly what I wanted—a satisfying resolution for everyone and some nice contemplative reflection on what it’s like to be young, told from the perspective of characters we’ve watched grow up over the course of the series.

I would have liked to get Shi-won in on the voiceovers in the end, or even let each character have one that fit their endings, though I don’t mind that Yoon-jae had the job of wrapping up the story for everyone. I think the finale rests entirely on the strength of the past episodes though, in that it made us nostalgic for the young versions of the characters as if we’d known them for years, and not just a few weeks. For me, everything past the time jump (post high school to 2005 and beyond) doesn’t hold a candle to the early years—it’s as if the show is on the same trajectory as its characters, with a fiery passionate youth that blazes so bright… that it can’t help but wane and cool as it gets older. It was still fantastic in the later years, but didn’t have that incredible spark it did when the adolescent rollercoaster was in full swing.

But when it was, man was this show amazingly accurate about the highs and lows of being young. I appreciated everything about the heart, the humor, the gut-wrenching tears, the utter humiliation, and the moments of self-discovery. And of course the attendant soundtrack, which made me feel all the more like I was reliving my own youth along with them. What I loved most was that each character was written as a full person—as if they were the stars of their own dramas. It’s not often that characters are written this way, to feel like real people, no matter how little we might see of them. And despite some conversations rambling on forever, the ones that mattered—the powerful emotional beats—were delightfully sparse, sometimes silent. It’s a two-way street with good writing and good directing, to give a scene the space to breathe, and to direct it so that the moment and the breath matters. This show had that perfect combo in spades.

There were certainly times we all grew tired of the baby daddy mystery, but it certainly laced the show with enough crack that it scored a new ratings high for cable. What the show did right within that overarching story was its whimsical (and sometimes very complicated) use of flashbacks, flash-forwards, flash-forward-and-back-within-a-flash-somewhere. It played fast and loose with narrative time, and built an emotional throughline across decades, days, and minutes between different sets of characters, all converging on a similar idea. Those were the strongest episodes, in a series full of strong episodes.

In the end it was always the family that really got me—the one that Mom and Dad cobbled together out of the rubble when each of the two core families suffered such massive loss. The brother relationship, what it meant to them to have surrogate parents, and how Shi-won couldn’t lose either of the boys from her life because they were family to her—no matter which two characters you paired out of that family, there was something so amazing to come out of it. Dad and Shi-won were a sentimental favorite, but of course the heart of the show is Shi-won and Yoon-jae.

I love that theirs is a relationship that survives not because of some idealized version of first love, but because they acknowledge that first love is beautiful because it’s a moment in time, and is as much, if not more, about who you were in that short burst of time. That you stays in the past, because you have to grow up. It’s the idea that even people who end up with their first loves have to give up on the notion of First Love, as if it’s some magical ideal. Life goes on, passion fades, but love can always change and grow. Their happy ending is not in realizing their first love, but in finding someone to grow up with.


224 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. CB

    I have enjoy this show alot and i think it’s one of the best show i’ve watched. Thx for the recap!

    • 1.1 Chicklet

      I agree. It kills me to wait for 2 whole days for the subbed episode. I tried to avoid this dilemma by not watching until the drama is all done, but where’s the fun in that right?

      So in the story, Tae-woong’s wife went to DBSK’s concert and became the fan club’s president, with the name “Junsu in my heart”. I like this bit of story, maybe to show how Cassiopeia support both groups (DBSK/JYJ).

      I’m gonna miss this drama! thanks for the recaps, it made me understand the drama more.

      • 1.1.1 pabo ceo reom

        I was a bit of a wreck on finale day. It’s like saying bye to 1997 all over again T_T

        My favorite drama this year hands down!

        • JIW_sobangnim


          I loved it so much. That I joined the cover contest to sing the title track! 🙂

          Changed the lyrics to English Mandarin! Hope you guys can support it! Sorry for haggling the top space!

        • Dazzed

          My favorite Drama ever..There’s no other one that could even come close to this masterpiece.
          It’s crazily well written, well directed. It has everything.
          In a year filled with time travelling and such stories, this one story was like a breath of fresh air. it was wickedly amazing, the characters are well written and described.
          OMG, this drama brings out the worst side of me, i can’t stop singing it praises once i start.
          So anyway i was amazing such a roller coaster with ups and downs and twists in every turn..!!!!!

    • 1.2 Informantxgirl

      It really is one of the best I ever watched. Don’t think there was a wasted moment in it. I laughed, cried, and cheered the whole way! Marathoned all the episodes in three days and just finished watching the finale. Perfection, this drama. Bravo to all involved!

      And those writers really kept their eyes on the ball. I thought for sure we’d never find out how Yoon Jae broke his arm (that bothered me) and in the final scenes, BAM! There it was. 🙂

      Watching this made me think back to my own first love and this drama was spot-on chronicling just how it felt – that insane, overwhelming, heart-stopping, breath-stealing period of time when everything your crush says or does is just soooooooooo precious and amazing, and you think you can never, ever love someone as much as that person. Oh man, did this drama ever get it right!

      Thank you to all involved in Answer Me, 1997. I may not have gotten all the pop culture references, but love is universal, and this drama proved it again. Thanks for the recaps too, they really helped in my appreciation of the show. 🙂

    • 1.3 cg

      best show 🙂

  2. Sabah

    Firstly, thank you so much GirlFriday for recapping this series. You pointed out so many details that I would have otherwise missed out on. You added depth and illuminated things that added so much to my love of this show.

    Oye. Me, Kdramas and last episodes. We hardly ever come to peaceful agreements.

    I loved this show. The plot, dialogues, characters but most of all the style of its execution which always kept the substance above the form. I haven’t been this excited about an ending of a show in what seems like an era which is why I was a little disappointed; not the facts because I was expecting it and rooting for it BUT rather the seemingly lack of substance to it. It seemed as though it was more of tying up of loose ends that you might find within rolling credits rather than ‘a finale.’

    Robert Mckee said that, “I’ll tell you a secret. The last act makes a film. Wow them in the end, and you got a hit. You can have flaws, problems, but wow them in the end, and you’ve got a hit.”

    Like GirlFriday pointed out, looking back on my favourite parts, it wasn’t the kisses but those moments of teenage angst or familial bonds that added a profound note to even my own understanding of things; Taewoong reaction to finding out about Yoon Jae and Shiwon or the whole love triangle of sort between Tony Oppa, Shiwon and her dad. I just found the ending lacking by comparison to its own precedents.

    I was talking to a friend after last week’s episode about how ‘without a doubt’ Answer Me 1997 had taken over from Shut Up Flower Boy Band as my favourite drama in recent Kdrama history BUT now that isn’t true. I would rate Shut Up Flower Boy higher BECAUSE of its ending that had a profound message and inspirational undertone. I am not comparing but rather just wanted to illuminate what I found missing in the last episode of Answer Me 1997; something that was within its potential AND I think that is what pricked me the most.

    When Yoon Jae started his speech about why first loves don’t last I thought he was going to say something insightful, albeit indirectly, about Joon Hee’s first love but alas again the show missed an opportunity to add something grand and profound to the final episode. If there is any substance that I found it was in Joon Hee’s lines about, ‘not knowing one’s heart and still trying to sort things out,’ even as an adult already set on a path to the future, nay an escalator which whether we stand, sit or sleep, it is forever moving forwards with our baggage. Also Taewoong’s comment to Yoon Jae that, ‘your life is going to be hard.’ Truly, life is never easy EVEN if we get everything we wished for.

    Still, this drama is many ranks above most and there were too many good points for me to be sour. In fact after this post, I think I am quite over myself and intend to re-watch it because it really was delightful. Thanks for letting me rant and rave, I do actually feel better now. Once again many thanks for your insightful recaps that added much to my understanding of the wonderful detailing of this superb show.

    • 2.1 Jae

      Totally agree with the comment that your recaps and comments add the “extra”…thanks so much

    • 2.2 almea

      I feel the same way! I’m not sure if my expectations were too high or if I’m just a sucker for teenage angst, but the ending kind of left me cold… EVEN though everything turned out just as I wanted. It’s as if something just fizzled while I’m left wanting for more.

      For me, the best parts were undoubtedly the teenage years, especially those bittersweet, poignant moments which just grips at your heart in the most unexpected ways.

      Le sigh… Even though the last two episodes fizzled, this drama just claimed the top spot in my drama list.

      • 2.2.1 Sabah

        Agreed. I do kind of feel petty for even saying these things because I loved it so much BUT it just reminds of Housman’s ‘runners whom renown outran’ lament over lost potential. Great things garner great expectations which is unjust in a way because we don’t hold such standards for lesser things. I know I am being greedy/selfish for wanting something deeper, because I got that depth in previous episodes, but I just wanted it to end on something befitting its rank.

        It kind of rode a wave of glory that ‘cruised’ onto the shore rather than being a tremendous wave, something iconic like Jay Moriarity’s wipeout moment.

        I think you best summed it up with ‘unexpected ways,’ which I think is what ultimately I found lacking in the finale. Still, a wonderful drama and much loved for good reason.

        • Geeme Koon

          I found myself thinking back to the scenes when the Father was fighting cancer in the hospital, and everyone with cancer is watching the Kdrama on TV for inspiration, and how the writer made a sudden 180 change and how the actor survives at the end.. everyone is suddenly inspired and happy…

          well.. perhaps the ending wasn’t spectacular , but i think the theme of this story is that there was never really a traditional beginning or end, the end of chapter 16 is a reflection of their life as it always has been. and it is trying to breaking out of the mode that the “payoff ending” is really not real life. The moments happens through life, the ending is well… death.

          I can accept how they took this approach for the end of chapter 16.. (((( but i will be pissed if it was just lazy writing and burn out))))

          This series reminds me of the “wonder years” series from the late 80’s – early 90s.

    • 2.3 BB

      You’re so right about ending it right. There were two dramas that ended this week: this one and the other being a Japanese dorama. While the former was filled with loads of skinship and fanservice the latter ended with the most modest of kisses and a squeal-worthy hug. Yet, it was the latter that satiated me as a viewer, made me very happy, and filled me with wonder that an ending as epic and rounded as this had been delivered to me. With that ending I forgot about the miss that was episode 6. Overall, AM 1997 was a very good show but the last two episodes seemed tooo long and kind of anti-climactic. Bummed about it though.

      • 2.3.1 Sabah

        I completely agree with you. I loved the ending to RMPW. Quite a few fans of that show wanted to see more skinship but for me, even with Kdramas, it is about an intensity of characterizations, character chemistry and connections.

        Not in every case BUT the vast majority, I find that the use of skinship is just lazy writing. I am interested in sparks, a slow burn, and smouldering culmination which come way before any actual physical interaction. Nice as ‘hot’ scenes are, they cannot compare to ‘intimate’ scenes which are, to be honest, precious and priceless. Every relationship has its hot scenes but only true love has precious scenes, both on TV and in real life. Trust me on that! Truly they are in completely different leagues.

        I think for me, I feel better if I just leave Answer me 1997 at the end of episode 15, because that raw intensity was magnificent. A better fit, for me.

        Still, beautiful show, well worth all the minor annoyance.

  3. ricky trh

    Thank you for the awesome journey, DB!
    This drama is definitely way up in my Most Fav list.

  4. YL

    Damn those be some impressive ratings for cable! The last two episodes lost some spark but the goodwill this show has built up all series long definitely helps offset it.

    Loved the drama, probably my fav of 2012. Thanks GF!

  5. birdscout

    Thank you, girlfriday for introducing me to this lovable drama with its lovable characters. These people will live in my heart! My Top Ten List is being re-arranged!

    • 5.1 birdscout

      Just wanted to add: that orange shirt and brown suit combo really doesn’t work on Yoon-jae, does it? :p But he’s gorgeous just the same 🙂

      • 5.1.1 Jossy

        Yeah that orange was just damn distracting, and with that brown it totally took the romantic vibes away from their kiss scene. I couldn’t help but think, “A nice maroon would do y’know cordi!!!” no hate be aus this show still rocked 🙂

      • 5.1.2 Zie

        I thought he was so hot wearing the suit… *GASP* xDD

      • 5.1.3 ms.auggie

        Agree! Look at those pants when he leans in and kiss her,* *RAaaWR!

      • 5.1.4 Tanaya

        I was pissed they chose such a hideous outfit for the wrap up but I bore with it, firstly because Seo In Guk is an adorable panda and because he’d been quite well dressed for the past eps.

  6. Shia

    I can’t believe how much I loved this show and how much it made me miss my own 90s and also hardcore fan girl days.

    For me, my top moment out of all beloved moments is the way that they treated Joon-hee’s storyline. His love always counted, and they made it bitter sweet and the last scene with them when Yoon Jae gives him a back hug is like the back hug to end all back hug scenes I have ever seen in a drama. It was just so necessary in a “I am sorry I can’t love you the way you wanted me to but still love you friend” kind of way.

    Just a masterpiece! Plus the whole show made the past seem so tangible without the woe is me I am old now vibes LOL. I am ranting but I love this show and it will be staying with me for a long time. Definitely one of my top five favourites.

    • 6.1 Ariel

      “back hug to end all back hug scenes”
      Right, a back hug should be done just like that I don’t care about the sex or the relationship it should just be meaningful and give that wonderful impact. I love the scene with Jun-hee and that red car, we don’t have to know who’s in there just the thought that he has someone and maybe finally he knows his own heart. Yessssssss.
      I love the ending the gentle letdown that everthing is over with everything tied up in a pretty pink bow, because really how could you let go of such a perfect gem of a drama.
      I love how they described a realistic first love because everything is so impactful then but the best part is the shared history. Most dramas often serves us the twisted/tortured first love theme that we sometimes question whether these characters came from some psychiatric ward or has stalker genes embedded in their make-up. Answer 1997 is a refreshing change and the characters are so lovable and unforgettable.

  7. somewhereweknow

    ): I cried at the Joonhee-Yoonjae scene. And this is definitely my favourite show of the past 3 years at least.

  8. nyaawn

    EEEEEEEEEEEE,,, I didn’t expected the recap to come so fast, not that I’m complaining XD
    Thank You so much~

  9. Ace

    Thank you for recapping this wonderful series. I hoped it would’ve gone on much longer but I’m really satisfied on the pace and length of this drama. Everything’s just perfect so kudos to tvN for another quality drama.

    I watched the raw episode twice and just finished watching earlier the subbed episode. Ah, Yoon-jae! I knew it would be you and not that I have anything against Tae-woong, but only you could’ve handled Shi-won. Just great. I’ll miss this so much…until the DVD comes out! Now, hopefully someone compiled all the music that they used in drama so I could listen and reminisce. 😉

  10. 10 Sian

    crying tq so much i’m having withdrawal symptoms already sobs

  11. 11 Lemon

    Thank you so much for the recap! And thanks for introducing me to this lovely drama. One of the best this year, and probably the one closest to my heart in 2012.

    Will read and comment again. 😀

    • 11.1 Lemon

      I actually watched this episode raw on the day it was aired, but hardly knew what they were saying. Now, with the recap, it become much clearer and SO MUCH cute and poignant too.

      I loved the chemistry between Shi Won and Yoon Jae. I loved Joonhee’s heartbreaking first love, and it was great that he found someone finally, thought it would have been awesome if they just showed us a glimpse of the gender. We all know it’s probably a guy, but still that tiny glimpse to reaffirm that would have been nice. Also, the fact that he was the last to leave the party was actually a little sad, don’t you think?

      One question though – doesn’t Hak Chan know that Yoon Jae was Yoojung’s first love? I mean, the only reason why they got together in the first place was because he was the only one who noticed her being heartbroken by Yoon Jae in the first place, then comforted her.

      Anyway, thank you Girlfriday so much for this recap. It’s been a wonderful ride.

      • 11.1.1 Kim Yoonmi

        I think Joon Hee’s boyfriend was the roommate that he moved in with, or I hope so. Because they kinda seeded that in there. And the car was expensive. Also they said, “Ride to the hospital” and that’s the only other person…

        I do like this show’s treatment of LGBT rights… They didn’t add gay in to make it “hot” or play for the fan girls, but actually gave it weight.

        • mars

          I don’t think the show is a step forward for LGBT+ anything to be honest. It was nice that Joon-hee was confirmed as being queer but they did nothing with it other than giving him a straight boy crush. I think that the initial reveal was really poignant and beautifully done, and there were some heart-tugging scenes especially Joon-hee and Yoon-jae together in that hotel room. Other than that I felt the show just fumbled with his sexuality. There were so many ways they could’ve taken it but they followed that one thread to the very end. One of the few glaring flaws in this drama.

          • C'est_La_Vie

            Omg this so much. I swear you took the words right out of my mouth. The show overall was great, but the way it handled Joon Hee’s character was no where near where I hoped it would be.

          • anon

            This is true, but in general it was treated a lot better than in most Kdramas. The Kdramas I’ve seen that feature LGBT+ people have them as barely there side characters, usually painfully stereotyped or used simply for humour. Either that or a guy thinks he’s gay because he falls for a girl in disguise (my least favourite of all plots).

            This is one of the very few Kdramas I’ve seen that treats a gay character with respect and doesn’t stereotype them at all. I hope this paves the way for many more in the future.

          • ian

            I think I am going to have to disagree with you on this show not being a step forward. It isn’t anything ground breaking or mountain-moving but it is a step, nonetheless. Maybe a tiny little baby step but still a step.

            I have been reading the comments that people has left on Korean message boards and in articles about Junhee’s sexuality as well as the interviews that Hoya has done after the drama and it was heartwarming to read what the Korean viewers had to say all through out the series.

            Sure there were some who were skeptical and didn’t like the inclusion of such a character but their number was very little. Most of the people have been saying one thing – that even though Junhee’s love for his bestfriend is something that they cannot understand, they felt for him.

            The people watching the series are surprised themselves, that they loved Junhee’s character, that they were able to sympathize with him and become as invested in his story as they were with Shiwon and/or Yunjae. The comments range from , “It’s a little bit creepy,” to, “Kind of disgusting,” but it always had this attached, “- but I feel for him.”

            One particular post in Tumblr come to mind, a foreign Kpop fan was surprised to get a call from her Korean guy friend from a different state who told her to watch Answer Me 1997 because he loves that show and thought that she would be able to relate. She already is watching it and loving every minute of it but what surprised her was that this guy, this Korean friend, is homophobic, and has been pretty vocal about it in the past. Upon teasing the friend about this he answered, “Junhee’s changing my mind a little though.”

            They have also discussed as to why this is so – why is Junhee’s character receiving so much love in a country who insists that they don’t have gays within their society? One comment made a good point, I forgot where but it might be from Hoya’s Naver interview, ” I don’t know if it’s because of the actor, or because of the director or the writer, but Junhee made me see that ‘they’ are just normal guys like us.”

            I think this is one of the reasons Shin PD said he wanted to cast a guy with a “masculine” image, this might also be the reason why he focused on telling the story of “this person likes this person” more than anything – to show that love is love. No matter what the gender.

            Lastly, I would just like to add how proud I am of Hoya who said:

            “I didn’t know what role I had. I only heard about it later. Since I originally didn’t have any bias nor prejudices about it, I wasn’t really burdened. However our representatives must’ve been a bit worried about it. They were worried about whether my image was going to be alright in the future. I said I wanted to do it and asked to absolutely do it. I asked so many times, saying I wanted to do it. This role.”

            Props to him!

          • Kim Yoonmi

            What Anon and ian said–as in it’s better than most K-dramas. I do like the fact they gave him someone at the end.

            Plus I like the fact that they didn’t say, make Jun Hee a fashion designer that only cares about clothes–they looked at him as a character first, which is more than I can say for an American show like Will and Grace (who wouldn’t hire an actor because he wasn’t “gay enough” i.e. John Barrowman) Most of the glaring stereotypes were avoided and he, as a character wasn’t treated differently than the others–the others all persisted in falling in love years after.

            Sure that it could have gone the extra length at the end and maybe shown the new roommate’s face and a kiss, but for the conservative nature of Korea and how it did tons better than the majority of television in the US, I give it props.

            And for the fact they didn’t have him stay alone and “suffer” for being gay like a lot of the other previous Korean dramas and movies about being gay, that’s a huge step forward in my eyes, a step up from Personal Taste, which used it more as a butt of a joke.

          • mars

            Joon-hee suffered silently most of the drama. Most of his arc is him wanting Yoon-jae but not being able to have him. I can agree that they did better by Joon-hee than other dramas have in the past but this is a far cry from quality queer representation.

            Yes, it’s good that they showed Joon-hee moving on after being hung up on Yoon-jae but this is still a far cry from quality queer representation.

            Er, and I’m really happy people who can are revolted by queerness found it in themselves to look past it and see the masculine real normal average guy in Joon-hee. I mean that’s just fantastic.

          • Kim Yoonmi

            @mars, I agree it’s not the ideal. All countries have a long way to go, but I will celebrate the minor successes to get to that ideal.

            Some of the previous K-industry crap has been things like movies on gay people being 100% promiscuous and needing to commit suicide once they find out. Doing melodramatic stuff that makes me gag like looking out into the ocean and then trying to drown themselves in it. Also making it OK with reincarnation. “The “younger girly one is really the soul of that’s guy’s lover”

            BTW, Tae Woong suffered longer than Joon Hee for most of the drama. Joon Hee quit when he moved out in 2005, but Tae Woong seemed to have “suffered” longer than that since he met his wife later.

            If Joon Hee did find a new love which they unfairly did not show, then by years alone, it would be Tae Woong suffering more. And Tae Woong was straight.

            Yes, yes, Tae Woong had the brother thing in there too, so it’s not the same as a one-note character. But I do celebrate the smaller successes of this drama, like making Joon Hee a doctor, which puts dimension on him and shows his world isn’t all made up of “being gay”.

            And they didn’t super feminize him either which is my nitpick with American shows.

            And they didn’t go with the stupid, “I’m going to be suicidal because I’m gay and can’t get the man I want.” thing either.

            And the previous stupid thing where if he can’t get the person he wants he needs to go to the friggin’ beach and try to commit suicide. *stabs movie.* I had a rage fest after that one.

            And his sexuality was never a joke. It was treated seriously without being melodramatic.

            I do wish more American shows would separate gender and sexuality as being linked. And Answer Me 1997 did that beautifully. Not ideally, but still did it fairly well.

            My gage of eventual success is higher than that. But considering that Western shows often fail on all counts on the same things, I wouldn’t fault Korea more than the US or Great Britain. It is a minor step forward. Not the ideal by a long shot, but considering *this show* it still is leagues ahead of a lot of the American shows aimed at the same age groups.

  12. 12 JIW_sobangnim

    The last scene. Magnificent <3

  13. 13 KQ

    Love the drama sooooo much! reminds me of my first love and how we grow up together and now getting married… =) So true! passion will fizzle and innocence will turn into shrewdness… it is all part and parcel of life…. hearts the drama!!

  14. 14 nikita

    looove this show, daebakkk!!!

  15. 15 Village Mrembo

    My only request is if they do a sequel, pretty pls include the Big Bang, Rain, Se7en etc…cuz the only song i recognised out of the whole series was Kim Jong Kook’s Lovable! And pls don’t do an Iris2 and change the main characters, i refuse to love any other characters but the original (loyal fangirl i am!)

    • 15.1 misachan

      aww you didn’t recognize dbsk’s hug?

      • 15.1.1 gg

        LOVE THIS DRAMA…don’t know what i’m going to do without it. Sure there are dramas that are on my favourite list but this just beats all of them.

        love love yoonjae with siwon and also joonhee. i’ve bcome a seo in gook and hoya fan!

        omg i nearly had a heart attack when i heard hug and then the camera shot on dbsk’s rising sun album 🙂 DBSK is my favourite band and this drama just reminds me how crazy i am about them (including now). i liked how taewoong’s wife’s id was ‘junsu in my heart’ (i.e. jyj + homin = DBSK). so happy that the director included dbsk in it and wasn’t afraid of SM etc.

    • 15.2 Rin

      and they played Junsu and Zhang Liyin’s Timeless right after the doctor said her bias is Junsu. i was soo ecstatic by then. Hug then Timeless. i’m quite suprise they didnt play Rising Sun also since it was already showed that they are going to Rising Sun concert afterward.

  16. 16 Jossy

    Woo! Just finished watching the final ep like 2mins ago and I stumble here for the nth time of the day (a religious routine of mine) and Yay! Recaps up!

    I’m pretty damned pleased with the finale and the series as a whole, I was especially hoping they would do the reveals to the whole husband mystery and they gave me that and I am a happy camper! Just cheers to the 90’s they were freaking awesome!

  17. 17 melonhead

    *sigh* And there goes another wonderful drama. Why can’t all dramas be like you???

  18. 18 chocopie83

    started the drama midway due to all the buzz on it and yeah it totally worth it 😀

    thanks for the recap! your recaps always give me a more in-depth insight on the shows!

    also.. remember in the earlier episodes, when Shi-won asked Tae-woong to get her cardi.. I still don’t understand why Tae-woong had it in his car though.. Can anyone please explain this to me? Thanksss!! 😀

    • 18.1 anonymous

      Because Shiwon is borrowing Tae Woong’s car nowadays. Shiwon’s parents said that in the reunion.

      • 18.1.1 chocopie83

        ah.. as simple as that xp thanks!

  19. 19 odet

    I shall have that “Reply 1997 withdrawal symptom”. What’s a girl to do after 16 episodes of awesomeness? I luv this show so much… Will definitely watch this again… and again… and again…

  20. 20 aramint

    I was so ready to celebrate Yoonjae-Shiwon. I was pretty confident that they’re gonna end up together, and that I’m gonna cry my heart out for Junhee. However, it was something else that broke my heart and shattered it to pieces.

    Throughout the drama, I’ve been laughing at Siwon’s antics, her obsession with HOT and I even tsk-tsk her for being such a fangirl. I was like, LOL, come on, I like idols as well, but how come you’re so into them like they are a part of your life?

    But then, that scene. The one where the students were singing loudly to HUG, complete with the fanchants, the CD, the Rising Sun banner at the stadium, the Red Ocean, oh my heart, I was stunned and suddenly tears started rolling. It’s as if the scenes were alive, as if I was there with them.

    DB5K was the group that brought me to K-land; Kpop, Kdrama, Kvariety, everything. Usually I’d look for the songs after knowing the faces or the idols’ personality. But for DB5K (and Kyuhyun), it was their voices that captured my attention. I accidentally heard One, and next to the clip was You Only Love, and the rest is history.

    God, I love them sooooo much, to the extent that 90% of my hard disk is filled with them and my shelves filled with their CDs and DVDs. I totally love their voices, be it solo or group, it’s plain awesomeness. Add to that their quirky and adorable personalities. I laughed and cried with them, for years. They became a part of my life. And the delusional fangirl in me still hopes that they will get back together, no matter when, I’ll wait for that day. T_T

    • 20.1 Kelinci Biru

      I just listened to DBSK music recently, and how I wish they get back together. It sounds so different when they were five.

    • 20.2 maldita

      SO MUCH FEELS FOR THAT DBSK SCENE. Goes to show the K-pop circle of life. H.O.T had their time, and DBSK took over that spot they left.

      Good times. I was near legit fangirl tears when the fangirls were singing “Hug,” fanchants and all.

    • 20.3 misachan

      OMG I totally feel you.
      I didn’t expect the DBSK scene at all! And it brought me back to the time I first knew of them.
      Like you, DB5K was the one that got me into K-everything.

      The whole time when I was watching Shiwon and her HOT fandom, I was thinking back to the first time I got into DBSK in Feb 2006 (yes I remembered) and so I understood her even though I never really got THAT crazy.

      So when they showed DBSK out of the blue, I just gasped and was stunned. It was one of the best surprises for a drama ever for me. Seeing the banner of them as 5 was beyond moving.

      Even if this drama is bad, the fact that they inputted DBSK would have put it in a special spot in my heart. But the fact that this drama is amazing already before that scene? It became my number one drama of all time.
      And how much do I love it that Taewoong went from loving one hardcore fangirl to the next?


      And the whole thing about how they explained in the drama how the fandom helps you excel in other aspects of your life? I wish all the people who don’t understand fandom could watch that part….

      • 20.3.1 aramint

        “And the whole thing about how they explained in the drama how the fandom helps you excel in other aspects of your life? I wish all the people who don’t understand fandom could watch that part….”


        As I mentioned earlier, I laughed and cried with DB5K. Whenever I encountered hardships in life, their songs were always there to comfort, and of the things that encouraged me was also them, like, hey, they can endure all those and succeed, so why can’t I? Being a fangirl does has its benefits. ^.^

      • 20.3.2 eternalfive

        Omg, I felt the exact same way. Especially this: “Even if this drama is bad, the fact that they inputted DBSK would have put it in a special spot in my heart.”

        Omg, I am such a crazy DBSK fangirl. <3 XD

    • 20.4 Gina

      I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL BECAUSE DBSK WAS THE GROUP THAT GOT ME HERE. I felt like bawling when the fangirls were singing Hug. Like Shiwon with H.O.T, I felt like I died when they broke up.

      But like you, I remain the delusional fangirl who will wait for the day that they get back together.

    • 20.5 ian

      Just going to casually drop in how the official twitter of the show @ mentioned Jaejoong after the last episode aired 🙂

  21. 21 Amberscube

    And this drama will remain in the deepest of my heart forever…

    • 21.1 Amberscube

      Queen In-Hyun’s Man and Answer Me 1997 have made me squee and giggle and in love like no other drama this year.

      I havent seen Shut Up Flower Boy Band yet, should i watch it? Was it as exciting as these two?

      • 21.1.1 odet

        Shut Up Flower Boy Band and Reply 1997 are the best coming-of-age stories. I love TvN for producing these wonderful shows that brought us back “those days”. High school is the most wonderful and most awesome stage of my life and of most of us. Back in highschool… I fell in love with a guitarist and got obsessed with a boyband. see.. true-to-life.

      • 21.1.2 Nana

        these 3 dramas from TvN has became my top 3 drama of the year!
        and yes, you should watch SUFBB, it’s another high school drama that I found very heart warming
        I hope TvN will get us another drama as heart warming as these 3

      • 21.1.3 Amberscube

        Thanks for the recommendation. Will definitely watch SUFBB, it’s been in my watch list.

        Kudos TvN for giving us great dramas this year. Looking forward for more.

      • 21.1.4 ian

        If I’m going to rank the top 3 best dramas I have seen this year so far, they would be:

        1. Answer Me 1997
        2. Shut Up! Flower Boyband
        3. Queen Inhyun’s Man

        So yes, I highly recommend you watch SUFBB.

        I don’t think I have ever been as invested as I was in a character in recent years as I was with Hyunsoo, played by Infinite’s L who is also in the same group as Hoya, the actor who played Junhee here.

  22. 22 Lynnet

    Thanks so much for the recaps Gf, though i will let you in on a little secret , I couldnt access the show on any of the sites I went to but I could tell it was my kind of drama from your very first recap and I ended just reading the recaps until the end of the show. Thats how good they were I felt it was almost as if I watching the show. Now could anyone tell me where to get the show if you live in Southern Africa?

    • 22.1 pov

      I have lived with only their recaps for 2 years now, they’re that great with their writing. thanks JB and GF.

  23. 23 fuzzymogwai

    @ aramint i totally agree – the dbsk moments had me totally in tears…god i miss them…

    but oh my heartbthis show…ok so i did not grow up in the 90s like these characters, and knew nothing abt the kpop scene back then…

    but oh…..i spent these few weeks reconnecting with the people i went thru middle school and high school with and am i so glad i did….

    these characters were so real and ill never forget them…and the moments that were good were SO GOOD not an episode went by when i found myself suddnly in tears bc o cud i relate to someone…

    thanks again for recapping this series!! it will stay a favorite for a long long time

  24. 24 Stardust

    I…… think I will wait for subs before reading this HEHEHE Thank you my dear girlfriday!! Much love and loads more for this wonderful little drama which I kinda wrote off as high school drama… hahaha .. I wouldnt have enjoyed it so much if not for the recaps dramabeans have churned out so faithfully… THANK YOU….

    I watched the RAW and by now know a bit more hangul to figure out nanpion? is hubby YAAY after that I just breezed through becos all the dialogue is still a buzz to me LOL… and the ending… when cute little Han Byul from Thorn birds came hopping up and goes… Ommaa…~my eyes were big as saucers LOL what a cute surprise… kekekeke

  25. 25 Sari

    Happy ending..Thanks GF for wonderful recap as always..
    Can someone tell me..what the meaning of “gashina”?Yoon jae always calls shi won that right?i wonder what its mean?

  26. 26 lhyn04

    nice recap.

    going to miss this show.

    this drama can be considerered on top 10 kdramas of all time.

  27. 27 sherry

    BOYYYY I am just glad that JH have a new love ! Who loves him the same way and PLUS this person drives a red hot sports car !

  28. 28 eiyu

    thank you girlfriday for the recap.

    here are my thoughts on the joonhee-yunjae ending. sorry for the long post.

    i’m not happy with how they ended joonhee’s first love.
    fine, yunjae got to know joonhee liked him but joonhee doesn’t know that. to joonhee, his love is still a secret. maybe that’s why their 2012 reunion scenes felt awkward and forced. i wouldn’t have guessed they were high school bestfriends based solely on those reunion sequences.

    i wish joonhee was honest with his feelings. i wanted to see him confess again and be taken seriously. sure it would have hurt but at least the issue get addressed upfront. his love may not be reciprocated in the same way but at least he gets to know that yunjae is ok with it. he said it himself, it would be “better to be ridiculed than be live feeling awkward about it.”

    i’m sad that in the end, joonhee doesn’t get his wish that their friendship remain unchanged.

    • 28.1 Jessica

      I disagree. I felt that JH would have been more uncomfortable if he thought YJ knew.

      In fact, I feel that JH would prefer YJ didn’t know and that’s why YJ never told him.

      I think many of us would be the same way. If we knew that the object of our love could never be ours, why make things awkward?

      JH grew by shifting his love to that off friendship/brotherhood. In fact, he knew YJ could never love him back that way so he was always prepared. He just wanted to spend as much time with him as he could until he knew it was time for both to move on.

    • 28.2 ian

      The reunion scenes never came across to me as that though.

      Were you talking about when they were taking the group picture and Yunjae had to pull Junhee in for the shot? I took it as a “sign” from the director of what was to come between the two characters. And if you watch it again after knowing that Junhee loved Yunjae, it would be more about Junhee moving on, the way he literally “moved out” of their apartment to start and embark on his new life without being around Yunjae 24/7. Yunjae was just being his normal self, touchy as always with Junhee.

      I think their friendship did remain unchanged. And that’s why he never confessed. And that’s also why Yunjae never told Junhee that he knows. Remember episode 10? For Junhee, just being able to stay as a friend beside Yunjae is enough for him because he knows that his feelings won’t be reciprocated. And so he never told Yunjae. And because Junhee never told him, Yunjae never said a word about it himself.

  29. 29 befuddled

    I loved the finale. Shi-won beating Yoon-jae with the stuffed bear after finding out that she was pregnant was just one of the scenes that had me dying with laughter.

  30. 30 Mosquito

    A . W . E . S . O . M . E .

    I am half way through 1997 and have ranked this as THE nos. 1 drama. I am also going to take this real slow so that I may savour the drama over a prolonged, extended period — yup that is!

    Thank you girlfriday~

  31. 31 annedramaaddict

    I love this show so much. First show I watched the ending raw because I had to know the ending. I didn’t grow up to specifically to H.O.T or Sech Kies but the we all remember those days of being crazy about something. This show touched our hearts and made us remember our own high school. It’s a show I’ll watch over and over again.

  32. 32 Ahjumma


    Can’t believe how attached I am to this drama…I actually felt this overwhelming sadness when watching the last 4 minutes; like, what? no. there must be another part.

    And I’ve never felt such gratitude towards a dramas writers/producers/directors.

    Thank you so much for recapping!

  33. 33 mav

    This show has entered my all time top 10, not because of the pretty or the fantastic banter, which it had tons of, but because it felt so real. These characters were/ are people not a romanticized notion of what a heroin and hero should be like, or fate and love and what not. And at the end it didn’t make me dream of those larger than life love stories that the drama world is so obsessed with, but the ones that can be happening right next to us, in a street, in a classroom, in any place.

    Answer me 1997 you made my heart skip a beat <3

    • 33.1 Fasiris Fay

      Very well said! I felt exactly the same way 🙂

  34. 34 MhsC

    Thank you for the recap GirlFriday 🙂 I shall marathon this with my brother and friends on SEMBREAK :))))))) Yeah !!
    This show is really good , it always make me nostalgic of my high school years 🙂 though not during the 90’s 🙂 I also really love the family ties here 🙂 IT WILL AND ALWAYS BRING ME TO TEARS :’) Even though , SUFFB will have the best ending in my heart this ending is very satisfying though :))) What a gem , this drama is really is one gem 🙂

  35. 35 pohonphee

    I was squealing almost all trough the episode, even I watched it raw. Pouting Yoon-jae is the cutest puppy. Shi-won is one of my favorite heroine, if not the first, in K drama land. And Daddy too, oh I love you Dad. Shi-won’s parent is my favorite parents in K drama land too. This is the first drama I watch raw, without waiting the sub, while it is still airing. And drama like this is the reason why I stuck with K drama with all its cliches, even if I have to watch a thousand Lie To Me.


    Standing ovation to writer-nim, PD-nim, director-nim, and all the actors.

    Deabak, Just Deabak.

  36. 36 katiamon

    I love you show and i’ll miss you to death. My god, this was really a rollercoaster ride and i loved it. I knew it was YJ, he was the one!!!! Can i get that same model???? Thank you for the recaps 🙂

  37. 37 Kelinci Biru

    This drama has right amount of crack and hearts.

    I just made this as my first ever favorite, because everytime I watch this, I just feel the warmth and love. I kinda wish Seo In Guk and Jung Eun Ji to do a drama just bickering to each other in satoori.

    Waiting 8weeks for something like is so worth it. K-drama at its best. Thank you Answer Me, 1997 for all the tears, laugh, giggle and embarrasing moments. I love you.

  38. 38 llama

    I love that she names her baby Seung-ho and the parents wonder why the name sounds so familiar, not realising that it is Tony’s name. HAHA

    • 38.1 Aparna

      Oh.. Makes sense to me now. OMG. Ahn Seung Ho, right? She calls him Tony all the time that I forgot abt it. GF didnt mention the connection either, right?

  39. 39 Rong

    This show is really one of my favorites. So close to my heart. And, yes, I totally agreed with the narration of YJ. I missed my youth!!!! Thank you for the wonderful recap. I missed quite a bit of info from the Chinese sub (which I am glad to have uploaded as it was blocked from my region soon after). Now I relish whatever that can be found online. I love every single episode! It is a simple show (with strong story telling!) yet I have fallen head and toe with it. I am totally hopeless.

  40. 40 Fasiris Fay

    Thanks so much for recapping this series! You’ve done a fabulous job! 😀 Without these recaps, I never would have discovered this show, and that would be a shame, since I think it’s my favourite of this year!

    I don’t think a final episode of a series has made me beam so much, and I loved the closure-but-not closure we got in the end. Some things will change, but others never will (like Yoon Jae and Shi Won fighting lol).

    An amazing show, with even more amazing characters and actors! 🙂 🙂

  41. 41 KDrama Fan

    Thanks for the recap GF.

    I really enjoyed this show as a whole but I felt this final was too chopped up.

    I also thought we were going to get a bit more on JH’s new relationship when I saw the previous episode and felt short-changed when we didn’t.

    Did like the last scene though.

  42. 42 maldita

    I found it so nice that everything came full circle fandom-wise and it switched over to Taewoong’s future wife as a DBSK fangirl. Shows the K-pop cycle full circle. H.O.T were the top in the 90s and 10 years later, DBSK were that group, with their own giant horde of fangirls as well.

    And LMAO forever at Shiwon’s baby named Seungho. Tony’s real name is Seungho. Once a fangirl, always a fangirl.

    • 42.1 Carinne

      LOL~ I was waiting for someone to click the two names together. The funny part is that Tae-woong wanted to name the second baby Yoon Seung-ho. Cracks me up big time! And Shi-won’s parents… lol, so oblivious to Tony An’s Hangul name. Shi-won’s parents are lost in their Kdramaland forever. Too cute!

      I liked that Yoon-jae got to end the show w/ his voiceover because Shi-won got a chance to start the show w/ hers. All’s fair.

      What I do love, are the cast members who all have done a superb job transforming themselves through their teens, 20’s, and 30’s. Makes it real. Makes it a sensible joy to watch.

      Thanks GF for this one. I have to backtrack a bit now, I kinda skipped around reading recaps, so I might as well ride off my drama withdrawal slowing as possible.

  43. 43 mars

    The finale definitely felt weaker than the previous episodes for a multitude of reasons. They could’ve revealed that Yoon-jae was thev at the end of episode 15 and spent the time on Shi-won/Yoon-jae better. Given us glimpses of their wedding, what life was like after their first child, etc. The kisses were pretty good, and aside from Yoon-jae entering Shi-won’s apartment without her permission I enjoyed the couple moments. Sigh. I guess I just expected them to leave with more of bang but the writers dragging out the mystery for so long made the pay off a lot less satisfying.

    Another thing that I thought was bogus was the Joon-hee/Yoon-jae scene. Was that supposed to somehow give the viewers an idea of closure for Joon-hee? I would’ve liked some actual discussion on Joon-hee’s sexuality and his crush on Yoon-jae. At the end we are given the sense that Joon-hee has not discussed anything with Yoon-jae and he’s kept his sexuality to himself for the most part. Talk about feeling alone in a crowd, especially when most people attended with their significant others. I hoped for them to reveal that he’d come out to his friends and they all accepted and supported him but instead we just get a mysterious person (who I’m assuming is a man) picking him up. I remember someone posted last time about how giving Joon-hee a love interest could be like a consolation prize. This feels like being thrown the absolute smallest bone. I guess I should be happy because it’s something, but it just makes me sad to see how they handled Joon-hee as a whole.

    Also, did they name the Doctor? That’s really, really bugging me.

    The show as a whole was definitely one the best drama watching experiences I’ve had this year, and these recaps have helped me pick up on the pop culture references that otherwise I wouldn’t have been privy to! Despite the fumbles I am glad I decided to stay on this ride.

    • 43.1 ian

      I think the way they ended Junhee’s story line was the most realistic they could get. Korea is still not very open about homosexuality and Junhee’s not telling everyone about his sexual preference is very understandable. Sure, he told Shiwon – when he was 18. And yes, Shiwon understood and supported him and Yunjae was more than okay with his bestfriend being in love with him but will the rest of the gang be? Will the people Junhee tell be as accepting?

      I think the fear they showed was realistic – the fear of coming out even to your closest friends, the fear of admitting to your best friend that you are in love with him – these are real fears that Junhee have. I think it would be actually OCC if he did end up telling Yunjae himself. Remember episode 10? He knows that he can’t have Yunjae and if being his friend is the only way to be close to him, then he’s willing to take that.

  44. 44 whatis

    Friggin love this show!

  45. 45 Shiku

    Am sad it’s over. Sniff, sniff.

    I absolutely loved the show and I think it’s on the top of my fave list.
    Waaah!!!! Why did it have to end? I honestly wish it would have gone on to 30, 50, heck even 100 episodes.

    YJ was so cute trying to spend the night at Shiwon’s and trying to kiss her.

    Happy JH and TW got their happy ending.

  46. 46 Vanessa

    Looking at the way 2012 is going for dramabeans (loads of awesome drama recaps heaped with praises), this is a good drama year!

    Loved these recaps and the drama. 🙂 thanks so much girlfriday!

  47. 47 stars4u

    Bittersweet goodbye to an awesome drama!

  48. 48 Stephanie

    My heart! :’)

  49. 49 swoony

    so dat’s how yoon jae broke his arm! LOL…i always wondered how he ended up in the hospital…

    this drama was so good…this is the 3rd drama that i have watched where i have to patiently wait for the subs to be out (1st 2 we’re my princess and FBRS)

    and after watching the finale for the 3rd time…raw twice and once subbed…i am planning to marathon this!

    it was pure awesomeness and i loved it soo much! tnx GIRLFRIDAY for the recaps!

  50. 50 whimsicalnet

    I really loved this show. I waited till Sunday to watch it all at one go and then spent hours waiting for the last episode to be subbed. But it was awesome…

    And the recaps here complete the story for me since I would have lost so much of the significance, cameos etc due to the different culture and country the story is set in. But the heart of the story is true and it made me relive my own youth. And yes I cried and laughed till the end.

    Thank you so much for the recaps.

Add a Comment

Stay civil, don't spoil, and don't feed the trolls! Read the commenting policy here.

 characters available. Comments will be truncated at the word limit.