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Answer Me 1994: Episode 21 (Final)

We finally conclude the mystery and the journey, as the beginning of adulthood ushers in the end of an era. Everybody gets a name and Na-jung gets her husband, which means she gets to kick that headless groom she’s been marrying for ten weeks to the curb and replace him with the real deal. Bye, Headless Guy.

The series went out on a high of 11.9% ratings. It’s a bit of a rushed production that could’ve used a few hours of editing finesse had they had the time, but overall it goes out in true Answer Me style, as a love letter to the nineties and bygone youth.

 
SONG OF THE DAY

Lee Seung-hwan – “기다린 날도 지워질 날도 (Days That I Waited, Days That Would Be Erased)” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 21: “To the nineties”

Both the wedding and the housewarming party draw to a close, and everyone gets up to leave except for Oppa and Chilbongie who linger behind. One of them comes up to put an arm around Na-jung as they say goodbye to their guests, and they note that sometimes first loves do make it.

We go back to 2000, when Na-jung gets that message from Oppa on her way to Chilbongie, asking if she’ll come by because he’s sick. She bursts into tears right there in the cab, and sobs the whole way.

The doorbell rings and Chilbongie opens his door… to Binggeure, who’s here to chase him down after he fled the hospital sooner than he was supposed to.

And at the same time, Na-jung braces herself before ringing the doorbell… and Oppa answers. She cries, half-angry that he called and that she came despite it all, and brushes past him to go inside.

He tries to hold onto her but she shakes him off, and he finally just throws his arms around her and hugs her close. She cries into his shoulder and her legs turn to jelly, sending them both crumbling to the ground in tears.

Oppa just cups her face in his hands and looks at her for a long moment, and finally whispers as a tear rolls down his cheek: “I love you. I love you.” Once he says the words, she’s the one to reach out and wipe the tears from his face, and she leans in for a kiss.

Oppa comes to work the next day all better from his cold and floating on cloud nine. He hears the other residents oohing over Chilbongie being at the hospital, trying to figure out how to get an autograph.

Na-jung gets calls from Yoon-jin, then Samcheonpo, then Haitai, all telling her to hurry home because Mom’s cooking something special. That’s so cute. She asks Haitai if he called Binggeure and Chilbongie too, and that’s when he tells her that Chilbongie is at the hospital and checked himself out before he was supposed to.

She calls Chilbongie to ask where he is, and finds him at the baseball field. He waves at her from the mound and she waves back from the stands before coming out to the field. He makes her stop when she’s a few feet away though, not letting her come any closer.

He puts on a smile and says he has a wish, and points to a glove hanging on a bat at the edge of the field. He asks if she’ll grant his wish if he hits it, and though he struggles with his injured arm, he hits his target like he always did.

He turns to her, “Na-jung-ah…” but before he can even say it, she rushes him with a hug, throwing her arms around his waist and leaving him speechless. Aw. He smiles, “How’d you know?”

He continues, “I don’t think I’ll be able to call. I think it’ll take some time. Sorry.” He holds on for one more moment before pushing her away. Na-jung looks up at him: “Joon-ah, of all the people I know, you’re the handsomest.”

She names all his good traits and says that he’s the most impressive person she’s ever met: “Do you know how thankful I am that someone like you liked me?” She says it was because of him that she found out that she wasn’t half bad herself.

She says that someday if she ever has a child, she’s going to brag about how that famous person on TV liked her. “Joon-ah, thank you for liking me. Because of you, my age twenty will be a beautiful memory.”

They smile at each other and he swallows back tears: “Me too.” He hugs her one last time and says goodbye. And then long after she’s gone, he sits alone looking out at the field, and lets himself cry. I’m not crying. I’m not. *sniff*

Later as he packs, Haitai calls to say he should come by the house to have drinks with everyone on his last day. He can’t, of course, because of Na-jung, but he has a final doctor’s appointment anyway to check on his injuries before he flies out.

At the hospital, the doctor tells him his shoulder and back aren’t in good shape, and at some point he’s going to need surgery. It’s his back that’s worse off, and the doc has called in a specialist to do a consult.

In walks Garbage, who’s now the head brain/spine doctor, which is a really hard thing to wrap my head around because I’ve seen him wipe his face with a floor mat. The air is awkward, naturally, and Chilbongie sits quietly through the session as Garbage the Neurosurgeon explains that he can treat it without surgery, but that means he’s always one injury away from permanent damage. He says the same thing—at some point, he’ll need surgery, and perhaps sooner is better so that he’ll have a chance to recover.

The residents line up to get autographs afterward, and Garbage waits till they’re the only two left in the room. There’s no more avoiding it now, so they sit down for a chat. Garbage tells him about his back in simpler layman terms, and gives him advice about what to do.

He knows Chilbongie is headed to the airport to fly out tonight, and stops to put a hand on his arm as he says goodbye and tells him sincerely to take care of himself. Chilbongie replies, “You too, sunbaenim.”

Garbage turns to go and then whirls back around, “Hey, you used to call me hyung. Are you not calling me hyung anymore? What’s with the sunbaenim? All the other guys call me hyung. You’re the only one. What’s that about?” Chilbongie smiles and asks if he’d be able to do that if the roles were reversed, and promises, “Next time. Next time, sunbaenim.” Garbage looks at him thoughtfully… and then scrunches his face to whine that he really dislikes him. It’s cute that he’s trying for the laugh.

As Haitai and Samcheonpo watch Chilbongie board his flight on the news, Haitai decides that he’ll name his child after Chilbongie so that he makes a boatload of money. Samcheonpo says he’ll do really badly in school then, so Haitai revises his plan and says he’ll name his child after Garbage. Samcheonpo: “Do you plan to raise him as half-human, half-beast?” Lol.

At the hospital the next day, Oppa tells Na-jung he’s five seconds away from his office, where she’s waiting with every snack imaginable on his break. His pager rings and he gets lost in thought for a moment, and Na-jung has to call him over and over: “Oppa. Oppa! Jae-joon oppa!”

He finally turns around. And just to put a stamp on it, a close-up of his nametag reads: Kim Jae-joon.

We go back to the wedding footage, and this time we finally get to see the head attached to the groom, and it is indeed Oppa, looking sheepish when Dad scolds him for choosing such a terrible day to have a wedding, having to pry Na-jung away from Dad at the altar, and smiling back at her as they walk back down the aisle as husband and wife.

And at the housewarming party, this time it’s Oppa who takes the phone from Sook-sookie to tell Mom that he’s usually a good kid (while kicking him silently), and he’s the one that Shi-won recognizes as looking strangely familiar, though neither of them can remember why. Heh.

And as the friends get ready to leave, Chilbongie stands up after tying his shoe, standing in the doorway with the rest of the gang after all. Turns out this house was his to begin with, which explains why he’s so comfortable here (enough to take a nap and order takeout). He even took a hit when he let Na-jung take over the contract at a lower price, and they joke that it was the First Love Discount.

She warns him that he can’t take it back, and he says his wife complained, but she counters that she has three kids which pretty much makes her constantly broke. Chilbongie calls out to Garbage because he left his phone behind, and calls him hyung.

Haitai looks at Garbage and Na-jung together and says that sometimes first loves do make it, and they each go down the row saying “Like us,” and even Chilbongie joins in, which makes everyone laugh. The non-blurry wedding photo shows the whole gang there at the wedding, including Chilbongie.

After the housewarming party, Na-jung cleans up, and Oppa goes to check on the kids. The youngest is stirring, so he puts him to sleep, and they nod off with their legs crossed exactly the same way. That’s so cute.

As they get ready for bed, Oppa calls Chilbongie impressive for finishing out his pro career (he’s playing for the Twins after all, fulfilling Dad’s wish), instead of coaching in the States with so many offers coming in.

Na-jung runs down a to-do list with Oppa, calling him oppa, yeobo, and Sannie’s dad in three consecutive sentences. He laughs and tells her to stick to calling him one thing. She says it’s all the same, but he says each makes him feel differently.

He says when she calls him oppa he wants to be really good to her and take her out to movies, and when she calls him Sannie’s dad he gets strength like he’s suddenly a bear. “And yeobo?” He shudders and pretends to be annoyed at the sound of the word, so she yells at him to get away, now calling him Kim Jae-joon-sshi. He just gives her hugs and kisses, laughing.

He asks why Haitai married so late, and she says they had a long-distance relationship too, and broke up another time before getting back together. Oppa asks where she went, expecting the name of another country, but Na-jung says Suwon, which is like twenty minutes away, ha.

Back in 2002, Haitai is still living at the boardinghouse, and Dad asks if he’s going to live here forever. Haitai says he’s saving money, and Mom insists she loves having Haitai around.

Samcheonpo and Yoon-jin are newlyweds, and Haitai says they just had a huge fight the other night because Seo Taiji came back with a new album, and Yoon-jin ran out and bought a hundred copies to pass out to everyone she knows and even strangers in the street. Dad holds up his copy.

They light up when Chilbongie shows up on the news in a report about his surprise return to Korea, and we finally get his name: Kim Sun-joon. Dad worries about him, knowing he’s back for surgery and that he’ll be all alone. Mom and Dad ask Haitai if they’ve talked to him at all, assuming that naturally they’ve lost touch.

Chilbongie returns to an empty apartment, and ponders Binggeure’s worries about him undergoing surgery alone. I’m gonna cry. WHY IS HE ALONE? He winces in pain at his shoulder and opens up his sad empty fridge, and then the doorbell rings. Please be the gang. Please be the gang.

Yay, it’s the gang! He’s shocked as they just barge in unannounced and make themselves at home, talking as if no time has passed. Na-jung is on the phone with Mom who wants to make him food and the rest of the guys are already getting out bottles and bottles of soju.

Binggeure tells him he was going to come alone but they already knew and came along. Two seconds later the doorbell rings again with the chicken they already called to have delivered. The shock finally wears off and Chilbongie laughs.

The group gets into a debate about whether or not Chilbongie should have surgery now, with Haitai and Yoon-jin arguing that he should finish out the season first and go out on a high, and Na-jung and Samcheonpo arguing that he needs to hurry up and get surgery so that he can recover sooner and have a better outlook for his long-term career.

It’s hilariously heated on both sides, and even funnier for the fact that they’re not listening to Chilbongie or even asking what he thinks, determined to come to a decision as a group, because that’s how they do things. This makes me so happy.

They make Chilbongie make the ramyun while they continue to argue over his future, and Binggeure says they might end up crashing here if they keep drinking. But Chilbongie says that Haitai gets up early to go hiking in the morning, and Yoon-jin and Samcheonpo are taking English class in the mornings, and Na-jung visits Garbage on the weekends.

Binggeure wonders how Chilbongie knows more about their daily routines than he does. A flashback montage shows Chilbongie alone in the States, lighting up every time he received a new email from one of them. They wrote back and forth the whole time, and never lost touch. Awwww.

Oppa is working in Gangneung now, which means Na-jung only sees him on weekends, though she tells Mom and Dad that she’s happier than she’s ever been. She happily lays out her outfit to wear tomorrow to go see Oppa, and heads to bed.

But just as she lies down, she hears someone come through the front gate. She sits up as Oppa sneaks into her room, having driven all the way here just to see her a little earlier.

He snuggles up in bed with her, and Na-jung says matter-of-factly, “If we get caught like this, we’ll both die by Dad’s hand.” He says it’s okay, “I have to get my head cracked open once before we get married anyway, so it’s all the same.” Haha.

She asks how he knew, and says with a huge smile that Dad has plans to kill and pickle him. I love that she says this stuff in the tone of an endearment. She asks when they’ll tell Dad, and he says they’ll tell them soon and she can just hide behind him.

She whispers, “Jae-joon oppa, I love you. Really.” He says he knows and gives her kisses. And then we see their two sets of red family mittens sitting side by side on her desk.

On the day that they do tell Dad about their plans to get married, he comes at them with the giraffe paddle again, screaming his head off. They protest that he’s known they’ve been dating for two years so marriage was inevitable, though of course Dad argues that it’s really been seven years since they started this crazy mess, and refuses to be party to it all over again.

Dad’s temper always precedes his softer side, so he declares that they can do whatever the hell they want, but he’s not going to that wedding. Mom takes their side and says she’ll go, but Dad brings them both to tears when he screams that they hammered a nail into his best friend’s heart and his own once before, asking how they can bring up marriage again so flippantly.

Oof. It’s really Oppa’s relationship to the parents that gets me in the heart—I think Dad was more heartbroken over the first engagement than the kids were. Oppa fights back tears and gets down on his knees, and pulls Na-jung down too. He promises, “Father, we’ll live well.”

Na-jung brings Mom coffee outside, and asks if Mom likes Oppa that much—she always took his side, even the first time when Dad was so against them dating. Mom: “He’s my son. Jae-joonie is my son.”

Mom says she might not know, but that first time when Dad was so upset, Mom was just grateful and cried by herself in the bathroom. She thinks back to that day, when Oppa had first told Mom and Dad about them.

After Dad walks out in silent protest, Mom tells Garbage it’s okay and cheers him on: “Mom is on your side.” She changes the subject asks if he’s picked a specialty yet, and he says he chose neurosurgery.

Mom instantly starts to cry. “It’s because of Hoon, isn’t it?” Awww, Oppa. She says he stayed by Hoon’s side the whole time he had surgery for his brain tumor, and doesn’t even need to tell her—she knows he chose that field because of Hoon.

He lies and says it isn’t, and she tells him to choose something else to make life easier for himself, and that he needn’t do this for her. Oppa just takes her hands and swears it’s the field he wants to go into, and hugs her while she cries. Dammit, you can always count on Oppa for a sneak-cry, just when you thought you were all clear.

Back in the present, Oppa is now on pins and needles around Dad, who gives him the silent treatment and only makes Oppa more nervous and fidgety, if that’s even possible. Meals are tense, and he gets slammed in the face with a ham when he accidentally flicks a radish in Dad’s face.

By February, Oppa brings Chilbongie hospital food. Aw, you fixed up Chilbongie. And in March, he’s still following Dad on eggshells, trying to be on his best behavior and killing Dad’s favorite plant in the process.

Chilbongie is still recovering in the hospital in April, and the gang comes in for regular visits to play games and shoot the breeze. In May Oppa is still on Dad’s bad side, and by June, it’s sort of turned into this immature game, where Oppa follows Dad around like his shadow, and Dad runs away like a little kid.

Oppa follows him to the neighborhood store and perks up whenever he has the chance to do something right like remembering what Mom asked him to buy or paying or doing the heavy lifting.

Dad scowls gruffly the whole time, but then as soon as Garbage steps out with groceries in hand, he’s bragging to the shopkeeper about his doctor son-in-law. Omg. So cute. And SO like Dad.

Four days before the wedding, Korea plays against Italy in the 2002 World Cup, and everyone gathers at the house decked out in their red shirts. Everyone bets on Korea while Dad is the loner who bets on Italy, and then Chilbongie arrives with chicken and joins Team Italy.

Korea ties the game which sends them into overtime, and Garbage, who’s playing bookie for the day, decides that it’s the last chance for anyone to switch their bets if they pay a little more cash. Dad stays firmly on the wrong side, but Chilbongie decides to change over at the last minute.

Garbage takes it back and says he missed his window, and Chilbongie whines, “Hyuuuung!” Cuuuute. Garbage caves to being called hyung, though he tells him he can pay double because he’s a major leaguer. Ha.

Korea wins and makes it to the quarterfinals, and the house erupts in cheers and kisses for all. Dad makes sure to take back his money during the commotion, lol.

Mom announces the big news that Haitai is finally leaving the nest for an apartment of his own, and Dad tells them they’ll be selling the house because nobody stays at these old-fashioned boardinghouses anymore. Aw, sad. End of an era.

Mom tells all the kids to sleep over tonight, and offers to make whatever they want for breakfast. She fills the table with mountains of all their favorite foods, and then everyone comes down for their last meal together at the house, trying their best not to cry.

Haitai can’t even take a bite because he’ll probably sob into his rice (he really did love Mom best, I think) and heads upstairs to finish packing.

Samcheonpo comes up and helps him pack the giant puffy blanket they shared for years, and wonders why he’s taking such a heavy thing. Haitai says he can’t sleep without it.

Then Samcheonpo remembers that it was his, and then they go back and forth trying to remember whose mom sent it. Samcheonpo says he can hardly remember, “What’s mine became yours and what was yours became mine, and now I can’t tell what’s yours-mine or mine-yours anymore.”

He goes back and forth so many times that Haitai loses track: “So whose is it?! Mine or yours?” Samcheonpo says it doesn’t matter: “You have it.” Awwww.

The kids gather downstairs to say goodbye, and Haitai busts out his newfangled digital camera to take a picture. They gather outside the house for a group shot.

Afterwards Dad writes up a handwritten note to put over their boardinghouse sign that says they don’t take boarders anymore, and Na-jung watches with a long face.

Samcheonpo: On June 19, 2002, Shinchon Boardinghouse closed its doors. Thus we became Shinchon Boardinghouse’s first and last boarders. At my age twenty that wasn’t anything special, in a Seoul [called formally Seoul Special City] of ten million, the special connections that were like a miracle. That place, that made the youths of a couple of country bumpkins bustling, noisy, and eventually special. We spent a very special time together at Shinchon Boardinghouse. We cried, laughed, met, parted, and ached. We had different memories, different connections, different loves, but we were in the same time and the same place together, like a miracle.

A trip down memory lane brings us back to the night of the World Cup, when Chilbongie runs down the street holding six chickens in his hands. He suddenly drops out of frame and the fried chicken goes flying, and we see that he’s collided with someone and broken her fall. Eep! The boy just had back surgery!

He helps her up and she lifts the headband out of her face, and omo! Jung Yumi! She says she’s okay but as he cleans up the chicken, she hobbles around clearly missing a slipper.

He asks if she lost something, and she cries after her ddal-ddalie, which is exactly the word that Na-jung uses for slippers, and one of the first conversations they had at the house about Oppa’s ddal-ddalie being his favorite and Chilbongie finding her strange words for things cute.

Jung Yumi suddenly slips into her country accent as she hops around looking for her shoe, and Chilbongie just smiles after her and laughs to himself. Thank goodness they got an actress I love—I think I might’ve died a little inside if they had paired him with someone less than stellar.

Back in 2013, Haitai takes a call from his boss late at night, and Na-jung shuts the TV off, telling her three young sons that chasing stars will make them stupid (ha, it’s A-Pink, for one last Jung Eun-ji cameo). And Samcheonpo tells his cabbie the best route to take home like an expert.

And at the house, Dad takes down the last sign for new boarders.

Samcheonpo: Right now we might be pitiful salarymen who are mindful of the world, but we were once Korea’s first new generation: Generation X. We might now be ajummas who pour on the nagging like waterfalls, but once we were hot-blooded youth who hanged our lives on our oppas. And we were the first generation who was blessed to experience both an analog and digital world.

I repent for the days I used to belittle seventies music and eighties movies. That those movies, that music weren’t just movies and music, but your youth and your era—is something that I now realize when I am no longer young. December 28, 2013. In a few days, we become forty. To all the forty-year-old youths of Korea, and to everyone who lived through the nineties and endured till now, I dedicate these words to you:

Do you remember that we lived through a beautiful age, that our brilliant youth shone brightly, that our relentless loves ran hot, that we were great in years gone by. Though the next era may be a difficult one, let us live it passionately enough to be old-fashioned. That era that was so hot and innocent that I long for it with a chill. Do you hear me? If you do, answer me, my nineties.

 
COMMENTS

The finale delivered a faithful ending given the final trajectory of the show, so there weren’t any missing pieces or huge twists, and I think in general it puts in every bit of effort to give everyone a believable happy ending with no resolution left unturned. Because I was annoyed enough that we were dragging the mystery all the way to the finale, I was glad when Na-jung made her choice in the first five minutes, which in the very least gives us the rest of the episode for some closure and a chance to wrap up everyone’s stories. I still think the hour and a half left something to be desired for the secondary characters, but I much prefer an ending that focuses on the family as a whole and what that house did to bring these people together, so points for that.

As for Na-jung’s choice, I fully expected her to pick Oppa, and I fully expected to have my heart break for Chilbongie, so I was neither disappointed nor surprised about it. I don’t even feel weird about my feelings being split (in that I’m happy for Oppa and Na-jung and crying for Chilbongie), because the show was written to make me feel bipolar about the romance. I do think in that sense neither guy gets the classic win because both got shafted throughout the journey for the sake of keeping them in the race till the last possible second, but as far as resolutions go, I was satisfied for both of them and found the final hour more pleasant than most of the second half of the series, which so often put mystery before character development.

I’ve said as much already in my year-end review so there’s no need to rehash everything, but it goes without saying that Answer Me 1994 got stuck in its own tunnel of mystery, and sacrificed far too much of what was good about the show in service of fueling this strange fixation with the bait-and-switch. I mean this on a structural storytelling level, and not the fact of the overarching who’s-the-husband mystery, because that’s just a gimmick and is as annoying or not depending on how they want to play it. The writer was just obsessed with the bait-and-switch in this drama, wherein we’re purposely led to believe one truth (they’re siblings/not), or more frequently led down a path of murkiness where nobody outright says a thing (What does Binggeure feel for Oppa? What does Oppa feel? What is Na-jung’s reaction to anything?) just so that the story can be clever and jump out at us with a surprise twist.

Sometimes it works, and sometimes it’s confusing, but by and large what happens if you do it for long enough is that we stop trusting your truth as truth and keep ducking for that sudden left hook. I felt totally shafted on Binggeure’s character development and found his sudden resolution to be a twist for twist’s sake—had he been confused about his sexuality, been exploring what his conflicting feelings meant, had we been in on his journey from the start or been allowed to know what he was going through, I’d have found his resolution to be fulfilling and a nice statement about the fluidity of sexuality and the importance of choice. Mostly though, I feel cheated out of what could have been that story because the show was more concerned with teasing the idea that he’d be gay so that they could swing around and do the big tadaaaaa moment. What is the point of that? I don’t disagree with the outcome, but I’m disappointed in how we got there.

The biggest misstep was with Oppa and Chilbongie, which of course ignited some crazy fan wars, the depths of which I don’t care to relive. The story chose a frustrating withholding strategy to prolong the central love triangle by taking turns putting Oppa in the corner and then Chilbongie in the corner, then back and forth and back again, until at some point we stopped caring whose turn it was and wanted it to stop. For as much thought as this writer puts into creating nuanced characters, she let The Hand of Mystery motivate their actions, which I found to be endlessly frustrating. I kept wanting deep, complex reasons, and kept getting non-answers and purposeful omissions for the sake of keeping things opaque.

Now that we’re able to look back on the series as a whole, the latter half really sags with the weight of a single mystery stretched far too thin—now it shows just how little conflict was being prolonged for that much story time, and makes me wish they had just answered the question early if only to force them to come up with more story afterwards. If they had told this story in twelve episodes, it might’ve been brilliant. Told in twenty-one, it loses all that pizazz. It’s doubly encumbered by the episode length, which grew preposterously long and drew complaints, eventually leading to the production releasing apologies, but sticking to its hour-and-a-half episodes anyway. What kills me is that I know this director has a strong sense of comic timing because Answer Me 1997 was spot-on and felt whip-smart because of its pace (until it also started to lag via bloated air time). This time scenes went on endlessly, jokes got lost because there were no editing choices made, and I could actually feel them padding out episodes and refusing to kill their babies, which dulled the zing factor—and one of my favorite things about this franchise is its zing! It felt like a raw production that should’ve gone through one more hardcore editing pass, perhaps from someone who wasn’t so attached to the cast.

Even still, this show was fantastic when it was firing on all cylinders—when friends became family, when people showed up for each other, and when they finally learned how to ask for someone to stay by their side. Go Ara finally got to shed her acting criticism and her just-a-pretty-face image, and did an fantastic job of being believable in every moment, no matter what tiny thing she was doing. It was lovely to watch. Jung Woo is just amazing, and gave Oppa a vulnerability and a depth beyond what was written. His character is literally one that can’t exist without that actor, which you can’t say about most roles. Yoo Yeon-seok got the full Nineties Lee Jung-jae workup, so in a meta sense he gets cosmically rewarded for walking away without the girl; you get to take all of the other women in the world with you, which you can’t exactly call a raw deal. I’m pretty sure I haven’t watched a drama that so romanticized an unrequited love and gave it the hero treatment since the nineties, so I have to assume his entire character is a love letter to that era. Which I guess just makes me a goner from the start.

In execution, this drama was proof that you do lose something when you try to have your cake and eat it too. But what this franchise always manages to do right is make us smile and look back on our own youths with the same sense of longing and nostalgia, and the hindsight that comes from maturing. I wish it had been a smoother ride because I love all the characters dearly, but I’m glad we at least go out on a good note. Thanks for the memories, Shincheon Boardinghouse—the good, the confusing, the funny, the frustrating, the heartrending, and the sweet ones all.

 
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Awesome awesome episode!!! Loved it...
Oppaya i want a husband like you...

Only little disappointment was CB loveline wish they had developed it more with that Jung Yumi and told the his wifw was her. Would have been a better closyre for his fans as well as the drama fans.

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Agree with this - the mystery did little to help the drama, but overall, Answer Me 1994 has a fond place in my heart. I think I'll remember the small heartwarming moments and just forget all the missed opportunities to treat the romance as well as the family/friend dynamics.

Thank you, Javabeans and Girlfriday, for capturing its magic so effortlessly! Long live, 1994.

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for all its faults (the drama over who the husband got old near the end), easily my favorite drama of the year...there weren't too many drama series that this year that i finished, but this one kept me interested til the end, both because the cast was amazing and their characters were pretty well fleshed out...and i think this drama holds a deeper significance for the domestic audience than for foreign viewers, since it ties into the storyline events from the viewers own adolescence and childhood memories that they can look back fondly on...i really can't remember seeing a drama that made me reflect back on my childhood than this one

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I stopped watching when they dragged out the love triangle. I'm a big CB fan but I was happy that he had the closure that he needed. I was probably more invested in him because I'm currently in the same situation he's in (so hard to compete with freakin first loves), but I'm glad they had Jung Yumi! I liked her in I need romance!

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Same here! I hope things work out for you. I ended up finding closure and moving on. :)

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Mehhhh...Goat bleat.

Any show that leaves a significant amt of its audience disgruntled leaves much to be desired.

Any show that gets its audience so invested that fan wars erupt is a big success, at the expense of the audience.

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sure, there are disgruntled viewers (the extremely happy ones and disgruntled ones are really vocal and you can't extrapolate the entire audience from the extremes), but i think the ratings show that people in general liked the show (not saying that ratings are a perfect measure of a dramas quality)...agree with you on the second bit

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I found that it was a good way to end the series given the way the story was set up. I am not shocked that Na-jung ended up with Garbage. He was really the first and truly only one she loved and I am happy that she got her happy ending. I know that many viewers (myself included admittingly) wanted Chilbongie to be the end game but it just could not have been possible given the way they set up the story. If they initially planned for Oppa to be the end game, the writers should have showed us the romance/relationship between Oppa and Na-jung instead of dragging the love-triangle. It would have helped me root for their relationship more if I got to see their cute moments or even the awkward and embarrassing moments. I totally agree with you on the fact that Chilbongie’s loveline should have been developed more. I wanted more closure for him because I have never fallen this hard for a second lead before. I wanted him to have an epic love that would have made up for all the heartbreak. Chilbongie seriously has to be the IDEAL GUY but I guess he just wasn’t the right guy for Na-jung which is ok because if she won’t have him then I will. HAHA. I now have to seriously nurse my crush from Yoo Yeon-Seok LONG LIVE CHILBONGIE!!!!

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i think, for me, what they did right with the "second male lead" w/c made me root for the 2nd lead for the 1st time ever i think was they never really made him out as a 2nd lead. initially, there weren't any lead or 2nd lead..they had equal footing.
chilbongie became d 2nd lead because he wasn't chosen by najung-ah at the end..but almost the whole way through..he was a lead too..he was a 'hero'

yeah yeah i'm a chilbongie shipper all the way!! :D

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i'm still curious what picture in Miracle World book that CB showed to NJ wks

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It was a picture of a heart.

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I honestly, hated the ending. I really thought CB should have gotten the girl. How often is it that the odd man out, wins the girl? When will they write a script where the girl realizes she's really in love with the guy who was there for her through everything? I would've ended this with her, choosing CB over Oppa and showing the viewers all the times she felt doubt about Oppa and found herself, being drawn towards CB. It felt like they were in love but just couldn't say it out loud. I stopped watching this at 18 because I predicted the ending. After reading this recap, I'm disappointed in this drama. So predictable. :(

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I COMPLETELY agree with you ! I loved the drama, but that ending... dammit that ending !

I thought this drama was fresh and new ! Showing that first love does not FORCIBLY mean the only one !
But it was none of this :'(

Right now, I have the feeling that Chilbong still loves Najung and that he basically married another girl just to put an end to this "chase", event hough he still is madly in love with Najung !

I would have liked her to end up with Chilbong, because even though he was far away and a bit distant, he still cared deeply for Najung T_T AND THEY DON'T HAVE THIS FREAKING BROTHER-SISTER RELATIONSHIP !!!

Just the fact that she married the man who was her older borther for almost 20 years... eeeww ><

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Thanks for this and all of your and JB's recaps.
It wasn't an easy ride and I commend you for sticking with it.

I loved the finale; have no real complaints about all the fun that happened after the finally heartbreak that we all knew was coming for our pitcher.

Still I would very much have liked to see SOME GIRL, ANY GIRL smiling adoringly at Chilbongie as he totally needed that, especially when HIS MOTHER NEVER CAME TO SEE HIM?! Are you kidding me?

The moment when CB called Oppa "Hyung" was good; I did feel there was some peace between them. I also liked that CBie could exclaim that he is a MAJOR LEAGUER as nobody ever gave him real credit for that, which was the perfect way friends treat their own stars..."A prophet is not without honor save his own home."

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Oh!
LOVED when Haitai says going into the last minutes of the Italy/Korea game to everyone:

"It ain't over till it's over!" and CBie leans over and shouts:

"KREU-CHEE!" which I translated as "Damn straight!"

What a great nod to the frenzy that surrounded him saying that.

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I didn't watch the finale yet, but did Haitai really say that? Lol what was up with all these throw back jokes towards Chilbong? What a slap in the face for him, ouch!

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Or the moment when Haitai made a jab at Oppa for raising the bet to $10, "You still can't let it go!"

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Chilbong's relationship with his mom has got to be one of the most heart-wrenching ones that I know. How did he grow up through all that loneliness? I used to think that Binggurae was the new Kang Joon-hee in AM1994, what with the fragile heart and delicate love story. But now, I think Chilbong could have been meant as the new Kang Joon-hee.

Ah Chilbong-yah!

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I loved the "That's right, cause I'm a MAJOR LEAGUER" moment from Bongie. So funny!

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I wasn't interested much in this drama up until yesterday, when I saw the crazy shipping war in almost every kdrama site! Dramaland is calling for me to ship passionately and strongly!

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I for one am just happy that Jeong follows her heart....I don't read most comments on sites after I stumbled upon really demeaning ones which are hurtful to the actors. I am just glad that most people don't translate their love for chill bong into hatred towards oppa... And some on the actor himself...that's why I only go to dramabeans coz jb or gf can really remain professional even when we know which side they favour...that takes a lot of wisdom and guts

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I wish the show downplayed the love triangle. Cuz I really loved all of the character moments. So spot on and heartfelt. That is why I think that why the hug was a big HUH. It wasn't heartfelt it didn't feel natural. I mean I knew CB was a nice guy the writer just made him plain dumb. I think that if the love triangle wasn't so in our face then I would have accepted it better. Instead of the love triangle focus on CB's parents. What about BG's girlfriend/wife? What about Haitai and his girlfriend, why not expand why they did get married sooner. Why not show more more CB's life in Japan and the US. What about NJ at school. What about Bing adjusting to the hospital? There are so many what abouts that I wished were expanded on. The writer sacrificed a lot of screen time (there was a lot of screen time) for the triangle, just to end like this. It is like the Soprano's and their ending. That was a WHAT! All these amazing season and we get WHAT? A black screen. I know that not all questions be answered, but there are just too many that aren't answered and on top of that the ones that are answered are sloppily put together.

Besides the wedding love triangle issue the ep was very beautiful. I cried bucket not because CB didn't get the girl but that they were saying good bye to their youth. I think that is why Haitai stayed the longest he wanted to hold on to that time of his youth so much that he couldn't let go of the boarding house. Closing the house was a way of closing and saying good by to their youth and start growing up. Everyone got their miracle. Even CB, he got the family he always wanted. It might not have been the miracle he was hoping for but it was the one that made him complete. I am happy about that. I am crying just thinking about it how beautiful it is. I am not saying that the show didn't have its faults but take away the love triangle, the 2013 and wedding miss steps, and crazy last hug goodbye, it was beautiful and heartwarming. It could have been so much better if they didn't have to the up the mystery and all of its loose end. In the end 1997 will be better because it didn't paint it self into the corner because of the mystery. The mystery was there are as plot devise not the focal point. But all of the slice of life moments were so touching.

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'Reply 1994: when tricking audiences is more important than the story making sense.

I I can't even.....this finale was just...ugh!

On to the recycle bin show.

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If the conflict in the story was compelling enough it should not be necessary to 'trick' viewers into watching.

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The writers annoyed me soooooo bad with the last episode! i DEFINITELY would not watch the next reply....if the producers decide to make another

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This drama... It failed to live up to it's potential. Najung could have broke up with Trash and ended up with Chilbong (this never happens in k-dramas) and the puppy could have been happily gay with Hoya from '97. This also never happens in k-dramas. Don't worry, it's only a typical drama where the first lead gets the girl. 21 damn episodes, 80 minutes each. For what? I was losing interest like Usain Bolt. This could have been a very good drama. But it's crap. To recommend this to someone, you have to be a little dead in the head. It has no rewatch value. Watching this again would be painful. Chilbong, my heart bleeds for you.

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This drama is a major frustration to me. NJ and T getting together the way that was done in the show, lacks so much creativity. I mean, really, think about their trajectory on the show: BORING. They've known each other since ever, they fall in love, they date - all these made in a very not special way, I dare say, because for me their interactions alone without the who's-the-husband thing ware so... blé. Can you imagine a full drama only about NJ and T as a couple, in a typical rom-com drama? I can't. The only plausible conflict was NJ going abroad and I just think of that as a plot device to extend the show.
I wouldn't care about them getting together if I had seen some good character development (NJ biggest trait on the show was loving oppa) - and that applies to all characters, which means I probably wound feel the same about a rush ending with CB being the husband. But I didn't see that, and now I'm all bittersweet about this show: it isn't bad, but it isn't so great either.
And what makes me more mad is that they had *reaking 21 EPISODES THAT LASTED ONE AND A HALF HOUR *EACH* AND STILL WEREN'T ABLE TO DO SOMETHING BETTER. What got me through the second half part of the show is the unique vibe of the AM series that masked the flaws AM 1994 has; if I take the style off, sadly there won't be much to hold on to. The lack of story just got me thinking how AM 1997 was such a better experience for me, what doesn't help me being frustrated.
Would I recommend it to someone? I don't know. Like I've said, it isn't bad, but it isn't so great either, but what makes it hard to take in is that it could have been so. much. better.

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well i think the whole point of the whole "slice of life" drama approach is in fact to emphasize all the mundane aspects of REAL LIFE. and i found the way that the director progressed trash and NJs relationship to be rather refreshing...
cuz u know every other freakin korean drama out there is full of gimmicks to get couples together... aka contract marriages, rich man/poor girl setups, betrayal schemes, and EVERY OTHER RIDICULOUSLY UNREALISTIC theme possible lol.

its like one of the rare times that i got to see 2 normal ppl get together to be a couple. and i thought it was still very entertaining to watch. and for once relatable.

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That's what I thought... at first. I'm not complaining about the couple but how they showed me the relationship. For example, they skipping all the firsts with the time jump, and ending up without showing all the awkwardness of the beginning of a relationship - that I think is such a sweet thing when you have the present intimacy and the past uncomfortable beginning to compare with.
I'm all in for a portrayal of a normal regular couple, but I never felt the butterflies with T and NJ, I never saw the sparkle. I don't think it wasn't there; I think that what the writer chose to show us was not enough for me to feel it. Obviously only a few people would agree with me, but they looked like a random couple I've met somewhere, not the couple I was suppose to root for end be happy for them to be together. That's from where my frustration comes. I wanted a more solid ground; for some, what we got to see was enough; for me, it wasn't.

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I give a thumb up to your comment (y)

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My flippin ship sank, but not only that, they butchered chilbongie's character(as well as trash and na jung for suddenly being so insensitive). Very pissed. Illogical ending. Hard work ends with tears and heartbreak. It ain't over til you waste over half a decade of your life. Go for the man who barely lifts a finger to text you to come running to his house to make out and get back together, rather than the man who travels 12 HOURS just to enjoy your presence and be by your side for just a little while longer. Smh

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I agree! I just didn't like the message it gives to those currently in unrequited loves, or stuck in the friend zone. It just makes me so sad, and a bit discouraged now. I was team oppa at first, I seriously was. Then CB won me completely over. I really admired CBs strong fight, and I constantly waited for Trash Oppa to step it up. But he barely fought for her. Others can argue against us, but CB was the better lover.

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I agree. It T had done more then send a text message...sheesh...I would be much more satisfied. I don't care that it represents his opening himself up to her emotionally. A momentary impulse and makeout session does not necessarily make permanent change. If this is our true focus and not the love triangle they certainly did not develop it enough.

Spoiler:

Not telling your gf your mother died? There's more to that then just not feeling like you want to burden yourself to your gf. Text messages don't cut it. Sorry.

And to contrast that with CB. Probably not the best choice. They made CB too good for texts to work. And then T doesn't even make that final effort until after he sees CB with NJ. Passive. Passive. Passive.

Regardless of which guy your prefer, I want the main lead to act and do something epic for our leading lady. Not text her. He should have gone to her. While he was sick. That would have been more of the epic sort I'm looking for.

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yeah but na jung never liked chilbongie, it's better to learn something here from chilbongie, if the girl has no interest on you whatsoever don't waste your time looking like an idiot and move on...

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the message it should give to people stuck in the friend zone is to move oN because it's WEIRD /especially/ in the case of men. hard work works in like. your job, a relationship you are CURRENTLY in, your life outside of romance but it doesnt work in getting someone to like you it's weird what he did is literally everything a boy should not to and i really cant help but laugh

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Posting from a post in tumblr:

Kim Boong Do had to try and kill himself and travel years to get HeeJin. Gu Jun Pyo had to overcome murderous attempts and Mama Kang to get Jan Di. Haru had to go to to Canada and become a better man to earn Aki's love. What did T do? Get the flu and send a text. Word to NJ: a man will only treat you as well as you treat yourself.
And THIS is why twenty years later you're picking up packages while your husband is sitting on his lazy a**.

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Also;

Don’t tell me just by trying hard, you will get what you want.
fate doesn't exist, so does miracles
no matter how many times you get the right timing,
no matter how many times you put so much effort to make thing right
in the end, you get nothing but an empty heart

"Because I was nice, I was ruined”
- Chilbong

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seems like someone needs to breathe slowly and count to 10...while i also really get passionate about the characters that i fall in love with and pull for, in the end, its just a drama

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how condescending damn lmfao

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If Trash has to live up to your expectations and be like Gu Jun Pyo and other typical KDrama leading men, I'm pretty happy he failed.

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That post is totally blind to the happenings of episode 20, jfc. The reason for Najung and Oppa's break-up in the first place because he was being his typical noble-oppa guy who didn't want to expose Najung to his sufferings, fears and insecurities. Because /he/ was too nice to Najung and completely dismissing his own feelings just to protect hers, their relationship failed.
You could see how important that text message was to her because it broke down the 'sibling' wall between them to make way for a healthier, open relationship.

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It's just that we didn't get to see that... the show failed us that way, by simply brushing the most important things while it spent so much time on things that didn't really matter to us (or that we'd seen already), so I couldn't be on board, and I guess nor would most viewers.

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We saw it. He asked her to stay outside when informing her parents about their relationship to shield her. Later that night, he lies that everything went well despite her father's reaction. He doesn't tell her about his accident till she has no choice because she's visiting him. And we see that she's visibly upset by it. We don't see much of their long distance relationship since they gave us a 3 minute montage and broke them up. However, two episodes later, they tell us the real story. The writing is flawed and the creative decisions can be frustrating but the explanations are there.

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SO TRUE. i noticed that a lot of ppl claiming "oh the message of the show is so effed up blah blah cuz oppa didnt do shit and got the girl and CB did everything and didnt " actually seem to have totally missed certain scenes..... or there was some sort of disconnect.

the whole freaking point of the text was to demonstrate that oppa finally took the first step and displayed vulnerability to NJ. they broke up because he was TOO NICE and would never ever show NJ he was hurting. so of course NJ is gonna be emotional over the fact that oppa finally opened up to her. -_-

another scene alot of ppl misinterpreted was when NJ and oppa told the parents about getting married... the dad didnt catch em sleeping together. that was a completely diff scene.

also, some ppl are saying that they are being insensitive to CB in 2013 but the fact that they can joke around about NJ having been CBs first love is actually a good indication of how "OK" they are with each other now.

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well, its kdramaland so a single text is enough. but in the real world, its not so. dont read too much in a text, in a glance. most of the time, you are just over-imagining things. until he says it, dont even think its what you think. just saying because you might believe all the message this drama has brought. life is all about fate, timing, and hard work, in EVERYTHING. whether in your relationship or profession, you have to work well to make it work.

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Hmmm. Is it "nice" to shield your love interest from every bad thing, or is it condescending? I am still waiting for Trash to treat Na Jung like a fellow adult.

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preach! not to mention that oppa's been there and taking care of najung HER WHOLE LIFE, especially after the unfortunate incident of her older brother's death.

i personally didn't think that oppa needed any grand gestures to prove his love to najung, because he'd already shown it over the years he'd taken care of her.

and @skelly: oppa's actions over the early course of their relationship still showed that he thought of najung as a kid sister to take care of. by exposing her to his vulnerabilities and allowing her to worry over him, he was opening up to the idea of her as an equal in their relationship. :)

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His lazy ass is what makes Na jung happy. Again I understand you are frustrated with CB love story completely get it, but being bitter about it and slamming the other side just because they had more fleshed out characters does not make it better. NJ loves Oppa period. They have been together for years and she never once felt he treated her badly(he never did). Yes he did not travel hours to be with her for 5 mins but he did not have to. He is the only one that makes her happy. The story was a heartbreaking for CB but he never had a chance against NJ unwavering heart I do not blame him for hoping it would, but he has to and did face the consequences for his actions. He could have given her the world but it still would have be en empty to NJ without her oppa. Thats just the way it is.
Where do people get the idea that if you work hard enough a girl(or a guy) will like you. If only heart works that way. NJ only likes oppa. It is not bad had he ever done anything to intentionally hurt her. He did wait for a few months before confessing but that was because he was afraid of the consequences.Yet their love story was one of the most beautiful things ever to be depicted in dramas and i enjoyed it immensely.
I felt horrible for CB but that does not make me wish anything different cause this was NJ and Oppa's journey ever since she confessed about her dream to marry her oppa. Writer trolled a little with 2013 scenes but never once was there an inkling in 90's oor 2000's which is the time of the drama that there was any alternate ending possible.
Jung Woo was clearly the lead and the lead mostly gets the girl exp if the girl is in love with him.

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this is slice of life genre drama... story about real live not in dreamland.. more interesting than ridiculous story about fate and coincidence all time tru drama storyline

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Before I begin my rant the CB-NJ-T triangle, I've gotta commend the show for bringing back the cuteness and poignancy of the family/friendships that built up throughout the years. The hilarious appa, the loving mother to all the boarders, the caring med student oppa, the lost puppy binggrae, the friendly fangirl najung, the hardcore fangirl yoonjin, the clueless samcheonpo, the i-need-a-woman-in-my-life haitai, and the adorable smiley chilbongie. All very precious creations.

Where it all went wrong: The Husband Mystery.
I honestly believed Trash would be endgame the moment they showed a montage of Trash and NJ growing up together, and revealed they're actually not blood-related. It was firmly set. Especially if they were to follow its predecessor AM 1997 when Yoon Jae and Shiwon had a similar montage growing up as best friends. I was still getting the feels around this point, and found it so sweet when NJ first realized she had feelings for Oppa in the hospital bed when he was taking good care of her. I couldn't wait for this ship to sail, and they just had such a nice back story together. Then Chilbongie came along for the first time, but I did not find him as a strong contender at all. Trash was way in the lead, except we were continuously kept in the dark about his feelings. Several episodes passed. Still nothing from Trash, NJ getting nowhere pining for him. More Chilbong, Chilbong, Chilbong scenes. Him falling deeper in love, showering us with adorable smiles and sweet moments. Still nothing from Trash. Chilbong travels 6 hours for the gang and NJ. Trash runs off the play billiard with people instead of the gang(disappointing!). Chilbong bravely confesses in heart-stopping countdown to the new year, new beginnings. Total: 6 hours travel, few hours with NJ, another 6 hours travel back = 12 hours. He OFFICIALLY WON ME OVER at this point. Even narratively, it would be so beautiful if these two ended up together, with it being the New Year and all. A time where the characters grow up, change, experience new things. It was perfect. His confession at the last moment of 1994, now, please, "Answer Me, 1994," as the title speaks.

Then the darn hubby mystery ensues, Trash still in the dark, wake up call from CB, still nothing, anxious about whether NJ hanging with CB at the hospital, jealous, self destructs and smokes a whole pack of cigarettes, kisses NJ right after that to lock her into place, finally..? THIS part of the story just ruined everything for me. The writer made him look SO BAD, and terrible! Is that really what it takes in order for him to finally return the feelings NJ had for him? WHAT. All the while, CB gets this beautiful snow falling scene, with a heart-wrenching goodbye, and disappears for a few episodes in Japan, with "Let's date," "It ain't over til its over," "9 ends 2 outs is when life begins," "10000 hour rule," "December 31st 1999" hanging over our heads.

Years go by fast-forwarding around T-NJ being blissful, so much time has passed that the well-acted proposal felt like sealing the deal that Trash is endgame. THIS WAS IT. I lost hope for CB. I just wanted him to move on and find his happiness elsewhere. But! The Hubby Mystery had to keep going, so he was used as a mere plot device to keep up the tension in the final episodes, and gave Chilbong-lovers hope with the moving narrative given over their scene on December 31st 1999, preparing for yet another new beginning. The narrative...

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^(continued)

The narrative destruction continued when NJ continued to LEAD HIM ON without a straight out answer that she just couldn't reciprocate his feelings. Torture for 6 YEARS, she's still giving him hope, maybe as a back up if she doesn't work out with T? Uhmm.. NO, just NO. This is so wrong. Chilbong's tortured love survived 6 years despite the distance, but T-NJ's love was not even enough to overcome the distance of 2 years. Think about it. The writers just wanted CB to SHINE so much to keep up the game and to not make it so predictable. Little did they know that this was destroying the beauty and message the story was trying to tell, everything's all mixed up.

And what really upset me in the final episode is the sudden, and sped up Chilbong recovery so that he could meet a new girl by the time his great first love of 6 years marries another man. Makes sense much? I think not. Maybe he got a screwed up lobotomy from Dr. Trash to forget his wasted youth pining for someone he can never have. To make him look a bit less pathetic, they drop a girl on him(literally), and have friends over at his lonely house, although they're the type to completely forget about his birthday. Poor soul. No other story arc. No reconciliation with his neglectful mother. No nothing. Just completely cheated.

END RANT

*cries in a corner*

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OMG. My thoughts exactly. Non-CB shippers just don't understand the pain we feel.

*joins you in corner, sobs*

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There are plenty of ppl sobbing in the corner, I'm sure.

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*gives you a hundred thumb-ups.... and cries in a corner with you*

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I kind of hate that they butchered CB's character like that! Oh well, the writers love trash so much so no wonder.

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lol its not about the writer's loving trash... trash is a fictional character. they CREATED trash. they CREATED him to be the husband way earlier.

and every korean drama has one lead that the drama focuses on. if ppl dont know that by now, they havent watched korean dramas enough...

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Well, of course the writer created Trash. The writer created all of the characters. And of course every writer has a story arc planned, stating who will be the OTP (unless you are the crack-smoking writer of MHIYD) and the story is written to that endgame. Fine.
What I think fffff meant by "loving Trash" is the same as the obsession the MHIYD writer had with the sad-sack chaebol played by JongHwa - if you want someone to be the endgame, then show us exactly why. Chilbongie was practically up for sainthood, he followed all of the kdrama tropes for the tryhard who wins in the end, but then he didn't. The writer dangled all sorts of hints and withheld information and even created some logical disnonnects to have Trash the endgame, without showing us the progression of internal thought and outward action that showed how he makes up for all of that Chilbong epicness. A text message? History? It's all supposition, because the writer was too busy jerking us around to fill in the blanks.

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plenty of people seemed to understand and can literally counteract everything you just wrote. i'm not going to do it because it seems like you're being willfully obtuse but i will say cb aint no saint and we all know it.

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I am completely and utterly shocked.
I have never rooted for the second lead before. NEVER, in all of my drama watching. But Answer Me 1994, has finally made me become privy to it.
Oh, Chilbongie. I knew the chance of him ending up with Na Jung was rare by the time Oppa proposed the first time around. But still, I hoped, and when they broke up, I was actually SO happy (I'm sorry Garbage fans), thinking that it gave Chilbongie an actual shot at getting the girl. And when the last three episodes or so had more Chilbong/Najung screentime than anything/anyone else, I was certain that he was the husband, that since I'd never had Second Lead Syndrome, I wouldn't have it this time around either. If only I knew. Sigh...
I think my personal bias overtook my whole enjoyment of the show. I've always thought what the AM team did best was the family/friends stuff, and I think that's what made me love this show so much in the beginning, more than 97. I was content with the love triangle because it didn't seem very serious to me in the beginning. I liked both guys, and I rooted for both of them at different parts of the show (Garbage was like 1-4, then I think around 11-13, while Chilbongie was from 5-10 and 14-21).
But then the love triangle got going in earnest, and I found myself squarely on Team Chilbong. Because the show was trying so hard with the who's-the-husband game and I was rooting for our Chilbongie, I found myself disliking Garbage Oppa more and more (which doesn't even really make sense cause I actually really loved his character during the first half of the drama). And then it even translated to Na Jung, who became like a pawn during the last half of the show, until I was left liking no one but Chilbongie in the love triangle. (All the other side characters I love; special shoutout to the awesomeness of Samcheonpo) And how can someone enjoy a show who's main character they don't like?
The husband game really ruined this show. I mean, okay, Garbage is endgame. Then what was with the overflow of Najung/Chilbong scenes in like episodes 18-20? If Garbage was endgame, then she should've spent the last few episodes with more Garbage/Na Jung scenes. Giving viewers hope and then taking it away from them...This writer had my heart and then she just took it away.
So overall, I don't even really know what I feel about this drama. Since my love of Chilbongie kind of overtook everything else in this show, I don't think I can even rate it properly. The first half was pitch perfect in my opinion, and then maybe it started going downhill afterwards. I don't know, because any scene where Na Jung was happy with Garbage Oppa, I was just sad that it wasn't Chilbongie.
Therefore, I leave this show with bittersweet memories, as its lead couple didn't really work for me, but the side characters are definitely one of my favourites ever. Thanks, 1994, for the laughs (the goat bleats though) and the joy you gave me this year :)

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Yep, all the NJ-CB interactions in eps 18-20 were the worse part.
It was already clear that she loved Oppa and felt nothing for Chilbong, so the last episodes would have been more satisfying (and realistic) if they had showed us Chilbongie moving on and NaJung and Oppa living their relationship.
I would have loved to see Chilbongie liking another girl and not only a first "meeting", and we have seen few NaJung and Oppa romantic moments...it has been a bit frustrating in the end.

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As a Chilbong fan myself, thank you for a rational and honest assessment of why it is difficult to give a rational assessment of the show. (As opposed to "HOLYWTFBBQ, DESTROY ALL THE THINGS!!!")

I wish less time had been devoted to the love triangle; I think Trash was always the endgame but YYS's strong work and shipping wars in part drove up ratings and the writer and producers stretched the love triangle until it was a skinny rubber band. If anything, that awesome goodbye scene between Na-Jung and Chilbong could have been had before he left for Japan and then we could have watched as he became this happy and whole person (albeit a baseball superstar) growing up outside of Korea. It was a little mortifying to watch him hold on so desperately.

I love all the characters and wish there was more time devoted to them as well. Some things I wanted to see are:
-Yoo-Jin and Na-Jung being badasses at their jobs since they were so bad-ass at home
-More Hai-Tai with and without Ae-Jung
-Yoo-Jin wedding planning

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I can just nod my head in agreement. Am I the only one who think this AM 1994 got the wrong leading couple? That it should have been SP and YJ? hehe ^^

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Can I just say, I am devastated with the ending D':

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I was so devastated that I sat there dumbfounded and depressed the whole Sat. evening! No show has ever left such a bitter taste in the mouth.

By Sunday morning, I was able to tell myself:
CB doesn't get the girl, but YYS gets all the love going the way of his char. That's gonna buoy his career to great heights, which I'll wait expectantly to see.

That's his reward for playing this sweet guy who got his heart broken into a million pieces (mine along w it). I just have to take my consolation in that thought. YYS Aja!

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Exactly SCP and YJ should have been the lead couple

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Yah as much as I like CB, SP and YJ were the couple that actually evolved and faced challenges large and small and triumphed. Their portrayal in 2013 was entirely predictable. Maybe its because we weren't trying to guess who Yoo Jin's husband was?

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I feel and felt in the exactly some way. Liking Trash in some parts, disliking him in others and then, without even noticing, being CB Team.

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I feel you!

Never before I had the second lead syndrome, I guess for me even that happened here not knowing he was the second lead!

And its actually really sad that the writer chose to go to mystery route rather than the heart!

Please writer, next time you wanna write a mystery show, please dont mix it with a story that has a lot of heart and give us heartbreak! :(

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Ty, I wish I can give you 100 thumbs up. I feel the same way.

I just liked Chilbongie character so much. He was very atypical K-drama male--he was so gentle, warm, considerate of others, well mannered, he forgave his teammates right away who harbored ill will toward him, he was persistent, patient, and willing to work hard! I think I fell for this character hard and he was my hero.

For me I watch drama to escape from reality sometimes. In reality many times life is difficult and not fair. I just did not expect his life to be so hard when it came to love. If you don't find good ending for your hero in K-drama where would you find it?

I really hope to find another Chilbong like character in another drama who will get the girl in the end. I am a sucker and know I will be rooting for him again.

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Let's be friends

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The ending was a no brainer. Just wished they've done something with Chil bong's character :/

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I was rendered speechless that this writer did not even deem Chilbongie (and US!) worthy to write up the closure he SO deserved. His 'friends' forgetting his b'day hurt... NJ hugging whilst feeding that trash, HA!!, to him HURRRTTTTT!! Forever Alone: what makjang $hit is this?!!

YYS wanted to play a character that received sympathy from the viewers. He sure achieved it by acting the heck outta Chilbongie!! His CB's being described as the second-coming of WB's Tae-suk which means that he's officially arrived!!

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I know, huh? It's like one heartache after another for Chilbongie. And the writer did not even give us a satisfactory ending for his loveline. Augh.

YYS sure did portray CB like there's no tomorrow. He has indeed arrived.

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Three work offers posted in a row...yup, I think AM1994 along with Werewolf Boy and Gu Family Book has given YYS a huge boost and it is well deserved.

Frankly, the entire cast was amazing. Where some elements did not come together, the cast and their abilities was not one of them.

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For me it showed that CB had made his own family - that he wasn't forever alone. When they all barge into his house and pick up like there had never been any time apart, where they email him all the time when he was overseas, when he's still part of the group in 2013.

For me that was the best part of CB journey - he was lonely, and had no family, and then he made his own family. And they all loved him.

(And I do cut people a lot of slack with birthdays - I'm terrible at remembering them).

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Such a TRASHy finale, good riddance Show!

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why? was it simply because the endgame was not what you wanted?

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clearly lol

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I hope one day milan and the others that agree his/her comment realize that an ending of CBxNJ would be not make sense because the love was never there.

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then why was the writer giving the love triangle so much air time?

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Lol! at that pun, that actually trended at my country when the finale aired.

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It was trashy because they made Najung disrespect her husband (from the 2013 scenes).
1. She gave Joon the menu to call for food even if her husband is going to pay for it.
2. She's still cursing when her husband told her not to. But listened when Joon told her.

It was trashy because it made Oppa just sitting at his place
1. While he lets Joon serves his mother in law.
2. While he lets his wife have intimate convo with Joon. I thought he's a jealous man but I guess since he married her, he doesn't care...as long as he can live in a nice address place without paying too much money for it.
3. While he lets Najung went down to take the packages.
He's not just lazy, but he also pimps his wife to make his own life easier.

What a way to make me kill off my affection to some of the character.

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she's a human being not a puppet ew do any of you actually know breathing women

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let the hate flow through you.

Seriously though, I think some of you shippers need to just take some time away from the show and think about things objectively. There's been too much venom spewing around all these k drama websites.

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Goodness, this was apparently another time travel series, with viewers tuning in from the Joseon era, when wives had to obey every order their husbands give them. Makes me glad we live in the 21st Century, it does.

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haa haa, nice reply. Too much passion in the comments section. I am not reading them any more.

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She saw him wipe his face and hair with a doormat to a bathroom that the whole house used, AND she thought he was the greatest guy on earth.

She went to his apartment, which looked like a tornado had hit, and spent hours to clean it up alone w that bad back of hers while he had to go back to work.

She waited until dawn for him to return to blow out candles on that Bday cake, but he didn't.

She knew what she could expect from him, and she went back to him, and left CB who had loved her for 6 years.

So, a little 'laziness' in their married life isn't surprising.

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1. it was CB's house aka he is more familiar with the places to eat around his house.
2. hmm i dont really have an explanation for this one i must say
1. CB is like family to everyone. if anything you should be HAPPY that CB is so at home that he can treat NJs mother as his own. thats how close everyone is. isnt this what CB fans shoudl want for him? he is tending to his loneliness by finding a family within NJs family and all his friends.
2. this is a good sign if anything - it means that trash oppa is completely fine with CB and NJ and has gotten over the past. if oppa was jealous, thatd be a sign that they are not on good terms. is that what you would want?
3. wow so a wife going to get a package for her husband makes him a lazy pimp? wow if thats how u view relationships then... i have no words. i do favors for my bf all the time. because u know, i love him and he does the same for me. trash oppa cares for NJ in so many other ways. knows exactly how to cheer her up and knows when shes having a bad day. that is a good husband.

u are obviously just hatin. no other way to put it.

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Wait. What. Yumi?! Okay, this show was put on hold since ep 12 (or 13) because I was losing interest (it was because of my short attention span actually). I knew Trash was the endgame (YAY, btw) after the last ep aired but I didn't know Yumi made a cameo until I read your recap! Now I want to see Jung Yumi and Yoo Yeonseok together in a drama/movie. Hahaha. Sorry. This comment is totally OT.

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hi may i ask who is this jung yumi? like what drama/show did she appear before?thanks

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Chilbong deserved more in regards to character development. I wish when he first left for Japan the husband mystery would have ended. He would return and spend the next episodes reconnecting with his mom, spending fun times with the boarders, and discovering new love with someone else. This would have erased all the angtsy love triangle moments and had the used for growth of CB, T, and NJ. I think Nareki fans can agree that the writer messed up and should have ended it earlier so that way Trash and NJ story lines would be more focused on them as a couple opening up to each other ( more focus on Trash dealing with his mother ect). In the end Cb fans feel used and Nareki fans had to spend episodes watching the angst when it could have been focused on developing T and NJ more. The later episodes could have spent even more time on the other boarders which I think made reply 1994 so special. Because towards the end the triangle sucked life out of CB,T, and NJ

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Why did they make CB so pathetic at the end?

Such a let down that Trash and NJ broke up after 2 years and suddenly she gets a text that he's sick and she goes running back to him.The story goes down the drain.They dragged the mystery husband on forever that I lost interest. CB's conclusion was really dismal.

I glad the actor got 3 movie roles after this because he deserves better.

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there was clearly a meet up between trash and NJ before the phone call addressing many things about their breakup and the nature of it.... it wasnt just out of no where.

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We can suppose so, but the writer didn't choose to show it to us because there were too many delicious opportunities to make Chilbong look pathetic, leave useless clueless about the endgame, and give Na Jung more opportunities to cry over the fact that she was in love with Trash.

You can give the writer all the free passes you care to, filling in the blanks in the relationships, giving Chilbong a better story arc, having Trash actually reveal somehow how he feels for the first half of the show - but it wasn't there. You are just kind enough to add it in.

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Wait... did we even watch the same drama?

When Michelle said that Trash and NJ met up before the phone call addressing their breakup, she wasn't just "filling in the blank." The writer did not "choose not to show it to us".

It WAS shown to us. Like literally. In the drama. Just one episode ago. That cafe scene where NJ realized the real reason they broke up wasn't because of the physical distance, but the emotional distance that T put between them in an attempt to protect her. Man, I feel like some of you people exercise selective memory loss whenever it justifies your biased views.

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We can suppose so, but the writer didn't choose to show it to us because there were too many delicious opportunities to make Chilbong look pathetic, leave useless clues about the endgame, and give Na Jung more opportunities to cry over the fact that she was in love with Trash.

You can give the writer all the free passes you care to, filling in the blanks in the relationships, giving Chilbong a better story arc, having Trash actually reveal somehow how he feels for the first half of the show - but it wasn't there. You are just kind enough to add it in.

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I am so glad this show is over. I stopped caring about the romance and love triangle so many episodes ago. I was worried they would take away baseball from CB too but they didn't. I wanted more to him than that but hey I have to take what I can get. I didn't really think that first love line in the elevator was necessary but whatever I guess. The mystery really hampered down the show for me. I wanted more about the friendships which was the real heart of the show for me. 21 episodes was too much. Oh well I really loved the characters for the most part. I wish I got to see a lot more of the side characters too that were not part of the triangle.

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Lol at the backlash on twitter when the finale aired, it seemed like majority really wanted chilbong to be the husband, ifans and also a lot of korean fans, sucked that he didn't get that much story arc more than his love for najung, who IMO doesn't deserve someone as amazing as chilbong, so im happy she ended up with trash so that cb can forget her and find someone more deserving of him.

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uhhh trash is actually..probably.. more popular internationally iirc also the opinions of ifans largely don't matter and the romance is not even what makes up a large chunk of the show

and BS that she didnt deserve someone as "amazing" as him. she didn't like him even when he was persistent and annoying about it and that's life, get over it i don't think people realize how terrible they sound when they say things like that but it's clear so many people invested in the lovelines don't care about how she feels

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She might or might not deserve him but you have to admit that it was terribly awful for her to just not do anything about his feelings for her, not reciprocating is one thing because it wasn't what she needed to do but to still not reject him outright even when he confessed twice, well that's what makes me angry. A simple no would suffice.

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do you know how many annoying men follow women around and it's so hard for them to say no and be more forceful. there are a lot of reasons for this and additionally people would probably HATE her over that let's be real. it wasn't terribly awful of her to do anything but whateverrrr

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HE KNEW she didn't like him. He said so many times himself that he knows she likes someone else at the moment to her. It was HIS choice to keep going for her. People need to stop shifting the blame to NJ who showed no signs of romantic interest besides being a very good and loyal friends to everyone. ITS NOT HER FAULT.

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He KNEW she didn't feel the same way about him, and this was made clear to him when she began dating Trash. Notice that THAT'S why he didn't even contact her while he was at Japan for a few years. He avoided her at all costs and gave space. They only began to spend time together again on NYE, and Najung was no longer dating Trash. Since he still dearly loves her after all that time, he took hold of his last string of hope that MAYBE, just MAYBE he would find a place in her heart this time around. He once again poured out his unwavering heart to her, but she didn't even give a reply. She led him on, and agreed to all his requests to spend more time with her until he has to leave for America. And that's what upsets me.

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If we had seen NJ telling CB to his face, "Thx but No thx" earlier, I think the CB and Team CB would have been able to move on.

Instead the show has her hugging him, crying tears of relief in deep heaves, and running to the hospital to take care of him, ppl are bound to feel somewhat cheated.

If we were shown that convo they just had in ep 21, w NJ saying: "TQ for liking me, etc." 6 or 8 eps sooner, it'd have been great.

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It would be a pointless argument to account for which team is more popular in RE international fans. On twitter, about 95% comments are pro-CB anti-show!

I kept reading that JW is super popular in Korea (he and the rest of the cast deserve all the accolades) but the AM94 makers prolly didn't anticipate the humongous backlash they'd face by tying up all of the characters' arcs save for Chilbongie.

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wait sorry i meant domestically not internationally as i believe cb is probably more popular internationally from observations

and this post lol. yea jw is rly popular in sk rn idk if the backlash is as big there and tbh idc and they probably dont either $$$

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Aww, poor Chilbongie-ya!

Don't know how big the local/Korean pro-CB "backlash" is, but I'm just glad the writers didn't cave to outside pressure and change the OTP at the last minute (Mirae's Choice, I'm lookin straight at ya!).

Sure, there was a lot of filler and padding out of episodes (and yep, some of them felt pretty long, towards the end) with the husband mystery and longest ever wedding video, but the writers had a story arc and they stuck to their guns doggedly, for better or worse. So I give 'em points for consistency.

I'm saying this because I never saw a real CB-NJ loveline developing - she never saw him that way. And if they'd tried to switch to that pairing, there was just no time left to do it in a couple of episodes!

In an earlier episode, Chilbongie in 2013 walked over to Na Jung's bookshelf and picked up his old baseball which was lying there. He stared at it so intently and pensively - I took it as a pretty strong hint that he wasn't Hubby.

It didn't stop me from loving Chilbongie - it was weird: I was rooting for him, but at the same time I didn't wish for a CB-NJ marriage cos I didn't think she loved him.

I think girlfriday's recap explains it best, for me anyway:
"I’m pretty sure I haven’t watched a drama that so romanticized an unrequited love and gave it the hero treatment since the nineties, so I have to assume his entire character is a love letter to that era."

That's a pretty big role for just one character, but judging from the outpouring of love and indignation for Chilbongie, I'd say it was a resounding success! At least he confessed his love, so he's one up on Lee Jung-jae in Sandglass!

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Yup. Too bad the writers continued to use CB's character as a plot device just so they can continue the mystery husband game and string along the viewers.

I'm hoping (and will be impatiently waiting) for YYS to star in a drama where he'll get a really good role and where he'll finally GET the girl.

Dramagods, what voodoo do you want me to do for you to make this happen?!

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YES!! While the prayer circle did not work for our Joon-ah let's hope YYS signs for a drama soon times. But with 3 movies in the pipeline it won't be a good decision on his part to sign for a drama right away!

While CB may not have won over NJ's heart YYS sure gained a whole lotta fans. In an almost last min announcement, his agency announced that he'd be offering free hugs. Look at that crowd ^^: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqQCSvD50gY&feature=c4-overview&list=UUGW3j1RiArV6uUdypcyyG8Q

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Awwww!!!!!! Now my heart is no longer aches!

He looks happy!

I dont think there has ever been a second lead who has won over these many fans both domestic and international! He deserves every bit of it!

To make people's heart ache like this over a fictional character is no mean feat!!!!

You rock YYS! Come back to dramaland soon in a role that makes us all swoony and fist pump in the air when you finally get the girl!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I want free hugs from YYS!!

Lol some of the fans literally pranced on him and almost knocked him over.

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That daddy who brought his little girl up to be hugged by YYS - so cuuute!!

It would've been funny if they snuck Na Jung into the line of girls waiting to be hugged. On the other hand, maybe that would've sparked a riot!

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Thx for the upload. It heals my broken heart.

This level of popularity is new to YYS, and he is obviously thrilled with it. It's great to behold. TQ.

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I want him to have a woman to whom he IS the world, her world.

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ughh, that got to me! :"(

We get to SEE the others WITH their significant others & a bit of back stories (HT & Grae). For CB we didn't even get this and THIS why the huge outcry at the non-satisfactory so-called resolution of Joon-ah's arc.

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I'm still hoping this is just a bad dream, I will watch the final episode whe I feel strong enough to do it
And does Na Jung really says those words to Chilbongie in the hug scene??? Like WTF I can't even.........
BTW if the writers do another reply drama who do you think the husband will be?
My bet is on the childhood friend who grows up together with the girl because it seems to be the only love story the writer know how to do

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Thanks for all the recaps and insights, girlfriday and javabeans! (And thanks for continuing to recap this until the end :)

Ah, finally, it’s over. The finale episode was really good. Even if my ship sunk to the bottom of the kdrama ocean, I’m still glad I watched this and stuck with it until the end (though I’m still a bit upset with the writers for stringing me along and making me hope). I kinda prepared myself for Chilbongie’s inevitable heartbreak but watching him crying by himself like he’s in a world of pain still just about killed me. Oof. With the number of kdramas I’ve watched, I’ve been a bit tough and jaded so it’s been awhile since the waterworks emerged while watching one. *sniff sniff* Yoo Yeon Seok as CB really did a number on my emotions in the last couple of episodes.

On a brighter note, I loved how Trash Oppa and Na Jung looked really very happy during their wedding. It seems like they were glowing from the love they have for each other. Great acting from Jung Woo and Go Ara for that one.

Sure, I have my criticisms for this drama but, if anything, I’ll always be thankful to this show for 2 things: First, for introducing me to a host of wonderful characters (and to the actors who fleshed them out and gave those characters so much soul and heart). Yeo Yeon-seok was great as CB and I couldn’t have asked for a better romantic rival to root for. Jung Woo was perfect as Trash Oppa. He brought just the right amount of quirkiness to the role. And, of course, Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa will always be my all-time favorite kdrama parents. If not for this show, I’d have never discovered Do Hee, Sung-kyun (funny funny funny), Ho-joon, Baro and Go Ara. Love all of them.

And second, for showing me the how the friendship of this ragtag band of country bumpkins (and one Seoulite) developed throughout the years while they were all living in (and even if they already left) the boarding house. Watching this final episode made me think that even more so than the love lines, it was their friendship that kept me engaged and invested in this drama. That scene in this final episode when they were all at the boarding house and they’re watching the World Cup (Korea vs. Italy) reinforced how much they’ve become one happy family. It was great seeing them all ecstatic and having fun. (On a side note: how cute was ChilBong when he said, “Because I’m a Major-Leaguer!”? I’m so glad to see he’s happy.)

Over all, it’s been one heck of a wild, crazy, and impassioned ride with a heaping baggage of some seriously nutty shipping wars. I think I’ll watch it again after a couple of months and maybe I’ll enjoy it more the second time around.

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Agree! you said exactly what I wanted to say! :)

Haven't watched all of AM1997 yet, so this was my first introduction to the genre and franchise. So heart-warming! So many feels!! Loved all the meta and cross-overs!!

Will remember it fondly, like a first love...

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Initially my belief in Chilbong being endgame wasn't nearly as confident as they have been these past couple of weeks. Heck, I wasn't even expecting to ship him with Na-jung, I was rooting for Chilbongie as an individual. But as I stated before, the more I got to know his character and the more I grew emotionally attached to him, his desires became my desires. So when the writer dangled that carrot of hope in front of my nose, I selfishly chased that hope around and when I finally got hold of it I ran away with it. Even if a part of me deep deep down was telling me not to give in and not to bet my feelings on an ending with Chilbong and Na-jung, I did so anyways. So partially it was my fault for letting that hope consume my fears, but who is even bigger at fault is the writer. She yanked us around time and time again, telling us "It's Chilbong. It's not Chilbong. It really is Chilbong this time guys... JK it's NOT Chilbong!" and with that added on to that craptastic ending he got? It just left us feeling more manipulated and cheated as ever.

So we have every right to be disappointed and angry, our favorite character got written off in a way that did not justify him at all. Especially in regards to such a character like Chilbongie, he had so much potential, but the opportunities to develop him was missed on the writer's part.

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I swear Chilbong was the husband as soon as Najung embraced him, when she found out he was safe from the mall tragedy. It was also about there where I decided to bite the carrot dangling over my head. It's sad because I fell in love with a plot, who was Chilbong. He wasn't a character, but a mere plot-line the writers created. I think that is why we are all remorseful.

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Chilbong is human, but the writer wrote him as if he has a steel heart.

I find it hard to believe that Chilbong can still associate himself with Na Jung and Trash like nothing happen...

It's like he's the joke of the drama. I hate this. Ugh.

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oh, goodness, yes. he suffered for years (almost 20 episodes) just so the writer can keep her husband mystery game, and his resolution was haphazardly done in one episode, with his future happiness glimpsed in one minute screen time....

and all throughout that one episode, he and his unrequited love was made out to be a joke several times... what the...

i have no words really.

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Maybe because they decided to portray CB as a mature adult? In the end these people were his friends. The show's finale message for CB, that so many shippers seem to just let blow over their heads, is that he was so massively lonely, but over time he realized he wasn't. He had a family this entire time and that was the members of the boarding house. The scene with the emails showed him becoming happier and happier each day as he realized this. Would you guys really want CB to be portrayed as a typical bitter second lead with a chip on his shoulder, and always forever being lonely?

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That's it! CB had a crush on NJ and was so LONELY. As I as an outsider understand Korean society, it is difficult to interact with people and he desperately needed contact. The boarding house gave him the warmth he yearned for and he hang his heart on NJ, because she symbolized all the happiness and warmth of this house to him.
Being abroad in America, with no real understanding of the language, and living in Japan, another Asian society with strict rules for interacting, having a job with no female contact, he stays lonely and keeps idiolizing NJ.
The second he lets himself fully realize, that NJ will marry Oppa, he is able to admire another women.

CB as a character was never a real contender to Trash. Puppy eyes and abs are not the basis to choose your life partner! Friendship, understanding, mutual history and a shared sense of humor is.
The show never really told us something different, we even got NJ and Trash in couple clothes in the first poster.

I highly recommend the blog Electric Ground to read the analysis, why Trash was endgame all the way.

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I already said enough on twitter, but I have to say it again. Reply 1994 didnt just revolve around the love triangle, but it was everything about their youth, coming of age, and relationships that blossomed. I was so sad when I got to read some hate tweets about the writer, and even calling the drama Trash because Trash oppa was the husband. Yes, we were always teased with 'Who is Najung's husband?'. I have always been Team Chilbong but I wasnt surprise Trash oppa was Kim Jae Joon. Chilbong always had Najung's friendship but never was her love. I feel bad for the viewers who only focused on the shipping rather than the story itself.
Right now, I am having strong withdrawal feelings. This drama has been part of my every week routine. After i get off from work, i watch this friday and saturday night while i eat dinner. The cast and crew did a great job in making me feel attached to the show. Though i was only a year old in 1994, I was still part of the 90s after all. *sniffs*
I love you Reply 1994, and I will definitely watch you again...

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i agree and i am definitely so surprised at how many people deemed this show as ruined because she didn't end up with him. maybe we just watched and "read" the narrative differently but yea. i'm waiting for a few months before to rewatch because i definitely miss it and feel withdrawals i didn't realize i was so attached.

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Most of the pro-CB comments here aren't directed at NJ but at the writer for stringing along CB and us and not even writing up a decent resolution for him. The fact that we didn't get to SEE our beloved character have a happy ever after hurts like a B!thc.

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i never said they were but it's not like he died and he's miserable but tbh i dont care

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He did have a happy ending despite not getting the girl. They showed him happy with the crew watching soccer games and in the present. He has a wife, and more importantly they showed that he overcame his loneliness when he realized that the boarding crew is his family.

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I am happy that someone agreed with me.

This drama was made to confuse us, and if we fell for it, then it means they were successful with it. Chilbong may not have ended up with Najung, but he gained more than what he ever imagined. And that is he earned true friends who loved him for who he is and not for the star athlete that he was known for. If some don't considere that as a great happy ending for him, then I don't know what I'm missing anymore.

If you're asking me, I cried alot when Chilbong cried on his own. I felt his pain, and truly felt bad for him. But what can we do? Throughout those long episodes, we all knew that Chilbong was only a friend to Najung, and she has always been in love with Oppa. All of us wished for a twist. That Najung would love Chilbong back, but I knew it would never happen. If Chilbong and Najung did end up together, but we can still clearly see that Najung still loves Oppa, do you think Chilbong would be happy? He already said it that liking Najung made him feel even lonelier. I am glad he got his own happy ending. Having true friends and meeting and being loved by his wife (whoever that unnie is, you are damnnnnnn lucky!).

and true that this drama played with us with the guessing of the husband, I once again say that there was more to that. It brought us back to the past, the beautiful 90s, or even our very own coming of age.

anyway, thanks again to dramabeans team! :>

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One of the few sensible comments in the fan war madness. I didnt enjoy the show as much as I did Reply 1997. I never felt any connect between NaJung and Chilbong. I loved Chilbong as a character and found him very sweet. But I never understood the reason why he liked Najung. She never treated him any different from the other guys. She cherished his friendship though which was why she never could reject him outright. But oppa and Najung had a deeper connect and more basis for a relationship. Enough abt the shipping. This is kinda why I think 94 sucked. There was too much focus on the mystery that it almost felt like they didnt know what to do with the plot. In 97 series, even if we had taken off the entire 2012 arc out of the story, it would have still been an enjoyable watch, but 94 would have been no different from any other drama if the 2013 arc and the wedding video sequence is taken off. The plot was not crispy, editing was poor and scenes were unusually long. I love the AM series vibe, the comedy and the parents relationship and the friendships in both, but the quality of the second production with regard to plot development and conveying of messages that touch your heart and impact your life was fairly substandard. I have rewatched Reply 97 abt 7 times so far but I dont think I will rewatch 94 anytime soon. :-( This, I reiterate is not because of the shipping. :-)

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I so agree with @omona143!

Finding your true love is important, yes, but the family, the friendships, the experiences of growing up and beginning to find your identity, the moments in history (like, where were you when Nelson Mandela died? what were you doing when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States? when the Snowden leaks hit the news? when same-sex marriages were legalised in England?) - that's what the "Answer Me" series is about, right?

Otherwise, it would just be a rom-com like so many other shows. This is where Answer Me 1994 excelled, for me.

Go Ara and the whole cast really breathed life into their characters and made them so believable and lovable! I'm treasuring the warm fuzzies from the show - thanks for the recaps, Dramabeans!

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Dear Writer-nim... You leave a character missing for 2 episodes.
Make him come back and have his hope raised for the chance that he can get the girl.
But in the end the story goes on as if he never stood a chance.

What makes me angry is that there was absolutely NO time where Na Jung said to him straight out saying "Chilbong, I am sorry but I do not see you that way." the writer just left him hanging. Worse character trait for Na Jung she basically just dragged him around.

It doesn't make sense! Chilbong waited for her for not 1...not 2... but 6 years!
One doesn't just magically or logically just get over that kind of emotion.
People can argue that yes time would heal... but that kind of rejection is bound to leave a painful scar.
How can Chilbong who has been in love with her for 6 years just be okay with seeing her with Trash without the twinge of pain or awkwardness?
Is this some kind of dramaland magical emotion potion? Oh no wait that just bad writing bleeding out of my screen...

I have to say at the beginning of the series I was a total Trash shipper.
However as the episodes went on I was becoming more aware of how Chilbong was making his advances and his effort to try to win Na Jung's affections.
To be completely honest... I don't to this day do not believe that Trash if not for Chilbong would have thought of Na Jung as a woman versus just as a sister.
I'm annoyed that Trash needed that awakening moment and someone to literally point out to him saying this girl is in love with you for him to realize something. And even then he hesitated before making a move. To me it feels as if Trash is thinking, oh no Na Jung is being taken away I need her by my side.... love.... maybe?

Chilbong deserved better...
Even in the end Chilbong was the one that let go...

and my rant is finished......

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What breaks my heart is CB's loneliness. Because honestly, if he didn't get over NJ/T's relationship, what would he have? He would lose the entire boardinghouse, never to hang out with them again. I know there are other motivations, but I do think a big motivation for him to somehow get over a 6 year unrequited love is: "either I get over my first love or I'll lose the only family I have". Lesser of the 2 evils. Seriously, there's never been a character who broke my heart more.

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It feels as if I was watching 2 different dramas. First half going one way then somewhere in the middle, the writer just pushed the delete button and started all over again.

But I do love the other little moments in the drama. I LOVE SCP and YJ's relationship. How many times they brought so much to this drama. The mom and dad and their undying love for one another. Every scene that they are in just lights up the screen. Then there is Haitai and his crazy hair and his love of the new. I felt too that he must have like NJ but was freindzoned early on so he knew his place in their relationship. Then there is Binggure, he went from a puppy that followed Oppa, so a man that fought back and said his peace. In the end, he became the brother that CB needed and wanted.

I would have been happier if the writer just didn't end it the way she did. That hug was ..... CRUEL! Her speech even colder. I can't understand what the writer was thinking. I can't get other this. The more I think about it, the more I question what in the world where these people thinking. They could have given CB such a better ending, but in the end just kick him down, then kicked him again, and then right when he is about to get up, they sucker punch him. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Can you feel my anger!

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I was (am) a CB shipper, but I don't see NJ's speech in the ball field as cold. Perhaps to CB it was because, well, he is hearing something he doesn't really want to hear - that she does not feel the same. What she says is her truth about his place for her and actually she holds him in a rather high regard, it seems. I do, however, think that this talks was long overdue - 6 years overdue. But then again, we would have no story if she had told CB in these no uncertain terms that she does not return his romantic feelings. Such is the story this writer created.

Now, I doubt that this writer understood how polarizing this drawn out love triangle would get. Thanks to the planets that aligned for some aspects of this drama (I already mentioned that the cast and the acting was amazing IMHO) we have characters to love, root for and miss along with some great new opportunities for the actors to grace our screens and other chances to get invested and taken away with more stories in future. :)

Maybe they will have a CB spin off. :) Nah, best left to our imaginations.

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I am still in grief. Enough said.

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First loves ain't all that. I was with mine for 5 years and given the choice between him and the man I married, I would choose my husband every single time.

And secondly, I am friends with some people who married their first loves. And guess what they are? DIVORCED.

Relationships based on unequal footing will always remain unequal. NJ will ALWAYS be overcompensating for her husband. He will forever be sitting around while she picks us packages. Like I said, first loves are overrated. Seen through rose tinted glasses.

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She picked up his package because it was part of the plot about Kim Jae Joon. If CB had been the husband, she still would have picked up his package. You lot are just being silly right now.

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It's not even the package. It's how she camped almost every single night at his pad (Dad's comment), how she went to Busan when he was on internship/residency, how she went to the hospital late night to show that she can squat (I'm sorry but what kind of a plot tool was that) and almost every time when she pops up, it's always wanting to be with Trash.

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Hm? Did we watch the same show? Because NJ did choose her career over her marriage with Oppa, didn't she?

When do we ever get something else than the idiolized first love in Kdrama? Why only attact AM1994?

All the 2013 scenes had the task to confuse the audience to prolong the 'mystery'. The mystery that never was, because it was always the story of NJ and Trash becoming a couple. Look at the first poster, it got both of them in couple clothes. CB never was a real contender, he had nothing in common with NJ, she never felt anything for him but a strong friendship and some guilt. And CB's happy ending is, that he finally was able to let her go, because he liked her for all the wrong reasons. Loneliness is not why you should choose your partner. A common ground is. The common ground Trash and NJ shared.

CB understood it in the end. Hope, all the sad CB fans will understand it too eventually.

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What in the world.

Why am I seeing so many CB/NJ shippers nitpicking over silly things like picking up packages.

Despite your feelings and experience with first love, I'm sorry, but first love prevailed here whether you like it or not. It's done.

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Man this is getting extremely ridiculous... I feel like there aren't many people left here that aren't either delusional or outright insane.

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