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Answer Me 1988: Episode 1

Get ready to go back in time for another nostalgia-filled celebration of youth and family. The third installment of tvN’s Answer Me series has arrived, and this time we’re headed back to 1988. For those of us who’ve been on this journey before in 1997 and 1994, it’s a familiar road—youthful friendships, realistic family dynamics, everyday humor punctuated by bleating sheep, and tugging of the heartstrings, of course.

In many ways, this series has an uphill battle to live up to its own hype (so, so much hype), but if we’re not watching it with expectations that it out-do its predecessors, then we’re in for a sweet story about five friends and their families. Beyond that, only time will tell.

We meet all our main players in the first episode, but there are so many friggin’ names that I’m only going to use names for our five main friends. Everyone else in the cast is an extension of them anyway—their parents, siblings, and so on. All right, it’s a long one (nearly an hour and a half, oyyyyyy), so let’s get to it!

 
SONG OF THE DAY

Kim Feel (feat. Kim Chang-wan) – “청춘” (Youth) for the Answer Me 1988 OST [ Download ]

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EPISODE 1: “Hand in hand”

A woman’s narration introduces us to 1988, a time when they didn’t have much, but hearts were warm. It was an analogue age, but they were the first eighteen-year-olds to wear slip-on sneakers and denim on denim, and they listened to Shin Hae-chul via Walkman, she says.

Boys liked Joey Wong and girls liked Tom Cruise (and New Kids on the Block!), but she says there was one movie that everyone was obsessed with: A Better Tomorrow 2. The movie plays on a tiny television as five teens watch with bated breath. It’s September 1988.

At a climactic moment in the movie, someone reaches for the shrimp chips and explodes the bag all over the group. This is RYU DONG-RYONG (Lee Dong-hwi), nickname Doryongnyong, aka Salamander, who lives in the house across the street. The voiceover tells us that he’s their neighborhood counselor.

Next to him, a prickly boy snaps at Dong-ryong to stuff his face later. This is KIM JUNG-HWAN (Ryu Joon-yeol), introduced simply as “Dog.” Ha. The voiceover adds, “He’s not yet human.” Jung-hwan lives upstairs, as the map indicates.

Next to him is TAEK (Park Bo-gum), who lives next door to Dong-ryong. This is his room that they’re in, and he’s a genius baduk player. Narrator: “But what does that matter, when here he’s just a supreme moron?”

Jung-hwan and Dong-ryong both order Taek around in his own house, asking him to get a rag and bring more snacks, and Taek complies. The only one who speaks up in his defense is SUN-WOO (Go Kyung-pyo), who gets labeled “Human.” The narrator says he’s the most normal of all of them.

Finally we meet the only girl of the group, who punches Jung-hwan to shut up so she can watch the movie. The narrator hesitates, then admits: “This is me.” She’s SUNG DEOK-SUN (Hyeri), and she lives downstairs from Jung-hwan.

Taek returns with more snacks just as the clock chimes six. And right on cue, a curly-haired ajumma calls out for Jung-hwan to come eat dinner. And then Sun-woo’s mom, and then Deok-sun’s mom. Lol, the moms got their perms together, didn’t they?

The kids all grab their snacks and file out of Taek’s to go home… all of ten feet away. Taek looks a little deflated, but then his dad tells him it’s time for dinner too. The camera cranes up to show us their tiny little street in Ssangmun-dong, as present-day Deok-sun narrates that she was born on this street and grew up here. She wonders now what they spent all their time doing.

Deok-sun’s family lives in the half-basement unit underneath Jung-hwan’s house, and their kitchen is a weird amalgamation of modern and ancient. Mom (Lee Il-hwa) makes rice in a pot over coal and hands Deok-sun Dad’s rice bowl, which she dutifully puts under the blanket on the heated floor.

On the way we meet her unni, a sophomore at Seoul University and their neighborhood’s “crazy bitch.” She’s top dog in their family, Deok-sun tells us. There’s also her little brother, who looks like an old man but is actually seventeen.

Upstairs, it’s a totally different world at Jung-hwan’s house, which is furnished lavishly. Their kitchen has a rice cooker and a gas stove, and even a cordless phone. Jung-hwan and his hyung sit silently as Mom (Ra Mi-ran) puts food down on the table and then takes it away, because Dad’s coming home for supper after all.

Jung-hwan’s mother sends him downstairs with a salad to fetch an extra bowl of rice for Dad, and he greets Deok-sun with a knee-kick to the behind just to mess with her. Deok-sun’s mom hands him rice and some kimchi she made, which he accepts with a grim face, knowing what’s about to happen.

Of course he comes home with the kimchi only to have Mom give him yet another dish to take downstairs, and LOL—he runs into Sun-woo on his way in with a delivery from his mom. Jung-hwan just pats him on the back silently, knowing that they’ll be doing this all night.

As the other kids make the rounds from house to house, Taek and his dad sit at a very sad looking dinner table, with just rice and one stew. But it turns out they’re the smart ones, because in no time their table is filled with side dishes from all the neighbor ajummas. Aw.

This goes on forever, until at one point, the other four kids meet each other in the street each holding a dish. Jung-hwan grumps that they should just eat together if they’re going to do this. They all return to their homes, and Deok-sun runs to greet Dad (Sung Dong-il) on his way in.

Deok-sun’s family gathers around their small table in front of the TV, and they sing along to commercials. Dad marvels at the rising cost of ice cream these days, arguing that you could buy a pack of cigarettes for 300 won. Little Bro helpfully chirps that cigarettes cost double that, earning him a beating from Dad and then a beating from First Noona when he says they were for her.

Mom excitedly asks for Dad’s paycheck from the bank (what, he’s not a baseball coach?), and Dad expertly avoids the subject when she counts the money, knowing how very little it is. He says he helped out a friend who went broke after cosigning a bad loan, but Mom points out that THEY are broke because Dad cosigned a bad loan too.

Dad is ever the optimist, saying that they have their health and their three smart children, but Mom breaks it to him that Deok-sun is in 999th place in school. Unni completely ignores their money woes and demands a new pair of glasses for her birthday, and Deok-sun chimes in that this year she won’t be sharing birthday celebrations with her sister, even if they’re three days (and three years) apart.

The sisters fight violently, and Dad just cries into his lettuce that he can’t have one quiet moment in his house.

Again, the contrast is stark when we move upstairs to Jung-hwan’s family, sitting in dead silence until Dad comes home. I’m expecting a stern, imposing father who commands respect… but Jung-hwan’s father (Kim Sung-kyun) turns out to be a goof who greets his family with song and dance. Sadly for him, his wife and two sons are entirely humorless.

Jung-hwan’s hyung is a 24-year-old in his sixth year of “studying” to get into college, who’s interested in pretty much everything except studying. He’s an original otaku, the captions tell us.

Sun-woo has dinner with Mom and baby sister, and they mention Dad, though he isn’t home. Both moms ask their sons about Deok-sun being chosen as a picket girl, and then we see what they mean when Deok-sun marches around her room holding up a sign for Madagascar, to lead them into the Olympics opening ceremony. She makes a whole dance routine out of it and whacks Unni upside the head with her sign, earning her another beating.

It’s D-8 before the ’88 Olympics, and Sun-woo asks his mother for 1000 won on his way out the door for their class to buy the teacher a wedding present. Jung-hwan does the same, only he asks for 30,000 won.

At Deok-sun’s house, both Unni and Little Bro demand fried eggs with their breakfast, and Mom looks back and forth between Deok-sun and the last two eggs in the fridge. Deok-sun tells Mom she doesn’t want eggs, and Mom looks at her gratefully.

Dad was right about there never being a quiet moment in this house, because they can’t get through breakfast without the girls breaking into another fight. Unni catches Deok-sun wearing her lip-gloss, and even Mom and Dad look afraid of her when her wrath is unleashed.

Of course, Deok-sun just waits until her sister is out of the house before raiding her makeup, expertly applying a horrendous combination of blue eyeshadow, bright red lipstick, scotch-taped eyelids, and matchstick-curled lashes. Training to be a picket girl turns out to be hard work though, and Deok-sun looks pained as she marches around the stadium with her giant sign.

It’s a regular school day for the boys, or at least for Sun-woo, Jung-hwan, and Dong-ryong (Taek is a pro baduk player, so he wouldn’t be going to school with them). Sun-woo is class president, and he gasps to learn that the money the class gathered for their teacher’s wedding present got stolen.

He turns to Jung-hwan, who’s got half that amount just sitting in his wallet. The only thing Jung-hwan cares about is getting outside to play soccer with the upperclassmen, and when his friends refuse to come with him, he forks over the money to get them to come.

The mom trio sits on their usual perch in the alley, trimming vegetables while gossiping. They’re typical over-sharers in that straight-talking no-nonsense ajumma way, and Deok-sun’s dad happens to come home just as they’re discussing things to feed their husbands for their virility. They tease him endlessly to make a night of it while the kids are out, and Dad grouses that he hates having to go past them to get home.

We learn that Taek’s dad runs the jewelry store at the end of their little street, and that Jung-hwan’s dad goes around trying his stupid jokes on everyone, and that they all ignore him equally.

Soccer must be uber violent, because the next day Sun-woo’s sporting a bandaid on his face. But they had enough to buy Teacher a wedding present, thanks to Jung-hwan, and the class congratulates her. The boys are disappointed when Sun-woo doesn’t hang out with them after school (because he promised to play with his baby sister again), and the other two head out with what little allowance money they have left.

Jung-hwan tenses up when he catches up to Dong-ryong on the street, and sees him surrounded by two older bullies in the same alley where their friend got their class money stolen.

Jung-hwan follows closely, sizing up the potential fight and deciding that he could take them as long as Dong-ryong holds one of them off. He raises his fists and debates which one to hit first, left or right… only he’s discovered first and ordered to join his friend. There goes his big hero moment.

Thankfully they have very little money to be bullied out of, but just as they’re let go, the bullies demand their sneakers too. They take them off as ordered, but Dong-ryong gets told to just keep his, ha.

At Mom Central, Jung-hwan’s mom complains that eel is wasted on her husband when she gets no lovin’ in return. Sun-woo comes home to play with his sister, and Mom asks if he got his test scores back and if he’s not in first place this time. She worries about the bandaid on his face, wondering if he’s been fighting, but he tells her it’s nothing.

Jung-hwan’s mom is surprised to hear that they even had a test, since her son doesn’t speak to her. The other boys trudge home soon after, and Jung-hwan ignores his mother as usual. Deok-sun’s mom says that even at 999th place, daughters are better.

Deok-sun discovers Dad and Little Bro at the corner store, sneaking an ice cream cone. She sees now why her brother always runs out to greet Dad in the street, and demands ice cream too. He buys her a pint to share with Mom and Unni, only when they hear that the ajumma brigade is out in the street, Dad says they’ll just sit here and have ice cream for dinner.

Sun-woo notices that his mother has a toothache and insists that they can afford for her to go see a doctor. Mom is more interested in the scar on his face though, but again he waves off her concern without explanation.

Jung-hwan jumps out of his skin when he discovers Deok-sun in a white hanbok in their yard, looking like a ghost. She thinks she looks pretty, which he vehemently denies, as does Sun-woo a moment later, and Dong-ryong after him.

Ha, it must be perm day for the moms, as they all sit out with their hair wrapped up like triplets. I love the running contrast between Sun-woo, the doting son who massages Mom’s legs when he arrives, and Jung-hwan, who bows and walks right past them without a word.

The moms make enough dumplings to feed a whole village, and Sun-woo’s mom says that her husband will stuff himself since they’re his favorite thing, second only to makgulli. Sun-woo’s mom and Deok-sun’s mom wonder what to get their kids for their birthday, which happens to be on the same day.

Sun-woo’s mom figures that Jung-hwan is easy to shop for, since he just needs a new pair of sneakers. It’s news to his mother that he was robbed of them, and Mom sits across from Jung-hwan at the dinner table later, wondering how to bring it up.

Mom finally asks if everything’s okay lately, and Jung-hwan says he’s fine, like always. Dad picks the worst timing to come home with another jokey greeting, and Mom deadpans that divorce is always a possibility.

Deok-sun is the only one who appreciates ajusshi’s gags, and they share a geeky moment when he delivers a chicken to their family downstairs. Jung-hwan’s dad tells Deok-sun to eat a chicken leg, but naturally the legs go to Unni and Little Bro, and Deok-sun gets a wing. Poor middle child. They see some of the other picket girls giving interviews on TV, and Deok-sun says she’s doing her interview tomorrow. Unni calls her a liar, and yet another fight breaks out.

The next day, Deok-sun gets called to the field for her interview, just like she said. She gives a terribly stilted recital of prepared answers, only to be blindsided when the reporter asks how it felt to hear the news that Madagascar won’t be participating in the Olympics anymore.

Deok-sun bursts into tears on camera, and says in a dramatic tear-filled speech that she might not get to participate, but she’ll still be cheering for the Olympics, like she’s an injured athlete or something.

Sun-woo’s mom calls out for him to run to the store while she’s cooking, but discovers that he’s not home. Her worry has been building that he’s been getting into fights or worse, and she starts looking around in his room for some insight. It all looks normal, but then she discovers a pack of cigarettes under his desk. Uh-oh.

Deok-sun is down in the dumps when she gets home, and manages to sit through Unni’s birthday cake and song. But when Mom and Dad relight the candles to sing for Deok-sun’s birthday like she expressly asked them not to do, she breaks down, asking why she always gets the reused cake, the chicken wing, the rice without egg on top.

She leaves the house wailing, then the news reports that Madagascar has pulled out of the Olympics. Present-day Deok-sun narrates that there was nothing special about that day—the sorrow of being a middle child was a constant for her. She just thought that Mom and Dad would recognize her sacrifices, but she sighs that perhaps family is always the last to know.

Sun-woo comes home to an interrogation, as Mom presents the pack of cigarettes and asks how long he’s been smoking. He swears up and down that they’re not his, which she doesn’t believe. She asks what on earth he’s been doing lately, accusing him of hanging out with a bad crowd and getting into fights, as evidenced by the cut on his face.

Mom cries that she didn’t raise him that way, and asks if he’s acting like this because his dad’s not here and he doesn’t care to listen to his mother. But Sun-woo finally tells her the truth: “I cut myself shaving.”

Judging from the way this makes her burst into tears, I’m guessing that Dad passed away, and he didn’t want to let on that not having a father meant no one would teach him how to shave. He hugs her as she wails, and swears that all his friends cut themselves the first time: “It’s not because of Dad!”

He comforts her and says he’s sorry for raising his voice, and Mom cries into his shoulder so sorrowfully that it breaks my heart.

It turns out that today is the memorial of Dad’s death, which explains all the mountains of food Mom was making and the talk of her husband eating dumplings. Sun-woo was out because he was buying Dad’s favorite makgulli, and the kids pour a cup and pay their respects, as Mom cries.

The day of the Olympics opening ceremony arrives, and not a soul is out in the streets as the broadcast begins. Deok-sun’s family gathers in front of the TV, and we learn that she’s earned a spot in the ceremony after all.

Her parents and brother scream in excitement when she appears on TV, and though her unni refuses to watch, she still listens from her room. Sun-woo and his family scream too, and at Jung-hwan’s house everyone but him is on their feet when they see her. Jung-hwan is as implacable as ever… but then he cracks a tiny smile when no one is looking.

His mom makes another failed attempt to engage him in conversation, and follows him to his room to ask what he’s up to. Jung-hwan answers everything in that infuriating monosyllabic teenage way of his, and Mom has to endure long stretches of uncomfortable silence just to try and have a conversation with him.

At her prodding, he finally tells her that he came in first place on his latest test, and Mom says she’d like to know things like that. She admits how envious she is of Sun-woo’s mom because he tells his mother everything, and says she’s embarrassed in front of the other ajummas when they know more about Jung-hwan than she does.

She has to prod him to agree to talk more, and then she gives him the world’s most awkward backhug. Man, it must suck to raise a teenage boy. But just as she’s leaving, Jung-hwan turns around and asks her to buy him a new pair of sneakers because he lost his old ones. And Mom looks like she’s about to burst into tears, she’s so happy.

Cut to: Mom asking if he wants to go shoe-shopping with her the next day, and Jung-hwan just asking for the money instead. Heh. Well he didn’t get a lobotomy.

Sun-woo’s mom asks if the cigarettes belong to Jung-hwan, since that’d be her first guess if they really aren’t Sun-woo’s. He says that Jung-hwan doesn’t smoke either, and really doesn’t know where they came from. A flashback shows us that they came from Jung-hwan’s mom—his little sister ran off with her shirt the other day, and they fell out of the pocket as she was playing.

Sun-woo’s uncle shows up and suddenly demands to go to the bathhouse together, which confuses him. But it was obviously Mom’s doing—she asked her brother to teach Sun-woo how to shave, and sends them off with a wink and a nod.

When Deok-sun comes home after her big day, Dad is outside waiting for her. He takes her to the corner store, where she shows him all of the cool Olympics souvenirs she received (and a pair of dead birds to bury, what the—?). Dad says he has something for her too, and brings out a birthday cake just for her. Aww.

Dad says he and Mom are sorry, and that he’s still figuring things out: “Your dad wasn’t a dad when he was born. It’s my first time being a dad too.” He asks for her understanding, and says proudly that she grew up beautifully. Ugh, this dad never fails to make me cry.

He wonders what he’ll do when she gets married and leaves him, but Deok-sun says she won’t marry, and he chides her not to say such things. They light the candles and he wishes her a happy birthday, and Deok-sun blows out her own candles on her own cake, and gets to eat it all.

Her voiceover from the present day repeats that family might not know, but knowing isn’t all that important, because what matters isn’t the head, but the heart that leads us to walk hand-in-hand. And that heart is family, she says, as we see Deok-sun and Dad walk home hand-in-hand.

Deok-sun (voiceover): “It’s family—that covers over the wounds from the world outside the front door, the scars we each sustain from life, even the sorrow that family itself gives us. The people on my side till the very end—it’s family.”

Still, she says, history has a way of repeating itself. One month later, Dad wakes up in the middle of the night to fumes from the charcoal briquettes they use to heat the house, and he and Mom each carry a child outside to safety…

It’s not until they’re outside that they realize belatedly that they FORGOT about Deok-sun, ha, who has to rescue herself.

In the present day, Deok-sun is played by Lee Mi-yeon. She’s giving an interview about—what else—who her husband is. She says she’s known him for years because they grew up on the same street: “I never imagined I’d marry him. I may have gone momentarily insane,” which she attributes to all the charcoal gas she inhaled while growing up.

 
COMMENTS

I actually like the addition of older actors to play the leading characters in the present day, which this series actually warrants—setting the show timeline further back in the past means that our kids should be 45 years old in the present day, and it would be really jarring to have Hyeri or Park Bo-gum playing middle-aged characters. It adds a nice distance in the voiceovers too, to have the older heroine narrating the story. I was most worried about Hyeri going into the show, but I think she’s fine to play the naïve 18-year-old who wears her heart on her sleeve and cries when she’s upset and laughs when she’s happy. I rather like that her character is a simpleton, because she’s not a doormat.

And I really, really like that her family is poor. It adds a strong element to the story to have Dad be a regular salaryman instead of a famous baseball coach like the other seasons, because we see the direct effects on family dynamics when resources are scarce. And as a result, Deok-sun’s middle-child angst was so realistic and great—perfectly petty, embarrassingly minor, and utterly real. That’s the kind of stuff this writer always gets just right—how to pull all of the emotional strings over something so seemingly insignificant.

The scar on Sun-woo’s face was the best of that, because it seemed so minor and I thought his mother was acting paranoid. But then we learn in one punch why Sun-woo is such a good kid, why he’s mature and nurturing, and takes care of his baby sister without complaint. I never suspected that he was hiding the face scar because he didn’t want Mom to think he was lacking in any way without a father in his life.

Jung-hwan is far less of an open book, but I started to love his character the moment he chased after those bullies while planning the perfect rescue… and then totally chickened out. That made him seem human, and I could see that we’ll be peeling back his layers one at a time. His character type reeks of Garbage Oppa—the strong, (infuriatingly) silent type who never says what he feels and never takes credit for things. I have a feeling he’ll be breaking hearts left and right before we’re through. We’ll have to see how the other two boys figure in, but so far the love story looks to be Good Boy vs. Bad Boy.

Now that we’ve been introduced to the major family dynamics, I’m keen to see the friends interacting on their own a little more, to get a better feel for how they are with each other. They seem like a family of siblings in their own way, in that they didn’t really choose to be the group of five kids born in the same year on the same street, and they might not have become friends otherwise. Naturally things are about to change once romance starts to enter the equation, though I’d really rather it not be a five-way love pentagon. I know, it will be.

I’m annoyed enough as it is that we’re doing the husband-hunting thing AGAIN (when the producers swore they wouldn’t—the liars!), which will surely lead to tears and recriminations. Maybe this time I’ll just NEVER pick a ship, ignore ALL “clues” (which aren’t so much clues as they are troll-droppings), and refuse to get emotionally sucked into the game. I don’t care which boy you married, ya hear me? I DON’T CARE. Lalalalalalalala.

This is so not going to work, is it?

 
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I really want to see this... but really the horror of 1994 still haunts me sometimes.
I'm just wondering how? How? How? Can I not care of which boy she'll marry? Eotteokkkkeeeee?

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They should air a disclaimer before each episode: "Watching this show might result in a heartbreak and PTSD symptoms." Honestly though, Chilbongie traumatized me more than the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones and I was not even a shipper. I just wanted a decent happy ending for every character and his was totally robbed of that.

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"Chilbongie traumatized me more than the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones and I was not even a shipper" lololol. Sooo right.

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I will not be "Chilbonged" again, do you hear me show. I refuse to invest myself into picking a husband. And no amount of cute fan-service scenes of scantily clad young men will change my mind.

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My sentiments exactly. It's far enough in the past that I hope the fan wars are over, but I was fervently Team Chilbongie and was heart broken for him too.

I thought they weren't doing the who's the husband thing this time around & I really couldn't figure out what the premise would be if they deviated from that mystery. When I saw the end of this episode & realized they were sticking to the original premise, I told myself I am not going to ship anyone this time. AM94 was it for me. I hope I can still enjoy the series w/o getting invested in it. I'm doubtful but optimistic.

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I am just reading recaps. Once I know who the husband is, I am going to Marathon this drama so I know who exactly to ship. Well atleast that is the plan.

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I'm starting this drama now that it's over. I was traumatized by AM94 because I really thought Chilbongie was it. I was in the Soompi forums for the majority of the show's run and all of us in the Chilbongie forum seriously cried at the finale. I was that emotionally invested. Never again.

So yeah. Not wasting my tears again, AM writers.

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OH NO...not the long length again :(

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Let's count ourselves lucky if the episodes don't eventually stretch to two hours.

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they're seriously doing this husband thing? ................

LOL lee miyeon was a surprise for me, i thought they werent going to do a present day timeline since it wouldnt have been feasible for hyeri to play her 45 year old self loool

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A love pentagon. This drama is going to kill me repeatedly, isn't it?...oh man..

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AHHHHHAHHHHAHHHHHAHHHHHHH!!!!
IT'S BACK!!!!!
Reply 1997, 1994, and now 1988; back to the series that accelerated my love for kdramas & TVN (bless you cable network, you do you)
I'm just so happy to even formulate a smart response or analysis. Thank you girlfriday for the recap - much appreciated!

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Dear pd-nim and sciptwriter-nim, just wanna tell you that there's more to life than figuring out who will be your life partner!!!

...why is finding the husband always the endgame?!

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Perrfect.Yes,they make a hell out of this husband-hunting.Finding your own husband seems less painful than this.

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No one is subbing yet aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! What is wrong with you, TVN??!? I don't understand why they haven't licensed such a popular franchise yet. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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Dramafever has the license for it and the episode should be out in the next few days. They have an exclusive deal with CJ E&M meaning that they'll be the only one to sub tvN's dramas for the next couple of years.

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That's such a shame :( Viki did a fantastic job before.

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This is a little disappoining since from what I recall I preferred Viki Subs for '94.

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Dramafever is going to have it.

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nooooooooo

the ost used from this drama always drop hints and are reall well picked, but Dramafever not only don't sub the songs/ost they also leave lots of lines without subbing .....

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I'll be honest... I hate Dramafever -_-

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lawllllllllll was I the only one laughing at the burnt birds? at the 88 Olympics there was an infamous accident where doves were release and they landed on the torch that was supposed to be lit. and when it did light it..... yah.... burnt doves by the dozen. pfft

I was actually surprised by hyeri. maybe the idol image deterred me from seeing her potential as an actress.... but she did really well!

I hope we see more bogum in episode 2!

thank you for the recap!

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omg that's hilarious! I mean awful, but hilarious!...ah those poor doves..

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Ohhhh backstory about the birds. That makes it ten times funnier. Thanks!

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what website has subs for this up?

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I assume it will be a dramafever exclusive (as all TVN shows are...) but it's not up yet. Other sites will probably rip the subs from DF when they're up, lol.

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Yeah, it's an exclusive (unfortunately) and will be up on Monday.

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Is this show going to fail the Bechdel Test? One female character, aside from the mothers, and her priority is finding a guy? Sounds like the writing about family is carrying the show, so what the heck.

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...?

We've already seen lots of 'conversations (okay, fights) between her and her sister. The mothers gossip. In ep 2, we see her at school talking to her friends.

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CHILBONGIE!!! I'm still reeling from you!!! Please Reply 1988 be good, please be good!!!

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Sung Dong-il as Dad always get me cried, he's wonderful. Moment like DS got left out by her parents after such touching moment earlier was epic!! That kind of moment always make Reply series special.
Oh noes....not the husband hunting again?!! I still had deep scar from 1994, not again....

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Oh man, Sung Dong-Il should get an award for playing The Dad. He gets me every single time.
I am not quite sure yet .. whether they are doing the husband hunt again. There's something about that line she said: she would have never thought she'd marry him. I think that's quite an important thing to note. I really do hope that they are not doing this thing again. It would be a lot more fun to watch.

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Oh...and thankyou GF for fast recap. They havent subbed it yet out there.

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I am torn. Watch it now and spend half of this drama's run cursing the love triangle or wait 3 months and start watching after the husband has been decided upon.

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Thanks for the recap! I watched it raw since I couldn't find subs yet. It was a chore to do that with an hour and 28 minute long episode 1. Still not convinced with Hyeri's acting but at least the production knows how to cover up her limitation by using quick editing techniques. This drama actually brings back a lot of memories for me especially when they showed the scene where they ran out of propane for the stove. lol I remember having to go make that propane run many many times back in the day on my bike. Growing up in Asia, I really missed that kind of neighborhood feel where everyone just hanged out together and everyone on the street knew each other.

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I love it!
The family relationships, the sibling power inequity, the neighbourhood ajummas and their dirty minds, their sharing of dishes, their subtle and not so subtle rivalry in comparing their children, the young friends who are as close as can be......, there is so much going on in the show. It is so rich, so textured, so full of feels in small moments and offers so much for us to reflect upon, for those of us who are old enough to think back to our youth and realise our silliness and naiveté w some amt of nostalgia.

I don't for a moment worry about who she ends up marrying. Won't fret over the destination and neglect to enjoy the ride, at least not yet.

I love that the actors aren't worried about looking pretty. I came in expecting nothing of Hyeri, but find myself impressed. The rest of the cast we know to be solid from the start.

OMG, That OST, Youth, is so atmospheric, so soulful. With an OST like that tugging at the heartstrings, I don't have any brain cells left over to ponder the husband question now.

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I still maintain that 1994 was always obvious with the OTP, her heart never even looked in the other direction so it was a no-brainer. it's just that chilbongie's supporters fell in love with him... And, well, love is blind lol. This ep made me cry, I relate to it so much even though I wasn't born in the same era. I love it already and I'm going to start saving it for my dad to watch this christmas. But I just noticed, park bogum was only ever mentioned at the beginning... He really had only that much screen time?

And hahaha with all the historical references.

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That's exactly what my problem with 1994 was: it was obvious. I mean what is the point of making me guess if the answer is written right in front of me. On the other hand, 1997 had an obvious ending as well but at least they made me root for it.

Hopefully this one will do the husband game a little better.

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mte. Na Jung barely show any interest in Chilbong and the writers of the show never even gave his character any substantial development (for awhile, R1994 actually felt like the Trash show lol). While I understand that people found Yoo Yeon-Seok more conventionally attractive, I never understood why people thought his character actually stood a chance.

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well, before AM1994 started airing, they never actually told us that Trash oppa wasn't Na-jung's actual brother, and the promo material seemed to focus on Yoo Yeon-seok as the lead. They massively trolled the viewers, all right.

But yes, once the drama began, it was pretty obvious Na-jung only had eyes for one guy - it's just that viewers got mixed up because of the way TvN promoted the casting at first.

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not it didn't. the posters had all characters, the press conference had main actors side by side (Go ara and Jung Woo) the long preview also showed so much about trash and na jung. Fans just wanted the other guy to be the main.

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How many Answer Me already out there??

I only watched 1997. It fits my generation perfectly, since I'm the newkid 90's .

Now is 1988, hmm.. I'm afraid will have crossed-bender interest since I'm not living in that moment..

Still doubt to start this..

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So junghwan- dog,sun woo -human.I think we know already which direction she would be going.Trash/dog? Knowing the answer beforehand would save so many heartbreaks right.No brownies for guessing this one.

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They lied. THEY LIED!!!! Why the husband stuff again. Ahhh!!!! Even though I was rooting for Oppa all the way before, I didn't really want to go through it again.

Sigh I guess it wouldn't be an answer me series without it. Man. I'm really hoping this series loves up to its hype.

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I will never ger over my poor Chilbongie! I always thought my long time experience with kdramas would never betray me when guessing which is the OTP of a story, but I guess that in Reply 1994 my love for Chilbong really blinded me. PD-nim you better don't do that to us this time around!

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Geojitmaaaaaaaaaaaaaal! This is how trust issues occur.
I'll be watching this for the family dynamics, *I promise myself that but I know I'll get sucked in that awful dilemma again*. Also the episodes are way too long, did they really like how slowwww 1994 progressed simply because it was too long for that kind of plot. SMH.
Still, I can't thank them enough for making 1997 that I'll always have to fall back on. ~SIGH~

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Exactly, I just hope this doesn't turn out as bloated as 1994 (which I ended up liking, but not loving the way I did with 1997). 90 minute episodes from the get-go does not look promising, but I hope this will turn out well able to support that length. I mean, Misaeng did it.

There's no doubt this will be super successful, because the franchise has reached the point where each installation is taken on faith because of the previous one - I just don't want anyone to end up Chilbonged again! Answer Me 1997 was pretty much the dark horse of the lot so it's not surprising that the later series get more hype/ratings, but 1988 at least looks promising.

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here we are again going for the long run and wondering who d husband is....seriously drama....sighs...

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Thank you! The subbed episode is not yet available at the moment so I am very happy and grateful for this recap Watched the raw, dread on the episode length and it seemed kinda boring when not knowing much on what's being said. but aww the recap made me excited for the subbed episode even more now.

The 1st episode is just as promising as R97 and R94's earlier episodes were (before R94 went downhill) and I hope they won't repeat the same R94 mistakes here. I will not tolerate another Chilbongie situation and I hope this time they can make Deok Sun just like R97 Shiwon, whom we can relate to, root for and watch her growth which sadly what they failed to make Najung be.

I love the parents and their children moments and I must say Ra Mi Ran stood out between the 3 mothers. She's so good *____* Sun Woo's cute little sister is so cute!

While before this I decided to just have my popcorns while watching the husband guessing game unfold, I can also feel that I'm drawn towards Jung Hwan a.k.a Dark Horse (the nickname some of us gave him cuz when the poster was out, we're suprised to see an unknown contender, haha)

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NO, NO!!!
Please not again the marriage game :(
I liked 1997 the best, I laughed and cry and it was different from other dramas . With 1994 I was frustrated because again the same problem (which guy she ends up with ) , I liked the new characters but didn't like the ending... ?chilbongie.
Don't know if I'm going to watch it this time... also very long episodes :(

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"troll-droppings"....HAHAHAH. Yeah, after the '94 chaos, i'm not sure if i can take any of the "clues" seriously this time. Can't wait to watch this though. the fashion reminds me of pictures of my parents from the 80s when they were that young.

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Lol I don't want to get sucked into the marriage game, but with a group of five and only one girl in the mix THERE'S EVEN MORE HEARTS TO BE BROKEN THAN EVER. I can already see the endgame, but it's still going to have fun with us. In a way, I don't mind. It makes sense for me that guys start falling half in love with their best female friend, and some get over it and some don't.

Loving the characters. Love the stories, of course. Wish it was packed better into an hour show-wise, but definitely don't mind 1.5 hours of these guys. (Though I end up skipping scenes oops.) All in all, an Answer Me franchise.

The sheep bleat is getting overused though.

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Thanks for recap. Eng subs nowhere to be found. But to whom she is telling the story? Interview or kids? Maybe this is some kind of How I Met Your Father...

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The ratings are awesome! I can't get over Twenty Again and here comes another Reply series. TVN really delivers. I watched only the 1st episode of 97 and almost all episodes of 94 except when Chilbong was heartbroken. My curiosity about this drama is killing me.

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The recap is back! By the looks of the comments already here, nobody seemed to experience the disappearance of this AM1998 ep1 recap like I did LOL So there I was reading the recap, accidentally closed the browser and when I open DB again it's gone! I was refreshing like crazy! Well it's back now, and nothing else matters lol

I admit I was looking forward to this drama because of the earlier counterparts (and PBG ;-) ), but I found that I wasn't too disappointed with the lack of PBG this episode. I'm sure there'll be lots of him later on! I love the family & friends dynamics. And the feels of the 80s, omg, talking about bringing me down the memory lane. Don't care about the who is the husband game. At least I WANT to not care. I guess I'll just sing along with GF... Lalalalalalalala.

Thanks for the great recap, GF (and I hope it won't disappear again lol)!

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It wasn't just you, I noticed it too - the entire recap vanished, but now it's back and with the original comments that were left before it went down :)

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It totally wasn't your imagination—there was a technical blip on the site, but it won't be disappearing anymore! No more vanishing acts for you, recap! I spent too much time on you!!

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Ahh... That explains why I was totally taken by surprised with the recap for the SECOND episode. I was like, "What? Where's the first???" Thanks for the explanation and recap, girlfriday!

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Well, that's a relief...:-D
Thanks @pogo♥Sassy Go Go & @girlfriday! Yep, we can't let recaps play tricks on us! :-D

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I never quite complete Answer Ne 1994 either. 19 more episodes to find out the husband. Why torture us again?

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First episode and I'm already bawling. Good thing I'm not planning on going out today!

I actually thought I'd sit this one out (since I can't really connect to the 80s), but Deok-sun seems to be the most relatable lead yet. I love that she's a middle child, and I look forward to how she'll find her niche in the family.

As for the whole husband hunting thing, I feel a little cheated. You said no romance! But as long as they don't pull another Chilbong, I won't complain.

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....Jung-hwan is too attractive not to be the one. I know its early, and my love for Bogum will affect this when he starts appearing more, but damn, I get this STRONG feeling it can only be Jung-hwan. Could be just Ryu Joonyeol's attractiveness though.

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I really needed the recap - there are no subs yet, and my Korean is not even close to good enough to watch 90 minutes raw. (I didn't quite get what happened with the picket sign without the subs)

So far, it's a pretty pleasant surprise - it's a good cast, and even Hyeri does well. I remember being sceptical about her casting but having some cautious optimism that if the role was tailored to her capabilities and the directing helped her out (unlike her previous dramas), she could pull it off. It's good to see that she did.

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Ikr...the way the character is built and how the actors pull it off...i'm so gonna watch this series

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From the comments I see I am one of the rare few who loved trash oppa over chilbong (a cute sweetheart), was here for the Jeong/Trash OTP (I adore everything about their relationship and its progression), and was not annoyed with the husband hunt in 94 because just as with 97 the endgame was obvious pretty early on and the drama was about more than just that. All the angst, heart ache, and fandom war was partly self induced due to personal preference and bias, which is cool cause dramas should bring out the feels.

Both series had more than just find the husband. We were given friendships, bromance, womance, brotherly love, family -the one you're born with and the one you make-sacrifice, finical woes, self identity and a future goal/career, being aimless, death, loss, love of various kinds, loyalty, parenthood, marriage, tragedy, sickness, etc. Both had their shortcomings and some of the complaints are valid. But it seems fandom (well ifans that is) got real bitter and negative over the whole thing once their favored character and ship was not endgame. I can't help but think if CB had been the husband there would be less complaint and negativity about it all.

Anyways I am looking forward to this series and really hope it gets subbed soon. I watched it raw and as always the family and friendships really hit the feels. I like the goofy dad stuck with the monotone members, I can relate to the angst of being the unintentionally forgotten child, Sunwoo and his mom gutted me, and off course our regularly placed dad made me tear up. I am looking forward to learning more about our core 5 and their lives in and out of the home (Jung-hwa and PBG's characters really caught my interest) and although they said no husband hunt, it is their shtick (and I kinda enjoy all their series having that one bound to get annoying trait). Imma ship what I like but also keep in mind the team's preference and track record (all writers do this, 'I Need Romance' team comes to mind) so I don't get too invested in something that was never going to be (unless they surprise us and do the opposite of what we've come to expect. We are only 2 eps in so anything is possible at this point).

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I was Team Trash too. Though their first kiss took place just after he smoked a pack of cigarettes. Yeck!

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Totally agree! I was very much onboard the Trash Oppa ship, but gotta admit that Chilbongie won my heart over at times. But it was the overall story that won my heart over, especially the feeling of having a family while away from your own home.

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the thing is, i just feel someone who you have seen to be your real oppa become your boyfriend, their chemistry as brother and sister is actually really good. but actually i know why najung loves him though, but it still looks weird for me :p

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I was really surprised how intrigued I was by Jung-hwa's character too. Since the actor is a newbie he hadn't gotten the spotlight of more known GP and BG as far as character information goes. He came out of left field for me and now I just want to know more.

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The silent guy will be the one right?

I mean, seems like she has crush into the good one guy, but the future interview she says "I was insane" so she must picked the bad guy, ha. I bet they have insane fights kkkkkkk

About 1994, I still love it more than 1997. My otp Trash and Na jung were just perfect <3

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I hope someone subs this soon. I watched it RAW because i couldn't control my curiosity but with the accent and other references,missed out a million things.
Dog seems to be the main guy. And our Taek is going to be the second lead who is going to break our heart all over again,isn't it :'( . Got too invested in Reply '94 for my own good and after being chilbonged...sigh...will tread cautiously this time.

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Just want to see park bo geum. Prepare for break my heart again

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Good 1988 is my birth year but I call myself a 90's kid since I grew up during this decade which shaped me that's why I liked 1997 version (always remember my life with all my friends during this period)

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I just finished reading this, but haven't watched the actual episode yet. Based on the reading, I like it already. The characters and their relationships with one another seem endearing, albeit not flawless, which is what makes it realistic and raw. I love it. I'm a total fan for this series, so of course I can see myself liking this one, too. As for the dangerously debatable issues (but really, it's more like The One Big Issue/Question) this series is quite infamously known for, I'm just gonna sit back and let the show do its thing--precisely the exact same thing I've always done with this series. So here's to more heartwarming funnies, random funnies, and sweet lovin' between family and friends!

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i love KIM JUNG-HWAN! from the first trailer i just fall in love at the first sight with him!! kyaaa~ can't wait for the next episode and the SUBS. of course :( But thank youuuu girlfriday for recaping this series as your recap is really help us to understand the story with no subs.
Hiks.......
one last time
i love KIM JUNG-HWAN!
i love Ryu Joon-yeol!

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I can't help it. I love this series and have to join in. I love that while I grew up in the US, a little younger than this crop of kids, there is so much to connect over. It's those shared themes: family, friends, pop culture, youth culture! Love it!

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Oh, and fuschia was the bomb color in 1988. It's universal! 5th grade me in Washington State loved that color!

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Hahaha The last 3 sentences about how we should not care who would be the husband in the end and as if we cannot pick our ship. Quite impossible in dramaland...I will try...though I've been quite a fan of Go Kyung Pyo since he started so it will be very difficult for me.

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The feel good is there... But omg, how can they edit until its 1.5h long? Worries that it will become 2h or 2.5h towards the ending.. *faint*

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I finally finished watching this episode. Things: I love Ra Mi Ran. I legit cried when Deok Sun found out Madagascar withdrew from the Olympics and started crying on the air. I always had faith that Hye Ri would be able to pull it off because I trust the Answer Me crew, but she really had me in that moment. I'm sold.

Last, the bloated show length often leaves me confused about what's supposed to be funny. I'll be watching some long drawn out moment and I'll hear the awkward goat and I'll be like "oh, what was the joke..." and I'll go to dramabeans to read the recap to see if there's more insight, like is this some Korean thing I don't understand, but no. It's always exactly what I saw. I really hope all the episodes won't be as long as this first one. I really miss the zippy, pointed hilarity of 1997.

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Exactly, the goat sound. I startled when I heard it as it seemed so out of place. Also figured I missed the context somehow, but did wonder if the producers felt it obligatory and are a bit less judicious where they're using it?

I don't know. I also have a lot of love for the Reply series and think the producing side is a bit of genius, but I will say if this was the first installment, I don't think I would have made it past the first episode. There was something about 97 that more easily invited people into the story--maybe the present versus past? And the goat sound there? Always hilarious and obvious.

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I said I wasn't going to watch it but look at me now! Ugh. I also said I'm not choosing ships but Sun-woo. ㅠㅠ So going to miss Siwon when he goes to the army but there's Go Kyung Pyo to make me happy. Kyaaaa

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Or just hold out for the second lead despite the <1% chance he has at getting the girl (shilbong ahhh)

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