Written by Shaye Fontanilla

The thing is, even if this drama revolves around teenagers during an era where almost all of us did not live in, it still feels nostalgic. True enough, it felt like I was part of them. I was there.

The parents were involved and we saw our own parents through them. Their siblings were involved and we saw our siblings in them; our families in them, whether you are an only child or not. We can relate to it and somehow we cried ’cause it tackles family relationship.

We can even relate to its love story, why? Because at some point in our lives, we become Jung Hwan who is not brave enough to fight for the name of love or Duk Seon who does not have enough confidence with herself at first. Sometimes, we are Bo Ra who does not know how to show her genuine side.

It is a self-realization, self-assessment, and self-awareness. How come that 20 or so episode-long drama can make me feel my existence in a whole new level?

Why did I fall in love with this drama? It made me feel not just a certain emotion, but a mixture of different emotions that I can possibly feel. I was happy, sad, hurt, angry, scared, lost, and even alive.

I did not watch it in one sitting I actually savored the moment and gave myself some time to think after every episode. So, if some of you tried to watch it and was not able to finish it, try to rewatch it! For me, this drama is not meant to be finished in one sitting. It needs a lot of time for you to digest the story. It needs your best mood.

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If I may, I would say that this drama is one of the best dramas I ever watched. No pretentions. You can even feel how expensive and delicious the banana they bought and sliced for three people; and that scene when Ra Mi Ran mixed the spaghetti with bare hands. Or even the time when they shared their dish. I loved it!

Why is it best drama?

When they have chosen a time were smart phones are not yet invented, you can see closely the importance of each phone call despite of the risk of being caught by your parents. You will be able to feel the same intensity of joy when they got a new pair of shoes or their favorite dish or when they finally paid off their debt.

See? It is an everyday life of anyone— may it be the rich, the middle class, or the poor. They did not even care if their clothes are not matched or if it was not fashionable enough.

Look closely.

When it comes to the soundtracks, we easily fell in love with these but Reply 1988 is different. You just do not fall in love with the songs as these also make you feel nostalgic, like your stomach turns upside down. Feel me?

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What’s more?

It talks about:

  • Love;
  • Family;
  • Friendship;
  • First crush or love;
  • Siblings;
  • Marriage;
  • Adulthood;
  • Responsibilities;
  • Education;
  • Dreams;
  • Aspirations;
  • Hobbies;
  • Sacrifices;
  • Teenage angst;
  • Social status (in a subtle way); and
  • Life.

Still, there is more to it (I swear). These are only the few points I have observed.
When they left the neighborhood, I felt sad and slightly felt mad, but I realized that its the reality. You create memories in a certain place and then you carry on. You finally move to another place and only carry the memories with you, hoping that the people you shared it with are also cherishing the same memories with you. I do hope they did.

Moreover, writing this took me time.

At first, I was not able to find the right words to describe how I felt watching this drama. It is great that after some time, I was able to find the right words to fit in these empty spaces this drama left me.

If there is something I want to talk further, I do think that the ending gave justice to the whole drama. It would have been less of an ending if they did not leave the neighborhood one by one. It is the best ending for Reply 1988.

You would be left with this itchy feeling that maybe they became better or will succeed in their lives even if apart. They followed their own paths and its okay because its part of our lives. I am glad that the director and writers let me think that way rather than otherwise.

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I do believe that Reply 1988 will forever live inside us even you become a fully grown adult. Maybe, I will always try to look back to this drama everytime a significant event will happen in my life. That is how it gave an impact on me.

Overall, Reply 1988 lete live in an era I was not able to live in and I am grateful for that.

After I finished watching this drama, I needed a week or so to think about it in between busy schedule. It felt empty having to finally finish it. No, the ending is not bad. It just felt like I was part of it and I needed to finally move on but it is hard to do so (up until now).

Do you feel the same way?

I hope you were able to reach the final part of my article. If you did, thank you for reading my thoughts on this.

Nothing ever did touch me to the core the way Reply 1988 did. This is my reply to them. I will end here or I might cry again.

Photo source: tvN

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7 thoughts on ““Reply 1988 touched me to the core” is an understatement

  1. It’s been 3yrs after I watched it and I have never really moved on from it yet. It took me 3 or 4mos before I can watch another kdrama series, as I couldn’t get myself to, thinking that nothing could satisfy me after Reply 1988. Even reading about it in this article, still makes me cry. It did left an impact in me and will continue to be, for me, the best drama series of all time.

  2. I started watching Reply 1988 this August, and I just finished it last night. I literally cried in the last 30 minutes of the series because of 1) Bora who held up all her emotions throughout the series only to pour everything out on her wedding day. 2) The sincerity and pureness of Deok Sun and Taek’s love, 3) When they move out of Ssamundong family by family, it’s like the end of an era that you can only revisit on your memory. For me it has the best ending. It’s realistic. They didn’t give you a reunion of the gang because at these times (even before the pandemic) it’s almost impossible setting up a reunion with your old friends. This drama will always have a place in my heart. It’s pure and simple in the best way. 🥺♥️

  3. It took me awhile to watch another K-Drama after watching Reply 1988 which I can so totally relate because it was my era. Never not an episode that a tear didn’t fell, both for happy and sad reasons alike. You are right, you can actually find yourself as a part of the story, you live with them. And when it ended, a part of me ended with them too. It feels like you’re not watching a K-drama at all but more of like you’re on your deep thought and you go back in time. This drama can also be related to the current universal time that we are all in now and a great reminder to us all that the most important things in life is our relationships. Reply 1988 is indeed a topnotch and will forever be timeless. 💙

    If maybe you find yourself too pre-occupied, this drama heals. Sometimes, we all just need to go back to the basics to truly feel and understand what genuine happiness and joy is all about. ❤️

  4. I’ve just finished watching Reply1988 2 days ago, and my emotions are still all over the place. This is a very well-written drama with an amazing cast. Becoz this was during my era, it brought back so many memories of my youth and everything was so relatable. The story just pulled me in and I fell in love with each character and feel so invested in all the relationships. As parents, as children, as siblings and as friends. I laughed and cried so much and at the end of it all, it leaves a warm and fuzzy feeling. This is a very heartwarming drama, with many beautiful messages that will stay on in my heart for a long time.

  5. I am partway through my second viewing of this series. This show draws you in so that you feel like you are part of the neighborhood. This is one of my favorite shows of all time because I love watching how the families support each other. The world would be a better place if everyone had the kind of support network that they provided for each other. There is so much love in this series.

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