Written by: Ella Bobadilla
Disclaimer: This may contain some spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Reply 1988 is one of the three and the last part of the Reply series. It focuses on realistic matters between family and friendship.
Unlike any other known K-drama series, Reply 1988 actually went beyond the stereotypes. There’s no antagonist in this drama because every character has a story to tell — no prince charming, no kings — and romance is actually just a bonus theme.
Reply 1988 is a slow paced drama but you won’t get bored because it’s like you are watching your own family, yourself, and your past. This will touch the deepest part of your soul and makes you miss everything in your youth.
Moreover, it was in 2016 when a friend told me to watch this “good drama” but it took me a while to watch it, which I gave up easily after finishing the first episode. Maybe because I have a very different interest and outlook in life during that time— but now, because of the quarantine, I gave it another try. And I swear I was in full regret after getting hooked in episode 2.
I realized, I hated Deok Sun’s noisy family because it reminded me of my own family. And after finishing it, these thousands of realizations will not let me sleep for I don’t know how many nights. I was so hooked in this drama for I’ve seen myself in some of the characters:
At some point in my life I was Bo Ra. I was and I am always mad with the people around me, my parents, and my brother — but just like Bo Ra, I don’t know how to express my love for them in a softer way. Just like her, I do care too, I have this soft spot that will make me burst into tears. And like her, I am the eldest so I have to somehow set aside my emotions and give way for those who are more likely to be fragile in the family in letting out their emotions.
I also find myself similar to her because we can be the happiest person you’ve ever meet. Yet, behind those loud laughs and sweet smiles — insecurities and self-worth questions are hiding. Well, aside that I can also be gullible at times. I too, was once unsure of what I want to pursue in life because I have Bo Ra’s dream but with Deok Sun’s study habits.
When he noticed the changes from her mother and Jin Ju after they started getting close to Mr. Choi, I understand him. I felt the same way too when I found out about my mother hanging out with another man. But unlike Sun Woo, I still cannot accept it. How I wish, I was brave and selfless enough to accept it.
This was the character I’ve seen myself the most. During high school, I spent most of my days in my friends’ house and ate meals cooked by their mothers. I was the carefree one too, because no one looks much after me anyway. I was invisible in our own house but get noticed when I get sick, in trouble or been in an accident. Going in an empty home after a long day is my least favourite part of the day too.
This man was definitely me too, I kept losing every opportunities coming my way because I was waiting for I don’t even know what reason until I cannot have it anymore. I was once a believer of fate — accepting what I cannot have because I thought it wasn’t for me, yet it was really my fault for not trying and did nothing but to wait.
However, these characteristics not just made me seen myself but also the people that surrounds me. Deok Sun and Taek’s father is also my Dad who’s not good with words in expressing his love yet managed to show in his own, sometimes unnoticeable ways. My mother is like Dong Ryong’s — who is not present everyday but only because of me in order to have a good life. Ssangmundong squad is a reflection of my friends, whose unnoticeable way of selfless love and care are the sincerest of all.
Yet above all, this drama knocked my soul to enjoy everything I have now — that youth is not forever. Also to show my family how much I love them until we are still living together, until my parents are still alive, until I am young, and until I and my friends still have all the time to enjoy life without having any heavy responsibilities yet.
This series is a painful eye-opener to not waste any single opportunity to tell your loved ones how much you love them. Set aside those hesitations and grab every opportunity coming on your way because you might not have the chance again. Never give yourself something you would regret in the future.
Indeed, I left a part of myself in Ssangmundong that I would not want to get back. Maybe, just maybe this is the reason why I did not watch it way back 2016, because the version of me during that time won’t learn and understand what I have just learned and understand now.