What does it mean to be part of a community? While the characters of Answer Me 1988 may not be your age, and many of us may have not grown up in Seoul, they create a close-knit community that inspires nostalgia for a time when kids played together in each others’ houses all over the neighborhood and the watchful eyes of parents up and down the block. And all that denim!

These first two episodes of the newest Answer Me series unfolds, we are introduced to friendships, marriages, sisters and brothers that make up the ties that bind the neighborhood in Dobong district, northern Seoul. Join Tiara, Wendilynn, and me, Kate, as we make ourselves at home and discuss the first two episodes of Answer Me 1988. Just don’t make us eat Sun Woo’s lunch!


Watch the premiere:

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Tiara: Welcome to the year of 1988. The one thing about the Answer Me series is it really puts you back into the year. The drama has the feel of the 80s right off the bat. This time round there isn’t just your core group of friends with Mom & Dad. Nope, we’re acquainted with a ton of new parents and siblings. No dead brother or sister this time round. 1988 is really bringing this sensation of family with each character, but also with the community of neighbors. How do you feel about reliving 1988 so far ladies?

Kate: I was just thinking about how funny it was that the show was making me so nostalgic for that time, even though I imagine there are a lot of differences between Seoul in 1988 and the Midwest in 1988. But like Deok-sun, I too remember lots of denim and loving New Kids on the Block (I was a Joey fan, btw). The amount of new characters to get to know so quickly was a little bit dizzying in the first episode. I was getting the hang of it by the second one though, I think. Not enough to have developed a favorite for Deok-sun’s future husband yet!

Wendilynn: I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one having flashbacks. My bias was Jonathan.

Tiara: OMG, I loved New Kids on the Block. My favorite song of theirs is still “Please Don’t Go Girl”? (Totally a fan of Joey too) Alright, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Who is Deok Sun’s future husband? Foremost, I’m glad older actors are portraying the characters in present day. I would’ve laughed seeing Hyeri trying to play 40s. It makes trying to figure out who the husband is a tad more difficult and I like this a great deal. The dumb camera shot to “hide” the husband was clever in 97, annoying in 94. It looks like the two in the running for Husband is Sun Woo and Jung Hwan. I’m placing my bet down, I think it’s Jung Hwan.

 

Wendilynn: That was a neat touch to the husband schtick. We got to see his grumpy self, but he wasn’t named, so we don’t know who he is. I also am leaning Jung Hwan, myself. Of course, he smokes, so who picks up the habit? lol

Kate: I wouldn’t rule out Taek yet either at this juncture. He seemed sweet on Deok Sun as well. That doesn’t mean I’m not annoyed that the show is doing the husband mystery game again. Hopefully they will have taken some cues from Samcheonpo and Do-Hee’s adorable romance from Answer Me 1994 and let the mystery last a shorter time rather than a longer one. The audience knew they were getting married fairly early on in the series, and watching their growing romance was still a great story.

Tiara: I want to adopt Taek. I love how all the parents call him either son-in-law or son. Ha! He’s quiet, but the moment with Deok Sun’s dad just was amazing. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I enjoyed seeing how he became apart of the group. It’s funny years later nothing has really changed. All the other kids just consider him one of them despite his famous statue. The connection between the boys is a highlight. Sun Woo and Jung Hwan’s bromance is definitely something I can’t wait to see explore as they get older.

Wendilynn: Park Bo Gum is one of the two reasons I wanted to see this. His character Taek is adorable. It was so awesome that even though they knew Taek was winning all this money, he was just Taek to them. They joked with him, they mauled him, mind you, when Deok Sun patted his behind, I had to watch twice just to make sure that was really his butt she touched. lol

Kate: Speaking of favorite connections, Deok Sun and Mr. Kim (Jung Hwan’s dad) is my favorite relationship so far. They both have this cheesy sense of humor, and they’re both just sweet dopey characters. Every time they run into one another you can see how well they just get one another. Mr. Kim’s family don’t like his jokes at all, and even though the Sung family loves Deok Sun, she seems to get lost in the shuffle a little bit. I definitely can be convinced she married into his family just to have him as a father-in-law.

Tiara: Mr. Kim is pretty fantastic. Someone who’s been in the Answer Me series, he’s not playing a grownup version of Samcheonpo. He has a misplaced sense of humor, but Deok Sun finds it charming. I enjoy the scenes between these two and look forward to more of them. However, It’s an interesting family dynamic between father and son. Can we talk about our favorite ahjummas?

Kate: The perms, the gossip, the competition between them over their children. What’s not to like? Still, Mr. Sung isn’t too excited to be the focus of discussion. I’m pretty sure that he was embarrassed to have his, shall we say, marital relations as the topic of discussion and laughter among the neighborhood women. Other than Mrs. Sung (who has a place in my heart due to the earlier series) I say so far my favorite is Sun Woo’s mom, purely out of her sweet concern and effort to provide Sun Woo with a father figure to help him learn to shave.

Wendilynn: Wives have been gossiping about their husband’s bedroom skills since forever. That’s nothing new. lol

Tiara: I can’t say I blame Dad for not wanting to be the subject of their gossip. No one wants their manhood or lack of one to be on exhibit. Sun Woo’s mom worried her son got hurt because he was with the wrong crowd, was endearing to witness how much her care. Yet, I don’t understand how can he “hang out” with the wrong crowd when the other 4 kids are the crowd. Jung Hwan’s mom wants to be a part of her son’s life, but he’s at that teenage stage in life where parents just don’t understand. It was a moment of triumph for his mom when he told her about first place and getting him new shoes. They are such a great group of moms. Unless you throw an older daughter's name Bo Ra. It must be the middle child in me, but I can’t stand Unni. Am I the only one here?

Wendilynn: Bo Ra is psycho. They did let us see that she has a human side, but she clearly doesn’t want anyone to know. Her parents really should have stepped in, that was too much when she was constantly pulling her hair.

Kate: I was happy to see /a/ sister after so many realistic, funny and touching brother-brother and brother-sister moments in the earlier series, but so far, other during that moment in the bus on the way to Grandma’s funeral, Bo Ra is leaving me cold. I’m willing to wait on her a bit though. Maybe it’s the older sister in me? Hopefully we’ll get a little more of Deok Sun’s female friends as well. All of these mostly male crowds our female leads hang out with are all right, and I love me some bromance, but girl BFFs really add to the show as well. It was neat to see Hyeri’s castmate Lee Min Ji from last year’s Detectives of Seonam Girls’ High School in the mix as one of Deok Sun’s friends.

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Tiara: What little of Deok Sun’s BFFs, we saw had me going down memory lane by playing MASH or reading young adult romance stories. Heck, I’m still a sucker for a good romance. I’m looking at you KDramas. I’m with you Kate. I’m trusting this is something we get to explore in the coming episodes.

Wendilynn: I was a little disappointed they didn’t play MASH. LOL, that game was obsessive when we were kids.

Kate: Probably one of the biggest themes that occur overall in the Answer Me series deals with what it means to grow up. I think they’ve done a good job starting that with our Taek and Sun Woo, the one character missing his mother and the other his father. Both have taken on a lot of responsibility early on because of this, while their other friends are still able to enjoy their remaining immaturity. Of course, I don’t want our characters to go through tough times, but we all know it’s a part of life and dealing with them a part of growing up. Even Mr. Sung was still learning these lessons as he coped with the fresh loss of his mother and looked to Taek for answers.

Wendilynn: The narration is a nice touch. I love the little realizations that come after a difficult scene. The scenes of how these kids work to keep their families happy really tugged on my heart strings as you see them take their early steps into adulthood.

Tiara: Growing up to be an adult sucks, but it’s life. The problems between Bo Ra and Deok Sun will fade with time. Heck, there’s a good chance those two will become the best of friends as time passes. The time of being children and teenagers will become a thing of the past. It will be a fun ride to see how our community of neighbors will grow and change as they say goodbye to the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s into present day.

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Will Bo Ra and Deok Sun become friends as well as sisters? Who is Deok Sun’s first love? Her husband? What new joys, pains, and responsibilities will greet our neighbors in next week’s episodes? Let us know in the comments.

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For more from your Answer Me 1988 drama club look for us at:

Wendilynn:As the Kimchi Turns |Facebook |Google+ |DF video drama club | Past Drama Clubs

Tiara: Aja-Villa.tumblr | Aja-Villa.blog | Past Drama Clubs |

Kate: DF profile |Past DC Orange Marmalade