Reply 1988/Answer Me 1988 (First Impression)

It’s finally here!!


  • Hyeri as Duk Sun
  • Ryoo Joon Yeol as Jung Hwan
  • Ko Gyung Pyo as Sun Woo
  • Park Bo Gum as Taek
  • Lee Dong Hwi as Dong Ryong


  • Korean
  • 20 episodes
  • Original run: November 6, 2015 – January 9, 2016

Quick Rundown:

It is 1988 and the Seoul Olympics is on the news with the neighborhood’s own Duk Sun selected as a picket girl. Also on that street are cool and aloof Jung Hwan whose family became rich overnight after winning the lottery; model student Sun Woo – son of widowed mom and brother to toddler sister; baduk genius Taek living with his dad; and Dong Ryong, the mischievous son of school principal. As they grow up, what kind of stories will develop? And more importantly, who is the man Duk Sun eventually marries?


Estelle’s Take

Though I was seriously burnt by its prequel Reply 1994 – not because it was badly done (well, there was rather long and overly drawn out “who’s the husband” game) but because I set sail on the wrong ship and I’m still trying to get over it – I couldn’t resist the temptation more commonly known as Reply 1988. Now that I’m 6 episodes in I feel more confident about recommending it to others. The setup is much the same with one main girl and multiple guys as prospects. After eliminating the obvious choice(s), we are left with a set of plausible options. While Reply 1997 had very limited amount of guesswork involved – the overplayed “who’s the baby daddy” scene at the hospital was even laughable at times – Reply 1994 overcompensated and nearly ruined my appetite for the series, there is hope that Reply 1988 might finally strike that balance between the two.

This is all to say I have a lot of hope in this installment, but along with all that hope is an equal amount of fear. I’m anxious that the series will introduce new story lines which may blow up in my face and leave me disappointed all over again. My cause for concern exactly? Well, Duk Sun is the only girl in this series and she is surrounded by four eligible (sort of) bachelors. So unlike in previous series where the bff gets one of the guys, therfore taking him off the chart, all four guys may remain in the race until the introduction of a secondary girl character (unlikely at this point since it’s already six in) or they get matched up with random girls like in Reply 1994. There’s a possibility that Duk Sun’s older sister may become someone’s love interest, but I really dislike her character so I’m not a fan of that idea AT ALL.


What I do like though is the new emphasis on the families. Rather than just knowing about the main lead’s family, we finally get a glimpse of what each family is like. This makes the story so much richer, but at the same time it has potential to create too many  subplots that become hard to wrap up, although I have yet to witness that.

Despite warning myself multiple times before starting this drama, I have jumped on a ship yet again. I’m hoping that I picked correctly this time and that I won’t be left crying under my sheets again. The acting is done well as always and I love the use of relatively fresh faces. I’m also always in awe of how well they dress up the set and the cast to reflect the time period. Definitely give this one a watch, you won’t regret it… unless if you ship the wrong OTP!


This & That:

  • Hyeri is a member of Korean girl band Girl’s Day. She was previously seen in Hyde Jekyll, Me. She was in a relationship with Tony An of H.O.T. in 2013 which made news due to the 16 year age gap; they broke up after 8 months together.
  • Ryoo Joon Yeol recently signed with C-JeS Entertainment after debuting in two short films last year. He debuted on the big screen with Socialphobia earlier this year. He also had a small role in The Producers, appearing in episodes 1 and 2.
  • Ko Gyung Pyo graduated from Konkuk University (where Hyeri is currently going to school) with a major in Film. He debuted on Saturday Night Live Korea in 2010 and stayed on it for the first three season. His most recent performance on TV was in Flower Boy Next Door.
  • After appearing in Cantabile Tomorrow and Coin Locker Girl in 2014, Park Bo Gum shot to stardom in I Remember You/Hello Monster earlier this year.
  • Lee Dong Hwi is a prolific actor, playing supporting characters in three movies this year – The Sound of a FlowerThe Beauty Inside and Veteran. He was also seen in Divorce Lawyer in Love with Yeon Woo Jin (Marriage, Not Dating).
  • Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa reprise their roles as mom and dad.
  • Kim Sung Kyun plays Jung Hwan’s dad who likes to crack really cheesy jokes.
  • This particular series’ premise is inspired by MBC drama Three Families Under One Roof that aired from 1986 to 1994.




8 thoughts on “Reply 1988/Answer Me 1988 (First Impression)

  1. archidisign says:

    OMG! I am watching too (or rather reading the recaps on dramabeans 😛 ) I like it so far, but I am not too invested in the husband hunting plot line this time. I don’t see any sparkles and crazy Chemistry. All the guys are really nice and I hope they will find a good match to them, if not with the female lead. The sister Bora annoys me a lot! Actually her and Hyeri’s character are a bit annoying because of their constant fights. I have a sibling and we definitely didn’t fight like that all the time and for nothing…
    This drama makes me nostalgic even if I NEVER lived in 1988 xD and makes me cry at each episode. I love the parents ark more than the kids one for now and wish parents/kids could have better understanding of each other.


  2. dee says:

    ah….another victim of Answer me 1994…….i wonder how many hearts broke over chilbongie’s heartbreak…..we should make a group or something to help us get over the pain..


  3. i hate bora too, i know she is warm inside but the way she treat dukseon is too much. i dont dare to tell this to other bcoz i found a few fans who think bora is actually cool, i seriously don’t understand them. i like junghwan very much. not fans of sunwoo to begin with so i don’t give much attention on him. this season makes me cry almost every episodes, so touching straight to my heart. its a very warm drama for the cold winter (though im in msia.. xD)
    i already ship junghwanduseon, unlike u, i was lucky for shipping the right couple last season, hope this season may heal your heartbroken.


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