Reply Me 1988 Episode 4

Korean Drama Reactions & Reviews | November 14, 2015 | 232 viewed

Director: Shin Won Ho
Writer: Lee Woo Jung
Genre: Family, Comedy, Romance
Character: Hyeri (Duk Sun), Ryoo Joon Yeol (Jung Hwan), Ko Gyung Pyo (Sun Woo) Park Bo Gum (Taek)
Release Date: 14th November, 2015
Reply Me 1988 Episode 1 [Teaser]
Reply Me 1988 Episode 4 [Review]
Reply Me 1988 Episode 4

Deok-seon wants to go to university. Her family is ambivalent about this. Which is weird to see because in the modern day this desire is so utterly banal that it barely even counts as a desire. In South Korea (and the United States too for that matter) everyone is supposed to go to college. It's not a factor that's influenced by such rational circumstances as money, career goals, or scholastic aptitude. As is usually the case with "Answer Me 1988", looking at the situation as presented in this drama mostly just makes me wonder why the world we live in today is the one that comes off weird in comparison.
It is, of course, easy to overstate this particular thematic interpretation of the drama. I'm still not sure that writer Lee Woo-jeong-I is actually intentionally writing commentary about how social norms we now take for granted would have seemed very bizarre only twenty-five years ago. Strictly speaking it's totally possible that this entire college storyline was just an excuse for that ridiculous song at midpoint. Whatever language that song is in, being able to sing it does not quality as studying.
I mean, where does she even come up with this stuff? Does Lee Woo-jeong-I hold a master's degree in pop culture studies or something? 1997 and 1994 I can understand, but how does she even know about stuff from this far back too? "Answer Me 1988" is the very definition of generational refuge most of us have completely forgotten about even if at the time these cultural trends seemed extremely obvious and important.
The flavoring of "Answer Me 1988" is so effective it's at times easy to forget the most affecting moments are the ones that don't really have much plot at all. Take Seong-gyoon. Strictly speaking Jeong-hwan is probably the main character we're supposed to pay attention to in that household, given that he's the husband candidate for Deok-seon. But Seong-gyoon's efforts to continue to be an engaging, loving husband and father in the face of his family's increasing indifference are genuinely quite sweet.
And it helps that even in these small moments of familiarity we're constantly being reminded of the weird differences. Yes, there was once a time when pork cutlet was considered exotic fancy food in South Korea. Even weirder is that they got this idea from the Japanese (!?). I would comfortably describe most jokes in "Answer Me 1988" as being either (!?) or of the more eye-rolling variey. Both of which are fine and funny by my count.

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