It’s been two weeks since the finale of the most recent of the “Reply” series, “Reply 1988,” but I am still dealing with feelings of bittersweet closure. While I try to get over the fact that the story of these families that I had been so invested in is actually over, I have been thinking about why I love the “Reply” series so much. As these are three K-dramas of the same name in different years, there’s no denying that there are similarities among them, in things that we’ve all come to know and love.
In each of the “Reply” series, we follow a group of young students who have found each other either during childhood or by some means of fate living in proximity of each other. They’re best friends, have seen each other’s best and worst, and are there for each other through thick and thin. Most impressively, they’re still in touch and remain good friends into their adulthood.
We have the students, and we have their parents. Most representatively, Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa have played the main girl’s parents in all three series. They have showcased amazing chemistry for a married couple of many years, ranging from comical screaming fights, heart-wrenching sacrifices, and heartwarming unconditional support for their children. It definitely would not be a “Reply” drama without these two faces.
K-dramas are never satisfied with telling just one love story. It’s only exciting and dramatic when it involves more than one potential relationship. The “Reply” series is no different, and because the core of these dramas it to find the husband for the main girl, the side-couple always ends up together first. It adds a little spice and romance into the equation before you get really pulled into the main couple!
Despite everything I just said, I stand by the fact that the reason we love the “Reply” series so much is because it’s real. The people are real, the plot is real, the struggles are real, and the stories are real. There are no chaebols anywhere, no crazy mother-in-laws, no amnesia, no birth or family secrets, no unexplainable supernatural powers. These are simply real people with real jobs, real family fights, real friendships, and real development of romantic relationships.
The nostalgia is also real. Covering everything from the World Cup and the Olympics to the IMF Crisis, the turn of the millenium, and other significant events, viewers who actually experienced these memorable moments can think back and relate to those moments from their own lives. In fact, my friends and I are hoping for a “Reply 2010” in the distant… distant future.
“Reply 1988” especially had great success with their OST full of remakes. However, “Reply 1997” and “Reply 1994” also had very popular songs. Take a few minutes and drown in the nostalgia with the songs below.
As all of these groups consist of one or two girls and many more boys, each of the “Reply” series embarks on a quest to find that one girl’s husband.
Guessing who the husband is — and rooting for one of the guys — is one of my favorite things about watching a “Reply” series.
So how are you coping with the end of the beloved “Reply 1988”? Which one was your favorite out of the three?
hearteu is a Soompi feature writer who loves K-drama binge-watching but could not find the time to binge-watch both “Reply 1997” and “Reply 1994” before writing this article. Therefore, she apologizes if she made any mistakes on facts about those two dramas. Her latest obsessions are white chocolate macadamia cookies, “Cheese in the Trap,” and Park Bo Gum.