27 Times We Fell In Love With Ryu Jun Yeol On “Reply 1988”

January 16, 2016 — that’s the last time we saw Ryu Jun Yeol as Kim Jung Hwan on “Reply 1988,” when the drama series broadcast its finale.

We’ve been waiting since then.

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Very very anxiously.

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Even though we caught glimpses of him during “Youth Over Flowers” in Africa (along with his “Reply” co-stars Go Kyung Pyo, Ahn Jae Hong, and Park Bo Gum), it hardly sufficed. I watched “Socialphobia” to ease the pain and then cursed not being within reach of a “Glory Day” screening.

But now, he’s coming back to K-drama screens.

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That’s right, Ryu Jun Yeol. Returning to K-drama.

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Stop whatever you’re doing.

It’s time.

In celebration of RJY’s return in the upcoming “Lucky Romance” on May 25, let’s take a look back at the show that made us fall, undeniably, completely, hopelessly, head over heels, in love, with Ryu Jun Yeol. (Warning: this article contains spoilers for “Reply 1988.”)

It’s hard to say when exactly we first fell in love with the actor in the third installment of the Reply series; there were just so many moments. Perhaps it was one of Jung Hwan’s scenes of brooding solitude. Or the admirable bromances. Or maybe it was every time he smiled. Or maybe it was a culmination of the 27 moments below by which Ryu Jun Yeol had us enamored.

1. When he stood up to bullies

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He decided to man up and get rid of the mean faces getting all up in pal Sunwoo’s grill.

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2. When he performed in Duk Seon’s talent show

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When Duk Seon’s friends break limbs during a field trip, him and the rest of the squad came through with a killer rendition of “Sobangcha’s Last Night.”

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3. When he got stuck in an alley with Duk Seon

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While trying to avoid getting caught sneaking out past curfew, Jung Hwan and Duk Seon duck into an alley to hide from the dean. Yes, it was awkward, uncomfortable, and absolutely glorious.

4. When he greeted his new Jordans

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When he waved hello to his crisp new Air Jordans. Ah, that we’d be looked upon so sweetly.

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5. When his shirt ripped open

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Duk Seon accidentally rips his shirt open while grabbing for dear life on one tortuous bus ride. Accidents happen, even onscreen. Oops, and thank you, writers.

6. When he scrubbed his face so hard his nose started bleeding

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It was the day of the tutoring session with everyone and Duk Seon. Cutest nosebleed ever.

7. When he obliged his dad with a presidential greeting

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Jung Hwan’s dad, lovable but 100 percent cheesy, does enjoy a vivacious greeting, often with Duk Seon. And we knew that Jung Hwan absolutely hated some of those Gouda tendencies. But, on this particular occasion, he indulged his father, who was feeling a bit down.

8. When he became Guardian of Vicious Bus Rides

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Protector of turbulent bus rides, Kim Jung Hwan’s your man. He’ll hold so tight his veins will pop out. You’ll be standing secure and unscathed. Take that, thrashing death traps of public transportation.

9. When he waited for Duk Seon to get home

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That’s right — somebody we know waited up.

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10. When he pretended the house was a disaster without his mother

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Things appeared to be smooth sailing while his Mom (Ra Mi Ran) was gone. A little too smooth for her liking. Jung Hwan pretends that he and the boys are absolutely useless without her.

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11. When he showed up with an umbrella and said to “come home early”

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That scene. Killed me.

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12. When he showed up for burgers

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Jung Hwan meets Duk Seon when she calls him, to her shock — and her friends’ delight. We were happy to see him, too.

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13. When he gave Duk Seon the gloves

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When Jung Hwan passes on Duk Seon’s Christmas gift via No Eul.

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14. When he told Duk Seon not to go on that blind date

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15. When he wrote in his mother’s passport

After learning that his mother doesn’t know English, he writes out the phonetic pronunciation of her name in her passport.

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16. When he “accidentally” bumped into Duk Seon’s classmate

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Duk Seon’s former classmate, whose first love was Duk Seon, gets “accidentally'” bumped into by Jung Hwan. Shameless accident, eh?

17. When he agonized over that pink shirt

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Ah, that shirt. Duk Seon gifts him with a pink shirt for his birthday, which isn’t exactly his usual style. But when Jung Bong asks him for it, he wouldn’t give it to him. It wreaks quite the damage when Jung Bong receives the exact same shirt.

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18. When he asked the bus driver to wait

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He asked the ahjusshi to wait ten seconds for Duk Seon. (In real life, driver waits for no one.)

19. When we found out he’s been carrying a picture of Duk Seon the whole time

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Jung Hwan’s had a photo of him and Duk Seon in his wallet the whole time! I know!

20. When he indulged his brother

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Jung Hwan does things for his brother that he doesn’t really want to do, like stargazing. But he loves his Hyung, so he humors him.

21. When Jung Hwan ran after Duk Seon

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When Jung Hwan sprints out of the theater to see Duk Seon, he completely abandons Dong Ryong (Lee Dong Hwi). He cursed every red light. Ah, how the heart burns – we felt it all.

22. When he snuck in a peek at Duk Seon

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He looks in on Duk Seon doing picket girl practice.

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23. When he surprised his mother for her birthday

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After realizing that his parents’ wedding photos were fake, he set up a surprise mini-wedding ceremony for his mother’s birthday.

24. When he’s there for his friends

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Instead of being quick to hit the road back to the air force base, Jung Hwan comforts a troubled Sunwoo over drinks.

25. When we saw him in uniform

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Shoot, that uniform looks good.

26. When he finally confessed (well, sort of)

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“I waited an hour by the front door every day to go to school with you in the morning. I waited every night until you came home from studying. I couldn’t sleep at all because I was worried about you. I’ve thought of nothing but you. Just you. When I ran into you by chance on the bus, and when we went to the concert, and when I got the shirt from you on my birthday, I was so happy that I thought I was crazy. I wanted to see you more than a dozen times a day. I was happy just to see you. I wanted to tell you this a long time ago. I really like you. I love you.”

We knew it was real, though he passed it off in jest.

27. Every time he smiled

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Because every time the corners of his mouth went up was enough to hit us in the heart.


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Even the ones he was trying so hard to hide.

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Sweet dreams, my fellow RJY fans.

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When did you first fall for Ryu Jun Yeol?

luckymic is a Soompi writer currently watching “Oh Hae Young Again” and anticipating the premieres of “Entourage,” “Scarlet Heart: Goryeo,” and, of course, “Lucky Romance.” She is also a screenwriter and director.

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