K-Drama Time Machine: Jung Eun Ji & Seo In Guk Warmed Viewers’ Hearts With Nostalgic Romance & Friendship In “Reply 1997”
Seven years ago, Reply 1997 paved the way to a nostalgic youth drama that has been so much loved by many.
Setting a lot of first for K-Drama landscape, Reply 1997 started the magic of the franchise with its guess-the-husband premise. Adding flashback scenes provided a virtual time-traveling portal for viewers, who can relate to the vibrancy of the 90s.
Title: Reply 1997
Theme: Youth, Romance, Comedy
Length: 16 Episodes
Broadcast Date: 24 July 2012 to 12 Sept 2012
Main Leads: Jung Eun Ji, Seo In Guk, Shin So Yul, Eun Ji Won, Hoya, Lee Si Eun
Highlights: Addictive romance story-telling, Engaging characters
Related Dramas: Reply 1994, Reply 1988
K-Drama land’s first delightful fan girl is Sung Shi Won from Reply 1997. Portrayed by Jung Eun Ji, her love pairing with Seo In Guk provides one of the most remarkable youth K-Dramas to date.
Reply 1997 sprints all the way to the viewers’ hearts with its vibrant characters and nostalgic premise. Along with that fan, girl foolish escapades, friendship stories and crazy first love experiences filled the intoxicating run of the first drama that will set off a successful franchise.
With relatively new actors moving in the story, the suave, wits and comic runs of the plot easily hooks even those with picky preferences.
A sweet trip to Memory Lane
At the time of its airing, K-Drama land was all out maximizing time elements in the roster of series aired that season. What set Reply 1997 apart was its nostalgic trip to everyone’s wistful memoirs.
I sighed, cried and laughed out loud as I joined the characters in their younger years. Nothing magical, mythical and supernatural, just a pure trip down to the memory lane where everyone watching can totally relate.
Spicing the flashback element, the drama switches from present to the latter part of the ‘90’s showcasing the trademark culture of that generation enjoyed. Aka the era when tamagotchi, flip-top phones and the rest of the ancestors of the current modern technology we enjoy right now in their infancy stage.
Love and Friendship stories
Watching how the love entanglements unfolded in this drama hit home in me. It made me really pensive at the time when I was not too calculative and careful when it comes to love.
The charming screenplay and story had brought out the best of the newbie artists. Evading the rom-com clichés with its novelty screenplay had made the plot a winner. Albeit trudging on a predictable feel-good-happy-ending narrative, it kept the audience invested. You know what’s going to happen, but how the events transpired were layered with sweet and comic, as well as, beautiful and realistic notes. That you grow fond watching them. Without you realizing, Reply 1997 would make you laugh and cry for its endearing message.
The familiar feeling of first love, if given another chance, could become a “fated love”. I finished the drama in one sitting owing to its engrossing story. It was just there sharing a wonderful friendship and love story without hassles and annoying conflicts. But the emotions resonated well striking all those memories that would make you recount the good old times when you first passionately and recklessly fell in love.
Additionally, the friendship circle portrayed by Seo In Guk, Jung Eun Ji, Eun Ji Won, Lee Shi Eun, Shin Seo Yul and Hoya spurred a heartwarming salve when you are having bad days. Adding it to your K-drama binge stress kit is a great advice.
A wistful memoir of that point in time when we first fell in love and formed our first friendship bond. Notably, when you finish the story, it gives you the longing of trying to go back at those times.
It also gifts lingering message of how first love through its memories, remain special – because those are moments that you can never go back.
Quick Plot Roundup
A group of high school friends sits down for a sweet reunion and reminisces their High School life. The story mainly evolves to best buddies Yoon Jae (Seo In Guk) and Shi Won (Jung Eun Ji) in their quirky friendship progressing to a secret love. Turning to a first love, it blossoms to one true love at the right time.
Shi Won, who has made other fan girls look so prim and proper, maneuvers her fan girl antics to a whole new level. From idol stalking to product buying to blood shedding because ofa fan meet camping – she takes it all. And she has it in her bossy and feisty style. Her addiction has made the people around her forcedly support her quest to be close to her idol crush. While she is doing her craziness, their high school life in the year 1997 is narrated.
Yoon Jae, who has been beside Shi Won, realized that his being protective towards his childhood friend was the result of cupid’s predestined meant-to-be-arrow of love between them. But because his brother who had devoted his life to him after their parents passed away liked the same girl, he gave up his first love.
Before they move to university life, he emotionally confessed his feelings, and vowed to forget all the love and all the friendship they shared to move on with his life. At that same night, Yoon Jae’s brother also declared his intention to be together with Shi Won, but she rejected him because she realized too late the love that had been with her all her life.
Years later, Shi Won and Yoon Jae meet again. In her all-business-let’s-not-talk-about-the details attitude, Shi Won gets straight to the point and tries to claim the offer she last denied.
ABOUT THE WRITER
abbyinhallyuland reads and sleeps a lot when she is not traveling. Her calendar reminders are mostly K-Drama broadcast schedules and birthdays of her favorite Korean actors. Promoting K-Drama watching as stress therapy is her life advocacy. She is fond of Spencer Reid, Gregory House, Kenshin Himura, Starwars saga, Haruki Murakami and Hunter x Hunter.
Recommended Korean Dramas: Reply 1988, Nine, Misaeng, Gaksital, Discovery of Love, Because This is My First Life, Descendants of the Sun, My Love from the Star, Healer, Punch, You’re Beautiful, Coffee Prince, Princess Hours, The Greatest Love, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, City Hunter, and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes.