The Random Bibliophile

by Renee Alexis

Renee Alexis
20-something Filipina, an introvert who loves young adult fiction, brush pens, Taylor Swift, and BTS. Coffee runs in my bloodstream.


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2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Renee Alexis has read 0 books toward her goal of 30 books.

Renee Reacts: Reply 1988

Hey guys! I'm back with a new post on my segment, Renee Reacts! And this time, it's a Kdrama I adore so much that up till now, I'm having withdrawals. Fair warning, this post contains so many spoilers so if you have watched it, you will know what scenes I'm referring to. But if you haven't watched it yet and are planning to, I'd recommend you not to read it as it gives away too much excitement. 😛

First of all, I'd just like to put it out there that this is by far THE BEST Korean Drama I have ever seen in my entire life! Hands down. I have never seen a kdrama that is as beautiful, as meaningful, as poignant, and as nostalgic as this one. I only have love for this one!

Reply 1988 Main Cast
photo from google

Reply 1988 is a masterpiece. It shows how simple and mundane life was back in the 80's. Back to a time when technology has not yet infiltrated the everyday scenes of our lives. How simple things like watching the television with friends or with the family is the one thing you can do to bond and pass the time. How watching a movie in the theaters is a big event and has to be planned out a week or a few days before. When smartphones were not yet invented, computers and laptops were not yet widely used, and communication was limited only to telephones and writing letters.

Reply 1988 took me back to my childhood. I watched the series feeling like I was part of the group like I was there with them and I was growing up with them. This series is so relatable in every aspect and I just can't help feeling nostalgic while I was watching it.

When they started going to college and leaving home and growing up and then started working in episode 17, it hit me hard. Oh, how time flies indeed. It reminded me of my time when I also left home for college. How the series showed how the parents felt when their children grew up made me tear up because that must have how my parents felt when I started working. The emptiness of the neighborhood without the gang gave my heart an ache I couldn't place. How the parents missed their sons and daughters was enough to make me cry a river.

Some things I love about Reply 1988:
  • The interconnected stories of each character: The staff behind this wonderful show is amazing. I love the content and how they all fit together. This series is beautifully written. Just so beautiful.
  • The closeness of the families: The friendship of the parents of each family makes my heart so warm. How they give what food they have to each other, how they comfort each other in times of grief, how they celebrate each other's success, how they took care of each other. It was everything. 
  • The relationships in the show
    • Mother-Son: Sun Woo being very close to his mom, Jung Hwan's mom always wanting to get close to her son
    • Father-Son: Choi Taek's dad always doing what's best for him, Jung Hwan's dad always telling jokes to cheer up the family
    • Father-Daughter: Bo-ra's dad always doing everything for his family and always trying to make effort to get close to Bo-ra
    • Parents: I like how the relationships between the parents in each family were also shown. Stories are made after stories and while this drama mainly tells about what happens to the kids, they didn't neglect to show what happens in the parent's point of view. I like how this show gives us the idea of how our parents think and how much effort they put in just to raise their children well. And not only do they show the parent-child relationship, they didn't forget to show the relationship between the married couples and the obstacles they had to go through during their lifetime.
    • Siblings: I like how Sun Woo loves his sister, Jin Joo, I like how Jung Hwan and Jung Bong support each other, and the love-hate relationship between Bo-ra, Duk Seon, and No-Eul were so fun and relatable to watch.
  • The story of friendship: This drama centers on the friendship of five people. How these childhood friends grew up and remained close after everything was so beautiful to watch. I love the friendship between the 4 boys, I also love how they look after the only girl in the group.
  • The neighborhood: It would be nice to be a part of their neighborhood, this was what I'd say to myself everytime I finish an episode. This drama is gold.

Reply 1988 is so much more than what meets the eyes. And the love that has blossomed with time was also what makes it so special. The love triangle between Jung Hwan, Duk Seon, and Choi Taek was a love triangle I treasured so much. I liked both boys. I liked Jung Hwan-i's secret efforts and how he only has eyes for Duk Seon-a. I like Taek-i's innocence and how he lovingly looks at Duk Seon even though she's doing the most embarrassing thing. I was just frustrated of how both boys took a step back in making a move when they learned that they liked the same girl. When Jung Hwan totally gave up on episode 18, it broke my heart. 💔😭

"Instead of worrying about who likes you, what about thinking who you really like?" - Dong Ryong

This series taught me that happily-ever-afters won't just happen just because you want them to happen. Happy endings happen the moment you want it enough that you decide to do something to get it. I mean, I was happy that Duk Seon ended up with Taek-i, that was a given in the early episodes of the show. But knowing the "how" that lead up to the present scene was heartbreaking because one person ended up being hurt.

I cried happy tears, I cried sad tears, I laughed till my tummy ached. I experienced one roller coaster ride of emotions by watching this show and this viewer experience is what makes this show incredible and successful. And writing this long post is evidence enough of how much I love this show. I have not felt something like this with other shows.

And also, I would like to commend the English soundtracks they used in this series. Everything is perfectly on cue, especially in the Jung Bong-Mi Ok scenes. 😂 I love the official soundtracks as well!

When I was watching the last episode, I didn't want it to end. But alas, everything has to end somehow and this drama ended with a touch of reality. I expected to see a big, happy reunion complete with all the families but it didn't happen. I did not expect the ending to be this sad but it somehow is a fit ending for the series as life does not go on as planned most of the time. The ending scene of how it transitioned from the future back to the past when everything was still the same in the neighborhood was bittersweet that I cried so much. Ahh, I wanna rewatch this series again...

Reply 1988 just skyrocketed my standards with Kdramas. I hope I would get to see an outstanding drama again one of these days like this one.

Youth is beautiful and should be treasured because once it has passed, you can never go back to that time again.


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