‘How could it end like that?!’ – was my initial reaction upon seeing the credits roll by the end of the 20th episode of the Kdrama series Reply 1988. It’s almost two in the morning, and there I was frustrated that my OTP didn’t end up together. How could this overly dragging series break my heart so badly?
What’s the story of “Reply 1988”?
Reply 1988 is one of the franchises of “Reply” series which revolves around a creatively woven story of a group of young friends who have found each other since childhood and have grown together until their early adult stage. The anthology currently has three seasons “Reply 1988”, “Reply 1994”, and “Reply 1997”.
The series presents the story of the five childhood friends – Duk Seon, Jung Hwan, Taek, Sun Woo, and Dong Ryong – and the struggles that came along with their teenage life up to adulthood. Because of the cinematic effect and the long hours that you have to spend per episode, the series would seem such a bore. But ultimately, you’ll fall in love with the nature of the story – real-life struggles of parents trying to work both ends for the family, crazy things done in high school, unspoken rules between friends, and love that has been left unconfessed.
Should you watch “Reply 1988”?
Despite my frustrations with the ending, I still highly recommend Reply 1988 because of how it naturally presents reality to the audience – no superbly rich boss, no abusive officials, and no overly-scripted turn of events. Being born in the 90s, the story gives such nostalgic feels of how less complicated it was to have lived such a time when there were no smartphones yet, when we would wait for a particular show to be streamed, when arcades were still booming, when love letters and mixed tapes were still a thing, and when we were so tightly-knitted with our neighbors. So nostalgic.
Living in the same neighborhood for more than a quarter of my life, I couldn’t help but recall how peaceful and fun our place was back then – when apartments didn’t mushroom all over, when we had more fruit-bearing trees to climb and a basketball court to play around, when everyone would gather together during fiestas and activity nights.
Reply 1988 brought back so many memories of childhood friends and events deemed so insignificant before. Time is truly fleeting at the same time relative – it could go too slow, too fast, or simply unnoticed when we get too busy with life. But the most tragic of all, it’s irreversible. Now the strange words of their teacher – and those people dear to us – finally make sense: This is the best time of your life. But how would all of you know? That’s right. You won’t know what I mean now.