K-drama Review: ‘Reply 1988’ – A Story Of Friendship, Family, And Love

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Reply 1988: The Drama That Won Every Fan’s Heart

Reply 1988 is arguably the drama that has won the hearts of every K-drama fan and every generation. It brings the warmth and the good feeling of the good old days when everything was perfect. The story revolves around the friendship and love story of 5 best friends who have to deal with school duties, romance, and family problems. Reply 1988 deservedly earned an 18.8% viewership rating and has been recorded as the fourth highest-rated K-drama aired on cable television.

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Find out about more Reply 1988 in this article below!

Reply 1988: Review

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Reply 1988 was a Korean TV series aired from November 2015 to January 2016. The drama is the third installment of the famous Reply drama series. Although unconnected, the main plot of all three series revolves around a group of friends growing up in the same neighborhood. The Reply series have received huge praise for the detailed and well-researched depiction of Korean pop culture in that era.

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Reply 1988 holds the record of 18.8% ratings on the final episode making the series the fourth highest-rated drama aired on Korean cable TV. The series also catapulted the career and popularity of all the young actors playing as neighborhood friends.

Reply 1988: Synopsis

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Reply 1988 took place from the year 1987 to 1989 and then fast-forwarded to 1995 when they became adults. The main character of the series is a high school girl, Duk-seon, who lives with her parents, older sister and younger brother. Among her friends, her family is the poorest but her parents always take care of them and give them enough attention.

The story revolves around 5 neighborhood friends who live in the Ssangmun-dong area, North of Seoul. The drama is about their friendship, love lives, and struggles to prepare for their university entrance examination. Each of them has a different background, family status, and family members.

Reply 1988: Cast

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Lee Hye-ri as Sung Duk-seon

Sung Duk-seon (Lee Hye-ri) is the second daughter of a working-class family. Duk-seon is not the brightest student in her school or not even in her class or her home, far from it. Studying is the last thing on her mind, behind trying new cosmetics, playing with neighborhood friends, and trying new fashion styles.

But, she is blessed with a cheerful personality, confidence, and warm heart. She is the mood maker and her friends love to hang out with her. Duk-seon hates her older sister because the sister gets everything: the new clothes, new bags, new shoes, while Duk-seon only gets what is left from her sister. Duk-seon is the only female student in her neighborhood.

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Ryu Jun-yeol as kim Jung-hwan

Jung-hwan (Ryu Jun-yeol) is a smart kid, the leader among students of his age in their neighborhood. He loves everything about soccer and is a good soccer player as well. Among his friends, Jung-hwan is known as a cold, blunt, and picky guy, always complaining and arguing about everything. He could be the guy that every girl student wants to date but his personality drives the girls away. Duk-seon is the only girl student who is close with him.

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Go-Kyung-pyo as Sung Sung-woo

Sung-woo (Go Kyung-pyo) is the portrait of an ideal student, handsome, smart, and a likable personality. All the teachers in school and parents in his neighborhood love him. He grew up with his widow mother and younger sister. Since he has no father, he grew up as an independent person and very helpful to his mother. Among the students of his age, he has a more mature personality. Perhaps, it was the reason that he falls in love with Duk-seon’s older sister.

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Park Bo-gum as Choi Taek

Choi Taek (Park Bo-gum) is the son of a gold shop owner. He is a genius and very talented in Baduk, Korea’s traditional chess game. At the age of only 11 years old, he became a professional Baduk player and became the world Baduk champion at the age of 13 years old. He doesn’t talk a lot and can barely do anything for himself.

Other than playing Baduk, he needs people to help and do everything for him. Choi Taek, Duk-seon, and Jung-hwan were involved in a secret triangle love story. However, his feelings towards Duk-seon were only revealed in later episodes.

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Lee Dong-hwi as Ryu Dong-ryong

Dong-ryong (Lee Dong-hwi) was born into a family of 5 boys. His parents were too busy with work and oftentimes abandoned him and his brothers. That is the reason why he craves attention. He loves the attention when he dances, sings, or makes fun of other students.

Dong-ryong acts as the information center among his friends. He knows about everything, mainly the dark information, from pretty school girls, porn videos, and movies screening in theaters. Just like Duk-seon, Dong-ryong lacks the talents in studying and he gave up studying a long time ago.

Reply 1988: Funny Scenes

It is very hard to select the funniest scenes of Reply 1988. There are tons of them and they are very hilarious. These are some compilations of the best and funniest scenes.

Jung-hwan’s family used to live in a very small house. His older brother, Jung Bong, has a problem with his heart and he failed the college entrance exam several times. Most of his father’s salary goes to Jung Bong’s treatment. On the other hand, Jung Bong has a childlike personality. He loves collecting stamps and loves playing with the little kids in the neighborhood. In order to force him to study and pay attention to his own future, Jung Bong’s mother always scolds him and hits him whenever possible. Until one day, Jung Bong bought a lottery ticket and won the first prize.

The relationship between Duk-seon and Choi-taek developed into more than just best friends after Duk-seon accompanied Choi Taek to a Baduk Competition. These scenes serve as proof that there is something special about Duk-seon and Choi-taek’s friendship.

Sun-woo kept his relationship with Duk-seon’s sister, Bora a secret. Among his friends, only Choi Taek knows about their dating status. They broke up after Sun-woo went to study at university. However, Sun-woo can’t get over his previous relationship with Bora and by accident, they meet and start dating again. In this scene, Sun-woo went to Choi Taek’s house and informed him of the good news. Little that he knew, Bora’s sister, Duk-seon and the chatty Dong-ryong were in Choi Taek’s room.

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Reply 1988: Ending

Spoiler alert! Fast forward to seven years later, all of them have moved on and now work at different places: Duk-seon works as a stewardess, Jung-hwan as a police officer, Choi Taek as a professional Baduk athlete, and Sung-woo as a doctor. Sung-woo broke up with Bora but accidentally met again through a matchmaking date.

In the end, they get married. Who is the lucky man to become Duk-seon’s husband? Is it the secret lover Jung-hwan or the attentive Choi Taek? In the end, Duk-seon chose the person that needed her the most, and was always by her side. Spoiler alert! They went to a foreign country together and Duk-seon is his manager.