To Reply 1988 and to our Junghwan

I am that kind of person who gets easily affected with drama plots, characters, and ships. The Reply series has always been my favorite — they have a fresh take on storytelling, they create really lovable characters, and most of all, they show the value of family.

I guess I was one of the most excited fangirls when tvN announced they’re doing another one, Reply 1988. Even though I got heartaches from Reply 1994 because of Chillbong, I didn’t mind. I was looking forward to what the new group of friends from Ssangmundong could offer.

I know it’s not just me. We, fans of the Reply series, all instantly fell in love with Reply 1988 on its first episode. Who wouldn’t when it’s about a young girl who is yearning to feel loved by her family and an imperfect father who is willing to make up for it? The cake? The holding of hands on their way home? I swear I cried buckets of tears, but it was such a good cry.

Last night, on the airing of Reply 1988’s last episode, I was on Twitter the whole time, reading spoilers. I would usually hate doing it, but when the first few tweets I read were expressing disappointment towards the story, I wasn’t able to help myself. A few minutes later, I was frantically typing on my laptop and tweeting about my thoughts on the drama series I have loved.

Okay, I might be wrong because I haven’t really seen the whole episode and the subbed version of it. (I will update this blog post once I get to see it.) I actually hope I am wrong. I still hope it was not too disappointing. It’s possible that I was just carried away by my emotions or my bias for Ryu Jun Yeol’s character, Junghwan.

Now, let us remember why Junghwan captured our hearts.

  • The bus scene

  • How about the wall scene?

  • Practically every scene

This list will probably be too long if I enumerate ALL the times we simply knew it was Junghwan. So I looked for a video that sums up everything. I tell you, this video is EVERYTHING.

So, what are we going to do now? To be honest, I can live with the fact that Dukseon (Hyeri) didn’t end up with Junghwan. I have a history of falling for second male lead characters anyway and most of my favorite movies/dramas are about characters who do not get the typical happy ending people expect. What I cannot bear is that what Reply 1988 laid out in the first few episodes did not connect well with what happened towards the end. There was so much potential in Junghwan’s character and then that’s what he gets? It’s okay that they didn’t focus too much on the husband hunting part of the series, but still, that is not an excuse. Case in point:


I remember Dukseon teaching Taek (Park Bogum) how to curse. Foreshadowing? Maybe. However, the husband’s character is still far from Taek to be honest. There wasn’t a hint of the cute and cuddly Taek in him. As far as I can remember, it was Junghwan who has this kind of personality. He wouldn’t say nice things upfront. He would seem like he doesn’t care about Dukseon but in reality, he’s just shy or maybe suffering from low self-esteem. He likes teasing Dukseon, because that’s how he channels the strong feelings he does not know how to handle.

Or maybe that’s the point of this drama? That people change and Taek can be the sweet grumpypants that Junghwan once was? Or that we can never predict who is going to be someone’s husband just because of the qualities they possess when they were younger? I don’t know. I’m confused.

Did Junghwan loved Dukseon too much that he let her go so she can be with Taek? Aigoo, that is the most painful thing in the world. Maybe the purpose of Reply 1988 is to tell us that the one giving the greatest amount of love is not always guaranteed a happy ending. My heart breaks for Junghwan. This feeling is worse than when we were Chillbong-ed in Reply 1994.

As I’m typing this, it’s Sunday noon in the Philippines. Reply 1988 episode 19 and episode 20 with English subs will be released on Tuesday. I have to wait for two long days to be able to understand everything. Please bear with me, for this is my way of coping up with all my feelings.

To Junghwan a.k.a. Sweet Grumpypants, you will always have my heart. I believe in your character and I would even write an alternate ending for you, if only to give you justice.

To the drama’s writers and producers, until the next Reply series. I do not understand you right now but I can’t hate you too much. You gave us Junghwan and all the kids from Ssangmundong. We can’t thank you enough for the lessons every episode brought.


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