Reply 1988: A Look Back To Ssangmun-dong

The implemented Enhanced Community Quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic befuddled me on what things to squander,  which led me to hitch the bandwagons as I am confined in our house this summer.  The distinctive act is to watch SoKor Dramas which I’m fond of henceforth. A heart-decimating Korean series and more than just faux Cinderella stories with belofied actors whiter than white. One which really piqued my interest to binge-watch is Reply 1988.

[Humongous Spoiler Alert] If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly warn you to read this at your own risk this may change your mindset. Don’t get mad at me if you get spoiled.

Choi Taek’s crib © 

Reply 1988 debuted in 2015 which whirled around to five best of friends and their families living in the same neighborhood. Anticipated by Lee Hye-ri (Sung Duk-seon/Sung Soo-yeon), Go Kyung-pyo (Sung Sun-woo), Park Bo-gum (Choi Taek), Ryu Jun-yeol (Kim Jung-hwan), and Lee Dong-hwi (Ryu Dong-ryong). 

NeigThe Neighborhood ©namuismybias

Evident is the 80’s vibe which manifestly exhibited, from the production and set design as well as the fashion accent of the actors.

Watching this felt like a huge ungrudging story, rather than to give the attention constantly on the leading lady and leading man and their romantically exciting spills that revolved into it, it encompasses its emphasis also to the characters’ clique — the neighborhood which made it eccentrically astounding. Plus the ability to make even the comedic inanity or silliest sight gag indeed caught me. This enfolds a slice-of-life and reality. Yes, this story embodied diverse culture, and yet it channeled and served notable memoir of the series that strike a chord of twain realizations, happy and sad. I’m feeling disquieted right now.

AThe Ssangmun-dong Eommas (Moms)

Kim Sun-young (Sun-woo’s mother), Lee Il-hwa (Duk-seon’s mother), and Ra Mi-ran (Jung-hwan’s mother) brought the light in their homes. They gossip about veritable things at its finest, yes they do the cleaning, yes they do the cooking and eating (Kim chi, Kim chi rice, soup and stew, Bean sprouts, Stock from anchovies and seaweed, and the fancy “American noodles,” a.k.a. spaghetti), yes they do the ordering (Jjajangmyeon, Gold fish bread), and of course, they change the briquettes. Even went to a shaman together to know what their future might be. At times, they may be emotional and worn-out, but they still keep going and never quit. They always got each other’s back.

No language can ever describe the real power of how they can change the lives of their families.

BThe Ssangmun-dong Appas (Dads)

Choi Moo-sung (Taek’s father), Sung Dong-il (Duk-seon’s father), and Kim Sung-kyun (Jung-hwan’s father) stood as the pillar of their homes. The serene and very calm Moo-sung of all time but panic-stricken when it comes to the mouse. The authoritarian and gruff Dong-il who cares for family values, steals bills from Il-hwas’s wallet and loves to buy gratuitous items from strangers. And the boisterous President Kim who is very sentimental about things that he can still fix a clothes iron with only an inch of cord in it. Aigoo!

They may be different from each other with shallow things that they carry, once their families need them, there is no shoulder higher than theirs.

CParent-teacher conference

Having known that Duk-seon is infamously ranked 999th in school, and she may never have a chance to enter any university for college after talking to the adviser. “Eomma, have you given up on me?”, Duk-seon uttered and burst into tears. A heartfelt mother and daughter scene caused me to shed tears a little. Her mom may seem to be very disappointed, but she assured her that everything will be alright.

Oh, Don’t cry my Duk-seon! Always remember that your character will always define you. Aja!

DDong-ryong’s wisdom

I’ve seen Dong-ryong’s storylines for having wacky maneuvers which led me to sound a burst of rip-roaring laughter. Aside from his fart parts, he is a dancer, singer, event’s host, a heavy sleeper in the study room, and can even hear words from afar. But this side is quite special, Duk-seon was in a mood for brooding how no one feels very likable and special towards her. “Find someone you like instead of someone who likes you. Without someone else liking you, you could like someone, right?”. Upon hearing Duk-seon’s tales of woe, Dong-ryong gave that advice which picked Duk-seon’s spirit up to think for herself.

Dong-ryong really is special aside from sticking garlic clove where the sun doesn’t shine as a homeopathic remedy for his hemorrhoids. Also, I hoped that Ja-Hyun and him had a real deal. Kidding.

At the Bathhouse

This scene really gave me a heartache when Sun-woo was carried out with his emotion and wiped down his vexation and tears when he finally knew that his mom works in the bathhouse. He breaks down when he found out her mom hunched over and scrubbing the tiles. Sun-woo doesn’t know why his mom still wants to be dreadful when he himself doesn’t ask for luxurious things like he doesn’t want brand-new clothes or branded shoes. “Loving someone isn’t just the room to give. It’s a desperate need to give because you have to.” Bo-ra told this to Sun-woo for realization.

There is really nothing more valuable and impeccable than a mother’s sacrifice. And Sun-young proved that. Even the terrible cooking of eggs with stray shell pieces and the rice with stray rocks. Arasso?

FThe Blind Date

Knowing that Bo-ra will be having a blind date with someone aliased as “Garbage”, she realized that it couldn’t be Sun-woo. So it’s him, Yes! “I came for the one-percent chance that it could be you.” I’m on cloud nine when Bo-ra mentioned it.“And though it’s only a one-percent chance, if you still liked me, then couldn’t we start over?” Inner me: ( ♫ Now! All I wanna be, yeah all I ever wanna be, yeah, yeah is somebody to you ♫) “I know this sounds crazy, but I missed you.” Bo-raaaa I cannot. Sun-woo still dumbstruck.

It’s been 6 years the last time they said goodbye. Now, they meet unexpectedly the sun has set and no candle can ever replace it. Indeed, we meet people we are supposed to when the time is right.

G“First floor, not second.”

Who wouldn’t be a fan of these overzealous lovebirds. They’ve met by accident, wrote letters, and went out on dates. Jung-bong folded gazillion of origami paper cranes. But suddenly got separated for over years. Hat tips to the chatroom and the monopoly space travel card, of course Maggie’s Memories wouldn’t forget. I couldn’t resist the zeitgeist.

Fate really decided that it’s their time already. They were really meant to be together.

HPersonalized Plaque for Appa

“As your daughters, as your son, we’re sorry for not giving you a warm word, for not sharing a drink with you, for not being able to hug you first, for not saying ‘I love you,’ and for not being able to fathom the weight of the name Dad.” Well these words cut deep and it hit me, that plaque was kinda heavy seriously with a lot of pain stabbing words in my heart. I stan this security specialist in the bank with a furious eyes, that even the Go Stop famous cheater (Dong-ryong’s father) can’t past him. And then there’s the banana-dorable eater Jin-joo — I died.

On a serious note, when they have each other, they already have everything. “I realized something really big today. I thought it was all over once the petals bloomed. But once those petals open, there is another fruit that blooms.” Dong-il shared.

INow or Never

Alright, stop. So, Jung-hwan raced his car and speed up the whole way to Duk-seon, it came to the point that he’s always being stopped by the red light which forced him to delay and wait.

“But fate and timing aren’t just coincidences that find you. They’re moments like miracles, that arise out of choices made because of ardent desire. Surrender and decision, without hesitation—that is what makes timing. It wasn’t the red lights, nor the timing that was bad but the countless times I hesitated.” Jung-hwan narrated upon seeing Taek approached Duk-seon before him. ‘’Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ Even if I’ve picked the bitterest chocolate of them all, it can’t be helped. That’s the fate I chose. There’s no regretting it, crying about it, or being heartbroken about it.” He added.

So to everyone out there having adversaries, timing is really everything. Whatever you want to do or say, do it and say it now for there are only so many tomorrows. Sometimes you don’t have to prolong the agony of waiting. It maybe now or never. But, Jung-hwan is Jung-hwan, we can’t replace this sweety. Team Taeky here tho.

Note11The Confession

This one is a false hope which fooled me. So they hang-out together while waiting for Taek cause he’s on his way. Very intently, Jung-hwan says, “Deok-sun, I like you.”, then he reminisced all the memories he has in his mind and spilled to Duk-seon about all the things he did, like waiting for an hour outside their house just to go to school with her, or him patiently waiting before he go to sleep until she came home. “All I ever thought about was you.”, he added. Jung-hwan mentioned the times they ran into each other on the bus and when she gave him a pink shirt as a present for his birthday. “I’ve wanted to tell you this for a long time, I really like you. I love you.”

All of them run out of words, even me. Until Jung-hwan asked Dong-ryong “Is that good, moron? You said this was your wish.” Gosh, I’m speechless. Duk-seon just smiled not knowing what to say to that surprise. I really thought that, that was it, but it’s really not. So now what happened to Jung-hwan’s ring left on the table???

JThe Wedding

Here’s the big moment that left me with no tears to cry. As Sun-woo and Bora approached their parents to bow, Bo-ra’s already crying when she looked down and saw the tissues that Duk-seon stuffed into the backs of Appa’s shoes, and she just bursts into tears. Appa doesn’t shed even a single tear ever in front of anyone.

“I don’t know everything in your heart, but I do know that whenever you call, ‘Bora-ya,’ it’s because you want me to look at you. I know that putting side dishes on my rice means that you love me. Why did I act as if I didn’t know? That pains me the most and I’m sorry.” “Thank you. I love you. I’ll live well with Sun-woo so that you won’t worry. It may have been a one-room half-basement, but I received so much love, and even if I’m reborn I want to be reborn as your daughter. Dad, I’m sorry, and I love you.” Bo-ra’s written note for Appa.

“Never forget that from the moment you were born, you were always my most treasured gem. My daughter, I love you. I can’t thank you enough for being born as my daughter.” Dad’s written note for Bo-ra.

This father-daughter separation is surely not the end of love, it will definitely create love. This point will come to everyone’s life that someone really has to go in order to navigate his own life. Don’t worry Appa, Bo-ra will be living in front of your house tho. *Wiping off my tears*


I’m really having sepanx, how can I move on seriously? I want to put a lot of words and give credit to all the people behind this state-of-the-art. I’m in deep awe and  the feels are making it strenuous for my brain anatomy to think of how to express my feelings.

I stan all the people behind this series as it is astounding as it was. Salutation to all of them, the neighborhood who made me smitten with their characters, even grave flaws included. Plus the quotable quotes that I may apply in real life situations. This proved that no matter how hard the situation we may face as long as we have a family and friends to lean on, we can’t fall down.

Well, it doesn’t matter if we all are #TeamTaek or #TeamJungHwan, I am just so glad to witness that this drama wasn’t confined beyond boundaries and went above their limits, I was really hooked that I really have no chance to think about that there was a second lead or a main lead but all of them. I’m going to think of them and miss all so much and so their humble homes and community — the worst feeling. I’m not being sarcastic but this is really a rare show wherein friendship and family ties risen in the occasion.

The show may have ended, but I will always wonder about them. How can I start watching other films? HAHA. Fate brings them together no matter how long time separated them. So, maybe someday in the future, I may come across and I’ll ask myself how I think they’re now and guess if they’ve became a different person. I’m still trying to move on from this drama although it’s already a month since I finished watching it. I’m very shallow so give me this one. Reply 1988 will always have a special place in my heart. Mehehe (Where’s the goat in the series?)

Goodbye Ssangmun-dong! ♡




Published by

Franze Garcia

Head in the clouds. 💭

8 thoughts on “Reply 1988: A Look Back To Ssangmun-dong”

  1. I just finished watching this and my eyes are puffy from too much crying. I love the kdrama because of the good vibes, the love, the friendship and nostalgia it gives.


    1. Quarantine brought me to finally watch this Korean drama and up until now hindi pa rin ako maka-move on 😭


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