[K-DRAMA] Answer Me 1994 (2013)

warning: may contain spoilers

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Answer Me brings another season with a whole new cast and plot.

Plot:

Answer Me 1994 depicts the lives of six college students who live together in a boarding house in Seoul. Family, love and social relationships are shown throughout while going back and forth between the 90’s and present time 2013. Na Jung, daughter of the owner of the boarding house, is being pursued by the male students. Who is her husband? Bits and pieces of information are given as they hold a get together party while reminiscing the past.

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Opinions:

One thing that I liked about this drama is that it doesn’t only focus on one year which is 1994, but it generally showed the 90’s. It touched on major events in Korea like sports specifically baseball, World Cup when Korea entered the semifinals, Asian financial crisis, etc. It showed the evolution of technology during that time when there were still pay phones and beepers, to CT phones, and then to mobile phones. It also gives emphasis on people from the countryside and how they tried to adjust living in the capital city. I’m sure many Koreans can relate to these characters as they try to correct their dialect and learn the Seoul accent, and missing their families. This drama would definitely attract a lot of viewers from the countryside. Answer 1994 really paid attention and gave these little things so much importance.

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With the success of Answer 1997, I can definitely say that 1994 was also a success. From my point of view, I enjoyed the drama as well, but not as enjoyable as 1997. I have to partly blame the number of episodes and the length of each episode. 1994 dragged a bit and it became a little boring during the middle part. 1994 really made each of the main cast members equally important as they showed their personal problems and lives. 1997 was really short with back-to-back episodes (meaning 2 episodes in 1 hour), which cuts the less necessary parts. I loved how 1997 was more direct to the point and just showing bits of a scene. I’m also a bit disappointed because I thought 1994 would focus on the pop culture during that time and also basketball. These were shown during the first few episodes but forgotten during the latter part. I still loved 1997 because it was relatable for K-pop fans like me. One thing that 1994 beats 1997 is the cast members. I really thought that the actors this time were well chosen. I’m not really familiar with most of them since they were not really popular, but I learned to like them in this drama. They weren’t really physically attractive, but their personalities and how they delivered their characters were beyond my expectations. I also felt that that the friendship and bond among the cast members in 1994 were stronger than in 1997. It feels that they were really close with each other on or off camera.

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Favorite Moments:

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1. Special appearance of Kim Min Jong! Ah! I’m just surprised that Yun Oppa (his character name in A Gentleman’s Dignity) made a surprise cameo. I didn’t know that he was so popular back then that many people would imitate his way of singing. I literally fangirl-ed over his cameo appearance. He was clumsily funny but still an attractive ahjusshi!

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2. Special appearance of Answer Me 1997 casts! I really applaud the writers for finding a way to connect the two dramas together in a creative yet funny way. It was short but it displayed each of the character’s distinct personality. It’s also one of the most memorable scenes in the drama. It made me miss the 1997 cast members so much that I want to watch that drama again.

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3. Na Jung and Trash Oppa’s “bed” scenes. Don’t take the bed scenes in a lustful way because they’re just lying on the bed hugging each other tightly. This got to be a first for a sibling relationship lying on the bed together shown on tv. It was unusual and weird but this explains their intimate and close relationship. I just found these scenes sweet and touching. Cuddle cuddle!

Characters:

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Go Ara as Sung Na Jung — I was really unfamiliar with Go Ara as I haven’t watched any of her dramas yet. Although her role as Sung Na Jung was similar to Eunji’s character in Answer Me 1997, boyish and speaking with an accent, Ara portrayed the character in a different way. Physically, she wasn’t attractive with her messy and short hair as compared to Eunji’s long straight hair. She looks strong outside, but she was actually weak and vulnerable inside. Many doubted Ara’s acting abilities, but this role proved otherwise. She delivered her lines well even if she wasn’t originally from the countryside. She did her best to learn the accent. This proved how hardworking she is.

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Jung Woo as Trash / Sseureki — This male lead is totally different from other leading men. I mean, he totally doesn’t stand out from the crowd and he looks absolutely normal. Yet, as you watch this drama, you’ll discover his unique charm. I can definitely say that funny men are attractive too. He was perfect for the role. He’s forgetful, dirty and really lived a trash-like lifestyle. He may be like that, but he’s warm and caring on the inside. Trash Oppa is a likeable character in the drama. I didn’t like him during the start, but I learned that he was dependable and also a gentleman. I totally love how Jung Woo brought Trash to life. Natural and wonderful acting! Two thumbs up!

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Yoo Yeon Seok as Chil Bong — First saw him in Gu Family Book and I didn’t like his character at all in that drama. He was ridiculously stupid. I didn’t like his character as Chil Bong either because he’s keeps trying so hard even when it’s obvious that he doesn’t have a chance. Yeon Seok portrayed his role very well though. The things that we can’t see from Trash Oppa can be seen in Chil Bong. i.e. looks and body. A Korean drama is never complete without a shower scene! I also found Yeon Seok cute off camera. Especially that last scene in epilogue 2 when he was trying to lit the candles, he accidentally blew them all. lol

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Son Ho Joon as Haitai — How I wished that he was included in one of the guys pursuing Na Jung. I mean, he was also good-looking! Great acting by Ho Joon as a friend who gives advice to Na Jung. He was also funny inside the army. I’m glad that this drama also showed the hardships inside the army through Haitai. I’d say Answer Me 1994 would never be complete without him!

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B1A4 Baro as Binggeure — He really looks like a puppy! A Korean drama wouldn’t be complete without an actor idol, don’t you also think? Baro was a cute addition to the drama. I really thought that he was the ‘Hoya’ of this season. I mean, I thought that he would secretly like Trash. I’m glad he didn’t, but just liked and respected Trash as a sunbae/senior. This was Baro’s first drama and I was really impressed with his acting. He did well in portraying a cute character. Especially loved his scenes with his sunbae and when Trash was tickling his chin like a puppy.

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Kim Sung Kyun as Samcheonpo & Min Do Hee as Jo Yoon Jin — Who would have thought that these two would end up together? Samcheonpo and Yoon Jin is the first official couple of the boarding house. The way how the two got attracted to each other is typical in a Korean drama wherein they start with bickering and fighting everyday until they fell in love with each other. I just found this two amusing to watch! Even if in real life they have a huge age gap, but it wasn’t noticeable in the drama.

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Ending (spoilers):

I have to be honest. I already knew from the first episode who Na Jung will end up with. As an avid fan of Korean dramas, I’ve already caught up with the writer’s writing. lol It was also obvious because Trash Oppa generally had a lot of scenes than the rest. I was quite surprised when Trash Oppa slept with Na Jung on the same bed at the hospital. Wasn’t he supposed to be her brother? From that point on, I was sure that he is Na Jung’s husband. It’s so abnormal for real siblings to be sleeping on the bed together. Chil Bong also has a feel of a third wheel and a pitiful guy. The rest of the guys never came into my list of possible husbands. I loved the fact that everyone ends up with someone. It was a happy ending for everyone, well except for Chil Bong. It was wrapped up nicely and I was contented with the ending.

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Soundtrack:

There are many songs played in the drama, specifically songs that were popular during the 90’s. Besides these, there’s also an official soundtrack made for this drama. “Seoul, This Place” by Roy Kim has a relaxing tune with guitar strums and drum beats. Feels like I’m walking around Seoul when listening to this song. “To You” by Sung Shi Kyung is my favourite song from this drama. After first hearing it, I immediately looked it up on the internet. It feels like a song from the 90’s. And I was right, because this song was originally from Seo Taiji and the Boys. It’s very perfect for this drama. I especially love the parts when another guy is talking/rapping. I couldn’t really explain, but you should listen to it for yourselves. It’s really unique! These two songs have left a deep impression on me. Of course for huge fans, listen to the rest of the songs!

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Final Thoughts:

Answer Me 1994 brings a lot of memories during the 90’s. It’s a wonderful drama full of laughs and tears. I loved the plot and the casts. It was a pity because it was longer than what I expected. Sure, it was only 21 episodes but because an episode aired for more than 1 hour, it became 30+ episodes. There were a few unnecessary and filler scenes which resulted to it being draggy. I loved 1997 more for this reason, but 1994 was still well-made and up to the standards. It’s still a recommendable drama for its unique setting and pacing. I also think everyone could relate to this drama, Korean citizen or not, it makes one reminisce the 90’s.

Rating: 8/10

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