I admit it. When I become obsessed about something, whether it be a song, an actor, or a drama, I go a little… overboard. I listen to that song on repeat for days at a time, look up online everything I can about an actor, or re-watch scenes or episodes of a drama again and again. Fortunately, for my own sanity, it doesn’t happen too often. But tvN’s latest drama, Answer Me 1997, succeeded in doing just that.
Seeing my obsessive-compulsive behavior of watching this “little drama that could” on repeat, Mama Blue expressed concern. “Aren’t you a little too old to be obsessing over a drama about high schoolers?” she asked. But after watching the episodes herself, the skeptical, Korean mom ended up asking, “So, when are the next episodes coming out?”
Part of the reason why Answer Me 1997 hit me so personally is perhaps due to my age. The director and writer themselves admitted that they created this drama with the late 20s and early 30s people in mind as their target audience. And yet, based on my mom’s own responses, Answer Me 1997 can speak out to people of all ages.
One day, my mom called me out of the blue. “I’ve been thinking about that drama at work all day.” “Yeah?” “I figured out what was different about Answer Me 1997. The story isn’t particularly special, nor are the characters. It sounds like something that happens all the time in real life. But that’s what makes it… refreshing.”
Sechs Kies – “Couple”
2012, SEOUL- BUSAN GWANGAN HIGH SCHOOL’S 38TH CLASS ALUMNI REUNION
(Everyone watches in amazement as Siwon devours her silkworm soup dish. Yoonje tips the bowl for her so that she can get the last drop.)
Yoojung: What are you going to do if you give birth to a baby that looks like a wrinkly silkworm?
Siwon: Please! Our baby is pretty!
Yoojung (looking at the ultrasound photo): Oh, so cute! Look at its sharp nose!
Sungjae: And its narrow face… will grow up to be quite a beauty!
Joonhee: If it took after her [Siwon], it would have had a round face. What a relief that it takes after its dad! If you look closely, you can see its dad’s slanted eyes!
Yoojung: Look at its shoulders! Look at its shoulders! They’re so broad, taking after Siwon.
Hakchan: You can see something? Where are the shoulders?
Yoojung: Of course we can’t see anything! We’re just saying…
Yoojung (handing the photo to Siwon): Here you go. Take it.
Siwon: Give it to the dad.
Yoojung: Here you go, dad!
NOVEMBER 1998, BUSAN
(Taewoong is printing out a list of elementary schools across the country, when his cellphone rings.)
Taewoong: Hello? Yeah, it’s done. Start the second round.
(Yoonje’s flashback from the night before of Taewoong’s confession that he likes SIwon.)
Taewoong: I’m not joking. I like Siwon. She’s just a kid in your eyes, but not to me.
(Yoonje in his bed with his dog.)
Yoonje (to the dog): Don’t try to use your head. No matter what you do, I can’t keep you.
Taewoong: Are you sleeping? Are you playing with the dog again? Should we just raise it? It’s fine with me!
Yoonje: No. I’m giving it to someone. Going somewhere? They should be here soon.
Taewoong: I’m going out to buy some fruits. I’ve ordered the takeout from the Chinese restaurant and have the table set up. Just put out the food on the table when it gets here. And tell the deliveryman that’ll I pay him when he comes back to pick up the dishes.
Yoonje: Oh, and get some toilet paper. We’re out.
(At a local hair salon.)
Hairdresser #1: How would you like your hair?
Yoojung: Like Lee Eui Jung’s hairstyle in Three Men, Three Women.
Hairdresser #1: The lightning hair? (Note: Called so because it looks like the person was hit by a lightning.)
Hairdresser #1: Why? Does your boyfriend have bushy eyebrows? (Note: Referring to Song Seung Hun’s character in Three Men, Three Women.)
Yoojung: No! He is much better looking than Song Seung Hun!
Hairdresser #2: What about you?
Siwon: Make mine look like S.E.S. Bada’s hairstyle!
Hairdresser #2: Your hair is too long for that.
Siwon: Just the general look of that style, please!
Hairdresser #2: Okay.
(At a cosmetics store.)
Yoojung: Oh, so pretty!
Siwon: Ahjumma, can you give me that lipstick color? “Thousand Year Love!” (Note: A popular Laneige cosmetic line then endorsed by actress Kim Ji Ho.)
Yoojung: And I would like “Ice Ice Smoky.”
(Taewoong at a music store.)
Taewoong: Am I correct that H.O.T. has come out with their third album?
Clerk: Yes, you’re correct.
Taewoong: My niece asked me to buy it for her.
(At Yoonje’s place.)
The boys: Wow!
Yoonje: Let’s eat. They’re going to get cold.
Hakchan: Your brother is treating us to all this! Daebak!
Sungjae: He’s been hiding himself from us all this time. He’s really treating us big time today!
Hakchan & Sungjae: Daebak!
Joonhee: Why isn’t your brother coming? Shouldn’t he join us?
Yoonje: He went out to buy some things. He’ll be here soon. When he comes, you’re all in for a big surprise!
Hakchan: Why? You guys don’t look alike?
Yoonje: He does. Especially his eyes.
Sungjae: Then why? Why would we be surprised?
Joonhee: Is he someone we know, by any chance?
Yoonje: Oh, punk! As expected, you’re sharp! (Pets Joonhee’s behind. Joonhee smiles timidly.)
(Taewoong walks in. Everyone, but Yoonje, gets up.)
The boys: Hello!
Sungjae: We didn’t know you were coming too. (whispering to Yoonje) Why did you invite him?
Joonhee: I didn’t know you were close to Yoonje. We thought you two didn’t like each other.
Hakchan: Have a seat, teach!
Sungjae (whispering to Yoonje): He’s making us uncomfortable!
Joonhee: I’ve heard you’ve resigned. Girls are crying and complaining that there’s no joy in going to school anymore.
Taewoong: Is that right?
Sungjae: Teach! There are rumors going around that you’ve become rich. Is that true?
Taewoong: Rich? Who said that?
Sungjae: My dad is a banker. He said that the computer program you made was sold for a lot of money!
Hakchan: Yes, it’s all over the school that you made it big.
Taewoong: Really? I’m not at that level yet. But when I make a lot of money in the future, I’ll buy you guys some clothes. After all, you guys are my last disciples.
Sungjae: If you do, we’ll pay you back with utmost loyalty and passionate love!
Hakchan: Me too!
Joonhee: Me three!
Taewoong (to Hakchan): No, you can pay me back with something else.
Hakchan: Excuse me?
Taewoong: Hakchan! Bring a couple of the most hard-core, uncensored films from your collection to school tomorrow! The nights feel so long these days.
Hakchan: Excuse me? What do you mean?
Taewoong: I’ve heard it all from Yoonje. You’re the distributor, right?
(Everyone becomes silent.)
Taewoong: It’s okay to watch porn. I watched a lot myself when I was your age! You guys have it easy these days and watch them on VHS tapes, right? Back then, they were all in writing! Anyway, make sure to bring them tomorrow, Hakchan!
Hakchan: Umm, yes….
Taewoong: I’ll bring some water.
(Taewoong gets up to go to the kitchen. Yoonje is chuckling to himself.)
Hakchan (to Yoonje): Do you want me to kill you? Die!
Joonhee: Your brother is running late.
(They hear someone at the door.)
Sungjae: He’s here. He must be here. (Door opens.) Hyung!
Hakchan: That’s the “hyung?”
(It’s Siwon and Yoojung at the door, sporting their new hair.)
The girls: We’re here!
(The boys stare at the girls eating.)
Sungjae: Lee Eui Jung and Bada?
(Siwon and Yoojung nod.)
Sungjae: I should just head-butt you two. (Note: Wordplay on Bada.)
Yoonje: Did you actually pay for that?
Joonhee (looking down at his food): It… it looks good. That hairstyle is “in” these days.
Sungjae: Say it to their face.
Yoojung: How do you I look?
Hakchan: It looks good. It suits you very well.
Yoojung: Really?! Then should I sport this hair all the time from now on?
Hakchan: As you wish.
Yoojung: What the heck? What’s with the lukewarm response?
Hakchan: You… look good no matter what you do.
(Taewoong walks back in and sees the girls.)
Taewoong: Oh, my!
Yoojung: You’re here too, teach! Yoonje, did you invite him? I didn’t know that you two were so close!
Sungjae: That’s what I’m saying.
Yoojung: But Yoonje, is your brother not coming? Are we not seeing him once again today?
Joonhee: He must be running a little late.
Siwon: What are they talking about? (to Yoonje) Didn’t you tell them yet? They look the same to me. Don’t they?
Siwon: You guys are blind! (to Taewoong) Tell them!
Taewoong: I lost the right timing to tell them.
(Yoojung starts choking on her food.)
Yoonje: Should I get you a napkin?
Taewoong: Hyung will get it.
Yoonje: He’s my older brother. Yoon Taewoong.
The boys: Are you serious?
(Yoojung continues to cough, screaming for water.)
EPISODE 9: THREAD OF FATE
Dad: Honey, where’s the nail clipper?
Mom: It’s in the drawer under the television!
Dad: I can’t find it anywhere!
Mom: Look carefully. It should be there.
Dad: It must be my age, but my vision is blurry these days. I should start wearing bifocals. I can’t see anything.
(Takes out a photo.)
Dad: Oh, wow! So this is where this photo was. Junhyuk, it’s been a long time. You still look young like this, but I have grown so old now.
(A teenage boy, Dongil, is wearing a baseball uniform. The jersey says “Gwangju Jeil High School.” The boy next to him, Junhyuk, is wearing a baseball jacket, #24.)
Lee Il-hwa (Siwon’s mom, and the actual name of the actress who plays her): Stop staring at them!
Jungmi: Be quiet. If you speak in a Gyeongsangdo dialect here, they won’t give us any free refills.
Il-hwa: Why are you speaking in a Jeollado dialect? It hasn’t been that long since you moved to Gwangju.
Jungmi: Otherwise, I won’t be able to live here. Stop the talking. You see #24 there?
Il-hwa: The one that looks like a gorilla? Yeah, I see him.
Jungmi (handing a letter to Il-hwa): Give this to him. It has to be to the one wearing #24. Not the skinny one next to him!
Il-hwa: Give it to him yourself!
Jungmi: It’s embarrassing!
Il-hwa: It’s embarrassing for me too!
Jungmi: You’ll be returning to Busan once the break ends. If I get rejected, I won’t be able to live in Gwangju anymore.
Il-hwa: Must you do this?
Jungmi: Yeah. It’s love at first sight. He’s the man of my dreams!
Il-hwa: Auntie! How much is it here? (Speaking in a strong Gyeongsangdo satoori.)
(Everyone turns around to stare. The girls quickly leave.)
Junhyuk: What language was that?
Dongil: I’m the athlete, but you’re eating everything! Why, do you have a game tomorrow?
Junhyuk: I don’t have much time left till my qualification exam for the Air Force Academy. Baseball is not the only thing that requires you to be fit. You need take care of yourself to become a pilot!
Dongil: You call that taking care of yourself? Eating four servings of ramen?! How would the plane take off when you’re this fat?!
Junhyuk: (Spouting something that I can’t understand.) I’m eating. It’s so hot. (Takes off his jacket, which reveals that he is Yoon Junhyuk, Taewoong and Yoonje’s dad. Junhyuk hands the jacket to the baseball boy.) Thanks for lending me the jacket!
Dongil: You’re as big as a giant. And yet, what’s with catching a cold in the middle of summer?!
(Dongil, now wearing the #24 jacket, is walking down an alley. Il-hwa stands in his way and checks that he’s the #24 boy.)
Il-hwa (handing him the letter): This is for you.
Dongil: What is she saying?
Il-hwa: I said that this is yours.
Dongil: Are you from Japan?
Il-hwa: You don’t need to know. I said, take this! My friend says she likes you a lot. (to herself) Did his body shrink a little? What does she like about him? Anyway, I gave you the letter.
Dad (checking the fridge): There’s nothing to eat.
SIwon: Boo! Dad, do I look pretty?
Dad: Do you call that a human face? And what did you do to your head and your lips? My, my, and what’s with the single strand of hair?
Siwon: Dad, this is the key point of this look! This is the most popular hairstyle these days!
Dad: Before I chop your hair off, go and take that thing off your head!
Siwon: If I ask for $100, you’re not going to give it to me, huh?
Dad: If you chop it all off with scissors, I’ll give it to you then.
Siwon: I don’t wanna.
Dad: I hate it even more.
Joonhee (to the dog): Hi, puppy! (to Yoonje) You’re really giving him to me?
Yoonje: Yeah, it looks like you’ll raise him the best.
Joonhee: Where did you get him?
Yoonje: I bought him. I bought him to give someone, but I didn’t get to.
Yoonje: It just worked out that way. And I named him Yoonje, but you can change it as you like.
Joonhee: Yoonje? Oh now that you mention it, he looks like you. Let’s see.
Yoonje: I know. That’s why I bought him.
Joonhee: Is that right? (to the dog) Yoonje, I’ll buy you a lot of delicious things!
Yoonje: I told you to change his name!
Joonhee: I don’t want to. I like the name Yoonje.
Yoonje: You wanna die? Change his name, you crazy bastard!
Joonjee: It’s up to me. I’m off.
Yoonje: That punk!
(Taewoong’s watching Fin.K.L. performing “To My Boyfriend” on T.V.)
Taewoong: “I’m yours~~” Goodbye, S.E.S.!
(Siwon walks in.)
Taewoong: You scared me. Don’t you know how to knock?
Siwon: Knock, my foot! What were you doing? Did you hide your girlfriend in the room? (changes the channel)
Taewoong: I’m going to watch Fin.K.L. Turn it back!
Siwon: No DSP. (Note: DSP was Sech Kies and Fin.K.L’s label company. Hard-core H.O.T.’s fans refused to support anything from DSP back then.)
Siwon: And later…
Taewoong: What do you want now?
Siwon: How did you know?
Taewoong: Go ahead.
SIwon: Give me $100.
Taewoong (pointing to his wallet): Take it.
Siwon: Oppa, you’re the best. I don’t think I can live without you. (takes money from his wallet) What time are you picking me up tonight? Are you buying it for just me?
Taewoong: Yeah. You said you wanted to eat beef.
Siwon: Wow! Do you know that I love you?
Siwon: Why don’t you know? You’re my ideal type. You’re smart, handsome, tall…
Taewoong: You took a lot of money, didn’t you?
News: Yoon Taewoong developed an online site called “I LIke School” that helps you find your old classmates. “I Like School” has quickly attracted 5 million members and is becoming a hit among the younger generation. According to experts, “I Like School” is valued at $13.3 million. At the age of 27, Yoon Taewoong has caused a dot-com boom, and has even been selected among the “Top 10 Upcoming Young People of Busan.”
(Joonhee is sitting on a park bench.)
Joonhee: Yoonje, come here. Come here!
(A little girl picks up Yoonje.)
Sewon: Moongchi, where were you? Let’s not get separated ever again.
Sewon’s mom: Sewon, he’s not Moongchi.
Sewon: It is too! He has the same eyes and nose as Moongchi. It’s Moongchi!
Sewon’s mom: He looks like Moongchi, but it’s not Moongchi. He is that oppa’s dog. Sewon is a good girl, right? Let’s give him back to that oppa. Here, give him to me.
Sewon: He is Moongchi! He is our Moongchi.
(Sewon’s mom hands the dog to Joonhee.)
Sewon’s mom: It’s not. He looks like Moongchi, but it’s not him! Let’s go!
Il-hwa (at the alley): It’s yours. (to herself) What does she like about him?
Il-hwa (in front of a restaurant): It’s yours. Read it carefully!
Il-hwa (at the baseball field): It’s yours. You should write a response!
(Joonhee playing with Yoonje at the park.)
Joonhee: Oh, Yoonje. (GIving the dog a sausage.) Eat, eat! Yoonje, Yoonje. Aigoo, my Yoonje.
Sewon (calls from a distance): Moongchi! It is Moongchi! (to Joonhee) Oppa, can I hold him once?
Sewon: Moongchi. Don’t you remember me? Why can’t you recognize me?
Sewon’s mom: Sewon! Give him to me. (to Joonhee) I’m sorry. She lost her dog, Moongchi, here. Aigoo, they really do look alike. Her dad bought her a dog to treat as her younger sibling before he left on a trip. She lost it in just one week. She was so happy to have a younger sibling.
Sewon’s mom: Please understand. (She drags her daughter away.) Let’s go!
(Il-hwa’s leaving her friend’s house. Dongil is waiting outside the house.)
Dongil: Hey, there! Busan!
Dongil: Is there anyone else here?
Il-hwa: Why do you want to see me? How did you know to find me here?
Dongil (handing her a letter): My reply.
Il-hwa: Really? Jungmi will be so happy! I’ll give it to her right away!
Dongil: You don’t have to. It’s for you!
Mom (looking at the credit card bill): Is this yours?
Dad: If it’s not yours, then it must be mine.
Mom: $1,820! It’s our one month budget! How can you spend $1,820 at a time like this?
Mom: You don’t earn enough to be spending like this! I can’t believe this! Do you feel like you’ll go crazy if you don’t pick up the tab at a dinner outing? (pinches her husband)
Dad: It hurts.
(Yoonje walks in.)
Yoonje: Mother, can I have some more bean leaves? (Note: kimchi made using bean leaves.)
Dad: Yoonje, you’re here?! (to his wife) What are you doing? Yoonje wants some more bean leaves! Hurry and get him some!
Mom (to Yoonje): Was it okay? It wasn’t salty?
Yoonje: Not at all. It was just right.
Mom: Was it? Wait here just a moment. I’ll get you some bean leaves and ggodeulbbaegi too (Note: another type of kimchi). (Smacks her husband on his head as she gets up.)
(Yoonje sits next to Siwon’s dad.)
Dad: So embarrassing! I can hear the slap in my ears. Yoonje, you have to meet a quiet and amiable woman. Otherwise, you’ll end up like me.
Yoonje: Yes, sir.
Dad: What’s with the tada! You’re causing heart attacks in this household everyday! You want me to use bleach and scrub that thing off your lips!
Yoonje: Ahjussi. Her hair too!
Dad: I should just shave it all off down to her chin. I should just…!
(Mom comes to Siwon’s rescue.)
Siwon: You think I’m still a little kid. All my friends go around like this!
Dad: That silly girl! If you act like this, there’s no Seoul. You can’t go to Seoul!
Siwon: What does this have anything to do with going to Seoul?
Dad: I can’t have my daughter going around Seoul looking like a thug! Over my dead body!
Siwon: I’m not a thug!
Mom: Stop already! How can you call your own daughter a thug! She looks pretty in my eyes! Stop fighting, and come eat! Yoonje, set the table. I’ve prepared pork ribs.
Siwon: I have plans tonight.
Mom: I told you I made pork ribs.
Siwon: Taewoong oppa said he’ll buy me beef.
Mom: Are you going to keep pestering Taewoong? He’s always pulling all-nighters these days.
Siwon: I didn’t ask him. He offered to buy it for me.
Mom: Then come home right after dinner. Taewoong doesn’t have time to be meeting you.
Dad: Yoonje, when you go to Seoul, watch that girl closely. We don’t know when she’ll cause trouble.
Yoonje: She’s an adult. She’ll take care of herself.
Mom: Yoonje, set up just three spoons. Siwon is eating out with Taewoong.
Siwon: Feed my Yoonje! Got it? I’m off!
Dad: Yoonje, let’s have some pork ribs. (taking out a dog in a box.) Yoonje, doesn’t he look exactly like you. I found him at the park yesterday. His owner must have abandoned him. He was shivering by himself. Aigoo, Siwon, that girl, went crazy over him. She even named him Yoonje, saying he looks like you. She holds him tight even when asleep.
(Siwon finds Taewoong waiting outside, all cleaned up and dressed in a suit.)
Siwon: Oh, is it really you?
Taewoong: Why? It doesn’t seem like me?
Siwon: Oh, wow! You look so good! You look like Park Shin Yang from the movie The Promise.
Taewoong: Hop in. I’m hungry!
(In the car)
Taewoong: Have you seen Yoonje?
Siwon: Yeah. He’s eating pork ribs at my house. With Yoonje.
Yoonje is at the dinner table, watching “Yoonje” chewing on the rib.
Sewon: Oppa, you’re really giving him to me?
Joonhee: Raise him well. He will be a little (?).
(At the restaurant.)
Taewoong: Slow down. I’ll order you some more.
Waiter: It’s on the house. My boss is your fan.
Taewoong: Thank you!
Siwon: Oh, wow! I love this!
Taewoong: You can eat that too?
Siwon: Whenever I get a chance! You think I have a little kid’s appetite like Yoonje?
(A montage of Taewoong and Siwon’s date. He is paying at the counter when Siwon comes back from the restroom, and wipes her hands dry on his suit jacket. Next, they play a boxing arcade machine. Taewoong scores 526. Siwon scores 611.)
(Siwon and Taewoong at a restaurant… again.)
Taewoong: Soondae, please!
Siwon: Auntie, please give us liver, lung, and ears too! Give us lots!
(At a cellphone store.)
Siwon: Oppa, you’re going to buy a new cellphone? What about the one you’ve been using?
Taewoong: I wanted to buy a new one because it got old.
Salesman: This is the one endorsed by Go So Young – 016.
Taewoong: Anything else?
Salesman: Something else? “Did someone order jajangmyung? Did you order jajangmyun? You can get reception even in Marado. Power digital 017!” (Note: He’s imitating a CF series featuring Kim Guk Jin and Lee Chang Myung.)
(Taewoong shakes his head.)
Salesman: Don’t like it? Then how about… “I have two numbers. The number I give out to anyone. And a number for just that one special person. Don’t ask. You’ll get hurt.” I really got hurt. One shot 018. (Note: He’s imitating the CF series featuring Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Jung Eun.)
Taewoong: I’ll take 018.
(On the application, Taewoong applies for a couple’s phone line.)
(Back in 1968, Il-hwa opens the letter and reads, “You want to become a couple?” Sechs Kies’ hit song “Couple” plays in the background.)
Siwon: What is this?
Taewoong: My office.
Siwon: Wow, then are you the president here?
Taewoong: Yeah. I’m the president and the employee.
Siwon: By yourself?
Siwon: People say that you’re rich, but it must be hard running this all by yourself.
Taewoong: Wow, Siwon, you grew up, say something like that.
Siwon: I may seem like a kid to you, but I’m an adult too! You’re the only one who doesn’t know….
Taewoong: You think I wouldn’t know? (hands Siwon the couple phone.) It’s yours. I saved my number… under #1. Siwon, shall we date? (Background song: Bijou’s “I Love You More Than Anyone In This World” – Man, I used to love this song!)
Siwon: Must I give you an answer now?
Taewoong: No. You can take your time. Shall we go?
(Yoonje is watching the drama “Purity,” starring Ryu Shi Won and Myung Se Bin on television.)
Mom: Yoonje! You want me to make you citron rice cake?
Yoonje: No, I’m fine!
(Yoonje looks down at “Yoonje” licking his hand.)
Yoonje’s voiceover: They say that people are born with invisible red thread wrapped around their pinky.
(Siwon’s dad farts in front of his wife.)
Mom: What the heck? Didn’t you take a dump?
Dad: If I did, would I be like this?
Yoonje’s voiceover: The end of that thread is tied to the person of your destiny. But because the thread is so tangled up, it’s difficult to find its end.
(Taewoong waits for Siwon’s phone call. He spots a photo of him with Songju. He puts it away inside his desk drawer. Siwon calls Taewoong. He rushes to pick it up.)
Siwon: Oppa, it’s me.
Taewoong: Oh, Siwon?
Siwon: Yeah. Did you wait for my phone call?
Yoonje’s voiceover: The thread is tangled over and over again. As we detangle it, we will soon find ourselves facing the person of our destiny.
(Background music: Toy’s “Good Person”)
(Jungmi looks for her wallet. Junhyuk runs up and offers to pay for her meal too.)
Yoonje’s voiceover: If a red thread of fate really exists, who has the other end of my red thread?
(Yoonje and Moongchi are both playing in the park.)
Sewon: Moongchi! Moongchi! Where were you? I was looking all over for you!
Siwon: Yoonje! Yoonje! Are you going to keep wandering out by yourself?
Junhyuk: Aigoo, what a great weather! Why don’t we take a picture here?
Dongil: Who knows? We can be in-laws! Then it’ll be a real family photo! (Note: I had a difficult time understanding because of the dialect whether he said that the photo will actually be a real family photo then, or whether he said they should take a real family photo then.)
Jungmi: Two sons and two daughters. I think a double in-laws would be good too!
Il-hwa: That’s right. But we don’t know how it’ll end up. Whether they’ll pair up by age, or in a criss-cross!
Junhyuk: You never know!
Dongil: What are you doing? Smile! Smile wide!
Siwon (on the phone): Yeah. A small envelope? You mean a letter envelope? Hold on just a moment. Oppa, I’ll look for it and call you right back!
Siwon (to herself): Where could it be? He loses things so easily. (Opens the drawer and finds the photo of Taewoong with his sister.) Unni, it’s been a long time. (She sees a letter written by Songju to Taewoong.)
To Taewoong Oppa,
It’s only been 10 minutes since we said goodbye, but I miss you already. Dammit. I’ll go home first. Come see me as soon as you get done. If you’re late again from playing around with the computer, you’re gonna be dead! Oh, and I love you, oppa. Very, very much!
From your future wife and present lover… Songju.
(Yoonje comes home.)
Yoonje: What are you doing here?
Siwon: Why act surprised all of a sudden? Where have you been, coming home so late? Are you dating someone these days?
Yoonje: Stop talking nonsense, and go home. Do you know what time it is?
(Phone rings. It’s Taewoong.)
Siwon: Oh, oppa! I still haven’t found it. I checked the drawers and the bookshelves, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Yeah, I checked there too. It’s a white one, right? I’ll look for it and call you back.
(Yoonje walks in and finds it on the keyboard tray. He leaves and goes to his room. Siwon comes running after him and jumps on his back.)
Siwon: Yoon Yoonje! What would I do without you?!
Yoonje: Get down. Now.
Siwon: I don’t wanna. You’re so cute!
Yoonje: Aish! I said get down. I said I didn’t like it!
Siwon: Yoon Yoonje. I’m just playing around. Why get so mad?
Yoonje: You… Don’t do this from now on.
Siwon: Do what?
Yoonje: Watch your actions. Hyung doesn’t like things like this. What guy would?
(Yoonje walks out, leaving Siwon alone. Yoonje goes to wash his face in the bathroom.)
Yoonje: That girl! Is she stupid?
2012, SEOUL- BUSAN GWANGAN HIGH SCHOOL’S 38TH CLASS ALUMNI REUNION
(Joonhee walks back in to the restaurant.)
Joonhee: I just Eun Dokki outside.
Hakchan: Was it really Eun Dokki?
Joonhee: I’m positive.
Taewoong: Who’s Eun Dokki?
Sungjae: You don’t know? Gwangan High School’s Eun Ji Won’s fangirls – Eun Dokki and President Eun. Their names are…
Yoonje: It was something Kyungmi. Hyung, you’ll remember her once you see her. They both look like pranksters.
Taewoong: Yeah? (phone rings.) Excuse me for a minute.
Siwon (to Yoojung): Hey, it was you who called them, wasn’t it?
Yoojung: Do you know how old you are? Grow up! Why? Why don’t you go at it at each other, grabbing each other’s hair?
(Eun Dokki and President Eun walk in.)
Sungjae (to himself): There’s President Eun!
Eun Dokki: Wow, it’s been a long time, Ahnseung Buin.
Siwon: Who knew I’d meet you here like this, Eun Dokki.
Yoojung: Your boobs are even bigger than before!
Hakchan (to Yoojung): Babe, you’ll be like that too next week!
Yoojung: Hey! Take a seat! Sit!
Eun Dokki: I love you, Yoon Yoonje!
Yoojung: What are you saying? You’re a married woman!
Sungjae: It’s been a while, President Eun. Do you remember me? At one time, my heart had beat for you alone. Padam. Padam.
President Eun: My husband is coming. Shut your mouth!
Sungjae: Okay. And it will be done! Auntie, ice water here, please!
Eun Dokki: Hey, Bang Sungjae! Watch your mouth today. Her husband is a former ultimate fighter. I know cause I’ve worked with her husband for a long time. He can stand anything, but he gets furious if anyone tries to flirt with his wife. If you know any better, you should watch your mouth!
Sungjae: I didn’t say anything.
Siwon: Are you two both married?
Eun Dokki: Yeah. It’s not been too long. Oh, here they are. Honey, this way! Honey, say hi. They’re my high school classmates.
Sehyung: Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Kyungmi’s husband, Yang Sehyung. (A meta joke. Hyungbin and Kyungmi are a real-life couple.)
Everyone: Ah, yes! Hello!
Yoojung: You guys look good together.
Eun Dokki: Honey, your tie’s crooked. (Yang Sehyung leans against her.) Oh, what’s wrong? Are you feeling sick?
Sehyung: Oh, what do I do? Whenever I see you, I forget to breathe.
Eun Dokki: You scared me!
Sehyung: What’s there to be scared?!
Hyungbin: Auntie, give me a cup of cold water, please! What’s taking her so long?
Eun Dokki: Oh yes, that’s right. This is Sunah’s husband, Hyungbin. We’ve been co-workers for seven years. Say hi, Hyungbin.
Hyungbin: Yes, hello!
Hakchan: Ah, you’re the ultimate fighter?
Hyungbin: Yes. I’ve heard a lot about you from Sunah. You were H.O.T.’s fan, they were Sech Kies’ fans, and you were a bat. (Note: A “bat” is used to describe a disloyal person who switches from one team to another.)
Yoojung: They called me a bat?
Hyungbin: You look like you’d be one.
Yoojung: Hey! I was a peacemaker. A peacemaker! If it wasn’t for me, you guys would have gone bald!
Eun Dokki: When Sechs Kies disbanded, it was you who smashed Jo Young Gu’s car! I kept telling you that it wasn’t the company’s president car, but you kept insisting it was!
Hakchan: It was you who broke it?
Yoojung: Forget it. It’s true that I was a bat. How did you two meet?
Sehyung: I’m embarrassed to say it, but we met at an internet cafe.
Eun Dokki: Hyungbin and I were playing a game at an internet cafe. And he thought I was an employee there, and kept asking me to find him a seat. So I had no choice, but to give him a seat next to mine!
Hakchan: Ah, Princess Yeppy.
Eun Dokki: Yes, that’s right. But it’s so strange. I’ve been with Hyungbin for seven years, and never developed any feelings for him. But as soon as I saw him, sparks started to fly. When it comes to a man and a woman, the duration doesn’t mean a thing. Isn’t that right, Hyungbin?
Hyungbin: Yes. I fell for Sunah in just one second after seeing her dance. I’ve seen Kyungmi dance for years, but she’s totally an anesthesia! You don’t feel a single thing!
Kyungmi: Hey auntie, some water here, please! In a pitcher!
Siwon: Did you two fall in love at first sight too?
Yoojung: What did you like so much about Kyungmi?
Sehyung: I just liked everything. Well, is there any reason for liking someone?
Yoojung: How can you like everything? Face, body, personality, wealth. Of these things, can you pick one thing to tell us?
Siwon: What did you like about Eun Dokki?
Sehyung: What I liked was…
The first thing my mom said when she saw this episode was “Oh, her dad went to Gwangju Jeil High School. They’re known for their high school baseball team.”
It ‘s things like this that amazes me about this drama – how meticulous the creators were to every tiny detail. For instance, it is a well-known fact that after Sechs Kies disbanded, their fans protested in front of the DSP building. When a small group of the fans mistook reporter Jo Young Gu’s car to be DSP’s president’s car, they ended up smashing the windshield of Jo’s car. Answer Me 1997 explains that Yoojung was part of those hooligans.
The rivalry between the folks from Jeollado and the folks from Gyeongsangdo are notorious in Korea. Due to the lack of interaction between the two groups, especially in the earlier decades, it resulted in a humorous scene in the drama where Il-hwa’s strong Gyeongsangdo accent sounded so foreign to Il-hwa and he mistook it to be Japanese!
I wouldn’t be surprised if there were any other details that I may have overlooked. But that’s exactly because of how this drama so carefully weaves them into the story so discretely without taking anything away from the storytelling itself.
And finally, as a strong Yoonje-Siwon shipper, I have carefully analyzed every single word and actions said and unsaid by the characters in the reunion scenes to determine once and for all – who’s the baby’s daddy?!!! Using the illustration of the two puppies, and how Yoonje the Dog, eventually made its way back to its owner, Siwon, I think we can all rest assured that this ship is sweet sailin’! Now just enjoy the ride!