When 1997 Answers
“Change” by Jo Jang Hyuk (1997)
*Played in episode 13 when Shi-won told Tae-woong her heart skips for someone else.
I love “Answer Me 1997” for many reasons. First, its got the nicely balanced trifecta of writing, directing, and acting. The three parts meet each other at the center to create an assured and purposeful story. Dramas like this one are rare; the story knows where it’s going and how it wants to get there. We are carried along with the narrative and thrust deep within its heart instead of left meandering- grasping at threads that will never lead anywhere. Second, this drama not only speaks to a generation but also across generations. There is an added delight to knowing the cultural and generational references, sure, but the story is contemporary, not historical. Third, and this is a very personal reason, “Answer Me 1997” made me appreciate my parents anew.
I’ve tried over and over again the past week to write about this drama in different formats but each time I ended up crying. I cried more trying to write about this drama than when I watched the drama itself, and trust me, I cried like a baby during some episodes. Shi-won’s childhood is not my childhood- I didn’t live in Korea, I wasn’t in a fanclub, I didn’t have a best friend secretly in love with me, and I didn’t have the same warm relationship Shi-won has with her parents. But the drama doesn’t ask me to live her life; it makes me relive my own.
I think I might be in the minority about this but the relationship I care most about in the drama is Shi-won’s relationship with her parents. Then it’s the relationship between Yoon-je’s family and Shi-won’s. Then it’s the friendship between everyone. Then it’s the relationship between the brothers, and in last place, surprisingly, it is Yoon-je’s love relationship with Shi-won. Don’t get me wrong, I think they are adorable together but I will admit to rooting for Tae-woong in the beginning (I’m prone to the secondary lead syndrome 😉 ). Now with the final episodes left, I’m pretty sure that Yoon-je is Shi-won’s husband, which makes me happy. But it isn’t the love relationship that moved me to uncontrollable tears.
Episode 6 was one of the best episodes. I cried so much, I could barely open my eyes the next day.
This drama killed me with all the familial relationship. There was just so much love.
Shi-won and her dad. The best father-daughter combo.
I just love these brothers. Yoon-je looks up at Tae-woong with such adoration while Tae-woong looks at Yoon-je with such pride.
This is all I can say and write about Answer Me 1997 because I can’t cry anymore. I just wanted to get this post out before the final episodes aired so I wouldn’t feel compelled to write a comprehensive review and suffer through all the crying again. So I’m just gonna tuck this drama in a little corner of my hear and say goodbye now.
Thanks “Answer Me 1997,” for reminding me of that the little Tony An fangirl whom I thought I had left behind and forgotten, is still there, safe in my heart. Thank you “Answer Me 1997,” for reminding me that the future from 2012 is just as bright as it was from 1997. Thank you.
One day in August 2012/1997.
“H.O.T. Forever” Chatroom.
Joonni2012: Answer me, 1997.
TonyAn1997: What do you want to know?
TonyAn1997: Can you answer my question?
Joonni2012: What is it?
TonyAn1997: Are you happy?
TonyAn1997: Me too.
Joonni2012: That’s all I wanted to hear.