Monday, December 9, 2013

Reply 1994: Aaaargh!

This picture sums it up. Two sets of stairs. Two guys to choose from. And I’m looking around for the elevator that will get me to the top faster and put me out of my misery. Whose brilliant idea was it to make Reply 1994 twenty-one episodes long? Oh, Oppa and Chilbongie. Why do you make me want to bang my head against the floor like Yoon-jin yearning for Seotaiji's toilet seat cover? Why do you both have to be so great! I don’t think I’ve ever been so torn between two characters before. It’s bad. It’s really, really bad. So I guess that means the show is doing its job really, really good. Here’s a few ways they got it right this week:

Little things that warm your heart 

Aren’t Na-jung and Oppa adorable? They laugh, and snuggle, and make us believe that they’re meant for each other. Jung Woo is especially good at highlighting his character’s adorkable side. I loved his little dance outside the hospital after he kissed Na-jung. This actor doesn’t mind looking ridiculous, and I applaud him for it. If it weren’t for the shadow of the poor, heartbroken Chilbongie casting a pall over my happiness for them.

Little things that rip your heart to shreds 

This writer does the slow reveal really well. Remember Oppa’s gift, when we saw the box, then him putting what looked like a pillow under Na-jung’s head, and then we finally saw it was a replica of her beloved stuffed animal from childhood. Well, they did that again this week with the hat. Chilbongie gently placed his cap on Na-jung’s head to protect her from the snow, and she carelessly tossed it to the side when she got home. That seemed a little cold already. But when the camera panned over to show us her picture was still tucked in the band. Ugh. Are you trying to kill us, show.

Love is a stolen toilet bowl 

At least I can enjoy one couple with no regrets. The evolution of their romance continues to bring chuckles and warm fuzzies, sometimes simultaneously. Samcheonpo complained and grumbled about his girlfriend’s Seotaiji obsession until you would think he was ready to dump her. But the way he rushed up the stairs to lock her in her room when the news of her idol’s retirement came out. And then committed a white porcelain felony to bring her back to the land of the living. All together now . . . Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

On a totally, weird and unrelated note 

We met some wacky side characters this week. I probably laughed the hardest at poor, abused Haitai’s interaction with the screw-loose Sergeant. (Mini rant: Did they have to break up our happy little family so thoroughly? Oppa moved out. Haitai got drafted. And Bong-ah’s off to Japan for who knows how long. I miss the days when everyone was under one roof.) And Oppa’s claims-to-be-clairvoyant cousin came from way out in left field. The freaky part of the field with the rusty chain link fence and unmowed grass. Thank goodness she was played by our hilarious “Right Now” girl from Flower Boy Next Door. You know she’ll be a trip the minute you see this actress. Was she right? Is a break-up imminent for our cute Oppa-Dongsaeng couple? Considering we have six episodes to go, I think it’s safe to assume that’s a YES.

Many a tear has to fall, but it’s all in the game 

Yoonjin warned us that this baseball has a story to tell, and I bet we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. What a great fakeout to make us think Chilbongie would give it to Na-jung and then have him pass it to Oppa instead. It’s not a sweet, sentimental remembrance. It’s a challenge. (It’s really great to see such a tenacious character that isn’t afraid to repeatedly throw his pride out the window for love. But I can’t help but wonder if Chilbongie isn’t partly motivated by the challenge. We’ve seen how competitive he is in sports. Does this translate to his love life, as well?)

Right now Oppa has the ball, but how many times will it be passed back and forth before it ends up on the shelf of that Seoul apartment in 2013? Even then, we can see that our two heroes can’t ignore its meaning as they cast sheepish glances at each other. I’m glad to see their future selves hold no resentment. But there’s obviously a lot of history there. And this game is far from over.

This love triangle really messes with my enjoyment of the show. Even though I was rooting for Oppa, I can’t enjoy his romantic triumph because I feel so bad for Chilbongie. I imagine I would feel the same way, if their roles were reversed. If its predecessor Reply 1997 is any indication, this show is going to drag their struggle out to the end. But at least 1997 was only 16 episodes. 21 is just too cruel for the boys, and for the viewers. I want everyone to be happy in the end, but most especially me.

No comments:

Post a Comment