Monday, December 2, 2013

Reply 1994: The Honeymoon is Over

You know that point in a relationship, be it with a boyfriend, pal, or coworker, where things start to get on your nerves? The rose-colored glasses are off and annoying, little habits start to feel like a big deal? I think I’ve hit that phase with this show. It’s good. Really good. Sometimes Really, Really Good. But here are a few things I wish we could fix before we move forward:

It’s your turn to get the baby! 

Remember that awesome episode where Mom woke up at 3 a.m. thinking it was another Soondae craving, but it turned out she was in labor? Dad was at an away game, so all the boys ran around the house like crazed lunatics trying to get her ready. Everyone piled into their tiny sedan like it was a clown car, and when they got to the maternity ward, the only doctor available was Oppa. Talk about your hilariously awkward birth scenes. Oh, you don’t remember that? Well, neither do I. Because we never saw it! All of a sudden, Baby Joon is being rocked by a houseful of doting, hottie babysitters, and I feel cheated because we missed out on what could have been a hilarious outing. Talk about missed opportunities.

Why don’t you ever want to talk about your day? 

Did anyone else feel a split second of panic for Chilbongie when the news about the department store collapse aired? Then I remembered he must be fine, because he’s hale and hearty in 2013. But that was a tense millisecond. I thought for sure this was going to be the turning point, where Na-jung realized how much she cared for him, and Oppa was left wishing he hadn’t dragged his feet. But all we get is a tender hug in the street and never another mention. Where’s the tearful reunion with the friends who were desperately calling him? And why wasn’t he in that basement? I assume he was checking out the new Wendy’s to make sure it was worthy of his dream girl, but he never really said. Again, the show left me wanting more and feeling grumpy at not getting it.

You never know when to stop! 

Speaking of which, is there a Korean equivalent for the old cliché “Less is more”? These episodes are long, even for Dramaland. Is it really necessary to give us three separate scenes of the boys saying goodbye to their army buddy (a minor character, at best)? Yet our own beloved Haitai only gets a quick send-off from his parents. These writers need to check their priorities. The story. The acting. It’s great. But I feel like they keep pouring the pointless scenes into their metaphorical plot glass, just waiting for somebody to say when. In that case, dear writers, WHEN!

Where’s the person I fell in love with? 

Na-jung feels a little dreary lately. Thankfully, she hasn’t gone down that self-sacrificing-hide-my-feelings-noble-idiot route that so many K-heroines do. But I miss the girl that grabbed Oppa’s hair and shoved him to the ground. The girl that unabashedly screamed at basketball practices until even the players were embarrassed. She’s still strong, smart and funny. Just a little . . . limp.

You’re such a player! 

I don’t root for second leads. It’s like a rule with me, because I want a happy ending, so I’m going to back the guy that gets the girl in the end. There’s just one, little problem . . . I haven’t got a clue who that is. We’ve got two heroes who are equally wonderful, and equally flawed. Oppa’s an adoring, close-like family, first love who just happens to be a genius. But he’s also romantically slow as molasses, a little dorky, and lives in the equivalent of a trash pile. (And he smokes, which is a major turn-off for me.)

Look up tenacious in the dictionary and you might see a picture of Chilbongie. He loves Na-jung and he ain’t giving up until Kim Min-jong sings the wedding song. He takes extra hard classes to be near his crush, and rushes out with a smile when she gets a craving for Deukbokki. But we’ve just learned he is also *gasp* a dumb jock. If it isn’t about baseball or the girl, he could care less, and can’t even be bothered to prepare for an open book test.

I love these guys so much, that it almost seems impossible to be happy with the ending, because they both can’t be the guy in that 2002 video. I hope this drama doesn’t follow the Reply 1997 pattern and shove another girl for one of them in the eleventh hour. Don’t drag it out as long as your predecessor did. Give us a few episodes to get used to the new girl, so we can be convinced that she isn’t a consolation prize. Quit playing games with my heart, show!

Reply 1994 has so much going for it, but I think I’ve hit that first hill in our relationship. I know we’ll get past this, but right now I’m feeling the strain.

1 comment:

  1. I just found your blog and it's amazing! 1994 is making me sad could've done so many great things with Na Jung, but she's been so downplayed, compared to the heroine of Reply 1997. Meh, it's still a great drama.

    Thanks for your awesome posts!