Monday, December 30, 2013
Reply 1994: Ooooooookay?
Yep. That sums up my reaction to the finale. It was . . . okay.
We got to spend one last night with our 1994 crew and witnessed their tears, and loves, and noisy jubilation when Korea beat Italy that just went on and on and on. (Seriously, how long was that scene?) There were sweet callbacks to previous episodes and character interactions that made you want to go “awwwwwwwww”. I guess my dissatisfaction stems from one major flaw. But more on that later. Let’s start with the good stuff.
He’s the husband! He’s the husband!
I picked the Oppa ship early on and stuck with it, despite the heavy temptation to leap overboard by the overwhelming awesomeness that was Chilbongie. Oppa’s initial hesitation, his rival’s adorable persistence, and the out-of-nowhere overseas separation might sway a viewer’s heart back and forth. But there was one thing that never wavered. Na-jungah. In her eyes, there was only one man from start to finish. She wanted Oppa. Period. Not that I blame her. Our trashy, but affectionate medical genius pinched, and laughed, and cuddled his way into my heart, as well. They make sense together. Any other ending would have felt like a con-job, after the way the writer made Na-jung’s heart rock-solid from beginning to end.
But why does the writer hate Chilbongie?
THIS is my major beef. Did someone see Yoo Yeon-seok kick a puppy or something? It seems like the writer held a serious grudge for some unknown reason and took it out on his character. Why must our cherubic pitcher be tortured up until the last minute? Let’s recap what they put him through, shall we:
1. Drowned him in the ocean in Samcheonpo’s hometown.
2. Almost crushed his skull in a department store collapse.
3. Had an angry sunbae beat him up for protecting Na-jung.
4. Gave him a mother and father who see him once a year.
5. Packed him off to Japan, where we didn’t see him for 3 episodes!!!!!!
6. Wrecked his pitching shoulder and made him go through surgery.
7. Broke his heart over & over again as he watched Na-jungah watch Oppa.
I’ve probably forgotten something, but why should we depress ourselves. At least with such an overinflated finale, I figured we’d get to see him happy for one episode. But, nooooooooo. He spent most of it rejected, crying, alone in America, or in the hospital. *Sigh* Was it asking too much to give him longer with his own happy-ever-after girl than one scene?
One Stinkin’ Scene!
Talk about an unromantic meet-cute. I never expected Chilbongie’s true love to come in a shower of chicken wings. It was obvious this was the girl for him. Kooky accent, not overly feminine, and doesn’t seem to know he’s alive. She’s just his type. I knew the actress playing the chicken girl must be a cameo, but I didn’t recognize her. Being a drama rookie, I had to look up Jung Yoo-mi and even then I wasn’t impressed. For our dear, longsuffering Chilbongie, I wanted someone with the beauty of Kim Tae-hee, the spunk of Ha Ji-Won, and the sweetness of Moon Geun-young. But it’s really asking too much of any actress to satisfy us in ONE! STINKIN! SCENE! So bitter.
The point where I reached for a tissue
It wasn’t so much the bittersweet goodbye that choked me up. Or our ever-faithful puppy finally letting go. It was Na-jung’s speech as she hugged him. I loved her promise that she would brag like crazy to her children someday that the awesome, famous person on TV used to like her. That may be the best version of “It’s Not You, It’s Me” I’ve ever heard.
What it’s really about
Who’s the husband was never what Reply 1994 was really about. It wasn’t romance. It was family. The kind that you’re born with, and the kind that you collect along the way. I admit that I envy Na-jung. But not for the two hot guys that couldn’t live without her. (Well, not much.) I envy her that she sits with all of her adopted family almost twenty years later to reminisce about the good old days. I’ve lost touch with so many dear, college friends that I spent some of my happiest moments with. I wish it were as easy for me to call them over my house for a lazy night of reflecting. She’s one lucky lady.
Reply 1994 really was like life. Sometimes disappointing, but still filled with fun and sweetness to ease the pain. Thank you, show, for all the laughter you brought me. Kamsahamnida.