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Series / Answer Me Nineteen Ninety Seven

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From left to right: Joon-hee, Yoo-jung, Shi-won, Yoon-jae, Hak-chan, Sung-jae

Answer Me 1997 (응답하라 1997, Reply 1997, Answer to 1997) is a 16 episode long Korean Drama which aired on cable network tvN in 2012.

The series begins in 2012 with our heroine Sung Shi-won at her Busan high school reunion, where one couple is about to announce their marriage. A recurring plot-line is that while Shi-won is shown to be married, the identity of her husband is kept a mystery. From there, the drama skips back and forth in time between 1997 and 2012 as the cast reminisce about their high school days, following the adventures and misadventures of the extreme H.O.T fangirl Shi-won, her family, and her group of high school friends. Comedy, hijinks, and lots of heartwarming moments ensue.

This series provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Yoon Tae-woong, Yoon-jae's older, smarter, nicer brother.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: As most korean dramas perfect this trope, so does this one. Shi-won and Yoon-jae have a heartbreaking and ironically sober argument in a karaoke bar that is sure to destroy their relationship forever...until they meet up again, fall in love again, yadayadayada. All is forgiven, Happily Ever After. Love triumphs over all.
  • Brick Joke: In one of the episodes we see Yoon-jae spending some days in the hospital with a broken arm. We only learn how he got injured in the last episode. It turns out, he had used Shi-won's t-shirt signed by Tony to clean up some spilled sauce, ruining it. As retaliation, when Yoon-jae catches up to Shi-won on the way home and makes a point to apologize, Shi-Won hands him a frog, scaring him and making him take a bad fall.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Shi-won and Yoon-jae.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Shi-won beating up Yoon-jae is Played for Laughs.
  • Fandom Rivalry: In-Universe. Serious Business. An extremely fierce one is present between the fangirls of Boy Band's H.O.T and Sechskies, culminating in a face-off at the 1998 Golden Disk Awards.
  • Fangirl: Yoo-jung and most of Shi-won's classmates are this, but Shi-won herself is easily the most extreme example and at the top of the Hierarchy of fangirls.
  • First Love: A major trope since this is a coming-of-age drama. In the end, the first love pairings who stay together are Yoon-jae and Shi-won, as well as Yoo-jung and Hak-chan.
    • There is a misconception that Yoo-jung's first love was Yoon-jae, but considering how quickly she moved on to Hak-chan, this is unlikely.
  • Gilligan Cut: Yoon-Jae asserts that if then-emerging singer, Yangpa, became popular despite what he thought was a ridiculous name ("onion" in Korean), he would do naked cartwheels at the girl's high school. Cut immediately to Shirtless Scene mentioned below.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Joon-hee would rather have Yoon-jae be happy with Shi-won than have Yoon-jae to himself.
  • Love Triangle: The feels couldn't be any more real when Shi-won struggles with not only her true feelings, but also Yoon-jae and Tae-woong's proclaimed love for her.
  • Motor Mouth: Sung-jae, to the point where Shi-won's dad has to bribe him to shut up for the duration of a soccer game.
  • Shirtless Scene: Yoon-jae repeatedly, but most memorably at the end of the second episode where he tumbled around a field dressed only in his underpants.
  • Shown Their Work: The writers have put in a great deal of research into matching the technology and culture of 1997 Busan, and it shows.
  • Slash Fic: Shi-won manages to indirectly get into college because of hers. As an adult screenwriter, she admits to re-reading them and finding them atrocious.