TvN′s Reply 1997 concluded its trip to the past and came to a close on September 18 with its 16th episode. The drama that started off with Si Won (Jung Eun Ji), a hard-core fan of H.O.T., ventured into the genres of romance, mystery and comedy, leaving its trail in the hearts of its many viewers.
Si Won drew attention not only with her fan antics, but also with her present-day job. After writing fan fiction using her star H.O.T. in her high school days, she finds a way to use her skills to help her with her college admissions. In the end she makes it into Dongguk University, which her beloved Tony oppa (big brother) attends. Time passes after that and in the year 2012, Si Won is shown as a scriptwriter who has been in the industry for 10 years.
Reply 1997 not only talked about love and nostalgia, but also the difficulties scriptwriters had to pull through.
Writer Lee Woo Jung of Reply 1997 is one of the biggest writers in the scene, as she previously headed KBS2′s Happy Sunday as its main writer and left behind such big hit sections as Qualifications of Men and 1 Night, 2 Days. Hidden behind these successes were her efforts, and of course her sufferings, which she probably wanted to talk about in the drama.
Si Won′s story represented the things scriptwriters like her had to go through.
Case 1. 10 years in the scene, but still a suckup
The first episode, ′Eighteen′, started off with Si Won′s narration as she made her way to a high school reunion. She had been accepted into college with her skills in fan fiction, and so her job as a scriptwriter seemed to be the perfect job for her. Reality of course proved to be completely different, but she didn′t think it was too bad.
“It′s been 10 years since I′ve worked as a scriptwriter. I thought I would write all day since I′m a writer, but I′m actually a beggar that has to beg all day. Of course I write sometimes; if you can call writing ′two hammer balloons, different sized pots′ on a request for props actual ′writing′, then I′m the biggest writer out there. Today, however, was a day I again had to show off my talent in sucking up. I don′t hate my life, it′s just that it annoys me sometimes. In times like this sometimes the little things encourage me, like this one song. If my body can′t leave, at least my soul should.”
Case 2. Sudden schedule changes
A CEO who was supposed to attend Si Won′s show′s college admissions special suddenly cancelled his schedule. This was a scene that appeared in episode 15. Si Won′s senior writer continued to complain to and blame the person on the phone, providing a glimpse into the difficulties scriptwriters had to face.
Fortunately, there was a replacement. Justice Yoon Yoon Jae (Seo In Guk), Si Won′s lover, took the CEO′s place in the show and boasted his ties with Si Won.
“This is just too much, what do you think broadcasting is? You can′t cancel on the day of the broadcast. This doesn′t make any sense. The high school seniors are all already in the studio, do you want to see me get fired? See here, Mr. Cho, if you had at least told us yesterday, we would′ve gotten another person to appear on the show. You can′t do this to us now, this isn′t right. What? What do you mean I could be the one to talk at the special? This isn′t that good a job for kids. You think they′ll want to be a scriptwriter like me who always has to go through stuff like this?”
Case 3. How much are scriptwriters paid?
In episode 14, Si Won′s father (Sung Dong Il) is shown talking about the money he received from his daughter over the phone. He thought he would get a million won, but was taken aback as instead he got 100,000.
Dong Il′s comments show the poor conditions scriptwriters have to put up with. It also showed what scriptwriters have to endure to provide high-quality content to their viewers.
“Once Tae Woong becomes president, he should increase the wages of scriptwriters in broadcast, and Yoon Jae, you should fix the law so that scriptwriters can go home, or at least not work on holidays!”
While Reply 1997 has shared many a meaningful message, it′s likely that this one hit especially close to home. Reply 1997 ended on a high, breaking 7 percent in ratings, the highest ever for a cable drama.
Photo credit: tvN (Star News)