The tvN drama ‘Answer 1997′ has put an end to their journey on last 18th, with their 16th and last episode depicting Seo In-guk and Jeong Eunji’s couplings and everyone’s memories and happiness.
The drama’s cult popularity, starting from the so-called ‘N Age’ groups to the rest of the age groups, has become a full-blown syndrome by the latter half of the drama, exceeding over 6% of viewership ratings, phenomenal event for a cable TV show, and sweeped the online boards and sites with their contents.
To the drama that cried, ‘Answer’, 2012 answered with fond memories of the day. The viewers gave their own answers to the every single line uttered in the drama. The last words of the drama, “those days, those hot and innocent days, those days that I miss the most, can you hear me? Answer me, if you can, my 90s”, still circles the ears of the viewers who laughed and cried every Tuesday.
1. ‘Warm’ drama with emphasis on ‘love’
The drama started off as comically, with Si-won, the fangirl of H.O.T, the 1st-gen idol, her ever-quarreling father (Seong Dong-il), and the ‘Erotic King’ Hak-chan (Eun Ji-won), providing much comical scenes and jokes in the show.
But the show threw off that ruse with reversals. Yoon-jae and Tae-woong being siblings, Joon-hee (Hoya of INFINITE) being a homosexual, the show carried that shock into a ‘mystery drama’. Viewers were breathless searching for Si-won’s husband, until the very end of the drama.
The viewers naturally sank into the romance, the sweet and tingling romance between Si-won and Yoon-jae. With the addition of various hues on their love, with Tae-woong’s pained past love and Tae-woong and Yoon-jae’s brotherhood, ‘Answer 1997′ succeeded in creating a focal point for everything that was put onscreen. Encompassing Yoon-jae’s stubborn love for Si-won, Si-won’s undying love for the H.O.T, Joon-hee’s unrequited feelings for Yoon-jae, and Tae-woong’s sacrifice for his baby brother, the drama depicted love, not just a romantic love between the couple, but the ‘love’ of the family, and ‘love’ of others.
2. Breaking the ‘idol prejudice’
‘Answer 1997′ was spearheaded by idols without any experiences of acting. The expectations for them was understandably low. But after the first episode, everything changed. The natural dialects of Seo In-guk and Jeong Eunji, and the rest of the casts, have done their part in breaking the ‘idol prejudice’. The latter parts of the drama also features excellent and delicate emotionality by the idol actors as well, shattering the ‘idol prejudice’ like a sledgemhammer.
Seo In-guk, Eunji of Apink, and Hoya of INFINITE has established their name as an ‘acting-dol’. As a stubborn lover of Si-won, the 1st-gen fangirl, and a homosexual boy, they have completely digested their characters, showing their possibilities as an actor. PD Shin Won-ho has thanked the actors, commenting “I really would like to thank the actors, who succeeded in placing their own color in a show that might have been seen as reckless”.
Shin So-yul and Lee Si-eon has been recognized again as well. Lee Si-eon has naturally blended into the cast as a talkative and funny joker of the gang, and Shin So-yul’s natural and lively dialects, after her latest drama ‘Deep-rooted Tree’, have caught the eyes of the viewers.
The supporting casts, with Seong Dong-il, Lee Il-hwa, and Song Jong-ho, has added their own powerful presences in the drama as well, and cameo appearances of Shin Bong-seon, Park Ji-yoon, Jeong Gyeong-mi, Lee Yoon-seok, Kim Guk-jin, and Tony Ahn has brought a fresh change in the scenes as well.
3. The ‘good ol’ days factor’ and the reminiscing of memories
“I remember!” was the words that was uttered the most by the viewers of the drama. The fandoms of the idols, video, DDR, pagers, Walkman, Hitel dial-ups were the sources of reminiscing for the viewers. The drama won the full support of the 20s and 30s, because the drama represented the ages that they remember fondly.
The viewers, in particular, marveled at “how can this drama raise so much memories?”
The drama, on top of its eventful and well-developed plot, folded in the individual stories of the characters. On top of that, they added a flourishing touch in the form of BGMs from fond memories. The viewers, completely immersed in the drama, laughed and cried and felt wit the characters. This is the reason why the drama, perhaps only intended for the 20s and 30s, could leave their mark as a nationwide phenomenon of 2012.