Mysterious time-traveling dramas seem to be all the rage these days on cable TV. Chicago Typewriter just started this past weekend and I literally started this drama because of the cast and the production value of the drama. I had no idea what the drama was about but already I’m intrigued.
Pyo Na Ri (Gong Hyo Jin) is a weather forecaster who dreams of becoming a news anchor. She’s also harbored a crush on her colleague, Reporter Lee Hwa Shin (Jo Jung Seok), for 3 years. The prickly Hwa Shin does harbor any romantic inclinations towards Na Ri until she meets his best friend and the chaebol heir to a luxury fashion brand, Go Jung Won (Go Kyung Pyo). Unlike Hwa Shin, Jung Won is the perfect gentleman towards Na Ri and begins to develop feelings for her.
Meanwhile, Anchor Kye Sung Sook (Lee Mi Sook) and Announcer Bang Ja Young (Park Ji Young) have always been rivals when it comes to their love life and career. Upon hearing that Sung Sook’s biological daughter and Ja Young’s step-daughter, Lee Bbal Kang (Moon Ga Young) has lost her father, they move in together. Sung Sook and Ja Young’s lives get entangled with Kim Rak (Lee Sung Jae), the building’s landlord and restaurant owner.
I’m amused that each of the Answer Me 1988 actors are similar to their characters in the drama. From Ahn Jae Hong’s 4D personality to Ryu Joon Yeol’s dry wit, I think I’m most amused by Park Bo Gum’s dopiness. Certainly this past episode showcased that to its fullest.
I have been waiting for this edition of Youth Over Flowers in Africa. Yes, in part because I loved Answer Me 1988 and don’t want to let go of it. Also, in part because the previous Youth Over Flowers in Iceland was funny but everything looked so cold and broadcasted during a really time in the States that all I could think about was being cold. So I’m really glad that we get to see them in a warmer climate, at least on the screen. Plus, I can’t get over the news reports about how the cast was basically kidnapped from their post drama vacation trip. I literally just hear Hye Ri’s laughter in that video (from the Candid Camera variety show) when she finds out the news having just returned to her work schedule from Phuket herself.
Set in 1988, Answer Me 1988 is a family drama about five families living on the same street in Ssangmundong in Northern Seoul. Like the previous AnswerMe series, the story focuses on childhood friends who grow up together.
Sung Duk Seon (Lee Hye Ri) is the middle child in her family who isn’t as smart as her older sister but is vivacious and caring. Living upstairs from her is Kim Jung Hwan (Ryu Joon Yeol) who is smart but nicknamed “Dog” for his prickly attitude. Nicknamed Doryeongnyong (Salamander), Ryu Dong Ryong (Lee Dong Hwi) is often known as the neighborhood counselor. Choi Taek (Park Bo Gum) is a genius at playing Go and plays professionally but is an idiot when it comes to everything else. The most normal out of the group is Sung Sun Woo (Go Kyung Pyo) who is smart, caring and devoted to his mom and his younger sister.
What was particularly different about this edition of the Answer Me series is that many of the stories focused on the family and the community. This format is based on the popular MBC family drama of the time, Three Families Under One Roof (한지붕세가족), that ran for 8 years in the late 80’s until the early 90’s. I actually don’t remember this drama myself but I do know that a lot of the actors that were in are still acting today. You can’t really have a great family drama without a great cast and I think what is so endearing about this cast is how great they were in assimilating into their characters that appeared on screen. I was so moved by the characters because they not only felt so familiar and real but they each portrayed multi-layer of emotions from comic to heartfelt.
A Korean remake of the Japanese drama based on the Japanese manga, the drama follows two music prodigies who attend a prestigious music college. Cha Yoo Jin (Joo Won) is an arrogant music prodigy who is not only talented at playing a number of instruments but is also audibly astute. He dreams of one day becoming a famous conductor but he’s limited by the education he can receive at his current school due to his fear of traveling abroad.
Seol Nae Il (Shim Eun Kyung) is an eccentric and lively pianist who can play music just by listening to it. Her approach to music is the polar opposite of Cha Yoo Jin and she is also limited by her fear of performing in public, preferring to use her talent to become a kindergarten teacher. As they get to know each other, they help each other step outside of their comfort zones and fulfill a bigger musical dream for themselves and their friends.
Detective Yoon Ji Wook (Cha Seung Won) is a stoic, hard-boiled detective who is not afraid to use his fists to catch criminals. Despite his masculine appearance, he struggles with his desire to become a woman. Although knee-deep in a major mob case, he makes the decision to undergo a sex change and makes plans to pack up his old life. Unfortunately, the people around Ji Wook get caught up in the conspiracy.