Reply 1988: Romances

It’s like a season for romance in eps11-12 of 1988, with our main love triangle gearing up and the other “side” characters getting hot under their collars or looking at each other with renewed interest.

1. Mama Kim + Papa Ko – the Autumnal romance


Although individually, both widow/widower are doing fairly well in their own family unit, I do hope that they get together eventually. Mama Kim may have her dependable Sun-woo, but honestly, he is still juz a kid and a half-grown man. There are many issues which he may not have the maturity (or the financial ability) to deal with. As can be seen by how Mama Kim has to keep her part time job a secret from her son. She knows he will be angry with her, but at the same time, she doesn’t have the heart to tell him directly that they are financially strapped. (since  he can’t do anything about it, and the last thing she wants is him quitting school to get a poorly paid job)


And Papa Ko does need a female presence in his house — even though he MAY cook better than Mama Kim. (heh) He is so nervous about not living up to his ideal of the Mother figure that he can only see his flaws, but never his strengths. Having Mama Kim around seems to remove his self-induced stress, and he finds himself leaning on her for small-time household responsibilities. Plus, he’s totally awesome with Jin-joo, and every little girl does need a father figure (instead of a brother-quasi-father) in her life. Especially if this father allows himself to be twirled around the finger with his hair tied in cute tiny plaits. (lol)


The main impediment to this couple’s happiness may lie with their adolescent sons. Sun-woo already shows he is rather jealous (and disturbed) with the idea of his mum falling in love with one of his best friends’ father…but he may come around to accepting it, since Bo-ra will knock some sense into him. But Taek… he isn’t really one to discuss what he feels to people. (juz see how he shrinks into himself whenever he is stressed/ loses a match) And I’m worried that those bottled up feelings may explode into him doing something crazy.

2. Bo-ra + Sun-woo — the Summer romance


Who know Bo-ra can be such a hottie under that gangster-ish appearance? It’s no secret that the entire neighbourhood is afraid of her quick temper (and her punches), but oh man…she can be demure and coy with her beau too! (and that KISS…) I suppose only Sun-woo manages to see her in that way before the others (even ourselves) realise it.


The difference in age of 3 (or 4?) years between these two isn’t an impediment. Sun-woo has shown himself to be matured beyond his years (esp after his dad’s death). And Bo-ra sometimes acts like an overgrown, petulant child who cannot control her temper. An issue which I think she is starting to realise when her student strikes end up giving her a police record that will bar her from good (read: civil service) jobs in the near future when she graduates.


Interestingly, while we had always assumed Sun-woo to be more “grown-up” than Bo-ra, when they are a couple, there’s a form of reversal. Bo-ra mellows, and instead of seeing her flailing her fists (at Duk-sun, mainly), she takes on a mentor role to Sun-woo. He, on the other hand, begins to show his age, sulking when told to study hard for his college exams (instead of dating, as he wants to), and has to be talked out of his funk when he finds his mum working behind his back.


The MAIN obstacle, imo, to their relationship is Bo-ra’s reputation as a firebrand. The neighbourhood ahjummas are all not very willing to consider her as their prospective daughter-in-law…and we are talking about Mama Kim, who thinks the world of her son. I do hope she eventually sees that Bo-ra is juz as good for Sun-woo as he is for her.

3. Duk-sun + Jung-hwan/ Taek? — the Spring romance


Omo…this is THE minefield. I will not go into the who-is-Duk-sun’s-hubby game, fyi.


In eps11/12 though, the love triangle is definitely heating up. Duk-sun starts to show interest in Jung-hwan, following her “confirmation” of his interest. Imo, I take this as puppy love. Yunno, that age where you juz kinda fall in love with every opposite sex because of a perceived “encouragement”? Prior to her loaded qns, Duk-sun hardly spared a glance towards Jung-hwan, and practically snaps at him in annoyance most times — well, he kinda deserves it, cos he loves to annoy her.


We have already seen (and verified) Jung-hwan’s one-sided crush on Duk-sun much earlier. In his case, the “trigger” is less clear — it’s like one day waking up to realise you romantically like a best friend whom you knew for years. That can happen. Thus I’m more inclined to believe his interest is more “real” than Duk-sun’s.


Same for Taek. But unlike Jung-hwan, who is juz happy to stand apart and look at his crush (or do things for her secretly), Taek surprisingly declares his interest and stakes out a “territorial claim” on Duk-sun. Ironically, his follow-up actions are either way too subtle or not caught on by Duk-sun at all. So while all the guys know he has “claimed” Duk-sun, Duk-sun still only sees him as a kid brother, while she sees Jung-hwan (who hasn’t told anyone about his crush) with romantic interest.

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