Answer Me 1997: Episode 16 (Final)

My heaaaaart huuuurrrtsssss.  Waaaaaaaiiillllll~~  Sniffle sniffle.  Aaaaauuuuggghhhh.

I was stumbling all over myself this morning to scour the Korean search engines for Answer Me 1997 news, and I literally cackled  in glee (yes, I gots meself a great cackle) as soon as the episode finished downloading.  (Thank you SO MUCH, semi-fly, for ALL of your awesomeamaztasticness!!!!)  I devoured the episode and went screaming all around the house as I busily got ready to head out for the day.  It’s hard stuff, you know, hopping in and out of the shower and pulling on clothes and slapping on makeup, all while keeping one eye on the TV.  Sigh.  Wish I were a guy at times like these.

But yes, I was SO EXCITED for the episode, and I was SO EXCITED to put up the recap and share in the madness with y’all.  And then…  I sat down to write… and I just can’t doooo iiiittttt!  Sooooob.  I literally feel an ache in my chest.  And I’ve got a bit of a pet peeve with the misuse of “literally”, so I do mean literally.  It’s a dull ache.

If I don’t write this recap, then maybe I won’t have to accept the harsh reality that my time with this darling show has come to an end, that I have to say goodbye…  Well, Shi-won taught us today that bbasoonies (slang for fans aka fanatics aka peeps like meee who go nuts over their choice of poison) are the bestest, most productive members of society.  So I’m gonna bravely march on.  While wailing.  Oh my gawsh, I sound horribly melodramatic and positively maudlin.  Okay, forget all that mushy stuff I just wrote.

Today’s episode went out with a bang ratings-wise: sources seem to be divided between two sets of numbers, but regardless, the numbers are huge.  One source says TNms recorded an average 6.22% while another source reports an average 7.55% with a peak 9.47%.  Wowzas!!

Whitecarrot and I still have another post coming your way with our collective thoughts and reflections on Episode 16 and the drama as a whole, so I guess this isn’t goodbye quite yet.  Sniffle.  Thank you, truly, from the bottom of our hearts, for joining us in this mad journey.

The first step of our parting: Episode 16 recap.


Episode 16: Why First Loves Do Not Come True

March 2012, Seoul: We start with the last few minutes of Episode 15: Papa and Mama Sung anxiously wait outside of the delivery room, wondering why there’s no news.  The nurse comes out and asks for the baby’s father – the mommy in labor keeps asking for her husband.  Tae-woong runs into the corridor just then, out of breath, and Papa + Mama Sung excitedly motion for him to hurry over.  Paaaatiencee, people, paaatience.  Yoon-jae bursts in on the heels of his brother.  Aaand we go to a commercial break.  Darn you, cable channels and your commercial breaks.

Instead of the big reveal, we hop back in time to September 2005: Yoon-jae is out having drinks and yummies with colleagues.  We get a cameo from singer/musical actress Bae Da-hae, whom we learn was in the same (graduating) class as Yoon-jae.  She had a crush on him and tried to make a pass at him for four years, all to no avail.  (Funny reference: She says she even joined a choir club to be close to him, which is a wink wink at her real-life rise to fame via the choir mission for Qualifications of a Man.)  The senior colleague marvels at how well she holds her liquor, and another (younger senior) colleague says that’s why she doesn’t have a boyfriend.  No guy likes a woman who drinks so well/much, and he adds that he really dislikes seeing his girlfriend get all tipsy (and implied: cute) in front of other guys.  Opinions are divided, so they ask Yoon-jae on his take, and he says he doesn’t mind.  “I like girls who can drink (well),” he says, and he and Da-hae down a bowl of soju.

Cut to Shi-won draining a glass of beer with the writer and PD she works with (we met them in Episode 15).  The writer asks whether her boyfriend doesn’t say anything about her drinking so much, and we learn that Shi-won slept in the night-duty room at work yesterday after having too much to drink.  And who should be there to have overheard the conversation but our one and only Yoon Yoon-jae!  Everyone’s shocked/flustered by his sudden appearance, and Shi-won asks how he knew where she was.  She apparently had told him about the outing and he’d told her he would pick her up.  Hahaha, was she not quite sober when this conversation happened?  The group exchanges small talk as Yoon-jae pours a round, and Shi-won adorably holds up her glass.  “What about me?” she asks, when Yoon-jae doesn’t fill hers.  He yanks her glass out of her hands and tells her “You can stop drinking.”  Ha!  The PD tries to smooth things over, telling Shi-won no guy likes his girlfriend drinking a lot.  “Isn’t that so?” he asks Yoon-jae.  And Yoon-jae answers, “It’s the thing I hate most in the whole world.”  Hahahaa!  “I hate when my girlfriend gets tipsy/drunk in front of other guys.”  Oh my gawsh, you and your possessive streak.  Absolutely adorbs.  He threatens bodily harm if she ever passes out and spends the night at work (in the night-duty room) again.  Hee!

They say their goodbyes, and the writer and PD head off together.  (Apparently, they’re a married couple.)  Yoon-jae glares at Shi-won and asks how much she drank before he arrived.  She says she only had one, and he tells her to blow out a breath – to do a manual breathalyzer?!  Hahahaa!  She yells at him for preventing her from socializing, and he angrily responds that he wouldn’t say anything if she came home at night.  Omo, are you saying: if she came home to you?!  She protests and he lays out all her antics the last few weeks, from having a young guy deliver her home passed out, to throwing up all over a tambourine at a noraebang.  She might as well meet up with the fan club members and drink and cry all night again.  Ha!  She adorably tries to weasel her way out by praising his excellent memory – she thought he became a judge with Tae-woong’s backing, but it seems like he’s really smart!  Haha!  She chucks him under the chin in her usual way and he responds with his own trademark brush over her face.  Her face darkens and he threatens her, “If you ever come home again so drunk you have no memories of what happened, I’m gonna – ”

He stops short at Shi-won’s glare.  “You’re gonna what?  Hmm?  What?!” she demands in her tough way.  And heeee Yoon-jae totally breaks.  Ohmygawsh, how much do I love their dynamic?!  “Kill me, just kill me!” she yells, shoving her head into his chest.  He meekly says, “I, uh, I wouldn’t go so far as to kill you or anything.  I’m just saying that I would get very angry, that’s all.”  Heee!  Shi-won scoffs and he adorably pleads, “Your boyfriend says he dislikes it so much – can you please just not drink?”  Hahaa I love that he uses the jon-dae (formal) speech in the last line.  She asks him to pleeease stop with the Seoul speak, and he immediately switches back to the Kyung-sang-do accent.  So.  Whipped.

They arrive at Shi-won’s apartment, courtesy of a ‘chauffeur’ (someone to drive for them since they’ve both had a few drinks), and Yoon-jae once again tries to follow Shi-won in.  She tells him to flag a taxi tonight and come back for his clunker tomorrow.  He awkwardly mumbles nonsense and she says, “What, you want a cup of coffee again?” and he adorably nods yes.  She just smiles and calls a taxi for him, then turns to leave.  He grabs her hand and pouts, “What, am I gonna devour you or something?  Gashina, why are you acting so differently?  It’s not like we’ve never lived together before.”  She responds that it’s not the same anymore, to which he gloats, “What, does this oppa look like a man to you, now?  Does your heart now pound whenever you see me?”  She gives him his comeuppance and he laments, “I was so close!” Hahaaha.  The taxi arrives and he reluctantly gets in and drives off…

Only to reverse right back to Shi-won’s apartment.  Hahahaaa!  So.  Funny.  He stands in front of Shi-won’s door and thinks awhile before typing in his birthday for the passcode.  Beep beep it goes, and so he tries Shi-won’s birthday.  Beep beep again.  He gets an idea, though surely it can’t be this, and takes out his phone to look up Tony An’s birthday.  Ha!  He types it in… and the door unlocks!  Yoon-jae can’t believe his stroke of luck and gingerly opens the door, muttering to himself, “Never thought I’d see the day when I benefited from Monkey Face.”  Hahaha ohmygawsh, this is just hilarious.

He walks in to a surprised Shi-won, and he smugly tells her to put on the water for some coffee – nice and sweet Korean style.  She tells him to just drink whatever she gives him and he meekly responds, “Okay.”  Hee!  “Did you gain weight?” he asks, and she angrily responds, “I did not!  You always ask if I gained weight whenever I tie up my hair.  Are your eyes really so bad?”  Oh my goodness, is THAT why he asked her that at the reunion?!  Gee whiz, here we were, concocting all kinds of crazy possibilities!  You sly writer/director, you!  Yoon-jae tells her that her full cheeks just look more prominent when she ties up her hair, then bashfully says he personally likes her cheeks.  Ohmygawsh you guys are just hilariously adorbs.

Yoon-jae finishes his coffee and wistfully looks at his empty cup, then inches on over to use the bathroom.  Hahaha, his stall tactics are so transparently cute.  He comes out of the bathroom, then whips off his suit jacket and tries to sit down next to Shi-won on the bed.  She’s having none of it and pushes him, kicking and protesting, to the door.  “Fine, fine, okay I’ll leave!” he says.  “Give me a kiss, then, instead,” he adds.  (Last time he asked for a bbo-bbo aka peck.  This time he asked for a kiss. ^^)

She scoffs, he tries to head back in, and so she grabs him and pushes him up against the wall.  Omo!  She takes his face in her hands, then leans up on her tiptoes to plant one on him.  Eeeeeee!  Granted, it’s more bbo-bbo than kiss.  But still.  Cuuute!  Yoon-jae’s face breaks into a huge grin, but then he immediately straightens and throws his jacket on the ground and demands, “Gashina, are you kidding around right now?”  He steps toward her and she backs up… until she’s against the counter and has nowhere to go.  He leans in, she bends over backwards blinking up at him…  And then he softly kisses her, coaxing a response from her.  Eeeeee!

March 2012, Seoul: Back to the hospital corridor, and this time the brothers both race towards the nurse and Mama + Papa Sung.  Yoon-jae: “I…  *pant*  I’m…  *pant*  I’m the husband.”  AAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!  Vindicaaaaatiooooon!!!!!!  *fist pump*  YES YES YES YES YEEEESSSS!!!!!  *fist pump pump pump pump!!!*  Yoon-jae follows the nurse into the delivery room as Tae-woong and Papa + Mama Sung reassure him.  Papa Sung turns to Tae-woong and ask how they got there so quickly despite the distance, and Mama Sung giggles that Yoon-jae and Shi-won are still like newlyweds because they’re a “weekend couple”.  Oooooh, that’s news!  The term “weekend couple” is used for couples who live apart during the week (usually because of work) and are only able to see each other/live together during the weekends.  It’s not necessarily the norm, but it isn’t totally unheard of either.  People don’t always get to choose where they’re offered a job, so if you’re on opposite ends of the peninsula, you don’t have much choice.  Plus traffic is absitively posolutely horrible in Korea, so a not-so-long distance might take hours to travel.

Papa Sung tells Tae-woong to go back to work since he’s a busy man (Mr. President, eh?), and Tae-woong asks that they call him as soon as the baby is born.  He’s the Uncle (Keun Abba aka dad’s older brother) and would like to name the child.  The parents are surprised he’s already picked out a name, and he proudly says he’s chosen “Seung-ho, Yoon Seung-ho.”  Hahahahaa that’s Tony An’s real name, even down to the Chinese characters used.  Hee!  Tae-woong takes his leave and Papa Sung suggests to his wife that they head out as well.  Mama Sung says she’s “worried about my child,” and Papa Sung says Shi-won will be just fine.  “No, not Shi-won.  I’m talking about Yoon-jae!  The gashina is gonna pull out all of Yoon-jae’s hair.  I feel so bad for our Yoon-jae.”  Hahahaa!  Papa Sung just says it’s Yoon-jae’s fault for having married a thug.  Hahahaahaa!!

Yoon-jae is inside the delivery room, sniffling and crying and holding onto Shi-won’s hands.   He’s ready to expire, and Shi-won grabs onto his hair, screaming all kinds of obscenities at him and wailing that this is all his fault.  Ohmygawsh, this scene just cracks me up.  We cut to a dreamy-faced Shi-won at the reunion.  (Lots of jumping around this episode.)

Reunion in 2012, Seoul: Sung-jae (yay!) asks when the due date is, and Yoon-jae says it’s sometime in March.  Sung-jae smirks that Shi-won is preggers again when the weekend couple claimed to not even have time to see each other’s faces.  Judge Yoon sure must have been busy, he adds.  Heh heh heh.  Tae-woong worries that Shi-won’s alone – what if she goes into labor?  She says not to worry, that Yoon-jae is of no help.  Hak-chan agrees that Yoon-jae doesn’t need to be near Shi-won.  With her temper, she’ll just scream profanities at him and pull all his hair.  Ha!  Joon-hee laughs and says Yoon-jae isn’t stupid enough to go into the delivery room, all to which Shi-won says she’s not like that at all.  She’s not a thug, ya know.  She turns to Yoon-jae and saccharinely assures him, “Jagi-ya, don’t worry.  I won’t touch a strand of your hair.”  Hahaa.  He doesn’t believe her, and a laughing Yoo-jung asks how long it took for Shi-won to get pregnant this time.  Shi-won angrily responds that Yoon-jae ruins her life – she just enrolled in grad school, but now this happened.  The friends all chuckle as our cuties get into their usual spat, and Sung-jae asks how in the world they dated.  I mean they’re always arguing and hitting each other and whatnot.  Plus they grew up together, seeing and sharing with each other everything – seriously, everything.  How could they date and get married?  Shi-won indignantly says they were like any other couple.  I love Yoon-jae’s expression.  She continues that they had a sweet romance just like everyone else.  Yoon-jae’s response: “You’ve gotta be kidding me.”  Ha!

2005, Fall: Shi-won and Yoon-jae share kisses in front of her door, reluctant to part.  Yoon-jae’s triumphant fist pump just cracks me up.  He texts Shi-won that night after a shower: “Jagi-ya, what are you doing?”  She texts back, “Pooping!”  Hahahahahaaa.  Tossing and turning in bed, he texts her, “Are you unable to sleep, too?”  Shi-won: “Zzzz…”  A disappointed Yoon-jae quickly turns all smiles as he texts back: “Truthfully, you’re thinking of me right now, aren’t you?”  Shi-won: “Crazy bastard.”  Hahahaahaa.

It’s a beautiful day and Yoon-jae sits on Shi-won’s bed, reading a book.  He tells her to hurry on out or she’ll be late.  She comes down in a colorful sleeveless top, primping and posing for him.  “Jagi-ya, whaddya think?” she asks.  He nervously swallows then coolly says, “Are you trying to scare somebody?  Look at the girl’s huge frame.”  Oh Yoon-jae, you possessive cutie.

Shi-won is on the computer, talking to someone about a 50,000 won (~$50 USD) abalone porridge for Oppa and steaks for the rest of the staff.  Yoon-jae glares at her then guzzles his beer for good measure.  “Wow.  If you did for me just half of what you do for Tony, I would carry you around.  Love me half as much as you love Tony!  What do I lack compared to Tony?!”  Shi-won responds that her love for Tony is an agape love, a platonic love.  How can he try to compare himself to Tony?  Hahahaa I love it.  He demands, then, if his love is nothing, if it’s so worthless.

Shi-won: “Didn’t you know you’re a lowlife?  All you ever think about is that.”

Yoon-jae: “Hey, what, what, am I the only one who liked it?”

Shi-won: “You’re the only one who liked it and was going crazy.”

Yoon-jae: “Going crazy?!  What was in your head, then?”

Shi-won: “Tony Oppa!”  Hahahaa oh my gaaawwsh, Shi-won, I can’t believe you just said that.  A man’s ego can only take so much.

Yoon-jae gets all riled up and snarks on Tony’s failed solo endeavors, which is just him asking for a beating.  Seriously, you should know better.  He narrates: “Just because you cage up a wild lion in the zoo doesn’t mean it’ll give up live prey overnight and start eating carrots.  No matter how much the surroundings change, a lion is a lion and a rabbit is a rabbit.  Just so, Sung Shi-won is Sung Shi-won and Yoon Yoon-jae is Yoon Yoon-jae.  In our own way, we met, dated, and loved.  And…”

Shi-won enters Yoon-jae’s apartment (apparently for the first time) and marvels that he’s pretty clean.  Love how bashful he is but tries to play it cool.  She plops down on a sofa without any artifice and tells him to cook ramyun for her.  He offers mandoo that Mother (Mama Sung) sent, and Shi-won says that sounds good.  Cut to Yoon-jae picking out the filling of the mandoo, and sure enough, he hands the outside to Shi-won.  Some things never change.  “What do you think?” he asks Shi-won.  “What do you think of this place for our newlyweds’ home?  It’s too hard to clean if a home’s too big.  And with my salary, even this place is stretching it.  What do you think?  This is pretty okay, huh?”

Shi-won just stares at him, and he says, “What?  Do you not like it?”  The silence stretches out.  “You… You’re not by any chance…  Surely, you’re not thinking of not marrying me, right?”  *cricket cricket*  Yoon-jae: “I mean, it’s something that’s for certain, but you just might have something else in mind… so… I’m uh just asking out of concern for you.”  Oh, you poor baby, I know you’re panicking right now, but I just can’t help laughing.

Shi-won: “Are you… is this… a proposal?”  Yoon-jae: “Nooo, of course we’re getting married so why would I propose?  What, were you planning on marrying someone else?  After making me like this?”  Heee!  “Why, was there some kind of proposal you wanted?  Like borrowing a nice restaurant and hiring a string trio and having a huge cake and –”  Shi-won cuts him off: “Don’t do it.  I’m gonna kill you if you do some kind of event like that.  The day that balloons pop out of a car trunk and a banner waves in front of the broadcasting station saying, “Shiwon-ah, I love you!” – that day, you’re gonna die and I’m gonna die of embarrassment.  So don’t do anything.  Anything at all.  Got it?”  So fitting for her character but hilarious all the same.

Yoon-jae just mutely nods in acceptance then turns to her and excitedly asks, “You’re marrying me, then, right?”  Shi-won (coyly) doesn’t respond.  Yoon-jae: “Answer before I count to three.  Or else I’m gonna kiss you on the cheek ten more times.”  Eeee!  He leans in.  “One…  two… three–” gets this close to her lips before she hurriedly (and flippantly) tosses out, “Fine.  Okay.  I said okay.”  Awww, Yoon-jae’s face just lights up.  Shi-won’s still not meeting his eyes, and so he says, “Look at me and tell me.”  Shi-won yells at him, “Okay, okay, I said okay!  Are you deaf or something, how many times do I have to say it…”  Awww, they’re SO CUTE.  Yoon-jae tries to put his arms around her and she pulls away, asking what he’s doing when she already answered.  “I know,” he says, “This is just what lovers do.”  And he sweetly kisses her to seal the deal.

Yoon-jae’s doing the dishes and Shi-won looks around the apartment.  Why do I get the feeling that Yoon-jae will always be doing the dishes?  Heh heh.  She sees a framed picture of Yoon-jae and Joon-hee, and we learn that it’s been about 2 months since Joon-hee moved out.  Shi-won tentatively asks if Joon-hee didn’t say anything before moving out, and Yoon-jae hesitates before answering in the negative.

July 2005: Joon-hee and Yoon-jae are packing things and talking about the epic finale of Episode 15.  Yoon-jae marvels at Tae-woong’s actions and says that’s why a hyung is a hyung and a dong-saeng (younger sibling) a dong-saeng.  He can never best his brother.  Joon-hee, though, says what impressed him more was that Tae-woong was so honest with Yoon-jae.

If I were Hyung-nim, I would have made up some excuse and secretly given up.  But Teacher is honest.  ‘I like Shi-won, too.  Let’s have a fair face-off.  And if I get rejected, then you guys can ridicule me for the rest of my life.’  What you debated for 7-8 years he put out in the open immediately.  If your hyung hadn’t been so honest that day, you two would have been uncomfortable with one another for the rest of your lives.  Hyung-nim probably disliked that possibility the most.  Rather than having a secret you can’t tell, it’s better to make fun of it while celebrating the holidays.

Yoon-jae shows surprise that Joon-hee knows Tae-woong’s heart better than his own brother does, and suggests Joon-hee become a psychiatrist.  He can look into people’s hearts and treat their pains.  Joon-hee just replies that he can read others’ hearts but has trouble with his own.  “Let me figure out my heart first,” he says.  And with that laden statement, he gets up to finish packing.  The mover tells him to do a final check – people always forget things.

Yoon-jae, who hasn’t left yet for work, sees Joon-hee silently bidding goodbye to the place of cherished memories.  “Who cares if you leave behind some stuff?  I’ll bring it to you later.”  So much tension fills the room as Joon-hee says goodbye.  He turns to leave… and Yoon-jae calls out, stopping him.  Coming up behind Joon-hee, Yoon-jae puts his arms around his best friend in apology, consolation, and ultimately thankfulness for being a cherished part of his life all these years.

2005 Fall: Tae-woong and Shi-won are having ice cream in Tae-woong’s office, and he pout-ingly asks what he could possibly lack compared to Yoon-jae.  He’s taller, he’s better looking, and he has much more money.  Shi-won says there’s just no spark between her and Tae-woong.  With Yoon-jae, though, yeaaah.  Before, she didn’t feel a thing even when their lips met, but now, just seeing his face…  That smile says it all.  Girl, you got it bad.  Tae-woong and Shi-won laugh together, which is the scene Yoon-jae comes upon when he walks into Tae-woong’s office.  “What is this?  What did you two do together?” he demands.  Hahahaa.  Tae-woong says he was listening to Shi-won tell him about how much she likes Yoon-jae – and Yoon-jae’s face predictably lights up like a Christmas tree.  “Is that so?  Gashina, why don’t you tell me directly?  Were you suffering by yourself?  Why, were you embarrassed?”  Heee, they’re so cute with each other.  And seriously, why does he always eat her stuff?!  It’s ridiculously shmexily adorbs and I can’t believe I feel that way.  Stop that!

Yoon-jae suggests the three go out to eat but Tae-woong says he has a prior engagement.  For reals.  His TA’s have been planning to go to a concert, and today’s the day.  Tae-woong can’t understand why these usually perfectly normal women go crazy about their idols.  Shi-won gives him a good piece of her mind about how wonderful bbasoonies (fan/atics) are.  Hahahaa.  Tae-woong makes his escape and the cuties head out to eat Chinese food.  They belatedly wonder whose bbasoonies the TAs are…

The answer: DBSK aka TVXQ aka Dong Bang Shin Ki aka the for seriously seriousest hands down biggest boy band of the mid- to late-2000s.  Not gonna get into fan club wars here so let’s keep things nice and happy, yes?  The four girls sing along to “Hug” with, of course, all the fan chants, and Tae-woong just cringes.  Golly gee, I can’t believe I remember the title of the song.  And I wasn’t even much of a Kpop person.  Anyhoo, they arrive at the concert stadium and ask Tae-woong to deliver a ticket to the Vice President of Kyung-ki-do’s chapter of Cassiopeia (the name of DBSK’s fan club).  Why do I have a funny feeling about this… hehehe.  Tae-woong’s so reluctant to be there it’s hilarious.

He sits in a McDonald’s(?) waiting for this Vice President lady and Kim Jong-kook’s “Lovable” plays.  Love it love it love it!  He gets a call from the lady in question… and she finds his raised hand in the crowded restaurant.  She sits down in front of him and they finally see each other’s faces…  Aaahahaha I knew it!  It’s none other than Dr. Lee Joo-yeon, and both are shocked.  Once explanations get out of the way, Tae-woong remarks that his “in-yeon” (fate/relationship/ties) with bbasoonies must be very deep.  Heee!  Joo-yeon explains that she was originally a Shinhwa Changjo (yeeeee!) but has hopped on over to DBSK, and they laugh and joke together, sharing an adorable first date.  I’m so happy for Tae-woong!

Yoon-jae and Shi-won are at their usual Chinese restaurant, and Shi-won’s orders quickly dispel any notion that things might have changed.  Hahahaa.  She pours on the aegyo, asking her “Jagiya” if she can’t have just one drink.  Nope, he growls.  “Jagiya, just one drink, just one~”

2012 Reunion: Shi-won begs her Jagiya if she can’t have just one drink.  (It’s the scene we saw in Episode 6.)  Tae-woong, Yoon-jae, and Joon-hee all say no, telling her to think of the child and just stick with the juice.  But this time, we get the full clip: Yoon-jae tells Shi-won, “Manura (kinda like ‘wifey’), think of our baby.”  Eeee!

Some unspecified time past 2005 Fall?  Tae-woong introduces Joo-yeon to Yoon-jae, and they warmly greet each other.  Tae-woong then turns to Shi-won and says, “And this, is my loved…”

Back to 2012 Reunion: The clip from Episode 8.  Tae-woong introduces his campaign aide to Yoon-jae.  He then turns to Shi-won and says, “This is the wife of the dongsaeng that I love.”  Awwwwww.  (Some of you might be confused about the awkward wording, but sentence structure is flipped when going from English to Korean or vice versa.  So the liiiteral translation that makes no grammar sense is: This is that I love dongsaeng’s wife.  So in Episode 8 and in the immediately preceding scene with Joo-yeon, we got all of the sentence except the object, or receiver of the verb: “This is that I love”.  Now we finally know that the receiver is “dongsaeng’s wife.”)

Back back back to Unspecificed Time Past 2005 Fall: Shi-won brings over drinks for the group: two iced Americanos and two iced caramel mochas, I presume.  Yoon-jae, wearing a gold ring, reaches out to take an iced caramel mocha.  He asks Tae-woong whether he and Joo-yeon have already set a wedding date…

Back to 2012 Reunion: The clip at the end of Episode 11 where someone’s ring-wearing hand grabs an iced caramel mocha with lots of whip cream.  The drink is brought in front of the no-longer-mystery man, who’s wearing a watch.  He leans down to swallow a mouthful of whip cream… and it’s Yoon-jae!  In response to Joon-hee and Sung-jae’s remark about Shi-won wearing the couple ring instead of the wedding ring, Yoon-jae says, “Do you think I wear it ’cause I want to?  Shi-won lost her wedding ring.  Within a month of the wedding.”  HAAHAHAA oh my gollies, this is just too precious.  “No one understands how I feel,” he sighs and swallows another ginormous mouthful of whip cream for good measure.

Unspecified Time Past 2005 Fall: Joo-yeon apologizes for pushing back Yoon-jae and Shi-won’s wedding.  Traditionally, siblings get married in order of age, so it’s expected that Yoon-jae would wait for Tae-woong to get married first.  Joo-yeon and Tae-woong say they really don’t care if Yoon-jae marries first, but he says it’s right for his hyung to marry first.  He and Shi-won have only recently started dating, so he’s all for a seeeerious courtship before getting married.  They’ll marry soon anyway, so there’s no need for Tae-woong + Joo-yeon to worry or feel sorry.  Shi-won chimes in that there’s no need to worry.  And plus, who knows, she and Yoon-jae might break up.  LOLOL  Everyone but Yoon-jae laughs at the joke, and Shi-won says that though she’s joking, you just never know.  She’s feeling cheated anyway about getting married so young.  Heh heh heh.  Joo-yeon worries, though, that a later marriage will mean having children later, too.  Yoon-jae and Shi-won are taken aback by the words “children” and Shi-won assures her they’re not thinking of having kids for some time.  Yoon-jae, though, doesn’t seem to be in agreement…

The next morning: Shi-won comes out of the bathroom and lets out a huge sigh then proceeds to  slap awake Yoon-jae, who’s sleeping sans shirt in her bed.  “How can you sleep right now, huh?  How can you sleep?!  Didn’t I tell you to be careful?!  I told you to be careful!” she screams, waving a plastic stick in his face.  Omo is that what I think it is?!?!  He’s still half-asleep and clueless, and so Shi-won lets him have it.  She lights into him with her stuffed animal, screaming at him for not being careful, for doing it all on purpose.  And yeppity yep yep yep HAHAHAHAHAAA the magic two bars have appeared on the pregnancy test.  OH MY GOLLIES HAHAAHAHAAA!

2012, Seoul Reunion: A young girl walks into the bar/restaurant and calls out to her mom.  Shi-won  turns around and demands to know how the little one came here.  Eeee!  Everyone dotes on the adorable girl, but she wants to know where her daddy is.  Yoon-jae returns to the table (from the restroom?) and is delighted to see his little girl.  AAAAWWWWWW he’s SO.  CUTE. with his daughter.  Turns out she came with her grandparents, and just then Papa + Mama Sung make their entrance, hands laden with food.  It’s a wonderfully happy reunion for everyone, and my heart just tickles.  Papa Sung asks why Tae-woong’s here when the election is right around the corner, and Tae-woong says he wanted to see Yoon-jae.  He also wanted to hand over the car.  Eh?  Turns out Shi-won drives Tae-woong’s car, so he wanted to give it back to her today (prolly ‘borrowed’ his own car for the day).  Well that explains the whole sweater-in-the-car trickery!

Mama Sung says bedtime doesn’t mean jack because her granddaughter is glued to the TV – she’s going to become Mrs. Hong (Hong-ki of F.T. Island?) when she grows up.  LOLOL  Apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.  Papa Sung goes on a rant, and can I just say I LOVE Sung Dong-il?  Seriously, the man is amazing, and you can totes see everyone’s just cracking up for reals listening to all his ad libs.  He says Yoon-jae’s either a Buddha or missing a few marbles for marrying his thug bbasoonie of a daughter.  HAHAHAA.  Joon-hee tells Mama Sung he hasn’t married yet and she tells him to marry someone kind and sweet.  Aww.  Sung-jae has left the public works office and is selling insurance but hasn’t gotten a promotion.  Ha!  I’m surprised such a talkative guy like him hasn’t sold millions of plans yet.

Everyone cracks up as Papa Sung gives him a dressing down, and then we move on to Hak-chan and Yoo-jung.  Mama + Papa Sung are surprised and happy to hear of their imminent wedding, and Papa Sung asks, “You guys aren’t getting married because of an accident or anything, right?”  HAHAAHAHAA.  He says he was just curious to know if Hak-chan + Yoo-jung were like Yoon-jae + Shi-won aka living together and finding themselves with an ‘accident’ before marriage.  LOLOL.  Yoon-jae and Shi-won cover their daughter’s ears and Yoon-jae says it’s all a misunderstanding.  They really were planning to get married that day.  Mama Sung let him know she ain’t no dummy: Yoon-jae and Shi-won used Tae-woong’s wedding reservations – the whole shebang.  The wedding hall, his tux, his honeymoon, even the credit card.  HAHAHAHAA OH MY GAWSH this is just…  This is just too much!

Before they leave, Papa Sung tells the kids to make lots of memories while they can.  So true!  He asks Tae-woong if his wife has come back yet from Japan, and Tae-woong’s face comically falls.  He awkwardly says some things got delayed but his wife’s returning on the morrow.  Mama Sung berates Papa Sung for sticking his nose into the lady doctor’s important business, and they head home for the night.  Why do I feel like this trip to Japan has nothing to do with medicine? ^^

The night comes to an end and everyone heads home.  Sung-jae says the rain falling around them is so fitting with his mood.  Yoo-jung shows Hak-chan cool places they can go on their honeymoon and they exclaim over the deals.  Shi-won fixes Yoon-jae’s tie, reminding him to take his herbal medicine/supplement.  They’re so affectionate with one another, and Yoon-jae says Shi-won’s become such a sweetie – which sets off Sung-jae.  Ha!  He demands that the two couples be apologetic to him for being so sickeningly cozy after all the fights, tears, and breakups they went through.  “Wow, they always said that first loves never come true, but you guys are incredible.  Incredible, I tell you.”  Yoo-jung invites him on their honeymoon, and the poor single Sung-jae leaves in a huff.  Aww.  Yoon-jae notes that if Yoo-jung and Hak-chan get married, then all of their first loves really did come true.  Yoo-jung says it’s not the case for her then belatedly realizes her mistake.  Hak-chan mockingly storms off and Yoo-jung chases after him, saying, “First love isn’t important.  What’s important is the person beside you right now.”  Awww.

Yoon-jae narrates:

First love.  The reason first loves are beautiful to each person is not because the first love itself was beautiful.  It’s probably because in that time of first love, there was an innocent youth, a naïve me, and you who were immeasurably passionate.  And because you already know that you can never again go back to that youthful, innocent, passionate time.  [Yoon-jae says he’s happy because he’s with Shi-won.]

First loves are reckless.  We innocently and passionately throw ourselves into it without shrewd calculation, and we ultimately fail.  But that’s why it is so dramatic.  The reckless stories entangled with heat and feelings we can never have again…  That’s why first love is the most dramatic drama of my life.

That’s why it’s okay if I fail.  [Tae-woong and Joon-hee make their way up the stairs to Yoon-jae and Shi-won.]  Sad endings resonate longer than happy ones.  And thus it’s wonderful to leave behind at least one sad drama of a failed first love in my life.

[Shi-won offers to drop Joon-hee off at the hospital but he says someone’s coming to get him.  She smiles in understanding and Yoon-jae, too, smiles at him.]

First love is a period in life.  Once it flows away, that is all.  Now in this new period we are facing, we must give a chance for a new love.  It might not have the same temperature or innocence as a first love.  But we must wait for an adult love that has grown and matured because of the scars of a first love.  [Someone drives up in a red car and Joon-hee steps in.]  Only he who waits can dream of love.

[We see a montage of Tae-woong + Joo-yeon moments: When she sat down at McDonald’s to receive the concert ticket.  When she laid down on the couch in Tae-woong’s hospital room and saw him staring back at her.  And all the way back to the ’90s when she bumped into him at the music store.  It was the day Tae-woong revealed himself as Yoon-jae’s brother to the crew.  He bought toilet paper then stopped by the music store to buy H.O.T. CD’s.  A woman bumped into him, and now we see it was Joo-yeon, who was buying Shinhwa’s latest album.  Awwwww.]

And only he who waits can recognize the love that has returned to him like fate.

Shi-won, Yoon-jae, and Tae-woong are driving home and Yoon-jae asks what seminar has Hyung-soo-nim so busy even on the weekend.  Tae-woong drolly responds that it’s not a seminar, which is why the event’s being held on the weekend.  She went to Japan to see DBSK’s concert.  LOLOL I knew it!  Tae-woong bitterly says he got a text from her yesterday saying she became the President of the entire DBSK fan club.  Hahaahaha!  Shi-won yells “Daaaebaak” and laments that she was only the President of the Busan Chapter of a fan club.  Yoon-jae is shocked for an entirely different reason and worries that people will recognize Joo-yeon.  I love Tae-woong’s defeated answer: “Who could have imagined that the Presidential candidate’s wife was there?”  Haahahahaa!  Yoon-jae consolingly offers to take him out for drinks tomorrow.

Shi-won mutters that she should’ve been raised in Seoul – then she could’ve become a financial accountant for SM Entertainment. LOL  Yoon-jae tells her to stop dreaming – she can’t even multiply well.  They get into their usual bickering banter, and as Tae-woong gets dropped off, he tells them to stop fighting so much.  Yoon-jae and Shi-won’s response?  “We didn’t fight.  This is how we normally talk.  If we get into a real fight, you’d have to call the police.”  Ha.

Shi-won and Yoon-jae head home, and Yoon-jae narrates that once the romance wears off, things just become part of the daily routine.  And that’s why it appears that first loves do not come true – because no one talks about first loves that did come true.  Awww, what a cute way to spin the saying into something quite believable and incredibly warm.

Yoon-jae asks Shi-won whom she’d rescue if he and Tony fell into the water.  Hee!  She remembers him asking the question before, and he says things have changed a lot since he last asked.  She thinks about it for a moment then chooses Yoon-jae.  He resignedly asks if it’s because Tony knows how to swim, to which she says says, “Nooo~.  Just you.”  His whole face lights up and he asks her if she’s serious.  His chest puffs out in pride as he exclaims he’s finally beaten Tony, laughing with joy.  Shi-won then adds, “I’ll rescue you first then follow Tony Oppa (to death).”  Hahaahahaaaa!  She laughingly tells an upset Yoon-jae that she was just joking.  She has no one but her hubby and tells him she loves him.

Yoon-jae, though, calls her bullshit and rants that the mother of a child, pregnant with her second, went to Tony’s restaurant and spent 300,000 won (~$300 USD).  Haahahaa.  She yells at him not to butt into her privacy and corrects him: it was not Tony’s restaurant, it was Tony’s mom’s.  And yes, she cleaned and did all the dishes, too.  Hahahaa.  Yoon-jae flips his lid and they exchange insults at the tops of their lungs, weaving crazily across the streets towards home.

Yoon-jae narrates

It’s okay to be successful in your first love.  I might not have a heart-wrenching sad love story, but I have a familiarity more comfortable than any sweater in this world.  And when that familiarity starts to become boring, I have a heart-fluttering romance I can take out and experience again.

From sniffling childhood friends, to first loves, to lovers, and now to meet as a wife and husband: we passed through the same period together, we shared the same memories, and we are growing old together now.  A familiar fluttering…  I like it.

October 1997, Busan: The crew poses in front of a camera, and Yoon-jae apologizes to Shi-won for committing an unforgivable crime.  She accuses him of doing it on purpose and Joon-hee tries to smooth things over.  Shi-won rants that it’s an autograph as precious as her life – she got her hair hacked off by her dad and she lived like a bum on the streets for three whole days.  Yoo-jung explains: Yoon-jae was eating at Shi-won’s place and spilled a bowl of soy sauce.  He wiped it up with none other than the t-shirt Tony signed for Shi-won.  LOLOL.

Sung-jae exclaims over his Tamagotchi and an annoyed Hak-chan tells them to hurry up so they can take the picture and go see No. 3 (a 1997 film starring Han Seok-kyu).  Sung-jae complains that they’re taking a stupid picture to make ‘memories’ at a lame picnic like this, and Yoo-jung says she  would’ve taken lots of pictures if she’d known she’d age so quickly.  They finally set the timer and everyone leans in for the picture…  Shi-won asks Yoon-jae if he’s repentant, if he’s really sorry, to which he nods yes and promises never to do it again.  Open palm and out jump froggie!  Hahahaa Yoon-jae freaks out and the camera snaps with everyone in disarray, and we hear Yoon-jae yelling, “My arm, my arm!  I think I broke my arm!”

He finally narrates: “That time that I long for because it was full of passion and innocence…  Can you hear me?  If you can hear me, answer.  Answer, my 1990s.”


45 responses to “Answer Me 1997: Episode 16 (Final)

  1. Pingback: The Finale is Up (Raw) – Answer me 1997 and Recap « cobyness·

  2. Thank you for this….My journey with this show will not be complete without your fantabulous recap….This is the perfect ending…I could not ask for a better one… Definitely, this drama belongs to my all-time favorite list…Komawo chingus….

  3. OH MY GOD!!!! this is it!! it’s starting to dawn on me that the drama is really over!! For the last episode, almost all scenes are predictable but still it is soooo catchy! you know what will happen but the ANTICIPATION of confirming is always there. I soooo LOVE this drama. This is going to be my number one.

    Answer Me 1997, I became a fangirl because of you. I’ve come to such great lengths because of my addiction towards you.. If you can hear me, answer. Answer me, how can I forget you? TT_TT cryyyyiiiinnngggg…

  4. your recap brought me to tears! viva first love.. thanks thanks thanks so much for detailed and heart-wrenching recapping! appreciate it..

  5. Awwww, I loved the episode when I watched it raw, but now that I understand everything (thanks to your recap) I can’t believe how heartwarming it was. This show was beautifully done, beautifully written and the last episode was the perfect conclusion. I liked the relationship Yoon-jae and Shi-won developed after they started dating, and I loved how Yoon-jae described it as as “familiar fluttering”.
    How amazing was that the writers went back to all the scenes that made us doubt the identity of Shi-won’s husband and gave us a logical (albeit simple) explanation for them?
    What can I say? Hats off to the writers, actors and the whole production team of this drama…. And hats off to you pinkblossom and whitecarrot for your awesomly detailed recaps. I’ll be waiting for your witty comments for the last episode. Thank you!!!

  6. Woa I’m crying from just reading this. I haven’t seen this episode yet – still on vacation but I couldn’t resist your site. Seriously best drama ever in my book!!!! I’m so in love it hurts that it all ends now but reading this it genuinely seems like a great ending for all. Love love love love love it!!!! Thank you soooo much for recapping this gem.

  7. finished reading your post. now i’m going to watch again the raw video of finale episode. still waiting patiently for the eng sub.

    appreciated a lot for your recap and still coming back on your blog to read your reactions to the drama of the year Answer 1997!.

    going to miss this drama. nothing to look forward on tuesdays anymore.

    hoping they release a special episode.

  8. I discovered your blog because of my frantic search for ep.15 recaps last week. Thanks so much for giving us the finale recaps as soon as possible. I really appreciate it. It was my first time watching an episode raw (for the finale) and your detailed recap helped me make sense of what I have watched. Salamat! 🙂

  9. oh.em.gee i can’t thank you enough for this wonderful recap!!♥ i mean i totally agree with all your musings and i felt like i was actually watching the video!! you’re daebak!♥ and woah, i really have to say that this is one hell-of-a-drama !! thanks for your recap again!:))

  10. “…a familiarity more comfortable than any sweater in this world” awww… I like that. A lot. Great recap, thank you.

  11. “From sniffling childhood friends, to first loves, to lovers, and now to meet as a wife and husband: we passed through the same period together, we shared the same memories, and we are growing old together now. A familiar fluttering… I like it.” that is such a beautiful and poignant lines. That’s why I love this drama so much

  12. still can’t get over this drama! yesterday i was restless waiting for the i was smiling like crazy the whole day (to think i got a damn headache in the morning due to lack of sleep coz i can’t sleep after watching the finale). this drama should get whatever drama award there is for 2012. the finale is too perfect! the entire drama is utterly amazing no words could do it justice! i’m still bowled over by it! this is now definitely my #1 drama. any other drama no matter how big the budget or star-studded would pale in comparison. it’s hard to trump this one! it’s complexity in it’s simplicity and honesty makes it so!

  13. It was really a nice feeling seeing the two of them went home together and bickered in the car, although I only understand: saranga gae-ppul, mee-cheen-gashina and gae-sekki lol. “A familiarity more comfortable than any sweater in this world”. I like that. A lot. Great recap, thank you so much.

  14. Ha! So that explains why he had a cast in his arm… I really love how every scene is connected to the past, present, and future. I really love this show… Now I feel very empty inside… I hope they make a second season or something just as good or better than this sitcom… Oh I love you Answer Me 1997!

  15. Really love this series; did a marathon watching this, finished 1-15 eps in 2 days! Now I am soooo sad, there is only one ep (still waiting for the subbed edition) left to watch. I so enjoyed the chemistry and dynamics of Yoon Yoon Jae and Sung Shi Won!!!

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