Why I feel for Oppa.

Oppa GiF

Jung Woo! Jung Woo! Jung Woo!

I knew you were good, I knew you had the chops… but I never knew when given the right material, you could be this FCKING FANTASTIC!

I am a new fan, a performance in Ep 11 alone which cemented that, take that!

I really cannot reiterate more HOW SO VERY MUCH I love Jung Woo as Oppa in R1994. I am not just impressed awestruck and blown away, I am COMPLETELY FLOORED. Over how natural and simplistic his portrayal is, the intricacy, the delicateness in expression, the effortless nature of his performance. I know you know, and you can see, his performance as Oppa isn’t particularly WOW stellar or grandiose, it isn’t even a performance so captivating to the point I am overwhelmed with emotions I can’t control. There are actors who ride on method, there are those who ride on charm and charisma, there are those who just look good enough to scratch thru the surface, and there are ones who are just born talented, to be the characters they play. Jung Woo is no doubt most definitely the latter, proven by how much he gives and is able to convey with what little information we know about Oppa the character.

You know I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want Oppa to be endgame, it’s always been the case (for my own pure shipper heart <3). But that aside, it doesn’t mean I don’t see and get the bigger picture of what R1994 is in essence, it’s about growing up, going thru life with the fun lil hijinks and hiccups along the way, experiencing feelings that are new or foreign, and that it’s not just about who is better or who should be with Na Jung (for goodness sakes). She ends up with whoever she likes, and the person she ends up with loves her back. Plus all are good and happy in the end, it’s just as simple as that. 😉

The reason I don’t join discussions or debates on who the hubby is or should be and stuff… because only the writer knows and our CSI skills can only get us that far. I’ve long forgotten and somewhat given up on the guessing game because it’s not something that I can control and nothing I can do about when things are not in my favour. We all believe and see what we want to see, feel for the one who makes our hearts beat and ache. Of course hearts will be broken, tears will flood if endgame isn’t uri sweetest Chilbongie or awesome Oppa, we are just fangirly like that, but put yourself into Na Jung’s shoes, follow the girl’s heart. And problem is solved.

 Jung Woo

I get why people are frustrated with Oppa, and are not agreeable about how he’s somewhat toying with NJ’s feelings and leaving things hanging. It’s not the best way to treat a girl like that, furthermore a girl who has boldly mustered her courage to let her feelings known to you despite whatever consequences that may come. I get it and I totally understand. People are sick of waiting, and making people wait isn’t exactly a nice thing to do, or something that one should do. But as usual I run to Oppa’s defense (I’m an Oppa fangirl to death!), not that people will take it, but I do and actually understand what the writer is trying to tell with Oppa’s hesitation and silence on all fronts. This is a telling of a situation and relationship that warrants some consideration and thought, it’s not complicated or complex to the point that stones will be thrown if words are said, but it’s not exactly the simplest of all either. If everyone was or is as forefront or straightforward as Chilbongie, if things are just as easy as ABC, things will be so much easier, I’d get my fairytale love story in a go, the drama will end there because all feelings will ALREADY have been made known.

It’s a legit and understandable reason, why Oppa’s acting the way he is. I can totally get by how a lot of things and factors are taken into consideration when analysing his relationship with and feelings for NJ. It’s not just about how it’s not forbidden, and how getting together will not change a thing because they’re not related (aka not fauxcest) etc, but it’s also about the ramifications and consequences of having everything and every single moment they’ve shared as family and siblings in the past put to the test. The possibility of having to face something different altogether. Things between them will change, oh yes most definitely, and change is not for everyone. Oppa has been brotherly oppa to NJ for as long as he can remember. He knows her in and out she knows the same. Some might say, hey that’s even better and easier for them to get together since they practically know each other from tip to toe. But I tell you it’s not that easy, even for close friends, soul mates who know each other SO WELL, to really break through that familial closeness and bond, to take that one step further, it does require a certain courage (yes Oppa does lack that courage I will concur). I’ve personally tried it before and it doesn’t… always work, the whole dynamic with that person changes. It depends on the person of course because not all are the same, and Oppa is that one person we’re trying to understand here. What happens when a person is the sensitive type who overthinks? What happens when one tries to accommodate all and to think for others (here NJ’s family and how they don’t consider him a potential love interest). It’s the characterisation we’re talking about here, not what he should or should not do. Oppa’s hesitation and reluctance can be seen as a cowardly and selfish response to NJ’s otherwise courageous act, why can’t he act upon his feelings direct? But feelings are feelings, there are many, not just love, not just affection. Oppa’s feelings for NJ are not as simple as ABC, it’s not just love between man and woman, their love transcends beyond that very pure element of love. There is just too much history between them. It’s also why I totally get and understand what Oppa said to Haetai in this episode, that how he thinks their relationship cannot progress with their past in the mix.  It’s not all that complicated the way I see it, and NJ likes him too, so what’s that big of a deal? It’s not a big deal, the deal is that Oppa is an oppa who puts everything into perspective of others, an oppa who thinks about the many many possibilities and situations that could come into play. In short, he’s just like me and many other people out there I’m sure they are, one who overthinks. Well it doesn’t give him the reason or excuse to act oblivious (come on the girl is waiting!), of course that I concur and I feel for NJ deeply, but I also cannot unsee the amount of thought Oppa’s put into considering their relationship on a different level other than what they have going on right now. It actually hurts to see him go through all that. I nearly cried. T__T


The very reason why I lovelovelovelove Oppa the most. It’s the very bias in me – Jung Woo who makes every single scene of his so realistically moving and effective. The way he conveys all those varying emotions. The way he internalises each emotion and expression. The performance is not powerful in a sense that it grips or makes you surge up in overwhelming emotion, it’s a performance that gets through you like ripples of water, slowly, it creeps up to you gradually, you feel tears forming, your heart aches, you want to hug this man.

I am Oppa and Jung Woo biased, I will say it again and again. But that does not mean I don’t love the rest of the characters for who they are, they are all awesome and unique, none caricatures written to pander to the Korean drama stereotype. Chilbong continues to charm with his forever sweetness and consideration of NJ’s feelings, I am totally fine and will be happy if he ends up being the groom (in fact odds are mostly in his favour), Haetai makes bromance look so easy, I LUB him for his thoughtfulness and I secretly hope he gets a girl or get his short time with NJ (if they ever stand a chance because they ARE adorbs together). And SCP and YJ, need I say more? <3333

Drama is not flawless or without things to nitpick, it’s rather long and has plenty of stuff that I don’t really care about. Some parts don’t even gel in TBH. But I give it to the writer for wanting to make something different than what we have on TV nowadays. And what I love most? They insisted on Jung Woo as Oppa.

The best thing to ever happen in K-drama this year.


Oppa HOT

credits: JW DC gall/ JW Soompi thread/ kdrama.com/tumblr/photos as tagged


29 thoughts on “Why I feel for Oppa.”

      1. The amazing thing about him, he makes me tear up/cry so easily. And he doesn’t need to break into tears, sob like a baby or cry like the world is about to end. The way he does it, ahhhh T____T

  1. One of the best written blog on Jung woo.. Can i just say thank you..
    Jung woo I am in awe of him. I dont know how he does it but he steals every scene he is in. Even the little ones like when he walks to take the ear phones off Na Jung or the sweet sweet dad kiss. I am so totally floored by him and for the first time in my life i am a mad fan and finally get what fan culture is all about.

    1. He’s the kind of actor that nails moments without much effort. Even the simplest of gestures and actions, the way he gets em across, so at ease and natural. He can already do so much with so little, I already start to imagine what he can do with an explosive role/character.

      Need to watch his other stuff now STAT.

  2. I love Jung Woo insanely as well, I can not rem last I flail so hard, I honestly do not and as batshitcrazy I can be, I really just have a few handful of these experiences. But it is always the exact same, it’s out of the very left field I did not see it coming (I do not rem seeing JW in anything, nor find him eyecatchingly gorgeous). While you speak my mind how JW is beyond lovely and perfect, we still have to agree to disagree on Oppa.

    I can not see it to me his repeated non-action is overthinking of everyone else in fear of jeopardizing/changing the dynamics the relationships because it is already changed. I see it more as self-serving, yes he cares about hurting his closest adopted family, but he cares about his feelings being hurt, the nurturing relationships in his life altered the most. He is very aware how NJ is different around him, how miserable she is and she did not put her feelings to her sleeves and words just once, but a few times, reinstated even. And her caring eccentric parents would have sniff out her feelings for him soon one way or the other. Things have changed, NJ has a mind of her own that is imaginative and now supersensitive to his everything, he should know. So for him to still be at times so nonchalant to the point of inconsiderate say with his moving out feels very gimmicky for me more than anything else. His reasons for hesitation is not out of the odds, I bet every friend to lover had gone through the stage of hesitation in various degree, imo he just does not love NJ enough if ‘overthinking’ for this extended period is an option, more so, it overrides his urge, his need to stop seeing NJ suffer because of him from him not doing a thing, not opening his heart: just tell her what is on his mind, his hesitations and turmoils, a fraction of what he told HT. He can skip the telling of his own complicated feelings he probably did not know how to wrap around it yet to NJ because if he did, HT did not have to make it a point to ask him straight up.

    Basically I have a lot of problems with the writing and pace of this since the get-go. But the characters are lovely on their own especially outside of the machinations.
    What really annoys me with the most with Oppa the character is his almost ‘if I can’t have her, nobody can’ mindset with CB after their tête-à-tête, that is what is confirming what he cares about deep down is what will change with HIS side of the relationships selfservingly, how the love and care he would get will be altered. I am fine with the character to finally reached a point after his ‘overthinking’ to finally do something, anything about NJ’s feelings for him, but not when it is because you can not stand another boy having a stake at the girl you have complicated feelings for as if you have dips/ownership.

    And as I am the opposite of having a shipper heart, I am Team JungWoo. I can not ship NJ with Oppa of CB in the straightest sense because one can love someone the most but still marry a most suitable mate. My own aunt actually told me straight up in my teens to my shock it still sticks in my head even though it is not my doctrine: a girl should go and fall in love as much as heart desires, but only marry the guy who loves you more than you love him. Even though I think the writer has laid out ample clues for the end game at this point, but well, imo the writer is opposite of hell bent on being very loyal to logic and characterization but more would give anything up for a gimmicky plot device.

    All in all my biggest gripe is more the writer is lovely at constructing enigmatic characters but lacking in how to put them to use in better storytelling. The acting is spot on fantastic for all of them and that is what I am watching this for, but ship has long sailed for me to love it to death.

    1. Awww mookie chinggu you know I can’t beat you to it, you’re one of the most eloquent articulate writers I know and I always agree, no.. I have to agree. hehehe.. 😉

      Nah I’m not trying to persuade or convince in any way that Oppa is perfect or selfless in his consideration of many things when it comes to his relationship with NJ. In fact I agree with you that he doesn’t need others to prompt him to make his feelings clear, it’s just not the best way to deal with things so delicate and sensitive by letting it sit there. Just the me trying to rationalise the reasoning behind Oppa’s so called/looks like obliviousness and silence (well maybe not so much since NJ actually asked him not to say anything) . IMO for Oppa the thought process is longer, not just if he likes her more than a sister, not just that they’re family and he cannot love a sister the way a man loves a woman. Sitting on the confession is definitely a NO NO for the the girl, but from Oppa’s point of view, giving an immediate straight YES or NO IMO is a big step for him, say it’s cowardice or fear, or both, I believe that fear, of what could happen to their relationship altogether is pretty legit and understandable.

      And CB’s so called “threat” to Oppa, I believe that’s what people are most unhappy about (but it’s also the scene I love the most because Jung Woo was freaking amazing there, sorry YYS!). Will not disagree that it looked not so nice on Oppa when he directed his response to CB in the way you mentioned, that CB can’t have her sorta way if Oppa’s there. But that I see as a great prompting for Oppa to FINALLY realise his true feelings, and to finally make a move. I do not think all Oppa’s woes and worries about the family dynamics changing will be gone even if he’s made to confess with CB’s prompting. I don’t even think his words to CB were all true or genuine in a sense that he will not let CB have her if he can’t. I feel it’s more like an response given in a sorta compulsive way because of how he’s made to look like a jerk or loser because of his silence. Everyone’s been telling him this fact over and OVER again, repeatedly and that he’s not doing anything about it, and for a man, I feel it can take a toll on pride. I am pretty certain that he will still respect NJ’s decision, and whoever she chooses, he will be there for her.

  3. Ripgal, I knew it! I was so eager to leave a comment in your previous posting on SCP right after I finished episode 11. But I wanted to wait until you see for yourself. His acting in episode 11 is simply out of this world! I was completely speechless when I watched him deliver every single line and register every nuanced expression. He is sublime, but in the most ordinary way that makes me sympathize and identify with him.

    Jung Woo IS the best actor of 2013. Period.

    I know that many viewers are critical of Trash Oppa’s character. For me, although Go Ara’s role is supposed to be the “One Top” (the main lead), I feel that Trash Oppa is in fact the central character that embodies the zeitgeist of the early 1990s which the writer/PD aim to portray. Call him tentative and selfish, but the characterization of Trash Oppa is firmly embedded into the mutually imbricated dynamics of family, kinship, friendship, romance, school, the shifting cultural geography as well as the intellectual climate of South Korea in the 1990s. While CB, even NJ, represents an atemporal and universal (and universalized) ideal of romance where one just pursues romantic love albeit it’s unrequited, Trash Oppa has to weigh in the intra-familial relations before any action. Maybe I am much older than most of the Korean drama fans these days, maybe I entered college precisely in the year of 1994 in East Asia, I know very well the risk Trash has to take if he gets involved with NJ. I wouldn’t defend his action as unselfish. And yet, in the face of romantic love, who isn’t selfish? I love CB’s forwardness, but is he less “selfish”? Asking someone to come to your baseball game, and playing the guilt trip by jokingly saying that if she doesn’t come, you will lose the game are all very adorable in the eyes of the viewers, including me, but they can appear burdensome for NJ. Just as you point out rightly, who are we to judge who is a better fit for NJ? >.<

    Ultimately, I have to say that all the characters are wonderfully flawed and realistic. CB, as a son of a mother who walks ahead of her times by divorcing and remarrying, pursues NJ without caring about any consequences while Trash hesitates to take actions precisely because he has been nailed to a brother(ly) role in a tightly woven kinship relationship. He is stuck and that's why he has to move out. Otherwise, he has no chance with NJ. And the baseball throwing scene in episode 11 is not Trash's "threat" to CB, in my interpretation at least. Paradoxically, it is through this encounter with CB that Trash Oppa is able to fully come out from his emotional closet. (The talk with Haitai is only the beginning) I don't see the conversation as the declaration of the war between two men. On the contrary, I see how Trash Oppa treats CB as a respectable rival. In the Korean male hierarchy, as a sunbae, Trash does not need to take CB seriously especially when the advantage is on his side. But Trash is still that great oppa. He keeps CB in the know.

    BTW, it is crucial to mark that Trash Oppa is reading the Korean translation of Murakami Haruki's "Norwegian Wood" –NJ is also reading the same book. Ripgal, remember how much we love Chungking Express by WKW? The Chinese title 重慶森林 is a homage to the Chinese title of Haruki's work "挪威森林.“ And that book was a must read, just like Chungking Express was a must see, during my college freshman year. The tentativeness, the melancholy of Jung Woo's expression in episode 11 does give a wonderful vibe similar to the main protagonist of Watanabe.

    OMG. Sorry about my long post. Thanks for accommodating me and thanks even more for your wonderful appraisal of Jung Woo's acting. ❤

    1. Ahhhhh, awesome amazing comment here ennui, I so totally don’t mind if you keep on with your Oppa/JW ravings, because you actually took what I said and articulated it even better than I did, so very much better. Thank you so much. Esp yr point about the differing yet also amusing characterisations of Oppa and CB/NJ. I cannot but agree wholeheartedly, I didn’t even notice! o_0

      I like the view, that Oppa is actually trying his best to make a difference by moving out from the house. People may see that he’s still sitting put and not doing ANYTHING, but his lil actions, albeit not obvious show otherwise and something more. His moving out IS the beginning, in that he needs time to live apart, to re-evaluate what his feelings are, and to stop being ONLY the oppa to NJ. He may not have been very vocal or straightforward, but we (some of us) can see that he’s taking things very seriously and is not trying to rush into making a conclusion that he may regret later on.

      And CB, he is the sweetest ever other guy ever (maybe the main guy who knows). But omg you literally took the words out of my mouth, the way he pursues NJ by hinting about how she’s so important to him and that only she can make his day (esp when he hinted that she should skip class to see him). It’s sweet romantic no doubt but like you said, it feels he’s subtly nudging NJ to make a choice when the girl doesn’t have an idea about his feelings at all. I have no reservations about his character and how he will treat NJ if they end up together, but saying Oppa is not good enough for NJ, or saying that CB is the better match etc, it’s too early to say that, or even BS because we have no say at all in this.

      Ahhh, I missed all those details. Mookie even pointed out that Oppa reads Louis Cha’s novels, and I missed it! Arrhh. I think these days I need to find time to read all these great books and novels. I feel so inadequate and shell empty compared to you guys LOL.

      One of my fav fav scenes of Ep 11

      credits: shura’s tumblr

    2. omg can u please post this in the soompi forums thread for reply 1994?!!!!!!!! this is srsly one of the best posts ive read about trash… alot of ppl seem to misunderstand his character due to a lack of knowledge of what it was actually like in early 90s korea. they dont understand that trash’s actions are reasonable considering the circumstances. thank u for such wonderful insight!

      1. @Michelle Are you talking about my comment? You can post this on behalf of me since I haven’t been to soompi for a while. Too complicated and I heard that there is a fierce shippers’ war going on. >.< hehehe Go ahead and use my post wherever you see fit.

  4. I keep finding myself defending Oppa, ha ha, even though people are right in that he was a bit harsh to Chilbongie the other day. He basically thought that if he told CB that he liked Na Jung, than CB would back down. He was surprised when he didn’t. So, for Oppa to think he has rights over Na Jung, was a bit wrong. And quite unlike Oppa, actually. But his reasoning for not pursuing Na Jung, and his reasons for not rejecting her outright, I really understand. He didn’t want to shut that door entirely because he might want to go through it one day, but morally, he’s holding himself back. So, I can understand what he’s going through.

    I haven’t picked a ship because I love them both and every episode, my mind changes on who I love more, lol. It was Oppa for a long time but the episodes that centre on Chilbongie really make me just fall in love with him. Man, I love this show.

    1. Hmm maybe I missed it in the subs, I didn’t really see his “confrontational” scene of his with CB as a sign of him asserting his rights over NJ, or that he ever had such thought. Oppa would NEVER, because he’s Oppa!… hahah I’m such a biased TeamOppa. 😛

    2. Hm actually it started with CB saying and provoking T like ”I confessed to NJ, even thought I know she likes you, I confessed” Like he doesn’t care because he is going to make NJ likes him. Then he asked what Oppa felt and Oppa was annoyed because CB was asking him to join the game of winning NJ. Oppa then was just honest, yes, he likes NJ, what CB is going to do? CB was the one who provoked him first but wasn’t ready for Oppa asnwer. CB said he would not give up and the game was not over. And throw with power the ball to oppa, provoking he once again, oppa was like ”woah….” and you could see his eyes, he was insecure and shaken. Not overconfident or saying nj was his propriety… it was that CB came really strong and he tried to answer the same way ,

  5. Ripgal, you have to watch episode 12!!! I am so IN LOVE WITH trash Oppa (or rather Jung Woo’s interpretation of Trash Oppa) that it is not even funny.

    He outdid himself again. Admittedly, the scriptwriter seems to make each episode an independent unit and somehow the character’s development can be a bit uneven. In episode 12, Trash Oppa finally comes out of his emotional closet–a bit too abruptly I will say. He is laughing and joking again, like the Trash Oppa we first knew him from episode 1. But then in the hospital scene, Jung Woo can switch from excessive hilarity at one moment to quiet grievance at the next moment. As Korean news reporter evaluates correctly, it is Jung Woo’s and Sung Dong-il’s brilliant acting that make the tragedy of Sampoong Department Store connected with contemporary audience.

    I cried and giggled so much in episode 12. I am so moved by the relationship between Trash and NJ, by the friendship of all the boarders, and in general, by mundane every day life. The experience of death indeed makes being alive a miracle. Maybe Trash oppa is not the endgame, it doesn’t matter although I will surely cry a bucket. Nonetheless, the ending of episode 12 already gives me a wonderful footnote to their relationship:

    This is what we used to “date” back in the 1990s. Alas. You asked a girl out and you would ask whether it’s okay to hold her hand or kiss her. I love this drama to pieces and surely Jung Woo is the one for me who makes this drama hopelessly addicting.

    I look forward to hearing from your take on episode 12 and 13. ^.^

    1. I have seen 12 (sadly 13 is put on hold due to life commitments arrhh will get to it ASAP), and cannot agree more about Jung Woo Jung Woo Jung Woo and Sung Dong Il. Best scene from Oppa came from the hospital “watch” scene, it wasn’t an outright outburst of grief or sadness, but man my heart broke to pieces in that. Wonderful.

  6. I had this huge smile on my face as I was watching ep 12. Oppas’s giddiness makes me literally giddy. And I believe that was a first for me. It even managed to shush the niggling feeling that something is a bit not right about his reactions. I can’t say it is abrupt coz (if my estimations are correct) it still took him months from when he moved out and yet he still has not confessed. But to see him so giddy was a bit confusing, after all the angsting in ep 11. I guess when he lets go of his worries and hesitations, he turns into someone we haven’t been exposed to yet.

    One of the scenes I loved from this ep is his conversation with his brother. When he is with the gang, he acts like a hyung, but when he was talking with his brother, he transformed into a dongsaeng.

    It is nice to see all these film actors and mostly drama side kicks cameo-ing for the show. Would have been nice if they asked Oh Jung Se to act as the oldest brother, but since the older brother appeared for like 5 seconds or so, it would be pointless.

    Lastly, YJ-SCP pairing are still so delightful. SCP really knows how to pick his battles. 🙂

    1. I thought Ep 12 had some major editing problems, though the sequences were great and effective individually, when put together, the flow just didn’t gel well enough, it was a pretty incoherent episode. I also concur with some about the lack of focus on other chars, esp CB’s actions and reactions towards NJ amidst all this because it just didn’t feel quite right that after the ending of 11, everything just returned to normal between them? Nitpicking maybe, but oh wells.

      Oppa’s giddiness was awesome fantastic tho, like mookie never have I see a guy squeal giggle like SO OUT IN THE OPEN as much as Jung Woo in a drama. The way he does he, I freaking don’t know how he does it. I feel he could be incorporating his own ways of dealing with a crush/romance in RL in to this because how on earth does he come across so BELIEVABLE JUST BY GIGGLING? Ahhhhhh… <333 The brother dongsaeng scene was one of the best best bestest brother bromance scenes I've seen in ages. Such treasure.

  7. I love this. I completely love this post of yours! I had only seen Jung Woo in YTBLSS and his scenes were so well acted. So when he was cast in Reply 1994, I truly didn’t know what to expect (I LOVED Reply 1997, so I was unsure as well what another Reply could possibly bring). Let me just say he BLEW ME AWAY! He has made this show for me. All the characters bring something to the show but it is Jung Woo who I look forward to on my screen. He has delivered at every single scene he has been in, even when no words are involved. His character has so many layers, and he has portrayed Oppa/Trash so believably. Whether he is the end game or not, Jung Woo deserves all the praise he’s attained through this show. And they really should make a spin-off of Oppa and his older brother (the single one). Because they are hilarious together!

    1. Thanks you are too kind, there are tonnes who write better than I do, but really I appreciate the lovely words. 😉

      Yes, I honestly thought he stole the show in YTBLSS (Jo Jung Seok was good but not as effective as I’d expected him to be), love loved his scenes with the young girl. Their rapport and chemistry were wonderful.

      There cannot be enough praise for JW in R1994, have you seen his Lotte World CF? Heck he RAWKS:-

      And I would so totally be so on if R1994 cud give us more Oppa-Dongsaeng scenes. They nailed em relationship so damn well!

  8. ,ripgal, dunno if you are still following AM1994 but have you seen ep 19? That certain hospital scene between Oppa and Appa brought tears to my eyes early in the morning. And I was just reading about it.

    Gaah! SDI and JW really makes their scenes so heartfelt and sincere…

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