V is for Variety Shows
I have always struggled with how to explain what a variety show is to Americans. Thes best way I can word it is that it is a mix between a reality show, talk show, and game show. With K-pop always comes variety show appearances by the singers. In this post, I will share all of the variety shows that I watch and what they offer.
It’s hard to rank them, so I’m just going to do it in alphabetical order.
2 Days & 1 Night (Season 3)
This is the show I have most recently taken an interest in. It follows a fixed cast of male celebrities (singers, comedians, actors) as they go on different survival trips. The show is focused on different games that the members play to earn their different living essentials, like meals and a comfortable place to sleep. This show is just comedy gold. The members are all so naturally hilarious, and they always manage to make the games they play so entertaining. I started watching it for Jung Joon Young, and because of it I have now become big fans of Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Jong Min.
Let’s Go! Dream Team Season 2
The basic format of this show involves teams of guests to complete various sports-related challenge to win a prize at the end. The layout of the teams and actual guests change episode to episode. This is a show that I don’t follow regularly, but I will definitely watch it if I am a fan of one of the guests. Back around 2010 I would watch this for Super Junior’s Eunhyuk, who was a fixed guest at the time. Nowadays, I watch it mostly for VIXX appearances. My favorite segment is always the timed relay courses.
Idol Star Athletics Championships (ISAC)
This is more of an event rather than a variety show. A couple times every year K-pop stars from virtually every popular group come together to participate in a celebrity olympics. If you’re a fan of K-pop, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have someone you like participating. The concept of having all of these groups on one show is pretty cool in and of itself, but once the competitions start, you can’t help but treat it like a real sporting event. I find myself just as invested, if not more, in the soccer games on ISAC than I am in actual World Cup games. This is one of the few shows that you can watch and actually enjoy without waiting for subtitles, because it’s almost all sports.
One Fine Day
This show is most similar to an American reality show. Each season is centered around one K-pop group. The group goes on vacation, and it is for the most part unscripted. There are different destinations and activities that are planned, but the show is meant to show the celebrities’ natural experience on their vacations. It is so much fun to watch if a group you really like is featured on it because you can really see how they are and how the members act around each other.
This is most similar to an American talk show. Each episode, the hosts bring on various celebrity guests and they just talk. A lot of the topics are focused on current events involved in the singers’ career. I don’t watch this show regularly, so I can’t really describe it further for you, but the few episodes that I have watched have been very funny. I recently watched the episode featuring Block B’s Zico, Jung Joon Young, and Super Junior’s Ryeowook and Henry, and there were several laugh-out-loud moments. This is a show that I would like to start watching more.
Return of Superman
Hands down, my favorite variety show. Aside from 2D1N, this is the only show I watch regularly. It follows celebrity dads as they spend an entire weekend taking care of their kids without their wives. All of the families return week to week, so as a viewer you end up really bonding with the kids as they grow. Despite half of the original families no longer present, this show is still as entertaining as always. Seeing celebrities take care of kids has always been a love of mine, but now I am actually watching the show more for the kids than the dads. Seoeon and Seojun are my life. ❤
Running man seems to be a favorite of most K-poppers. It is another athletic-type show. Each episode, the Running Man team (which is a fixed cast) goes up against the guest celebrity team in a series of physical games. Some of them are sillier than others, but my favorite part is always watching the main Name Tag Tearing game. No matter who the guest is, this is always an entertaining game to watch. The main cast has such amazing chemistry and through watching the show for the guests, I have really become a fan of the Running Man team as well.
This is a show every fan hits once their favorite artist has appeared on it. Weekly Idol features Defoconn and Kim Hyung Dong as they interview different K-pop artists. The interviews involve not only talking about the artists’ newest album, but also engaging them in interactive games, having the members of groups show off their unique skills, and playing the famous Random Play Dance, in which groups have to dance the choreography of their songs as they are shuffled and played at random.
Question of the Day:
What are your favorite variety shows?
#NowPlaying: Now by B.A.P’s Jongup. I’m still in concert mode. I’m still not over the fact that he sang this and how well he sang it.
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