2008, last year, was basically a variety show year for me. I faithfully followed We Got Married from its 1st episode around March. Several months down the line, I discovered Family Outing. Interestingly, neither show kept my interest. December last year marks the last time I stayed up to watch the show live. I still followed news and episodes, but not as loyally as before. FO was an even shorter case, I stuck around for about 10 or so episodes but decided to take my leave when I became seriously bored at how structured the show is. Coincidentally, ‘scandal’ broke out about the scriptedness of the show. I still do watch some tidbits of some interesting episodes, but now I can never watch the whole episode without nodding off once in a while.
Currently, I am following 1 Night 2 Days (I will shorten this to Ilbak) a variety show with Kang Hodong, Kim C, Lee Sugeun, Eun Jiwon, MC Mong, and Lee Seungki (yeah, like people don’t know this show by now). Ilbak started in 2007. The format of the show is similar to Family Outing or Infinity Challenge (people say Ilbak copies IC’s format whereas FO copies Ilbak’s format, go figure) with the members going on a trip to a new location every two weeks. The concept of the show is to well, show audiences of the beautiful places in Korea. A lot of the places are far from being tourist attractions and this show’s goal is to get these places more well known. As they say at the end of every other episode, ‘Please come here!
Kang Hodong as the main MC is also the oldest of the gang and therefore he assumes the role of a leader. His specialties are initiating, negotiating, and general misdeeds/tricking (spoken with lots of affection, mind you). Despite his portrayal as ‘Dae Mawang’ or Super Devil, he takes care of the members a lot and is really really nice to any other people they are interacting on the trips. Whenever things are getting too rough for the team, he negotiates with the Directors to ‘lessen their pain’ and often, his effort is fruitful. Referred to as the Papa Bear, KHD is the Big Brother/Father of the group.
The mother of the group is the second oldest member, Kim C. Vocalist of the band Hot Potato (who, btw, is an uber awesome band and one of my favourites), he doesn’t talk as much as the other members and has earned himself nicknames such as ‘Documentary Reaction’ (for his deadpan and serious reactions) or Master Kim. You will see very very often Kim C in the background caring for the members. Be it toweling them after a dip in the sea, giving them jacket, or just generally showing care. He’s known to be a great dad and husband, but sadly in Ilbak, the members often tease him as the ugliest member (which I do not get because I find Kim C to be quite an attractive guy, even at his age of 39).
Lee Sugeun is the ultimate driver of the group, litterally. You will see him often handling the steering wheel, both cars and even busses. SG started out rough, he is a professional comedian, yet he had a hard time adjusting to variety show and during the early episodes, his part was often edited out because he was not entertaining enough. He pulled through and now is a very valuable member of Ilbak. SG is known as the hardworker and the kind hearted. Often coming up with great arguments, one liners, and comebacks, he is definitely one of the wittiest members.
A former idol, Eun Jiwon, or now affectionately known as Eun Choding (for his 5th grade taste in food and general ‘childlike’ personality) and Dooli (after his imitation of the character). Dubbed as the laziest member with the most complains, JW is a source of good laugh and IMO, the funniest member. He is the only member who dares to trifle with KHD and often, KHD is left dumbfounded at JW’s tricks. Allegedly a very intelligent person, he often shows signs of being a dimwit, but then like SG, he has one of the best comebacks on the show, clearling showing his own wittiness. After breaking up with his group, Sechskies, JW is still trying to revive his singing career to the level of his former glory as a hot boyband. Best of luck to JW.
I loved MC Mong’s music even before watching Ilbak. Now a hugely successful singer and entrepreneur, MC Mong self produces his albums and often helps other singers through rap featuring. Personality wise, his has got to be one of the most interesting ones in the industry. His nickname is Wild Monkey and it is very very appropriate. He is loud, he is wild, he knows how to entertain, and yet, in front of elders, he knows how to be respectful and relate to them as a son or grandson. Even with a bountiful of accomplishment, MCM still has the grace to be bashful once in a while, refusing to talk big about himself and self promote. More, he is also known as Mong Jang Geum, for his cooking prowess.
Magnae Lee Seungki is only 22, but he’s got some serious accomplishments up his sleeves. He graduated university and is now taking Master degree. He has had quite a successful singing career and has established himself as a respectable ballad singer. He is also starring in a currently airing drama, Brilliant Legacy, who is enjoying high ratings. Seeing LSK is not doing a very good thing for my own ego and confidence. How can he achieve so much for his young age? On the show, LSK is the Huhdang, the fake scholar because while he is a clever guy, he’s not exactly smart sometime. Often Ilbak requires LSK to step out of his zones, and as a guy who is mindful of his image, he often worries about it.
Overall, Ilbak is a very funny show. It IS intended to give laugh and entertainment. However, more than just a show, Ilbak often displays intangible qualities that makes it above other variety shows. It’s got heart. They show the brotherhood (you know I’m a sucker of camaraderie) and close bonds between the members and viewers are often just content with seeing them fool around and joking with each other. They tackle various different issues, such as Friendship (through Friendship Trip and Invite Friends Trip), North/South Korea estrangement (through Baek Du San Trip), viewers (Viewers Trip), elders, and so many more.
Long Live 1 Night 2 Days.