Monthly Archives: July 2010

SBS Good Sunday Heroes

Straight up, this show is way more interesting than Running Man. But that’s only judgement based on 2 episodes. So anything can change.

Heroes is a new female concentrated variety show on SBS. They have a vast array of casts. 12 ladies and 2 guys as MC. The MCs are Lee Hwijae and Noh Hongchul. Whereas the members are: No Sayeon, Jung Gaeun, Shin Bongsun, Hong Sooah, Yoo Inna, IU,  and a whole bunch of Idols and Ex Idols: Jewelry’s Seo Inyoung, After School’s Gahee, Brown Eyed Girl’s Narsha, T-Ara’s Jiyeon, Kara’s Nicole, and the earliest Idol: Finkl’s Lee Jin.

I still have no idea what is really the concept of Heroes. I think the show probably just follows the casts as they go somewhere and meet some people and do some games together. So far, there is no special precipe that the casts are required to do other than interacting with each other and the people they visit. From the first episode, the  12 girls are divided into two teams and compete with each other to claim basic necessity like food, chance of shower, etc. In short, it’s the SBS version of Invincible Youth of KBS.

The Pros:

You get to see both the familiar reality show personalities and the not so familiar ones. Much like Running Man, SBS has recruited some fresh faces like Yoo Inna and IU. They’re also brought back the ones we haven’t seen in a while like Lee Jin and Hong Sooah. But then there are the usual ones, like Shin Bongsun and Seo Inyoung. I really like how they have ladies from different age levels and personality angles. We’ve got the ultimate idol highschooler like T-Ara’s Jiyeon but then we’ve got the ultimate unni Noh Sayeon. There’s the girl who screams at bugs like Jung Gaeun, there’s also the tough athletic girl a la Park Gahee.

It’s interesting to see all these elements blend in. So far I think the camaraderie is being formed well. Many, if not all, of these ladies know each other off screen, but the degree of familiarity is sure different. The first two episodes we can immediately see which girls had been friends before and which ones are finding their ways. Plus it’s interesting to see what each ladies can bring in to the group and what kind of personalities each girls use to represent themselves.

This is why Korean variety shows can gain some really passionate fans. They approach viewers from the humanity side and let them access a more personal side of stars. The stars are probably assholes in real life, but through whatever way, if they can present themselves well, they will appeal to viewers anyway. If the stars are fun and unique, people will form attachment much stronger than just who’s the prettiest or the nicest.

Heroes, just like most reality show in Korea, is using the same tactics. What I find interesting is that I think they’ve got a potential to show NOT just the fun and happy part, but also some negative side of female friendships. As is usual with girls, we can get catty and jealous and horrible. With guys, there’s probably not much of that kind of drama. But with girls, THAT can be the delicious seasoning for the show. Especially with such a large cast (may I remind you, 12 girls! head to head!) and some pretty strong individuals, there’s bound to be some negative sentiment between one girl and the other.

BUT! I do NOT want some manufactured drama. It’s fun to see some tiny conflicts, but when they get blown out, it would just become tiring and fake. Get catty on screen, but resolve your issues off screen, please!

The cons:

Already, with the big casts, I see some girls blending in the background. So far, those are Narsha and Nicole. I’ve seen Narsha on other shows, and she’s really entertaining but I wonder why she’s a little bland here. And Nicole just isn’t standing out at all. Would’ve been better if they got Gyuri instead. She would present yet another different age level and image. Plus, wonder if she will be able to fit in with her “Princess Complex” image.

In the first two episodes, the girls were divided into the Popular and the Not Popular team. I hope they mix it up in the future so we can see everyone interacting, not just within their group.

Also, I notice that some segments are boring and I ended up fast forwarding through some scenes. The games need to be more quick paced. For example, the rolling/guessing game was fun, but NOT when repeated 10 freaking times! The mud match was just plain dull. Was that supposed to be a more harmless version of girls’ pillow fights or something?

But the biggest con I have is that it’s got nothing to differentiate itself. Invincible Youth, Gold Miss is Coming, Infinite Girls, and the old school Heroine 5/6, they all revolve(d) around girls. I see Heroes relates closest to Infinite Girls, but a funnier version of it. However, I think Heroes needs to find its niche so it would not die out.

All in all, Heroes started out pretty strong and fun. I hope it can find its niche soon so it can be longer lasting, and higher rated, than previous SBS shows.

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SBS Good Sunday Running Man

I’ve been on a semi hiatus because as my stay in Korea came to a close, I found out that I don’t really have anything to talk about. I’m not watching dramas either at the moment, so I’ve been pretty left out of the game. The only thing I still watch religiously is 1 Night 2 Days.

Coincidentally, the new SBS Sunday show who is called Running Man, is a new competitor for 1N2D. The idea of 1N2D having a competition is actually exciting. Personally, despite watching every single week, I recognize that 1N2D is not pulling on the gems anymore. It’s got its own pace and sticking to it and there are small surprises still, but concept-wise, it has not invented much recently. So the news of Running Man excited me on 2 levels: the fact that there’s a new variety show and the response spawned fom 1N2D.

But anyways, Running Man is fronted by Yoo Jaesuk, the National MC. There are 7 male members: the aforementioned Yoo Jaesuk, Star Golden Bell’s Ji Sukjin, Leessang’s Gary, Kim Jongkook, Haha, Highkick Through the Roof’s Lee Gwangsoo, and cutie Song Joongki.

Hmm, 7 members, all male? Sounds familiar? No, it’s not at all similar to 1N2D. At least not in the first episode. For one, there would be 2 or 3 weekly guests coming on the show, male and/or female, and second, the members and guests would be divided into two teams and compete against one another.

The first episode had Lee Hyori and Hwang Jungeum as guests. Lee Hyori is just the popular choice of guest for variety shows premiering, and plus she’s a former member of Family Outing, also on SBS Sunday, also housed Yoo Jaesuk and Kim Jongkook. And I suspect Hwang Jungeum is there as a support for fellow Highkick costar Lee Gwangsoo.

The first episode was okay. If I were to rate it, probably a 6 out of 10. It was not an immediate Golden, but it also was not bad at all. A few things I want to mention.

First off, I love that they put newer personas, like Song Joongki, Lee Gwangsoo, and Gary as members instead of inviting those familiar ones. These new people may need time to find their grooves, but already it feels more refreshing to see new people. I think Lee Gwangsoo has the most distinctive impression in the first episode. I saw him on Strong Heart and I thought somebody better grabbed this guy soon for a variety show. And I’m so glad somebody did. Gwangsoo was awkward and competitive, but really lovable at the same time. Plus, he’s got some great facial expressions.

While the general concept is still competition, I guess the segments will differ episode to episode. From the first episode, I thought some of the segments were really fun. The Coat Rack Race was so creative and the race gave some of the show’s most hilarious moments. The Photo Competition and the Chicken Fight were also really enjoyable.

Speaking of the guests, I’m actually glad that Lee Hyori was only a guest, not a permanent member. Hyori is a great sport and she’s got an awesome variety inkling, but her presence is really too big and intimidating for other female members to meet.  The old FO had many female guests, but really, it was only Kim Wonhee and fellow member Park Yejin who could equalize and/or even outshone Hyori. Even latter member Park Shiyeon ended up in the background. The same happened to Hwang Jungeum here.

However, my biggest question is, what the hell happened to Haha? I haven’t followed him since he got out of military and how he fit in with the Infinite Challenge team again. I’m beginning to wonder, did he fail like Kim Jongmin in 1N2D??? Haha is usually a total scene stealer and is always up to something weird and hilarious. But when I was listing the members’ names in my head, I actually forgot about Haha and had to google Running Man first.

Last point I want to mention is SBS editing style. Which I personally don’t like. I’m making a comparison with KBS here because the only variety show out of MBC that I watch is We Got Married. But anyways, I was watching some KBS shows like Invincible Baseball, Invincible Youth, and of course 1N2D. With those shows, the editing only enhances the footages, it doesn’t tell you what to watch. Those shows feel more reality based, rather than setup. I’m nowhere near fluent in filmmaking, but that’s just how I feel when comparing shows from those two stations.

With SBS, it feels more like footage cuts being pieced together to make one interesting show, whereas with KBS it feels more like one interesting show whose parts are cut for time management. True, it depends on what kind of show you want to make. I thought SBS’s style worked well on actually structured  show like X-Man and Love Letter cos both shows were scripted. But it doesn’t work on newer shows that has more “reality” infused, like Family Outing and Running Man, or talk shows like Strong Heart. Anyways, I don’t know what I’m spouting here.

Next episode has Goo Hara, Lee Chunhee (yayyyyy!), and Song Jihyo. Lee Chunhee was one of my fav in FO and Song Jihyo’s episode was a lot of fun as well. Plus, Goo Hara is an emerging talent in variety shows. I’m approaching the next episode with excitement. And lots of it!

EDIT: Couldn’t last through the first 10 minutes of episode 2. Rating down by about 4% as well. Wonder if Running Man can actually run.

On the other hand, I did watch the first episode of another new SBS Good Sunday Heroes and if the first episode is any indication, it will be a very fun show.