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To Binge and To Hustle: Jinjja-ly Daebak K-Shows and Other Fleeting Things

  • By Raven Lester Esperanza

One of my favorite hobbies that I really vaunt is obviously watching TV shows. Whether it is local or foreign, as long as it nudges my interest, I will dedicate my time to view and binge on them, especially when the content is about Korea!

I tend to get the entertainment value that I am looking for by watching Korean shows. It helps me complement the feels that I have or wanted to have (you know, mood changer). If I want to laugh, cry, get furious, or if I want something mellow or subtle, something that challenges my mind, or maybe something that’s just meh -- all of those can be experienced by being a K-Show couch potato.

These Korean shows, particularly “K-dramas,” were introduced to me when I came into the world of K-Pop. I was a K-Pop fan first before I watched my first drama series, unlike others who started the other way around. I still remember the first three drama series that I streamed way back in 2012: Dream High 2, Big, and Reply 1997.

K-dramas are purely addicting. Though its influence nowadays has been intensifying, personally however, there is a limit for me in watching K-dramas. Save your backlashes, but sometimes I feel that watching K-drama series is a bit of a drag. That’s why I looked for another way to enjoy each of my precious leisure time.

Variety is for sanity. Since the pandemic began, I have become sensitive to my mental health. One way to take up cudgels for myself from negativity is by watching Korean variety and reality shows. It is not really that I only started watching them just now, but I have to admit, I only came to appreciate them more now. These shows provided a good level of comfort and ease--the perfect chill, laid back, and home style vibe that made my day-offs really enjoyable.

The great thing about variety shows is that they are genuinely authentic. Their easy-going and casual nature makes them more popular by giving us a glimpse of Korean culture in a light and hearty way. And when I say “variety,” it means that their format is also fun and diverse. Some have games, others feature a unique talk show, and more recently, the vlog-type.

And let’s be honest here: it was indeed difficult to find a reliable website to watch them all. There was even a time when reproduced versions of our favorite K-shows could be seen in the public market for a very cheap price. Others would wait for their friends to give them copies.

Fret no more because platforms like YouTube, which is full of various K-contents, and Viu that has handpicked quality variety shows, are now available. What’s more exciting is that SMART empowers our spazzing moments by getting their new “Giga K-Video” offer. This promo will give us access to YouTube and Viu Premium, which will definitely spoil us with our show “K-ravings.”

Interestingly, these shows squeeze out the courage and confidence in me when it comes to making my own interpretation and version of recipes to some of my favorite Korean dishes. Shows like Youn’s Kitchen & Stay, Our Little Summer Vacation, 3 Meals A Day, Coffee Friends, and Stars’ Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant are definitely worth the try. (Best watched during lunch time and early afternoon)

Other shows make me feel envious and desperately long for a quick flight to South Korea even if traveling is limited, triggered by exquisite views and sceneries and some of the hot and trendy places in the districts of Korea. What’s more enviable, as an extrovert, is that they go to these open-wide refreshing spaces with their friends! House on Wheels, Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast, Battle Trip, and Wassup Man are only some of the shows that really itch your mind.

There are shows that best trigger my logic and push my problem-solving limit, even if I am not really with the cast doing challenges. Shows like Six/Sixth Sense, Master Key, and I Can See Your Voice are great contenders for that. These shows give me ideas as well on what game should I try next with my friends.

As a K-Pop fan myself, these shows are also a good chance to know the other sides of the guests, especially idols. Running Man, SBS Roommate, and I Live Alone are actually great examples of these kinds of shows. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed watching Hangout With Yoo last year because of the debut of SSAK3 and Refund Sisters!

Other shows like Jessi’s Showterview and DIVE Studios’ video-podcast shows like Daebak Show with Eric Nam, Get Real with BM, Peniel and Ashley, and others that should not be missed.

Let us not also forget those shows that gave us a peek into the lives of aspiring trainees who want to debut, and also those groups who wanted to make history in the Hallyu Wave: Produce 101, 48, and X, Queendom, Road to Kingdom, and Kingdom: Legendary War.

Likewise, the K-idols also immersed themselves in these kinds of content on YouTube in an effort to reach out to their fans, since they cannot do onsite fan meetings and concerts at the moment. Some shows are Going Seventeen, DAY6 Even of Day’s Summer Melody, 3 Meals with Mamamoo, ATEEZ Logbook, Stray Kids’ numerous contents, and many more.

Korea is indeed a den of bold concepts when it comes to entertainment shows, and I think they are really successful in pushing for it. There are still a lot of shows out there that you should try aside from those mentioned. Just look for what pleases your taste to give you the indulgent idle that you deserve.

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Raven Lester Esperanza

Raven is a passionate enthusiast of Korean culture and a member of Korean Cultural Center’s “KREW Volunteer Program” here in the Philippines. He has been a fan of K-Pop since 2010, and now he considers himself as an “Eri-STAY”, a fan of EXO and Stray Kids. He extends his advocacy in promoting both cultural efforts by supporting the Center’s activities, doing write-up blogs and other contents, including his podcast, “Squawking Raven”.