Random Musings: Jang Geun Suk, Graduation, Big Bang and Legal Media


Following the surprising success of the random musing article last week, I’m back again to once again offer my somewhat inferior opinion about all the events that have occurred in the world of Korean entertainment over the past week. All of these articles I’m going to be mentioned have been selected using a stringent process that places emphasis on importance, philosophical…ah screw it, I just went through the Soompi news list for the past week and picked out random articles. Anyway let’s begin another session of random musings.

1) Jang Geun Suk lies about his height? OMG! A celebrity lying about their height? Shocking! Etc etc.

We had an article a few days back where some fans claimed that Jang Geun Suk was lying about his height. The gist of the matter was that Jang Geun Suk was supposedly shorter than his claimed 182cm because he was the same height as Noritake Kinashi, who is “only” 177cm.

The infamous “Red Line,” the bane of every celebrity with forged heights.

Opinions were generally split amongst fans between pure shock and indifference, some fans cared so much about this that they went back and posted up comparison shots of Jang Geun Seuk compared to a whole bunch of other celebrities. Of course there were other fans that couldn’t care less about his height but I think some fans were just disappointed that their beloved celebrity might have actually been lying. Understandable of course, celebrities and fans have a trust based relationship, fans expect celebrities to be an exact depiction of the person they portray in public while celebrities trust that fans will continue to support them as long as they live up to their image.

Definitely not the member i’m talking about…

I have one slight minor issue with all of this though. Why in the world do we care so much about someone’s height? I think a lot of female idols have proven that it isn’t all about raw height but actual proportions. Look at some of the shorter girl idols (I won’t list names but they are in the group starting with K and their name starts with H, ends with n and isn’t Han Solo Neun.), you would be hard pressed to tell that they are short if you were to look at a shot of them by themselves without any obvious landmarks to compare to. Proportions should be more important then height, not that it personally helps me in any sort of way since I’m both short and oddly proportioned, but the more we focus on proportions than height, the less relative stress celebrities will feel to exaggerate their height or wear unwieldy tall shoes to cover for their physical shortfalls.

The test in question, which one do you think looks best?

But until then, how about we reach a minor compromise? As some may know, girl idols are famous for wearing heels ranging from anywhere between 10 ~ 20cm. As some of our female readers may understand, the taller the heels, the more uncomfortable it is. Not to mention wearing heels that tall is like smashing bricks into your spine on a daily basis. So what’s my compromise? You see, there was an interesting section on a TV program called “Sponge Zero” and one of their sections this week was surprisingly about heels (It’s like they read my mind). They got someone to wear heels of various heels and then asked people to vote on which heel height made the person’s legs look best. So out of the heels above, which one do you think looks the best? Well the answer was quite interesting; it wasn’t 3cm nor was it 10cm. It was actually 7cm, the one in the middle. So it looks like people don’t just blindly go for the tallest heel but actually have a preference that is somewhere in the middle. Using this data, perhaps we should limit idol heels to 7cm and no taller? It would help relieve some of the stress on their backs and with everyone on equal standings, perhaps we can stop this tall high heel arms race we have going right now?

2) Idols graduate from school. Kids grow up so fast these days, “sniffle.”

Kids really do grow up fast these days, back in my days we were lucky to see one idol go from junior high to graduation, since most of them tended to debut a bit older than they do now. So let’s see, we’ve had Kara’s Kang Ji Young, f(X)’s Luna, IU and a dozen other idols graduate this year. To think that we have been seeing these idols for at least several years prior to graduating from high school, it really is like seeing a little brother/sister grow up. It’s kinda sad though if you think about it that way. These kids have spent the vast majority of their school life working and not being at school. I’m sure most of you have fond memories of high school. It’s usually one of the most memorable parts of school, old enough to do some with some freedom while young enough to still be a bit daring and carefree. I’m sure these idols all have fond memories of their own but I just wonder if we had perhaps stolen a golden era for them as the industry constantly shifts towards debuting idols at a younger age for various reasons.

Looks happy to me

I’m probably just over-thinking this though, considering how hard it is for most other students to find jobs and futures these days. These idols may have sacrificed their school years but in return they have a relatively stable job and future prospects. I guess that’s a good compromise in some ways, I certainly wouldn’t lament my missed school years if given the chance of living happily for the latter half of my life. I think the thinking here would be that you can’t really miss something that you’ve never been exposed to, so idols might not necessarily lament what they missed in their school years since they have had little exposure to it. Anyway let’s end off by wishing everyone graduating good luck and hope that they all do well in future.

External from soompi image

3) Big Bang returns, we find out Big Bang is popular, also that the sun will rise in the morning, more news at 5.

Despite my rather sarcastic title, I actually quite like Big Bang. I’m glad that they are earning serious amounts of cash and that they will soon return and be holding a worldwide tour, which isn’t really worldwide since they seem to think Oceania is not a part of this world (Which a lot of people seem to think unfortunately). No what I’m surprised about is how little their popularity seems to have been affected by the various issues they faced in 2011, Daesung getting involved in a car accident involving a fatality and G-Dragon’s drug issue. Most other celebrities seem to have a much harder time returning to the scene after going through even one of those incidents, but here we are with Big Bang suffering from 2 incidents in a relatively short amount of time, returning after a relatively short amount of time. I guess it says a lot about their own personal resolves and the mentality of their fans, kind of makes you wish everyone else was so understanding and determined. Anyway not much else I can say at this point so I’ll end off by wishing them good luck and look forward to their return.

4) “1N2D” ends their conquest of Sunday Television, what next?

It really is the end of an era isn’t it? After dominating the Sunday time slot for years, “1N2D” has finally finished their final recording and in turn have handed off to a new cast and new production staff. Lee Seung Gi gave his thoughts regarding the last recording and KBS was forced to change their final recording location after the media reported their initial recording location, out of fear for over-crowding.

SBS is in the best position to take advantage

So what’s next? Well we know that the “1N2D” format will stay relatively intact for the 2nd season except with a change of cast and a change of production staff. To be honest thou, what I’m more interested in, is how the other broadcaster plan to capitalize on this changeover. “1N2D Season 2” will most likely take some time to settle itself down and in the meantime, it would be a great time for the other broadcasters to attack back and gain some ratings. SBS looks poised to benefit most out of this change. “Running Man” is doing extremely well in the time slot prior to “1N2D” currently and its sister program “K-Pop Star” has been steadily rising in popularity in the 2nd time slot filled with “1N2D” and “I’m a Singer.” This stable foothold could prove to be a significant advantage for SBS and I probably expect them to benefit most during the earlier periods.

MBC has a lot of work to do if they want to compete on Sundays

MBC though looks like they are going to aim for the long haul. They’ve cancelled the 1st season of “I’m a Singer” rather hurriedly and are currently preparing a 2nd season of “I’m a Singer” for March, bringing back their original production staff headed by their original PD, Kim Yong Hee PD. This is obviously because of the collapse in popularity of “I’m a Singer” in recent months and it probably is a really good idea to take this break. But how will they differentiate it from the 1st season? Some of the novelty and shock value of seeing these great singers and the whole elimination process has clearly died down over the last several months, and just re-hashing the same base concept with different singers and some minor changes isn’t going to last any longer than the 1st season. We’ll see how this all plays out in coming months but Sunday television is going to become very interesting.

5) Media Acquisition, our readers have spoken and they agree, it’s improving but it still sucks.

First of all, thanks to everyone that commented last week regarding the state of file sharing. Actually expected most of our comments to come from the SNSD section, seriously it’s a proven formula, mention SNSD and expect comments. Anyway joking aside, I’ve read all those comments and it’s nice to see that a lot of people agree that there needs to be better ways of getting legal content. Now I can’t really mention some of the options the commenters listed for various reasons, but I have looked through all of them to varying extents. I would have looked at them more carefully but we once again come back to one of the original problems. Most people would know that there is other parts of the world that ISN’T North America. Unfortunately most of these services seem to be oblivious to this fact and only offer access to our Moose loving Canadians and Hamburger Loving Yanks. Oh the joys of living in the land of Kangaroos, with overpriced items and limited access to everything.

All these international internet cables aren’t cheap

I can understand the technical barriers to why services are offered in North America only. Servers and Bandwidth are expensive, and until we develop some sort of technology that allows data to travel faster than light, accessing North American servers from other places of the world is going to be slow and expensive. Then there is the issue of licensing of content in various countries. One of these days, content holders and lawyers are going to run into something we call common sense and actually simplify this convoluted licensing system. Also another issue I’ve had with the legal music download scene, more specifically the site starting with S, ending with A, is that they seem to ignore all established naming conventions for song/idol names and decide to rename everything themselves, most of which are extremely absurd Romanization of words that are actually English. Not to mention their limited range, strange layout and how long it actually takes them to update the site with the latest songs. And they expect these services to be successful while putting in such pitiful efforts like this? It just reeks of laziness and just band-wagoning on the Hallyu craze for a quick dollar. If they want this to be successful, they need to actually put some effort into these services and learn from others.

A model we can learn a lot from

There is a good reason why iTunes has been able to completely change the international music scene, a combination of ease to use, integration with music playing devices and content quality have all been pivotal in moving people gradually away to digital music downloads. Current Korean solutions offer almost none of these for international fans. Despite the range of places to watch K-dramas in America at least, none of those options offer a clear or easy way of watching their content on a proper TV, something which Netflix has done well to solve with their wide range of Netflix apps on a wide variety of devices. This is getting a bit long so I’ll end it about here but we haven’t even discussed physical media yet, which still tends to be overpriced and annoying to get (Who here really likes having to wait for slow free shipping?). We’ll probably come back to this point once again when we have something new to discuss, but until then I think it’s safe to say that the industry really has to improve a lot in this regard.