On May 9, South Korea held its 19th presidential election after the previous president, Park Geun Hye, was removed from the presidency following a corruption scandal that rocked the country.
But official election coverage from South Korea’s major TV networks – the public broadcasters KBS, MBC, SBS – didn’t show the simple percentages and pie graphs that one might expect as votes were tallied. Instead, the networks went all-out on some pretty intense graphics referencing dozens of pop culture memes including “Game of Thrones,” “Pokemon Go,” “Detective Conan,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Show Me the Money,” and more.
The “Game of Thrones” graphics garnered the most attention, with the presidential candidates’ faces photoshopped over “Game of Thrones” characters’ bodies as the iconic theme song played in the background. It was an interesting comparison as “Game of Thrones” often features the intense political conflict, potential warfare with neighboring lands, and family-based corruption that were key issues in the South Korean election.
역시 한국에서 제일 재밌는 방송은 선거방송임 pic.twitter.com/3PLG53EOD5
— SRNT (@SRNT00) May 9, 2017
Korea's Game of Thrones (via SBS) pic.twitter.com/f1CEbymNYq
— Dan Kurtz (@MyKBO) May 9, 2017
After the polls began announcing that liberal candidate Moon Jae In had taken the lead ahead of his competitors, some networks began airing graphics that mimicked “Pokemon Go,” with the leading candidate being “captured” with a Pokeball.
— 리안?rian (@_riarian) May 9, 2017
SBS’s election coverage alone included graphics from pro wrestling and “Show Me the Money” among others.
SBS 개표방송 미친ㄴ거아니냐곹ㅋㅋ pic.twitter.com/tj1ijw5tV8
— 중간고사 망한 너츠양 (@kkuj31) May 9, 2017
One graphic showed three presidential candidates “dabbing”, a dance move that has become a pop culture meme. However, in East Asia, this is also a “Detective Conan” reference since it looks like the dance that the anime character performs in one of his openings (“Love is Thrill, Shock, Suspense”).
사랑은 스릴, 쇼크, 서스펜스 pic.twitter.com/pvcUPpOe1Y
— ✨베이비 주식회사 사원1 별찌✨ (@Byeoljji_public) May 9, 2017
The upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics were also featured in one graphic.
SBS Network on fire tonight. Anyone excited for Winter Olympics? pic.twitter.com/MxYGtPl6Yj
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) May 9, 2017
Although many of these graphics came from SBS, MBC didn’t lose out on the competition with “Mortal Kombat”-style graphics.
And here come some more MBC graphics. Fighting~ pic.twitter.com/YuPseDR3hX
— Mark Russell (@themarkrussell) May 9, 2017
You can check out many of these graphics and more on Twitter Moments as the world took notice of what was going on.
South Korea knows how to make watching election results exciting. https://t.co/9YCeCHuP0F
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) May 9, 2017