Random Musings: Skating Away from Controversy, Having Fun with TV And Being a Fan Boy

Well, this week is going to be fun. I’m going to see how far along I can get in this article while avoiding the big obvious topic I need to discuss. With luck, I might waste enough time writing other more interesting things and somehow miraculously run out of space this week. Yes, yes, I’m a bit of a wuss but you can’t blame me, can you? Touching Block B right now is like prodding at a very angry lion that probably hasn’t been fed for a few weeks and you just happen to look like a very juicy pig. Anyway enough time wasting, let’s get started.

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Girl Group Hierarchies, the story of one sad fan boy:

The last week has been hierarchy week over in K-pop world. It first started with the girl group hierarchy chart in the beginning of the week, which was then followed up by a hierarchy chart listing the best girl group singers, with Sistar’s Hyorin coming first, followed up by Davichi’s Lee Haeri and BEG’s Jea. Anyway that’s not the chart I want to be talking about today. No, the topic I want to talk about is the girl group ranking chart we covered a few days ago and the sad story of a heartbroken fan boy.

The “Who is the Best Singer” Chart I Mentioned Above

People that go through my list of articles will notice that I don’t really cover a lot of K-pop articles and if I do they don’t tend to be as detailed or passionate as my TV show articles. Quite simply an explanation for that, while I do like K-pop it’s not something that I tend to follow around with as much interest as all my other hobbies. Despite that, I do still have my own little fan boy crushes because quite frankly I’m still a healthy adult male and watching cute/pretty girls perform on stage is still interesting to watch now as it was several years back when my pimply awkward puberty-crazed teenage-self roamed the world in all his glory. (And no, this does not mean I’m some strange stalker, stop looking at me that way.). Now imagine the scene, me sitting at the computer roaming the wastelands we call the Korean message boards when I come across the girl group hierarchy picture we covered above then imagine me again opening the post with a small faint of anticipation which is immediately followed up by sound of my heart breaking up into a billion little pieces as I see most of my favourite girl groups sitting at the bottom, crushed under the weight of all the other more popular girl groups above them. Oh, it pains my soft little heart yet I’ve done quite well so far in not actually mentioning the girl groups that I’m actually a fan of, which is kind of important considering that’s the whole point of this little melodrama.

Excuse me while I go squeal in joy for a bit

So yes, let’s get that out of the way, I happen to be a bit of fan of Girl’s Day, Rainbow and Secret. Those groups just happened to be the groups that were debuting around the time when I was just getting back into Girl Groups after a long hiatus and I just have a massive soft spot for them. My reasoning for supporting a girl group tends to be fairly simply, I usually support the groups that I think work quite hard but which don’t quite seem to result in actual popularity. Girl’s Day personally comes under this criteria quite nicely and they are one of the groups that I really would like I see do well. Most of the other groups that I supported like Secret, Kara, Rainbow and T-ara all seem be doing much better now but poor little Girl’s Day doesn’t quite seem to find a decent break. I’ve thought most of their songs after their 1st mini album, after they brought in Haeri and Yoora, were all fairly decent songs, catchy and a bit weird but weird in a good way. Also their leader Sojin happens to be an ex-engineering student and as a fellow engineering student I have to support my peers. As for why I didn’t initially mention Kara and T-ara, well my thinking is that they are popular enough that they can afford to spare one fan, so that said fan can go support other up and coming groups. So I tend to view Kara and T-ara like a student and myself as a teacher, so I tend to support them from afar with a tinge of pride, happy to see that one of your students is doing well for themselves while continuing to support up-and-coming students. Anyway, I think I’ll end this here but I will probably spend some time being a bit of fan boy about Girl’s Day in a future article, hopefully they will have made their comeback by then. Also don’t forgot everyone, these hierarchies are made for fun, lets not try to be too serious about them, okay? 

Having fun with TV, so much to watch but with a bleak future:

It’s not a bad time right now to be watching Television, so much interesting stuff to watch so I thought I might take some time this week discussing some of the stuff I’ve seen on TV. Let’s first start with variety shows since that’s what I’m most interested in. Frankly it’s a bit bleak right now, my favourite show “Infinity Challenge” has been off the air for 4 weeks now due to ongoing strikes and seeing news reports about how BIGBANG might appear again on the show and how Lee Na Yong is supposed to appear in the future annoys me, knowing that it’s going to be awhile before we get to watch all these interesting items. Luckily, MBC has been able to plug the “We Got Married” gap this week by airing their “We Got Married China Special,” which should tide fans for a bit longer.

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KBS Presiden Kim In Kyu, he’s got a whole heap of problems on his hand at the moment

It hasn’t been any better on the KBS side as well with news reports coming out that state that KBS workers will go on strike over issues relating to upper management and the unfortunate last episode of “One Night, Two Days” this weekend, ending a 5 year domination of Sunday television. Luckily, reports about its successor seem to be positive and they have already started their first recordings with the new members and production staff. Unfortunately, they will also probably be affected by the strikes so if we’re unlucky, we might not actually get to see them for a while.

Lee Joon discusing music program nipple exposure rules (I am not making this up)

So how about shows during the last week that I thought were particularly good and interesting? Well first of all, last week’s “Golden Fishery – Radio Star” with MBLAQ’s Lee Joon, Afterschool’s Uee, Trax’s Jae and ZE:A’s Siwan was a great bit of television, especially Lee Joon. He portrayed the sort of childish purity I usually see from Koyote’s Kim Jong Min. He really dominated the proceedings for that episode and I do hope to see in more shows in future, which might happen sooner rather than later since a lot of PDs and Production Staff went on their Twitter after the episode to sing the praises of Lee Joon.

A great pairing

And finally the other show I particularly enjoyed watching was “Jung Jae Hyung, Lee Hyori’s U&I. A great late night music show that seems to have everything I enjoy seeing from a music show, great editing, great atmosphere, great conversations and a great MC pairing. I initially had my doubts about Jung Jae Hyung and Lee Hyori, since while they may be good friends in real life, that doesn’t always guarantee that they will work well on TV. Luckily those fears were unfounded and they really seem to play well off each other, exchanging comments back and forward in a natural and fluid way. The first week’s guests were pretty good as well with UV, IU and Lucid Fall coming on to begin proceedings. Their performances were varied with a nice mixture of songs and some great interview sections in between. I’ve previously expressed some annoyance with the mainstream live music programs in the past to the anger of many many fans but “U&I” along with “Yoo Hee Yeol’s Sketchbook” is why I think music programs could produce much more interesting and well-made content if given the post-production time necessary to really bring out their potential. I now understand that a lot of people do have an emotional attachment to live music programs and I have no objections to that, but we currently have 4 live music programs on 4 consecutive days. It wouldn’t hurt to have even one of those turn into a pre-recorded music show with a live audience that is run in a similar fashion to these other late night shows but with more of an idol focus? Perhaps halve the number of performances and have a little interview section in between songs so that idols can go up, talk about themselves a bit and explain their song etc. I think it would be quite interesting.

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Please free the curse you’ve set on our female staff members

Now, let’s quickly talk about dramas. Currently, the 2 big ones seem to be “History of a Salaryman” on Monday/Tuesday and “The Moon that embraces the Sun” on Wednesday/Thursday. I’m sure you’ve seen quite a few articles about “The Moon that embraces the Sun” on Soompi. We had an article about how they sold the rights for a record fee, the cast in Singles Magazine, Our Episode Previews and how one of the kiss scenes was missing. To be honest I don’t actually watch this drama because these historical type scenarios never seem to interest me but something about this drama seems to have completely bewitched the ladies in the Soompi team. It’s like someone has invented a device that allows girls to eat all the cake they want without gaining weight. The ladies in the Soompi team digitally squeal for joy any time we have to write an article about “The Moon that embraces the Sun,” it’s actually quite scary at times.

Ah I think I need to go squel in joy again

I on the other hand have been doing all my squealing while watching “History of a Salaryman.” It’s one of the first dramas in months where it seemed to have the perfect mix of comedy and drama filled with interesting multi-dimensional characters and a great story flow. It started off being pretty much comedy based but as the story progressed they ratcheted up the seriousness yet not of the characters seem to have lost their charm in a blind pursuit to seem more serious. All the characters seem to have multi-faceted, each with a different motive but they have never forgotten their comedic roots with the occasional joke or set piece to lighten up the mood and keep the story from becoming too bogged down in seriousness. The epilogues they have at the end of each episode are also a great concept.

One of their many epilogues. Press our blue IMAGE2PLAY arrow on the top to see it for yourself

They are a brilliantly executed short piece that does extremely well to highlight each of the character’s various traits while also helping to fill in some of the gaps during the actual episode. They all tend to be extremely funny and are definitely worth watching after each episode. They obviously must be doing something right since they are extending the show for 2 more episodes and one of their cast members is buying snacks.

Block B Controversy, a.k.a watch as I beat this dead horse into dust:

Eh, I tried my best to write enough above so I don’t have to cover this but I still have some space left in this article so I guess I can’t avoid this now. Anyway before we start I’ll try and organise all the articles we’ve had so far in order. We had the news report that Block B made some inconsiderate comments in an interview in Thailand, followed up by an article where their agency claimed that suspending their activities would be like a death sentence, which was then followed up by Block B apologising to fans with a 90 degree bow, followed by an article where Block B explained their side of the story, which was then followed up with an article saying that Block B’s P.O was hospitalized for shock after finding a suicide petition, an article that mentioned the possibility that the suicide petition complaint might have been unfounded and finally appearing on an entertainment news program to apologise once again.

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They should have stopped here

I really rather not talk about this in any sort of length since it’s been dealt with a million times elsewhere and you can only beat a dead horse so many times before you end up pretty much beating plain ground. However I would like to mention one point I have with this and that is I don’t really think their agency has been dealing with this issue all that well. Usually when you get into issues like this, you issue a quick apology and perhaps an explanation before staying quiet for a few weeks/months to wait for the issue to die down. Block B’s agency on the other hand thought it would be a good idea to constantly pepper the media with a constant barrage of news, apologies, excuses, sympathy votes, you mention it they’ve probably done it. They may feel like that they should be explaining things to hopefully swing popular opinion over to their side but when people are annoyed, we don’t tend to think logically and tend to view such advances with annoyance rather than acceptance. There is a time for explanations and there is a time for being quiet and this was definitely one of those situations where they should have been keeping quiet. I really do think all this extra mention of how one of the members shaved their head as a sign of regret, being hospitalized, saying that suspending activities were a death sentence etc did nothing to help their cause.