I wonder how television manages to be so interesting all the time. There have been times when I did not watch television but when I finally do watch, television is so interesting that it’s surprising how I had lived without it. I have yet to watch the new dramas that are on a lot of people’s radar, but watched several of the talk shows last week.
Although it is truly upsetting that MBC Kneecap Fortuneteller and his crazy sidekicks cannot be summoned any longer, after a rather lackluster episode featuring Kara, Radio Star has shown that it will adapt. Recent episodes featuring four singers and gangs from MBC Infinite Challenge were so hilarious that they assured me that Radio Star is still very much in the game. Being veteran guests, these witty people knew how to break good laughs at the most apt moments.
Radio Star had seen enough drama even prior to the recent situation that abruptly ended Kneecap Fortuneteller. Kim Hee-chul who replaced Shin Jung-hwan quit to fulfill his civil duties for two years, and Kyu-hyun (also from Super Juniors) is filling in for now. Kyu-hyun’s been with the rest of the Radio Star hosts only for a short time and may have more to show, but he hasn’t been too interesting so far.
Also, now that Radio Star, which used to maximize on its brief on-air time by packing a lot of content into that short segment, is the sole player, a new format was deemed necessary. And the writers of the show have cleverly responded by designing in a corner that has guests sing. This creates opportunities for celebrities to show off their talent or focus in on a wacky interest or heartwarming story that hadn’t been spotlighted elsewhere or allow them to be bashed in a funny and positive way. This new system has proven viable in the recent two episodes. But the guests on these recent episodes also tended to have stronger personalities with a successful record of being reliable guests. We will have to see whether the new system is consistently effective. For now, as a television-hugger, I do hope that Radio Star continues strong so that I can continue to laugh.
Another great show from the same week was KBS Seungseungjanggu featuring Uhm T’ae-woong as the guest. This is rather an interesting time for Sŭngsŭngjanggu because Kneecap Fortuneteller is out of the picture, and the playing field is rather flat for a lot of these talk shows that have one-guest-per-episode format.
Uhm is a movie star and is the newest person on 1 Night and 2 Days. I had seen Uhm Jung-hwa (Tae-woong’s older sister)’s Kneecap Fortuneteller episode before and supposed that Uhm T’ae-woong would repeat some of the same stories.
Although many of Uhm’s stories accounted in the talk show were derived from his experience growing up with his family, instead of harping on “family” as the main idea, Uhm T’ae-woong effectively showed the audience what kind of person he is, and why we are so fond of him.
One particular story that I found so hilarious: Uhm’s love for all kinds of living creatures. When he was in his teens, he had picked up a lizard in the mountains and brought it home to keep it in his room. But one day he came back home to find the lizard lying motionless on the floor. His mother had turned the heat on high and the poor lizard crawling about could not survive it. Uhm was so devastated and made a coffin out of a soap container and configured a cross on it with some tape. When one of his sisters came home from school, he threatened her to bow to the dead lizard to pay respect. This story was especially funny because it somehow reminded me of my sadistic days when I would play mean pranks on my brother.
Uhm says he is an introvert and is not competitive. I think it was at 30 that he got his first gig as an actor. He was unemployed for a long time. He had never been employed until that gig but lived on his sister’s money. But he confessed that had he been a competitive person, he would not have been able to stay sane through his abnormal or somewhat embarrassing life. Uhm T’ae-ung as an accomplished actor and a sheepish but hilarious character on 1 Night and 2 Days was charming, but the show tripled his charm as a person.
I watched KBS Happy Together where DJ DOC and Dynamic Duo showed up. Although both teams have interesting personalities, because DJ DOC has been covered a lot elsewhere, and Dynamic Duo’s role was to highlight DJ DOC, the show wasn’t as interesting as the aforementioned programs, except the team dynamics among the four hosts is always so good that it keep the audience entertained. My week continued with the viewing of MBC Star Audition which is getting closer to the mentor-school phase, a post-competition special of KBS Top Band and 1 Night and 2 Days. I think of all these hours lost to watching television, productive people would shudder. Television is interesting, as Chang Ki-ha sings in “I watched TV” (TV를 봤네).