If you have ever thought Korean entertainment media only has K-Pop and K-Drama, then you’re missing out on the numerous times you could have gut-wrenching belly laughter from watching Korean variety shows. When it comes to light, hearty and sometimes sentimental scenes, Korean variety shows reign king.
The best part about Korean variety shows is that there is no one type of show or format. Some have games, some offers a talk show format whilst others feature a vlog-type of format. Forget about the drama that often comes with reality TV, variety shows allow you to simply enjoy and laugh.
If you’re looking for a few variety shows to try out, here are 5 shows to try out!
1. Running Man
Even if you’re relatively new to Korean variety shows, you’re probably aware of Running Man’s success and popularity. With over 500 episodes to date, Running Man has been in the scene for over a decade, and it’s still ongoing!
The viewers follow 8 MCs and their guests as they complete missions at a landmark to win the race. The popularity of this show skyrocketed due to its unpredictability, the comedy involved, and the chemistry shared between the regular cast. If you like to see a bunch of good friends get it down and compete in games, Running Man is the one for you!
2. Men on a Mission (Knowing Brothers)
Men on a Mission is an award-winning variety show that gathers some of the country’s most prominent comedians. It has an interesting format that explores a classroom concept where regular cast members act as students whilst guests come as newly transferred students. Following this concept, the show uses banmal (informal language) manner of speech, regardless of their age or seniority – which, if you know about Korean society, is a big thing. Without the social hierarchy and strict seniority rules, regular casts and guests can interact with each other as schoolmates often do, which then sets up the casual and fun environment that fans know and love.
3. Law of Jungle
First aired on October 21, 2011, Law of Jungle is another contender in the list of successful variety shows. This reality-documentary show features celebrities who will be sent to survive in remote locations around the world. In each location, the cast is tasked to hunt, prepare their own meals and build a shelter for their stay. This is a hilarious watch, especially as we are able to see an entirely new side of our favourite Korean personalities outside of all the glitz and glamour.
4. Hangout with Yoo
If you’ve been watching enough Korean shows, you most likely know South Korea’s National MC: Yoo Jae Suk. Favoured for his quick wit and appeal across a wide range of demographics, it’s safe to say that Yoo has a soft spot in every variety show fan’s heart. So, when Hangout with Yoo aired in July 2019, it naturally picked up support.
This reality show started out as a show to find out what the renowned comedian does during his free time. Subsequently, we follow Yoo as he takes on various projects with other celebrities as well.
5. Sixth Sense
Korea’s top stars have gathered to tap on their sixth sense and identify the fake! Sixth Sense is a reality-documentary show where each week, the cast will head to the hottest people or places, and have to distinguish one fake set-up. From quirky restaurants and their eccentric foods, to even hobbies, every episode takes on a different theme each time. The members who identify it correctly will win 6 gold persimmons to share amongst themselves, and the one who picked the wrong one will execute a punishment. If you love to watch a couple of friends goof around and love to put your detective skills to good use, you’d love this show.
If you wish to end your long and tiring day with an hour or two of just pure fun and laughter, give these 5 Korean variety shows a try! Fortunately, there are numerous to choose from. So, once you’ve finished with one, you can simply jump to another.
Unfortunately, some of the Korean variety shows are not equipped with Korean-English translations and you’re left to simply laugh along with the cast despite not understanding what is happening. If you wish to truly enjoy Korean reality shows, consider enrolling yourself in a Korean language course in Singapore. With Korean language skills at your disposal, you can watch any and every Korean variety show at your heart’s content!