I usually stick to Onstyle, Fox Life, CGV, or OCN when watching TV in Korea. Other than the music shows and a few dramas, Korean shows have always been a little too "busy" for my tastes. After watching the third season of Project Runway for the umpteenth time, I have become more interested in a few variety programs. In case, you were interesting in watching more Korean TV, here are a few of my picks.
MBC/Sat 6:35 PM
This one is a classic, starring some of those most popular male MCs in Korea, including my MC crush, Yoo Jae Suk. Each episode, the cast is given a special mission where hilarity inevitably ensues. Past missions include sportscasting live matches at the 2008 Beijing Olympics; a traditional Korean meal with Paris Hilton; and more recently, preparing for Chuseok dressed in drag. (I really wanted to see that episode). I think this is one of those shows you can enjoy without knowing a lot of Korean. Their exaggerated expressions and reactions are universally goofy.
Global Beauty Talk Show
KBS / Mon 11:05 PM
If you are a young foreign woman who speaks at least a smidgen of Korean, you've probably had a Korean person say, "You should audition for Misuda!" I used to watch this show back at home with Cyndi's mom (Thanks, youtube!), but haven't been watching the program as often now that I'm actually living in Korea. This show features young foreign women from around the globe (okay, mostly Asia) who share their experiences and thoughts about life in Korea. The show seems to be running out of original topics, but when it first began, the show offered interesting insight into the perspective of foreigners (the non-laborer types) in Korea. Most of the panelists are not ethnically Korean, so their level of Korean is quite impressive -- definitely better than mine.
Dancing Yong and Dong
Mnet/ Fri 6:00 PM
I've only seen a couple of episodes, but watching Shin Dong do the U-Go Girl dance cracks me up to no end. During each episode, Jung Jae Yong (from DJ DOC) and Shin Dong (from Super Junior) are assigned to learn a dance from a popular music video. After tutorials from professional dancers, they are ambushed throughout the week with pop dance quizzes where they are then forced to perform an excerpt of the dance. It doesn't matter if they're having dinner or getting their hair done at the miyongshil, they must dance. I can't recall the consequences for failing the test, but I think it's some form of shame. At the end of the episode, Jung Jae Yong and Shin Dong must perform the entire routine (in costume). I think they're allotted up to three mistakes -- collectively.
We Got Married
MBC/ Sunday Night
At first my emo-bu couldn't understand my mom & emo for staying up late to watch this show, until one night, he watched a full episode, and then he was like "I see." The premise sounds lame at first, but stick with me. Popular celebrities are paired up by the producers and assigned to live as a married couple. This show is what VH1 would probably label as "Celebreality." The marriage and scenarios are completely staged by producers, but the show is driven by the personalities and chemistry of the celeb participants. Each couple represents a marriage archetype. Every WGM fan has their favorite couple (or spouse). I think that a person's favorite is very telling about an individual. My mom, for example, likes Crown J. A! He's showy, but sweet. I guess my mom is more of Seo In Young type of gal. My emo, on the other hand, likes Alex. I'm a big fan of Alex the singer, but Alex the husband is too romantic. He's really big on "events." I can't say that I'm a fan of anyone in particular, but if I had to pick, I'd go with Kim Hyun Joong from Double-S501. I am by no means into those so-called "idol" groups, but I do like the fact that he is goofy and weird, though a little dim. He also reminds me of a Japanese actor that I like.
SBS/ Sunday Night
This one's a current favorite. Each week, the celebrities, acting as family, take an overnight trip to the countryside, somewhere outside of Seoul. The producers send the current residents (usually a halmuni and harabuji) to spend a relaxing night in the city, while the "family" takes over. During their stay, the cast plays games, does chores, cooks for themselves, and torments each other -- just like a real family. The show seems to be growing in popularity thanks to the excellent chemistry between cast members. Off course, my crush, Yoo Jae Suk acts as the family patriarch. His interactions with Daesung (boybander from Big Bang), Lee Hyori (formerly of FINKL), and Lee Chun Hee (actor) are especially fun to watch. After watching the show, I also realize why Hyori is such a big deal. She's really quite personable and funny.
SBS Thurs 8:50 PM
I haven't really been watching this series since moving to Korea, but my mom is a big fan. This show features segments of curious (Oh! Wow!) events, things, and people from around the world (Okay, mostly Asia). For example, I once saw a segment about a girl in China who eats chunks of dirt -- by choice. She cooked dinner for her family, and then took out a side of dirt for herself. Wow! I also recall a segment on a Korean man who eats crab shells and bones, as if they didn't have the potential to hurt his jaw. The show had the man consult with a dentist, and his teeth appeared perfectly normal.
Sorry. Couldn't find a clip.