8 Korean Variety Shows You Should Watch

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8 Korean Variety Shows You Should Watch

Singing, dancing, sleeping outdoors without a tent.

| May 10, 2018

8 Korean Variety Shows

You Should Watch

By Jerica Chingcuangco

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If you grew up in the Philippines, you’ve probably watched a variety show at lunchtime. Pinoy variety includes skits, song and dance numbers, lots of crying, and up to millions worth of cash and prizes given away.

Korean variety is a whole different ball game—and yes, sometimes it does include the presence of actual balls. K-variety has evolved to have different formats like game-variety or the popular reality-variety, which involves challenges, unpracticed stunts, and only a simple script for the hosts. Post-production, the shows are edited to add funny captions and effects.

Celebrities often appear on variety shows to promote and instead of just singing/dancing/giving their promo spiel, they actively participate in the show proper from start to finish—this means anything from seeing your favorite celeb exposing secrets, putting stockings over their heads, to rolling around in mud. Saya, no?

8. Xman

Celebrity guests are separated into two teams to compete with each other, with one guest assigned the role of the “Xman”. The Xman is tasked to subtly sabotage their own team while keeping their identity a secret. At the end of the show, teams vote on the identity of the Xman—whoever guesses correctly wins.

Hosts: Yoo Jae-suk, Kang Ho-dong, Kim Je-dong, Gong Hyung-jin/Park Kyung-lim/Lee Hyuk-jae

Format: Variety with game segments. The most popular game segment was the “Of Course” game. Two people from opposing teams will face each other and give verbal attacks (common tactics are using insults, landian, absurd comments, or spilling secrets) and the opponent has to agree with “Of course”, no matter the statement.

Watch: All the “Of Course” game segments you can find on YouTube, 47, 50, 69, Chae Yeon vs Yun Eun Hye


7. I Live Alone

I Live Alone follows the lives of the cast and guests who… live alone. It’s a simple format, but it works as the show has been on for five years, and is even climbing ratings. Viewers get a peek not only into the homes of K-celebs, but to their daily routines. The footage shown makes celebrities relatable, from an actress who starts her day by opening her curtains with her foot, to seeing idols’ cooking skills (or lack thereof), to an actor’s excitement at having friends over.

Hosts: Jun Hyun-moo, Kian 84, Han Hye Jin, Lee Si-eon, Park Na-rae, Yoon Hyun-min, Henry Lau, Sung Hoon

Format: Reality-variety. The cast and guests film a day in their life. After this, the rest of the cast and the celebrity guest film a segment where they watch the filmed footage and give side comments as the footage plays.

Watch: Daniel Henney, Han Hye-jin, Shim Changmin, Jung Yunho, Kim Seul-gi, Seungri, Taeyang


6. Weekly Idol

Weekly Idol exclusively guest stars idols. The show began in 2011 and has a variety of segments, which vary from episode to episode. Their most famous segments are Random Play Dance and the 2X Speed Dance. The show recently changed hosts, ending Defconn and Jeong Hyeong-don’s seven-year run.

Format: Variety with various segments like relay races, listening to fan messages, 2x Speed Dance and Random Play Dance.

Hosts: Lee Sang-min, Yoo Se-yoon, Kim Shin-young

Watch: SHINee, TWICE, BTS (2014, 2015), Seventeen, Super Junior, Red Velvet, GFriend, VIXX, EXO


5. The Return of Superman

It’s mom’s weekend off! Celebrity dads take care of their kids for 48 hours, which results in loads of laughter and heartwarming moments between dads and their kids. Dads and kids complete tasks, try new activities, and sometimes hang-out with dad’s celebrity friends.

Cast: Lee Dong-gook and 5 kids, Sam Hammington and 2 kids, Ko Ji-yong and 1 kid, Bong Tae-gyu and 1 kid

Format: Reality-variety, with majority of the cast between 5 months to 10 years old.

Watch: The episodes on YouTube, Jang Geun Suk, Lee Dong Wook, BIG BANG, EXO (2015, 2016), Rain, SNSD