All Fizzle, No Sizzle Part II

Three views on my first day!  Thanks, you three–you’re the real MVPs.

I still have five awkward We Got Married couples to talk about!  And number five is going to make some folk MAD.  Let’s get to it!

5. Jung Joon Young and Jeong Yu Mi

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This is actually the couple who inspired this whole blog post.  I was watching 1 Night, 2 Days last Tuesday and Joon Young was talking like a player, and I couldn’t help but remember his faux marriage with Yu Mi.

A lot of people shipped this couple, saying they were fresh and interesting because they were different than the lovey-dovey couples.  Joon Young himself said that was their charm.  But when it plays out kind of like an awkward adolescent and his naggy older sister, it’s not a great marriage match.  From the beginning Joon Young whined and teased and intentionally misunderstood Yu Mi.  He teased her about her age and aggravated her.  She, in turn, kept trying to turn the ship around and make him be more romantic, but he held her at arm’s distance.  I think his real talent (and one that he uses to his advantage in 1 Night, 2 Days) is his clever explanations.  He charmed his way through his interviews and threw Yu Mi a bone once in a while.  Yu Mi was willing to laugh it off, but they never really connected, and you got the feeling that they wouldn’t miss being a couple once their time was up.

HOWEVER, I did see this Instagram of the two of them having dinner and drinks post-WGM.  This feels right–like neighborhood friends.

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4. Marco and Son Dambi

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Throwing it back to early WGM days!  Popular singer Son Dambi paired with minor actor/”tv personality” Marco.  Raised in Argentina, he provided an uncomfortable foil for Dambi with his fiery South American personality.

A word, here, about the ladies of k-pop.  They are sexy.  Uncomfortably sexy sometimes.  Their dance moves, their stage outfits, their songs.  But that’s only for performance.  Off-stage, they are expected to be very pure and reticent.

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So here’s Marco, familiar with Dambi’s sexy stage presence, thinking he just fell into something good.  But it’s one thing to appreciate her gyrations and another to carry around a chair (to the beach, no less!) just in case she is inclined to grind in front of the other WGM couples that they just met.    Dambi is clearly flustered and caught between wanting to accommodate him for the sake of the show and wanting to ditch his happy ass on the shore.

They proceeded like this, with Marco pursuing like a puppy ready to hump her leg and Dambi caught without a rolled-up newspaper.  Their marriage died an early and unceremonious death.

3.  Hwanhee and Hwayobi

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You would think that these two would mesh as well as their voices do, but no such luck.  Fly to the Sky’s Hwanhee met soloist Hwayobi and it was general disinterest at first sight.  Hwayobi was pretty enthusiastic and willing to please, so she put up with Hwanhee’s shenanigans well.  Some might describe him as “playing hard to get”, I would describe him as “not really filming a romance show so much as taking a rest on camera”.  He would throw a vague criticism her way, then grudgingly perform some husbandly act, then go back to resting and ignoring his virtual wife.  Despite her encouragement of it, to spend the entire run of their show with him  calling her “dog poop” didn’t sit well with me.

2. Park Jae-Jung and Uee

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I think actor Park Jae-Jung had his WGM script developed before he even knew who he would be paired with.  He was hungry for leading man status, and had planned his persona to suit.  And then along came After School singer/actress Uee.  I think Uee is adorable, but she always strikes me as one of those kids who’s a little slow on the uptake.  She opens her doe eyes wide and stares blankly around, but doesn’t seem to really catch the vibe.  Jae-Jung tried to keep feeding her the lines, but she wasn’t in the same headspace as he was.  He tried to manufacture his “competent romantic oppa” persona, but Uee kind of just wandered around after him woodenly.  Their eight-year age difference really didn’t work for them.  He became less of an oppa and more of a “Toddlers and Tiaras” mom, directing a reticent child.

1. Jeong Hyung-Don and Saori/Taeyeon

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Comedian and MC Jeong Hyung-Don played an interesting role in the beginning of We Got Married.  Originally paired with Japanese/Korean TV personality Saori, her annoyance with his lazy, slobbish bachelor ways ended their virtual marriage after only 8 episodes.  They fought for their entire show run.  Then Hyung Don MC’ed the program, making occasional uninvited appearances at the various WGM couples’ homes where he continued being lazy and slobbish and causing chaos for the couples.  Then he got a second chance at virtual marriage.

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Girl’s Generation’s Taeyeon became his second wife (amidst protests from Taeyeon’s fans).  People didn’t like that she was 11 years his junior, and felt that his obnoxious behavior would bring her image down.  And they squabbled and bickered throughout their time together with no romance in sight (probably to people’s relief).  Unlike later couples who would suffer from dating rumors, their marriage came to a peaceful end after Hyung Don admitted to dating a comedy writer (whom he would later marry).  I think no one was interested in these two developing real feelings for each other.

Hyung-Don’s image has changed quite a bit since his WGM days, and he has shed his obnoxious and lazy persona.  When I first was watching WGM, I didn’t think he was funny; now I think he’s kind of hilarious, and miss his hosting since he went on hiatus to deal with anxiety issues.

In retrospect, his greatest pairing existed outside of the We Got Married realm.  His true soulmate is, and will always be, G-Dragon.

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The truth is that if every pairing on WGM was romantic and perfect, the show would be boring.  These awkward, soulless, or bickering couples do add spice to the show, but I would never ship them in real life.

You might be saying to yourself, “yes, but what about ________ Couple?  Weren’t they awkward and incompatible?”  If your pick isn’t on this list…just wait.  I’m saving a few up for a future post that I’m tentatively titling “Beards and Grooms.”

All Apologies

Last night, over a piping hot stone bowl bibimbap, my friend asked me, “Have you ever been to Korea? You have, haven’t you?”

The question wasn’t just because we were splitting some japchae and banchan. She’s one of the few people who know about my obsession with all things Korean–and she really only knows the tip of my madness.

I’ve never been to Korea, nor am I Asian in the least. (Check out my main blog, Furnished Souls, for proof of my Scandinavian-ness.)  But for the last three years, I’ve watched only Korean television.  I owe a debt of gratitude to shows like Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey for being a part of the zeitgeist so I can still communicate with other Americans (with the caveat that I “haven’t had a chance to watch the current season”).  If I were honest in my conversations, I’d have to tell people I cancelled my cable and my Netflix subscription, that I have no idea what shows are on right now, and that I haven’t watched a commercial in ages.

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Dramafever and Chill?

It’s hard to put my finger on why I’m so obsessed with Korean television.  When my friend in grad school suggested that I watch Boys Over Flowers, I would have never guessed that I would be totally immersed in Korean dramas three years later.  I like the lack of cynicism, the challenge of learning a new language, the character development.  I feel like I know the celebrities, and I watch them crossover from music to dramas to variety shows.  In the West, too, our curriculum is very Euro-centric; we don’t learn about Asian history.  Korean shows are an educational experience both in the history of Korea (and their relationships with China and Japan) and the current situation with North Korea.  Plus, they’re romantic, which doesn’t hurt.

I read some blogs and news sites on Korean entertainment, but I don’t feel that I’ve found my fandom niche.  I’m blogging because I have opinions that are perhaps not yet out there (or I just haven’t found them yet).

As excited as I am to have this platform, I’m also wary.  I may make mistakes.  I may piss people off.  I may be misinformed or assume something that is not true.  Because I’m looking in from an outsider perspective, I may miss some context or history.  I have no desire to incite the rage of the sasaengs.  So I’ll apologize in advance.  Even if I say something wrong, I’m a fan and a supporter of the Hallyu wave.

Welcome to my look at Korea–with the captions on.