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 Fizzle, No Sizzle–Part I

It’s Sunday!  Sunday means it’s time to watch the latest installment of We Got Married!  I was really surprised when I first started getting into Korean pop culture to realize that Korean celebrities really can’t have relationships out in the open.  When they get engaged, they have to apologize to their fans and ask for their understanding, as if it’s a great crime to fall in love and get married.  When a celebrity is caught dating, it’s a scandal.  We Got Married seems to be an acceptable way to let celebrities and k-pop idols date, because it’s all arranged and fictional.  Two celebrities get paired up and act like they’re married.

My impression of We Got Married is that it’s often used for image-making and publicity.  Got a womanizing idol?  Put him on WGM.  Got a fresh new actress?  Pair her with someone really popular on WGM to get her name out there.  Even knowing the nature of the game, some of the couples really make me wish they would start dating in real life.  On the flip side, some seem really reluctant to be paired with their “spouse”, and their chemistry seems extremely lacking.

Here are the first FIVE of my TOP TEN picks for most awkward We Got Married spouses.  Be forewarned, this might make some shippers unhappy…

10.  Taecyeon and Emma Wu (aka Gui Gui)

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One of the most touching things about this season of the WGM spinoff Global We Got Married was Taiwanese actress Gui Gui’s heart-wrenching sobs when she and K-pop idol Taecyeon ended their virtual marriage, but I also had to wonder why it was she was crying so hard when they could barely communicate with one another.  Add to that the fact that everything she did seemed to embarrass Taecyeon.  They weren’t a bad couple, but my overall impression was that Taecyeon is a smooth talker who delivered what was asked from him without actually experiencing any real affection for his WGM partner.

9.  Choi Siwon and Liu Wen

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Brief admission here: I never finished watching Liu Wen and Siwon on We Are In Love (the Chinese spinoff of WGM).  I got too frustrated partway through.  And not just out of jealousy because I think Siwon’s hilarious and too pretty to be true.  From what I saw, model Liu Wen was just too shy and inexperienced to be on a dating show.  Siwon was trying to move things forward the best he could, but he turned into a bit of a nag, constantly trying to get her to open up to him.  But I don’t know…it could have all turned out fine.  Maybe I’ll watch someday and see.

8.  Hong Jong Hyun and Yura

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Another case of too shy, too slow, except in this case it was the girl that kept trying to move forward and the guy who was avoiding.  Model/Actor Hong Jong Hyun was quiet and awkward, and seemed to never quite know what to do with Girl’s Day idol Yura.  Her brightness kept their couple watchable, and she seemed to be willing to offer a lot of excuses for his behavior without complaint.   I also found this couple interesting because they weathered a scandal where it was suggested that Jong Hyun was dating Orange Caramel/After School singer Nana while on the show with Yura.  I’m still vaguely suspicious about that whole business–it’s entirely possible that Jong Hyun was so awkward in showing affection to Yura because he didn’t want to piss his REAL girlfriend off.

7. Henry Lau and Yewon

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I actually thought this couple was fairly compatible, but they got sunk by circumstances.  Soon after Super Junior M’s Henry and Jewelry’s Yewon were paired up, she got involved in a situation with another reality show she was on where she got cursed out for being disrespectful to a senior actress.  The show tried to salvage the situation with some sweet scenes of Henry comforting a tearful Yewon and being supportive of her, but alas, it was only a matter of time before it came to an abrupt end.  Interestingly enough, even before her issues, I felt like they might not last.  Canadian-raised Henry was rather aggressive in their relationship, and they kissed early and often.  Most couples (especially those with young k-pop idols) take a long time to warm up physically to each other.  Yewon initially seemed to feel very awkward about all the affection, but then she went along with it maybe a little too eagerly.  One way or the other, they didn’t last long and didn’t even get a real goodbye.

6. Julien Kang and Yoon Se-Ah

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Insecure + insincere + cultural differences=this couple.  They had their moments, but the playing field never seemed to be quite level.  It seemed like Se-Ah felt like she wasn’t quite up to par for Julien, and Julien seemed unable to shake his image to be fully involved in their fake marriage.  They never achieved a good understanding of one another, in my opinion.  Julien seemed very cautious to get too close to Se-Ah, which made him seem disingenuous.  She ended up seeming more like an older sister to Julien, which made their parting, which was manufactured to be romantic, just seem surreal.

Want more?  Stay tuned for part 2: TOP FIVE!