I think I would clock more hours into watching Korean variety shows than streaming anime or English TV series. Japan might be known for their weird game shows and J-Drama, but the Korean showbiz and television industry is another beast. It is well established with stratified job titles and show genres. Their popular culture is very much centered around it, a large part of the Korean internet is dedicated to discussions about what is broadcasted. There’s a ton of stations vying for the highest ratings. Their producers and writers are not a joke either. Production values are well above what I’ve seen from others: from the use of larges sets, locations, props, and great writing. The editing on their shows is on point and very well thought out. They have a distinct brand of semi-scripting, basing off the celebrities’ personalities, to deliver the most entertainment. It’s sort of similar to pro-wrestling, on a larger scale and across multiple shows. They have the longest average running times for shows in my experience at about an hour and a half to even two hours per episode. A day can really just disappear if you’re binge watching them. This lengthy format make the shows really engaging for me since I have to set that time to watch specifically. They have a level of consistent high quality and creativity that keeps me coming back for more.
It was one boring day in college that I decided to watch some Girls Generation music videos. Somewhere down the line, and I can’t even remember exactly now, I stumbled upon their variety shows. INVINCIBLE YOUTH. Then life would never be the same. It was the time I stayed in the dorm and I can vividly recall how I was binge watching that show. I would watch episodes overnight into the weekend mornings. After that, I would head down to the cafeteria where they served free breakfast early. My sleeping time would be after the meal and until the afternoon. I got into some more action-drama series over time. Those had great productions on the levels of movies. The free internet really helped, come to think of it. Running Man was one of the real hits that’s still up broadcasting now. I watched my first episode of that with Yuri, it was the only the sixteenth then. Now they have over 350 episodes. I sort of stopped for maybe a year, but I would still take a look occasionally. Korean humor and inflections are quite ingrained into me now after all the hours I’ve spent into the media.