There are four reasons to watch Korean variety shows: First, to give your heart a break after watching Korean dramas. More often than not, we find it hard to detach from the characters and story of drama we just watched, so watching variety show is a good break for us. Second, variety shows are really helpful when you are learning Korean language. They usually have captions, which will help you familiarize the common Korean words and speech patterns. Third, by watching Korean variety shows you can learn more about Korean culture and traditions, common Korean habits, and appreciate Korean attitudes which you can hardly see on Korean dramas or songs. Lastly, variety shows will definitely help wash away your stress from work and school because you’ll end up laughing hard without even noticing.
With these reasons in mind, I’ll share the top 10 Korean variety shows that are worth watching:
- Running Man
The members, together with the guests (if there’s any), complete different missions as a team or as an individual to win a prize (gold/cash/trip to somewhere) or avoid punishments. The show is really popular not just Korea, but also in other countries. They even have episodes taken in other countries like China and Australia. Also, they were able to invite Jackie Chan (Oh yes… The famous Jackie Chan).
What makes the show unique is Name tag elimination segment. Name tags are attached to the members’ shirts or jackets which they need to protect from the opposing team or member. The players put everything on the line, like betraying a teammate, to prevent their name tag to be ripped. Though the Running Man is not as interesting as it was in its earlier years, the members’ talent for entertaining is enough to crack you up.
Here is a compilation of Sparta Kook (Kim Jong Kook) showing his skills as the strongest member of the show.
- 2 Days 1 Night
The members visit every corner of Korea to give the viewers an idea where to go during holidays. But this is not just a typical travel show because what makes this show hilarious is their bokbulbok (game of chance). The members have to win a game or complete a mission, individually or as a team (sometimes they play against the show’s staff), for them to eat a delicious meal, sleep comfortably, avoid hard chores (like fishing at dawn), or to go home early.
Here is one of the funniest scene from season 2, I’m pretty sure that you’ll laugh hard from watching this clip.
- The Return of Superman
Usually mothers are the ones who look after the children while the fathers work. But what will happen if the children are to be taken care of by the fathers, without the help their moms, for 48 hours? Fall in love with the kids charm and learn some parenting tips from celebrity fathers while watching this program.
Here a gift to all the fans of The Return of Superman, especially the triplets’ fan. Aren’t they adorable?
Roommate is like the Korean version of Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Celebrity Edition, except that the celebrities can still go to their scheduled events, use cell phones, do what they want, and (of course) there is no Big Brother. Through this show you can appreciate the celebrities as ordinary people and will realize that just like you, they also make mistakes, has a lot of fears, etc.
Let’s see how Jackson of GOT7 (shout out to all GOT7 fans!) fanboy over Song Ga Yeon (MMA Fighter from Roomate season 1)
- 3 Meals A Day
Celebrities are often seen in urban areas, but what if they spend 3 days in a rural area? They wake up breathing in the fresh air and greeting them are mountains and nearby stream. The casts try to create 3 meals using whatever food they find, whether it is the products planted on their farm, eggs laid by their chicken, or the milk from their goat.
- Safety First
Safety First is not entertaining like the other shows listed here, but this one is a must-watch because this program is really informative. The hosts share anything you have to know when you are confronted by a crisis (when you’re being kidnapped or when you injured yourself on the mountain with nobody to help you). It also shows anything related to your health (wearing the right sunglasses or the proper way to flush the toilet).
Please understand, I couldn’t find a short clip of Safety First.
- Please Take Care of My Refrigerator
Celebrity guests show what is inside their refrigerator as well as the different ingredients they have in their kitchen. The chefs on the show, then challenge each other to create a dish using the ingredients from the guest’s refrigerator.
- Gag Concert
Gag Concert is like the combined version of Philippines’ Banana Sundae and Bubble Gang. Comedians perform various skits and gags in front of a large audience. Well, there is nothing more to say, a comedy skit can never fail to make you laugh.
- Family Outing
The family members visit rural areas and look after the house of the elders for 2 days while the elders go on vacation. The elders leave certain tasks for the members to perform.
Who wouldn’t crack up after seeing someone wash a radish with soap (aigoo… Lee Chun Hee-ssi)?
- Crime Scene
For people who are looking more than entertainment, Crime Scene is the show for you. Players (members and guests) are exposed to a mock murder case and are tasked to find the culprit of the crime. The culprit, the one who receives the most votes by the players, will be arrested. If they arrested the real criminal those who voted for him will receive a reward and if they arrested the wrong person, the real criminal will receive the reward.
What about you, what are your must-watch Korean variety shows?