Introducing K-variety: Weekly Idol

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

As you might know, I like to try out different Korean variety shows every once in a while, either to get a break from watching dramas or just to relax after a tiring day spent in lectures. And so I recently discovered a new show for myself - MBC Every1's Weekly Idol, which is a funny little variety series introducing different idol groups and singers. 
Weekly Idol has a very simple set up and show format, but still manages to be entertaining and charming in its own unique way. The show is MCd by a hilarious duo of Jung Hyung Don, who you may know from other variety shows like Infinite Challenge or Gag Concert, and hip-hop teddy bear and rapper Defconn. The show's main purpose is basically to help the fans to get to know their favourite idols a bit more. In every episode an idol group or a singer is asked to be a guest like in a normal talk-show, but instead of  a typical interview, the two MCs try to open up the guests by making them dance, to show their talents or play silly games. But despite the seemingly unorganized atmosphere, there is an actual structure for the show too. 

First of all, each episode starts out with the obligatory opening (some more lengthier than others), where the MCs either act like total fanboys over girl group guests, look slightly disappointed that it's a boy group, or protest loudly when Infinite members show up yet again. 
Then it's time to put the group's teamwork and dancing skills to test. The staff plays any random song that the group has ever promoted and gets to switch between them at any given moment. The group members' goal is to recognize the certain part of the song and be able to organize accordingly without messing up their positions. However, more than often this task proves to be more difficult and the MCs are keen on pointing out any small mistake they make in their choreography, creating hilarious arguments over who's the weak link (or a black hole of the group) that keeps messing up. 

After that, the members get to sit down (though only when the staff is kind enough to give them chairs, in earlier episodes chairs seemed to be an unaffordable luxury) and have to verify the things that are written down in their profiles, such as height, position in a group or special talents. The funny thing is that the profiles are modified by fans who oftentimes include talents or nicknames that even idols are unaware they had. In any case, this brings a lot of laughter as many idols lose several cm-s from their profile height or make an embarrassing attempt to prove a talent for imitating animals, aegyo or beatbox. But there times when they are able to successfully show off their individual dancing skills, chocolate bar abs, or impressive vocal range. Other times though, MCs make idols verify even some ridiculous talents like falling asleep instantly, ability to move one's Adam's apple, or even make one assemble a dismantled computer. 
This segment, however, can sometimes be replaced with rankings. This means that the MCs go through the members that have been ranked by other idols in a specific area like body, dancing, appearance and so on. Then they are asked to rank they own members or to name other idols that they think are best in a certain category. Of course when idols praise each other's qualities, this means that the MCs get a chance to play Cupid. They (not so) casually try to figure out which idols perhaps like each other, even going as far to trick the idols into saying "I love you, mom" so they can cut the "mom" part out afterwards. But it's all just in good humor.
The last segment is a game or another kind of physical activity against the MCs. The games vary from a race between the MC team and idol team with a jumping ball to spitting gum to see who can get it the closest to the target. The point of this silly segment is to create effortless physical comedy and a cheerful atmosphere where you feel that everybody is sincerely enjoying it. And it seems that they really do.

Each episode of Weekly Idol lasts about a half an hour, with some guests having a two-episode appearance. Also, occasionally a group guests more than just once. One of such groups is Infinite that has been in the show several times as not just as a whole group, but also in subunits or as MCs in a special episode. In fact, Infinite members' frequent appearances have sort of become an ongoing joke as the MCs hilariously pretend to be sick and tired of them keep showing up. But I'm sure that in reality, Infinite is one of the team's favourite groups to guest. 
Another ongoing joke is to bully group leaders, in which other members gladly join in, this has been the case with B.A.P.-s Yong Guk and Infinite's Sunggyu. Not to worry though, Sunggyu for example got his revenge when he in a special where he got to be the guest MC with co-member Hoya. There have been other special episodes also. Like when NU EST appeared together with Pledis labelmates Hello Venus and After School, or when 4Minute's Sohyun and BTOB's Ilhoon, alongside Sunggyu, also got a chance to MC.

The verdict:

Weekly Idol is a great half an hour mixture of K-pop and Korean variety humor. The show's strength is undeniably the chubby and jolly duo - Defconn and Hyung Don - who are capable of bringing out the funny in even the most reserved idol. Meanwhile the show's comfortable atmosphere, simple structure and the relatively short format make it a very easy-going and enjoyable watch. It is perhaps especially convenient to follow along for international K-pop fans, who want to see their favourites in a more relaxed manner than in a normal interview, but aren't familar with variety shows at all. Weekly Idol, however, is simple and understandable and doesn't require any previous knowledge about K-variety whatsoever. 
So, in short, if you want to learn more about your favourite K-pop stars, their funny little quirks and talents, and don't mind a bit of Korean humor, then be sure to tune into Weekly Idol. 

Recommended episodes:

SHINee - episode 41-42
B.A.P. - episode 57
All episodes with Infinite - episode 4, 20, 23, 47-48, 56, 64, 79

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  1. Right on time! I've been experimenting with this show recently. Only seen a handful, and sometimes I tune out after the dancing segment - but it is pretty hilarious most of the time. I've been keeping tabs on which eps I've watched. Mostly Infinite, SHINee and Block B - I really should catch up on some of these others!

    1. It is quite funny and a very good way to learn about groups that I'm not too familiar with otherwise. My favourite segment I think is the profile rewriting, because oftentimes there are some really ridiculous "talents" that the idols have to prove.

  2. perfect description of this amazing show.. I love watching it so much!! :)

    1. Yup, a great show for K-pop fans :)


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