The current Korean entertainment industry is built on “friendships”. TV shows are dominated by only a few familiar faces and the connections they form through popular entertainment programs.
The era that is friendly to rookies has long disappeared. There is no room for rookies to intervene in an entertainment industry that is dominated by a limited number of entertainers. The production teams also seem to reject new attempts and keep on using the same cast members and materials over and over.
Obvious cast and directing have resulted in cliché content. The essence of entertainment, which is to make the viewers laugh, seems to be slowly changing to a place for the cast to build their friendship. SBS’s “Dolsing Fourmen” and “My Little Old Boy” are raising confusion about whether they are the same program. This is because the cast of both shows frequently overlaps and the chemistry they show is no different at all.
Lee Sang-min and Im Won-hee are participating in both programs as regular members. In addition, Tak Jae-hoon, Seo Jang-hoon and Kim Jun-ho are semi-fixed on both programs. The good-for-nothing and salty daily life that the “dolsing men” show together is repeatedly shown on broadcast.
There are also shows that are built around the “national MC” Yoo Jae-seok. MBC’s variety show “Hangout With Yoo” is full of Yoo Jae-seok‘s personal connections. From Jung Joon-ha to Ha-ha, Mi-joo and Shin Bong-sun, this so-called “Yoo-Line” has created many stories together. The guests are mostly celebrities close to him as well, including Jessie and Lee Hyo-ri.
The same is with tvN’s ‘Sixth Sense‘, which is hosted by Yoo Jae-seok. Lee Mi-joo and Jessi are also in the fixed cast. Moreover, in the first episode of ‘Sixth Sense’ season 3, as Jeon So-min, who had built a close relationship with Yoo Jae-seok through ‘Running Man‘, left the show, entertainer Song Eun-yi, who is Yoo Jae-seok‘s best friend in real life, appeared as a guest.
The background and atmosphere of ‘Hangout With Yoo‘ and ‘Sixth Sense’ often overlap. The female guests always tease Yoo Jae-seok and put him in a difficult situation, turning Yoo Jae-seok‘s bewildered expression into a funny detail.
Lee Mi-joo once told Yoo Jae-seok that she and Jessi were on period. Regarding this, Yoo Jae-suk was shocked, “Don’t talk about that. I’m happy that you guys think of me as a brother, but please control yourself.” Lee Mi-joo said, “I once asked Jae-seok, ‘Did I have (my period) this month?'”
Comedian Lee Eun-ji also tried to do the “Body Five” with Yoo Jae-seok. “Body Five” is an act of high-fiving each other but instead of hands, they use chest. Yoo Jae-seok expressed his confusion by saying, “I was so surprised.” In response, Lee Mi-joo and Jessie were upset, saying, “Why aren’t you doing it with us?”
There are many reasons why the entertainment industry is stagnant. New efforts disappeared as the relative cost of production falls, the ratings are low, and the production teams are unable to tolerate failure. Production teams are satisfied with the expected stable ratings thanks to the guests who have already been loved by the public. Viewers are surrounded by the ‘friendship’ between the guest instead of finding a source of pleasant laughter and fun. In addition, talented prospective entertainers don’t even have the chance or know the timing to cut in on the conversations of the cast who already know each other.