[Opinion] The Satisfying and Disquieting Use of Loveline Entertainment

A couple of weeks ago SBS’ long-running entertainment variety show “Running Man” officially introduced a new loveline — an on-screen romance — between two members. While entertaining, it is also disquieting to see people forced into a romantic construct that is not of their making.

Image source – Instagram

Lovelines, the real or faux on-screen romances on Korean entertainment programs, are exploited by both cast members and producers to jump-start interest, provide fan service, and to open a slew of possible entertaining moments notable enough to wind up in the news and trend on search engines.

This kind of entertainment goldmine is especially viable if the participants are attractive and eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. One network, in particular, has become proficient in honing in on popular would-be couples and banking in on the fan-led fantasies.

SBS is behind the massively popular “Monday Couple” of rapper Gary and actress Song Ji-hyo born during the first years of “Running Man” and later capitalized on the viable connection between Kim Jong-kook and singer Hong Jin-young on “My Little Old Boy.”

Just a few weeks ago, the network officiated the loveline between permanent cast members Song Ji-hyo and Kim Jong-kook (the same one on “My Little Old Boy”). In doing so the networks answered the prayers of a dedicated subgroup of the show’s fans who refer to the couple as “Spartace,” a combination of their “Running Man” nicknames “Sparta” and “Ace.”

Admittedly, the episode first episode where the cast, guests, and staff seemed conspired to play up every one of their interactions was very entertaining. More than the embarrassing reactions of the Song and Kim was the ingenuity of the cast in finding ways to tease the two — including an impromptu rendition of Kim’s song “One Man.”

The most recent episode of “Running Man,” the cast was divided into two groups where they had to find and eat a cheaper dish of food than the opposing team. While simple in concept, the dynamics of each team was unique enough that laughs came easily, especially from the team that had the show’s new loveline couple in a group with Haha and Yang Se-chan.

In fact, the episode was so entertaining I decided to watch it again. During the second watch through, the interactions and reactions of the members took on a new somewhat disquieting light.

As the cast members (especially Haha and Yang who deserve an award for their work) and crew continued to bank in on the loveline between Kim and Song, it became clear that while the two took the teasing in good humor that it also made them uncomfortable.


With Kim and Song having been colleagues and friends for close to a decade, the loveline appears to have created a shift on the show that the two may not have been fully prepared for. This is unlike the loveline between Kim Jong-kook and Hong Jin-young on “My Little Old Boy” and occasionally on “Running Man” where the two are placed in clearly constructed situations and understanding their relationship dynamics when on set.

Whether they do have any romantic feelings for each other or are just friends, is it okay to profit from their discomfort that may have repercussions even when the cameras are off?

This issue is connected to the broader topic of fan-service. In fictional works, it is when non-plot affecting elements are added to please the audience. In K-pop, it is when celebrities engage in behavior that is not normal for them for their fans. This can include but is not limited to such acts of physical intimacy like holding hands, hugging, and cheek kissing.

While fans of shows and groups may enjoy and even find these kinds of interactions and lovelines exciting and satisfying, it can also lead to unforeseen consequences — especially if those involved don’t enjoy it themselves.




By O.C


Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates

‘Baek Jong-Won’s Alley Restaurant’ Tops Non-Variety Show Ranking for 7th Week

Food variety show “Baek Jong-Won’s Alley Restaurant” took the top spot in a non-drama show ranking full of power-house programs.

Image source – SBS

SBS’ “Baek Jong-Won’s Alley Restaurant” has remained at the top of the non-drama charts for the seventh consecutive week according to a survey conducted by Good Data Corporation. The company analyzed online news, blogs, social media, and video reactions (responses, comments) of 1,702 participants for 187 variety program that broadcast from Dec. 24 to Dec. 30.

In the SBS show, Baek Jong-won uses his restaurant business know-how to different eateries’ food, menu, and more to revitalize their business and (hopefully) make them fail proof. Fortunately, many of the restaurants featured on the show experience more traffic as customers flock to the shops to try the food. People often tag places, like tonkatsu restaurant Donka 2014 in episode 159, on social media along with the show.

Image source – Good Data Corporation

Notably, “Baek Jong-Won’s Alley Restaurant” has managed to stay on top in a list full of popular programs including second place “I Live Alone” and “YG Treasure Box,” which came in third. MBC’s “Radio Star” and JTBC’s “Knowing Bros” rounded out the top five with shows like “Running Man” and “My Little Old Boy” coming in the top ten.



By O.C


Lee Min-Jung Opens Up About Lee Byung-Hun’s Proposal and Life with 4-Year Old Son

For the first time in 6 years, actress Lee Ming-Jun opens up about her life with Lee Byung-Hun!

On November 25 broadcast of SBS “My Little Old Boy,” Lee Min-Jung appeared to talk about her life with her husband Lee Byung-Hun and their 4-year old son, Jun-Woo. This was first variety show the actress had appeared since her wedding in 2013.

Furthermore, Lee Min-Jung directly mentioned her son Jun-Woo for the first time. When Shin Dong-Yup complimented Jun-Woo for his looks, Lee Min-Jung responded, “the upper part of his face looks like me, the eyes and a part of the nose. However, he looks more like his father overall.”

Furthermore, the actress also shared how her affection-less father has influenced how she treats her own son. Lee said, “I grew up with a father, who wasn’t very good at expressing his feelings. So I always thought if I were to have a child, I would constantly remind them of my love.”

Maybe because of this, the actress also revealed that her husband is very jealous of her son. She said, “my husband once said he did not realize that we had such a good quality food in our household. It’s because I tend to give it to my son, first. Because of that, my husband gets jealous sometimes.”

Later, Lee Min-Jung also talked about Lee Byung-Hun’s proposal. The actress began, “it was all so obvious. I’m very good at picking up signals. It was the day that we invited our whole family to see a film that my husband had appeared. He repeatedly told me not to go to the bathroom after the film ended. That’s when I figured he had planned something.”

However, the actress revealed to have dropped a few tears, even after knowing what was going to happen. She said, “after the film, he proposed to me. I knew it was going to happen, but I still cried a little bit.”

Image Source – SBS

Original Article
Translated by Dasol Kim


Lee Min-Jung to Reveal Life with Lee Byung-Hun in Upcoming Episode of “My Little Old Boy”

Lee Min-Jung plans to reveal what it’s like to live with A-list actor Lee Byung-Hun for the first time on national TV!

On November 18, SBS “My Little Old Boy” released a teaser for its upcoming episode, featuring actress Lee Min-Jung as a special guest. Because it’s a rare occasion that the actress shows herself in variety shows, the news gathered much attention from the public.

Moreover, this is the first time Lee Min-Jung will openly talk about her married life with Lee Byung-Hun since their wedding in 2013. Since then, the two had done no promotions aside from dramas and films, and much curiosity had occurred regarding their lives as a couple.

With her first comeback drama in two years ahead, Lee Min-Jung decided to appear on the show. During the teaser, the actress also mentioned her 4-year old son Jun-Hoo. According to her, whenever Jun-Hoo is asked about his father, he replies “my father is Eugene Choi.” It was the name of Lee Byung-Hun’s character in tvN drama “Mr. Sunshine,” which recently ended with much praise from the public.

Furthermore, when Shin Dong-Yeop mentioned Lee Byung-Hun’s proposal at the wedding, Lee Min-Jung withdrew much laughter from others by saying, “it was so obvious. I knew it was going to happen.” At the end, the actress sent a special message to her husband and asked him to appear on the show himself and generated much buzz around the community.

The upcoming episode of SBS “My Little Old Boy” with Lee Min-Jung will air on November 25 at 9 PM, KST.

Image Source – SBS “My Little Old Boy”

Original Article
Translated by Dasol Kim


Sayuri Talks About Her Romantic Compatability With Lee Sang-Min

Sayuri Fujita, a Japanese television personality based in South Korea, has displayed some incredible compatibility with entertainer Lee Sang-min over the years. Is there a possibility that their friendship can be taken to the next level?

Image source – MBC

On October 30, television personality Sayuri Fujita appeared as a guest on MBC’s “Video Star” along with actress Hwang Seok-jeong, singers Narsha and Kim So-hee, rapper Cheetah.

In this autumn special, Fujita revealed that she is looking for a man who she can have children with. More, having participated in the first international couple with Lee Sang-min in the reality-variety show “With Me” in 2014, Lee was naturally mentioned.

Since their appearance on the show, the two have stayed in contact and have been seen together on SBS’ “My Little Old Boy.” On the show, the two gained attention for their great chemistry, open friendship, and Lee’s interaction with Fujita’s parents. In particular, her parents appeared to want Lee as a son-in-law.

When asked if the two could be a real couple, Fujita had an unexpected answer. “The real possibility of a relationship seems to be about 23 percent,” she said. According to Fujita, her ideal type is a man with a small nose who like rugby. Unfortunately, this does not align with Lee. On the other hand, her mother really likes men who are clever and smart.s



Original article

Translated by O.C


‘My Little Old Boy’ Reasserts Its TV Dominance With 20% Viewer Rating

In just five weeks, SBS’ “My Little Old Boy” renters the 20 percent ratings club.

Image source – SBS

According to the rating agency Nielsen Korea, Monday’s episode of SBS “My Little Old Boy” ranked first in its timeslot. During the broadcast, the show had an on-average viewership of 22% with high of 23.5%.

The last time the show broke past the 20 percent range was five weeks ago on September 16 when it recorded a 20.2% rating. The feat by the show is even more pronounced when compared to other shows during the same time. MBC’s “My Healing Love,” KBS2 “Gag Concert, tVN’s “Room No. 9,” and JTBC’s “Ssulzun” has 7.6%, 4.7%, 5.4%, and 2.3%, respectively.

There were some interesting factors that may have contributed to the show’s positive rise in viewership. On this day, actress Jo Yoon-hee came to the studio as a special MC. During the broadcast, Jo shared stories about her daughter and husband which captivated the cast and viewers alike.

Further, Lee Sang-min’s tour of Hong Kong, which showed some delicious local delicacies, and Kim Gun-mo’s performance for fans delighted viewers still. However, the peak in viewerships came during Bae Jeong-nam’s segment in the show. The handsome actor drew attention with the introduction of his dog and the unveiling of his house and an interesting hobby.



Original article

Translated by O.C


Singer Shin Jung-Hwan to Make His Entertainment Comeback on ‘Knowing Bros’

Singer, entertainer, and Roo’ra member Shin Jung-hwan is going to return to the entertainment world after a nine-month break.

Shin Jung-hwan
Image source – Koen Stars

On August 21, an official from JTCB’s “Knowing Bros” said that singers Shin Jung-hwan, Kim Ji-hyun, and Chae Ri-na from the group Roo’ra will guest on a special episode for the variety show with the recording scheduled for the 23rd.

According to sources, the production crew was inspired to plan the episode after “Knowing Bros” cast and former Roo’ra member Lee Sang-min revealed he was still close with the other members on SBS’s “My Little Old Boy” recently. Additionally, Lee has often mention Kim and Chea on other broadcasts, highlighting his close relationship with them.

The network’s announcement comes after a nine-month break that Shin took after starring in Mnet’s “Project S Devil’s Talent Donation” that ended last November. It was his first program in more than seven years. Shin put his career on hold followed a scandal where he was caught gambling abroad and later indicted for the offense.

With his second major appearance in the entertainment world set, many predict that his performance on “Knowing Bros” is a valuable opportunity that will determine his future course of action.

Meanwhile, JTBC will air the special sometime in September.



Original article

Translated by O.C


After 10 Months in the Hospital Lee Sang-min’s Mother Is Finally Discharged

Lee Sang-min’s mother, who was once a cast member on “My Little Old Boy,” is finally well enough to leave the hospital.

Image source – OSEN News

On July 17, entertainer Lee Sang-min announced that his mother had been discharged from the hospital. Regarding this, Lee’s agency confirmed the news saying that “it is true that Lee’s month was recently discharged from the hospital. Currently, she is resting at home and taking care of her health.”

Lee’s month won over viewers of the show “My Little Old Boy” with her warm appearance and speech when she was apart of the cast. However, during the second half of last year, she decided to leave the show for health reasons.

Some have wondered whether she plans to return as one of the presiding mothers on the show. Unfortunately, according to the agency, she has no plans to return to the show for now.

It has been ten months since Lee’s mother was first admitted due to health concerns.



Original articles (1)(2)

Translated by O.C


SBS “My Little Old Boy” Responds to Chinese Plagiarism of the Show

SBS “My Little Old Boy” makes their official statement regarding a Chinese variety show with a similar format.

On July 13, several reports accused a new Chinese show “My Little One” of plagiarizing the original format of SBS “My Little Old Boy.” In response, SBS commented, “we have never officially exported our format to China.”

Image Source – SBS “My Little Old Boy”

Recently, China’s Hunan Television Network launched a new Chinese variety show called “My Little One.” The show invites mothers of celebrities to the studio to observe their children’s lifestyle patterns and behaviors. While it is wrong to assume anything, many netizens argued that the show had plagiarized the format of SBS variety show, “My Little Old Boy.”

Image Source – Hunan Network’s “My Little One”

In response, a representative from SBS commented, “we have never officially exported our format. After receiving the reports about a possible plagiarism, we are currently in the process of checking the facts.”

The company continued, “we will have to check with the entertainment department as well as the Chinese network before we make our final statement.”

Producer Kwak Seung-Young, who is in charge of “My Little Old Boy” production, couldn’t check into details due to a busy schedule. However, Kwak later discussed the matters with OSEN and said, “we haven’t confirmed anything. I know that our company is currently figuring out ways to prevent further damage. As soon as I’m done with filming, I will check the facts myself and provide an appropriate answer.”

This is not the first time China has plagiarized variety show formats of Korea.

From tvN’s “Youn’s Kitchen” to JTBC’s “Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast,” there were many occasions where Chinese shows had almost identical formats to Korean shows. Every time, Korean networks always stated they would take legal action, but have never taken strong measures.

Meanwhile, the first episode of “My Little Old Boy” aired in 2016. Ever since then, the program has become a huge success, recently reaching its highest viewership rating of 24.8%. With its leading rating, the show continues to reign in the number 1 spot among all entertainment programs on Sundays.

Original Article (1), (2)
Translated by Dasol Kim


SBS Director of Entertainment Announces Launch of 3 New Variety Shows

Finishing the first half of this year with a success, SBS announces the launch of 3 new variety shows!

On June 28, Nam Seung-Yong, the director of entertainment department at SBS said, “I’m 100% satisfied with our results from the first half of the year.” Furthermore, he showed his confidence about 3 upcoming variety shows scheduled to take off their veils in the second half of the year.

On June 28, SBS held a press conference reporting the results of their entertainment programs in first half of the year. The company showed their satisfaction by saying, “you may say our programs dominated the industry.”

He continued, “‘My Little Old Boy’ placed number one in the viewership ratings, and ‘Same Bed, Different Dreams’ and ‘Master in the House‘ gathered great success within the first few months of their release. Lastly, ‘Flaming Youth’ has also topped the same-time viewers ratings. I’m very much satisfied with these results.”

Furthermore, the director also shared the future plans of SBS Entertainment Department.

He first revealed that they are preparing to launch 3 new variety shows in the second half of the year. The first show is another music variety show ‘The Fan’ (working title). The producers from ‘K-Pop Star’ and ‘Fantastic Duo’ partnered up to come up with the idea.

As it’s written in the name, “fans” will carry a very important role in the program. Nam Seung-Yong said, “unlike the audition programs from the past, this upcoming program will have a completely different format.”

One of the biggest differences it that the program will not have judges. Nam explained, “a celebrity will appear and become number one “fan” of a contestant. They will introduce a hidden rookie singer that they knew and liked, and try to gather fans by saying “I’m their fan, so please join me and become their fan as well!””

Furthermore, one of the program’s producer Kong Hee-Chul explained, “while it will have some form of judges, it’s not like ‘K-Pop Star’ where judges hold an important role. Until now, we casted professionals to pick and choose the contestants, but we realized that people who consume music may have different opinions. And they are the ones who determine the success of our artists in the future. This time, we wanted to let fans to have the power to pick and choose.”

Besides “The Fan,” SBS will launch two more variety shows. Lee Kyung-Kyu and Kim Sang-Joong have confirmed to lead a program called “Let’s Eat with Dignity” (literal translation), and Seo Jang-Hoon, Lee Sang-Yeop, Kim Jun-Ho, and Lee Sang-Min to appear in “Stupid, but Secured Happiness.”

Image Source – SBS

Original Article (1), (2)
Translated by Dasol Kim