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Maybe not such a great idea


(Emcee and actress Hyun Young with Canadian panel participant Julien Kang)

 
With the success of the talk/variety show Chatting with Beautiful Women, which I briefly mentioned here, producers were quick to jump on the money train and slap together a male counterpart for a Chuseok special program called (what else?) Chatting with Beautiful Men. But it seems they just produced a show that has attracted more criticism than praise…

 
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I didn’t catch the show, because Misuda (the regular, women-participant version) bores me — decent idea, pedestrian execution, in my opinion. It would be much more interesting if, say, they raised the level of discourse to ask about matters of social relevance, or politics, or culture… But from what I’ve caught (admittedly not a whole lot), it seems like a lot of bland twitter and flirty-flirty attempted banter with the Korean male celebrity guest panel, which makes for cringingly awkward conversation. But Koreans seem to like it. It’s like an outside look at their society from within their society. Foreign but not too foreign.


(Chatting with Beautiful Women)

 
Anyway, call me sexist or stereotypical but a male version of Misuda appeals to me even less — could it really be anything more than giggly female celebrities cooing over handsome foreign men in broken Korean? Thanks, but I had plans to gouge out my eyes already, and Perez Hilton called dibs. (It’s like crack; you know it’s horrible and salacious and brain-rotting, but you keep going back for more…)

Koreans audiences apparently feel the same distaste, although perhaps for slightly different reasons. The program aired on the evening of the 24th and has in the few days following its broadcast created a flurry of online criticism.

The conversation was intended to be go along the lines of each foreign-born hottie explaining what he liked about Korea, but their free-flowing, unfiltered coarse talk instead offended viewers by putting down Korean women. A little bit of the critique goes to hosts Hyun Young (actress and singer-lite) and Nam Hee Seok for asking lame questions like “Which of the female panelists would you most like to have a drink with?” Viewers disliked the shallow talk which barely touched on any matters of interest, such as asking about the culture gap and the men’s opinions on the differences of living in Korea.

 
(Julien Kang from Canada, Pierre Deporte from France)

 
But you’ve got to give credit where it’s due, and stupidly thoughtless comments must be blamed on those who uttered them more than those who asked the questions: French pretty boy Pierre, for instance, made the cavalier remark that often in nightclubs, Korean women approach and keep talking even when he makes it clear he finds them annoying, sitting next to him, drinking, and asking him his name. In these instances, the gracious guy said his method of choice is to just ignore them. (Hey, I’m not saying the guy’s wrong — he’s entitled to feel annoyed by whomever, whenever — but maybe he could’ve figured some things are best not spoken on nationally broadcast television, on a show where you know you’ll be under particular scrutiny.)

Also contributing to the public’s dissatisfaction is that the show aired as holiday programming at the family hour of 8pm. Yeah, maybe not the best time to be making innuendos and flying free with the loose talk.

Online message boards have been full of criticism and debate over the broadcast, commenting that the program has as much (or as little, rather) value as an hour of commercials. No interesting insights were gained; only feathers were ruffled. Then again, in Korean netizen culture, one day’s hot-button debate is tomorrow’s “Huh, what was that?” source of amnesiac apathy, so maybe they’re over it by now.

 
(Leonard McCormick from the U.S., Enes Kaya from Turkey)

 
Source: Hankooki

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from your summary, it seems like shallow ridiculous bantering and rambling on the guys' part, but leonard and masaki are cute! ^^ thanks for posting! :D

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I saw the female counterpart to this...and it definitely sucks. I would say this looks better because it has hot men, but judging from the men in this post, that's also a no. lol.
Plus, with Hyun Young as host, I pity the men, because I cannot stand that woman. Talk about obnoxious....

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i haven't caught either, but i agree that the idea has potential for depth. conversation with people of a different background is always interesting and ripe for great talk. it's a source of fun for me to learn about differences and similarities, especially if it someone from a place i know nothing about.
anyway, any new dramas we should be getting excited about?

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yeah, not really interested in either version. but i'm curious as to how the american guy came off. also, i think it's kind of amusing about the French guy. I lived in Paris for awhile and his remark is interesting because it sort of sums up how i think French people feel about most people....who aren't French. The translation for that comment is really: they are annoying because they flirt but won't come home with me. haha.

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just another comment that randomly sprung into my head. this show would be so hilarious if it was done in the US.

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hhhmmm ive watching a few Misuda eps...only cause i like the male panelists.. i dont understand really what's been said.. accdg to the Misuda thread on soompi though its insightful and funny what the women say (ie. their life in korea).. havent seen the men version.. but i think they made boo-boo's from that much openly talking about the korean women thing rather than other things..
the panelist of the women's version some have spewed out many budding actresses/cf model or such.. like eva and saori..hmmm.. well..

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I think these shows are a great idea but then again those questions are quite stupid to ask ~ and no offense seeing Hyun Young all over korean TV is quite annoying - it seems wherever I turn her face is there -__-;; or I hear her voice just walking on the street. She needs to release her death grip on every single variety show there is.

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Like a lot of people say, the premise is great. Beautiful people get to talk about their experience in Korea and give an outsider's view on what Korea is like. Now it would be nice on a national holiday to get people to extol the virtues on how great Korea is and how wonderful it is to be there and that the place is perfection personified and so on and so forth. However the trap the producers seemed to have fallen into was sacrifice substance for more light, supposedly women friendly questions, which backfired big time.
I don't envy the beautiful men, or women for that matter. It is hard to be honest when, if you critique, a country the reaction can be "nobody asked you to come here, go back to where you came from" if you touch a nation's raw spot. Tact and diplomacy are skills that require fine tuning, and i'm guessing (as the title contains the word "beautiful") the most erudite of souls did not make it on air. That is not to say beautiful and informed are mutually exclusive, it only seems that way when i watch TV :D.

All this is conjecture on my part, 'cos of course i speak nary a word of Korean (ok, maybe about 20) and haven't seen the show.

NB
The French aren't exactly known for their humilty and tact when it comes to affairs of the heart. For some odd reason (in europe anyways) they consider themselves a country full of the greatest lovers on the planet. I am firmly in the camp of "don't believe the hype".

Does anybody know where the video is online? If it is

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interesting concept, terrible execution. tsk tsk. :P

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Well, I don’t blame the participants, except for agreeing to participate in the show in the first place. I’m sure the hosts are not given total freedom to ask just any question they want, and there is a list of questions prepared by the producers in advance (I think I’ve read that somewhere). The producers/hosts do not ask about ‘matters of social relevance, or politics, or culture’ because the answers would not be all positive, there would be a certain amount of criticism and talk about things that bother the contestants about Korea (since no place is perfect). And I don’t think Koreans would like a show in which certain aspects of their society are criticized by foreigners. Even if the viewers happen to agree with some of the criticism, they still wouldn’t like a foreigner to say those things on national tv. At the same time, you can’t ask (or expect) the contestants to only say nice things about Korea. That would sound really fake. So, the producers decide to ask lame questions about lame issues instead, because the answers are then less likely to offend anyone, but that didn’t really work in this case. I think the Koreans don’t mind foreign women talking about Korean guys, but they are less comfortable when foreign men talk about Korean women. In summary, I don’t think that most of the Korean society is ready for an open and honest discussion of important social matters by foreigners on national tv.

PS: I don’t have a problem whatsoever with the French guy’s answer. And if you (I don’t mean Javabeans in particular) think that his answer was not appropriate for national tv, then how do you want them to discuss social matters and politics on that same national tv without either being all fake or drawing even more scrutiny from the public.

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twreckx I don't agree with you. Sorry to say this but French people don't "consider themselves a country full of the greatest lovers on the planet" It's mainly foreign people who say this but It's definitly not what we as French think. You can ask any French person in the street and he/she will tell you the greatest lovers are definetly Italians, their women is supposed to be extremely 'hot" and men passionate and jealous.
Considering French humility... Well I'd say that French old people, around 70/80 years old have been brought up with the idea that France is a super country with awesome culture and everything. Not saying other countries are not important but that France has because of its History and Culture a special status, which make them pretty pretentious, but it's definitly not in the new generation way of thinking. One thing I find despicable with many French, and I'm French so I know what I'm talking about, is this habit of speaking ill of another country or even person to feel superior. It's a pretty sick tendancy of ours and I really don't know from where it comes from.

About Pierre's comment ( by the way how come such a pretty boy is in Korea? Guys looking like this I met in France were all gays, how come he's not. Or maybe he's faking it)
Korean people were offended but I only talked about women coming to him not Korean women in general. I think it's mainly a matter of culture, if a Korean woman or man said the same thing on French Tv nobody would have said anything, that's why he said it. It's not easy knowing what you can say in front of a Korean and what you can't.

I remember myself having made a mistake about that. Last year, remember that korean who had shot people in a school and who had lived in the United States since he was 8. Few days later a Korean student who was studying French came to our Korean classes and we had an exercise which consisted of asking her question in Korean. I asked her about why the Korean government apologized for what happened. It's like I had put ice on her head. Dunno why but I think she felt guilty and that I blamed her by asking the question anyway she immediatly looked down like she had committed a crime or whatever. I was really surprised. So I told her I was just asking because I find it wierd the whole country was apologizing for someone who was responsible for his own act. There're crazy people everywhere, it's not a matter of being korean, chinese, algerian, dutch or whatever. Besides, I also added that the guy was more American than Korean as he had been living in the United States for more than 10 years already so why the need of apologizing.
She soon quit the class, haven't seen her since that time... which made me feel bad too in the end because I didn't think my question was offending but she felt it this way. Even my teacher who is korean but as been living in France since 1980 told me it's something she herself used to understand but now don't.

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ruzan, my issue is that the show actually does try to sell itself as a fun discussion on culture and social differences, as experienced by the foreign panelists. If something peddled as fluff produces fluff, I'd have nothing to say. But when you purport to higher standards (and then don't meet them), you produce the kind of disgruntled responses that have been seen in this case.

As for the matter of debate and appropriateness: I believe you can have an honest, engaging and entertaining debate on culture -- even with the inclusion of some negatives -- and not be offensive. A rousing debate can be civil AND family-friendly; I firmly believe that a dissonance of opinion does not necessaily equal incendiary. Part of the reason for the criticism is in the nature of the conversation -- it seemed suggestive and sexual-themed, which was seen as distasteful by some viewers. On the other hand, a discussion involving flaws of Korean society may make for heated debate, without being salacious or distasteful, or un-family-friendly.

Personally I don't think Pierre's comments were necessarily offensive (I wouldn't go that far) but it does kinda make him seem like a dick. But he just made himself look bad, so whatever.

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Tread lightly with intelligence, respect or wit and this show could be so much better. Unfortunately, "Beautiful Men" and "Women" not only stereotyped foreigners but also Koreans. It's ashamed because I think this is totally far removed from the original intention of these shows. Yup, execution and delivery were lame (-- umm, and its sounds like the casting/writing need a little tiny bitty bit of improvement). At the moment, this type of entertainment appeals (if at all) to only the population minority and possibly none of the viewers who actually tuned in.

BTW, France is not the only country with overt nationalistic pride. It's not a bad thing, but with anything, moderation is the key. And i'm mainly talking about the US here.

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i think that even though it's a bunch of men slapped onto a show speaking choppy korean... it's very different compared to the show with the gals. I understand that in many Asian countries, somethings are better not said, and my gosh some of these foreign people are dead honest about how they feel.

Their conversations (from your summary) may see shallow and un-important, but at least they are all open about their thoughts. I've been told by many people that many Asians are not as open minded about socializing to people they are not familiar with. Though it may be the topic of talks for critics, it gives many asian views a view that they are not familiar with. It's "educating... " somewhat...

do i even make sense. T.T o well, ignore it then :]

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Tackling social issues would be quite interesting, and I think it could be done by tackling both sides of the issue.

For example, if they had the foreigners talk about Korean xenophobia, they would need to address white privilege and the colonial mentality as well.

What I'm actually more interested in is how the non-Korean Asian men are doing. How are Chinese and Japanese men treated in Korea?

In Taiwan as long as you speak Chinese and learn our culture, we'll pretty much accept you as Chinese. From what I've seen in Japan though, even if you've been there your whole life, you're still not accepted. Just wondering what Korea is like.

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hey. javabeans, didnt know you also watch variety shows and also commented on it. hee, that's great. i was once a fan of X-man and love letter and i've enjoyed them very much. i tend to compare them with the like of taiwan variety shows and realised that taiwan's varieties are actually a follower of Korean.

however, i do enjoy some of the taiwan talk shows which are relatively entertaining and they are open in discussing issues relating to relationships, marriage and even sex issues.. i'm not sure about the korea cultures, but perhaps at the back of my mind i always think that korea is a country deeply rooted in their root where family values are placed of ulmost importance and that to me is also an attraction by itself.

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I actually watched this particular episode, along with many other episodes of MiSuDa, and frankly? The netizens are overreacting again.

I didn't see anything overly sexual or insulting about it. None of them said anything to provoke this kind of reaction, at least in my opinion. And Pierre, actually, was one of the TAMER guys on the show. I actually thought he was quite cute, heh. :P The one who really bothered me was Enes, but he was just being an idiot and showing off his playboy ways, so whatever. And so the guys criticized some Korean women. So what? The girls criticize Korean guys all the time! What's so different this time?

MiSuDa is admittedly pretty sexist and sometimes feels like it's just some kind of zoo exhibit where they show off foreigners to curious Korean eyes...But there have been a few episodes that touched on social commentary, such as the one where they talked about sexual harrassment. Those are my favourite episodes by far, and I love when the more intelligent of the girls talk openly about their views. The only problem is, when they DO talk freely and without restraint, and show just a HINT of criticism about Korea, netizens jump in for the kill. Korean nationalism...It makes me sick. And I'm Korean!

...Okay, I'll shut up now. -_- It's just...netizens wear me out. And I must be hormonal right now. Yeah. Nice write-up, by the way. I always enjoy reading your writing, Javabeans. Keep up the great work!

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on the "eye-candy" aspect of this show... these male reps of foreign countries are all so attractive, this show is definitely perpetuating misconceptions. i mean seriously, where could you find a guy like leonard mccormick in the US? south-korean girls will be sorely disappointed when they come here and find out that most american guys (at least the ones i know) dress like slobs.

thanks again javabeans for another awesome post!
i'm going to repeat a question that's been asked, just because it went unanswered. where can you watch a clip of this show? i searched on veoh and youtube but nothing.

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I dunno...

I haven't seen the show, but I'd like to. What?! I'm curious...

And, I would also like to add a couple of comments:
1) Pierre looks about 12 years old...although, I do have to say that I have 17-year-old students who look about 10, so...does he speak Korean well? I'm always mystified and fascinated when non-Asians speak Korean well. It's TOO cool! (like that Julien guy from Belgium)
2) Nationalism to any extreme degree is ugly on anyone. Some Koreans, for example, take their nationalism way too far. I mean, GOD, learn to take a little criticism. (I'm Korean, btw)

What's the title of the show in Korean?

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Georgie, the title of the female version is 미녀들의 수다, while the male version is 미남들의 수다.

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You know...I just watched this a few weeks ago and I just noticed...
Is Maskai wearing a swastica!?!?! (srry if spelling mistakes)

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I agree with Dramabeans on some of the comments are overflowing without restraint. I mean, no offense, you are on Korean TV, think before you say anything. Haven't they heard the Chinese proverb "No one will think you are mute if you keep your mouth shut"? And when I was watching this show, even I feel disgust at what some of the participants were saying. For example, one of the comments from Pierre was "I don't like when girls act like a princess, I feel like I want to smack their heads". Really. Smacking people's heads now. How kind and thoughtful. Nationalism is quite irking when it comes to extreme. I'm Chinese, and I know how extreme the nationalistic people can go. But when a foreigner basically just talking crap about people, you would feel pissed off too.

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So clearly this is an old post and very unlikely to commented on again, but I was looking up the cast for an upcoming drama, Shipwrecked, and discovered that French Pretty Boy Pierre is the lead male actor.
O_o?
He makes obnoxious comments and gets a drama deal? Quoi?
http://dienanh.net/forums/showthread.php?t=74655

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I watched this show on youtube yesterday, and my god, the MCs, and those korean female guest panels were so annoying. I mean, this program was recorded particularly for Korean Thanksgiving thing, and there they are, talking about nightclub booking, and how men stare at those foreigners' big dicks in public bath and such. It might have been better if they talked about holidays around the world. Those two korean female guests were so rude, they whisper, they exaggerate, and just plain unbearable throughout the show. I might sound like a six-year-old for keep saying this, but HyunyYoung was the Unbearable #3 with her annoying voice and somehow sexist comment. And why, just why would they ask how those male guests what colour and how big their dicks are, like they don't know they're talking about dicks. I pity a chinese guy there, he didn't say a word the whole show. Not A WORD!! I didn't expect much from the MC in the first place, but I didn't know he was this insane. As for the french guy, I don't think he said anything wrong. What he said is true, i think it's just that those stinking nationalists are not emotionally mature enough to take criticism from a foreigner. I'm so sick of those paranoids and I'm korean so I know what I'm talking about. I can't stand any nationalists, wherever they are from. In my conclusion, the program has a shitty quality. Those koreans on the show and inappropriate choice of questions just ruined it all.

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lol, happened to come by this old post...“I don’t like when girls act like a princess, I feel like I want to smack their heads” Great, we'd get along fine. hATE the princess acts. but considering he pretty much grew up in korea, his views are more like that of the average korean guy as opposed to the average french guy no?

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I wouldn't mind smacking a girl who acts like a princess.
But it would make me "unladylike".

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Can anybody help me
i want this episode O_O

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I know this is seven years late and nobody will ever see this, but there's now a show called Abnormal Summit. It's exactly what you're looking for in terms of debate about social issues that affect not only Koreans, but the represented countries (including Belgium, France, Ghana, Australia etc). Please check it out, it's really good. And if you could, maybe you could write a review of it, maybe just one episode...?

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