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Another actor collapses on set

This is probably callous of me, but another actor faints on set and all I’ve got to say is: Ho-hum.

It was belatedly revealed over the weekend that Kim Bum fainted on the set of his SBS drama Dream, and was released from the hospital visit after a brief stay and an IV drip. This occurred last week — he shot a fighting scene over the 11th and 12th, then lost consciousness just before filming was scheduled to begin on the 13th. Honestly, I can’t recall if this is the first or second time he’s collapsed on Dream, because news like this is so common these days, and Kim Bum has already taken several trips to the hospital this year as he filmed his last drama, Boys Before Flowers.

I’m not totally jaded to stories of overworked singers and actors, because the system is definitely broken and they’re the ones suffering from over-packed schedules, which lead to constant exhaustion and frenzied transportation between events, which then often lead to those too-common car accidents we’re always hearing about. (Yep, I’ve seen those pics of Daesung‘s car crash, and… yeesh.) Sure, we can blame the managers who are often at the wheel when said car accidents occur, but that would be a bit shortsighted, since often the road manager is under extreme pressure to meet the demands placed upon them (and the star) by those in higher positions.

Then you could blame those higher-ups, like management company presidents, for perpetuating an impossible system whereby stars are forced to speed from, say, a talk-show appearance to a radio show to a CF shoot and a fansigning and so on. But even though they may have more power to dictate star schedules, one would be remiss if one placed all the blame on them, because it could then be argued that the frenzy is in response to the fleeting nature of popularity in the k-entertainment industry.

And when one gets into that kettle of fish, the issue of mandatory male military service is never far away, because forcing all draft-age young males into a two-year hiatus contributes to the panicked feeling that one must take advantage of popularity when it comes, because tomorrow it could be gone — for two years, perhaps, or maybe forever. Inertia is a scary thing, when one’s livelihood depends upon it.

Yet if you blamed everything on army duty, that would be a rather flat argument. We can’t forget that there’s always an element of choice and decision-making involved when a person embarks on an entertainment career, no matter how pressure-filled it is, and to pin the blame for everything on an abstract issue like the draft is to absolve a human being of the decisions s/he makes on a day-to-day basis. And these people — though often pressured, and taken advantage of, and locked into burdensome contracts — are still people who make choices and take agency for their actions.

Complicating matters, you can’t deny that there’s a certain sort of twisted pride that accompanies such pronouncements, as if to say, “Oh my, what dedication! How admirable! Working oneself to death — or to collapse — is so… romantic!”

I recognize this sort of misplaced hubris first-hand, because I went to a very competitive college where students weren’t so much disturbed as they were proud of the bodily sufferings invoked in the name of academic prowess. There were students who boasted-complained, “I only got three hours of sleep last night!” who were often one-upped by “Well, I only got TWO hours of sleep last night!” and “I haven’t slept in four days!” The “So there!” that followed was, naturally, implied. And we know that Korea is a society that prizes hard work and sacrifice. Combine that with a penchant for melodrama and glorified suffering, and, well, there you’ve got your disturbing phenomenon of actors constantly collapsing from overwork and those instances being reported like they’re a good thing. Or at least an admirable thing.

But anyway. Dream airs Mondays and Tuesdays and continues to get pummeled in the ratings by Queen Seon-deok.

Via Arts News

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Oh noes.

They should all contribute wons to teleportation research.

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DITTO ON EVERYTHING.

you could blame it on the higher ups/executives but fact is that we netizens/fans eat it up and love all the variety show appearances, interviews, fansigns, etc. it's a very marked difference between american & korean (asian?) entertainment and i personally love it because it makes me feel like i get to know my favorite celebs and idols more. (and probably leads to unhealthy celebrity worship syndrome.. but w/e :D)

which leads to companies trying to maximize exposure of their stars WITHOUT having them faint from exhaustion, but then of course it's only a matter of time before they do.

so this is where i would welcome some sort of government intervention...

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I don't know if anyone else is watching Dream, but for me it is suffering the same as many of the other dramas that are airing right now... they just seem so flat. There are no interesting characters to relate to or even want to relate to. Problem is, I have this slight problem with addiction to my kdramas, so even though they don't merit the time... I'm still through episode 6 of Dream and Style, though admittedly very bored and frustrated with myself.

As for the bit about Korean culture pushing and perpetuating a society that prides itself on... pain (? i can't think of a better term). I remember when my aunt was bragging to my mother about how my middle-school cousin was coming back from hak-won at midnight and studying for another three or four hours before sleeping and classes the next day. And as a student at one of those schools that prides itself on being "nocturnal" or masochistic, I too feel an eye-roll coming on when these things hit the news... but what can we do? I decided early on to simply switch majors, be happy with my dramas and take classes I actually enjoy. Alas, the dramas bit is in something of a funk at the moment...

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well no wonder dbsk are taking a stand, im all for celebrities that defend their rights. The agencies take them for granted. i swear i feel sorry for all of them, it's just too much =\

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I wonder if those artists who collapse are all from the same few management agencies....i wonder which agencies have the most healthy and well-rested celebs?

anyway, kim bum, i hope you recover and take care of yourself.

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I am sorry but his hair is all wrong. It reminds me of Gov. Blagojevich.

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I am sorry that hese workhorses, ehem, actors, singers, et cetera., are not getting enough for their effort, popularity and talent. The lion's share of their income go to others. In the case of boy and girlbands whatever is left, is divided among them, which may not be much.

As to the question if korean celebrities such as Bae Yong Joon are overpaid, I believe they are worth every penny because fans flock to see them and are a big draw. They have worked hard for many years and should be compensated accordingly.

Regarding currently airing dramas, my favorite is Sons of the Sol Pharmacy aka My Too Perfect Sons. If someone is not watching it, give it a try.

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very well said. it's sort of this endless cycle, a catch-22 maybe? who knows how it will be solved or if it will be solved. either way, for now, it will be one tragic accident after another.

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Poor Kim Bum. These things are not good. You know, I wonder if the tough lives/schedules with seemingly poor pay of young(ish) Korean stars is the reason they're (seemingly, at least) so humble. You'd think it was a glamorous job, and the insane level of devotion from fans would make them arrogant, but so many young singers and actors always come across as so humble and down to earth and normal, I suppose it's because they've actually had to grow up so quickly.

I'd like to ask any resident Koreans about these cram schools, and the years students spend studying like 20 hours a day; I'm assuming these infamous 'netizens' are these kids, school age. How come these netizens, these kids, have so much time to pick out things like 2 celebrities wearing the same kind of ring, and all this other stuff they come up with? I'd be so pressurised, I wouldn't have time to care. Anyway.

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I think that in addition to the mandatory military service, there's also the oversaturation of the Korean music and drama market. So many new "celebrities" are coming out of the woodwork and it's a race to distinguish yourself from everybody else with the exact same good looks and talent. I went to a competitive college and later taught at a private Korean high school, so I'm all too familiar with the pride placed on exhaustion and busy schedules.

If the problem is going to be fixed, though, I think the entertainment industry "higher-ups" are the ones who have the power to make a difference more than anybody else. If education officials somehow made the college entrance process less competitive and the suneung less important, Korean students would be in much better shape mentally. Similarly, if entertainment bigwigs decided to collectivley take a stand and reduce performers' schedules, these kinds of incidents would hopefully decrease as well.

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First of all, I am a Kim Bum fan, am sorry to hear that he is so exhausted. Am also sorry to hear that Korea is so competitive, but aren't all asian societies like that?

As for the army thing, my view is that the guys should go in immediately after school, in that way it won't disrupt their career. In Singapore, where all healthy males do army, the guys go in a between 16-19 before university/college. I think it is a great idea so that the guys build up their bodies when they are still in their teens and not wait till 20s nearly 30.

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I don't get it. They (management) are making money off of these celebrities so shouldn't they treat them more like a priced possession instead of like a dog? If the actor/actress has talent and charisma, he/she will succeed regardless of how many projects/ tv appearances/CF they do each year. Personally, I think too much exposure is a bad thing. It just makes them seem like a media whore more than an artist.

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Wasn't Hollywood like that long ago? I remember seeing a feature on Judy Garland that said she being given "pep" pills during the day, sleeping pills at night, probably diet pills, too, since they thought she was too heavy, even as early as her role in The Wizard of Oz. Anyway, the feature indicated that the movie company was basically responsible for her drug/alcohol addictions.

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Awww...my poor Kim Bum isn't taking very good care of himself! Clearly, he needs me to take care of him!

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I heart the diatribe. And your college days remind me of mine! YIKES!

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I totally agree with you, javabeans. However, I would still put the blame somehow on the management. They should have managed better....

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I remember Entertainment Weekly (KBS) was interviewing Daniel Henney and Hugh Jackman. DH said shooting KDrama was very tough, he had to stay in the van (and even slept in it), and the schedule was kinda messed up. They were comparing working in Hollywood (12 hrs shooting time). So, I guess it's very common for the messed up (or overload) schedule in Korea.

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If we're getting into the shooting schedule, we can't NOT talk about script writing. The system of writing the drama as it shoots is CRAZY. It just doesn't make sense. I feel like the entire reason Korea writes the dramas as the air is so they can change them if it's not popular, or if a character isn't liked, or whatever. But you know what? Sometimes you just gotta go with what was originally planned. Even if it's not the most popular drama, it's going to be the best version if it's not drastically changed halfway. I can't even name how many dramas have been "ruined" in my eyes because there wasn't enough time to finish the last 2,3, or 4 episodes. I can't imagine the amount of stress this puts on the actors.

Imagine going to work prepared and then finding out that ha, just kidding! You're not at all. You have to spend more precious time re-learning your lines, while the production team is thrown into chaos because it might no longer be in the same location, or have the same actors, or the same lighting, or anything.

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Ohhh, poor Kim Bum! Please take care of yourself! I'm watching Dream and am enjoying it! I love Joo Jin Mo & Kim Bum!!! They're great together as sport agent and martial art fighter!! I feel bad for them that the rating is so low...... :(

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Hey... I agree with 11 Alexandra!
In our country the males have to undergo army way before so that they could start their career.... Kim Bum.... Love you but not the latest Hairdo.
Reminds me of Junpyo bad hair day!!!

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This overload, not enough rest syndrome of the Korean entertainment business is definitely disturbing. These young stars, many probably too coerced into knowing what's best for themselves are basically used by their entertainment company to make bucks. And the entertainment companies don't really have to care for their well-being because there's always another talent around the corner to tap into. It's a vicious cycle.

I also find the K-drama shoot schedule somewhat crazy. It puts even more pressure on the actors that area already probably stressed by packed schedule and unbelievable expectations from their entertainment company and fans.

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how ironic - overworking to the point of collapsing and still his drama is down in the ratings game..... what a life!!! who said that an entertainer's life is a glamorous life?

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