Another new show! We’ve been keeping an eye on Vampire Idol, eager to see if the reality would prove to be as wacky and fun as it sounded. And based on the first few installments that premiered this week on cable channel MBN, I think I can safely say: It doesn’t suck. In fact, it’s pretty much just as hilariously random as I was hoping it would be.
javabeans: This show is amazing. And by amazing I mean completely and utterly ridiculous, but 100% entertaining.
girlfriday: It might have cost about 2 cents to make, but that adds to the camp factor by about 1000%.
javabeans: Really? I thought the outer-space and vampire planet effects were pretty good — but maybe it’s because I just watched MBN’s other daily sitcom, You’re Here (cubed), and that show has the production budget of a kindergarten play. It’s funny, because here I’m thinking, “Wow, so Vampire Idol took all of You’re Here’s money.”
girlfriday: I think you have to be at either end of the spectrum — Vampire Prosecutor, or Vampire Idol — in terms of production budget. Because anywhere in the middle is just half-assed. Vampidol is so shoestring that it’s endearing.
javabeans: So the premise: Vampires live on a planet called (what else?) Vampirutus. They’ve managed to tamp down their instinct to drink blood from living people, and now subsist on bottled blood. Now, this is a case where the writing totally worked with the recasting of the vampire prince. So you swap out pretty-boy hottie Noh Min-woo for older, shorter, tanner Lee Jung, right? And what do you do? Hang a lantern, of course.
girlfriday: Omg, that cracked me up. So he’s the average-looking vampire prince, and his three friends/lackeys/underlings serving him are the gorgeous movie-vampire types. And in this world they’re considered to be the subpar ones in terms of looks.
javabeans: I died laughing when they described the three bodyguards as ugly, with their pale faces and grossly tall bodies. Here, the standard of beauty is the dark-skinned prince — with his “short and stocky limbs” and “perfect five-to-one” body proportions! Pfffffffffft. (Note that the Korean media loves to praise certain celebs for their perfect body-to-head proportions, like Jung Kyeo-woon and Kim Sa-rang… who are eight-to-one. Meaning, the body is as tall as their head stacked eight times.)
girlfriday: That was hilarious. The queen was like, I dunno HOW you stand being around such ugly boys. HA. And her husband the king is super short and dorky too.
javabeans: OH. My. Lord. So in Korean, the word for “your highness” is “mama,” which you’ll know if you’ve seen any sageuks. Usually pronounced, “Ma-maaaaaaa.” Do you love how in this planet, the word for royalty is…drumroll… “Papa”?
girlfriday: HEE. So the prince is Papa, and then, get this, the king is… Papapa! Hahahaha. So they have to keep saying that over and over every time they address one of them.
javabeans: What makes it hysterical is how seriously they say it. Like how the trio is serious and the prince is this flighty guy with a love of all things Hallyu — which is banned on planet Vampirutus, by the way — so when princey is dancing around to a Girls Girls song, they have to intone like a Greek chorus, with the grimmest faces ever, “Girls-girls. Girls-girls. Girls-girls.”
girlfriday: Okay, that bit had me rolling on the floor.
javabeans: I loved that they included the NGs in the back, showing how hard it was for the boys to keep a straight face. But the straight face is what makes it so utterly hysterical.
girlfriday: How could you possibly not laugh while chanting in monotone, “Girls-girls”? They’re hysterical. I already love the super-serious one, played by Lee Soo-hyuk. He’s also the more traditional kind of vampire we know, with the blood urges and stuff, considered barbarian on his planet.
javabeans: I love everyone already. The boys are adorable, in their own ways. They all have complicated names like “Gabrilalis,” but I suspect when they get to earth they’ll be adopting Korean names. So Soo-hyuk is Soo-hyuk. (He still reacts to the smell of blood, so his friend stuffs his fingers in his nose to stop him from turning vampy. It’s also why he wears his mask on Earth.) Then you have Kim Hyun-joong as the guy with super-sharp hearing who holds up his hand to his ear like an antenna. And Hong Jong-hyun is the genius vampire with the IQ of 790, who’s an utter nerd. His bit is that he’s always spouting off in high-tech speak, and everyone else is impatiently waiting, “Just spit it out!”
girlfriday: I adore the geeky one. They go to the bath once they get to Earth, and he wonders how on a planet with such a puny percentage of drinkable water, they waste it in such vast quantiies, staring at the room full of bathtubs.
javabeans: (He’s my favorite.) I like his confusion when they’re stuck in traffic, “Why do Earthlings stick their cars in the road at the busiest hour?” And Princey’s name totally cracks me up: Vampirutus Panyera Twilight Walakia Kunyaris Romania Blarantua Transylvania New Moon Tenios Bellanluci Breaking Dawn Draculu Oolala Eclipse Apalidia.
girlfriday: He runs out of breath every time he has to say his own name. Hee.
javabeans: The Twilight references make me laugh. Also, the fact that Hallyu is totally contraband, but Princey loves it anyway. In fact, his trio (we need a name) have prepared a special gift: Tickets to a Girls Girls concert on Earth. With Jong-hyun’s genius, they’ve got a way to warp to Earth real quick, watch the show, and return in a day, totally unnoticed by Hallyu-hating Papapa. Supposedly. Of course that goes awry, and Princey falls out of the warp early so they get separated when they hit the ground in Seoul.
girlfriday: That’s when Prince meets delivery girl Kang Min-kyung, who hits him with her scooter.
javabeans: She’s so cute. She’s basically the hard-working, multiple-job-having, plucky type without a home or a family. She thinks the Prince has been addled from the impact when he starts talking about vampire stuff.
girlfriday: She rushes him to the hospital where he wakes up on the operating table, fully healed, and crying in fear. Luckily the boys catch up to him, and he wails, “I was all alone! And so scared!” Aw, princey’s a big baby. And then Min-kyung chases him down, calling him a vampire.
javabeans: Since that’s all she knows about him, she calls him Vampire-sshi. Hee. That also makes Min-kyung the odd duck out, so I’ll be curious to see how she gets integrated into the group(s).
girlfriday: Shin Dong-yup plays the Earth-living vampire, who serves as their guide on this foreign planet. (He’s adapted so well that he can’t even produce his fangs at will anymore, having lived as human for so long.) But he’s got an ulterior motive for serving the prince — he wants to get his hands on the giant red diamond necklace he sports around his neck, to pay off his mountain of debt. I love that he gets buried by gangsters in the first episode, and then just crawls back out, cause he’s a vampire! Hahaha.
javabeans: I love his relationship with Kim Sumi. He whines to her, “Mooooooom,” like this overgrown prodigal son. And then in private…
girlfriday: It’s all “Oppaaa~” and “Baby”? LOL.
javabeans: She whines, saying, “Baby finds it so hard to act like a mom!” But apparently Dong-yup isn’t attracted to the ageing Baby (aw), so he invents excuses to avoid kissing her. I guess it should be sad, but Sumi is aware and she’s so brassy and funny that it’s not played sad.
girlfriday: Aw. But that’s what happens when you marry the undead.
javabeans: And then pretend to be his mother. I’m sure that won’t cause problems down the line. So here’s where the girl group comes in. Sumi basically plays house mother to the four members of Girls Girls, one of whom has the quirk of not speaking. And…she’s a singer how? Is this some big meta statement, or just coincidence?
girlfriday: Ha. That can’t be coincidence. I love that the vampires are gonna go all fanboy-crazy when they get to meet the Girls Girls girls after all.
javabeans: The group’s agency president doesn’t know Sumi’s “son” is a vamp, while Dong-yup’s the group manager who’s always at odds with him because of money. You can kind of see the setup coming a mile away, can’t you? The boys need a cover, their guide manages idols… But it’s established so well that it makes perfect sense. Well, as much “sense” as you can have in a crazy world like this.
girlfriday: I can’t wait till they ask the boys to sing, and get nothing but the monotone “Girls-girls” chorus. Singing and dancing is going to be so delightfully awkward for them.
javabeans: I’d love it if the boys produced nothing but those chants, and the end product comes out all slick and polished. Considering that Girls Girls is basically all autotuned, it would be feasible, and that would crack me up. Or they can use Ae-jung’s line in Best Love: “I’m a visual singer…”
girlfriday: I was thinking that Princey would get automatically labeled as the “real singer” of his group, because of his face.
javabeans: Which is utterly hysterical because Lee Jung IS the singer. He’s a pretty good one, too. It’ll be like FinKL, back in the day.
girlfriday: Hee, I love that they use bats like the High Kick smiley face, but the vampy version, to cover up their nekkid bits.
girlfriday: Don’t you love how they bathe Princey, well, like a princess?
javabeans: I love that he’s basically a baby, and they’re his bodyguards-cum-mothers.
girlfriday: The prince sees a dad bathing a baby nearby, and says, “He must be the prince of this land.” Hahaha.
javabeans: This fish-out-of-water stuff is gonna be great. I love stuff like this. SO much comedy fodder. Hmm, who is this Kwanghee guy and why is he so terrible?
girlfriday: Some idol?
javabeans: He is to comedy what Yunho is to drama.
girlfriday: Pretty much.
javabeans: I LOVE that the vampidols are doing this whole F4 strut, thinking they be all that, and looking ridiculous with the cape, the ruff, and the mask.
girlfriday: There’s something so perfect about the jjimjilbang uniform, with the cape draped over, like he can’t ever be without it. What’s great about the setup is that it’s more about being aliens than about being vampires. Vampire happens to be what they are, but it’s the newness of coming to Earth that’s the kicker.
javabeans: Dude, they could’ve just made it Alien Idols and it would’ve been just as funny. Okay, maybe we lose some prime jokes, so 90% as funny.
girlfriday: Yeah it’s more Men In Black than Twilight. Which is awesome.
javabeans: It’s definitely my preference, too. It just works. HA, and how hilarious is it that the 300 carat red diamond ends up being… cubic zirconia?
girlfriday: Heh. Maybe Vampirutus isn’t so prosperous a land as he thought.
javabeans: “She won’t know the difference!” Okay, so Papa calls his father Papapa as his official title… but does he call his mother Mama Mia, like that’s hers? (Although, wouldn’t it be hysterical if he called her Pama?)
girlfriday: Hee. So the boys get caught on their intergalactic jaunt to Earth, and Dad pretty much banishes the prince from returning. Guess they’re stuck for the time being, which is great for us.
javabeans: Especially since now they’ll need a place to stay and a way to make ends meet… Wanjun daebak!
- The Vampire boys, idols, and managers of Vampire Idol
- Lee Soo-hyuk joins Vampire Idol
- Noh Min-woo to headline Vampire Idol
- The Vampires come to television