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After the Show Ends, romance blooms and “reality” begins

I’ve been intrigued by this new “reality-variety drama” concept ever since I first heard about it, and now we’re just a day away from the premiere of tvN’s After the Show Ends, which purports to be both a drama and reality-type series in one. That sounds contradictory, but I’m looking forward to how the show handles its premise, and always excited to see new concepts and formats being introduced in dramaland.

Initially, the plot sounded like a wholly scripted drama, so I wasn’t sure where the reality or variety part came in. The actors were given character names and the plot was entirely fictional; the actors are acting as actors on a drama-within-the-drama, named Iron Lady. Then when Iron Lady’s cameras stop rolling, what happens afterward between the cast members is what makes up the rest of After the Show Ends.

Sound confusing? To put it more simply, what I’m getting from these teasers and promos is that After the Show Ends looks like it’s going for an actual mockumentary concept, although instead of the framing device being a documentary, it’s a variety show. Through that, the show explores the central question: “Could acting like you’re in love prompt actors to actually fall in love?”


Ahn Bo-hyun, Yura, Ha Suk-jin, Yoon So-hee, Minhyuk

So in Iron Lady, the actors are given character names and descriptions. For instance, Ha Suk-jin (D-Day) plays a smart, urbane character named Park Ryuk, who has a mysterious air and unknown past. Yoon So-hee (Memory) plays Go Al-li, an ordinary office worker by day and charismatic fighter by night.

Girl’s Day idol Yura plays a famous party planner (is that a career you can be famous in?) named Jenny Kim with a bright, energetic charm. Ahn Bo-hyun (Descended From the Sun) plays Jenny’s childhood friend and colleague Cha Kang-woo, and BtoB’s Minhyuk plays Ma Rook-hee, Al-li’s co-worker.

These first two clips are straightforward teasers that look like standard drama scenes: In the first, Minhyuk and Yoon So-hee are filming a forehead kiss scene for Iron Lady, when he gets carried away and kisses her on the lips, and they act bashful afterward. In the second, Ha Suk-jin hears Yura commenting that she’s thirsty and swoops in to be her hero with the water bottle… only to have Ahn Bo-hyun step in first. Ha narrates, “It was just acting… but real jealousy began.”

I find the next clips more interesting, though, because they’re shot like actual variety shows and feel like the actors are being natural. They explain how you can’t help but feel romantic feelings when acting them out, and how romance on set happens all the time, and how they themselves get more into the emotions than they expected.

The show is framing the actors-fall-in-love-while-shooting-a-romance-drama setup as “real” and playing it as though the actors are susceptible to falling for their co-stars; they’re teasing the show as an eight-week experiment to see if, at the end, the relationships will have changed or bloomed into something real. It’s safe to say that part isn’t real-reality, but a fictionalized one where they’re pretending to be falling in love in real life. (Obviously I don’t expect them to all pair up at the end of the show!)

A caption indicates that this show will be “20 minutes drama, 50 minutes reality,” and a glimpse of the script suggests that there is loose scripting, providing basic outlines for how to behave but letting the actors figure out their words. (One scene direction literally instructs one character to make “a shocking confession to outdo Yoo Shi-jin’s best lines in Descended From the Sun.”)

Furthermore, the drama Iron Lady will actually be a full web series on its own, which tvN will be putting online separately. Iron Lady releases its first two episodes on Friday, July 1, and then on Saturday night, After the Show Ends premieres. Interesting move! This could be a really nifty idea, if the producers do a good job of it and keep a tight hold of their concept. I love the idea of the show-within-the-show getting fully produced, too, since so often they’re just shown in glimpses as part of the background.

The setup makes me recall the early days of The Producers (and also the teasers), when the producer-characters were filmed by a documentary crew in the style of The Office, before the show ditched the mockumentary style entirely. I thought then that I wished The Producers could have gone to tvN where the reality-mockumentary format might have been given an honest shot, and it feels like I’ve gotten my wish. (I hope! I don’t know yet. I’ll be holding my breath through the premiere tomorrow.)

After the Show Ends will air on Saturday nights and run for eight weeks; drama-within-the-drama Iron Lady will also be eight episodes long and airs as a web series.

Via E News 24, TV Daily, Newsen

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Hahaha I am still a little confused about the concept but looking forward to something different and refreshing! It's somehow giving me a "mockumentary about Dramaworld" feel to it! (as in OMG Claire don't fall in love with the male lead!)

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HAHAHAHA

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I don't understand... @[email protected] Is it like a drama on Friday, WGM on Saturday thing?

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The funny thing is the director was the former director of We Got Married. It's his first project in tvN after moving from MBC.

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seems interesting. i am that kind of viewer who always craves for bts scene, so this drama sounds tempting for me.

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I got at first interested because of Minhyuk, ergo, the other visual in BtoB besides Yook Sungjae. I liked his drama Nightmare Teacher with Kim Sohyun (although I still don't understand the ending??? Anyone?)... but after the countless teasers, and press con, the concept is really intriguing me. Not because I expect anything reel to become real, but because I'm really curious how the producers are going to present this. Sooo curious!!

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I also like Nightmare Teacher, about ending I remembered Bulgakov's quote from The Master and Margarita
"I am part of that power
which eternally wills evil
and eternally works good"
^said Devil and like in this drama main hero ended up helping this kids even if at first his intentions didn't seem good.
As MinHyuk's character said in the end "when we have nightmares, we somehow get rid of that nightmares in reality"

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im so glad to see u guys talk about nightmare teacher here. bc i didnt know an1else who were watching this to ask. what does the end where minhyuk's character signs the deal with the teacher mean? i dont get it, and its driving me crazy.

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That there is never end? like devil will always exist. Anyway, Minhyuk's character's problem must be his curiosity

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Lol, my head hurts...So, did I get this right, basically it's a drama disguised as a reality/variety show that shows the production (incl. behind the scenes) of a web series during it's run? Wow, this is a whole new level of dramaception. But sounds interesting nonetheless and I'll definitely give this a try.

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Yup! You got it right. Basically King of Dramas except with a behind the scenes shoot happening during the 'real life' part of the story.

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that sounds just about right.. dramaception indeed! love the way you put it(:

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You mentioned "Producers" but am I the only one who thought about "God of Music" for a second while reading the description? :D

Probably it's just me because I binge watch that show everyday, and on second thought they don't seem that similar at all, mainly due to using character names instead of real actors' names. Very subtle difference but makes for a very diferent feel. Hope the drama is fun and entertaining and keeps to its concept to the end instead of discarding it halfway

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So long as there are cameras rolling, to me, it's not "real" in the slightest. Even if people want to act genuine, they are still performing, to say the least.
It really just feels like wgm. Participants are given things to do and a general outline while the actors say and do things they think the audience would enjoy. They just decided to add in the "drama" format to make a different label when essentially they'll probably end up the same idea. Blurring the lines, feeding into shipper hearts, and feeling rather contrived.
In my honest opinion this was a horrible idea when I first heard about it, and even with the new promo released, it confirms it.

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I don't think the point is it to be real, but to see if anything real comes from the experience. If there is a real connection between anyone (romantic or otherwise) and they are free/willing to interact outside the boundaries of a script or expectation, it won't feel contrived.

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Okay, I actually like the idea of airing the drama they are doing in the actual drama which is the Iron Lady.

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Right? It's super smart (and a little evil) because we, the audience, become the actual drama audience within their fictional world and get invested the way real audiences get. So we can form our own ships within the "drama" that will inform how we view the ships in the actual drama. So meta.

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whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat...?

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Yay, Yoon So-hee .

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I like this concept :) BTW, I'm having difficulty telling who's who between the two females. They look the same to me.

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So this is like We Got Married but with them shoeing us the PD and scene directions?

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Interesting....

Just by looking at the poster, i ship Ha Sukjin and Yoon Sohee already. Brainy couple. Looking forward for this.

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This is messing with my head but I think the main point is- Don't believe anything.

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So it's Liar Game: Dating Version?

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Something along those lines- or maybe worse. In Liar Game we had Ha Woo Jin as a pillar of support and hope. Here we've to fend for ourselves amidst Reality and Drama, Illision and Imagination.

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i hope the main couple will be Ha Sukjin-Yoon Sohee

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Omg yes!!! I was just thinking of the same thing! I really hope Ha Suk Jin & Yoon So Hee are the leads!!! :)

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I think it's a mix of Producers and King of Dramas, that's if Kyungsung's Morning (drama-within-drama in KOD) was actually treated like a real drama.

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This looks fun actually, I'm interested now.

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This is like showception!! I'm totally confused on how levels the actors are acting but hey, sounds cute!

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Not got my head wrapped around the concept yet, but whatever!! It sounds like fun, and I feel like I'm going to enjoy this one (no underage female leads...at least as far as I hope). I love Yoon So Hee, and whilst I haven't seen Minhyuk act very much he's a real cutie and they look like they're going to be an adorable pair! Very excited to watch these two.

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So basically is it what would happen if wgm, a drama and what the producers wanted to be had a love child?

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So....this is WGM. Hell this show is making WGM sound real...so they are shooting a rom-com drama...then some behind the scenes of the rom-com (mockumentary part) then we got the variety of will the reel feelings of the "drama" become real feelings...??? So, it's WGM: Cable Edition....

The concept of this show. I can buy that sometimes feelings of reel and real blur and I'm sure there are tons of behind the scenes short relationships or affairs we never hear about. However reel to real relationships that last, rarely ever work out. Eh, I enjoy WGM for what it is, so if this gets subbed and the couples are cute enough; I'll watch.

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I would be so look forward to this if the Producer didn't happen first , that show is not bad but it prove to me that Korea's entertainment industry still not brave enough to try new idea yet , when 90% of the drama are live produce , they depend and cater too heavily to the feedback/criticism from netizens so I'm not sure they would stick to the original idea or "one , two , three episodes ok people don't get it , they don't like it , let just do the drama then"

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So the concept of this drama is to pretend that the variety show in the drama is real and what the actors do in the show are real too. And the difference between this drama and an actual reality-variety show is that the reactions in this reality-variety drama are scripted while the ones in the latter are supposedly spontaneous.

But since we know that most so-called reality-variety shows are scripted, does it make those shows technically..this drama?

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Not sure if anybody watched the american drama series, UnReal, but seems like it's going to be similar. Wasn't that intrigued at first, but watching those clips makes me want to give it a go.

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I'm still confused about the format, but it's that confusion that has me intrigued. I hope they don't abandon it halfway the way I heard Producers did.

Confusion and apprehension aside, my interest is at least peaked by how good they look in that poster... ?

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" you can't make history if ya ain't gonna try something new" I hope it becomes true with this drama

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so I am fairly new to Korean entertainment but this sort of sounds to me like a more artsy dating show, am I right?

artsy because they're acting out a script at the beginning but feels like reality tv...I'm gulty of watching a few bad American dating reality tv shows so I am kind of interested in this premise...

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Confusing but interesting. Will see how this plays out.

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Well, that's confusing. I hope they just make the whole thing 100% scripted and mention that in every single episode because fans can get carried away and actually think everything is real lmao

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I think they're probably actually counting on the perceived blurred lines between script and "reality" for ratings.

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Thankfully it's just 8 episodes, so it's less likely to create delusional shippers

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Okay, so I got a glimpse of the show and they're freaking using their real names, which makes it more confusing. Plus the editing is all variety-like with the logo, subtitles, and all that.

I thought it really was going to be 100% scripted like Producers but then BTOB's Eunkwang shows up on the show and does not act like he's acting some role at all.

Well, gotta watch this with subs so I can have a better grasp of how realism they're going to put into this.

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I think I kiiiinda get the idea of what they're going for now but I think the addition of the idols puts the kibosh on the "real-reality" part of it for me tbh since idols are more restricted and have way less freedom in terms of dating so I just don't think I'd buy any supposed real-life lovelines.

Will prolly check it out anyway since it sounds like the lovechild of The Office with WGM or at the very least a (hopefully) more successful half-sibling of Producers

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Omo omo omo I just finished watching Sungjae-Joy on We Got Married a few weeks ago and I currently am having withdrawal symptoms (it's so hard to let go ㅠ.ㅠ I was so heartbroken and I don't want to heal just yet lol)

I have no doubt that unless I avoid watching this drama altogether, After The Show Ends is going to feed on my inner desires and make me go insane and desperate imagining what might have happened between my 쀼 behind the scenes. Not to mention, it's BTOB's Minhyuk in the drama!!! HELP!!!!!!! 일일구불러!!!!!

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Okay, I don't really understand the concept right now, but the instructions for "one character to make 'a shocking confession to outdo Yoo Shi-jin’s best lines in Descended From the Sun'" had me dying with laughter. How can one top YSJ's cheesiness and yet still retain Song Joong Ki's incredible charm? I look forward to watch the attempts and hope they have me in stitches (or better yet swooning)!

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I am actually excited about Yoon So hee but not too excited about Yura so much. It reminds me a bit like PRODUCERS but less known actors. I hope the actual storyline is better than PRODUCERS except I loved Cindy! lol Imagine if Cindy (PRODUCERS) were to show up! hahah

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This probably using similar concept as : "Unreal" or "Telenova" but with cute, totally kdrama style...

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