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[LOVE] Korea′s Most Lovely Dating Shows

Rating Rating more Three Stars

2013.02.09 17:00 Mwave Elizabeth Eun


Dating shows don’t have such a great rep stateside, but here in Korea, they’re a sure-fired way to get attention and the all-too-desirable ratings.

Of course, it helps that most of the dating shows are tinged with a sense of reality -- just enough to get fans riled up, but not enough to sound the wedding bells.

Falling in with our theme of the month, LOVE, we’re bringing you a round-up of some our favorite Korean dating shows.

[LOVE] Korea′s Most Lovely Dating Shows

We Got Married


Arguably the most well-recognized show centered on love, We Got Married managed to pull of what seemed like an inane concept: virtual marriage.

The first season of the show partnered together relative strangers in marriage, bringing together celebrities in a way never done before. While Korea is all about hiding celebrity relationships (come on, we call them scandals), this time, everything from the first date to the wedding photos were all on display.

It was a combination of the pairs pretending to really be in love and the fact that we all knew it couldn’t be true that kept us all watching, waiting, and hoping that virtuality could become reality.

Of course, it only happened once, when Shinhwa’s Jun Jin ended up dating (albeit briefly) his ‘wife’ actress Lee Si Young.

What ended up happening much more often was individuals confessing they were dating...other people. Some even led to marriages, as in the case of actress Shin Ae (who, shortly after leaving the show and her husband Alex, announced her engagement to a business man) and Jung Hyung Don (who left his very good gig as SNSD’s Taeyeon’s hubby to get married as well).

So while you never know what to believe when cameras and celebrities are involved, perhaps We Got Married does bring true love...somehow.

At the very least, we got a bunch of ultra-cute nicknames out of it, like the YongSeo Couple (CN Blue’s Jung Yong Hwa and SNSD’s Seohyun), Adam Couple (BEG’s Gain and 2AM’s Jo Kwon) and the Ssangchu Couple (Hwang Bo and Kim Hyun Joong). Who needs Brangelina when you have Khuntoria?

[LOVE] Korea′s Most Lovely Dating Shows

The Romantic & Idol


The Romantic & Idol started off as a non-celeb dating show, The Romantic, sending an evenly matched group of women and men to beautiful locations like Croatia to fall in love. It was a pretty show, but not that exciting - since honestly, no one cared much whether the pretty non-famous girl fell for the rich non-famous guy.

Producers took the hint and brought on a revamped version with The Romantic & Idol, taking lonely idols looking for love to Korea’s most popular honeymoon location, Jeju Island.

While not every idol couple made sense, somehow, with all the cheesy couple missions, at the end of the first season, every idol was paired off - perhaps not in an actual love match, but at least everything was neatly wrapped up, just in the time for the currently airing second season.

We will say that this season, things are much more serious - idols are looking for love and they mean it.

[LOVE] Korea′s Most Lovely Dating Shows

Mnet Scandal


While Mnet Scandal was relatively short lived, it lived up to its name by creating scandals left and right. The show brought a celebrity and a non-celebrity together for a week, giving them the opportunity to date like a normal couple before deciding whether or not to make the relationship real at the end of the week.

The concept of the show was a dream come true for the lucky participants but something akin to torture for the viewers, who bombarded the show’s producers with jealous emails.

It didn’t help that producers kept leaking ‘paparazzi’ pics of the selected celebs on their dates before announcing that they were for the show -- hence, the scandal.

It ramped up the gossip factor around the show, but made it near impossible for the couples to exchange contact info (at least in front of the cameras), in fear of angering fans.

Still, people kept applying for the chance to date a celebrity for a week in the hopes that they’d be able to get the chance of a lifetime.. In the end though, the fantasy had to end, as the show was ultimately taken off the air. Fans will just have to find another way to get celebs to fall in love with them now.

[LOVE] Korea′s Most Lovely Dating Shows

SBS’ Love Letter


Love Leter began airing as part of SBS’ Real Situation Sunday in 2004, which meant it followed the much more traditional variety format, rather than the style of more recent ′real′ love-centered shows.

The first season featured the Shinhwa members fighting to become the ‘perfect man’ for one special female guest. With Kang Ho Dong, the top scandal maker of his time, at the helm, the guests and the Shinhwa boys were pushed into amazingly awkward situations, but true love was never really on the line.

So in later seasons, producers revamped the format, bringing in a rotating lineup of both male and female celebs, who had to compete to become partners.

The best part? After a few awkward moments when a female guest was left unchosen (and in tears), there were always more male guests than female, which meant, at the end of the show, male-male couples were forced to play romantic games together. Hilarity ensued.

Of course, the concept worked best when there was real chemistry, but few relationships arose out of the show, which was clearly just fun and games.

Tag
We Got Married 20130209 The Romantic and Idol 20130209 Theme of the Month 20130209 LOVE 20130209 Love Letter 20130209 Mnet Scandal 20130209 Yongseo Couple 20130209
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