Six months ago i posted a post titled “My first thoughts on the Korean variety show “Barefooted Friends” where i wrote about my first thoughts after watching the first episode of the very anticipated (to me it was) new Korean variety show “Barefooted friends”, here you can see the post: https://myriamonliine.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/my-first-thoughts-on-the-k-variety-show-barefooted-friends/
Now, I thought it’s about time and it would only be right to write a post-update about my thoughts on the show now, as very much has changed about the show, its format; the concept as well as the cast.
Therefore, what if one of my faithful readers was wondering if i was still watching the show, or if my opinions on the show is still the same as it was in the beginning?
So, here is a post to give you my thoughts on Barefooted friends now, 23 episodes later.
If you read my post about Barefooted Friends six months ago, you would know that i was completely satisfied with the first episode. In fact, the missions, the concept and everything else for me was original and different, it was for me a variety show with a concept i hadn’t seen before.
Let’s talk about the 7th episode..this episode was the first with the members staying in Korea for the show , as well as the first episode with a guest.
After watching this episode, a few people complained about the fact that the show has lost its concept, because of the non-travelling/living as a local kind of thing, but I personally was glad to see a guest coming on the show! I also liked the missions given during these episodes, but i did not think there was going to be a radical change of concept, i just thought the fact that the members weren’t in another country, experiencing the local living like previous episodes, was only temporary, and a way for the members to get closer, visiting each others’ homes.
In fact, the concept for Episode 7 up until episode 8 was to go into a member’s house, the one that was chosen and then play different games there as well as getting to know where they live.
Because i believed it to be a concept to bring the members closer together, i didn’t see any wrong in that.
Because of this change of concept then, the viewers had exclusive insight into Kim Hyun Joong’s house, for example. No need to complain.
After episode 9, only then did i realise that the concept of the show or what I thought was the concept of the show in the beginning, has actually changed, that basically it wasn’t anymore about travelling and members experiencing life outside their comfort zone in a foreign country.
But i admit that as a viewer, I strangely expected this change of concept. I mean come on, if the show was about to go on for 5 years or more, wouldn’t the budget be too high if the show was about travelling to another country every 2 or 4 weeks…for years?!
The theme and challenge in Episode 10 was for the members’ to face their fears- example: Diving.
I liked the theme and the whole challenge, but towards the ending of Episode 10 to Episode 11, the challenge started getting boring for me and I started wondering if the show was really a variety show.
It was the editing and the whole over dramatisation; “seriousness” of the members or again maybe the editing that got too much for me. Even Kim Hyun Joong couldn’t save it for me.
I wanted more funny moments/chill moments and less… “[editing]: ZOOM EYES (eyes that says “i’m terrified to jump”) ; VOICE OVERS (“I was terrified”)
However, during the middle part of episode 11, it became more “relaxed” i guess, and the mission made more sense to me. As i realised they were going to be an actual diving competition with professionals.
Then i thought “Fun”, i was actually looking forward to what’s next.
I found myself cheering for the Barefooted friends members to win during the “Idol special”, episode 12-15. What i liked about these episodes was how closer the members seems to be getting and their team work also was spot on. But nevertheless, i still thought that 5 full episodes dedicated only to sky-diving was a bit too much.
For Barefooted Friends and my outlook on the show, what i realised is the fact that anytime there is an episode i enjoyed on the show, there’s always seems to be a “but” somewhere. ” Almost perfect, but not yet there. But hey i still like you, Barefooted friends.” kind of thing.
The members’ challenge this time was to make their own music, write their own lyrics.
The episodes weren’t as appealing and exciting for me, as the very early episodes, but still it was different and entertaining. During that “Make your own music” challenge, i learnt a lot about the members that i probably wouldn’t have discovered if not for the show.
In these episodes we see UEE’s father; we also learnt a lot about Kim hyun Joong’s personal thoughts when we read his own lyrics, it was an insightful episode.
Oh and this scene in Episode 17 with Kim Hyun Joong and Yoon si yoon reminds me so much of a Hwangbo and Kim Hyun Joong scene …
on WGM season 1 :
We got married season 1 (Hwangbo & Kim Hyun joong couple. Kim Hyun joong also sang “Falling”, for Hwangbo that time)
See the similarities? LOL.
Now, Episode 19-24. (Latest episodes until date)
New episode, new challenge.
This time, the theme set for the episode and the few episodes that followed, were “Homemade food” : learning about the importance of home food; members would go and eat homemade food in the house of a renowned “good cook”, then in episodes that follows (or same episode), members would then go to a single’s (not married) celebrity’s house to showcase what they’ve learnt and keep that person’s company, by also bringing some of the homemade food they got from that renowned good cook’s house along with them.
For me, unfortunately the whole concept of episode 19 completely lost its purpose on the way. And i found myself completely bored watching the rest of the episodes.
In the 19th episode, it was all about learning about the importance of eating homemade food, it then turned into something else when some of the members filled themselves up by possibly eating “too much” of the food? Or just constantly mumbling about how tasty the dishes are, without further doing!
It felt like i was watching a cooking show, but even then i believe a cooking show would have been more entertaining if i purposely wanted to watch one, because it would at least stick to its genre and i would at least know what to expect.
The problem for me during the episode though, was not the fact that they were a lot of cooking (I love food and learning about food), but the problem was more about the lack of originality and creativity in terms of the different ideas put in the episodes.
There weren’t a lot of entertaining moments, apart from the quiz segment where the members had to answer set of questions, which at times questions that had nothing to do with food and cuisine, so would then come out as “random questions”.
So, after these last few episodes, my interest in the show slightly dissolved.
But well, i’m not the kind of viewer who would complain and give up on a show i believe(d) in, because of it not being “interesting” anymore and then switching the channel, folding my arms and that’s it! No.
So here are some of the strong points of the show in my opinion, and how these strong points could be used in a way that would improve and work the show.
1- The cast
The cast is really strong, with nice characters, and each member of the cast could bring something new to the show. I also see that each member seems dedicated to the show.
But, just like a movie or drama, even if a cast is great and looks good and is dedicated, if the actual storyline of the drama/movie is boring and the plot lacks creativity, many would agree that it would be hard to keep the viewers, audience.
Because once the viewers’ favorite actor(s) leaves the show, what is left for the show? Would the viewers keep on watching the drama/movie? Only if the content (the Storyline, plot..) of the movie/drama is good enough for them to want to keep on watching. If not, goodbye.
2- The themes on the episodes
Believe it or not, i believe the different themes chosen for the episodes on the show are good, the only thing now is how these themes could be used effectively.
There need to be a real balance, between using the theme of an episode alright (e.g diving, cooking, music..) while still keeping it entertaining and fresh for the general audience, which is what a variety show should normally do.
The viewers still need to be entertained. A successful variety show is one which has a sport theme, for example in a particular episode, and yet is still able to keep a viewer who has 0 interests in sports.
That’s one of the amazing things a variety show does = making “unappealing/okay” things and turn into appealing/interesting things. And this is what Barefooted friends needs to do.
When there was the “Homemade cooking” theme, there could have been one or two, or three ideas threw in aside the “Quizzes” such as:
* Each member having to make their own “homemade” dishes without the help of anyone, and later on having to reunites in a a celebrity’s house, while the celebrity decides on which one of these homemade dishes they like best, fits their bud taste? That’s just a sort of idea.
That way, it makes it seems more like variety, while still it being focused on “homemade food” but it being still centered around the variety concept.
PS: The Quizzes segment were a good start though, and i have to say it made the episodes slightly more entertaining, it was like a little break in between.
Despite all, i still believe in the show, and hopefully the PD’s will use more creative and innovative ideas and themes in the future, which would eventually increase the ratings, as a result people would not watch Barefooted Friends out of boredom, but instead would watch the show because they would actually make time out of their busy schedule to watch it! And that’s the big difference!
Thank you for reading! 🙂