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Notes for Korean TV Production:

UPDATE (31 Oct. 2013): 

The video linked in the original post is gone. I think this is mostly the same one:


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Yes, I’m being harsh, but no, I’m not saying that similar criticisms couldn’t be made of most of what’s on North American TV. Many such criticisms could, I am sure, be made… and have been.

Television really bucks Sturgeon’s Law: something more like 98% of all TV everywhere is crap — not just crap, but slanted, weird, sexist, racist, insulting-your-intelligence crap. Or this is how I experience TV. The less I watch it, the more I feel like it’s a few drops of perfume dripped into a tank of sewage. You can isolate the perfume as it drips in, but there’s so little you can’t help but wander off.

Even if we’ve come a long way, the whole Magical Hot Asian Chick subplot in Jack’s past — the thing in Pattaya, in Thailand — jumps out at me as an example, even if Jin and Sun’s lives and characters are passable counter-examples to this generalization. (Jin isn’t simply an Asian gangster, and Sun isn’t simply a pretty Korean rich-girl.) Hell, even the good stuff on TV has a slant to it, and I wonder whether the nature of the medium is such that even the best shows can only play with it, the way Mad Men is relatively conscious of nonwhite characters and of giving us a glimpse of what they think and (justifiedly) feel even if they don’t really get to take center stage. Even TV shows that seek to deal with this kind of depend on a reverse slant, overstatement, or simplification.

As for Kkotboda Namja, the TV series from which the clip above is taken, I’m not sure whether, as a non-local, the stuff jumps out at me more, or whether this show made your average Korean guffaw in horror. Weirdly, I’d bet that the people with the reaction most similar to mine would be really old guys. But then, I dunno: have older men in Korea been bemoaning, of late, the girly clothing that young men are wearing? The lengthening hair, and the feminization of male fashion and iconography in the media? I’d be very curious to hear what grandpas and grandmas are saying, but having no Korean grandparents myself, I haven’t the foggiest idea. And I imagine maybe they aren’t, as a generation, as big consumers of recent media as it would take for them to care enough to complain.

Then again, I don’t have a TV in my house. So who knows?

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