First Impressions – Heart Beats: Ep. 1 – 4 – 심장이 뛴다: 1회 – 4회


This latest variety show revolves around celebrities who are embedded with the 119 Emergency Response Team.  The job is not merely about saving lives but the celebrities learn how to serve the community in many ways.  The show’s celebrity cast is made up of: Actors Lee Won Jong, Jo Dong Hyuk, Park Ki Woong, Jeon Hye Bin, Choi Woo Shik and Comedian Jang Dong Hyuk.

Following the success of the reality-variety programs, this show was aimed to model itself after Real Men.  I had a real big problem with the first episode as I felt that as the viewer, we were thrown in the heart of the show without knowing who the characters were.  It seemed that our cast had previously trained with them in order to be certified before the filming.  So there was there was a familiarity there and it felt like being an outsider who didn’t understand the inside jokes.

Since then, the show has improved in terms of storytelling.  I think the real gem of the show is being able to tell the story of normal people.  It’s compelling to see our celebrities reacting to real life situations when they discover that someone has passed away in their home and they have to retrieve the body or they help someone who has just been in a car accident.  It’s a bit less intense when they’re encountering a situation in which a wasp nest is discovered by a residence.  However, this is just the day-to-day life of the 119 Emergency Response Team.

Similar to Real Men, our cast goes from city to city to experience what the various cities in Korea faces when it comes to Emergency Response.  The main reason why I was drawn to the program was that I really liked the celebrities that they have casted.  They’re actors but I hoped that they would provide laughs as well as heartwarming moments.  It’s just not that kind of a show.

When you see Lee Won Jong taking his free day to visit a woman who called 119 because she was lonely, it’s very bittersweet.  In that respect, this show is a lot more real than Real Men could ever be.  There is a lot less that the Producers can control when you’re dealing with real people who are in these scenarios.

The show has a lot of merit but I have to admit that I have to be in the mood to watch it.  At least for me, I want to watch something that’s lighthearted and provides mindless entertainment especially when it comes to variety programs. For those people who are looking for programming that is thought-provoking and at times intensely real, this might be for them.



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