Just Bananas About: Week of 7/31/15

I was never an avid watcher of Healing Camp but an occasional watcher especially when there was a guest I was interested in.  However, I wondered what the show would do without Lee Kyung Kyu and Sung Yu Ri.  Well, this week I found out and I’m cautiously optimistic.

Kim Je Dong is a great variety show personality but I was skeptical as to whether he could carry this program on his own because Lee Kyung Kyu’s personality was so strong as he lead the team of hosts.  Sung Yu Ri added that sweet, girl-next-door dynamic to the group while Kim Je Dong brought the wit.

For the new format, Kim Je Dong leads a group of 499 audience members.  Together, they are the new MC’s and get to ask questions to the celebrity.  However, the audience members aren’t told ahead of time who the guest is which is the most intriguing part of the new format.  As much as guests are used to going on a press tour and being asked questions, they often get the same questions over and over again that it can get trite fast but opening up the questions to the audience and not even telling them who the guest is so that the audience members can’t really prepare opens up a new door.

Kim Je Dong is really good at engaging with the audience members.  He tells them that they’re one team and that they can go ahead and ask the probing questions.  If the show doesn’t do well in the ratings, the audience members share the blame along with him.  The audience members who asks the best question of the night can win the title of Best MC and win a prize so it’s upon the audience to get involved in the filming.

When he first goes over to some members, some are shy to talk on camera, others hilariously pretend to be excited at seeing Kim Je Dong at his behest.  He asks one couple if he’s excited to be there and the guy can’t help looking over to his girlfriend.  Haha.  Oh and the guy who suddenly gets up from the front to leave?  It’s not because he’s not enjoying the show but that his car is about to get towed.  And yet, his wife decided to stay behind because she was more interested in watching the show.  Lol.  You can’t make this stuff up.

This week’s guest ended up being film actor Hwang Jung Min which is uncanny timing as I literally just saw the film, International Market, last Saturday.  Although Kim Je Dong tells the audience that they’re one team, they can’t help be starstruck.  At first, an excited fan wants a line from his movie, The New World, and Hwang Jung Min wonders if he can actually do it because he’s cursing.  Cue the bleeping.  In fact, a lot of the characters he’s played over the years curse a lot.

However, the theme of the night seemed to be everything has its place and time.  Hwang Jung Min prepared a giveaway kit for the audience members which included a shower scrubber with the saying, “다 때가 있다.”  It can be translated in two different ways.  Everyone has “때 (dteh)”. It could translate as dead skin cells, hence the shower scrubber, or it could translate as a time or a moment.  As an actor, he certainly had to deal with that over the length of his career.

A 3rd year middle school student raises his hand to ask a question and he goes on about when he graduated elementary school, he mused about how he was already in middle school and now he’s already halfway through his 3rd year.  He got all this studying to do and he wonders if maybe he should have studied harder in his 1st year and gets stressed out about it?  How does Hwang Jung Min deal with stress?  It draws ooohs and aaahs from Kim Je Dong.  Hwang Jung Min answers by saying that there were films that he wanted to be in but wasn’t cast in it.  However, he’s learned that he wasn’t meant to be in those projects.  There are those projects that he was meant to be in, like International Market.  To which the student replies by saying, ‘Yeah, you must have worked hard to get to where you are now but you must have also been lucky as well.’  It’s so true and honest.

And what’s funny is that the teenager who pretended to be excited at seeing Kim Je Dong turns around and says that even though he’s young and the same age as her younger sibling, he’s really mature… because his younger sibling is not.  Siiigh.  Lol.  It’s certainly a compliment for the teenager but the fact that she sighs at the thought of her younger sibling is so relatable.

Hwang Jung Min points out that the guy who left because his car was being towed has come back.  They bring him on stage and luckily, he got to his car before it was towed so everything is fine.  Kim Je Dong gets him to ask a question and caught off guard, the guy asks how old he is and whether he has any children.  Hwang Jung Min has a young son which then prompts the guy that maybe he should think about having a 2nd child.  He has a daughter and daughters are so… pretty.  Lol.

Before the filming, the audience members got to write questions down on post-it notes for Hwang Jung Min to read out loud.  Again, they’ve asked these questions not knowing who the guest was so they are more personal in nature.  When Hwang Jung Min is asked if he ever wanted to reset his life, he responds by saying that he would not do acting again as there too much stress in the job.

Then an audience members responds by saying that she was a little upset by his answer because her close friend has been trying to get into the industry and having a hard time doing so.  As an actor who has found success, she saw it as a little ungrateful.  He responds by saying that he’s lived his life as an actor and if he got to do it all over again, he would find a different challenge.  However, he tells the audience member’s friend to stay the course.  Constantly, work at his craft and one day his skills will be recognized.  After all, he debuted pretty late himself.  I may not completely agree with his answer but it was a nice, caring response.

The range of questions and commentary ranges from the humorous to ones that are more personal in nature. For example, a couple has come to the show together and the guy really likes the girl but they haven’t held hands yet.  But the kicker is that they’ve only been dating for 9 days.  At first, Hwang Jung Min isn’t sure how to respond and tries to enlist help from Kim Je Dong.  Kim Je Dong says that he’s too busy writing down commentary from some ahjummas near him.  “Oh, they must be from Busan.”  Or, “I knew it, they haven’t been dating for that long.”  Finally, the couple ends up holding hands but I’m pretty sure the girl only meant to hold hands without interlocking fingers but the guy wanted to interlock their fingers. And now the guy won’t let go.  To which Kim Je Dong turns around and says jokingly, “Let go now.  Don’t interlock fingers.  Let go, that’s enough!”

Finally, my favorite story of the night comes from a wife who asked if there was any nutritional food she could eat in order to get pregnant.  It seems that she and her husband have been having a hard time as whenever she is ovulating, he has to work late because he’s a detective.  Later, we learn that the wife has been ill with cervical cancer, which may be the real reason why they are having a hard time.  They’ve even lost a child in the past due to the fact that she had to have surgery for her cancer.  Despite the sad story, everyone urges them to keep trying which prompts Hwang Jung Min to send a message to the husband’s police chief.  “Please help this beautiful couple create their family.”  It’s such a heartwarming moment when the wife says she just wants to give her husband the present of a beautiful child that looks like him.  I sincerely hope that she gets better but that she’s able to fulfill her dream of having a family.

Watching this show was incredibly therapeutic which seems fitting for a show called Healing Camp.  Interacting with the audience brings a whole new human dynamic to the show especially how the celebrities will react to certain questions and comments.  I think I must just have to add this show to my roster.

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