It’s been a long time since a show made me laugh so hard. There has been a lot of hype around Conan O’Brien’s trip to Korea. However, I wasn’t prepared for how hilarious it would actually be.
The show opens with his entrance through Incheon Airport and I guess it may seem unusual for Americans to see people flood the airport when they hear someone famous is coming through. However, it’s because of Sunny Lee that Conan decided to make the trip. She even used her test paper as stationary because she’s Team Coco. So I guess we all have her to thank for the hilarious hour of television.
So first things first, Conan decides that he would learn some Korean. His teacher is Jin Shil but it takes him forever to even learn how to pronounce her name correctly. He also wants to learn how to connect with the Korean people through eye contact but Conan’s stare is so intense that it skeeves her out. In fact, she’s skeeved out for most of the lesson because of his hand movements to how he smiles to his overly expressive eyebrows and the fact that he gets delighted in the fact the she finds him dirty.
He then visits a fish market with Jin Shil and is introduced to seafood he’s probably never seen before, such as gaebul (translates as a Spoon Worm). I love that he goes, ‘Oh my god, it’s a fake penis.’ Lol. She also shows him a small octopus called “낙지 (nak-ji)”. He’s shocked when he hears that people eat it when it’s alive and raw and decides that he’d rather buy it as a pet. Which he names “Samuel.” Unfortunately, he was unable to bring Samuel back home so he decides the perfect home for Samuel was the aquarium at Coex. They tell him that Samuel is actually a female. Samuel has probably been eaten by now.
Fans of One More Happy Ending have probably seen Conan make a cameo appearance in the drama by now with Jang Na Ra. While it wasn’t a drama that I’ve watched myself, I did watch the scene and I have to admit… I had no idea what he was saying in Korean. I hope they used subtitles during the actual broadcast. It seems he made a lot of errors. Haha.
He also spent some time at the PC room. I can’t really understand the concept of Starcraft but I couldn’t help but think that Guillaume Patry would have been a great guest on the show. However, I love that he’s amused by the fact that guys can spend literally 14 hours in a row at a PC room and how they are able to order food and snacks right to their computer. Snacks like silkworm pupa (번데기 – bun-dae-gi). I’m not a fan of silkworm pupas myself. *shudder*
He also checks out the World Taekwondo Headquarters and the members first perform a show for him to watch their moves. When it’s Conan’s turn to learn, he puts on his uniform and I think he’s more excited by the special emblem he has on his uniform. He then learns a few moves and tries it out for himself.
Vacation trips are always better with friends so Steven Yeun joins him at few sites which include spending about $65 US dollars at the doll claw machine.
They also go out for traditional Korean food. Conan asks Steven to introduce him to each side dish on the table but Steven really knows nothing about the food. Conan then tries to eat the dongchimi kimchi (water kimchi) using his chopsticks… holding a spoon.
They then go to a Buddhist temple to find some peace but Conan immediately notes how the wind chimes drive him crazy. The monk tells him that he needs to reflect upon himself but then again the wind chimes disturb him. Conan is also surprised to know that the temple has HD dish service and that the monk has two cell phones. Lol. That’s why Korea is known for their extremely fast cell service.
Of course, the trip would not be complete without a visit to the DMZ. However, the show has a different vibe at the border. They meet a soldier who is guarding the North Korean side of the meeting room and the US soldier gives him very specific instructions. “Do not touch the man. Do not go behind the man.” And Conan responds, “So this is crazy. We’ve just been told not to touch this man or go behind him which is just usually my rule with any man.” Lol.
The trip ends with Conan and Steven Yeun making a music video with JYP. The song is pretty catchy but I’m amused the JYP was able to incorporate Conan’s undie dance which he’s done for decades. Seriously, decades. But suddenly, it seems retro cool when JYP does it. My only regret is that I wish it was a two hour show instead of one.