GFriend – “Europe That GFriend Loves” Show Review

Sky Travel – Episode 1 Part 1 (Eng. Subtitled)

GFriend
Europe That GFriend Loves

Reviewed on January 13, 2017

Finally
focusing on the review itself, although many fans (and even myself) found Sky
Travel’s reality show of GFriend to be delightful on a more superficial level,
I argue that if we approach the show with a more critical mind, we would find a
less pleasing reality: the footages are great, but Sky Travel’s own editing is
rather questionable.

Personal
Message:
Edit: This review was meant to be
posted on January 10, but this is irrelevant to the review itself though it applies to the Personal Message. With some days off to reflect over what I wrote in the Personal Message, while I was harsher than intended during my time of writing–due to being in an emotional state–I have decided to still keep it as I find it important to be open and truthful to readers.

If I am on task, there should be at
least three reviews being posted today—this included and the only “bonus.” 

Admittedly to share (and readers interested in just the review should skip ahead), I am writing this bonus review first and not after the two
song reviews as I currently am not in the best state of mind; while nothing
drastic occurred per se minus a very worthless argument, as I do believe in
being honest and to reveal to readers I am definitely far from “perfect” or
“good,” I have a rather poor relationship with my father. I bring this up as, due
to a conflict we had—this being far from “uncommon” as we are bound to clash to
some degree, I am simply a bit angry and thus am not thinking nor even acting
as maturely as I should. Overall, my main message is that since my writing
needs a “break,” I decided to write a bonus review (as I am too inexperienced
to give a thorough, just review of shows) in the meantime.

I only bring up this very
vulnerable, personal information because I do wish for readers to understand me
as any normal human being. I am not “morally superior” or “perfect” at all
contrary to how I unintentionally might make myself sound with reviews. For
example, despite my own teachings of being mature and respectful to everyone, I
very much myself increased my speaking volume and conducted myself in a more
aggressive manner versus being calm and attempting to “talk it out”—even if he has
never done such in the time I have known him. Instead, I succumbed to his
inferior, barbaric level and to that I am very disappointed in myself and I
know I could have and should have
acted better and hope to do so in the future. (And on a side note, I do wonder
if this very intimate relationship being ruined is why I tend to struggle with
having close male friends, and more so with being close to my mother. Barring
my brother, who I sincerely love and am incredibly close with, I find it
difficult to trust and become emotionally close to males. Overall, as some readers
might better understand, my situation relates to Infinite’s Hoya’s own
relationship struggle with his father: we still do care for one another, but
our relationship is awkward and lacks closeness.)

But, for what truly matters and for
what I wish to share and teach from this digression, what matters in the end is
not endlessly holding grudges against people—a rather emotionally unhealthy
route; what matters most is to accept and understand one’s emotions, but to
then take control of those very emotions in a healthy and empowering manner. I
could let this and the past arguments ruin my day or more dramatically my
entire life with wishing for the experience of a true father who did more than
provide me with money, but I refuse to do that. (And on the topic of money, perhaps
crudely said, I still have respect and love to him due to money being provided
from his hard work—and indeed, in the far future, I will pay back money due to
filial duties even if my emotional needs were never met). I refuse to let one
individual have that type of negative influence in my life—this being what I
wish to remind readers (and perhaps even future students). Yes, I understand
where he comes from and why he behaves poorly—his own neglected childhood life
from both parents—but unlike him and
especially with the capacity to critically think, I know I can ethically do
better: instead of spreading negativity, I know I have a responsibility to
spread joy, optimism, and most importantly, to teach others to critically
think. (And on a side note, this is
why teachers mattered in my life; teachers have been the ones who have made me
realize I am not stupid and worthless, and it is teachers who have truly emotionally
and intellectually matured me.)

Pushing aside the more solemn
digression and admittedly a chance for me to immaturely vent and open up more
about myself, let us return to a more cheerful tone: reviewing Europe That GFriend Loves. After finally
finishing the series, I knew I had to write a review for it—even if I have
excessively reviewed shows with GFriend. To explain once again why this is the
case, I have recently been predominantly watching shows with the ladies and
thus, it is only natural that out of every show I could possibly review,
GFriend is automatically the artist involved. Of course, though, given that
show reviews are mere bonuses and elicit minimal discussion compared to song
reviews, I hope it is not an issue with readers that as of the late all show
reviews involve GFriend.

Addressing the link, unlike the
usual protocol of using a YouTube video—and more specifically, a YouTube
playlist of the series—I am instead using the first part to episode one on V
App. Many readers should be familiar with V App, but for those who are not, it
is a website that many idols use for live broadcasts or for uploading dance
practices. Since I cannot create a playlist on the site, I am only linking the
first episode but that said, all of
the remaining episodes can be found on GFriend’s V App page. If that is not
already delightful enough, indeed all of the episodes are English subtitled.
Therefore, readers should all be able to enjoy the show without language barriers
(though, as in the cases of all translations, there are many
lost-in-translations compared to if, say, a fan-subbing team did the subtitles
themselves and were able to explain the translations).

Finally focusing on the review
itself, although many fans (and even myself) found Sky Travel’s reality show of
GFriend to be delightful on a more superficial level, I argue that if we
approach the show with a more critical mind, we would find a less pleasing
reality: the footages are great, but Sky Travel’s own editing is rather
questionable. _______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
Before explaining
my prior point, though, let us first understand what Sky Travel’s Europe That GFriend Loves is even about.

First of all, the entirety of
GFriend was to attend the show, but sadly, due to Umji having an ankle injury
(if correct), she remained at home in South Korea while the rest of the members
went to Europe. There, the remaining five ladies visit three countries for
three days (if accurate): Slovenia, Hungary, and Austria. More specifically,
however, the five members split up into three groups that then visited their
own particular country: Yuju and Eunha visiting Austria; SinB and Yerin
visiting Slovenia; and Sowon visiting Hungary—barring one day where she went
with Yuju and Eunha to Austria. (And as mentioned, she is alone due to the fact
that her would-be partner Umji was injured).

In terms of the events that occur,
while I obviously will not list out everything that happened, the following is
a general outline of GFriend’s activities: eating, sightseeing, visiting
landmarks, attending museums and traditional activities, struggling with
transportation, and so on. Ultimately, Europe
That GFriend Loves
directly follows, if readers have watched other
traveling shows before, the very genre of “travel reality”—there is nothing new
in particular to the show when compared to this genre’s concept.  

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 5/10
(5.0/10
raw score) – “Average”

– Entertainment Value: 7/10

– Structural Value: 3/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Onto the review itself, I wish to
return to what I stated earlier and to thoroughly explain what I mean. In terms
of the show’s strength, what occurs
in the show—the footage, essentially—is very much appealing for a variety of
viewers. For example, from the perspective of GFriend’s fans, fans are able to
watch the group’s usual antics. From playfully flirting with each other—or
perhaps that might just be Yerin being “greasy” towards SinB (I mean this in a
joking, friendly manner of course)—to learning more about the ladies’ dorm life
and personalities, fans of GFriend will very much enjoy the show for it simply
sharing more about our beloved members.

That said, for viewers who may not
necessarily be fans or are fans who still equally care about the traveling
aspect (such as in my case), the show is still a hit. While shows at most give
a vicarious experience and will never replace genuine and actual traveling, Europe That GFriend Loves still manages
to capture the experience well. For example, the show’s narration, of which is done
by Umji, added historical context for every important figure or location. Furthermore,
while GFriend members are the main focus, the show still brings attention to
the surrounding and had many wonderful shots of purely locations and landmarks.
Add on the final part of how the seen activities varied—traditional dances,
eating, how GFriend prepared for the trip, and so on—and indeed we come to find
that the raw footage to the traveling show is all appealing.

Ignoring those strengths, however,
for where Sky Travel falters, on a more critical level their editing of the
footages is not impressive. Rather than viewers just purely joining the ladies,
for a large portion of time viewers have to equally endure repetitive, cliché
messages such as—to create an example that encapsulates my point—captions that
read: “And so Sowon becomes independent…learning to enjoy traveling
alone…eating alone…walking alone…but in heart she is with all her members…” Even
the narration—which, of course, is not Umji’s fault—contributes to the overly
cliché messages.

Understandably, readers might be
skeptical about me bringing up this point: Why can’t I just ignore these
moments? They seem meaningless to pay so much attention to. I only bring it up
because I argue it does impact
viewers’ enjoyment of the show. With watching the show, it is reasonable to
expect that the large majority of it consists of GFriend and their traveling.
Post-interviews of course are fine—and those in specific were well implemented
throughout—but when the transitions per “traveling pair” (such as switching
from Yuju and Eunha to Sowon) consists of a minute of replaying the same, prior
footages with the addition of cliché messages and bright, glowing filters, it
does become agitating by the sixth episode. This is not to necessarily bash
those messages; even if cliché, there were some important messages such as how
traveling can expand one’s view of the world and so forth. The issue is how Sky Travel did such: at the expense
of viewers. If the time spent on the messages were shorter, or if the footages
used there were not merely replaying moments already watched, these parts would
have served as great transitions. But, unfortunately, I find that these points
are excessive.

Overall, Europe That GFriend Loves rates as average and to that I find that
I agree. Even if GFriend is entertaining as they always are and that the events
the ladies had in Europe were great, it is Sky Travel’s editing that truly
reduces down a lot of appeal. Perhaps I am overly harsh, but I find that it is
best for travel shows—or for that matter, even reality shows (and I refer to
Korean reality shows as I recently discovered this genre significantly varies per culture)—to let the footage speak for
itself: rather than Sky Travel literally writing how Sowon learned to have fun
alone or that SinB and Yerin gained new insight due to experiencing another
culture, I find it would have been more impactful to have the footages show that the members grew as a result.
And besides, that is why the post-travel interviews were added: to add the
explicit component of how the members grew. Flowery, cliché captions and
narration are simply unnecessary.

Again, it should be noted this
review is far from professional and is definitely a biased take as I do not
understand the artistic and technical work behind producing shows and that I
feel much more comfortable in the realm of music, but I do hope the review
provides some insight as to why I did not enjoy the show as much as I could
have. For the momentous question of whether I recommend watching the show or
not, my answer is simple: for GFriend fans, this show is definitely worth
watching. However, for those who are watching it because they are curious about
certain European countries or wish to have a travel-orientated show, I do not
recommend the show in these cases.

_______________________________________________________

This review will be one out of three
that are posted today. I have many requests to do, but before reaching those
review requests I plan to finish reviews I am almost finished with. As such,
look forward to song reviews and I hope that this review provides some variety
to the blog. Look for SHINee’s “1 of 1” and AOA’s “Excuse Me” as, if I am
diligent, both will be posted along with this current one.