MAMAMOO’s x GFriend’s Reality Show – “Showtime” Review

MAMAMOO x GFriend – Showtime (Full Playlist; Eng. Subtitled)

MAMAMOO
x GFriend – Showtime

Reviewed on September 2, 2016

Without
readers even needing to read further, in a short sentence that arguably
fulfills this review’s entire argument: This show manages to flourish because
it remains highly diverse in its content, but all while ensuring that the
delivered contents themselves are all appealing.

Personal
Message:

University is entirely underway and that said, I am now extremely busy.
Interestingly, though, I no longer have the newbie feelings of being a freshman
and thus, see this return as nothing more than “the usual.” But I digress. This
review included, the next two will be focused on show reviews for the purposes
of both variety and convenience; I personally suspect that readers enjoy a
variety of both song and bonus reviews, and that with still adapting back into
a student mindset, I definitely need to have reviews be a lighter load for at
least the first week. Furthermore I plan to post reviews every five days versus
my prior claim of four days. This will allow the blog to remain active for
readers, but at the same time it allows me to not become overwhelmed with the
many readings and writing I have to do for classes. But all this said, I am
indeed doing well and university is nothing utterly daunting as it had been as
a freshman. (And on highly irrelevant news, for one of my classes, I actually
gave a presentation on K-Pop and why I feel passionate about it.)

On topic with this review, as
clarified in many past ones, show reviews are what I deem as “bonus reviews”;
these reviews are not meant to dive in depth nor should the ratings be
necessarily taken as serious. If anything, these show reviews should be
interpreted as a partially—if not entirely—biased take to a show and whether I personally recommend a show or not.
After all, unlike the two years (and growing) experience I currently have with
reviewing songs and continually striving for improvement, I have no experience
whatsoever with film/shows and admittedly do not plan to invest time to improve
in this regard. With all of that out of the way, let us discuss Showtime’s recent season with both
MAMAMOO and GFriend participating.

Sharing some personal experiences
with the show, to answer the “big question”: no, I did not cry—due to a sad
ending, specifically. Unlike many other reality shows where there has been an
emotional ending—examples in mind include The
TaeTiSeo
, Jessica & Krystal (of
which made me cry a downscaled river) or even EXID’s season on Showtime, in MAMAMOO and GFriend’s Showtime, it has remained incredibly
cheerful and fun throughout. Nonetheless, I do admit I cried during one
specific scene: GFriend’s Yuju facing her fears with
heights via bungee jumping.

(And I will apologize for some self-conceited advertisement.) Other than that,
and to focus on the show itself, I personally thoroughly enjoyed the show.
Although I hesitate to say it is the best reality show I have watched as of yet
because Jessica & Krystal
continues to hold its throne, MAMAMOO’s and GFriend’s season was definitely one
of the better ones. Now let us examine why
I assert that.

_______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
For
convenience, when I refer to Showtime
from here on, it is in reference to GFriend’s and MAMAMOO’s season unless
otherwise explicitly stated. Bearing that in mind, Showtime—in a general sense—is a reality show series that focuses
on idols involved in various activities. Previous participants include
Infinite, Apink, EXID, EXO, Sistar, and others. What is peculiar about this
current season, however, is that it is the first to introduce collaboration:
having two artists involved in a
single season—and of which lasts for typically eight episodes. With Showtime, the reality aspect comes from
how the artists are not necessarily involved in games (think of Weekly Idol), but instead are involved
with activities that stem from traveling or simply hanging out. Addressing these
activities, they are presented to the idols via “Q’s”; through questions that
derive from fans. An example would be: “What do MAMAMOO and GFriend do during
their practice sessions?” From there, an episode would revolve entirely around
a single question. Since readers should have a general idea on how Showtime runs, let us begin focusing on
whether it delivers poor or brilliant content.

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 7/10
(7.00/10
raw score) – “Above average”

– Entertainment Value: 7/10

– Structural Value: 7/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Without readers even needing to read
further, in a short sentence that arguably fulfills this review’s entire
argument: This show manages to flourish because it remains highly diverse in
its content, but all while ensuring that the delivered contents themselves are
all appealing. This, in a very concise view, is why Showtime is personally considered above average.

In terms of how the show is
structured and why said structuring is beneficial, first as already mentioned there
is much variety given through the “Q’s.” Whether it is a “Q” leads the groups
traveling to New York and Los Angeles, revealing to viewers their dance practice
routines, or facing their fears be it bungee jumping or scary houses, all of
the activities showcased in the show remain distinctive. Furthermore, to better
highlight this point, consider that both MAMAMOO and GFriend receive the same “Q’s,”
but nevertheless there are significantly different outcomes. For example, at
one moment GFriend is showcasing a more serious approach to their dance
practice routine, but on the other hand MAMAMOO is simply causing laughter with
a more lighthearted take to the “Q.” Another example is toward the beginning of
the show where both groups make “healing meals” (meals that are meant to be
soothing, relaxing, and so forth). Although both are tasked with the same
activity, GFriend’s take to it is significantly different from MAMAMOO’s take,
such as with different foods, locations, and the like. And of course, factoring
in that some “Q’s” are slightly varied in of themselves—consider the different
traveling destinations, for example—also helps.

Another excellent structuring method
Showtime does is for the involved
groups themselves. On an obvious level, Showtime
balances the two group so that both receive equal spotlight, but the manner in
how that is done is more than just for purposes of fairness. Specifically
focusing on what the show does, episodes intertwine the two groups—not literally,
that is, unless if considering the final episode or pre-filming press
conference. What I am referring to in this case is that this season of Showtime is not along the ideas of splitting
the two groups’ sessions; in other words, the idea that GFriend’s section is
the first half of an episode while MAMAMOO is the remaining half is false.
Instead, Showtime mixes the two
groups in a perfect balance so that in a single episode the focus alternates
between MAMAMOO and GFriend but all in an appropriate time frame. This works on
every end: fans of MAMAMOO/GFriend can still enjoy MAMAMOO/GFriend without
feeling that they have to “wait”; both groups can be easily watched with how
they handle the same “Q”; and lastly, this manner generates appeal as there is
always new content—both groups and with how they handle their activities.

Finally switching over to how the
content themselves are entertaining, although much of this is based upon the
participants themselves, credit is still deserved toward Showtime and this is where I wish to focus on. After all, as fans
of GFriend and MAMAMOO will know, these ladies are absolutely hilarious and
always engaging. That said, the main strength in Showtime’s layout that greatly augments the show’s appeal is the
room for freedom: “Q’s” are given, but how
that “Q” is interacted with per group is up to their decisions. This, in my
assertion, is why Showtime (and
OnStyle’s reality shows for The TaeTiSeo and
Jessica & Krystal) oftentimes
overshadows many other reality shows. Let us use some comparisons to other
shows to understand why levels of freedom are crucial to appeal.

In
a prior show review with GFriend
, an activity they had to do was pick
tangerines. That was the activity: pick tangerines, though it will be in a
competitive form. But that was it; no more or less. Other activities followed
suit with a strict protocol. The problem with that format is it restricts
groups’ ability to go beyond. An input-output style is seldom appealing, and
with the genre of “reality show” (and note I wish to differentiate this from “reality
variety shows” such as Unpretty Rapstar where
construed editing occurs), the main focus should be in simply watching how a
group would perform a specific task—traveling, eating, talking, and so on. That
is where “reality” comes in: just watching groups be themselves—give or take
their need to be “camera-friendly” for public viewers. (After all, the only true
form of “reality shows” would essentially be stalking a group and installing
hidden, spying cameras to see what the “true reality” is.) Once restrictions
are placed, much potential appeal is lost. Imagine this scenario in Showtime: a “Q” that did not merely ask
what the groups did in the practice room, but instead a “Q” that asked the
groups to rehearse their latest song. While both groups will somehow make it
all entertaining regardless of which “Q,” it is hard to deny that the first
version would provide a larger range of acts to be seen than the latter.  

Overall, for the answer of whether I
recommend Showtime (this season, that
is): yes, I do. It is one of the better reality shows I have seen as of the
late, but of course it is still not the best one I have seen and one that has utterly
surprised me. One of the weaker moments is during the episode where both
MAMAMOO and GFriend swap music videos and attempt to reenact the other’s, and
though it is absolutely hilarious at moments, this moment is an example of
where excess restriction (and for the “Q” itself, being rather abstract) causes
loss of appeal—even if the groups were directing their own parodying music
videos. Digression aside, for fans of either or both groups, this show is
definitely one to keep on a to-watch list. However, for those who are
unfamiliar with both, Showtime is of
the few where I would still recommend it as it can lead to familiarity and, at
its core, it very much entertains viewers.

_______________________________________________________

As usual, thank you for reading. I
have one other bonus show review in mind, and of which will then be followed by
a request (and of which I am very thankful for and do apologize for not being
able to prioritize it). I am currently extremely busy with university, but with
proper time management I expect reviews to continue on a consistent schedule.
Until then, look forward to not
reading the usual, cheesy quoting conclusion. Expect another show review to be
posted in a few days.

GFriend’s Reality Show – “One Fine Day” Review

GFriend
One Fine Day (Full Playlist, Eng.
Subbed)

GFriend
One Fine Day

Reviewed on July 18, 2016

“Bluntly
said, while One Fine Day is expected
to appeal in the aspects of both traveling and variety, GFriend’s episodes are
more reminiscent of an upgraded version of Weekly
Idol
: variety to a higher degree. The emphasis of traveling alongside with GFriend
for an intimate, more personal view of the group—a style that One Fine Day flourishes with based on
past seasons—has been drastically lost. This, I will say, is not a worthy
trade.”

Personal
Message:
To the
requester of Wonder Girls’ “Why So Lonely” (and Miss A’s Fei’s solo debut), I
am indeed amidst reviewing Wonder Girls’ song and, once July 22 comes around,
to begin reviewing Fei’s solo. Nevertheless, I greatly apologize for the delay
and for putting a bonus review ahead of schedule. In doing this, I do not wish to
connote that I am belittling the request in any form. In truth, I am posting a
bonus show review ahead because I will be exceptionally busy with summer class
(and subtitling a video of Fiestar along with contributing subtitles to an
upcoming Fiestar subbing team—though I admit I am not sure if this is supposed
to be leaked or not). Thus, to keep the blog in an active state, this bonus
review will serve as short but still viable content. After all, though I am
writing at nine at night, I expect this to take solely an hour and no more. Finally
to add, some readers may notice some interesting outline changes (the “abstract/hook”
quote at the start), but this will be further discussed in the requested
review.

On topic, this bonus review is on a
group I have yet to musically review: GFriend. I recently have finished this
show along with nearly finishing another (Look
After My Dog
), both of which involve GFriend. I plan to review the latter
show at one point, but more importantly, to review GFriend’s comeback: “Navillera.”
(I plan to review it after the two requests are finished.) Personally, I am in
love with the song and as discussed in
a prior review
, that song is threatening Fiestar’s “You’re Pitiful” as my
favorite song of all-time. (Remember: favorite is not best; “Navillera” is quite far from the best song I have heard, but
its style is definitely that of my preference.) Furthermore, because of “Navillera,”
this current bonus review is now here as this was the song that finally
convinced me to invest more into GFriend. And without any doubts as readers can
tell, I am indeed a fan of the ladies. After all, GFriend is amazing. They have
done more good in their current lives than I ever will in my entire life—and to
showcase the significance of this, GFriend’s average age is rather young.

For example, I am a few months older than Yuju and yet she speaks
extremely more intelligently and eloquently than I (and simply is more intelligent and eloquent than I),
works and loves others much more than I do, and of course has a very sweet,
charming voice while I unfortunately am not as lucky in that regard. And let us
not include appearances for comparison; I think it is a bit unfair as even with
makeup applied, Yuju’s bare face is still clearer than mine. Such is the
struggle of a boy who strives to be as amazing as the ladies of GFriend—a very
high standard but not an impossible one if we focus on the more important
aspects to model: being kind, open, loving, cheerful, hardworking, caring, intelligent,
and so forth. Those aspects are what fans should concern first when it comes to
having idols as role models; fashion and makeup skills can come, but only as
the next priority.

Self-deprecating humor but hopefully
a helpful reminder aside, I sincerely am still baffled by the younger age of the
ladies. Given their maturity and stamina for their choreographies (and, with
live performances, being able to sing live), I expected the average age to be
around at the very least twenty three. Indeed, to find out the oldest of the
group—Sowon, the leader—is twenty, I was shocked. But, if anything is to be
gleaned, it is perhaps that I am the one who needs further maturing; if GFriend
are already excelling at their age, I should be able to as well. And indeed,
readers who are in a similar case should also feel inspired by the ladies.

Focusing on the bonus review (and to
my embarrassment this Personal Message is most likely longer than the actual
review), I have linked the entire show. Credit must be given to a subbing team
for the videos, so shout-out to the wonderful men and women who have spent
their free time helping out fans who are not familiar with Korean. Subbing
videos after all is not an easy task at all; subtitling is extremely
time-consuming, and in certain cases can be somewhat repetitive. (The latter
being more so if subtitling is occurring after
already watching the video.) Regarding this review, usual protocols are in
place: extremely brief analysis as it is, once again, a bonus and nothing more.
In fact, if I am hasty enough, I will also review Look After My Dog as well.

All that said, let us fly to Cebu
(Phillipines) with GFriend—but obviously in a figurative, vicarious sense.
Unless if a reader coincidentally lives there. If that is the case, the
figurative and vicarious aspect will be in traveling with GFriend. And if
somehow even that is true, then said
reader should probably just stop reading due to my overwhelming jealousy. Jokes
aside, GFriend’s one fine day—or days—in Cebu may be fine for them, but I will
argue One Fine Day’s show layout
particularly for GFriend is a disappointment. Even if fans get more exposure
time to GFriend and if the ending episodes elicits tears from viewers (or that
may just be me, a usual crybaby), One
Fine Day
’s deviation away from their usual structure does limit the appeal
of GFriend’s episodes.

_______________________________________________________

Plot
Summary:
To best explain
the prior paragraph, I will give the general summary to One Fine Day. Afterwards, I will then explain GFriend’s exclusive
version. From there, we will proceed with the actual review itself and how this
change is not necessarily as appealing as viewers would expect.

One
Fine Day
is a
reality-variety show (yes, reality and
variety) by MBC Music (if accurate) that invites a group/solo artists—past examples
being AOA, Girl’s Day, VIXX, f(x)’s Amber and Ailee, and more—to spend a few
days in a country other than that of South Korea. Essentially, to roughly
summarize a quote from the One Fine Day
staff during GFriend’s episodes, the show is to provide healing,
stress-relieving, and relaxation to idols who otherwise seldom have time to do such.
It is a win-win: idols are able to travel and unwind while fans still gain
content and usually new insights to their beloved idols. Returning back to my
earlier emphasis on reality and variety, I at first classified it as purely
reality; after all, the show does seem to merely record and help out the
traveling idols. However, that is not quite the case as “mission cards”—in
other words, fun tasks—are given and to be fulfilled. Should One Fine Day be a true reality show,
then the former would be what occurred: simply recording idols on their
vacations. However, with the missions involved, the variety aspect is now also
included and thus, reality-variety is the label I have given the show. Is this
necessarily bad or good? In past seasons/series of certain groups, I found
there to be a perfect balance and thus, if anything the combination is a bonus.
Should there be an imbalance or more specifically, a bias towards the variety aspect
if there is to be an imbalance at all, then I would argue some issues hold. And
unfortunately for GFriend, that is exactly what occurred.

While readers could watch the first
episode for this background, in short: GFriend’s company decided that, given
the time of recording the ladies were only ten months past their debut date,
the usual purpose of One Fine Day
would be irrelevant. And perhaps indeed that is a valid claim: though their
trainee days are predictably tiresome and that ten months of actual idol work
is equally stressful, it might be too soon to claim they have worked for long.
Especially when juxtaposed to other groups that have appeared, that very much
seems true. Creatively, though, rather than declining the invitation, GFriend’s
label company requested a change in the show’s format: training GFriend for
variety shows—both indirectly (with this being their first show) and directly
(with lessons). As a result, the show’s core may technically hold as there is
both reality and variety—the “reality” in recording the behind-the-scenes, personal
conversations, and traveling, and the “variety” in them actually practicing
variety show skills—but ultimately, this does hinder the potential of the show’s
appeal. Bluntly said, while One Fine Day
is expected to appeal in the aspects of both traveling and variety, GFriend’s episodes
are more reminiscent of an upgraded version of Weekly Idol: variety to a higher degree. The emphasis of traveling
alongside with GFriend for an intimate, more personal view of the group—a style
that One Fine Day flourishes with
based on past seasons—has been drastically lost. This, I will say, is not a
worthy trade.

_______________________________________________________

Overall
Value: 6/10
(5.50/10
raw score) – “Slightly above average”

– Entertainment Value: 7/10

– Structural Value: 4/10

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Explaining why the
variety-orientated take to GFriend’s episodes is impairing versus enhancing, there
are two main points: one, it becomes excessively repetitive, and secondly, it
steals away from another potentially more satisfying, appealing activities.
Elaborating on the first, the variety-based activities may all differ, but in
the end all render as overly simplistic and in fact, simply silly. Without overly
leaking what occurs, the variety activities range from practicing proper speech—eye
contact, body posture, paying attention, and so on—to athletic ones of getting
across unstable floating water pads, or to making food look even more
appetizing with reactions. Certainly from the surface there is much appeal
given the diverse acts, but if we are to dive more deeply, that is not the
quite the case. For example, the acting practice skits were, while hilarious at
times, unenticing once factoring in the repetitive editing style of replaying
clips. Soon enough, I was hoping for the show to continue on and for other
activities to occur—emphasis on other
as I desired more than just watching GFriend practice variety skills. This
leads to the next point: losing potential on other fun activities.

Imagine this: GFriend practicing
variety skills, but on top of that had a chance to travel around Cebu whether
that is visiting stores, restaurants, sight-seeing locations, and so on. In the
end, all of the variety activities, even if all different, are still generally
one activity: that of “variety.” One Fine
Day
lost the chance to include other important aspects. Even if GFriend
were able to have fun off camera, for the show itself, it is a shame One Fine Day did not include footages of
GFriend exploring a culture and place that is not of their homes. At most,
GFriend was at one point filmed eating at a restaurant, but even so, that is
one moment out of the many unnecessary, overly played variety acts. Also to
credit other interesting parts, indeed the earlier episodes did focus on preparing
for travel and even the travel process and experience, but once again: in Cebu,
the vacation land became a training land. Although this may be a strong
assertion, I believe many would desire to see both GFriend engaging in variety practice but also exploring Cebu. After
all, if given the choice to watch a professional sports player either solely practicing
or to also watch her practice and
travel in a country she has never been in, I personally would choose the
latter.

Overall, for why GFriend’s One Fine Day still holds, the ladies
themselves deserve much respect for providing the most entertainment they
could. From the more personal conversations in their hotel rooms that caused
tears, to the laughter and smiles from their silly antics or newbie travel
mistakes, optimistically GFriend’s happiness and time together are still the
main highlight of the show. These points are what allow the entertainment to
hold, even if the structure to the show falters. This show still does focus on
the members and indeed, that provides new insights for fans and viewers.
Certainly, this show will help viewers see the “regular,” human and relatable
side to GFriend versus that of their raw, powerful dancing skills and solid
singing.

Ending this review, to answer the
question of whether this show is worth watching, I miraculously would still
claim it is—but only to certain extents. Fans of GFriend should definitely
watch this, and likewise for those who desire to partially watch idols traveling. What may be deterring, though, is
the lack of focus on the traveling and the additional emphasis on variety-based
activities. Nonetheless, with the shorter length of the show (four episodes
that are forty-five minutes each), there are more incentives to watch it—even if
it is duller than other shows. (I personally watched it all in two days, but
this may be moreover indicative of my lack of a social life in the summer. At
least watching this with my adorable terrier girl gives me excuses.) All in
all, GFriend’s One Fine Day is ultimately
a worthy show if watching for the
ladies themselves. Otherwise, if there is no care for GFriend, then this season
of One Fine Day is not a loss to
miss.

_______________________________________________________

As always, thank you to those for
reading. To the requester, I will finish up the review on Wonder Girls in one to
two days if I remain on schedule. That will then be followed up by Miss A’s Fei’s
solo, and afterwards I plan to review GFriend’s “Navillera” and of which will
then be followed by Eric Nam’s “Can’t Help Myself.” From there, if there are
still days left in July, I will wrap up the month with a review on GFriend’s appearance
on Look After My Dog and Brave Girls’
“High Heels.” Given that many social digressions are in mind, however, July
might not last for too long. Like the saying goes, writing truly passes time—unless
if you are stuck on ideas, then the opposite holds true with writing merely
stalling time.  

Look forward to the upcoming song
review and of course, for another “fine day.”