TWICE – “TWICE’s Elegant Private Life” Show Review

(Playlist: Episode Cuts)

TWICE
TWICE’s Elegant Private Life
(Produced by Mnet)

Reviewed on June 21, 2017

If one is a TWICE fan, I do
recommend the show. Otherwise, if one is watching (Korean) reality shows for
the sake of the show itself, I do find that there are other, better alternatives
to TEPL. But that said, this show can
definitely be a solid introduction to TWICE if viewers are unfamiliar of them
and desire to become fans.  

Edit:
Huge apologies for this post being delayed. As readers can tell from reading,
this review was written a while back and only now have I officially posted it.
Many reviews will be coming after this. Once again, I apologize to readers for
the lack of content for the past weeks.

Personal
Message:
As
mentioned in the prior post, I had my wisdom teeth extracted (on June 7) and
thus, have not been able to post as frequently as desired. That said, after a
full week of recovery and admittedly catching up on shows rather than reviews
and subtitling videos, I decided it might be best to return with a review on
the shows I have been watching. Afterwards, we have many special reviews—one,
in particular, was even requested by a label company directly. That review will
be coming out only a few days after this one and I am quite excited for it.
From there, we will then be reviewing IU (as it was requested by a personal
friend) and I hope to then review Fiestar’s Yezi’s recent solo comeback with
her new rap song. And of course, amidst all of this, I will be hastily catching
up on subtitling videos for Fiestar, and particularly I will be attempting to
cover videos regarding Yezi’s latest comeback.

Indeed, there is quite a lot for me
to do even if I should be merely relaxing during summer, but unfortunately I am
those types of people who feel that I should always be productive in some
form—though, biasedly, I argue we can
and should always be productive even
if that means something as casual as catching up on dramas. In fact, especially
for readers who are working, in their later years of high school or in college,
I might even share my own tips in a bonus post on why my particular definition
of “being productive” can not only help people be more productive in a general
sense, but also with—surprisingly—relaxing. But as this is unintentionally
sounding as if I have some secret to finding happiness in life, I might as well
explain what my definition of “productive” is: namely, that no matter what one
does, it brings something meaningful versus something wasteful. Now for an
actual example, while one would usually not consider watching shows to be remotely
“productive,” I argue it still is especially if one is “catching up.” After
all, catching up on TWICE shows and V Live broadcasts is much better than, for
a random example, mindlessly watching random, filler content videos on YouTube
that consists of a “top 10” of the most arbitrary items. Thus, this is what I
mean by constantly being “productive”: even if it involves relaxing, getting
the most out of an activity is what matters instead of mindlessly browsing the
internet and other typical, procrastinating activities.

Now while we are on a slight
tangent, before getting into our review on TWICE’s
Elegant Private Life
(or TEPL from
here on for convenience), I do wish to share how my wisdom teeth extraction
went. Especially as some readers might be nervous of their own impending
operation or that readers simply want to hear a story (though I am a horrible
storyteller), I find sharing my own experience might help put some at ease.
(And that said, feel free to skip below for the actual bonus review.) After
all, I personally sought out as many stories as I could prior to the surgery in
order to mentally prepare myself, but unfortunately I was not able to find any
story on the actual procedure itself. Thus, I will do my best to actually
explain what happens in case readers are worried or curious. But given that my
storytelling tends to be horrible, I will leave a firm reassurance: the surgery
truly is not that bad—in terms of the procedure, that is. If one feels anxious
on the actual surgery, I suggest that one redirects that anxiety towards afterwards as that is when the true pain
and struggles begin. And, if it helps ease anyone, if I can make it through the procedure—the biggest baby and a boy with
a ridiculously sensitive gag reflex and
whose wisdom teeth were very “impacted”—then I am certain everyone else can
make it without any problems at all.

Regarding how the experience went,
first I will clarify that I was merely numbed for it—or at least objectively
and medically speaking as we will get to. Before getting into what occurs,
though, let us talk about preparations. While there was no physical preparation
required at all (although some might opt for a sedative pill from what I have
heard), I did spend some time preparing mentally during the few hours before
the operation and I recommend readers to do the same. Specifically, I created a
music playlist on my phone—this serving as my “mental numbing” if we dare call
it such. For the playlist, I loaded up favorite songs, songs I planned on
finally listening to, and so forth. Arrogantly, I finished creating the
playlist when it would last roughly forty-five minutes; after all, typically,
that is the average length of the surgery from what basic internet research
revealed. That is where it all went wrong, however, but more to share on that
later.

As for the experience itself, after
comfortably settling—or restlessly squirming—into the dentist chair, I signed
off a waiver (if that is what it is called) in case of extremely rare complications that could arise. Now while I remember
one line that roughly read as: “…loss of feeling…” I admittedly ended up
skipping the remaining bullet points as my brain began reading the rest as
“death…death…death…” and merely signed it off. At this point, I am allowed to
plug in one earbud and do so hastily. Now, the idea behind listening to songs
during the surgery is that the songs are to, indeed, distract me from the fact
that my mouth was soon to be heavily mutilated and invaded by five or so devices
at once, that blood will be splashing everywhere, and that sounds of cracking
teeth would hopefully be drowned out. I hope that is not too gruesome to share.
On topic, after signing off the form for what felt like my execution, I had
four odd sticks inserted in my mouth. To this day, I have no idea on what these
were for except that two were placed on top and two at the bottom, and that it
left the typical “dentist-cherry-flavor.” Yes, incredibly vague terms but I
have no other way of describing it and I feel that my description of the flavor
is quite accurate. From here, I was left alone.

After some time resting, the mentioned
sticks were removed and it was now time for numbing. Although in theory having
a needle injected into one’s gums sounds painful, it merely felt like a small
yet sharp pinch. Admittedly I do not remember much regarding the numbing
process, but it truly is as simple as being injected and then being left alone
once again in order for the numbing to work. Now, regarding what it feels like
to be numbed, I should clarify my views are rather twisted: I, for some odd
reason, believed the numbing also came with some sedative. In reality, my mouth
was merely numbed; in other words, my entire mouth became solely tingly—nothing more or less. But, quite embarrassingly, I
managed to falsely convince myself I was also being sedated and thus, my
supposed drowsiness and even giggling when asked how I was doing are not actual
effects. I am sincerely am an embarrassing mess, but I find that this false
perception of being sedated helped as having music playing in one ear and
“sleeping” during the surgery definitely made the experience more tolerable.

Onto the actual surgery, there is
little to be said as one does not feel anything but pressure. After the dentist
checked to see if I was truly numbed, the procedure consisted of lots of suction
devices, drilling at times, and much pulling. The only struggle I had, as
alluded to earlier, is that I wished my music playlist was far lengthier. With
the first playing, music genuinely did distract me and helped keep me calm.
However, on the second playing, I began focusing less on the songs—due to
already hearing them once—and started to be more aware of what was happening. Likewise, it is also at
this point I realized I was not sedated at all and was quite ridiculous to have
even thought of such. On the third playing, not only are the songs now mere
background noises, but I also began to start opening my eyes versus “sleeping,”
and this is where I began gagging somewhat often as I realized there were many
devices in my mouth at once. Therefore, for my advice, I recommend readers to
have an incredibly lengthy playlist
as, especially if complications arise such as in my case (my bottom wisdom
teeth were quite difficult to remove), the procedure can last for a while and
having new songs to actively pay attention to helps.

After the surgery, this is where
pain finally comes—or, more specifically, after two hours after the surgery.
Post-operation directions will be given, but in summary, it consists of gently
biting on certain cloths to stop the bleeding. Also, as one can hardly spit
(nor should one even spit at  all until
many days later) due to the numbing, much time will also be spent merely
letting blood-infused-saliva dripping out of one’s mouth. For what I highly
recommend, once the numbing begins wearing off and one is capable of drinking
water, one should begin taking pain medicine. I made a horrible mistake of not
doing such as I arrogantly assumed I had high pain tolerance when, in reality, I
was simply still numbed. But, as soon as the numbing faded away, my pain grew
from a dull ache to, quite suddenly, my upper right wisdom teeth deciding to
give birth. It was at this moment I scrambled desperately for pain medicine as
I was quite certain I began seeing angels. Horrible jokes aside, though, I do
recommend taking pain medicine before all the numbing entirely disappears and
one is left with much pain.

All in all, wisdom teeth extraction
is not too bad at all and I hope I eased—or not—any reader who is anxious about
their own upcoming surgery. Finally onto the review now, during the days of
recovery, besides being excused to consuming an unhealthy amount of ice cream
and developing a phobia towards mashed potatoes, I have decided to watch TEPL. Now before discussing the show, given
the tradition of addressing the question of whether I cried or not while
watching this particular reality show, I admittedly did shed some tears as,
simply stated, if Jihyo cries then I cry with her. However of course, nothing
will ever come close to the bawling that occurred when I watched Jessica & Krystal and indeed the
sisters’ reality show remains the best I have ever watched. Lastly, for final
technical points to address, the playlist included are merely video cuts of the
full episodes. Readers who desire to watch the full show along with English
subtitles can easily find sources via internet searching. Furthermore, with
this review, rather than the typical format of ratings that I have done in the
past, show reviews will now merely consist of a “recommendation phrase” and
reasons for such in the analytical part. After all, while numbers provide a
concrete platform for readers to think and help organize a song’s breakdown,
the same cannot be easily applied to reality shows—or at least, not with my
current lack of knowledge regarding show qualities.

With all of that, let us finally
head into the review and see whether TEPL
worth watching or not.

_______________________________________________________

Recommendation:
If one is a TWICE fan, I do
recommend the show. Otherwise, if one is watching (Korean) reality shows for
the sake of the show itself, I do find that there are other, better alternatives
to TEPL. But that said, this show can
definitely be a solid introduction to TWICE if viewers are unfamiliar of them
and desire to become fans.  

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
With TEPL, it needs to first be clarified that the title itself is
misleading: the show does not focus purely or even predominantly on the
supposed “private life” of the ladies. Certainly there are snippets involved,
but admittedly the show functions more as any other typical (Korean) reality
show—notable comparisons being other common reality shows such as Showtime, One Fine Day, The TaeTiSeo,
and so forth. In other words, this means TEPL
does not focus on what the ladies do in their private times per se but rather,
it focuses on a myriad of general activities: watching TWICE cook; hearing the
ladies discuss their ideal types; observing their dorm life; laughing with them
at the expense of scaring Nayeon; and the like. For those familiar with reality
shows (or at least Korean ones; I am unsure if culturally the idea of “reality
shows” varies), this indeed follows the exact protocol as any other: observing
the ladies engaging with many activities—hence, the “reality” aspect.

Without necessarily summarizing all
of the activities depicted on the show as that would not only spoil the show
but would be redundant and not a “review” at all, I will instead focus on how effectively
the said activities are portrayed. With the activities, as mentioned, there are
a variety of them involved but more importantly the types of activities are diverse as well—this, in my view, is the
most important aspect. Let us use an example. During one episode, the main,
overarching theme of TWICE’s activity involved creating videos whether in the
form of creating a minor music video or parodying dramas. However, afterwards
the “topic” changes into something that is completely different than creating
videos. Especially when compared to other reality shows that might stick to the
same “topic” for an excessive time, I find that TEPL adopts a balanced form of depth and variety. A contrasting
example to use is with Jessica &
Krystal
where in one episode, while the ladies were engaged in multiple
activities, the overall “topic” was still that of shopping. With TEPL, if we were to imagine a similar scenario,
what would occur instead would be that the topic of shopping only lasts for a certain
amount before that very topic soon changes to something completely different.
Thus, the overall point is this: the show allows TWICE and viewers to
experience multiple “topics” with an amount of depth that is not too short or
too long. That said, depending on one’s preferences, this can be both good and
bad. Viewers who enjoy depth versus breadth might find this show less appealing
(and thus enjoy other shows such as Jessica
& Krystal
more). On the other hand, those who enjoy breadth more than
depth would find TEPL suiting as the
show does focus more on showing multiple sides to TWICE (and this does make
sense given that this show was the ladies’ first, major reality show).

With content out of the way, let us
actually focus on the show in a structural sense as, unlike all reality shows I
have previously watched, the editing to the show is rather peculiar. Here, I
find that the show’s format can easily deter—or attract—viewers. For what I am
specifically referring to, the episodes are seemingly divided in half: the
first half of an episode consists of one main “topic” and the second half
begins another topic. This, though, means that the second half’s topic is then
finished in the next episode—something
that is quite odd as typical reality shows simply organize an entire episode
around one topic. To use a fictional example as this might be clearer, let us
pretend that in episode 5, the first half of the episode consists of TWICE
cooking. Then, the second half would make a sudden switch where it is about
TWICE dancing. From there, episode 6’s first half would be finishing up the
part about dancing and then the remaining half will be a new topic. In a
general sense, this is how TEPL is
formatted throughout all of its episodes minus, perhaps, the first episode or
so.

Different or not, this structure to
the show comes with both strengths and weaknesses. On the positive side,
because of how episodes are halved on topics, it leaves a sense of the episode
having more variety. After all, rather than one episode being focused on one
activity, there are now two. Furthermore, when it comes to length, having each
episode segmented in this manner prevents them from feeling too excessive; an
entire episode focused purely on one topic can, indeed, feel repetitive especially
if all of the episodes follow a similar trend. And—though the following could
easily be a negative—I found myself more engaged to the show as the episodes
naturally left “cliffhangers”: the remaining half of a topic would only be
finished on the next episode. Thus, if episode 6 ended with dancing, the
beginning half of episode 7 would be the conclusion of such—and this does work
well with keeping viewers interested and desiring more.

However, despite all these potential
benefits, the biggest issue that comes is how the show can at times feel
incredibly disorganized. There is a reason reality shows tend to follow the tradition
of keeping each episode highly focused on a certain activity or topic: it is
intuitive and easy to follow. While I did watch TEPL in a dedicated manner as I watched an episode per day, I can
imagine the show would be more difficult to keep track of if a viewer watches
the episodes sparingly. For example, even with watching an episode every day, there
were still moments where I had to actually re-watch the prior episode’s ending
to recall what was happening in the current episode. This confusion occurs
because a new episode is not a new
topic or activity; it is the continuation
of one. As such, if a viewer has poor memory or watches an episode every three
days, it can be understood on why this show’s structure is problematic and that
the traditional format—a new episode is genuinely new—would be far more
effective. Nevertheless, even if not more effective than the usual format of
reality shows, I appreciate Mnet’s attempt of creating a new style for the
show.

Overall, as said in the
recommendation, this show is definitely worth watching if one is a fan of TWICE
or are trying to become a fan or at least become familiar with the ladies. However,
when it comes to reality shows in a general sense, there are far more
interesting shows that exist such as Jessica
& Krystal
or Europe That GFriend
Loves
. But, in terms of all of the reality shows TWICE have done, TEPL is definitely a highlight and I
argue is tied with TWICE TV4. (And on
that note, once TWICE TV5 is
finished, I plan on reviewing it as well as—so far, at least—it is one of the
poorer reality shows I have watched. That said, the fifth season is interesting
as it seems to be more akin to standard vlogs rather than an actual reality
show as were seasons three and four.)

For finals words, after finally
getting much more familiar with TWICE and arguably even becoming a fan, I now
understand why the ladies are quite popular despite how, in my argument, they
are one of the more musically weak groups in the K-Pop scene—or at least, from
what they have portrayed via their songs. Certainly, they are individually
improving with their vocals (and of course, that Jihyo, Nayeon, and Jeongyeon
are all already solid vocalists) and TWICE does in fact have solid songs such
as “Knock Knock,” “Only You,” and “1 to 10,” but in an overall view, I and
perhaps others can agree TWICE is not the strongest musical group at all. Ignoring
the genuinely disrespectful and immature people who bash TWICE personally, the
ladies’ weaker vocals and even songs (I argue all title songs minus “Knock
Knock” are quite weak) is where a majority of criticism towards the group comes
from. After all, TWICE is arguably the
most
popular female group in K-Pop as of now, and this somehow is the case
despite the mentioned lacking in their songs and singing. Of course their
dancing is definitely solid and their strongest suit, but it would be hard to
imagine that their choreographies are able to compensate for everything else to
the degree of becoming one of the most popular artists in K-Pop. What, then, I argue
leads to TWICE’s success is the accompanying aspect to K-Pop: the personal
side. TWICE has mastered a way of sincerely connecting to fans on a personal
level—and I argue the secret is none other than how the ladies are very humble
and genuine when on camera. For an artist to thrive, they need both: solid
music and dances and appealing on a
personal level. Even if TWICE lacks the former, they more than make up in the
latter and this is perhaps why TWICE is utterly popular.

All in all, and to tie back to this
review, TEPL is one example of the
ladies appealing to the public with their personalities and interactions. And
so, while I hope to see TWICE improving musically, I also hope the ladies
continue to maintain their ability to connect with fans as this is what has
potentially led to their massive success.

_______________________________________________________

As readers can tell, this post
should have been posted much longer ago. It is only now that I have finished
some of the writing that was needed, but I do apologize greatly. Reviews will
most likely take on a back-to-back trend so that everything is caught up.
Unfortunately, while I do deserve some time to relax over summer, I have become
far too relaxed and have put off reviews and even subtitling videos for
Fiestar. I will hastily work on catching up with the latter and will also work
on catching up on reviews. The next review is a special one as it was directly requested
by a label company and thus, I hope readers enjoy it.

Thank you for reading or skimming
this review. Look forward for content to finally resume a standard schedule.

Mnet Japan’s Reality Show – “Star Camp” Review

Reviewed on January 1, 2015

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Before this review starts, I would like to give a few excuses disclaimers. For one, as some readers may know, I do not possess an actual show review outline; my show reviews are a mixture of highlights and my general opinion of the show. That said, there is no numerical rating as seen in my song reviews. Secondly, since this show is not too popular, finding pictures to utilize is nearly impossible. As a result, to keep my tradition of how my show reviews contain pictures, I am putting extra effort by taking my own images from the show. Unfortunately, the downfall of that appears in the lower quality of the pictures. Apologies for such, and keep in mind, these show reviews can be considered moreover “bonus reviews” than dedicated, thorough ones. Music reviews will always remain my top priority.

Anyhow, to digress slightly more, I would like to give some comments in regards to T-ARA’s first home concert. T-ARA holds a special throne in that they are one of my personal favorite groups in general, and that I highly admire and look up to the ladies. Hopefully one day I am as intelligent and skilled as Soyeon (a huge role model to me), and that other traits such as being exceptionally friendly, responsible, caring, tough, and more, are also achieved. And, I also hope one day I will be as pretty as her, but that is impossible less important than the other significant characteristics. Back to the concert, after 5 years (I might be wrong with the years), T-ARA has finally had their first solo concert in their home country (they have done a few in Japan and China, but not Korea). It is incredible to see their growth over the years, and I hold high expectations on their future activities.

Going on another tangent, in regards to their song “ORGR,” there has been a lot of debate and confusion to the lyrics, and I will offer my own perspective on it (and at this point, feel free to skip below). Whether it is due to pure coincidence or clever composing (or simply pronunciation), the key phrase of the song can be considered a pun involving both languages of Korean and English. Firstly, “ORGR” is abbreviated for “Oh Ready Go Ready,” which is heard in the lyrics in the form of “oh ready, go ready, go.” This is where confusion occurs; people hear three phrases: “Oh ready, go ready, go,” or “Oh let it go, let it go,” or if taking account a Korean phrase of mockery (not too sure on this), a rough meaning of “Na na na.” So, to offer my own opinion, I believe T-ARA is saying the English phrase of “Oh ready, go ready” since the song title is the abbreviated form of those words. However, I find that the key phrase could also reflect the latter phrases. To explain why people hear “Oh let it go, let it go,” it has to do with the pronunciation of the English phrase of “ORGR.” The letter/sound “R” in English is replaceable with the letter/sound of “L” in Korean assuming the following letter is a vowel sound (for example, Sistar’s Hyorin can also be pronounced as “Hyolyn,” both are valid and correct; Rick can also be heard as “Lick,” and similarly, be correct) . This leads to “Oh ‘leady’ go,” but now you are wondering why the “D” sounds like a “T,” and that is simply that; in Korean, the English “D” sound/letter is a “T” sound. A simple example is the Korean slang/saying of “daebak” (means “awesome/amazing/cool”). In this case, the “D” sound is softer and moreover sounding like “taebak” for English. Factoring this into the equation, the phrase of “ORGR” now becomes “Oh ‘leaty’ go” which sounds like “Oh let it go.” As for the Korean mockery phrase, that is also correct to be heard (assuming I am accurate about the phrase). While “Oh ready, go ready, go” is heard as that in English, in Korean, the same sounding phrase could mean a teasing, mocking saying of “Na na na.” Anyhow, point is, regardless of what you hear, they all match the overall song’s lyrics, and in the end, all are technically accurate. Apologies if my formatting here induces eye strain.

Now ignoring the extremely confusing, unorganized language lesson, in terms of how T-ARA’s concert relates to “Star Camp,” I wondered how rigorous and strenuous the preparation leading up to the solo concert was; dancing and singing for hours is an extremely difficult feat, and thus, preparing for such an event would seem equally challenging. Thankfully, this show gives some insight. While it may not be focused on T-ARA, it does focus on idols who are equally charming, talented, and stunning as those ladies. ZE:A is a group I highly respect. If I recall properly, I believe I did a review on one of their songs, but considering it was during the newbie days, that review would hold as incohesive and horrendous. Perhaps a future review will need to be done to correct the past. Anyhow, whether it were songs that I overlooked such as “Step By Step,” singing and dancing skills, their humor, or their general sweet, affectionate interactions, “Star Camp” reminded me of how incredible these men were.

With all of that said, it is time to truly begin the review. The gentlemen of ZE:A held their own home concert a while back, and thanks to “Star Camp,” some behind-the-scene footages are revealed. Furthermore, for those curious on Star Empire Entertainment’s building (ZE:A’s label company; they also home Nine Muses, Jewelry, Soreal, and V.O.S), this show tours the place and reveals the layout. Is this show worth watching, and does it accurately depict ZE:A’s struggles? Through taking a camping trip to the land of the star idols of ZE:A, we will find out.

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For the first section of “Star Camp,” touring Star Empire Entertainment’s building was the main objective. ZE:A’s hyung (used by males to refer to older males), Kevin, “good-looks” Heechul, and Jewelry’s sparkling Yewon were the hosts of the tour. They covered multiple stories (pun intended) of the company, and gave their own personal anecdotes such as trainee day experiences.

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Peering at the first floor, there were two sections to cover: the cafeteria and the recording studio. For the cafeteria, besides some teasing on Yewon’s excitement to eat, “Star Camp” revealed the layout. Additionally, Kevin shared ZE:A’s trainee experience involving the place. Before they had a cafeteria worker, he was in charge of cooking meals for his group whether it was a formal dish or simply preparing ramen.  

Later, although strangely in the show the order was not chronologically (it went from first floor, second, third, then back to first), the recording studio was unveiled. Unlike the cafeteria, some fans of Star Empire Entertainment’s artists may recognize the location due to other videos (an example such as Nine Muses’ Sera’s audition). Unfortunately, not much was covered since a V.O.S member was in the midst of recording an actual song.

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Eventually, “Star Camp” proceeds to the second floor. Here, other ZE:A members are seen; Minwoo and Dongjun introduced viewers to the company’s fitness room. While the physical location is unveiled, the ZE:A members discussed their rigorous workout regime; weightlifting and running were their prominent forms of exercise. Also humorously, the members mentioned their CEO’s office being nearby. This led to Kevin’s jocular impersonation of the CEO should he catch idols improperly exercising.

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Adding another example of “Star Camp” ‘s unusual order, the three hosts dived into the basement to showcase the vocal practice room. Similar to the recording studio, fans will recognize this place from other videos. Social media accounts from Star Empire’s idols have depicted short, miniature clips of them singing in this room. Likewise with the recording studio, idols are seen actively working; during the filming, the group of Soreal was seen practicing their vocals.

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Now if fans have not recognized the other locations, positively, the third floor will be instantly identifiable; this floor holds the dance practice room, the same location of dance practice videos be it for ZE:A, Nine Muses, Jewelry, and even the other groups. On this floor, additional ZE:A members are encountered; Hyungsik, Siwan, and Taeheon were witnessed practicing. In preparation for their concert, they rehearsed a certain song: Apink’s “No No No” (a future review might be on Apink’s latest song, “Luv”). Readers familiar with Apink will know they are a female group, and some may hold the stance that males performing their choreography is either “wrong” or “awkward,” but ZE:A disproves such. Although “Star Camp” showcased solely a fragment of the dance, the gentlemen combated away those stereotypes and displayed a phenomenal, cute and catchy dance. Adding a quick digression, gender limitations is nonexistent; the concept of certain objects or actions being restricted to a specific gender is something socially constructed. In summary, hopefully viewers do not ever hold the idea of how a group’s choreography is limited based on gender. Reality shows there is no “female dance” or “male dance,” and even with different subjects such as cosmetics, hobbies and more, those limitations should be challenged and questioned.   

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Once the touring is completed, “Star Camp” focuses on specific moments of the gentlemen prepping for their solo concert. A specific scene disclosed their extreme dedication. From the beginning of the day to 4 a.m., ZE:A members were observed singing and dancing relentlessly. As Hyungsik mentioned, with 9 members in ZE:A, extra time must be invested in order to create perfect synchronicity among them. Despite how tiring and tedious the training proved to be, they all remained diligent and focused, and surprisingly, very cheerful and continued to encourage one another.

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Further practice was also observed. During the day and prior to the concert, ZE:A rehearsed on the actual stage itself. With time pressuring the members, they scrutinized every detail of the stage; whether it was the choreography itself, time to transition and change costumes, or introductions, everything became thoroughly checked and had both ZE:A and staff members giving feedback. Ensuring an excellent performance would ensue was their main objective.

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After all of the gentlemen’s hard work have been shown, the actual concert itself is filmed. Although in short bits, “Star Camp” disclosed the stage’s numerous fans and ZE:A’s outcome that came from dedicated, tiresome work. “Star Camp” ended on the message of how success derives from hard work. Even with the agonizing days of sheer preparation, in the end, ZE:A’s concert became augmented due to the invested time and energy.

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These are the main overarching ideas to the show. Firstly, although I overviewed the main points, I did not include every conversation and story that occurred, and thus, in that regard, I still recommend watching the show for those moments (fans of ZE:A and Star Empire Entertainment would be interested). However, overall, to address the mechanical aspects of “Star Camp,” this was a straight-forward show; it went from touring the label company to showing ZE:A’s sessions of practice. On the positive side, it allowed more focus to some behind-the-scene footages, but in the entertainment perspective, it was not too exciting (and considering this is moreover a show versus a documentary, I hold some entertainment accountable). I anticipated more personal sides to ZE:A, and although there were a multitude of interactions seen, it all revolved around “Star Camp” and practicing versus their usual affection towards each other. In comparison to, for example, OnStyle’s “The TaeTiSeo,” “Star Camp” adds the behind-the-scenes aspect, but unlike “The TaeTiSeo,” general interactions were not seen. Everything was under the industry working lens (mainly rehearsals), which is not bad in itself, but considering this is labeled a show and, as stated, not a documentary, entertaining components should have been added besides the anecdotes and such.

Scrutinizing the show for other aspects excluding the mechanical piece of being a show, like the general K-Pop related ones, the overall general vibe was one of cheerfulness. While positivity should be rife in people’s lives, “Star Camp” displayed the typical one-sided story to idols. ZE:A may have been seen to be drained physically of their stamina and such, and whether their emotions of feeling positive and joyful were genuine or not, the show placed emphasis on glamorizing the men’s jobs of being idols as perfect and utterly rewarding. Some people may recall a specific incident months ago involving Star Empire’s CEO and ZE:A’s leader Junyoung; their battle over fair, humane treatment in terms of simple respect and fair payment became acknowledged all over, and with that scenario holding as true, their fight would completely contradict “Star Camp” ‘s depiction of how ZE:A members possess an easy and positive, although tiring job that simply involved practicing for performances.

Following up, there is a significant aspect to this show’s tone due to the sole basis of editing (and of course further technicalities such as specific clips used, manipulated context, and more). For example, contrasting this show to pure footage and documentaries (such as Nine Muses’ documentary), the lens in which viewers witness this show become utterly transformed into one that is expecting entertainment and a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. With “Star Camp” having their own crew, the members of ZE:A addressed the show with a persona that would appeal to the public; the men appeared exceptionally positive and cheerful. The issue, however, that arises from the change in behavior is what covers the K-Pop industry’s shadier and crueler side. To use a specific example of how ZE:A (and others) adapted their behavior, when it came to the show’s initial introduction of interviewing idols (Kwanghee’s interview is the picture above), sadly, a high chance of their answers were potentially scripted. Although strangely kept, with Kwanghee’s interview, he confessed he had to include “nest” due to a given script for his answer to “What does Star Empire Entertainment represent to you?” On the surface, the awkward phrasing was jocular, and knowing Kwanghee’s upbeat and comical personality, his confession of having a script becomes insignificant. However, ignoring the lighthearted perspective, the fact that he was given a script to answer interview questions that should have elicited genuine, personal answers from his own thoughts, creates some questioning to both the show and potentially other shows and footages involving other K-Pop idols.

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Mechanically, “Star Camp” revealed a hindered perspective to ZE:A’s behind-the-scenes practice. Although crippled in showcasing solely positive experiences, it gives the most blatant layer to an idol’s work. In terms of other mechanical details such as being entertaining, while the stories tolds were amusing, more interaction among the members excluding work would have been desired. For the critical aspect, “Star Camp,” like the predominant concept of every K-Pop related show, solely displays positivity and happiness. And while the gentlemen could have truthfully and legitimately felt utter joy to be practicing, showcasing only their successes gives a limited perspective to their jobs, and unfortunately, undermines struggles they could be undergoing (and fast forward in the future, the example of ZE:A’s leader Junyoung and Star Empire’s CEO having their hefty argument). In short, this show is worth watching if ZE:A is a group of interest, and if Star Empire Entertainment holds some interest as well. Additionally, and even if it is one-sided, for those curious on practice protocols, a limited sight is given. For what I would recommend, however, is after watching this show, compare it to Nine Muses’ documentary, “Nine Muses of Star Empire,” to see significant changes and the additional layers to practicing and an idol’s experience (without leaking too much, the documentary includes staff members’ interaction with idols, the harshness, and more).

Perhaps in the future I will review the documentary, and even with my opinion of how solid Nine Muses’ documentary is, everything should still be questioned. A review on the documentary will include my thoughts regarding it, but that will be for the future. Ending on a slightly happier note (although people should still retain the idea of being critical), if the positivity and such seen in shows are forged, at the very least, I will argue that the affection between members are usually genuine. Using ZE:A as an example, Junyoung’s confrontation with the CEO was heavily driven in a desire to protect his members. Even different groups such as the somewhat older news of B.A.P attempting, as a whole group, to terminate their contract with their company is another example. After all, if the reality holds true that the K-Pop industry is rigorous and atrocious towards idols, surviving it via having love and compassion towards other members for support is a likely outcome.

Anyhow, my opinion on the show has been given. Thank you very much for reading, and hopefully this show review adds some variety to the standard song reviews I create. To add an extra piece to this show review trend, I will look over Nine Muses’ own reality show, “Nine Muses Cast” and give my stance on it. After that, song reviews will be resumed, and with a milestone of six reviews for January, I will aim to release four song reviews as soon as possible and in high quality. Songs in mind include Apink’s “Luv” and perhaps a desired review of Girl’s Day’s “I Miss You,” but as always, any song is up for grabs. In fact, I might review ZE:A’s “Ghost of the Wind” since that is a very solid song along with having the best choreography I have seen so far. Thank you once more, and stay tuned. (As a side note, I did finish this review on December 31, but I am holding it off until January 1, and I am hoping the pictures are formatted properly)