GFriend’s Reality Show – “Where Are You Going?!” Review

GFriend – Where Are You Going?! (Full Playlist; Eng. Subtitled)

GFriend
Where Are You Going?!

Reviewed on August 7, 2016

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“All
in all, from a superficial stance, WAYG
does seem rather enticing; there are many places that GFriend visit and
coupling that with the ladies having fun with games and of course being
together, the show seems to excel in the realm of reality shows. However, as I
will argue, this is not the case: Where
Are You Going?!
is a rather repetitive, boring show. Even if GFriend
themselves provide appeal on the basis of their own acts, the show’s structure
greatly hinders the potential of the show.”

Personal
Message:
Although I
was—and am—going to review GFriend’s “Navillera,” due to preparing for a summer
class final and currently attempting to revise the current song review outline
so as to make it more concise (and to soon continue with subtitling a video
project for Fiestar’s subbing team), I have decided to review a show in the
meantime as a bonus. Besides, if anything, this review will create anticipation
for GFriend’s upcoming review as it clearly does involve the ladies. And before
continuing further, the linked playlist is an official upload by MBC, a
broadcasting station. English subtitles are also included from MBC and thus,
every reader here has no excuse to not watch it—or is that actually the case?

Explaining the prior statement and
in regards to why I have even decided to review Where Are You Going?! (which will be abbreviated as WAYG for the purpose of ease), while I
have been watching many videos on GFriend as of the late (indeed, I am now a
huge fan of them), this is the first show of any K-Pop group where I have found
it to be rather lackluster. Indeed, harshly said, this might be the first show
where I advise readers to not watch.
Now certainly GFriend in of themselves make the show as fun as possible and of
course fans are always grateful to have the members on any show, but WAYG is perhaps the most redundant show
I have yet to watch. I personally felt the urge to constantly skip ahead
throughout the show because, comically yet seriously said, WAYG is essentially a running show; if readers have ever been
curious as to what runners experience, then WAYG
provides an answer. A vast majority of the episodes simply involve walking or
running, and although interesting events still happen throughout said walking
and running along with some form of variety, this show is simply too lacking
and does not expand on multiple activities even when there are certain moments
for that to occur—an example being showcasing more footage from GFriend when
they were resting and talking to one another versus having even more footage of the ladies running and
walking.

And so to answer where GFriend is going,
while there are truthfully many answers, if we changed the question to “what are you doing” then problems arise as
there are only minimal answers—and generally said, that does mean a show would
lose appeal.

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Plot
Summary:
For the
following plot summary, I will reveal the main highlights of what occurs in the
show, but of course details will be saved for those who desire to watch the
show. In terms of what WAYG even is,
it is a reality show with some tints of being a variety show as there are games/missions
involved. Nevertheless, given that the main focus is on keeping the footage as
“natural” as possible and that they are not in a studio such as in Weekly Idol (or basement if we want to
be accurate), “reality” is an appropriate label. As for, in a summarizing
sentence, what the show is about, WAYG
follows GFriend as they travel around to various locations—examples being a
beach, landmarks, and so forth. Furthermore, however, the ladies are split into
two teams that compete with each other in various tasks. Predictably, winning
or losing the tasks results in punishments or rewards. A simple example is that
the losing team would have to walk and use buses to get to a landmark while the
winning team gets a personal ride there.

All in all, from a superficial
stance, WAYG does seem rather
enticing; there are many places that GFriend visit and coupling that with the
ladies having fun with games and of course being together, the show seems to
excel in the realm of reality shows. However, as I will argue, this is not the
case: Where Are You Going?! is a
rather repetitive, boring show. Even if GFriend themselves provide appeal on
the basis of their own acts, the show’s structure greatly hinders the potential
of the show.

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Overall
Value: 4/10
(4.00/10
raw score) – “Slightly below average”

– Entertainment Value: 5/10

– Structural Value: 3/10

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Analysis:
Although as mentioned show reviews
are mere bonuses and therefore the ratings should be taken lightly, WAYG does rate as slightly below average—and
agreeably so. In regards to the issue with the show’s format, as discussed
earlier the show lacks variety and depth in its content. Now certainly there is
some variety as noticed by, for examples, how the ladies are seen picking
tangerines to then jump-roping on a beach to then bicycling to then running and
seeing a landmark (and even much more), but if we are to gauge in a more
critical, open view then these activities are not as different as expected. The
following are still unappealing points that are not addressed even with
supposedly the variety of activities introduced: all of the activities are
based as games—there is a winner and loser; the teams’ compositions do not
change throughout the entire series; and lastly but arguably most importantly,
all of the activities are still too akin to one another.

To elaborate on those points, the
first one may appear confusing; why is there an issue with having the
activities all take the form of a game? After all, doing this allows for
viewers to become immersed in the competitive side of GFriend and likewise provides
incentives—goals, even—for GFriend and thus viewers are doing more than just
watching GFriend walk around and exploring sceneries. These are all valid
points but one aspect is overlooked: repetitiveness; mundaneness. It is not
inherently bad at all for games to occur—in fact it may even be beneficial.
However, when an entire reality show series revolves itself utterly on games,
one could not help but wonder if the series is even a reality show as much as a
variety show (though not to say that variety shows are bad). Perhaps as many
could agree to, with WAYG, it might
be expected that besides competing against each other, GFriend would still have
many moments of eating, touring, or exploring new places. But, with much of the
emphasis being towards the competitive side, WAYG soon feels more akin to a fancier game show than a show that
would bring various angles to GFriend. In terms of the second point, although it
is a weaker critique, randomizing the teams throughout might have also provided
more variety—and with how repetitive the show becomes, every bit helps.

Taking a look at the third main
critique, this is where I find the show most troubling. On the surface, yes,
the show is varied; it sounds extreme to say that the show lacks diversity in
its activities when quite blatantly the ladies do partake in many. Where I would challenge that notion, however,
is that quantity is not quality—as cliché as this is; it does not matter if
GFriend is shown running, walking, bicycling, taking buses, and so forth when
all of the activities are ultimately for racing against each other.
Furthermore, even within the different games—who can pick more tangerines, jump-rope
more, and so forth—there could have been much more competitions. For example,
it would have provided more appeal if some games were not “quantity-based” and
instead—to draw a sudden, random idea—were that of judging which team made the
most appetizing “eating-broadcast” (I will hope some readers understand that
term) or even the best sand castle. Again, the overly emphasized point of games
and that said games are not even diverse are the main culprits to the lower structural
score.

Optimistically, though, for where
the show still flourishes, GFriend is always entertaining. From their jokes to
how intense they can get with desiring to win, the ladies do provide purpose to
watching. Also, even if I do harshly bash the show’s structure, there still are
moments where the show provides what very much has lacked: moments of simply
GFriend being together and talking; moments of GFriend enjoying food and not
running out of breath; moments where usual touring and exploring occur. Additionally,
for a praise to the show itself and not the participants, WAYG should be credited for its simply layout: no ostentatious
captions; not relying on the constant use of songs (though admittedly hearing “Me
Gustas Tu” ‘s introduction for the hundredth time proved vexing after a few
episodes); not having dramatic footage editing of the ladies; and so forth.
Especially as many reality shows of the late are focused on providing as much
appeal as possible through excessive stimuli, watching WAYG does provide a relief through its clean, sharp delivery.  

In the end, for my personal recommendation,
I will boldly say this show is worth skipping over unless if one is a fan of
GFriend. Watching for the ladies themselves does prove worthy, but if one is
simply looking around for reality shows to watch for be it in hopes of getting
into GFriend (or a group in general) or for plain entertainment, there are many
other shows to look forward to instead. Of course, though, it should be kept in
mind that this review may come with much heavy bias—even if reviews are
innately going to be biased. Since I currently lack the skills to find what are
in fact strengths and weaknesses to shows, many of these points might be rooted
moreover in my take than in more serious, neutral reasoning. (This is why show
reviews are bonuses, after all, compared to that of song reviews.)

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As always, thank you for reading
even if this is moreover a bonus review. Since a reader is curious on a review
to GFriend’s “Navillera,” I will work hard to quickly finish the review. That
said, I am also looking to further concise reviews as it would be extremely
pleasing to be able to release a review per comeback, but nothing has been
finalized yet. At most, I am considering keeping the outline the same but to instead
change my analysis so that it is not so much on each aspect to a song, but
instead the points that provide the biggest discussion. Social digressions will
continue, though, whenever appropriate as I do find it a responsibility to
discuss topics that arise in pop culture. (An example is I might finally
discuss “slut-shaming” and even double-standards in Hyuna’s recent comeback.)
Point is, more experimenting will take place to see how reviews change. GFriend’s
“Navillera” might have to be the unfortunate test subject.

Overall, to answer where we are
going, look forward to GFriend’s “Navillera” to come, and afterwards I very
much plan to review Stellar’s “Crying” before focusing on more recent songs.