One of the things I really enjoy about the Korean entertainment system is how idols are trained not just as singers, but also as actors. While most don’t pursue careers in television or film, almost all of them are comfortable promoting their groups on variety shows.
Case in point: BTS!
On November 7, 2016 — before they became known as the world’s most famous boy band — RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook appeared on “Star Show 360.” Hosted by Tak Jae-Hoon and Super Junior’s Leeteuk, the series devoted 80 minutes to the group’s shenanigans. Like what, you ask? Like Jungkook and J-Hope dancing on demand when asked to imitate choreography performed by girl groups.
This episode was filmed about a year before Jin proclaimed himself as “Worldwide Handsome.” It’s fun to hear the emcees refer to him (jokingly!) as an ajussi. They point out that he has such a young face, but a middle-aged man’s sense of humor. Jin’s such a good sport that he laughed the most when he was asked to pose like a sexy middle-aged man for a pretend ad.
But Jin being Jin, he also was 1,000% on point with his commentary.
With all the records that BTS have broken in the past two years, it’s easy to forget that their albums didn’t always debut at No. 1. Jimin was super proud that they reached No. 26 in the United States.
Of all the group members, V is the one who least likes alcohol. But he recognized that it’s a big deal to reach the legal age of drinking. He talked a bit about how they celebrated Jungkook’s birthday in Europe with a beer. (Jungkook turned 19.) It was the first time all seven of them drank alcohol together.
RM — who went by Rap Monster back then– charmed everyone with his impeccable English. The hosts repeatedly mentioned how sexy BTS’ leader sounded when he spoke English.
Remember how Jin had to pose sexy? They made RM do it, too. (Actually, they all had to.) He looked good, if you ask me, but Suga pointed out that the red polka-dot shirt was pretty much the opposite of sexy.
The group also premiered a skit called “Eye Candy of BTS High School,” where the guys all played characters from a fictional high school: V (class president), Jimin (P.E. teacher), RM (English teacher), Jin (school nurse), Suga (music instructor), Jungkook (art club leader) and J-Hope (Korean teacher). I always thought of V and Jin as the group members who would become actors (V, of course, already debuted in “Hwarang“). But I think J-Hope would also do well in comedy or a drama.
It wasn’t all fun and games, though. The boys reminisced about the hard times they went through. Jungkook said that for him, having six older brothers in the group is a blessing. He also mentioned that although he is fine when he himself has hardships, it upsets him when any of his bandmates are suffering.
Tak Jae-hoon mentioned that his daughter’s bias was Suga and that she wanted to become his wife. Viewers could tell that Suga thought that was cute, but he was truly confused as to why so many girls were enamored with him. (Talent aside … Um, Yoongi, have you looked in a mirror?)
Near the end of the episode, series regular Kim So-Hye of I.O.I. joined everyone on set. To be honest, I didn’t like how she was treated. Maybe it’s all part of the schtick, but Kim — who was only 16 years old at the time — was presented as the Korean equivalent of a dumb blonde. She actually was very funny, playing along, but it would’ve been nice if the emcees had been more gracious to her.
Besides Suga’s bald-faced lie about not being a 10, the show presented a fallacy about the U.S. to their viewers. There was a segment where the guys had to answer questions about the places they had toured. They were asked about things that were considered rude in the U.S. The answer, according to the show? Blowing on hot food. What? In the same segment, Suga correctly guessed that “ta bom” meant “very good” in Portuguese.
They closed their appearance with performances of “Blood, Sweat & Tears” and an incendiary version of “Fire.”
Honorable Mention: Jungkook imitating Kim Sang-Joong from “Bad Guys” and everyone deciding he sounded nothing like the actor was priceless. V walking directly in front of the camera to get to the men’s room was a faux pas, apparently, but funny nonetheless.
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