DRAMA CLUB: Roommate Episode 11 (1/2)
This week’s episode of Roommate featured a lot of funny moments, but also raised some serious issues that were heavily criticized by viewers both in Korea and internationally. Min Woo’s driving adventure, however, just seems like the last spark in a long line of viewer complaints about the nature of this “reality” program. Join the Drama Club as we discuss what happened and why we think the show is hitting on some peoples’ nerves.
Lore: Roommate has been a controversial show since shortly after it premiered. From Nana speaking Banmal to her elders, to Min Woo’s sleepy driving, the “forced” love lines, poor ratings, Park Bom’s recent “drug” scandal, and the announcement that Exo’s Baekhyun will guest star amidst a less than well received dating revelation, this program has not had an easy time. And to think we are only 11 episodes in. Wow.
I think that a portion of the negative buzz, at least the buzz internally generated by the program and not originating externally (Bom’s scandal, Baekhyun’s scandal), is being driven by a chase after ratings. Which sounds like simple common sense for any television viewer. The producers tease viewers with previews of tears and disagreements and high emotions to get us to tune in. We tune in and instead we find people crying because they were pranked (much like the viewers) instead of due to a horrible emotional event like the previews promised. This is nothing new in television, but it doesn’t really help in winning this show fans when it is already on shaky ground.
I can’t fault the producers for executing a strategy that has worked well for other shows, but I honestly think they need to really consider their game plan in the face of such negative press. I am not asking them to change the concept of Roommates- heck I honestly love the idea of this show- but I do think they need to be sensitive on what element they edit their episodes to revolve around. Episode 11 was largely focused on pushing a “Bad stuff is about to happen. What could it be?!” – In my mind a better approach would have been to focus less on one event (Min Woo’s driving) and more on the overall journey.
It is hard to completely pinpoint why people dislike this show. I feel that each article that comes out has different reasoning (Nana is disrespectful, the PDs hate Min Woo, the show is horrible in general). I do believe there is a lot of overreaction anymore to this show (Kang Joon was wearing a seatbelt folks) because a witch hunt has already begun- negative press causes more negative press. I sincerely hope this program finds its footing and shakes off the bad press because I really think there are a lot of positive things this show has going for it. Seriously.
Rosie: Agreed, and it’s kind of disheartening to come into a show knowing already that people are finding fault with an episode’s trajectory before you even watch it. (Maybe this is telling me I should stick my head in the sand and not listen before I watch?) Sometimes I really do wonder what the Roommate PDs and editors are thinking, and then I’m caught in an internal battle between wishing they had edited out Min Woo’s poor driving skills brought on by an obvious (and verbally admitted!) lack of sleep, and wishing desperately that Min Woo had just pulled over, because in that state he was seriously endangering himself, his team, and anyone else on the road.
The horrible part is that I almost wish it had just been covered up by the editing team, but you know what? This is reality. So many people in real life make dumb mistakes just like this, for reasons they think are good (Min Woo was worried about Kang Joon’s lack of driving experience and didn’t want to put the burden on him). But in a show people are already side-eyeing, I don’t think viewers like watching it happen when it’s not a previously scripted drama.
Is Roommate too much “reality” for some people? It seems to be fine that we can stomach endless hours of dreadfully atrocious first lead males when it comes to drama, but one real person has a bad day and gets a little moody, snippy, or careless in his/her speech on a reality or variety program, and the witch hunt is on! Bom curses loudly when the car makes a sudden break, and “How dare she do that on TV!” Kang Joon loosens his seat belt off his shoulder for part of the ride, and he’s suddenly the leading proponent on bad passenger safety techniques.
It makes me so relieved I’m not a celebrity, because if the cameras were on me today, they would have seen how I left my family’s piles of laundry untended and a dirty mountain of dishes which I later directed my sibling to clean up. While I sat on my bum and rested for a few minutes.
In Roommate land, Min Woo makes a full apology to his team and they seemingly accept him back into the (honestly overhyped) ‘family’ setting. But for many viewers, it’s too little too late.
Remember this scene? You won’t if you only care about what came later.
This was in my opinion, one of the most hilarious episodes of Roommate I’ve seen, and it’s marred by a “doom” bound storyline, and bad decisions, both of the cast and PDs, and that’s a huge shame.
Qisti: I don’t have much to say about the bad misfortunes that have happened surrounding the Roommate household. Bom’s drug scandal and Baek Hyun’s scandal happened outside the household, those things can’t be helped. Things inside the household, I want to blame the editing of the show. Truth be told, it was so hard for me to watch the episode because I felt like after every 10 minutes they would put in a small teaser about the upcoming misfortune. I agree that it’s completely dangerous and stupid of Min Woo to drive, but they don’t have to tell me that it’s going to happen every single waking second. It was a little frustrating for me to watch the episode. In the end, the bad editing really caused some misunderstandings in my opinion. They made it seem like the situation was absolutely, horrifically awful; when in reality it wasn’t that severe. If anything, people learned, people are now more aware of what might happen if you drive while sleep deprived. But most people didn’t see it that way.
There is no such thing as bad publicity. I’m sure we’ve all heard this statement. Heck, I was taught this as a communications major. It seems to me that the PDs of this show seem to taking this “bad publicity” route, rather loosely if I might add. With so many bad situations and misunderstandings happening in the household, it’s no wonder that the ratings are low compared to some of the other shows.
With bad media coverage, there always is a crisis management plan to deal with it. The question is, what is their crisis management plan? And truthfully, I don’t think they have one. I think the producers are doing this on purpose just because it’s the concept of the show. Reality. This happens in real life, it happens, we learn, and we move on. Maybe this show is too real? Should they have edited out Min Woo’s driving? No, but I do think that they could have really emphasized more on the family aspect of forgiving. They spent SO much time foreshadowing this impending doom, that they just rolled over the overall lesson learned. I felt like I needed more. For a show that’s trying to emphasize the “family” aspect, I think it was a big mistake to take that part lightly.
Feel like today’s commentary was a bummer? Yeah, we do too. Come back tomorrow though for a fun and positive discussion on Roommate. You know, for the reasons we still watch and write about this!
Read more about Roommate:
Episode 11: [Part 1]
Wonder who your Drama Club members are?
Rosie: Shine a Light Rose
Lore: Lore in Stone Cities