Girl’s Day were on Koon TV, a live streaming show on AfreecaTV, and as a result of their appearance, they’ve been getting heavy netizen backlash. It’s not yet anywhere near T-ara‘s or any of those national-level scandals, and as of now it’s easily below the level where it’ll do significant damage, but it’s definitely something worth monitoring going forward.
1) The girls appeared generally aloof and disinterested.
2) The girls were seemingly disrespectful to Choi Koon, the host of the program.
3) Sojin and the host allegedly argued about the mandu on the table.
Choi Koon, seeing the growing outrage, attempted to post a clarification for damage control, saying most of it was a misunderstanding.
“There really were no issues on the set yesterday, and we had fun. After the broadcast, there was a lot of responses, and after rewatching it, I realize there were parts that may cause misunderstanding so I am writing to you now. I wanted to do a bit more internet broadcast-like, casual broadcast yesterday. I wasn’t satisfied when watching our usual broadcasts with girl groups because they were so standardized and formal. There were a lot of responses saying ‘What’s the difference between [AfreecaTV] and a TV broadcast’ so after a lot of contemplation, we decided to go for a more internet broadcast-like, casual broadcast which ended up becoming more realistic. After we went for realism, in my desire to get some laughs, I made up scenarios and [the girls and I] bickered. And while we see the [live] chatroom on set, I couldn’t pick up on certain parts [of viewer criticisms]. I should have dealt with them there and then, but I think I wasn’t seasoned enough to do so.”
“Afterwards, and as is evident in the photo we took together, I was on good rapport with Girl’s Day. After the broadcast, all the members worried, ‘Were we too casual’ and we even talked on the phone [about it]. I wish there were no big misunderstandings. There were parts where things happened differently than my intentions, and since it’s a live broadcast there were parts that didn’t get filtered. The [Girl’s Day] girls really made it fun. So I had fun. I was never looked down on [during the broadcast] or anything like that. It was really a lot of fun. There were parts that I didn’t expect, and since it was Girl’s Day’s first internet broadcast I wanted to make them comfortable. I hope my sincerity is communicated. I hope there will be no further misunderstandings.”
Of course, even if that was the truth of how he felt (not like he can tell them to go fuck themselves), it was too late to stop the netizen train, and he’s actually going to get Girl’s Day to comeback on his show, so this really works out for him.
A source close to the group shared that Girl’s Day will be heading over to Choi Kun’s broadcast following the end of KBS’ “Music Bank” on July 10 at around 9 p.m. (KST).
Depends on how it’s handled it could work out for Girl’s Day or be extremely dumb.
My thoughts? This actually is a clash from both sides since I don’t follow either Girl’s Day or Choi Koon religiously, but I like them both a lot. Generally speaking, the reaction has been predictably overblown (everything is when it comes to this shit, let’s be honest), but I do think fans playing this off as nothing are wrong as well since this was definitely notable.
1) In terms of Girl’s Day’s lack of engagement, I agree that they did seem tired with lower energy than usual. It was mentioned by fans that they ended at 1 AM and they had to get up at 3 AM, which of course sounds terrible, but they know the deal of how these schedules go and how image maintenance goes and all that. They’re human, yes, but they probably should’ve gotten into the right frame of mine for a broadcast.
Put it this way, I think the overreactions framing them as terrible people or whatever are partially because, as somebody who has watched a bunch of his other broadcasts, this did standout as a particularly boring and basic one. When you’re noticeably worse than a majority of the guests on his show, it opens yourself up for criticism, which was their mistake.
2) The disrespectful to the host issue was actually sort of subjective and complicated.
Netizens are saying stuff like Girl’s Day would never do this to Yoo Jae Suk or something … but that’s the point, right? Like just at the heart of things that criticism seems to misunderstand the charm of the show. Part of the reason I watch Koon TV is specifically because it’s a less formal environment and he’s not a stuffy host that demands constant respect, and you can watch idols sing karaoke or get drunk and shit like that. I can’t speak for others who watch him, but the main reason I watch is because his guests can do whatever and not be so stick-up-their-ass all the time. Just like Choi Koon said, his viewers complained that as his show got more and more popular, he started to go more to a traditional talk show host stuff instead of like taking Fiestar to a restaurant and start drinking.
Anyway, the Tymee one was amusing. Cool rapper to Listerine bottles out on the counter, fuck it. pic.twitter.com/MKnW2VKC2d
— Asian Junkie (@asianjunkiecom) July 8, 2015
Like people were criticizing them for eating and comparing it to other broadcasts where they don’t eat, but do they honestly even watch his show? This was one of his mukbang ones, so they’re gonna eat a lot, and the other ones they’re using as benchmarks are either karaoke or 1-v-1 in a small room or like outdoors or whatever, so of course they’re all different.
Anyway, for better or worse, the point is that them doing shit like laughing loudly and trying to eat/kiss each other is not disrespectful to him specifically, as they do the same elsewhere and on broadcast.
Overall, as with the first criticism, the rude part to me was just not putting forth their usual effort rather than anything overt. I can see them rightfully taking heat for that, and it really didn’t help that Choi Koon stopped sitting in the middle, which made it harder for him to focus the direction of the show and made it look like they were bullying him or something.
3) For the mandu issue, if it wasn’t done for comedic effect, then I think Sojin deserved to be called out for that back-and-forth because it came off as rude. Thing is, apparently it actually was an attempt for laughs, specifically because people were starting to say the broadcast was boring (again, which is why you bring the energy to begin with), which is why the staff explained at the time and he explained later that they tried the gag.
If so, then it’s fitting then that international and Korean netizens alike are comparing it to Eunjung‘s rice cake incident, since that too was not a big deal in context, though I realize it’s not exactly the strength of netizens to recognize irony.
All in all, I guess a lot of this is up to your personal interpretation, and people surely are going around saying all types of shit about this, but my criticism for their appearance primarily revolves around them being boring as hell. Like I said, it stood out as particularly slow moving for one of his shows, even for a mukbang broadcast, which is why I think it was interpreted as a “holy fuck these girls are bitches” by most viewers. While I agree they could’ve done better and they should’ve showed more energy, it’s also a typical overreaction and I’m not sure what else about it would be classified as particularly newsworthy. Basically Girl’s Day just needs to manage this from here on out so it doesn’t blow up into something bigger than it is, and going back on and doing a good broadcast seems like a solid start.
More importantly though, I just REALLY hope this incident doesn’t cause Choi Koon to go conservative when idol groups come on in fear that he’ll be known as the show that causes problems or something. Because if it ends up that way, I have minimal reason to watch, as it’ll be the same old shit as I can get elsewhere with the idol repeating the same PR lines. Koon TV has gotten a lot of good underground celebs and nugu idols to open up and be informal and do stuff they normally wouldn’t, and it would really be a shame to see that type of rawness get lost over this shit. I’m pretty sure Girl’s Day will be fine since other girl groups have survived worse, but I’m also pretty sure that Koon TV will go even more conservative with the show now, which is just shitty for a world/fandom where there’s so little opportunity to get less stuffy, polished looks at these people to begin with.