One thing that’s great about the internet is you get to watch what people across the world are watching.

Living in Canada, most of our programming probably comes from the US, with maybe a little bit from the UK as well. We’re so used to a certain type of humour, or a certain type of movie plotline, that sometimes they all start to seem the same. However, as Parasite reminded us when it won the Oscars, there’s so much more out there than just English programming.

So lately I’ve almost made it a point to see what people in other countries are watching, just to throw a little bit of variety in there.

In the midst of watching a string of Korean videos, I came across this Korean show, which was interesting, to say the least. Although it’s produced by a Korean broadcaster (KBS), they’ve regularly uploaded full length clips on their YouTube channel.

Hello Counselor (안녕하세요) is a show that tries to be what it sounds – a counselor of sorts. People bring their problems onto the show, and the hosts, along with an assortment of actors, actresses, and K-pop stars, try to figure out how to bring the feuding sides together, with some comedy injected in between.

It’s a surprisingly interesting format – it blends a little of the comedy talk show format with a reality show format to create something that I find to be quite different than what I’m used to watching.

Over the years they gotten all kinds of “concerns” as they call it, from ones that are fairly serious, to ones that are downright ridiculous.

For example, did you remember the first time you did sex ed? Well, in this one, the kid’s mom seems to have a strange way of teaching her kid about the birds and bees:

Yikes! That’s probably every high schooler’s nightmare scenario.

But as I mentioned, on the flip side, there are some episodes that feature segments that are quite sad to watch. One that comes to mind is this episode, where the little girl gets trapped between the parents that are constantly arguing. Pretty much everyone is shocked towards the end of the segment, when they find out what the little girl thinks.

For the most part I feel that the show does a relatively decent job at trying to balance the more serious content with a little bit of levity in between, which isn’t always easy. It certainly is very entertaining, and almost a window into Korean society.

However, the main criticism that I have about the show is that sometimes it simply doesn’t have the ability to really solve some of these problems. Half the time I feel like they only get to a brief truce at the end of the segment, and with pretty loose commitment that they’ll try to be better in the future. It’s almost like watching Judge Judy after I learned that the plaintiff and defendant don’t even necessarily have to pay out of pocket for anything – it loses a little bit of that satisfaction and feeling of resolution.

As well, although it’s not any of the guests’ fault, they really don’t have much experience in some of the areas that these “concerns” dig into. It would probably be a better idea to maybe invite experts that come on to talk about the issues, and maybe investigate further the problems behind it. That way it wouldn’t feel like they’re skating over some issues or not giving it the attention that they deserve.

But for their part, they’ve tackled some serious issues and have been relatively progressive for Korean standards. They’ve brought on Muslim guests, and Black guests to speak about some of the stereotypes that they face and the general sentiment they relay to viewers is to be more open minded and less judgemental.

It sometimes feels like an emotional rollercoaster watching these videos, and certainly they are very interesting to watch. But watching this does to some extent make you reflect on your own life and family.

The one thing I did take away for sure, is that you shouldn’t take for granted what you got, cause some people definitely have it a lot worse.

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