K-Pop and K-Dramas: ATEEZ Variety Shows

Press photo of ATEEZ on the red carpet. (From left to right) Jeong Yunho, Park Seonghwa, Choi San, Kang Yeosang, Kim Hongjoong, Jung Wooyoung, Choi Jongho, and Song Mingi. Copyright goes to KQ Entertainment and ATEEZ.

Hey! Hallie here!

ATEEZ recently finished up their most recent self-promoting variety show, “Salary Lupin ATEEZ”. It hasn’t been their first variety show of this kind, but I found it, in many ways, lacking. Before ATINY’s get angry, I would like to say that I love ATEEZ. I consider myself an ATINY, and I in no way believe that ATEEZ is incapable of creating an enjoyable variety show. In fact, they have before. In promotion of the first half of the “Fever” album, ATEEZ released a variety show called “ATEEZ Fever Road”. This variety show was superior to their most recent show in many, many important ways. And not just because Mingi was there to enjoy “Fever Road”. From fun games, to getting to know the boys, to simply being more watchable to the audience, these two variety shows have major differences. So let’s look into them.

“Salary Lupin ATEEZ”:

Concept: This concept isn’t bad. The first episode sets it up by showing each of the boys interacting with a fake digital interface (A staff member hilariously sitting in a box). The box holds a job interview with each member, ultimately deciding which position in the fictional firm, titled ATEEZ Holdings, the members will take. While the positions themselves aren’t important, the ranking of their positions is used to create many comical moments throughout. Especially because Jongho, the groups maknae, was placed in the highest position in the company. After the job interviews, the members are sent into an office building, and various places afterwards, to role play their positions in the company while playing games. The concept initially sounds like a lot of fun. Until you get into the role play section. It’s not that the boys are bad at getting into their roles. They actually seem very enthusiastic about it. It’s simply that a lot of their dialogue is scripted. Unless they’re in the process of playing a game, a lot of their interactions are scripted to set up plot points. The dialogue is always cringy and the members either laugh through it or deliver it awkwardly. It takes away from the audiences ability to get to know the members personalities and it’s unnecessary to most episodes. Considering the long length of each episode, I think it’s safe to say all of the scripted elements could have been cut out for a much better viewing experience.

Activities: The activities that occur throughout the episodes are hit or miss. They play a game where the members must locate the two imposters within the group by earning clues. The members personalities came through in this game more than any other activity. Some members, like Hongjoong, accused other members in the effort to form alliances with those adamant that they weren’t the imposters, and to catch true imposters in a lie. Others, like Seonghwa, were too quick to trust and ended up betrayed. The true imposters were Jongho and Yeosang, though, to be honest, neither was the best of liars. Still, they managed to win the game. Other smaller games, such as laser tag and karaoke, also seemed to really interest the members. They were fun to watch because the members were having fun. Some activities weren’t so interesting to watch. One activity saw members get into groups to plan out future potential music videos. During this activity the episode spent a lot of time on the boys working on computers and muttering ideas to each other without letting the audience in on the action. Needless to say, this wasn’t fun to watch and the time that they were working on the computers could have been cut from the episode entirely. Another game was a murder mystery game where the members had to discover which one of them killed a fictional employee of their company by looking through a set. The clues in this game implicated every single member of ATEEZ in the crime. To the point that every member had a motive and a means to kill the employee. By the end it was impossible for the audience to have put together who the murderer was. Though it was fun to watch Hongjoong calmly and easily deflect suspicion off of himself, only for him to be revealed as the murderer, it wasn’t fun for the audience to watch.

Overall: There was one truly meaningful part of this series. After playing a game the members of ATEEZ earned themselves a meal. Only to find out that each dish of the meal was provided by each of their mothers. Each received a note from their mother wishing them well. Hongjoong’s mother even recited some of his lyrics in her letter, leading to an extremely touching reaction from Hongjoong. Moments like this stripped the role-play down and showed the true personalities of the members. But, unfortunately, they didn’t happen often enough. Every good moment was met with an equally bad or cringy moment, and every episode was far too long, making this series mediocre at best by its end.

“ATEEZ Fever Road”

Concept: “Jumanji”. What more is there to say? The first episode started with the boys coming up to a large house. Drum beats, like the ones you hear before every challenge in “Jumanji”, indicated their first challenge had come before they could even step into the house. The members ended up having to find keys to determine which was the one to open the door to the house. When they finally got it open, they found a board game that was, of course, a replica of the “Jumanji” game promising more adventures. There’s no script in this one. Simply staff throwing the members into unexpected and challenging games. This works to it’s benefit. It allows members to be themselves and give genuine reactions to their unexpected predicaments. Meanwhile, the show gave the members time to have genuine moments with one another before they were thrown into each game.

Activities: Every game was unexpected and fun. Each one also rose the stakes of the previous game, and gave the members a puzzle piece for a puzzle they would put together at the end of the series. One of the first games had members pick food dishes individually, if any member chose the same dish as another one, the dish had to go back. This led to the members ending up with some pretty strange things in an effort to pick something no one else would pick. The staff wound up taking pity on them, allowing them to do small tasks for the dishes they missed. This ended with the members cooking together around a large bonfire and genuinely enjoying each other’s company. The next night the staff “kidnapped” Wooyoung, dropped him in a quite frightening park, and forced him to find a way out with the help of the members, who had to find instructions for Wooyoung by completing smaller tasks. As you can see, the games escalated quite quickly. All were fun to watch though and all of the members seemed to enjoy them. From climbing a rock wall to retrieve the letters to a love message to ATINY, to having to retrieve Mingi by gaining clues about his location when they answered questions about Mingi correctly and wearing large blow-up animal outfits when they guessed incorrectly, no episode was uninteresting or confusing. The audience could enjoy everything just as much as the boys.

Overall: The show ends with the boys back around the campfire, sharing what ATINY means to them. It’s a meaningful moment that makes ATINYs watching feel closer to the members. And that’s what this show does as a whole. The episodes are much shorter than what “Salary Lupin ATEEZ” boasts. But in the end, it shows much more of the members personalities than the other one does. No matter what they face, the members reactions are always genuine and there’s just as genuine of a love for ATINY behind it all.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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