K-Pop: Monsta X Ray

Set photo of (from left) Chae Hyungwon, Yoo Kihyun, and Sohn Hyunwoo (Shownu). Copyright goes to Monsta X and Starship Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Recently, to pass the time, I’ve been going through Monsta X’s variety show, ‘Monsta X Ray’. There are three seasons of it over the course of a couple years, though none of the seasons have many episodes. While some of the episodes are pretty generic variety show fare (and some of the episodes from a couple years back feature some disrespectful editing and props that the boys had nothing to do with), there were a couple episodes that blew me away with the level of creativity involved. When these episodes were good they were some of the best I had ever seen from a variety show. So, this will contain MINOR SPOILERS for ‘Monsta X Ray’ and will also include my absolute favorite episodes from each season. Because, trust me, these episodes are absolutely worth watching.

Season 1, Episode 2-3:

The second episode of ‘Monsta X Ray’ was pure chaos right off the bat. The boys were told that they would be visiting a historic house and recreating some Korean dishes. The twist was that they would be playing an old Korean family and would draw roles at random. Shownu, appropriately, received the role of the mother-in-law. Minhyuk pulled the role of a daughter-in-law while Kihyun pulled the role of the mother’s biological daughter, but they decided to switch roles last minute which ended up in Minhyuk mercilessly teasing Kihyun for such a mistake. Hyungwon played a daughter-in-law while I.M ended up receiving the role of the foreign Russian daughter-in-law. And then Wonho played a servant while Joohoney, much to his chagrin, wound up with the role of the dog. The boys mercilessly teased each other throughout the entire episode, which made every action they had to participate in extremely funny. In the third episode they all made kimchi after Shownu called his mother in the previous episode to get her recipe. Upon tasting it, Shownu remarked in surprise that it tasted so similar to his mother’s and had to be reminded that they got the recipe from his mother. Oh, Shownu.

Season 1, Episode 5:

I have referenced this episode before because it’s so adorable. In this episode the boys have to volunteer to help out at a daycare and are separated into two groups. Shownu, Minhyuk, Kihyun, and Hyungwon helped with the one year olds while Wonho, Joohoney, and I.M helped with the three year olds. In the room for the three year olds, the three there discovered that they would have to be very energetic. I.M struggled with winning over the kids even though he tried so hard, I felt so bad. Joohoney was an immediate favorite with the kids because of his energy and Wonho was also liked, though the kids found it much more fun to pick on him rather than play with him. The real stand out of this episode was definitely the parts with the one year olds, just because they were so cute. Not that the other kids weren’t, but these were the baby-babies. The energy in this room was much lower. Kihyun ran around like the caring mother he is, trying to take care of most of the kids in there at once. Shownu was viewed as intimidating by the one year olds, and one child even burst into tears at the sight of him, but by the end Shownu became more like a protective presence for the kids. Minhyuk was also well liked because of his energy and was most likely to make the kids laugh. And Hyungwon unexpectedly became attached to a small child who spent much of his time crying. It wasn’t long before everyone discovered that the child would stop crying if Hyungwon was carrying or hugging him but only if it was Hyungwon, and Hyungwon took this very cute responsibility very seriously.

If you want to see more of the guys babysitting, they did partner with TwoTuckGom, the company that made their plushies, to babysit a child pretending to be his plushies come to life human form. This episode was just as adorable as the ‘Monsta X Ray’ one and featured them wearing the respective onesies of their characters, taking the cute lucky kid to an amusement park/zoo, and generally acting like Dads. I don’t know what it is with kids and Hyungwon, but despite the fact that Hyungwon took charge when it came to making the little kid behave, he still considered Hyungwon to be his favorite. He preferred it if Hyungwon was carrying him and ran over to wake up Hyungwon when he fell asleep so that he could read him a story. I.M tried his hardest to be one of the favorites of the kid as well, but it didn’t look like he was succeeding as the the kid didn’t remember his name. Until the very end when he chose I.M as his second favorite which made Changkyun react in such a cute way that you would have to see it to believe it. Another adorable show that I highly recommend, even if it isn’t exactly ‘Monsta X Ray’. And the boys did eventually reunite with kids from the daycare specifically in an episode of something else.

Season 2, Episode 7:

This is a variety show episode that will go down in history. Have you seen many K-pop groups do full on parodies of K-dramas? Definitely not often. And ‘Monsta X’ takes it to an entirely new level with their production value. This parody starred Kihyun as the lead female character in what starts out as a ‘Boys Over Flowers’ parody. Shownu plays the leader of the F4 who is also the main love interest, Joohoney plays the member of the F4 who likes Kihyun too (the character’s name is even JiHoo), I.M plays a member of the F4 and the rich mother of Shownu’s character separately, Minhyuk plays the best friend of Kihyun who has a crush on Joohoney, Wonho plays a member of F4 and a disguise expert/housekeeper for the rich family, and Hyungwon plays the fiancee of Shownu named Dodo and a doctor. While this starts out as a regular ‘Boys Over Flowers’ skit, it quickly changes to become something way crazier. Kihyun’s character falls asleep after realizing she had to work for Shownu’s family and then is woken up by Shownu which results in a falling in love sequence. After they are broken up by his mother (and Dodo), who slaps her in the face with kimchi, she decides to take revenge on the family several years later. She infiltrates the family again with an expert disguise (a drawn on mole) and is recognized bu Shownu who decides to run away with her. Joohoney, in his agony over Kihyun, randomly throws a boomerang that accidentally hits Shownu, preventing him from having children. Kihyun goes blind with the shock of the news, only to wake up where the story all started and to be insulted by Shownu. (What a twist!) The rest of the episode is hilarious behind the scenes footage.

Season 3, Episode 6:

This is yet another hilarious K-drama parody that they did. This one featured I.M in the lead female role, Shownu played the brotherly type character who had a crush on I.M, Wonho played the artsy bad boy who also had a crush on I.M, Minhyuk played the new girl in town who also got caught in between the two boys, Kihyun played Shownu’s best friend who had a crush on Joohoney, Joohoney played I.M’s female best friend who had a crush on Kihyun, and Hyungwon played a doctor (again) and a weird martial arts kid at the High School. In this one it is clear that I.M and Shownu have feelings for each other until I.M meets Wonho. Minhyuk has an immediate crush on Shownu which fades a bit when she sees Wonho. Wonho overhears Kihyun and Joohoney talking about how much I.M likes Shownu and then gets concussed after his despair. He ends up in the hospital with a sudden cancer diagnosis that everyone gets super dramatic over until it suddenly proves to be false, and I.M ends up with Shownu. All the while in the background Kihyun and Joohoney have a super odd sub-plot romance that’s difficult to describe. This one is just as funny as the other one and is full of just as many odd plot twists. And, as always, the rest of the episode is hilarious behind the scenes footage.

Season 3, Episode 7-8:

This is another two parter and the last I will be mentioning of my absolute favorite episodes from this show. In this two parter, the boys play a series of games to figure out who amongst them is their true love. Of course, as there is seven of them, one member was sadly left out. Through these series of games the members choose who to cater to and then become a part of teams. Most people in these episodes wanted their true love to be Changkyun (I.M), showing the group’s undying love for the maknae. They go on dates as well that include fortune telling, roller skating, and other fun activities amongst the games. At the end each member turns around and predicts which member might choose them. And if two members choose each other, they are paired up as true loves by the end of the game. Shownu and Kihyun chose each other, which was adorable as Kihyun was absolutely expecting to be the odd one out. Hyungwon and Joohoney ended up as a couple after doing so many things together. And, lastly, Wonho who was most desperate for the maknae’s love was eventually chosen by their beloved maknae. Minhyuk was left out, but at the end of the day they all love each other equally so he’s never left out of anything! We all love you Minhyuk!

‘Monsta X Ray’ had some duds, but there is absolutely no mistaking the amazing episodes of this show as well. I will never be able to get Hyungwon’s Dodo voice out of my head or the image of Changkyun hitting Kihyun with the kimchi only to apologize profusely afterwards. The show was so wholesome and adorable and definitely worked to make the boys less intimidating despite their image. The babysitting episode really showed how soft all of these boys are. Including the ones who might look a little more intimidating than the others (literally the only ones who aren’t immediately intimidating are Kihyun and Minhyuk and maybe, maybe Joohoney). These boys are all so soft, and it’s hard not to fall in love with them after seeing these episodes.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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