supermasterpiece reviews:
K-tv's "happy together"

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that although I've chosen to review a Korean language game show, I don't speak any Korean.  However, I will not let this impediment compromise my journalistic integrity.  I intend to present a fair, full, and balanced review of this show.

Believe me, being a television critic is very hard, especially for me, since I don't have cable.  This drastically reduces the number of shows I can watch and review.  While most people in the civilized world have hundreds of channels of programming, I have only 13.  Since I live in New York, the "great melting pot" where peoples from all over the world gather to live, work, and generally get on one another's nerves, a high percentage of the 13 channels channels available to me are in languages other than English. As a result, a high percentage of the TV I watch is in a foreign language.

One of my favorite chunks of foreign language programming is the Korean stuff on Channel 17.  For instance, there's this one historical drama where these guys run around dressed like samurai, and have discussions and stuff.  It's exactly like watching an old Kung Fu movie, only nothing exciting ever happens.  It's very soothing.

The historical samurai show is great, but my all-time favorite Korean show has to be a game show called "Happy Together".  Although I've been watching this show for years, I've only today found out that this is the show's name, thanks to the internet.  Also, I call it a game show, but I don't think anyone ever wins anything, except the chance to help our their careers by appearing on TV.

Anyway, the first half of "Happy Together" features five people:  two regular host guys (the guys in glasses in the back row in the picture above) and three celebrity contestants that change every week.  I think the people are celebrities, because they're always a little too attractive to just be regular people.  Also, the show seems like one of those shows where celebrities get to "be themselves", as there is a lot of clowning around.

Here's how the show works: the five contestants kneel in this room, and clown around for a while.  Then, every  now and then music starts playing, and they take turns singing lines from a song.  If they mess up at all, a giant metal plate drops from the ceiling, and smacks them in the head.  Violently.  Also, they're holding spoons in front of their faces.


Eventually, they manage to sing it right, and they clown around some more. 

After that, we move onto "Happy Together" Phase II.  This part features seven contestants in brightly colored tee shirts and oversized, round hats. Picture the human version of those weird evil mushrooms from the Mario Brother's games.  The contestants sit on little chairs under a giant piano, which is hung upside down from the ceiling so that whenever they stand up, their giant hats play a note on the piano.

The goal now is to play a certain song on the giant piano by standing up in the right order.  As usual, there is a lot of clowning around and horseplay between attempts.  To make matters even more hilarious, one guy has to be both the highest and lowest notes in the scale.  This leads to a lot of frantic running around, and assorted hijinxs inevitably ensue.

After that, the show's over.

Keep in mind, I'm not 100% percent sure what's going on whenever I watch this show.  I've pieced all of the above information together from hunches, rumors, and vague ideas.  I don't speak any Korean, so I'm not even sure if I've gotten anything right.  I'm just guessing, pretty much.  Having said that, I would absolutely give this show two thumbs up.  It's really funny, because people from other countries act really strange and different.  Plus, it's great to see them get hit in the heads with those metal plates.  They always show it three or four times in a row whenever it happens, because they know how awesome it is.

This show is incredibly entertaining, and should join Caliente, Guerra De Los Sexos, and the Greek show where they wear funny skirts and do those ridiculous dances as one of the top shows in the foreign language genre.

Our Rating: 8.2/10

Check your favorite Korean language media outlet for local listings.

Chris Messick is a co-founder of  Check out more of his writing here.