The challenge is straight out of Greek mythology: hold a stone up as long as possible. For more than two hours, Korean car salesman Jo Jin-hyeong captivated audiences around the world with a reality show that could herald a K-culture’s new success abroad.
After films like Oscar-winners Parasite and TV series including the Golden Globe-bedecked Squid Game helped promote K-content abroad, industry sources say South Korea’s top reality show may be next for the manager.
Physical: 100The new Netflix show that gym buff Jo competed in featured 100 men and women in the best possible physical condition, including South Korea’s former Olympian and former teammate specifically, the soldiers, who are doing ridiculously difficult challenges.
It was the first unreleased series on the streaming giant’s non-English chart, based on the popularity of Single Infernois a Korean dating show that became a worldwide sleeper last year.
Part of the beauty of these shows are the competitors: Jo, who started hitting the gym as a teenager and never became a professional player, knows she can hold her own against some the most powerful people are South Korea.
The 41-year-old won one of the show’s most daring contests, the Greek myth “The Punishment of Atlas” challenge, where the contestants had to lift and hold a stone that was designed by candidate Kim Kang-min’s body is not less than 50 kilograms (110 pounds).
Jo managed two hours and 14 minutes.
“When I took it up I thought it would be over in about 30 minutes,” he told AFP, saying he told himself: “stay there for just 10 more minutes, then 10 minutes.”
She placed fourth in the overall show – something she said was unimaginable.
“I started exercising in elementary school because I was so tired, I wanted to be strong,” he said, feeling emotional when he thought of his childhood, which he thanked “for not give up.”
Good and true
In the past few years, South Korean content has taken the world by storm, and more than 60 percent of Netflix viewers are watching a show from the East Asian country in 2022, according to the company.
Netflix, which spent more than 1 trillion won ($759 million) on developing Korean content from 2015 to 2021, said it is expanding its South Korean reality show this year.
“Korean shows didn’t travel before Netflix started them around the world,” said Don Kang, the company’s vice president of Korean content.
“There are some things we’ve done to make the world more understandable,” he said, such as simplifying the headlines.
Car salesman Jo said he thought the show was proving popular overseas because of the genuine sense of camaraderie in the sport. of South Korea.
“We encouraged each other in every competition, comforting each other when one lost,” he told AFP.
The “quality” of South Korean reality shows is a key part of their appeal to foreigners, said Regina Kim, an entertainment journalist and K-content expert based in New York. .
“It’s like a breath of fresh air for American viewers who may be tired of watching reality stars running or fighting all the time,” he told AFP.
“There are definitely more Korean reality shows that are popular abroad, including in the US,” he said, pointing to Korean reality series that have become international shows.
“There are US remakes of Korean reality shows like that The Cover Song and I Have Seen Your Voice it was the most popular here,” he said, referring to popular South Korean music that was later translated into English by Fox.
Physical: 100 caused controversy by confusing contestants of different genders with each other, prompting questions of accuracy. Finally, the top five competitors were men.
But Jang Eun-sil, one of the 23 women who competed in the show, told AFP that she found the format “original and new”, and that it helped motivate her through all the challenges.
“I always did my best, so I don’t regret it and I never thought it was unfair,” said the 32-year-old wrestler, who was highly praised in the leadership he showed on the show.
Although he did not win, he said that the competition allowed him to bring his beloved sport to a wider audience.
“Honestly, wrestling is not a popular sport in South Korea,” he said, adding that it was a “great respect”. thanks to her, many South Koreans now know that there were female wrestlers.
He also saw an influx of fans around the world flooding his social media accounts. “Now I plan to add English subtitles (to my YouTube channel),” he said.
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