As many readers will tell you, I am a huge fan of variety shows, especially of the shows that aired in the early to mid 2000's. This was a time period when variety shows really hit their stride and was a kind of renaissance moment for them. I'm such a fan that I wrote an entire article on them just a few months ago but looking back on what I wrote, I admit that I made a crucial mistake.
In the time crunch to complete the post, I made a split second yet fatal decision to leave out one of the all time variety classics, 'Love Letter'. The Kang Ho Dong hosted program was a must watch program and part of SBS' variety show dominance at the time. The show set the standard for all concepts featuring celebrities vying for each other's hearts (like the Boom lead 'All the K-pop' which openly copies 'Love Letter's' format) . On today's Way Back Wednesday, I'll correct a very egregious wrong and look back at the 10 things we all miss about 'Love Letter'.
1. Tung Tung Couple
This was the nickname given to the funniest (and many would say the best) "couple" from the show, Kim Jong Min and Hwang Jung Eum. The name stems from the sound their heads make when you knock on them (think the sound the Tin Man makes in 'The Wizard of Oz') and that'll give you a hint to what made them work so well together.
Starts at 5:40
2. Chun Myung Hoon's "Cuteness"
In my opinion, the character that Chun Myung Hoon developed on the show was the best in variety show history. His combination of fist inducing cuteness and temper riling annoyance was the prototype of developing a character on a show and basically playing a part for the audience. It was genius... and absolutely hilarious.
Starts at 29:22
3. Hwanhee Breakdancing
Before this show, I had no idea the guy could move like this. Also, apologies for the horrible video quality but I tried.
4. Kang Ho Dong
He was one of the most decorated ssirim (Korean wrestling) stars in history and can probably still break most people in half but he had an incredible sense of humor and a level of self deprecation that allowed him to look like a clown to help others look better.
5. Shin Hye Sung's Tae Kwon Do Skills
Shinhwa member Shin Hye Sung proved his high flying skills in this simple game that my friends and I tried to duplicate with horrible consequences (it involves broken limbs).
6. The Love Triangles (and Squares)
Why do you think Korean dramas always revolve around a love triangle? People love them!!
Watch Jang Woo Hyuk, Park Jung Ah, Park Soo Jin, and Jeon Hye Bin from 2:19 to 9:59. More of a love square but this was a typical plot device used in the show... and it worked EVERY time.
7. Chun Myung Hoon and Shin Jung Hwan's Crazy Dancing
I had to bring back Chun Myung Hoon because he, along with Shin Jung Hwan, were the early stars of the show and they started this crazy dancing trend that was one of the highlights of the show.
Starts at 3:59
8. Choi Siwon's Hair
How did this hair become one of the best looking guys in K-pop?
Starts at 1:12
9. The Insane Games
How does one invent a game like this? It must have been a long night with a lot of coffee...
10. The Bokgo Dance
I touched on the fame of the bokgo (retro) dance a few weeks ago but Bae Seul Gi really did start something that became almost a cultural phenomenon for a short time. And don't forget about all the stars that joined in on the action, including a pair of young god's of the east, U-Know Yunho and Micky Yoochun.
'Love Letter' really was one of the best variety shows back in the day and if you haven't watched it before, hopefully you're able to track it down and enjoy it like I did.