I have been spending time lately watching Korean tv shows in order to improve my Korean language. “Hello Counselor” was one of my favorite talk shows until lately. According to KBS youtube channel:
“Hello Counselor” is a talk show with an emphasis on people and their stories. From stories about the daily lives of regular people regardless of their age or gender, to concerns that are too embarrassing to reveal! This program will bring laughter and move your heart. The purpose of this program is to help take down communication barriers by sharing stories about life~!”
As mentioned above, the show’s purpose NOT to solve concerns of the guests, but “reveal” their secrets, pain, and struggles to “bring laughter and move .. [hearts].” As many eps I watched, I noticed some of the concerns are actually serious, and can’t be solved by the help of idols, actors, and comedians. Somehow, I felt the show make use of other people sufferings and problems for entertainment and not solving it at all.
The first time I watched the show I couldn’t understand the idea of voting, which is at the end of each guest’s concern discussion, the audiences are allowed to share their opinion about the topic. The concern is evaluated or voted on by the audience in terms of whether or not they think it is a valid or “worthy” concern. The number of votes is then displayed on the screen. The question is why? and does it help?
Janet Kang in her article “[OPINION] WHY HELLO COUNSELOR IS NOT REALLY ABOUT COUNSELING” claimed, “the vote count is used to ‘shock’ the ‘perpetrator’ and make them realize the severity of the problem. Again, relying on others’ expectations to fuel change.” However, using majority opinion and power in numbers to make someone change is actually shaming someone into changing. If that wasn’t enough, the “perpetrators” who appear on the show are usually attacked with hateful comments after the broadcast.
what makes the matter worst and hard to understand, the guest who gets the most votes gets a certain amount of prize money and get a chance to be featured on future episodes. I do not believe it solve the issue but rather encourage the concerned person to carry on!
One of “Hello Counselor” episodes was extremely disturbing, A wife with her husband and her 5 years old son, came to the show to share her concerns looking for a solution. The father plays with his son’s genitals to the point where it sure seems like sexual abuse.
In the clip posted on Twitter on Friday, the dad admits to playing with his 5-year-old son’s private parts, for enjoyment, for 5-10 minutes at a time.
“I had a habit of touching it when he was a baby and I still have that habit. They like it at first but after five or ten minutes, I guess they start to hate it,” the father said, indicating that he does it to his other children as well.
The annoying thing is the way the hosts and the audience react! they are laughing and giggling.
This isn’t the only episode where this topic has come up of parents touching their kids’ private parts. I saw clips of mental health issues, alcohol abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse etc… get not only get minimized but dismissed as it is a concern.