Most Popular Korean Variety Shows of All Time: KBS’ ‘Invincible Youth’, MBC’s ‘Infinite Challenge’, and More

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Let’s Find Out More About Some Of The Most Popular Korean Variety Shows

Korea is not only popular with K-Pop and K-Drama, but their variety shows are also addicting. Many people around the world really enjoy watching Korean variety shows for the humor and the unique concept. They’re so good at making one of a kind variety shows with a well-chosen cast, funny games, and humorous scenarios. Korean variety shows are also known to have amazing editing to crack people up and make their show funnier than it already is. For example, there are so many hilarious captions in Korean variety shows or amusing background music.

If Korean dramas are making you frustrated with their dramatic story, watching Korean variety shows is a good way to heal and make you laugh with its humorous editing.

In this article, Channel-Korea will be providing you with all the information you need to know about some of the most popular Korean variety shows and which one is the most popular show of all time. So, stay tuned and keep scrolling down.

KBS’ Invincible Youth

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First, we have Invincible Youth on our list of most popular Korean variety shows of all time.

Invincible Youth was a South Korean variety show that took female Korean pop music idols and tried to teach them how to live in a rural lifestyle of self-sufficiency. The first season of Invincible Youth took place in a farming village, while the second season took place in a fishing village. It was noteworthy for having girl group members who were (and still are in many cases) among the most successful at the time in K-Pop.

Invincible Youth broadcast its first season from October 23rd, 2009 to December 24th, 2010 on the KBS channel. Season 1 featured seven girls (collectively known as G7) from K-Pop idol groups experiencing how to live and survive outdoors in the rural Korean countryside. It started its second season with eight girls on November 12th, 2011.

Invincible Youth‘s first season featured a weekly meeting of Korean entertainers to work and learn about farming in a Yuchi-ri village in Hongcheon-gun, South Korea’s Gangwon province. This involved all agricultural work, engaging with members of an aging rural community and participating in agrarian or domestic tasks. As the popularity of the show increased, the cast and crew started to work to make their shooting site a sustainable agritourism location, enter food competition, and encourage environmentally conscious farming. Some of the products have been sold to the general public or distributed as gifts within the local community.

The G7 girls from the first season initially included Brown Eyed Girls’ Narsha, Secret’s Sunhwa, 4Minute’s Hyuna, T-ara’s Hyomin, Girls’ Generation’s Sunny and Yuri, and Kara’s Hara.

On May 30th, 2010, it was announced that After School’s Jooyeon, f(x)’s Victoria, and Kim Sori of f(x) will become the three new G7 members on Invincible Youth, replacing Sunny, Yuri, and Hyuna who would be leaving the show due to scheduling conflicts with their groups’ overseas promotions.

Season 1’s slogan was Youth Don’t Lose! Invincible Youth! with a total of 18 episodes. Kara’s Nicole and SHINee’s Minho were guest-starring this season.

The second season of Invincible Youth took place in a fishing village in Daebu Island, Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. The cast was called G8. G8 members included Girls’ Generation’s Sunny and Hyoyeon, f(x)’s Amber, miss A’s Suzy, Sistar’s Bora, Jewelry’s Yewon, Rainbow’s Ko Woo-ri, and Kara’s Jiyoung. The MCs of the second season were Lee Soo-geun, Ji Hyun-woo, and Boom. The only returning member from the first season was SNSD’s Sunny, although Hyoyeon, Jiyoung, and also Bora were guests during the previous season.

The first episode of the second season was broadcast on November 12th, 2011, in South Korea.

Due to scheduling conflicts with the cast members and low ratings, the second season of Invincible Youth stopped airing in mid-November 2011. The final episode was filmed on November 7th and aired on November 17th, 2011.

The second season slogan was Youth is Forever! Invincible Youth!

What do you think about the show ending so suddenly?

MBC’s Infinite Challenge

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Next, we have Infinite Challenge on our list.

Infinite Challenge is an entertainment program on South Korean tv, broadcast by MBC. Since the first screening in 2005, Infinite Challenge has held the same scheduled time. It has lasted for approximately 75 minutes since 2009, excluding 10 minutes of advertising. Infinite Challenge has been called “the variety show of the nation” and “the true first variety of Korea” because it has been successful for more than ten years.

It was revealed in March 2018 that after the departure of the lead producer Kim Tae-ho, all of the current members stepped down from the show, putting the program to an end. The last episode was broadcast on March 31st, 2018, but the show continued for three more weeks with a special recap that looked back over the years of the program.

Infinite Challenge is recognized as the first Real-Variety show in the history of Korean television. The show is completely unscripted, shot in near-secrecy and followed a similar model to broadcast reality-based challenge-based programs. The challenges are often ridiculous or difficult to complete, so the program takes on a variety show’s satirical comedy element rather than a traditional reality or sports format. In earlier episodes, the six hosts and staff of the show would continually proclaim that the program had to be “3-D” in order to achieve its comedic goals: Dirty, Dangerous, and Difficult. It gives people a sense of fun trying things that seem impossible.

Recurring segments:

  • Infinite News
    A news-broadcast parody in which most of the reported stories happened to some or all cast members. These stories revolve around their personal lives and tend to balance the facts with their comedic side.
  • Infinite Company
    An unscripted skit parodying the lives of office workers, similar to The Office.
  • Ha & Su
    An unscripted situational comedy involving the petty quarrels between Jeong Jun-ha and Park Myeong-su in which the latter is violent and hot-tempered while the former is tentative and simple-minded.
  • Jimotmi
    It stands for 지켜주지 못해서 미안해, meaning “Sorry I couldn’t look out for you.” In this segment, the members play hidden-camera pranks on each other to see how they react to certain unnatural situations.
  • Introducing My Ugly Friends Festival
    A segment in which the members invite their acquaintances that they deem visually unattractive.
  • Saturday, Saturday’s, I Am A Singer
    Suggested by Park Myeoung-Su and Jeong Jun-ha, where the program arranges a stage for old singers to return and perform their hit songs.
  • Please, be…
    A segment established to instill common principles for all members.
  • Ah-Ha
    A Korean word game where a player says a word and the next participant then has to say the word backward. A member that failed or committed mistakes would be slapped on the head.
  • One-flash Telepathy
    Upon hearing a word from the production booth, each participant has to make a gesture that best represents the word.
  • Television Advertisements
    The hosts produce such humorous Korean television advertisements throughout the series.
  • Calendar-making Project
    The members create a series of unique calendars and give to a charity all the profits from the sales.

The cast:

  • Yoo Jae-suk (April 2005 – March 2018)
  • Park Myeong-su (May – July 2005/October 2005 – March 2018)
  • Jeong Jun-ha (March 2006 – March 2018)
  • Haha (December 2005 – March 2008/March 2010 – March 2018)
  • Hwang Kwang-hee of ZE:A (April 2015 – March 2017)
  • Jun Jin (July 2008 – November 2009)
  • Gil (April 2009 – April 2014)
  • Noh Hong-chul (April 2005 – November 2014)
  • Jeong Hyeong-don (April 2005 – November 2015)

Occasional appearances:

  • Defconn
  • Jeong Seok-kwon
  • Choi Jong-hun
  • Kim Oak-jeong
  • Kim Tae-ho
  • Kim Tae-hee
  • Shin Mi-so

Because of its popularity, numerous Korean celebrities have appeared on the show. Many of the guests have ties with the show’s co-hosts.

Infinite Challenge is also known as Korea’s first real variety program, which had its first broadcast on May 6th, 2006. Other broadcasters have also produced real variety programs, with the program’s success. Real Variety had the advantage of ensuring that even a famous celebrity who was known as a special person was no different from an ordinary person.

Which ones are your favorite episodes of Infinite Challenge?