Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Season 1: The Human Condition Pilot Episode Review - 리얼체험 프로젝트 인간의 조건 (KBS)

It was a boring Saturday night or is it morning (since it airs at midnight in Singapore) when I came across this reality show with a twist of variety: a bunch of six comedians with different characters were set to live together for a week, and these comedians have to carry out a specific mission for that whole week (which basically meant of life without necessities). The pilot program started with the withdrawal of their mobile phones, and basically no usage of technology for 7 days (no TV, computer and mobile phones).

With six comedians, there’s bound to be some drama and lots of entertainment (especially when two of the eldest have unresolved issues with each other). They would be...

Kim Jun-Ho (김준호)

Man-child comedian and CEO of an entertainment company and boss to some if not most of the other comedians on this show, except for frenemy... Park Sung-Ho (박성호).

Park Sung-Ho (박성호)

An awkwardly unsociable individual (he’s really bad at expressing his feelings but he starts to warm up episode by episode) with a wacky sense for comedy.

Next up are comedians...

Jung Tae-ho (정태호) 

Infamous for his role as Madam Jeong on Gag Concert. Tae-ho is the more sensible one and considerate towards others' feelings. He even tried to get the above two comedians to resolve their differences.

From the skit of 4 Men on Gag Concert we have

Kim Jun-Hyeon (김준현)  

Resident fat guy with a slim heart and a big appetite.

Heo Gyeong-Hwan (허경환)

Apparently the shortest member with height issues, but confident of his looks.

Yang Sang-Guk (양상국) 

 The sophisticated country bumpkin.

The voice-over narration and wording throughout the show, gives it a documentary-like presentation with a twist, there is heart in this show as the comedians interact and strive to successfully accomplish their mission. It is also something more than that – it makes the viewer actually think how the various things in life we have taken for granted and how they can actually become hindrances in our daily interactions with the people around us.

It was intriguing to watch the comedians being placed in a real life situation where they have to carry on their lives without the use of technology. It was painful entertaining watching them suffer from their ‘withdrawal’ symptoms and trying to find alternative things to keep them entertained and occupied. Their solution was simple – to go old school:
  • want to take a photo? Ok sure, just use an analog/film camera and get the photos processed instead
  • want to call someone? Try finding that almost non-existent pay phone where you have to slot coins and have a time limit. They eventually had a landline installed at the place they were staying at.
  • No TV to entertain? Try getting a radio to listen to songs or play the guitar and sing along. Or better yet get some DIY toy models you can build yourself to spend the lazy weekend afternoon away.
  • no mobile phone on hand to check the latest news? Simply read the newspaper – paper stye

The results were not only hilarious at times and entertaining (at the comedians expense), but also very heartwarming upon their afterthoughts and reflection.

With no mobile phone or technology on hand, this show made me realize how much we rely on technology as a smoke-screen to (un)intentionally avoid interaction with others (especially when it gets awkward or there is nothing to say) and how we actually take the people around us for granted. Without technology, you are actually “forced” to interact and get the opportunity to bond and foster a friend/relationship. Technology is there to make our lives easier and more comfortable, but relying on it too much makes us ‘lazy’ to even bother interacting properly with others; missing out on bonding and interacting with the people around us, and making us distant and ‘cold’ individuals.


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