I want my M (net) TV

When I stayed in Phnom Penh for 4 weeks a few months back, the cable channels were quite different from the channels I had gotten used to in Manila. There was no TFC, Fox, Universal, etc. Instead there were plenty of Asian channels–Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, and Korean, among others. I recalled watching a lot of Korean TV through Arirang and KBS while I lived in Phnom Penh years ago. I liked Korean dramas because the stories are unique, be it modern or traditional. Maybe because I was also fascinated with Korean culture in general. I think it is more accessible than Japanese culture (which I am also fascinated with). In recent years, however, I have watched less Korean TV. So I was surprised to find out that they have gone into reality TV as well.


I was channel surfing when I stumbled upon “Three Meals a Day: Fishing Village” at Mnet TV. From the first few minutes of viewing I deduced that the three men who were sharing a house in a somewhat remote Korean Island (Manjae-do, I would later learn) were there to live like the rest of the island’s inhabitants. And from the title I gleaned that the show was a hybrid of a reality and a cooking show. This perception was bolstered by the fact that the three men looked like celebrities.

The youngest, called Ho-Joon, looked like a matinee idol or a boyband member. Hae-Jin looked like a character actor or a comedian, because of his humorous disposition. Meanwhile Seung-Won, who looked to be the leader of the group (and the main cook), looked like a handsome, mature actor. Further googling confirmed this. Ho-Joon is a former member of the boyband Tachyon who turned to acting when said boyband disbanded. Hae-Jin is a popular character actor. Seung-Won started as a fashion model before turning to acting, where he has been very successful.

In each episode, they are challenged to perform tasks related to keeping the house and managing to prepare 3 meals each day using only the limited resources available to them. Over the series this trio fell into these roles: Ho-Joon kept the house, Hae-Jin fished and made all those gadgets that made things easier for them, and Seung-Won took care of the cooking. Everyone pitched in the others’ tasks well. Hae-Jin’s ability to fashion tools out of junk or common things reminded me of my father. Hae-Jin built a wind-proof stove, a canopy to cover a part of the yard, and he planted vegetables. He even made a Lazy Susan out of an old bicycle wheel.

But Seung-Won was a cooking dynamo, as it turned out. He came up with dish after dish in spite of their meager resources. Each dish looked great and by the sound of them, they were delicious as well. In the final episode, which was taped 2 months after the trio returned to the homeland, Seung-Won admitted that his love of eating good food probably fueled his love of cooking. In fact, in this reunion, he took care of cooking the dinner that they shared.

A fun aspect of the show is the presence of 2 pets–a puppy and a kitten named Bee and Sanjae, respectively. The provide some welcome distraction from the mundane tasks that the intrepid trio face. Also, Ho-Joon always plays with them and Ho-Joon with small animals certainly makes for lots of adorable TV moments.

They also receive guests in their island home, some more annoying than others. My favorite guest in the whole season was Sung-Hoon, an MMA fighter and judoka. On his first night in the island, while they were enjoying post-prandial beer and snacks, the three couldn’t help but admire Sung-Hoon’s muscular body. There was a scene where our trio took turns to poke, squeeze, touch, and marvel at Sung-Hoon’s muscle mass in his chest, arms, and thighs. It was played for cuteness but I couldn’t help but feel the homoerotic undertones of that moment.

that scene

that scene

It was a fun show to watch. I loved the cast. I wondered if there was a second season but I learned that this show was a spin-off of another show, one that is set on a remote mountain village. The original has a second season while the spin-off, according to the producer/ creator will not. Too bad. I would love to see more of these three guys.


About the pensive poet

development worker. kasuyo. bugtong na anak. retired drag queen. kalaguyo. kaibigan. future carpenter, bread-maker, or bar-tender. feeling manunulat at makata. borderline obsessive-compulsive. control freak. book worm. isnabero. mahiyain. astang cineaste. aspiring photographer.

Posted on July 15, 2015, in journal, review and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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