News / Arts & Entertainment

Youtube Reality Show Spotlights Korean-Americans

The new reality show 'K-Town' follows the drama of eight, young Korean-Americans living in Los AngelesThe new reality show 'K-Town' follows the drama of eight, young Korean-Americans living in Los Angeles
x
The new reality show 'K-Town' follows the drama of eight, young Korean-Americans living in Los Angeles
The new reality show 'K-Town' follows the drama of eight, young Korean-Americans living in Los Angeles
Americans love reality television shows. Since their initial mass popularity in the late '90s and early 2000s,  there has been an  explosion of formats depicting nearly every facet of American life, including pawn shop owners, hoarders and drug addicts.

A more recent arrival to the reality show universe are the ethnically-based shows that include the very popular “Jersey Shore,” which focuses on Italian-Americans in the state of New Jersey, and “Shahs of Sunset,” which focuses on Persian-Americans in Los Angeles, also known as Tehrangeles because of the number of Persians living there.

The latest entry to that genre is “K-Town,” which follows a group of young Korean-Americans in the predominantly Korean area of Los Angeles known also as K-Town. Unlike “Jersey Shore” and “Shahs of Sunset,” “K-Town” will be shown on YouTube, which has become a trendy outlet for Asian-American performers of all ilks.

When development of the show was announced two years ago, the media immediately dubbed it Jersey Shore for Asians.

It was something executive producer Eugene Choi both embraced and shunned.

“We wanted to show that there are lots of layers among Asian-Americans,” he said. “I think that with a lot of Asian-Americans in TV and film it’s two dimensional. It’s either the violin playing nerd or the martial arts master. Once people watch people will see how different it really is. It’s not just “Jersey Shore” with Asian people.”

But there are certainly some similarities.

“K-Town” features eight young Korean-Americans and contains many of the same ingredients as its reality show predecessors: drama, silliness, romance, scandal and skin, all of it often ratcheted up by alcohol. Choi does concede that there isn’t as much bad behavior in “K-Town” as there is in “Jersey Shore.”

Choi said the show will also shed light on some lesser known aspects of Korean-American culture. One example he gave was the Korean nightclub scene where customers, in order to get in, must know the cell phone number of one of the waiters. The waiter, in turn, will make a reservation for a group of men or a group of women.

“Once you get in, the waiter has guy tables and girl tables and plays matchmaker,” he said. “That whole practice came from Korea where it’s socially taboo just to go up to a woman. K-Town is the intersection of Korea and the U.S.”

Choi said he pitched the show to some cable channels and even got some offers, but at the end of the day, YouTube's LOUD channel made the most sense.

“I think it is a pretty good medium for Asian-Americans,” he said. “I think a lot of people think it’s a setback, but I’m really excited about being a part of YouTube. I really believe YouTube is the next cable TV.”

Alexander Cho, a PhD in Media Studies at the University of Texas Department of Radio-Television-Film said shows like “K-Town” combat stereotypes by offering multiple representations of a group by showing people who are totally contradictory to the stereotype or challenge it.

He said the trick will be representing diverse images of the Korean-American community without making it look horrible the way many Italian-Americans felt Jersey Shore did to them.

“I’m not sure how great it would be to have a Korean-American Snooki,” said Cho, referring to the most famous cast member of Jersey Shore who developed a reputation as an airheaded partier and is possibly most well-known for getting punched on TV. 

Cho said he’s not surprised “K-Town” is on YouTube.

“It’s a place where people who don’t fit the traditional mold of what a leading man should look like and and what a pop star should look like can find a place,” he said.

Based on YouTube comments, it would appear the reception for K-Town is mixed. One commenter called the show “embarrassing” to Asian-Americans, while another wrote they were glad to see a portrayal of Asian-Americans that was not as a “a social hermit” who studies all day and night and plays computer games.”

Choi says reaction in the Korean-American community has been “very mixed, and very extreme.”

“Now that the first episode is out I think the reaction has generally been a little bit more positive,” he said.”Before the negative comments were them being afraid it'd be too wild, and now some of the negative comments have been episode one hasn't been wild enough. I guess you just can't win sometimes!”

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ok from: Los Angeles
July 23, 2012 4:10 PM
Not all of the cast are Korean American. Jasmine is Chinese American.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”