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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Trumpeter, percussionist and bandleader Etienne Charles was born in Trinidad and blends island rhythms with modern jazz. He and his stellar band perform a rich gumbo of jazz, calypso, reggae, and rock-steady that Charles calls “Creole Soul” on "The Hamilton Live."