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Opinion: Are Korean dating shows getting overrated and repetitive?

While some adore the idea of watching someone else's relationship blossom, dating shows might come off as repetitive and overrated to others.

Belinda Poh

| January 8, 2024
dating
A still from Single’s Inferno Season 3. Photo: Netflix

Dating shows have found themselves a loyal audience pool over the years, for good reason.

Watching contestants fall in love while surviving outlandish scenarios weaves the perfect fairytale fantasy. After all, if these contestants can find love while being stranded on an island, why can’t you?

These programmes also allow viewers to live vicariously through the contestants and experience those heart-fluttering moments with them.

Korean reality romance series

The South Korean entertainment industry has also hopped on the bandwagon to release such series in recent years.

Take for example the recent Single’s Inferno (2023) and the upcoming EXchange (Transit Love) (2023), both of which made it to their third season.

The first season of the latter went extremely viral in South Korea. Netizens made memes from various scenes in the series which made its rounds on the Internet, fuelling its popularity and success.

Aside from providing a dash of drama now and then, dating shows work precisely because of their quintessential component: romance.

While some adore the idea of watching someone else’s relationship blossom, such a concept might come off as repetitive and overrated to others.

Mixed reactions

“Such shows are getting overly popular and mundane, said Bernard Lim, 26, a full-time university student.

“These series seem to draw from the same ideas,” he added. At its core, these shows put contestants in dire situations while egging them into scenarios that bring them together.

Many would probably agree, but I beg to differ.

dating
Reality romance series thrive by putting contestants in dire situations while egging them into scenarios that bring them together. Photo: Netflix

While these series have become far more common today, producers of these reality romance series succeed in adding new and innovative details into the mix.

For instance, Singles’ Inferno brought back ex-contestant Dex (Kim Jin-Young) as a commentator in its latest season. Contrary to the previous seasons, the latest one also introduces another inferno just beside the contestants’ lodging island.

These fresh elements are the key to keeping viewers excited for the next season.

Every season will also see a different set of cast. With this in mind, their personalities may play out differently and with new chemistries form, it offers a distinct watching experience every time.

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