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All About You

All about you – McFly

This is not the reprieve from K-Pop it would appear to be. The only reason this song is in my head is because for some reason it was chosen as the ending credits song for the variety show Invincible Youth – the greatest reality television show ever produced, and my latest obsession and source for joy.

Invincible Youth is a South Korean television programme wherein 7 members of the country’s most prominent girl groups are taken to the rural village of Yoochiri, given a farm and tasked to work it. It’s kind of like Harvest Moon with pop idols. The girls are Narsha from Brown Eyed Girls, Hyuna from 4minute, Goo Hara from Kara, Hyomin from T-ara, Sunny and Yuri from Girls’ Generation (they get two), and Sunwha from the then freshly debuted Secret. All set time from their insanely busy schedules for one day a week (sometimes more) and come together to learn to become self-sufficient invincible youth.

It’s a concept reality shows here feast upon and regurgitate habitually – someone, usually a celebrity, put in a fish-out-of-water situation for ensuing entertainment and hilarity – but there is something wholly different here: Work is actually done! No complaints, no ridiculous scenarios, nothing done for a gross-out value – just diligence, enthusiasm and fun. It is something so refreshing, so inspiring. Seeing these girls take to the work and their situation with such application, curiosity, and a clear appreciation of the impact their effort brings is really something. And it makes for some of the best television i’ve ever seen. Who’d have thought?

There’s of course only so much farming you can do on one day of the week, and i think there might be a lot of help done behind scenes, but the reality is undeniable. The idols raise chickens and a calf, build various infrastructure, clean poop, gather wood, till fields, go to market, and plant and harvest a whole host of foods. The best part of the show for me is them doing work for the locals, be it helping in the fields, clearing snow, or making food from locally grown and harvested ingredients. Tradition. Their contribution is really palpable and heartwarming.

Sure they goof off, sing songs and hold weird popularity contests at every opportunity, but the work is always done. You can tell their presence is nothing but a positive one, and that the locals of Yoochiri really benefit. Interest in rural areas and agriculture surely must have been boosted by the show. Positive effect. How often does that happen on Western television?

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