Hello Counselor Cancelled? The End of 9 Years of Concerns.

Hello Counselor

A couple of weeks ago the famous Korean Variety Show Hello Counselor, which started in 2010, aired its final episode after 431 weeks. The show is known as the national listening platform in Korea. As the presenters always say;

" We root for you to solve your concerns! Tell us your concerns."

The program has a simple idea of calling people who are suffering because of a particular problem, small or big, and trying to solve the problem through logic and audience voting. The episodes, in the beginning, handled cute concerns like a daughter obsessed with an idol during puberty and similar issues. However, as the program progressed, the concerns escalated, there were some concerns about alcoholics, abusers, sexual offenders, narcissist and all types of people. Sometimes the concerns were left unsolved or solved vaguely in a way that leaves a bad aftertaste. Still, the positive effect of the program was highly recognized by the public, who continued to watch it till the final episode, and the participants, who always admitted it benefited them.

As a fan of the show, I was very sad to hear that it was ending. However, after understanding that there will be a second season, I am looking forward to that. I hope any change to the show won't be a change in the presenters only. I believe everyone in the show plays a vital role. If anything it seems the tone became more comedic after both Choi Tae Joon and Jung Chan-woo left. I assume that it is only because the character-balance that was present was shaken after they left, that the tone of the show seemed to change.

Hello Counselor Hosts

 Choi Tae Joon and Jung Chan-Woo on Hello Counselor were probably the most straightforward guys ever on the show. They were direct, honest and confrontational. Yeong Ja follows them in terms of being correct and frank. However, she mostly speaks from personal experience more than common sense. Instead of arguing that the first thing is wrong because it is unacceptable due to this and that, Yeong Ja tends to explain her point of view by giving examples from her real life. She tries to simulate the emotions of the guests, which does not always work. Sometimes people need a harsher approach to understand, Chan-Woo and Tae Joon supplemented that element to the program.

 Shin Dong Yup is also similar to Yong Ja as he tries to connect through personal experiences mostly, and he is probably the diplomat in the group. He does not seem to like direct confrontations or harshness, so he is primarily calm whenever he speaks. He is also very respectful to guests regardless of how bad they seem. Kim Tae Gyun is also very funny and seems to care about the people on the show. However, he sure is even less confrontational than Shin Dong Yup. He seems to try to cheer the concerned person more than try to solve the problem, which is a needed element on a show of this nature.

Hello Counselor 2019 Controversy

During 2019, the show faced a major problem thanks to an episode where the husband of the concerned wife admitted that he enjoys molesting his son. The presenters dealt with the issue lightly, because apparently culturally-wise measuring your son's genitals once in a while is not a bad thing in Korea. The thing is, the father admitted to doing it more than just once in a while, and he admitted that he even used force sometimes with no regret at all. The hello counsellor controversy started thanks to this episode, and a hashtag calling for the cancellation of the show started appearing. The show itself still maintained good rating after further concerns appeared and that concern was forgotten. However, it could be that thanks to this, KBS decided to end the show and restructure it differently. 

The Changes I Wish to See

As a variety show, Hello Counselor featured mostly Gagmen as its hosts which means none of the presenters had any psychological background. It did seem like the show consulted real psychologists on various concerns and actually presented statements from them. However, some of these concerns require more than just a simple statement which the show did not seem to offer. If there is to be a change on this show, I hope it'd be a real psychologist with the already present team, or maybe a psychology team to follow-up with the bad cases and report to the program. It doesn't have to be on-air, but just a simple statement that there is a team who will help anyone who wishes to get help might remove any lousy aftertaste.


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