What is the TV show Hello Counsellor (Annyeong-haseyo?) about?

My favourite Korean TV show is An-nyeong-ha-se-yo? Hello Counsellor, (KBS) a show where members of the public discuss their problems with a team of celebrities in front of a live studio audience. I find the show fascinating because of the kinds of problems that are discussed. And I’m nosy and like prying into other people’s lives from the comfort of my own home. So I’ll share some of the stories on my blog this month.

THE PROBLEMS

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 lady addicted to silicone guns, Hello Counsellor ep 332 (KBS) 

All kinds of guests appear on the show from children to OAPs. And the seriousness of the problems range from ‘that’s nothing, get a life‘ to ‘get a psychiatrist ASAP‘. Minor issues include kids with ‘addictions’ to sport or collecting things. Serious problems can be life-threatening – such as climbing mountains barefoot in minus 30 degrees. Family relationships are often on – siblings who refuse to speak for years or husbands who don’t help out at home. One primary school pupil came on the show to complain that she had to look after her twin younger siblings all the time and even had to get up in the night to bottle feed them!

And some of the problems are surprising …

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THE GIRL WITH BLUE EYES

In one episode a while ago, a young attractive woman came on the show with the apparently terrible affliction of having BLUE eyes. Her eyes were darkish blue but since she is Korean this was ‘an issue’. She complained that people stared at her all the time and asked her if she was wearing coloured contact lenses. When she went to the zoo other visitors were more interested in staring at her instead of the animals…She just wanted to be normal and blend in. (Mr Kim gets looked at when he goes out with me anywhere, so maybe he can relate..)

But since she was healthy and attractive I didn’t think this was a HUGE problem but the audience DISAGREED with me and she got a very high score.

THE SHOW’S FORMAT

Regular members Jung Chan Woo, Choi Tae Joon, Shin Dong Yeop, Lee Young Ja, and Kim Tae Gyun

The regular ‘counsellors’ on the show are comedians Shin Dong Yup, Lee Young Ja and comedy duo Cultwo who are all in their 40s. They have been joined by young actor Choi Tae Joon (26). Each week the panel is joined by two guest ‘counsellors’ from the entertainment world.

There are three guests from the general public on each episode with a different problem. Each problem is read out like a letter to an agony aunt by one of the panelists. And then the guest joins the counsellors on the stage.

Of course they don’t just walk onto the stage (that would be boring) they come whooshing down a slide into a pool of balloony things as the show’s theme music plays loudly and the audience claps.

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One celebrity will get up to give the guest a helping hand out of the balloon pool – when Choi Tae Joon got up to help a 40-something mum out of the pool she covered her face and said she couldn’t look at him because he was so handsome. ha ha ha.

Once on the stage they sit together on the floor with cushions to hug for comfort. Even this 78 year-old guest has no problem sitting ross-legged.

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the panel discuss the problem with the guests, Hello Counsellor (KBS) 331

Some of the guests seem shy having never been on TV before or overwhelmed by being in the presence of the celebrities. Others seem to love the limelight. Occasionally guests come on with a ‘problem’ that seems more like a thinly veiled excuse to showcase their own or their child’s talents to the nation.

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the studio audience reacts to the problems on Hello Counsellor, KBS

At the end of the discussion the studio audience votes on whether they think this is a real problem or not. The guests with the most votes win the money. It’s been running since 2010 and is made by KBS.

GRAPHICS

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Like many reality shows there are lots of graphics that pop up on screen during the show. There are helpful Korean subtitles (great for anyone studying Korean) and plenty of graphics to show the moods of the guests just in case their expression isn’t enough!

The ‘Rocks’ falling on or around the guest emphasise their disappointment or sadness. An ‘angry liver’ shows the guest’s frustration. (Or maybe it’s just a baked sweet potato? No, that wouldn’t make sense.)

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The show aires weekly and I think it’s available with English subtitles on KBS World.

 

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