Love without prejudice on a Korean reality dating show: Does Super Junior’s Kim Hee-chul think it's possible?
In Disney+’s first ever reality dating show Pink Lie, hosts Kim Hee-chul (Super Junior), actress and singer Lee Sun-bin, actor Song Won-suk, and youtuber RalRal end up reflecting on what unconditional love truly is.
Who needs K-drama when K-reality dating shows are just as riveting and emotionally charged? Fans of Single’s Inferno, Heart Signal and Love Catcher who are looking to add one more to their list might just find it in Disney+’s first ever Korean reality dating show Pink Lie.
The premise is intriguing right from the get-go: Seven Koreans seeking a romantic partner live together in a (pink!) house, to find the one who will love them for who they are.
The catch? Every one of the three women and four men are hiding something about themselves – one critical relationship-changing secret that they have never told anyone before.
It’s this big titular “Pink Lie” they must keep telling, until they find a partner they trust enough to reveal it to – and see whether their budding relationship can withstand it.
The reality show is billed as one that challenges viewers to revisit the very definition of love, and look at the prejudices getting in the way of finding true love.
“I asked myself what would happen if we could create a fantasy world with no prejudice to explore how love can be expressed in a different context,” shared show producer Kim In-ha in a recent press conference.
Helping the audience navigate their way through reality show mayhem is the panel of four celebrity hosts. Super Junior’s Kim Hee-chul, actress and singer Lee Sun-bin, actor Song Won-suk, and Youtuber RalRal are there, in classic Korean dating show fashion, to react to the show’s drama. And perhaps, say out loud exactly what audiences are thinking.
But all four celebrities admitted that being on the show was also an exercise in self-examination and contemplation.
“Watching the show, I realised that I was prejudiced against certain occupations even though we all grew up learning at school and at home that every profession has value and we should not judge people based on their job,” said Kim.
“Going in, I thought it would be easy to watch how the show develops because I believed myself to be fairly bias-free about any occupation, but I never realised how seriously prejudiced I actually was.”
Lee agreed: “Yes, the show helped us self-reflect a lot.”
“I was really full of biases,” interjected Kim. “I always thought I don’t have any bias against anyone. Every occupation is equally valuable. We are all just people. But the show helped me realise I was full of prejudices.”
“I think I was too immersed into the show, and so, I’m sure a lot of the footage of me won’t be aired,” he added with a laugh.
The show seemed to hit closer to home for the 39-year-old Super Junior star, who shared he understood what it was like to be “the subject of prejudice”.
“Looking back, I feel like Kim Hee-chul as a celebrity… in the early days of my career, people were so full of prejudice against me assuming that I would get into big trouble,” he shared candidly.
“Which is why I was drawn to the premise that each participant would lie about something. And as I continued to watch the participants, I realized that I was just as biased about certain people as any participant in the show.”
Will viewers feel the same way once they start watching Pink Lie?
“I think it cannot be helped,” said Kim. “We are all only human”.
Youtuber RalRal, on the other hand, initially thought the show would turn out to be “too obvious and predictable”. But by the end of it, she found herself incredibly moved and emotional.
“We all have the desire to be accepted as who we are rather than being judged based on what we can show to the world,” she said.
“And when we are free from prejudices and biases, we are allowed to truly show what we are like around family. I think the show manages to capture these diverse aspects of human nature and offers meaningful messages and lessons for the world.”
So in the end, does unconditional love exist? Does Pink Lie eventually crack the reality show dating code? Looks like viewers will have to watch right till the end to find out.
“Pink Lie really showed that reality can be even more dramatic than TV series and films, and so, I was very curious every week to find out what was going to happen in the following week,” explained Kim.
“We have a group chat, and we would try to guess what happens next as if we were all private investigators. All four of us were confident that we were fairly objective and sharp, but as you will find out, we were so terrible,” he added with a laugh. “We were just so full of prejudices. I feel bad.”
Pink Lie is streaming on Disney + now.