Announcer’s sultry dance crosses the line[TV REVIEW]There she was, whooping it up on stage. Wearing leather shorts and boots, she sang and danced with a risque smile and movements to match - like spreading her legs wide open. No, I’m not talking about some filthy strip bar in Las Vegas. I’m describing a scene from a nationally televised Korean entertainment show. The woman in question was Kim Ju-hui, a Miss Korea-turned-anchorwoman on SBS-TV. She was one of a handful of SBS anchors who showed up for a recent episode of “X-Man, We Love Sundays.”
Better known as “announcers” among Koreans, anchor people enjoy semi-celebrity status, especially if they are women. Their popularity means higher audience ratings for their networks, and for the individuals themselves, can mean a better chance for marriage. They have this ladylike, intellectual image that earns them quite a few opportunities to be featured on various TV shows, from news to entertainment programs. In the case of Noh Hyeon-jeong, a former KBS-TV announcer, she earned not only stardom but also a conglomerate heir as a husband.
The fad of announcers is also evident in the birth of a new girl band, soon to make a debut under the name, “Announcer Girls.” The members have nothing to do with real announcers, but are just jumping on the bandwagon of announcer popularity.
Apparently, there are a number of Ms. Noh wannabes, and many of the anchorwomen vie for popularity not by correctly pronouncing the news but by spreading their legs on a nationally televised TV show. The recent “X-Man” show was one to promote announcer stardom. Using the theme “Find the announcer who can best fit into an entertainment show,” the show lured viewers by having announcers talk, sing, dance and do comedy gigs on stage. Many of them also anchor major news programs, where they announce the news dressed in suits wearing grim looks. The gang of desperate announcers included Yun Hyeon-jin, who anchored a TV network’s major news program a few hours after “X-Man.” However, during the show, the adjectives to describe them were - I’m sorry but I have to say this - silly, pathetic and improper.
They played games like not laughing at a comedian who said “three” while holding up four fingers. Then they displayed solo talents, including Ms. Kim’s sultry dance. During the dance, the show’s producers ran subtitles like, “Sexy charisma,” “She is a new-generation announcer” and “She has nothing to fear.”
I could see that she had nothing to fear when she practically performed a striptease on a show for the family time slot, 5 p.m. on Sundays. Other announcers were more conventional at least, performing Latin dance, songs from musicals and traditional Korean dance.
I cannot imagine the late Peter Jennings in a gaudy outfit singing a Michael Jackson song and moonwalking on a nationally televised entertainment show. Instead, I still vividly remember him after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack thundering, “Where is the president?” when U.S. President George W. Bush had not yet arrived at the capital.
Listen to Park Yeong-man, Ms. Kim’s boss at SBS, who defended her, saying, “What’s wrong? For a brief moment, she was just showing off her talent.” Mr. Park continued, “There is no rule saying that an anchorwoman should do nothing but deliver news.”
My dear Mr. Park, I’m not denying announcers’ rights to talk, sing and dance. But when announcers are double-faced, it confuses me.
They have that high-handed air on news programs while acting risque on entertainment shows. Can’t they be more natural on news programs and be more decent on entertainment programs? I don’t want to be reminded of Ms. Kim’s leather shorts and gaudy makeup when she delivers news about politics. Still, I guess this is too much to ask of the Korean TV scene for now.
by Chun Su-jin