[TV review]Even love rats get their 15 minutes of fame

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[TV review]Even love rats get their 15 minutes of fame

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Hosts of reality show “The Law of Constancy of Love: Couple Breaking.” [O’live]

Warning: Carefree channel surfing may bring disaster, such as added wrinkles around the eyes.

At least this was the lesson I learned while watching a rerun of the cable TV show, “The Law of Constancy of Love: Couple Breaking.”

It appeared to be a placid Saturday night as I was leisurely clicking on my remote control at midnight. Just as I was about to call it a night, I came across this reality TV show, which had me frowning for an entire hour over its much ado about love.

It was too late when I realized that frowning, apart from scaring small children, only adds more wrinkles to the face.

“Couple Breaking,” a regular feature on a channel called O’live, airs Wednesday nights at midnight with several reruns on weekend nights.

It’s reminiscent of the American reality TV show “Cheaters,” where a betrayed party and a TV crew hunt down a two-timing partner.

There was a mean kind of pleasure from watching the misfortune of others in “Cheaters,” which at one point was fairly popular in Korea as well. “Couple Breaking,” meanwhile, provides viewers with a twist on the format.

First, there is a complainant (mostly women). The complainant is not sure whether the partner is still in love with him or her. The show puts the partner to the test by sending a seducer onto the scene.

With a hidden camera taping the scene of entrapment, the show’s hosts and the complainant watch from inside a trailer parked nearby.

When the partner gives in to the seduction, the mission ends. Then the complainant confronts the partner, demanding to know whether the relationship should go on or not.

The 21-year-old complainant in the episode I recently watched said that her boyfriend of eight months was aloof about the relationship.

She went on to gripe that her boyfriend would often “go to motels with other women” and “stay out of contact for a whole month.”

It was beyond my understanding why the girl took the trouble of going on this show, when the only sane verdict would be that the relationship was so over.

Yet this naive girl wanted to cling to the last thin thread of hope, and asked the show to check if her boyfriend had feelings for her. Frailty, thy name is love.

Cue the seducer. Then came the worst part of the show, as the boyfriend was so willingly responding to the seduction that the scenes should have been rated adult-only.

The complainant, who only had herself to blame for the whole vulgar gig, was all in tears and mumbling curses, but, well, it was just too late by then.

The show’s hosts had to stop the boyfriend from taking the other girl to a motel, and the complainant broke up with him.

The hosts, meanwhile, did nothing but sigh and make obvious comments like, “This is too much.”

Now fully awake after watching this sorry tale, I checked the show’s Web site and found that it has enjoyed amazing longevity, now in its sixth season since it was launched in 2005.

Plus, the show’s bulletin board is covered in messages from future complainants seeking the chance to appear on the show, with lurid details about their shaky relationships.

In a previous episode, there was even a girl who decided not to dump her cheating love even after watching him fall for the seduction, and after he told her, “I hope you will just leave me. I have no feelings left for you.”

This show is just another reminder of the sheer fact that love is all too ephemeral and human beings all too frail.

After all, scientists say love is just a chemical reaction in a brain with a 100-day expiration date. When it loses its glow, it could turn into a source of trouble like in this TV show.

“TV Review” will take a break from viewing until Sept. 3.


By Chun Su jin [sujiney@joongang.co.kr]
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