Overseas Success of 'We Got Married: Global Edition' Overshadows Low Ratings
By Staff Writer | May 23, 2013 01:47 AM EDT
The Global Edition of We Got Married began airing in early April, and has reached the mid-point in its number of promised episodes. Since there are only 16 episodes total, the official Facebook site of Global We Got Married as well as a number of fan pages have been flooded with complaints and requests about extending the show.
The two international couples, 2PM's Taecyeon paired with Taiwanese actress Gui Gui (Wu Ying Jie), and FT Island's Lee Hongki paired with Japanese actress Fujii Mina, have received much love and support from overseas fans. The intense discussion of the show has gotten to the point where the fans fight for more screen time for their favorite couple not only in the episodes to be aired on TV, but also in the "making film" behind the scenes videos uploaded on the official Youtube channel.
The Global Edition of We Got Married was first created in order to show a different aspect from the original We Got Married show, which is now airing Season 4. The Global Edition attempted to feature the unique characteristics of international marriage and to generate greater overseas viewership and support for the show.
In the past, the original We Got Married show has mostly enjoyed support and overseas viewership. However, recently, the show has been undergoing rough times, with dismal ratings in Korea as low as a mere 6.0%. Many attribute low viewership to Oh Yeon Seo's scandal with Lee Jang Woo, the quick turnover of couples who could not enjoy long periods of virtual marriage, the negative reaction to the newest couple of SHINee's Taemin and A Pink's Na Eun, or just general lack of interesting interactions between each couple.
At the time, original We Got Married fans continually advocated for the comeback or "re-marriage" of previous well-loved couples (such as 2AM'S Jokwon and Brown Eyed Girls' Ga-In or 2PM's Nichkhun and f(x)'s Victoria). In response, the We Got Married production team decided to take a different approach by showcasing new couples who can help reach the international audience and still remain loved by viewers at home.
The show has also previously tried to take it overseas with the Chinese version aired in February of last year. However, the attempt did not meet great success, as the episodes were short, the pairings with Chinese stars were not as well-liked, and it was awkward and frustrating to watch when the bride and groom needed a translator to facilitate interactions and conversations.
In an effort to fix these flaws, the production team selected couples for the Global Edition based on the stars' language skills, popularity in their home countries, and the compatibility of each star's personality. 2PM's Taecyeon, having lived in the United States for a while, can speak fluent English, while Gui Gui has also studied English in order to communicate with Taecyeon. Although her English may not be perfect, the cute grammatical errors she makes and her bubbly, cheerful personality make her just as loveable and compatible with Taecyeon.
Similarly, Hongki's experience in promotional activities in Japan allow him to understand the native culture of Fujii Mina, and Mina's fluency in Korean facilitates the two's conversation even on deep levels.
The production team's careful consideration of the overseas audience was evident not only in their selection of the starring couples, but also in their attention to detail in production. They care for the international audience by including periodic English subtitles in the episodes, providing English translation at the press conference, and updating the official Facebook page in English, Korean, and Chinese to facilitate discussion among international fans.
Now, the popularity of the Global Edition is said to be soaring, becoming the most watched variety show on Chinese video site iQiyi. MBC said in a statement on April 29, "'We Got Married: Global Edition' that is produced by MBC and broadcasted in 22 different countries has 9,320,000 views on the Chinese video site iQiyi, ranking #1 on the variety chart."
Although it is unfortunate that the Global Edition will be ending soon, the production team hinted at the press conference that if this season of the Global Edition does well, there is a high possibility of a second season to come. Thus, despite the recent failure of the original We Got Married show, there are still high hopes for the success of international virtual marriage to continue.
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