The first episode of “Youn’s Stay” premiered on Jan. 8. (tvN)
“Youn’s Stay” -- a spin-off of the popular Korean reality TV show “Youn’s Restaurant” -- got off to a good start Friday with a rating of 8.2 percent.
The show features foreign guests staying at a hanok guesthouse in Korea run by a group of celebrities. It began with the production team expressing concerns about airing a program during the pandemic. It was noted that all celebrities and guests on the show had tested negative for the coronavirus.
“Youn’s Restaurant” was a hit tvN reality show series that featured a group of Korean celebrities opening up Korean restaurants in small towns overseas. While producers had to change the concept of the show due to restrictions on traveling abroad, it kept its original casting, featuring actors Youn Yuh-jung, Lee Seo-jin, Jung Yu-mi and Park Seo-joon.
The ratings for the show’s first season, filmed in Indonesia, peaked at 14.1 percent and ratings for its second season, filmed in Spain, peaked at 16 percent, both considerably high for a cable channel program in Korea.
The plan for a third season of the show last year was scrapped due to the pandemic and the team came up with a spin-off show “Youn’s Stay” to film in South Jeolla Province as an alternative.
After the first episode aired, the hanok stay -- Ssangsanje in Gurye, South Jeolla Province, where the show was shot -- was flooded with inquiries about reservations.
“We have temporarily halted our operation due to other schedules. We will soon provide information about our reopening,” the owner of the accommodation said on its website.
In Friday’s episode, the actors compared their experiences in both shows.
Lee told Park that it is very difficult to operate a guesthouse and Park agreed, saying, “‘Youn’s Restaurant’ was easier.”
The casts prepared Korean food, including tteokgalbi (beef patties), jeon (pan-fried vegetables) and gungjung tteokbokki (royal stir-fried rice cake) for the guests’ first meal.
Along with cooking, the celebrities had to learn new tasks such as preparing the guesthouse and picking up guests, which they did not have to deal with when they ran restaurants.
The show however kept its concept of introducing Korean culture to foreigners by receiving only foreign guests who have been living in Korea for less than a year to the hanok guesthouse.
Actor Choi Woo-sik, known for his role as Ki-woo in “Parasite” joined the show as a newcomer and took up the role as an intern. Choi, a Korean-Canadian who is fluent in English, was in charge of communicating with foreign guests.
Meanwhile, the shows’ main cast Youn is being seen as a strong contender for this year’s Oscars. She has so far won a total of eight best supporting actress awards given by US film critics circles and festivals, including the Columbus Film Critics, Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and the North Carolina Film Critics.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)