“Such exposure would lead teens to imitate idols’ behavior.”
Idol drinking shows on YouTube have become a growing trend, providing fans with an opportunity to see their favorite idols in a relaxed and candid setting. However, the increasing popularity of these shows has raised concerns among critics and experts regarding their impact on both idols and viewers.
One such popular show is Not Much Preparedhosted by Lee Young Jiwhich has amassed over 2.84 million subscribers since its debut in June of last year. The show invites guests to Lee’s house, where they engage in conversations about their lives and careers while sharing personal stories over drinks and food.
K-Pop sensation BTS has also embraced the trend, with Suga launching his talk show titled Suchwita (Korean acronym for “Time to Drink with Suga”) on the group’s official YouTube channel. The show features a range of K-Pop stars, including fellow BTS members, providing fans with an intimate glimpse into their lives over casual drinks and dining. Since its December release, the first episode featuring RM as a guest has amassed an impressive 7.4 million views.
While fans enjoy these shows for the glimpse they provide into the idols’ lives, concerns have emerged over the potential consequences. Pop culture critic Kim Hern Sik emphasizes that these shows come from the need YouTube content creators have to differentiate themselves from traditional broadcast television. As TV programs face stricter regulations regarding scenes involving alcohol consumption, these YouTube shows use alcohol to set themselves apart.
To set themselves apart, they need to cover things that weren’t on regular TV programs. Hence, there are more shows with alcohol.
— Kim Hern Sik
The issue lies in the accessibility of such content to minors. Broadcasters and networks maintain controls on content that may be harmful to young viewers, but platforms like YouTube allow easy access, with content often shared on social media. Kim added that the presence of K-Pop stars on drinking talk shows raises concerns that their behavior could be imitated by teenagers, who are highly influenced by these idols.
[K-Pop idols] have a great influence on teenagers. So it raises concerns that such exposure would lead teens to imitate [their behavior].
— Kim Hern Sik
Moreover, the concern extends to the impact on society’s perception of alcohol. Critics worry that the prevalence of these shows could further strengthen the already high social tolerance for drinking in South Korea. There is also the question of whether alcohol becomes an inevitable means to connect and build relationships, overshadowing the importance of sober conversations.
You can have conversations in a sober state, so there’s the issue of why you need to rely on alcohol to do that. So I feel there could be a negative effect on the culture of social interaction to become dependent on alcohol.
— Kim Hern Sik
As the popularity of idol drinking shows continues to rise, it is essential to address these concerns and explore ways to strike a balance between entertainment and responsible content creation.